Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Here's my two most recent write ups. The first is a critical thinking piece and the second is a persuasive essay.

Do Questions Lead to Truth?
            In the course of learning Spanish, I had many questions and doubts about my ability to adequately speak a foreign language. I even began to question my instructor’s ability to teach me appropriately. This was a frustrating and disappointing time for me. I felt that I had a predisposition for the language, coming from a duel language home where Spanish words were frequently used, but not consistently. I felt that it was in my blood and so I should naturally pick it up without difficulty. I was mistaken. I realized that learning for oneself is a bumpy road of self discovery and soul searching. As human beings we naturally question that which is unfamiliar and seek for understanding. Having doubts is a natural part of gaining a testimony.
            In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, many might see having doubts as a crisis of faith, but addressing doubts is a way to find greater understanding. As President Deiter F. Uchtdorf has stated,
It’s natural to have questions—the acorn of honest inquiry has often sprouted and matured into a great oak of understanding. There are few members of the Church who, at one time or another, have not wrestled with serious or sensitive questions. One of the purposes of the Church is to nurture and cultivate the seed of faith—even in the sometimes sandy soil of doubt and uncertainty…First doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith. We must never allow doubt to hold us prisoner and keep us from the divine love, peace, and gifts that come through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. “Come Join With Us” By President Dieter F. Uchtdorf (OCT 2013 General Conference)
           
            Questions are what help us learn. If we don’t seek the truth, then we are static in our progression. Asking questions lead to the restoration of the gospel in latter days. Without questions we are not challenging ourselves or our ideals, but passively accepting what we are being fed.   
            Studying and questioning in of itself is a natural course for learning. The difficult part is separating the information and putting it to the Lord first, instead of being bogged down by the question itself. President Uchtdorf reminds us of this when he stated,
Sometimes questions arise because we simply don’t have all the information and we just need a bit more patience. When the entire truth is eventually known, things that didn’t make sense to us before will be resolved to our satisfaction. “Come Join with Us” By President Dieter F. Uchtdorf (OCT 2013 General Conference)
           

            There is nothing wrong with seeking truth and questioning sources, we must remember, however, to pit those questions against the eternal source of all truth, Heavenly Father. He will answer the burning questions of our hearts and only He is the purveyor of all truth. He will use the Holy Ghost to bring to your mind and heart the truth of what you seek, if you will put your trust in His time table and authority. Doubts and questions are a natural and necessary part of learning and of gaining a testimony.


Something to Swallow
            The history of Fluoridation has a long and controversial past. It was first studied in 1909 in East Colorado after Dr Frederick McKay discovered a condition known as Colorado Brown Stain. Thirty years later Dr. MacKay hypothesized that adding smaller, safer, amounts of Fluoride could strengthen tooth enamel. The Fluoride was from aluminum plants which were being targeted for their fluoride waste as part of their production. Their solution? Truck the unwanted fluoride to other cities and sell it for their water supply. Such an ingenious plan; not only did it free up the waste from large industries, but it helps teeth to boot! This plan had to be implemented in a way that the populace would, literally, swallow. Enter Dr. Gerald Cox of the Mellon Institute. He was Uncle Sam’s personal Physician. If anyone could sell fluoride to the masses it was Dr. Cox. He repeatedly praised the virtue of fluoride on tooth enamel.
            Today fluoride continues to be used in the battle against tooth decay. Nearly all toothpastes on the market contain fluoride as its active ingredient; water fluoridation projects currently affect over 200 million Americans. Fluoride has been used in the United States for nearly 70 years to maintain healthy dentine. However, fluoride has been systematically harming the populace for years through over exposure, unsafe procedures and most importantly lack of information. This can only be prevented with individual education.
            Fluoride is harmful in many ways, the body has no need of fluoride, it is not an essential nutrient. Since the body cannot use it, the fluoride accumulates in bones and other tissue. Fluoride exposure has been linked to a range of chronic ailments including arthritis, bone fragility, bone and bladder cancer; thyroid disease, gastric distress, and cardiovascular disease. As well as increased risk of ADHD and loss of IQ.
            Proponents of Fluoridation believe that the health benefits far outweigh the possible negative outcomes. Dental health has increased dramatically in the last thirty years. Fluoridation is considered the catch all for preventative tooth decay. However, studies have shown that countries without fluoridation have reported a similar rate of improved Dental Health.
             “For the past 50 years, CWF [community water fluoridation] has been considered the most cost-effective measure for the control of caries at the community level. However, it is now accepted that systemic fluoride plays a limited role in caries prevention. Several epidemiologic studies conducted in fluoridated and nonfluoridated communities clearly indicated that CWF may be unnecessary for caries prevention, particularly in the industrialized countries where the caries level has become low.” SOURCE: Pizzo G, Piscopo MR, Pizzo I, Giuliana G. 2007. Community water fluoridation and caries prevention: a critical review. Clinical Oral Investigations 11(3):189-93.
            The main benefits of fluoride can be achieved when applied topically to teeth. Researchers have now overwhelmingly rejected the notion that swallowing fluoride is effective for preventing decay. Instead, the current consensus is that fluoride’s benefit comes from topical contact with teeth. As the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) stated in 1999: “fluoride prevents dental caries predominately after eruption of the tooth into the mouth, and its actions primarily are topical for both adults and children.”
            Since fluoride is so widely used, it is impossible to determine just how much each individual is receiving on a daily basis. We are hopelessly overexposed. Not only is fluoride in most public water, it is in most food and beverages processed in the United States. Pesticides, teas, processed meats and even the air in industrial workplaces contain fluoride. It is in nearly every dental product on the market.
            Not only are these trends alarming, but the fluoride that is placed in our drinking water is not pharmaceutical-grade at all. According to the CDC, the main chemicals used to fluoridate drinking water are known as “silicofluorides”. Silicofluorides are unprocessed industrial by-products of the phosphate fertilizer industry and they can contain elevated levels of arsenic. How is unfiltered industrial waste safe for drinking?
            The big issue is how the government is forcing widespread medication of the masses. There is neither written consent, nor even information given that you might be consuming fluoride. The Food & Drug Administration accepts that fluoride is a Drug, not a nutrient, when used to prevent disease.
            Whether by ignorance or negligence, the people of the United States have been deceived about the benefits of fluoridation and have been quietly swallowing their medicine. This harmful practice must stop. People need to know what they are consuming and why. This will only be obtained when individuals and communities come together to determine what is healthy for them. Please educate yourself on the practices and usages of fluoride. Further information can be found at http://fluoridealert.org/.

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