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  1. I've been on this forum for a while and I've even gotten into trouble a few times. As of late, I haven't been posting very much because, you know, LIFE. But I thought I'd pass along that after 18+ years, I've had my blessings restored.
    15 points
  2. My apologies to the site...I've been gone for quite a while because I thought the site was going to close. I felt prompted to come tonight just to make sure, and it appears that all is well and active. So, as a brief update on me...I retired from prison chaplaincy in Dec. 2020, and am now teaching civics at a Christian school. I look forward to reengaging. PC
    11 points
  3. LOL...my SP described our speaking together in each ward as the "speaking tour." On a more serious note. He said that his keys and authority in our stake led him to have us speak together in all the wards of the stake on this topic. He said it could not wait until Stake Conference in February. We spoke in the first three wards today. His talk followed mine, which was to support what I said and also add in some spiritual aspects. My talk is below. @zil I'll be in your ward next week. Temporal Matters In the October 1998 General Conference, President Gordon B. Hinkley said, “I wish to speak to you about temporal matters.” I was called by President ********** to be a Self Reliance Specialist for the stake. I was given the specific assignment in that calling to help the stake become temporally prepared in the areas of food storage and emergency preparedness. The state of temporal preparedness in the ************** Stake weighs heavily on my mind. President ********** has asked me to speak to the entire Stake about temporal matters. I do not wish to be an alarmist, but some of the statements from the prophets and apostles are foreboding in nature as they sound the clarion call of warning. President Hinckley read a few verses from the 41st chapter of Genesis during the October 1998 General Conference. I want to share those verses with you again. Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt, dreamed dreams which greatly troubled him. The wise men of his court could not give an interpretation. Joseph was then brought before him: “Pharaoh said unto Joseph, In my dream, behold, I stood upon the bank of the river: “And, behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, fat fleshed and well favoured; and they fed in a meadow: “And, behold, seven other kine came up after them, poor and very ill favoured and lean fleshed. “And the lean and the ill favoured kine did eat up the first seven fat kine: “And I saw in my dream … seven ears came up in one stalk, full and good: “And, behold, seven ears, withered, thin, and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them: “And the thin ears devoured the seven good ears: “And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, … God hath shewed Pharaoh what he is about to do. “The seven good kine are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years: the dream is one. “What God is about to do he sheweth unto Pharaoh. “Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt: “And there shall arise after them seven years of famine; “… And God will shortly bring it to pass” President Hinckley said that he was not predicting a famine, but he told us it was time to get our houses in order. He then emphatically stated, “there is a portent of stormy weather ahead to which we had better give heed.” The definition of portent is: 1. an indication or omen of something about to happen, especially something momentous. And 2. threatening or disquieting significance. The definition of heed is: 1. pay attention to; (or) take notice of. And 2. careful attention. Our prophets and the apostles carefully select the words they use when they speak. We should always pay close attention to the phrasing they use in their talks. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints we sustain the members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators. Their teachings reflect the will of the Lord. They give us instruction, warnings, and counsel from the Lord for our day. The Lord reveals His will for the Church to His prophet. There are some, both in and out of the church, who question the wisdom of statements made from our leaders. Elder Jeffery R. Holland addressed this issue during General Conference in 2006. He said, “Not often but over the years some sources have suggested that the Brethren are out of touch in their declarations, that they don’t know the issues, that some of their policies and practices are out-of-date, not relevant to our times. I say with all the fervor of my soul that never in my personal or professional life have I ever associated with any group who are so in touch, who know so profoundly the issues facing us, who look so deeply into the old, stay so open to the new, and weigh so carefully, thoughtfully, and prayerfully everything in between.” Twenty three years ago our prophet, the mouthpiece of the Lord, gave us a warning. He told us stormy weather was ahead. He counseled us to get our houses in order. He counseled us to be prepared. He followed that warning up three years later in the October 2001 General Conference saying, “I cannot forget the great lesson of Pharaoh’s dream of the fat and lean kine and of the full and withered stalks of corn.” Brothers and sisters, we have had twenty years since that second statement to get our houses in order. We have been given the opportunity to hear counsel from the Lord’s mouthpiece and become temporally prepared for what is ahead. I strongly urge you to make an honest assessment in your own home as to the state of your temporal preparedness and take appropriate temporal steps as needed. There are various aspects to being self-reliant. These include temporal preparedness, finances, employment, emotional resilience and making sure you are spiritually in tune to receive the guidance of the spirit as you become prepared. Elder David A. Bednar taught us in General Conference last year about the importance of tests. He said, “…periodic tests are absolutely essential to learning. An effective test helps us to compare what we need to know with what we actually know about a specific subject; it also provides a standard against which we can evaluate our learning and development.” In the midst of the Covid 19 shutdown we had an earthquake. Though minor, this earthquake showed many families where they stand regarding the state of their personal preparedness with food storage and other essential items already in their homes. We witnessed a dramatic emptying of shelves at the grocery store. Today I am bringing the message of food storage and emergency preparedness. One only needs to look at the chaos in the grocery stores of last year in the early days of the Covid 19 shutdowns to see the wisdom in having food and other essential items on hand in your homes. We saw shortages of common items, including toilet paper, cleaning supplies, milk, baking goods, bottled water and butter, just to name a few. Today we still see the effects of tyrannical government behavior due to Covid restrictions and their impact on the local and world economy. A local dairy has struggled to get their milk to the grocery store shelves due to a shortage of plastic lids for their milk jugs. We see a decrease in the variety of foods we commonly purchase. Some shelves still remain bare or hold minimal product. Perhaps even more telling is the ninety day closure that just occurred to one of the largest long term food storage companies in the world. They sent out a notice to their customers that they have stopped production until early next year because they are unable to procure the food they use in making their products. President Ezra Taft Benson said, “The revelation to store food may be as essential to our temporal salvation today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah.” (Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign January 1974) Brothers and sisters, it was not raining when Noah built the ark, but he built it and the rains came. The past two years have proven to be trying times for all of us. One of the ways that can help us strengthen and grow is through the principle of preparation. We have been commanded in the Doctrine and Covenants to “prepare every needful thing… (D&C 88:119) We also are promised that “if ye are prepared ye shall not fear. (D&C 38:30) Some members of our church believe that food storage and emergency preparedness are no longer topics of importance or necessary. Elder Bednar had this to say a year ago during General Conference: “Some Church members opine that emergency plans and supplies, food storage, and 72-hour kits must not be important anymore because the Brethren have not spoken recently and extensively about these and related topics in general conference. But repeated admonitions to prepare have been proclaimed by leaders of the Church for decades. The consistency of prophetic counsel over time creates a powerful concert of clarity and a warning volume far louder than solo performances can ever produce.” We see that some members believe all we need do is work on our spirituality. They believe there is no need for temporal preparation and all we need to do is be spiritually prepared. In Doctrine and Covenants 29 we learn an important principle from the Lord. Verse 34 says: “Wherefore, verily I say unto you that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal,” (D&C 29:34) The parable of the ten virgins teaches us this lesson about both temporal and spiritual preparedness. Elder Bednar reminded us last year during General Conference about this lesson. He taught us that procrastinating preparation leads to devastating consequences. Recall how the five foolish virgins failed to prepare appropriately for the day of the bridegroom’s coming. “They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: “But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. … “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. “Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. “And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. “But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. “And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. “Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.” “But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, Ye know me not.” President Spencer W. Kimball had this to say about the parable: “The ten virgins belonged to the kingdom and had every right to the blessings—except that five were not valiant and were not ready when the great day came. They were unprepared through not living all the commandments.” President Kimball said the virgins belong to the kingdom. The kingdom refers to the members of his church. Half the kingdom failed to prepare and suffered a devastating consequence for their failure to be obedient. There are some members who believe when hard times arrive we will all pool our food and everyone will have enough. They somehow believe that a miracle like the fishes and loaves will occur for them, or they think the Law of Consecration will take care of everyone. Let me read to you Doctrine and Covenants, section 130: verses 20-21: 20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated— 21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated. If we fail to obey a principle of the gospel, we cannot receive the blessings for another’s faithfulness. Faith without works is dead. If you do not have the faith to follow the consistent counsel from the prophets and apostles to put up some food storage and other essentials for your family, how can you believe you will have faith equal to the fishes and loaves miracle? For those who smugly think that the Law of Consecration will protect them, allow me to point out certain principles associated with the doctrine. Under the Law of Consecration all things are deeded to the church. The agent bishop than returns a stewardship back to you based on your needs and circumstances. That stewardship becomes private property for the steward and his family. It is not communal property. If there is a surplus from that stewardship, it would then go to the bishop’s storehouse to care for the poor and needy. To be clear, under this law, a year supply of food for one family, is not a year supply for everyone else to tap into. If there was any surplus, it would be available through the bishop’s storehouse. Let me share what Elder Boyd K. Packer said about home storage in his book The Holy Temple (pg 227-229): “Consider this comparison. In the welfare program we have been counseled for generations by the leaders of the Church to secure for ourselves a year's supply of food and clothing, and if possible fuel, and to be concerned for our shelter. This is a responsibility laid upon the individual members of the Church, upon each family. The commodities are to be stored at home. They are to be privately purchased, privately stored, and in time of crisis privately used.“ Elder James E. Faust said, “The Church cannot be expected to provide for every one of its millions of members in case of public or personal disaster.” Several years ago the father of one of my friends, who was a regional representative at the time, told us that the storehouses of the church have enough food stored, to feed every family in the church, in the world, a single meal and then all the food was gone. It is not ever suggested that because we have bishop's storehouses there would be no need for individual families to maintain their year's supply. The counsel for the individual to protect himself and his family has never been withdrawn. It has been continually emphasized. President Benson put to rest that idea that the storehouse will care for us all when he said, “Our bishops storehouses are not intended to stock enough commodities to care for all the members of the Church. Storehouses are only established to care for the poor and the needy. For this reason, members of the Church have been instructed to personally store a year's supply of food, clothing, and, where possible, fuel.” (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.267) I am going to share with you some verses from the Book of Mormon. 1 Nephi 16:18-20 18 And it came to pass that as I, Nephi, went forth to slay food, behold, I did break my bow, which was made of fine steel; and after I did break my bow, behold, my brethren were angry with me because of the loss of my bow, for we did obtain no food. 19 And it came to pass that we did return without food to our families, and being much fatigued, because of their journeying, they did suffer much for the want of food. 20 And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael did begin to murmur exceedingly, because of their sufferings and afflictions in the wilderness; and also my father began to murmur against the Lord his God; yea, and they were all exceedingly sorrowful, even that they did murmur against the Lord. Lehi was a prophet of God and he faltered when he was hungry. He was far more spiritual than we are, and if his hunger drove him to murmur against the Lord, then how do we think we will fare when the day of need arrives? The Lord expects us to be prepared both spiritually and temporally. President Kimball said, "We encourage families to have on hand this year's supply; and we say it over and over and over and repeat over and over the scriptures of the Lord where He says, 'Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?' How empty it is as they put their spirituality, so-called, into action and call him by his important names, but fail to do the things which he says" (Spencer W. Kimball, "Family Preparedness," Ensign, May 1976, 125). President Kimball also said, "There will come a time when there isn’t a store.“ (President Spencer W. Kimball General Conference, April 1974 ) Key home storage principles include the storage of food, the storage of water, and the storage of other necessities based on individual and family needs, all because “the best storehouse” is the home, which becomes the most accessible reserve in times of need. Bishop McMullin in his 2008 General Conference talk said, “brethren, we lay up in store. Wives are instrumental in this work, but they need husbands who lead out in family preparedness. Children need parents who instill in them this righteous tradition. They will then do likewise with their children, and their stores will not fail. A cardinal principle of the gospel is to prepare for the day of scarcity. Work, industry, frugality are part of the royal order of life. Remember these words from Paul: “If any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” Bishop W. Christopher Waddell pointed out last year during General conference that, “In today’s environment, with a pandemic that has devastated whole economies as well as individual lives, it would be inconsistent with a compassionate Savior to ignore the reality that many are struggling and ask them to begin building a reserve of food and money for the future. However, that does not mean that we should permanently ignore principles of preparation—only that these principles should be applied “in wisdom and order” so that in the future we might say, as did Joseph in Egypt, “There was bread.” For those who are struggling due to financial strain, start with a one week’s supply and build to a month. Then build to three months and continue to that goal of a long term supply of food. So many feel that a long term supply of food is beyond their reach and make no effort. Begin in a small and consistent way. Bishop Waddell went on to teach that, “Being temporally prepared and self-reliant means “believing that through the grace, or enabling power, of Jesus Christ and our own effort, we are able to obtain all the spiritual and temporal necessities of life we require for ourselves and our families.” Additional aspects of a spiritual foundation for temporal preparedness include acting “in wisdom and order,” which implies a gradual buildup of food storage and savings over time, as well as embracing “small and simple” means, which is a demonstration of faith that the Lord will magnify our small but consistent efforts.” As you work towards your goal of having a long term storage of food, do not go to extremes. Going into debt to achieve this goal is contrary to the principles of self-reliance. Exercising your faith in Jesus Christ, through obedience to gospel principles, will guide you in your efforts. As you do your very best, you can be confident that “the barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail.” You will enjoy greater wisdom, security, peace of mind, and personal well-being. The Lord does not expect us to do more than we can do, but He does expect us to do what we can do, when we can do it. As President Nelson has said, “The Lord loves effort.” Closing remarks….. As we embrace spiritual principles and seek inspiration from the Lord, we will be guided to know the Lord’s will for us, individually and as families, and how best to apply the important principles of temporal preparedness. The most important step of all is to begin. President Henry B. Eyring posted to his Facebook page the statement, “The scriptures make the danger of delay clear. It is that we may discover that we have run out of time. (Facebook Post January 8, 2015 President Eyring) Elder L. Tom Perry counseled us to, “Acquire and store a reserve of food and supplies that will sustain life,” and “…we have been taught to prepare for the future and to obtain a year's supply of necessities. I would guess that the years of plenty have almost universally caused us to set aside this counsel. I believe the time to disregard this counsel is over.” (If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear," Ensign, Nov. 1995, 36). Joseph Smith said we would, …”do well to discern the signs of the times.” Brothers and sisters, we live in the Last Days. The signs of the times in our day are events that were prophesied to take place in the latter days before the Second Coming of Christ. Signs are the recognizable events or occurrences which identify present events and which portend future events. Those signs are all around us if we look. Elder Dallin H. Oaks said the signs of the times “ [are] increasing in frequency and intensity.“ (Elder Dallin H. Oaks April 2004 General Conference"Preparation for the Second Coming") And President Eyring warned us, "The giant earthquake, and the tsunamis it sent crashing into the coasts around the Indian Ocean, is just the beginning and a part of what is to come..." (President Henry B. Eyring BYU–Idaho Devotional, Jan. 25, 2005 "Raise the Bar") President Benson spoke of these signs as well, stating, “I speak with a feeling of great urgency…Too often we bask in our comfortable complacency and rationalize that the ravages of war, economic disaster, famine, and earthquake cannot happen here. Those who believe this are either not acquainted with the revelations of the Lord, or they do not believe them. Those who smugly think these calamities will not happen, that they somehow will be set aside because of the righteousness of the Saints, are deceived and will rue the day they harbored such a delusion. The Lord has warned and forewarned us against a day of great tribulation and given us counsel, through His servants, on how we can be prepared for these difficult times. Have we heeded His counsel?” (Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, November 1980) We have been commanded to watch and be ready. Bishop McMullin said, “The feeling of peace and the desire to be faithful to the commandment given by the Lord through the modern prophet helps us feel the Holy Spirit, … to not be afraid, and to see that the signs of the time for the Second Coming of the Lord is a blessing and not something to fear. We rejoice in it. … It gives us the motivation to be faithful and endure to the end and to be saved and obtain eternal life.” (Bishop McMullin, Lay Up In Store) Temporal preparedness is part of our preparation for the last days and the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. Elder Bednar taught this principle when he said: “Taking action is the exercise of faith. … True faith is focused in and on the Lord Jesus Christ and always leads to action.” Brothers and sisters, I add my voice of testimony to the words of our prophets and apostles. I testify that obedience to the principles of food and home storage and self-reliance will bring peace of mind in these perilous times. As we seek to become temporally prepared, we can face the trials of life with increased confidence, peace in our hearts, and like Joseph in Egypt, we will be able to say, “There was bread.” In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
    11 points
  4. I've experienced some enlightenment these past few months that I'd like to share. The reason you haven't heard much from me in the past several months is that I've been working about 60 to 80 hours per week. Some weeks more than that. It is this level of work that brought me to some enlightenment recently. Many of you know that I've got daddy issues. But I'm finally coming to understand him. And with that understanding comes some forgiveness. Much of what I'm about to say is basically what I'd kind of heard when I was younger. But not being in the situation, I just blew it off as people trying to excuse bad behavior. And maybe that was true to some extent. But the fact is that it isn't about excusing bad behavior, but about finding forgiveness in my own heart. My father had to be heavily focused on customer service. The nature of his business always required that he interact with people almost constantly. And even when he was not interacting with customers, he interacted with each of his employees. He had to keep a smile on his face even when he was being treated horribly and even being taken advantage of. He did this for 50 to 60 hrs/wk as the norm and had even busier weeks as the seasons changed. My business is not nearly as people focused as his business was. But I still have to do my share of people pleasing. One thing I found was that not only did I not have much time for my family, but I also didn't have the energy to "keep up the front." And that was when it hit me. On the one hand, he was constantly stuck in this "keep up appearances" mode because that is what customer service really is. And when he was not quite so busy at work, he had enough energy where he would be able to keep it up at home as well. On the other hand, when he did not have enough energy to keep it up, he was just brutally honest. And it wasn't kindness we saw from him. When I was younger and didn't understand the idea of deception, all I knew was that I "felt weird" around my dad. The thing of it is, I felt it not in his actions, but in his words and gestures. He was almost constantly in customer service mode. And for him, that meant lying to people. He always told people what they wanted to hear just so he would be considered a pleasant person to work with. So, he was so practiced in it that he carried it over to his home life. He could have found real traits to compliment people on. But he decided to compliment us on things that he "thought" we wanted to hear. All that did was make me feel weird whenever he tried to be nice to me. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it came to my dad. So, what was this great revelation I had? All my life, I thought of my dad as a liar. I always hated lies. It hurt me emotionally (even when I didn't understand what I was feeling) when others lied to me. And if I ever lied to others, I felt something that was almost a physical pain. That's why I tend to stay away from lies as much as I can. Although, I'll admit that sometimes, I find subtle deception to be an art that I have fun with. And it is usually in jest or for a topic of iinsignificance. What I have learned is that his "lies" were his way of trying to be better. It's "acting as if". Yes, "acting as if" is a type of lie, even if it is in a pursuit to become that noble state you're pretending to be. And it bugged me. It hurt me (as I've explained). But in understanding his motivation, I'm finding that it is becoming easier to find forgiveness in my heart when I think of him. I now see that he really was simply "doing the best he could with what he had at the time." The saying is that the purpose of the Church is to make bad men good; good men better, and better men best. My dad was a bad man. But he became better, as much as he could. He really tried. And I can see through this new lens and recognize that he did indeed become more than he was. Maybe he became a good man. I'm not in a place where I can judge that. But I now have found some compassion to realize that he was simply doing the best he could with what he had to work with. He tried. And he kept trying as best as he knew how. The other day I was talking to my son about how much I'd seen him grow. He told me the same about me. Then he described some traits that I shared with my father -- some traits which I would certainly do better without. I was initially angry. But when I gave it just a couple of moments' thought, I realized he was absolutely right. My son has a "brutal honesty" about him, which I guess he got from me. Sometimes it is annoying when your kids put a mirror up to your face. But he was right. I was like my dad in so many ways. I finally said,"You know, you're right. All I can say is that I'm doing better than my father did. And I see that you're doing better than I have." He said,"That's the way it's supposed to work, isn't it? What I realized he meant was that as flawed as I am, he was grateful that I had improved myself from the condition my father was, so that he could then improve himself even further than I had. I saw for the first time the "picture of hope" in my son. He was going to be alright. His children were going to be alright. It is unfortunate that I came to this realization this late in life. But I wasn't really ready for it earlier. And it is even more unfortunate that my father has fallen victim to dementia to the point where he doesn't recognize members of his own family anymore. It is unfortunate that he'll never know that I have finally found a way to invite forgiveness to take place in my heart for him. But I'm finally finding some peace inside myself.
    9 points
  5. person0

    Tornados

    We are fine here. Lots of folks who didn't fare so well, but thankfully, no one in my family has been affected.
    9 points
  6. Mental Health Awareness and Overdose Awareness--two causes that came onto my radar with the death of a great-niece. At 20 Fetinol took her life. She believed there is a God, and in some ways showed openness--though she never agreed with "religion." What we can agree on is that she now sees much more than she did. She now knows God the Father is real and that Jesus is the way to reconcile with Him. This story might cause some here to renew their dedication to Baptisms for the Dead. For me, it is a reminder that life is short and our love must be intentional and out loud.
    8 points
  7. Grunt

    Kyle Rittenhouse

    Funny watching people blame this kid for the deaths of violent rioters that assaulted him.
    8 points
  8. The bottom line is... Parents... Parents that are engaged and active in their children's education can make just about anything work. The parents that can't be bothered.. will find that just about everything will fail.
    8 points
  9. Hi and welcome! Questions like this are pretty common actually. The answer is always the same though - your friend should confide in/confess to his bishop, and work through things with him. Far, far, far better to get stuff like this out into the open and dealt with and resolved, than to keep it secret where it festers.
    7 points
  10. A couple of weeks ago my two youth aged sons went to an LDS homeschoolers' prom. Many homeschooling groups got together to rent out a venue and invite LDS homeschoolers to this event. It became much more popular than they had anticipated. Tickets were selling so well that they didn't know if there would be enough room. My sons went on a triple date to this event (one couple came separately). They were really looking forward to it. They were laughing and having fun in all the precursor moments to the venue itself. When they arrived, everything seemed normal. But as soon as they got to the front door, my elder son (Bubba) just froze. The others didn't exactly freeze. But they just stopped laughing. They all looked at Bubba. He said "There's something wrong here." The others looked around. The foyer was empty except for the gatekeepers and security. But they all felt something. They knew something wasn't right with this event. They proceeded with caution. When they got into the main hall, they noticed about half the population were dressed in a manner absolutely NOT up to FSY standards. A good 50% of those were clearly of the LGBTQ variety (girls with girls, boys with boys, transgenders that absolutely would not "pass"). They met up with the third couple. Before the four of them could say anything, the third couple said, "Guys, we don't think we should be here. There's something wrong." Flashback: When the group went to pick up girl #3, the father of this girl, didn't address boy #3. He addressed Bubba. "If you get there and there's something wrong. You're in charge of making sure she gets home safe. Understand?" My son understood and agreed. I thought it was odd that her date (boy #3) was not the one in charge of keeping her safe. But because of this, they all agreed that they'd better leave. The rules of the event required that the youth had to get parental permission to leave early. It took about an hour to get permission for all six of them. But they finally left. (A fourth couple they knew was also there. They said they also felt it. But they weren't going to leave because of it. They paid a lot of money for these tickets.) Eventually, they decided to just go around and do something fun. They didn't go into details. But they did end up having a good time and they returned home safely. All of them eventually attended to smaller proms in the weeks that followed. But they had fun. Girl #3 had to go to three more. Prom #2 and #3 also had a similar phenomenon. Prom #4 was the charm. And she got to remain and have fun. We can try to be tolerant all we want, just as we're tolerant of all God's children. And guess what? All of God's children sin. But this was different. To hear my sons describe it, it almost felt like they were watching pornography. They had to get themselves out lest they be consumed. The biggest issue here is not whether someone sins (of any variety). It was that the sin was "accepted" as righteous behavior. No. Sin is sin. We all sin. But the thing that separates the righteous vs the wicked is whether we're striving to overcome sin vs accepting it (either giving up or believing there is nothing wrong with it). This was a room where half the people had apparently believed there was not only nothing wrong with it. But that it was actually "preferred" behavior. Yes, there was something very wrong there.
    7 points
  11. I always find the narrative on this one interesting. The police get blamed for this one regularly. We are not mental health professionals. It is NOT illegal to be mentally unstable. You can not be arrested and prosecuted when you have not committed a crime. I repeat. It is NOT illegal to be mentally unstable. Mental health issues are an area I don't think we are doing a very good job with in society as a whole. Not sure how we fix that though.
    7 points
  12. In December I had a dream that I was at my wife's grand-parent's house, they having died before I met her. Her grandfather, who was never talkative in any way, walked up to me and held some scriptures out to me and said, "These are for you, share them." I woke up and looked at the bookshelf in my bedroom and saw my wife's old scriptures sitting there, collecting dust. I had the distinct impression at that moment, I think it was the spirit, that I was to buy a new set of scriptures every year, read through the entire standard works, and mark them. I was then to box them up for a future grand or great grandchild. A week later was Christmas and I bought a new, large set of scriptures and a case and started reading. I am now in Ester and I am picking up steam in this effort. I know that the scriptures are all true and my testimony of them has grown by leaps and bounds. I look forward to the days when my grand children begin coming and I give these scriptures to them with their grandfather's testimony marked throughout. I am hoping these will be a cherished memento of my testimony and feeling towards God and His great mercy on me in my life. I encourage you all to do something similar and leave a heritage of faith and love to your families.
    7 points
  13. Vort

    Anniversary alone

    Today is my 34th anniversary. My wife is over 200 miles away, while I lay in a hospital bed with a C. diff infection. Feeling a bit blue. But as a chance to reflect on the unparalleled blessings God has showered on an unworthy soul like myself, I feel humble and deeply grateful. Sorry for the FB-like post, but I'm not much into FBing stuff like this.
    7 points
  14. This line of thinking is so very odd for any bishop to suggest. Dating men is a homosexual act. He isn't just going out with friends. I wonder if his bishop would say to a married man the same thing if he came to him saying, "I love my wife, but I'm going to start dating other women. It isn't adultery, as I'm just dating other women I'm attracted to." I still don't understand how easily some people seek to split hairs when it comes to a decision with homosexuality. It is as clear as the day light is from the dark night. It is as clear as a married man deciding to date other women -- although technically not adultery. The debate is there due to people listing to obey the wrong spirit.
    7 points
  15. Most of my life I had heard older people talking reaching an age where they no longer care what people think of them. I marvelled at it. Aren't we supposed to work to make others happy? Aren't we supposed to be Christ-like? I think I reached it in the past couple of years and it's not nearly as awful as I imagined. In fact, it's quite freeing. I feel I can serve others without any expectations, persue faith on my own terms, and give attention and care where I think it's most needed. Here's to getting old.
    7 points
  16. After 23 years in federal service, and having raised three daughters through public education, I now find myself teaching civics in a private Christian school. I love this work and remain certain that we can serve God well, in part, through politics. I grew up as Rev. Falwell urged evangelical Christians (and some LDS, btw) to the pro-life cause. This morphed into the Moral Majority and later the Christian Coalition. After Clinton was elected some in the New Right gave up hope, called for a retreat into insular Christian culture, and circled the wagons. Others veered into a Kingdom Now end-times belief--that Christians must reclaim America, and the world, for Jesus. We must win the reins of power and establish God's law. THEN the Lord will return. COVID-19 really shook my own understanding of balance. I saw many church members embrace conservative-constitutionalism, so much that they left the church because it was not willing to speak out against mandates and government violation of rights. My struggle was not with their politics, but that these matters came to outweigh the proclamation of faith and good news. In essence, they traded the greatness of the faith for the goodness of patriotic classical liberalism (aka constitutional conservatism). I still believe Christians can serve effectively and well in politics. But, I see so clearly now the temptation to rely and political power rather than the power of God.
    7 points
  17. Almost a year ago the Board of Directors that is over the More Good Foundation made a decision that only certain projects would continue to be funded. It had to meet a certain criteria. Third Hour was not one of those that made the cut and therefore no funding. We have left the site open and we still post to the Third Hour facebook page because there were almost 100K followers to the fb page. They have also allocated more money for international projects since there are now more members out of the U.S. than in. As of right now there isn't a plan to shut it down and I have been promised that when that decision is made I will have notice to be able to inform those on the forum. @Traveler I have been the one running this forum for several years and yes I post here. I don't own the forum so therefore I have to go with the decisions made by the Board of Directors. Even my project of Ask Gramps that I have managed since "gramps" passed away in 2008 has had funding taken away.
    7 points
  18. Just_A_Guy

    Gays and the church

    The issue I have with this, though; is that the frustrations are very similar to those expressed by folks struggling with pedophilia. I don’t mean the flag-waving NAMBLA freaks; I mean the people I’ve met and worked with who are horrified at the way they’re wired but can’t stop the cravings and believe that they’ll never be able to find love in the way to which they are predisposed. The vocabulary is identical. The feelings, the longing, the despair—it’s all identical. But a recent USA Today article exploring some of these issues was recently shouted off Twitter, because as a society we do acknowledge that enforced celibacy is a reasonable expectation if the stakes are high enough. As a church we are very big into the “it is not good that man should be alone” thing; but there are times when folks are compelled to be “eunuchs for Christ’s sake”, as Paul wrote. The celibate life, while not the norm, has long been respectable in society—Victorian “confirmed bachelors”, romantic-era recluses and hermits and whatnot—and I don’t think it’s coincidence that LGBTQ suicide rates spiked just as our society bought wholesale into the notion that “you’re nobody ‘till somebody loves you”. But in the current cultural milieu I think what I’d say to say to someone like Archuleta (assuming he asked, which of course he hasn’t) is as follows: “Any nominally Christian church (and most non-Christian religions) will ‘save’ you; but the function of this particular Church is to prepare people for exaltation. The prerequisite for that is being a party to a male-female marital sealing. If you, in this life, create a relationship that makes a male-female sealing impossible, then a) there’s no guarantee that you’ll get another crack at such a relationship in the hereafter; and b) the emotional bonds formed in the relationship you *did* enter will, of necessity, have to be dissolved. In a Family Relations class at BYU some years ago, my professor was fond of saying “God doesn’t hate divorce, but He hates what divorce does to people”; and for me, fourteen years of law practice have cemented this view. God doesn’t want you to go through the trauma of watching an ill-conceived relationship wither and die—the heartbreak, the sense of betrayal, the loneliness, the self-doubt, the wondering if you’ll ever be able to trust again and the feeling that you’ve been played for a fool as the best years of your life passed you by. Every homosexual relationship, by its nature, must end this way; and it’s entirely preventable. I realize that the lack of an intimate and, yes, sexual relationship is gut-wrenchingly hard; but ultimately—if you hold to the Church’s counsel on this matter then at minimum you are sparing yourself from something far more painful in the long run, and you are likely also keeping open the door for exaltation that is the whole reason you’re a member of this Church in the first place.”
    7 points
  19. Nice! Today I scheduled Mrs. Grunt's endowment and the Grunt Family sealing as well.
    7 points
  20. As a convert to the Church, I've wrestled with this. I think one of the issues with all most religions, or more specifically the people in them, is the need to have everything answered. While I certainly have a desire to know everything, I'm OK with not having all the answers. As such, to your question, I'm comfortable saying "beats me". I don't like that answer. I'm convinced I'll learn the answer some day, either in this world or the next. But for now, I don't have one. Testimony is funny. Not funny "ha ha" but funny odd. There are things I know with every fiber of my being. I know the Book of Mormon is scripture. I know the Law of Chastity blesses me. I know keeping my covenants have brought me blessings and joy, even the covenants that boggle my mind and I'm half-convinced I'll show up at the Pearly Gates and ask "what about this?" and Christ will chuckle and say "you guys really got that one wrong, good on you for being faithful, though". But my testimony is my own. I can share it with you, but you can't make it your own. I really wish that you could, but you need your own testimony. I also know that we learn line upon line. I know I was taught things that I was convinced weren't true. I know I spent days, weeks, and months studying and praying things I couldn't understand, then woke up one morning with near-perfect clarity. I know I put up my own mental roadblocks without even realizing it. I'll also leave you with this: If you're a Christian, good for you. If you learn something, or feel uplifted, reading the Book of Mormon or listening to conference talks, that's awesome. If studying the Bible brings you closer to Christ, good. These are the things that will keep you on the right path. You'll learn as you go.
    7 points
  21. person0

    Kyle Rittenhouse

    I think you are assuming the civil suits will be successful and also assuming he will not succeed in lawsuits against major media outlets who maliciously defamed him. If Nick Sandman was able to settle for millions, I'm sure we can assume Kyle will be able to do the same, if not more, given the more egregious level of defamation and the impact to livelihood of being falsely labeled a murderous white supremacist. I am less concerned about his safety and financial stability and more concerned about what he will choose to do with his life and if he will strive to become a better man. He showed enormous restraint in deciding when to use and when not to use his weapon; given how young he still is I hope his acquittal doesn't go to his head and lead him to change for the worse.
    7 points
  22. Thank for sharing. Since I joined the Church, I've always taken my children on every service project I've done. We've laughed, cried, and learned. I remember one particularly good lesson where we were helping someone move from her home after a divorce. We showed up and the house was destroyed. Lots of pets, smelled horrible, and hadn't been cleaned in years. It was very disgusting. Nothing was packed, and the only people that showed up to help were her ministering brother, the bishop, and my boys and I. She sat on the porch without helping, and the entire time we packed and loaded her things she swore at us for being church members, criticized the Church, smoked, and was just being a pretty crappy person to those of us that helped. At more than one point I asked her to stop swearing in front of my children, and my boys asked why we were helping her. It was a great opportunity for me to share the nature of service, why we serve, and blessings. To this day when one of my boys complains about doing something, they will bring up that day and talk about how we own our attitudes and the effect we can have on others through cheer and good-tidings when confronted with grumpiness and bad behavior.
    7 points
  23. I go under the knife this week. I will lose a portion of my GI tract, get a temporary ileostomy (small intestine exits the abdomen into a bag 🤢 ), then wait several weeks until he can put my GI tract all back together. As well as the cancer responded to preliminary treatments, we're all optimistic that I should be done with cancer after this.
    6 points
  24. I find it amusing that the very first quote states that there is no official declaration either way, but then it proceeds to provide all the quotes on one side only. Yes, that was the title of the page. But to what end? And all pages like this always include the following quote as if it supports the idea (which it does not): This is explicitly stating that this is NOT a sound doctrine, and he only supposes that exceptions may exist. But as a rule, it is not provided for. * I always accept and admit that there has been no official declaration of the doctrine of progression between kingdoms. But this seems to be a binary answer. As such, I see the following: If false, let's not continue saying it could be the case, lest people get the wrong idea. If true, it is still a dangerous doctrine to be spreading. The doctrine of the Three Degrees was withheld from mankind prior to the Resurrection for a reason. Man was not ready for it. As it is, if this "open kingdoms" (to coin a phrase) doctrine is true, is man ready for it? It is all too easy to interpret this as: I cannot come to any logical thought that would conclude that teaching the doctrine of progression between kingdoms will result in anything other than this mentality. Even it if is true, what good can come of teaching it with the state of man today? Alma warns us about this very mindset. Whatever that "exception" may be (if there is one or a few) it should be obvious that there is a very strong tendency (and possibly, inevitability) to maintain our current attitudes towards obedience and faith (we can call it a "mindset") after we leave this life. And it is that "mindset" that will determine just how far we can go. If complete progress is truly open for all, then that means there really is no separation at all. So this doctrine of the three degrees is meaningless. I would think that if the doctrine of "open kingdoms" is true at all, it would be only in the rarest of circumstances (as Pres. Smith said in the quote above). If the kingdoms truly are open, then what does the doctrine of the three degrees even mean?
    6 points
  25. 6 points
  26. Thoughts: 1). A venomous snake rears up before it strikes. A snake condemned to live life on its belly is not going to be a mortal threat to watchful humans. (Ancient Egyptian cursing texts include similar cursing to serpents—that they shall go on their bellies—and this is generally what is understood as being their meaning. See, eg, the relevant footnotes to Genesis 3 in the Zondervan Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, NSRV edition.) 2). It is dangerous to assume, even in a scriptural or liturgical context, that Satan means what he says. Satan’s role and statements, in the temple garden narrative, may be thought of as pageantry; calculated to convince Adam and Eve that God just isn’t being fair and that their loyalty to Him is misplaced.
    6 points
  27. 1. I have (twice) asked what you think God intended for humankind after the fall, and your answer focuses on what He intended before the fall. Fortunately, you finally sort of get around to answering my question 1 in your latest response to question 2. 2. When you say “They experience happiness in their life but also experience misery due to consequences which began with the Fall”—I agree with this. And that’s what changed between Gen 3:16 and Moses 5:10-11: experience. That’s why Eve came to understand that the fall was not an unmitigated disaster. It is interesting to me that you ask @person0 what “the curse of Adam” in Moroni 8:8 refers to, and then—without waiting for a response, and in your very next post, carry on as if you know exactly what it means. Your question to person0 is especially interesting when you have proven in the past to be so industriously resourceful at finding obscure LDS pedagogical materials—but are somehow ignorant of the church-published youth seminary manuals that define this term as the separation between man and God that was a result of the fall. What I am concerned about in this particular thread, is that even though Mormonism pretty clearly describes the Fall as a mixed blessing you seem heck-bent on straw-manning the Mormon teaching as pronouncing the Fall as being either all good or all bad—and then you try to play “gotcha” by confronting us with LDS scriptures, sermons, and teaching materials that don’t line up with the caricature of us that you’ve created using hyper-technical semantic interpretations of a language (English) that is neither the original language of the most of the source documents, nor (as I believe you’ve freely acknowledged) is even your own first language. It all comes across as deeply disingenuous. So, let me try to put this as clearly as I can: The fall of Adam had both positive and negative effects. Positive and necessary long-term effects included: enabling procreation, permitting spiritual growth by introducing an element of opposition, and heightening humankind’s ability to enjoy the good by making it possible to actually experience the bad. Negative short-term effects included allowing humankind to experience pain, despair, and sin; wresting humankind from their innocent state, and bringing about an alienation from God that—if one does not repent and turn to Christ—can become permanent. Different scriptures, sermons, and church instructional materials will focus on different aspects of the fall, whether positive or negative; depending on the attitudes, priorities, and praxis that a particular speaker is trying to elicit within a particular audience at a particular moment in time; and may be influenced additionally by whatever secular/literary traditions (whether accurate or errant) that the speaker’s particular culture may have ascribed to the story of the fall.
    6 points
  28. Grunt

    Missionaries

    Baptizing long-time family friends today. Pretty happy for them, and glad they made this decision for themselves.
    6 points
  29. I agree with this. As far as I can tell, Alex Jones is a liar who traffics in people's naivete and ignorance. But that view is fueled by media reports. I have never listened to the man, so I can't say with any confidence what the man believes or preaches. I'm not going to take the word of the likes of CNN. As mirkwood pointed out, no believing Latter-day Saint can deny the existence of conspiracies. For that matter, no reasonably intelligent human being with any amount of exposure to human society can deny it. But believing in the general existence of harmful, evil conspiracies and believing in some particular claim of conspiracy are entirely different matters. By its nature, a conspiracy is secret. That's pretty much baked into the definition of the word. Successful conspiracies generally do not become known. If they do, it's because they're old and defunct (e.g. the Great Light Bulb Conspiracy, aka the Phoebus Cartel) or they're so powerful that they don't care about being known (e.g. OPEC). You may have noticed the overlap between conspiracies and cartels. This is not coincidental. Consider this hypothetical: A group of Illuminati-minded people with the money, ambition, connections, and raw power to attempt an invasion of governments worldwide form a conspiracy, what the Book of Mormon calls a "secret combination". If their conspiracy involves too many people, it risks becoming known; everyone who knows about it is a potential liability. So they play their cards close to the vest, with only a few people at the top of the pyramid really knowing what's up. They use puppet actors and corporations to set up their conditions so that it becomes exceedingly difficult to trace their activities back to them. As they grow in power, they gain control of the media and other means of information dissemination, such that they can more directly control what information gets out. How would such a conspiracy ever be discovered? Only one way: A member of the conspiracy would have to betray the secret and make it public knowledge. But such a person would not be believed without evidence, and of course that evidence would be quickly covered up by the conspiracy members. Any information that made it out would be dealt with by the media and governmental elements controlled by the conspiracy. The only other way such a conspiracy could be uncovered is by a mole making his way in, collecting information, and then exposing the conspiracy. This becomes more and more unlikely the longer the conspiracy remains and continues consolidating its power. Such a mole would never make it to the courts. He would be dealt with, by which I mean he would be disposed of. Sound familiar? Of course it does. It's mobocracy. It's the Cosa Nostra. It's evil people with wicked intent to gain power and money. Such has it always been. Given the secretive nature of such conspiracies, is it any wonder that Jeffrey Epstein's supposed (and very convenient) suicide is greeted with rolled eyes and doubt? If it looks, acts, and smells like conspiracy, isn't that evidence? But of course, without truly damning evidence, the majority won't believe such a thing. It's far too easy to make up some conspiratorial explanation. In any case, such evidence is unlikely to be found. Why do you suppose that Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, and other men (including men not named Bill, e.g. the UK's Prince Andrew) involved with Epstein have not been connected to him in more than a cursory manner? Are we to believe that all of these rich and powerful men with known attachments to illicit sex were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time and are innocent bystanders? I believe few of the conspiracy allegations I hear, but I absolutely believe that such conspiracies exist, even deeper and more evil than the Illuminati conspiracy theorists would have us believe. There are one or two members of this forum who disbelieve that people are ever bad, but I am among those who disagree. People have a deep capacity for evil if they choose to exercise it. Many have no qualms whatsoever about selling their fellow men into slavery, destroying liberty, and so forth, as long as they get the power and/or money and/or sex they crave. In such a world, conspiracies are a sure thing.
    6 points
  30. From at least the time I was 12 years old, literally from my childhood, I have wondered why so many used the growth of the Church as some sort of testimony of its truthfulness. As I've gotten older, I have decided that the simplest explanation is also the best: the Argumentum ad Populum. But the word of the Lord makes it clear that, until he comes and brings again Zion, his people will always form just a small minority of the earth's population. It's fun to watch the Church grow, but I have seen many online anti-LDS and those weak in the faith who have argued that the Church's diminishing growth is evidence of its lack of divine approval. If we're going to go by absolute numbers to determine what truth is, we should all be Roman Catholics*. *(For whom I have gained a lot of respect over the years. If I were to leave the Restored Church of Christ but remain a nominal Christian, I would almost certainly become a Roman Catholic. For all the theological problems of their doctrines and practices, they produce some very decent people, and offer the only real alternative to continuity of Priesthood authority from the time of the Lord's mortal sojourn until now. I'm no Catholic basher.)
    6 points
  31. People react irrationally to such mass shootings, especially when the victims are children. This is due partly to outrage at an outrageous act, but mostly because most people are bad at math--specifically, statistics. Since the heavily covered Columbine massacre, about 100 people per year on average lose their lives to mass shootings. "That's 100 too many!" you may say, and odds are that most here would agree with you. But by comparison, you are about four times as likely to be struck by lightning as to be killed by a mass shooter (though to be fair, you are more than twice as likely to be killed by said mass shooter than by said lightning--lightning strikes kill only about 10% of their victims). To put it another way: About 10,000 people per year are killed in drunk driving accidents in the US every year. If by stricter enforcement of existing laws we could save only 10% of those victims, we would save literally ten times more people every year than if we could completely eliminate all mass shootings. If we could drop the alcohol-related fatality rate by a mere 1%, that would save as many lives as completely eliminating all mass shootings in the US. I am pro-Second Amendment, but the honest truth is that I'm afraid of guns. They are weapons that are designed to kill, with handguns being designed specifically to kill people at close range. But the Second Amendment was not included to allow people to go hunting or shoot tin cans out in the sticks. It was designed to keep us a free nation, not beholden to foreign governments or even to despots within our own government. The ugly truth is that as long as people are allowed to own firearms, there will be mass shootings and accidental shootings. The uglier truth is that is that without firearms, people cannot effectively protect themselves from the immediate threat of violence.
    6 points
  32. God doesn't bring anyone into the fold. He invites all to follow and obey and they either come to Him or they do not, based on their own free will and choice. Edit: I know "bring" is a subjective idea, but the point remains... it is upon our agency.
    6 points
  33. A nice-sounding sentiment, but there is no lasting happiness outside the kingdom of God, which is the Restored Church.
    6 points
  34. I'd been thinking about Lehi's dream and was surprised by a line from our Sacrament Hymn: God Loved us, so He Sent His Son. A line stuck out to me: At first I envisioned the iron rod as we see in all the artistic depictions. A person bowing below that "handrail" seemed pretty silly. But then it occurred to me that there may be an interesting alternative to the typical depictions. A "rod" is a synonym of what Occidental cultures would call a "scepter". It is an emblem of a king's power and authority. We bow to the scepter to show obeisance to the king. It is also a symbol of fear since the rod can also be used as a weapon by the King to strike down a subject who is being disobedient. (What fond beggar, but to touch the crown, would, with the scepter straight be stricken down?) Why iron? I was reminded that Nephi was educated in the manner of both the Jews and the Egyptians. To the Jews, iron was a strong metal. It was the very symbol of strength and durability. To the Egyptians, it carried an air of power and authority. They first came across it from meteorites. As such, they called it the "Metal of Heaven" or sometimes translated as "Star Metal." Nephi simply called it "the word of God". The Gospel of John called Jesus, Himself, "The Word." The rod spoken of here is not a weapon. At least, it is not extended as such. It is the Lord's way of offering a path for us to draw near unto Him. But those who see it as a weapon want to stay away from it, even mock those who cling to it -- as such naysayers remain far enough away that they can feel safe in the fantasy-land that brings only temporary comfort that will eventually fall apart (like, Idunno, a building floating without a foundation). The iron rod is The word of God The symbol of power and authority of God The invitation to partake of His love Our guide and stay The Iron Rod is the Atonement, the Church, the Commandments, and all the covenants we make. We can choose our own path and wind up in a very fanciful and comfortable building that will eventually fall; or we can bow ourselves beneath the rod.
    6 points
  35. Maybe? As someone who spent all but the last 4 years of his life NOT as a Saint, I don't know (from a mortal perspective). I will certainly say life is better and more fulfilling. Edited to add: I suppose, as I ponder this, I liken it to going to the gym. I'm in the gym every morning. It's certainly harder than sleeping in or watching television. However, it improves my quality of life. I can do more physically. I'm happier. I'm healthier. The rest of my life is better because of the effort I put into my physical health. I think my life is better because of the effort I put into my spiritual life. That doesn't mean there aren't days when it's time to get up and it takes every ounce of motivation to not roll over and go back to sleep. For me, some days being a Saint is like that. There are aspects of the Church, my faith, and my covenants that I struggle with. But I get up, exercise my testimony and fulfill my calling, and everything falls into place.
    6 points
  36. I hope we never move away from the KJV other than integrating the JST. The concept of keeping the context approachable for the up coming generation raises my ire. Sure it is difficult to learn a different style. But my children have all figured it out. And the formality of the text helps them to understand the significance and sacred nature of scripture. Anyway, the Holy Ghost teaches us the most important parts of the scriptures as well as the symbolism. Watering down the text for the least common denominator is always a bad idea. Us Americans can barely navigate one language. Many countries populations are multi-lingual. When I really want to research scripture I go to the original Hebrew or Greek. https://apps.apple.com/us/app/spectrum-bible/id336014635 As an example. My college age son recently asked me why chirality of chemicals were important. He really didn’t understand chirality at all. I had to explain basic concepts of protein production and folding. Then I asked him if he knew what an enzyme was. He said sure, a substance / protein made by the body that lowers the activation energy of a reaction. I said, great what does that mean? He had no idea. He knew the words but was not taught how an enzyme works. I explained how an enzyme actually works and he was totally blown away. It taught him the importance of Chirality. He now has a visual understanding of how proteins are complex 3D structures / dynamic machines that interact with each other due to basic forces. Words have meaning. But sometimes you have to go beyond the words and really have a mental understanding of what is going on.
    6 points
  37. MarginOfError

    Welcome news

    I'm not working in medicine at the moment, but the first decade of my career was in medicine. Regarding the efficacy of masks: it gets murky. The studies I would consider reliable and that had reproducible methodologies indicate a reduction of transmission between 35% and 65%. So, on average, masks may reduce transmission by about 50%. For a disease as communicable as COVID-19, that's significant. On the other hand, that's a huge variation and I don't think it really accounts for the effect of proper hand hygiene. I couldn't cite any studies, but I would suspect a large portion of any masking effect could be decimated by improper hand hygiene. In addition to that, masks are really only effective when combined with distancing. If you wear a mask and then go sit shoulder to shoulder with people for long periods of time, you won't see much benefit (in this discussion, I refer primarily to cloth masks. N95's and the like will do better because they form a better seal). My favorite anti-mask video that I've seen was from a doctor who took a breath from a vape pen, donned his mask, then exhaled. He went on a big rant about how his cloth mask did nothing to contain the cloud of vapor hanging around his head. The entire cloud was contained, literally, within six inches of his head. Which was exactly the point of the mask -- to prevent large droplets from traveling very past that six foot threshold. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, masks became the emphasis, when the messaging should have emphasized hand hygiene, distancing, and masking as a broad strategy. You need all three to effectively reduce transmission. I think the messaging was poor on that front*. For the mRNA vaccine, this is utterly fascinating. It, unfortunately, doesn't seem to prevent infection as well as we had hoped, but it does seem to do a fairly good job of preventing serious illness. Whether or not it can slow transmission is an open question. The first major point I tell people are that it isn't as new as COVID-19. It's been researched and under development since the SARS outbreak in 2002. 18 years for its development is quick, but not abnormal in the development of drugs and treatments. So it's behavior in the typical laboratory studies that would precede any new vaccine is pretty well understood. The other major point I share is that, even though it seems like this happened quickly compared to other drugs and vaccines, the process was exactly the same. The difference is that we had a study population of millions of people. Most vaccines that we develop these days are developed for relatively rare diseases. This means the trials require vaccinating, and then following for a very long time to see if they acquire the disease. With COVID-19, the disease was so prevalent you didn't have to wait as long to get reliable picture from the data. Plus, you had an enormous population willing to volunteer for the study (recruitment is a big challenge in drug trials). None of the safety protocols were skipped, none of the normal procedures were skipped (with the caveat of the one year follow up, which didn't occur until after the Emergency Use Authorization. Given the circumstances, I don't think that was inappropriate). And now that we're a year out, those EUAs are being replaced with standard authorizations. As for risk factors, I would say we know as much about those for the mRNA vaccine as we do for the HPV vaccine. That is to say, not a heck of a lot. The problem we have here is a numbers problem. In order to identify the risk factors, you need to find enough of the population that had the adverse reactions in order to identify what they all share in common. So we come to a chicken-egg scenario. We expect there to be some small population that is adversely affected. But how long do we search for that population at the expense of the larger population that isn't at risk? And what's the risk tolerance we are willing to accept? How many adverse effects are too many to justify the benefit to the larger population? These are hard questions to answer, even without the pressure of a pandemic.** And this is where I start to look hypocritical, because I'm perfectly willing to ask the majority of the population to do masking and distancing measures in the interests of the smaller at-risk population. But I'm also willing to expose a smaller at-risk population to vaccination to benefit the larger population. the only way I can reconcile that is I think it is worthwhile to take measures that encourage and promote higher social participation across the various groups. It may not make a lot of sense, but public health decisions often require odd trades. * in fairness, I'm not sure how much better messaging would have improved the situation. There were plenty of people in my ward and community that were just adamantly against any personal inconvenience. Which I found alarming, in contrast with my scout troop. A number of the families in my scout troop were adamantly opposed to masking and distancing and virtual meetings. But when we sent out our letter explaining that we had kids that lived with susceptible people, and our top priority was not sending this home to anyone, some of our strongest anti-mask people were the first to mask up. Anyhow, this is turning into a rant that probably deserves its own thread. ** Some opposed to the HPV vaccine will cite that there appear to be two young women who died shortly after receiving the vaccine, and that two young girls' deaths is too much for a vaccine. At the same time, it is estimated that HPV vaccines may prevent 2,000 cervical cancer deaths per year. In the 20 years we've been using the vaccine, that could amount to 40,000 lives saved. Is 40,000 lives saved enough to justify two lives lost in vaccination? It's a cold hearted decision to have to make, whichever way you lean.
    6 points
  38. MarginOfError

    Callings

    I've turned down one calling officially, and hinted strongly that another shouldn't be extended to me as I would immediately decline. The first, I was asked several years ago to be the "Stake Scouting Coordinator." I was somewhat excited at the thought, as I initially thought I would be training leaders and helping them to provide a better program and scouting experience to the young men. When I discussed my vision for what scouting could look like in the stake, they said, "oh, no. We don't want you to do anything like that. We just want you to coordinate and oversee all of the rechartering paperwork for all of the wards." As arrogant as it might seem, that seemed like a mismatch of the job to my skill set and I declined the calling. The second happened just a few weeks ago. My bishop indicated to me that the stake president was contemplating calling me to organize the stake young men camp for June of this year. I advised my bishop to tell the stake I wasn't interested in planning such a large event on such short notice. While I would be happy to plan the camp in general and would likely rather enjoy it, I also know how much stress and frustration are involved in trying to accomplish that task in so short a time frame. I wasn't willing to put myself through that. If they had asked me a year in advance, I wouldn't have hesitated to accept (and I told the bishop to pass that on to the stake). When members of our ward have asked for releases or turned down callings, I've typically pushed to respect their boundaries, but to also change how we extend the callings. Instead of simply saying, "will you accept this calling," I've encouraged leaders to offer three or four days to think it over. I've also encouraged leaders not to stop at "We want to call you to [calling]," but to create a vision of what is needed in the calling. There's a big difference between "We want to call you as a Primary teacher" and "We have been short a consistent and reliable teacher for the CTR class, and [specific child] especially would benefit from having a consistent and familiar face. We would like to ask you to serve as a Primary teacher to help [child] develop their testimony." Another one I remember was calling a woman on the autism spectrum to serve in the Primary Presidency. She admitted she hated working with kids and said, "I will accept the calling, but only because I think it's wrong to decline." At that point, we backed up a bit and advised her that maybe we needed to clarify what was needed of her. We described the needs the Primary President felt were in her weaknesses, and identified that those weaknesses were in this sister's strengths. We also went a step further and advised her that service in the church should bring joy, and if she went a couple of months and felt miserable in her calling, she should talk to us so that we could release her and find her a calling that she would be more uplifting for her. Her attitude changed from "I'll accept this calling because I feel like I have to," into "I have something to offer, and I find it less stressful to try because I know I can an 'escape route' if I really don't like it." she served for two years before the Primary presidency was reorganized Most recently, we had a sister that had declined a couple of callings for a lack of time. But when we called a new Relief Society President, the new president felt strongly that this sister needed to be her first counselor. When the interview was held, she was extended the calling, her concerns about time were acknowledged, and then she was told, "we'll give you a few days to think about it, but before you go, we are going to bring in the new president to talk to you about what her vision and goals are for the Relief Society and how you can help." We then let the two of them talk. The two worked out how they could work around her time constraints and she accepted the calling. I think one of the biggest things we can do to support members in callings is recognize that they all have diverse obligations, time commitments, interests, and insecurities. If we get complacent enough to just name a calling and ask for acceptance, it's hard for them to find their place and get their footing. If we take a little more time to help them discover where they can contribute around their other obligations, I think they are much more likely to accept calling and feel good about what they can accomplish.
    6 points
  39. Well, I think a 1976 variant of this forum that had its historical data in order, would have hard-core orthodox members noting: —David O. McKay had prayed to God for permission to revoke the ban, and had been told “no”; so God certainly “owned” the ban. There is no room for sincere doubt of the divine origin of the ban itself. The Church leadership’s continued teaching and enforcement of the ban as of 1976 is not some sort of failure on their part; it represents an example of their accurately relaying the word and will of the Lord to His Church. —The ban is not, by its terms, eternal in nature. There was a time when the ban did not exist. —Multiple prophetic proponents/defenders of the ban had said that at some point the ban would end, the only question is “when”; and wouldn’t it be cool that happened at a point when we here in 1976 were still alive? —It noteworthy that the ban is based on race, not behavior; there is no course of conduct or behavioral standard that a black man can adopt in order to qualify himself for the priesthood as long as the ban remains in place. Darned shame, really. The Lord must have His reasons. —Within its scope of applicability, the ban’s burden falls upon *all* people; not just the ones who have structured their aspirations and values around an inappropriate reliance on sexual fulfillment. —People who try to engage in politicking/public shaming in order to guilt the Church into adopting their own pet theories of social justice, misapprehend the fundamental nature of what the Church is and how it works, and are likely to find themselves and their descendants out of the Church sooner rather than later.
    6 points
  40. My impression of you as a person has just taken a giant leap. My parents taught me as a youth the the character of a person is most on display when they are doing things when they do not have to. For the record I have a Facebook account but I have never used it and it has been years since I have logged in - I will never log in because I have lost and forgotten it and do not care. Thank you for your efforts in managing this site. The Traveler
    6 points
  41. carlimac

    Gays and the church

    So I’ll repeat my original motive for posting. I haven’t been active on this or any church forum for a few years. It seems the response to these LGBTQ ( what is Q anyway and how is it different from L?) posts are sooooo overwhelmingly huggy and supportive of these people. More so than it used to be. We seem to be treating them not only with kid-gloves but raining down rose petals on them. This is even coming from very strong members (one gushy “love-you David” note came from an outwardly incredibly spiritual seminary teacher in our ward.) It took me by surprise. I understand we’re trying very hard to mitigate the rash of suicides among this group. And let them know of their value as individuals. That’s all good. But the praise and adoration heaped on them seems like it could be misinterpreted pretty easily that they simply get a pass on having to resist delving wholly into the culture and acting on it. Since when is it ok to not deny all ungodliness? Is it now illegal among Church members to denounce same sex intimate relationships? I haven’t seen even one person in the comments say, “ if you choose to live in a gay relationship you will have to live with the consequences which may not be pleasant.” Not one!! It’s only coddling and sympathy with blame squarely on the Brethren and all the unsupportive members for his unhappiness. Have we gone soft! Is this now what being Christ-like looks like? 😕
    6 points
  42. One of the things about marriage is to be happy with oneself whether or not one is married or not. If one is NOT happy because they are single, or because they are not married, it is very probable that being married is NOT going to be the cure for making them happy. It may, instead, be a way to make others UNHAPPY. One needs to be able to be content with themselves before incorporating others into a relationship...at least in my opinion. In that light, whether one is gay or not, it should not matter on whether one can be happy or not. If they are unhappy because they feel attraction to the same gender instead of the opposite gender, perhaps they are focusing on the WRONG things in life. My advice in that situation, regardless of who it is, is to focus on other things that make life worthwhile. Perhaps, work on serving others, or improving oneself, rather than trying to get others to be the crutch to do it for you. The way I'd suggest is to seek first the Kingdom of God, seek to be the ideal son or daughter of your Father first, and then seek other things (such as self improvement, etc). That may not be the way everyone wants to go. Find something else rather than lust, or greed, or pride, to sate one's desires, and seek instead for things that can improve yourself and others instead. Find a hobby or reading history or books, become passionate about music, study nature and science. There is SO much in this world where you can focus on things to find wonder and excitement rather than focusing on our base desires. Find ways to make one happy beyond the basic focus of the world (so lust, hunger, alcohol, and other base things should not be what we try to seek out for happiness, but rather things that increase our knowledge and ability or things that help others increase their knowledge and ability). I find too often people define themselves by their base desires. I do not think this is a path to happiness, and those who think this is how to define their relationships will find less fulfilling lives from them than those who find happiness within themselves and seek to spread that happiness to others. Those who share happiness, in my opinion, will do better and have more fulfilling lives than those who try to derive it from others. Unfortunately, when trying to convince someone that they should seek to be happy on their own (especially, when they are so deep into the idea that the only way to be happy is if they are able to get another person, sometimes specifically a certain person, other times a certain gender or sexuality) to make them happy, they are unwilling to listen. Nothing one would say will convince them at that point, and sometimes telling them this will only drive them deeper into depression. It can be difficult, and the situation people find themselves in is a difficult one. If they GET what they THINK they want, at times it will bring a reprieve, though this happiness may be fleeting and is HIGHLY dependent on someone else (which means, they can make you lose it just as easily) rather than being in control of yourself. The more permanent solution is NOT to make it so that others are your source of happiness, but to be a source of happiness for yourself and for others. Two individuals that are founts of happiness will not only find happiness within themselves, but also in turn will make their partners and friends much happier by default. It is a thing which aids not only you, but others as well.
    6 points
  43. Just_A_Guy

    Gays and the church

    Yeah, the Tribune had an article in the last week or two about it, I think. (I’d heard about Archuleta and Harley, though Tom Christofferson’s alleged backsliding is a new one to me.) One wonders what the difference would be between a chaste gay “dating” relationship, versus two straight people who happen to be best friends. In some ways, the bigger issue is this mentality of “how far can I indulge these appetites before it becomes a sin?”. Whether in matters of chastity or honesty or anger or any number of other moral standards—this just isn’t a space we want to be living in.
    6 points
  44. My son received his mission call to serve for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints about a month ago. He was assigned to labor in the Spanish speaking Nashville, Tennessee Mission. He reports for service in January 2022.
    6 points
  45. Grunt

    Missionaries

    Dates are set for the end of January.
    6 points
  46. In contrast, I have a deep, abiding, almost irrational attachment to things. I am overly sentimental. I can't bear to see my father's books given away or thrown away, so I keep them, even if I don't read them much (or at all). I treasure my school books, especially those from grad school, and plan to work through them. So far, I have worked through exactly one of them in the past 25 years. I have begrudgingly given away many of my books, but I still hang on to too many. I am also attached to the silly Father's Day cards and letters my children made for me. I have mementos of my parents and my life growing up that I still value. I am not a hoarder, but my reluctance to throw out treasures of my past sometimes makes me look like one. I have never been much concerned with money, perhaps to a fault. Nevertheless, when I consider my own attachment to objects that represent pieces of my life, I kind of understand how some people could get attached to money and the arm of flesh. I realize that no things around us are permanent, and in that sense they aren't even "real" as eternal entities. And I think I do a fair job of distinguishing the value of eternal things (relationships, human lives) from non-eternal things (everything else). But if I had a hundred million dollars, I would probably keep at least one enormous room filled with just stuff from my past, things that hold an emotional attachment for me. Maybe my condition is uncommon—I hope so, for everyone else's sake—but I am sure I'm not alone.
    6 points
  47. NeuroTypical

    Kyle Rittenhouse

    That's not the half of it. At least one of Kyle's attackers was a convicted pedophile - I think a total of 5 different victims. And Daryll Edwards who drove his SUV through the Wawkesha parade a few days later, killing old ladies and children, and wounding 40+ others, was actually a for-real child sex trafficker. That various media outlets remain silent on such matters, I believe, will speak heavily against an awful lot of people come the final judgment. Christ was pretty explicit about what he thought of children, and those who offend them.
    6 points
  48. I struggle to understand how a Christian can study the Book of Mormon in depth and come away from it without reaching one of two conclusions: 1) It is the Word of God as is the Bible 2) It is not the Word of God, but if not, the Bible must not be either I tend to automatically assume that one who reads the Book of Mormon and doesn't believe it to be true could not have fulfilled Moroni's promise, or they cast out the witness they received. It is a very direct promise: ". . .he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost." On a separate but related note: If I were to ever leave the Church, the only other option is atheism / agnosticism. It just seems too obvious to me that other religions are just as (if not more) flawed as detractors claim ours to be.
    6 points
  49. Anddenex

    Kyle Rittenhouse

    Right! All this could have been avoided if the rioters would have stayed home and just smoked their weed instead.
    6 points
  50. As chorister, I don't know if I would want it brought up or not. It's a very common complaint around the Church, but it doesn't seem to change, so I don't know if bringing it up yet again will really change anything. Of course, I often feel like I am rushing the congregation and/or organist, so maybe I'm seeing this from the other side of the problem -- a fear of going too fast. Having also been the accompanist, sometimes I think the pace is set by the organist/pianist, because that is the position related to music that requires the most skill. If the organist/pianist cannot play any faster, complaining that it is too slow won't help until the accompanist improves their skill level. Unless and until the Church decides to make accompanist a paid position (like other churches) we maybe need to be patient and tolerant of the volunteer musicians we use for this. My feeling -- if you have a good enough relationship with the chorister/organist to gently say something, then say that you, personally, would like to sing some of the hymns at a faster tempo. Then, leave the job of leading/playing the music to those called to the job. If it changes, then good. If the tempo remains slower than you like, accept that they are doing the best they can with the skills and artistic vision they have, and be patient with them.
    6 points