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Everything posted by MarginOfError

  1. I would make the argument that this is only one contributing factor. The massive expansion of 24 hour media and the need to always have something new and fresh in order to stay relevant (and profitable) means that media companies are digging a lot deeper. So I think we hear about more of these things because the entertainment news industry reports more of them to get more eyes.
  2. To sum it up, as a matter of civil/social policy, I believe abortion should be legal and safe. I also believe people (usually) shouldn't do it, but it's my/our job to persuade them not to. It came from me: To rephrase, I don't think the question makes any sense unless force a claim some difference between "alive" and "life." So no, no one here was arguing that point. It was a necessary stepping stone into my rant. I get where you're coming from. I think we're largely in agreement, if I'm understanding you correctly; as based on my discussion about "well duh it's a living thing." and any line of gestational age we choose to draw about when it is acceptable and when it isn't is arbitrary*. So, please give me credit for doing my best to build on that common footing when I say this: I don't think it's relevant. When you look at the Church's possible exceptions for when an abortion may not be an immediate and despicable evil (me? dramatic? what?)....well, let's look at them: Pregnancy resulted from forcible rape or incest. A competent physician determines that the life or health of the mother is in serious jeopardy A competent physician determines that the fetus has severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth. The most logical thing I can see that these have in common is that they are situations in which the mother's agency was not invoked. So when a mother didn't choose to have sex, imposing the consequences of pregnancy is not necessary. When the mother didn't choose a situation that puts her life at (acute) risk to continue the pregnancy, we need not condemn her for choosing to live another day. Women don't typically choose to have children with severe, life ending defects, and we don't need to condemn them for opting not to go through a tiring, painful, emotionally draining experience to deliver a dead child. I'm repeating a lot of things here, I know, but I really want to emphasize that from an LDS perspective, abortion is a valid and justifiable procedure to counteract the tragic moments when the conditions of a pregnancy violate the woman's agency. So, from a religious perspective, I just don't think it's relevant when the spirit enters the body. * that's a really incomplete sentence, but I don't want to fix......
  3. The way your statement is phrased makes it really hard to dive into without going really far off track for this thread. And it gets really complicated when you try to define "divine law." Right off the bat, we're getting into a debate based on something that doesn't truly have an objectively factual standard. I will concede, however, that societies that have a strong and common moral philosophy are more likely to remain stable. In particular, when that moral philosophy seeks to balance personal rights and responsibilities with not seeking one's own pleasure and profit and the expense/extortion of another, stability is more likely. I have a serious reservations with this statement: My reservations derive from the fact that, again, "divinely revealed truth" has no objective standard. Whose divinely revealed truth? Is that the LDS truth? the Methodist truth? The Islamic truth? The Buddhist truth? As one example, I don't think we should be using civil law to prevent people from using recreational marijuana. Let people smoke it if they want to. We should be using persuasion to convince them to choose not to, rather than the force of law to make them afraid of doing so.
  4. One could argue we codify "moral philosophies" condemning murder, rape, fraud, and theft. I don't personally subscribe to the assumption that religious adherence is a prerequisite to moral behavior. I have mixed feelings about this as another category. At its core, it feels like the same problem, just looking at it prospectively rather than retrospectively. Ultimately, I think I'd advise that the answer to "when life begins" isn't needed in making this decision. I'd be prone to counsel that spiritual guidance and revelation is available and capable of guiding to the correct answer even without this knowledge. Indeed, spiritual guidance shines brightest when the answer isn't obvious. Regardless, a lot of my actions would fall in the same camp of "let them believe and feel what they need to believe and feel to endure the crap sandwich they are being fed." My job is to support and assist on the road to healing of all forms. And lectures on what we do and don't know about the beginning of life have no healing power.
  5. This analogy doesn't stand up to scrutiny for me. I can study the process of a human being developing from embryo to blastocyst to child to adult and gain that same wonder without entertaining the question of when a spirit enters the body. There isn't a similar question to be asked about a locomotive because, well, it never receives a spirit.
  6. this color pallet is soooo bad. I thought for sure it was claiming most representatives were Hindu. I'd like to see this plot normalized to population instead of geographical area. I think you'd get the impression of much more religious diversity than is apparent of it in this format.
  7. I'm going to go ahead and throw a few things into the arena. Some of them might surprise you if you're aware of my political preferences. Maybe not. But here goes anyway. I don't understand why we are looking to the scriptures for insight into when "life" begins. Biologically speaking, a fertilized ovum is a living organism. I don't see any room for debate on that, and it has nothing to do with a spirit entering the body. We could even argue that it was alive before fertilization. So the whole discussion about when "life" begins doesn't have a lot of interest to me. In order to justify the line of inquiry, you are pretty much force to claim some kind of difference between "alive" and "life." Which brings up a lot of interesting academic discussions--somewhere along the line you have to make an arbitrary decision of what constitutes "life." Does that require permanent residence of a spirit? sentience? free thought? moral agency? Regardless of which arbitrary point you choose is going to come with myriad moral implications on how you treat other humans, animals, plants, etc. And to my knowledge, there's nothing in scripture that really guides where to draw that line. More to the point, the demarcation between "alive" and "life" is wholly uninteresting to me (outside of speculative curiosity). In my life, I've only encountered a very few reasons to warrant pursuing the topic at all. First is people who have lost children to miscarriages and stillbirth. My heart goes out to these people. They are seeking comfort following a tragedy. These I encourage to believe whatever brings them comfort. The only other major reason I've encountered for pursuing justification for their stance on abortion. Some wish to claim life as early as possible to justify bans against abortion. To these, I say "get lost" (but in a kind way). I don't have a favorable stance towards codifying religious dogma into civil law. To those that wish to use a later start to life to say that abortion is ok, I say "shut up" (but in a kind way). Why should it be any more acceptable to extinguish something living simply because it hasn't yet started "life." (It isn't, by the way) I'd be interested in knowing if there are any other ways in which it would be impactful to know when a spirit enters a body. I can't really come up with any, although I'm sure there are some.
  8. Careful now...don't threaten us with a good time!
  9. The extra background does help. A lot. And is utterly baffling. If we posit my perspective, which is admittedly more permissive than most here, this does the same psychological and emotional damage* that refusing a child their chosen identity does. It's just doing the damage from the different direction. Each person's path to self discovery and self confidence should be their own to control (with the mentorship and unwavering support of unconditionally loving parents). If you've put yourself in the driver's seat of someone else's self-exploration, you're doing it wrong. * feelings of rejection, depression, etc.
  10. There are a few things I'd say to this, and I don't think any one of them stand alone, so bear with me. First, virology is not sociology, and we treating virological threats and sociological threats identically seems silly. That isn't to say that our response to the recent virological threat didn't create sociological problems: it most certainly did. But I would think we could learn from those sociological problems that the sociological solution we needed was to come back together. (Where that balance between managing virological and sociological threats sits is, in my view, an insanely difficult question, but not very relevant to the current topic). Similarly in the matter of LGBTQ identities, this is a sociological phenomenon. Running away from it, or isolating ourselves from it, may very well do more damage the good in the long run. Consider also that fleeing to a more like-minded ward/stake comes with the potential for disappointment. So you go find a ward that happens to have no LGBT youth, and a bishop who has a similar mindset at you on these issues. And then 10 months later the bishop is released, six months later, one of the youth comes out with their social transition, and the new bishop makes every effort to welcome, accept, and include that youth as much as church policy permits. What do you do now? Do you pull up stakes and flee again? As the current policies and teachings around LGBT membership filter into the leadership, I would guess it will become increasingly difficult to find a ward that is free of these influences. Lastly, as I said earlier, fleeing a ward over disagreements weakens the body of Christ. Yes, we have conflict over this issue. In some/many cases, that is bordering on contention (with a lot of guilty parties from every angle). But conflict and contention are not the same thing. Unresolved conflict breeds contention, but well managed and deliberate conflict has enormous potential to build unity and intimacy (spiritually and emotionally). So, please, don't flee. Now, for my part, I'm going to have to disengage a lot for this topic here. If you want to learn more about my perspective and viewpoint, message me privately. But this is an issue that has deep feels for me, and, quite frankly, there are too many people here that I don't trust with me deepest emotions to air things out in a public forum.
  11. On the more critical side, I think it's fair to recognize that Amulek was not a particularly strong orator. And unfortunately, we don't get much else from him in the Book of Mormon to know if he got much better with time. In his defense, however, he was kind of new to this preaching thing. He was also being put on the spot by a very hostile and, we are told, skilled debate opponent. He may have been a little flustered. So let's deconstruct the message a bit by first backing up to verses 26 - 34. Zeezrom is questioning Amulek on the nature and existence of God, and it is Zeezrom who introduces the terminology "saved in sin." We aren't really sure what Zeezrom means by this, but Amulek kind of rolls with it. In response, Zeezrom says that Amulek is assuming the ability to command God by saying that He will not save people in their sins. Verse 37 is an attempt by Amulek to clarify what he means. In my opinion, his clarification is rather muddled: No unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven You are unclean if you have sinned You must inherit the kingdom of heaven to be saved What's lacking in the immediate response is that repentance is the bridge from being unclean to becoming clean and inheriting the kingdom of heaven. Amulek kinda-sorta gets around to that in verse 40, but it isn't very direct. So we kind of have to fill in the gaps. And then to top it off, he takes a tangent down physical resurrection in verses 41 - 45 that doesn't add much to his point about sinning, resurrection, and cleanliness. These verses do give us an important hint, however, because they sound very similar to what Alma taught Corianton in Alma chapters 40-42. In those chapters, Alma talks about sin, the Atonement, repentance, death, resurrection, and how all those concepts coexist right up until the resurrection, at which point we stand before God to be judged. If we take into account that Alma met Amulek in chapter 8 and recruited him to help teach, I would guess that the duration of time between chapter 8 and chapter 11 is somewhere in the vicinity of several days to a few weeks. I like to think that Amulek's head is swimming in new information, and the teachings around the physical resurrection are new and exciting to him. In the way I envision these events, he's so excited about this new piece of knowledge and flustered enough by the intense confrontation he's in, that he simply forgets to add a certain part of the puzzle. The message he's trying to convey in verse 37 would come across more clearly if he had though to include some of the teachings in Alma chapter 5 (perhaps verses 26-27?). So, in short, I don't think Alma 11:37 can be properly understood in isolation. It's an incomplete thought. Fortunately, there's enough information in Alma's teachings to help us complete the message Amulek was trying to convey.
  12. Let me reframe a bit and state that when I say "kids*," I'm generally referring to teenagers. I might be more direct with younger kids. But certainly as they age, they should have more talking time. Why should they? Because there's a very real risk that a teenager will choose to hide their feelings from you if you don't. Instead, they may just tell you what they think you want to hear until they get to a place in life where you have less influence over them. And then they go off and do what they want anyway. Talking with them is much more likely to build the kind of trust that keeps communication open and maintains your role as a persuasive influence in their life**. * working in a scouting program with both boys and girls, I've taken to saying "kids." In church settings, "youth" is probably more appropriate. ** Not saying that every discussion will always end in perfect agreement. But I don't think they have to. You just want them to keep to conversational door open.
  13. I fully agree that we need to be talking with kids about it. But the key is talking with them about it. Not talking at them about it. A major part of that is listening to them. Honestly, I don't get the sense from what you are saying that you are particularly interested in the listening. It feels like you'd rather tell them how it is. Asking a gender queer what they think it means to be male or female will get a lot of different responses. You might be surprised how many of those responses have to do with social norms and stereotypes that they don't want to be bound to. You can talk about dangers and corruptions and ideologies all you want--if they don't believe that you care about and understand them, they won't listen. Instead, they'll very likely bottle up their feelings until they're outside of your influence. I bolded it because it is so dismissive. "I don't understand, and I don't agree. Therefore it is insane." Again, you can't make any meaningful impact in this realm without first building a personal connection. "Gender is an essential characteristic of Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness. The intended meaning of gender in the family proclamation is biological sex at birth. Some people experience feelings of incongruence between their biological sex and their gender identity." (Handbook 38.6.23) By substitution, the Family Proclamation is equivalently read "Biological sex at birth is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose." So, yes, males have a penis and females have a vagina. But that is their biological sex, and not their gender identity. It's worth considering that Identity, as a concept, is an interface for social interaction. It's entirely possible to have a penis and want to wear skirts. So what does any one person's gender identity mean to them? If we dismiss it all at "boys have a penis and girls have a vagina," then you'll never know, because they won't trust you enough to share with you their most personal feelings. Taking a paraphrase, just as "woke-ism" is proposed as a false god by scottyg, I'm willing to propose hard line exclusionary stances as a false god. It's clear when you read the materials I linked to that the Church wants gay and transgender members to be welcomed, embraced, and included. There is space in the middle, and in my observation, it isn't being used very much. This is the heart of the problem. Read the whole sentence again. "But validating their thoughts and feelings, and letting them have a leading role in the definition of their identity isn't such a bad thing. In fact, for many of them, it opens a huge level of trust and communication with spiritual leaders that can help them develop their spirituality." But nope, never mind. The Folk Prophet is a better judge of when a person's feelings are valid and when they are not? Just ask him how you should feel and identify--that will make everything all better. Here's a better idea: “One thing that is always important is to recognize the feelings of a person, that they are real. That they are authentic. That we don’t deny that someone feels a certain way. We take the reality where it is, and we go from there. And we want people to feel that they have a home here." (D. Todd Christopherson)
  14. If, as is being suggested by the Church in the links I provided, we are going to accept and welcome transgender and gay members into our congregations, you will not be able to protect children from it. They will encounter it, and we need to engage this issue, not try to cut it off. "It is always important to acknowledge the reality of another person’s feelings. We shouldn’t deny that someone feels a certain way. We take the reality where it is, and we go from there." (found in both the gay and transgender topics). This isn't a disease. And quite frankly, the Church has plenty of statements out indicating the gay and transgender members can retain membership, hold callings, and pursue their spiritual development beside every other member of our congregations. Being gay or transgender is not, de facto, off the path. This confuses biological sex with gender identity. The General Handbook identifies biological sex and gender identity as two distinct concepts. (38.6.23). It is not killing our children in any meaningful spiritual sense. The kids are perfectly capable of developing spiritual capacity while also expressing and/or exploring these identities. This cuts both ways, frankly. For instance, there are people in my ward who are upset that a young man who came out as gay earlier this year is still allowed to bless the sacrament and attend the temple. "But he came out! PUBLICLY! There are consequences!" Alas, that is not what the Church expects, requires, or teaches. None of this is to say that youth should be allowed to run hog-wild after every new idea. But validating their thoughts and feelings, and letting them have a leading role in the definition of their identity isn't such a bad thing. In fact, for many of them, it opens a huge level of trust and communication with spiritual leaders that can help them develop their spirituality. "People can make their own choices about how to identify. There are active, temple recommend–holding Church members who comply with the law of chastity and identify themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. There are active Church members who experience same-sex attraction and never choose to identify themselves using a label. Our primary identity will always be as a child of God." ( And that identity is the identity we need to see--and act toward--first.
  15. That's an interesting line of thinking. I'll have to think on that one. It seems in my head I've made the mistake of considering abortion to be concerned of the parties of the mother and the fetus. I've never considered the fetus to be the third party. One the one hand, historically, my understanding is that it was uncommon for people to consider fetuses a "person" at the time Roe was decided. But that doesn't necessarily carry over to the present. Afterall, the Fourteenth amendment was necessary specifically because of the once prevailing notion that those with black skin weren't "persons." Social progressivism, and all. So I guess this opens up the "personhood" argument again. I've never liked the idea of granting personhood at conception. There's so much instability and weirdness in the early weeks of pregnancy. That isn't to say that I don't consider early pregnancy fetuses of value, but I do still see potential for conflicts between parental interests and the unborn. But once again, I'm in the mindset of the fetus not being the third party. I'm rambling...give me a few days.
  16. This is not an interpretation of Roe that I'm familiar with. My understanding was that it was decided on the grounds of the 14th amendment (which, curiously, overturned the Dred Scott ruling)
  17. Agreed. Indeed, that was the point I was trying to make. That isn't entirely accurate. Roe v. Wade did impose restrictions on that right, afterall. In fact, I'd say that it made a reasonable effort to balance the conflict between the right of the woman to bodily autonomy and the rights of the fetus. But regardless, even Roe recognized it as an alienable right. And the pro-choice movement at large seems to be content with that placement of alieneability. (making up new forms of alienable is kind of fun)
  18. Fair enough. Let me rephrase the question then: Under the same logic, to which conservative groups should we be assigning the blame for the assassinations carried out by Michael F. Griffin, Paul Jennings, Hill, John Salvi, Eric Rudolph, James Kopp, Scott Roeder, or Robert L. Dear?
  19. Could you elaborate on what exactly I've misquoted?
  20. I won't sugar coat things: I think a lot of the statements being made here are inconsistent with what the Church is teaching and encouraging with regards to sexual orientation and gender identity. Some key highlights: Sexual orientation and gender identity are different issues: "However, same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria are very different....From a psychological and ministerial perspective, the two are different." ( Gay and transgender/gender queer individuals are welcome and wanted in the Church: "I now speak directly to Church members who experience same-sex attraction or identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. We want you to know we love you. You are welcome. We want you to be part of our congregations. You have great talents and abilities to offer God’s kingdom on earth, and we recognize the many valuable contributions you make." (Whitney L. Clayton, At the same time, I will acknowledge the existence of individuals in the Church who wish to perpetuate teachings inconsistent with Christ's and the Church's teachings. I see this from "liberal" members in their desire to redefine the Law of Chastity, but I'm also seeing it "conservative" members who want to purge gay and transgender members from their congregations. Neither are appropriate. From time to time, we all need to sit down and reevaluate if the things we believe are things that the Lord is teachings us, or if they are things we are trying to the the Lord. I don't know that I have the mental or emotional energy to dive really deep into this with y'all (this is a topic that's currently creating tension within my ward, and that's taking up a lot of my emotional space). But I will ask you all to take a step back, breathe, and then get to know more about the families that are going through this. Try to understand what their kids' view points and motivations are. And most importantly, listen to them. Don't say anything. Just listen. Consider, especially, that the Church's positioning on these issues has shifted dramatically. Two years ago, entering a same sex marriage was a condition that required excommunication. Now, it's a condition that "may require a membership council" but does not necessitate revocation of membership. Regarding gender transitions, the Church is open to allowing transgender members to attend classes or use restrooms according to their chosen identity (on a case-by-case basis, See General Handbook 38.6.23). Please, don't flee your wards. You might think you're helping or saving your children. But you're hurting the body of Christ. We can do better. Edit: It wouldn't hurt any of us to review these resources right now, probably multiple times. There's a lot to take in.
  21. So if I'm understanding you correctly, I can blame all of those anti-abortion vigilante assassinations on "conservative groups?" Fixed it. There's no "but" to any of this. Any political vigilante assassin, regardless of political affiliations or motivations, suffers from the delusion that they have the right to judge which lives are worth sparing and which are worth exterminating. I think it's fair to explore the motivations of vigilantes that have committed violence in the interest of understanding how they got to where they were (presumably in order to explore ways to prevent such actions from occurring in the future). Speculating on the motivations of a hypothetical vigilante is a cheap shot against people you disagree with.
  22. You mean kind of like the assassinations carried out by Michael F. Griffin, Paul Jennings, Hill, John Salvi, Eric Rudolph, James Kopp, Scott Roeder, or Robert L. Dear?
  23. No, I don't think this is anti-religious. But I would agree that it is rewarding the irresponsible. I think we would disagree on who are the irresponsible parties. I have major concerns with student loan forgiveness, because the origin of the massive loans is tuition and living costs at universities spiraling out of control. And they're spiraling out of control because universities are cutting and reducing programs, expanding administration, and building out higher cost living facilities for students. All those costs get passed down to the students. These costs are not readily manageable, and thus more loans are taken out. Then when costs keep going up, student loan programs offer more funding, and the schools start competing to get that money. In short, higher education institutions are not competing for students, anymore; they are competing to get the students' loan money. And every time they make decisions (increasing tuition, cost of living, etc), the institutions get rewarded with more loan money. Offering loan forgiveness without reforming the loan program would just further reward crappy behavior on the part of the institutions. Now, I don't want to take away from the fact that people have walked themselves into these problems by insisting on going to overpriced "popular" schools, or pursuing full on degrees at large universities that could have been completed just as well at smaller, less expensive schools. Or for insisting that they not work while studying, or any combination of a lot of factors. So I've never been a fan of complete loan forgiveness (in fact, I'm vehemently against full forgiveness). But I'm not opposed to offering some form of relief if there are substantive changes to the loan program itself (and no, I don't really have any thoughts on where to start).
  24. It wasn't necessarily his phone that was hacked. The phone that was compromised was a mutual contact. Then a phone number stored in that phone was randomly selected to put in the "from" field of the meta data.