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Everything posted by MarginOfError

  1. The one thing that stands out to me in what you write is "He’s trying to recover from depression and anxiety before his mission, however, which will take him an extra 6 months of recovery before actually leaving." I live with people with depression and anxiety, and "recovery" has been "six months away" for about 15 years. I don't intend to be critical, nor do I intend to be pessimistic. But you should be realistic in understanding that this is a huge variable that can turn out a lot of different ways. Maybe he is able to begin service in 6 months and serves a two year mission without problem Maybe he is delayed again and doesn't start serving for 10 months, but then completes a mission Maybe he is able to begin service in 6 months, but the stress of a mission becomes too much and he returns home early Maybe his is delayed, doesn't start serving for 10 months, and then still ends up returning early Maybe he starts serving in six months, lasts a year, has a break down, returns home for 3 months, then returns to finish his last year. Maybe he never develops enough stability to receive a mission call. I will not judge him for any of those outcomes. His path is his path and I hope he receives all of the support he needs as he navigates that path. My point is, if you try to time your mission service around when he is either ready to go, or likely to return, you are very unlikely to succeed. There are too many things that could alter what actually happens, despite your best intentions and best laid plans. If you feel the call to serve a mission, and you are prepared to serve, then go now. The only reason I would recommend you delay your availability at all is if you are enrolled in school and need to finish your term before leaving. Otherwise, set your availability as soon as makes sense and let the Lord determine when you go. When you return, it really isn't of any concern whether your boyfriend has served a mission, a partial mission, or been unable to serve at all. What matters most is that he prepares himself to make and keep covenants in the temple, has a heart willing to serve the Lord, and is an equal partner with you in managing your mutual and individual successes, failures, and conflicts.
  2. Thank you for clearing that up, @estradling75. What I had intended to emphasize, and did poorly, was that bishops cannot just look up the full membership information of any member in the church. The best they can do is infer a record does or doesn't exist based on whether the system finds a match (any number of typos may fail to produce a match). It should be noted that using the "Request Records" functionality to investigate if a friend/relative/acquaintance has a membership record isn't an approved use of the system. In fact, in some jurisdictions, it could be a violation of privacy laws (it isn't in the U.S., but I imagine it could be a problem in the E.U.)
  3. This is inaccurate. The only resource that Bishops have access to that provides church-wide information is the Church Directory of Leaders (CDOL). As the name indicates, it only provides information about leaders, and is intended to facilitate communication between ward and stake leaders. I can think of two ways a bishop might attempt to determine if a person still has a membership record. Initialize a request for their record. They would need to know name and birthdate or record number to do so. The system will identify matches and ask the person performing the request if this is the person they are looking for. Submit a Request for Confidential Information. Normally, these requests involve members of the bishop's unit, but they can request records for former members as well. These requests are reviewed by the Office of the First Presidency, and he wouldn't learn much until they had reviewed the request and adjudicated that he did, in fact, need the information. I would guess your bishop friend used the first approach and was unable to find a match.
  4. "Bishop" is an office in the Aaronic Priesthood. Strictly speaking, once ordained to the office of bishop, always a bishop (in the same way of once an elder, always an elder). This is not strictly the same as being set apart as the bishop in a ward. When set apart to that calling, keys are given that are necessary for the administration of the ward. When released, the individual will no longer hold the keys of the calling, but will still retain the office of bishop. My understanding is that some people continue to refer to released bishops as "Bishop So-and-so" on the understanding that this is appropriate given that they still hold the office of bishop. I don't follow this custom myself; my interpretation is that, once released, holding the office of bishop is irrelevant given their ordination to the office of high priest. But I might not be the best example. I have developed the practice of referring to my bishops by their first name in settings that are not strictly formal. I began doing so after one of the bishops I worked with commented that he felt like his individuality had been consumed by the calling. He was always "Bishop," as if that were his name, even in the most informal settings. He missed just being Jim. All of my bishops since then have expressed appreciation for being recognized this way.
  5. To clarify, from my initial response to you (with parentheticals added) Isn't a legal prohibition against gay marriage an imposition against the free exercise of the Episcopal religion? I will disagree with you here. In my perception, the issue is not that "non-Judeo Christian values are being given equal statis in the eyes of the law." The issue is that the Constitutional process of feeling out and establishing new boundaries is slow (and deliberately so), and that many of the parties involved are disinterested in talking to each other, building empathy, and establishing compromise.
  6. My apologies on the Adams-Madison mix up. Multi tasking doesn't work well for me anymore. I will go back to the questions of Catholics and Episcopalians, however. I would find it hard to take seriously a claim that Episcopalians do not live according to Judeo-Christian values as taught in the Bible. While the former is opposed to gay marriage and the latter is not, there is still far more those two religions share than separate them. I don't see how their disagreement on such a small subset of principles renders constitutional government ineffectual.
  7. I'm not going to engage in a debate about the ability of identity labels to "expand or limit our ability to follow God’s plan for our happiness." I find nothing controversial in that statement. My comment was cautioning against foisting labels upon other people (especially strangers). And the quotes I chose demonstrated the Church modeling the behavior of not foisting labels. Specifically, the Church's explanation was that they use the term "same sex attraction" as an umbrella term to be inclusive of multiple identity labels, rather than tell an individual what label is appropriate to use. We would do well to follow their example.
  8. The post to which I was responding was a condescending lecture about how a piece of paper doesn't actually have teeth and therefore can't actually bite people (enforce itself). I wasn't sure if you were trying to imply that I was stupid or if I you were just looking for cheap debate points. Either way, I chose to be charitable and focus my response on the substance of the discussion. Namely, that the Constitution has proven itself to be up to the task of governing people in this country when they mutually agree to be bound by it. If it would be more enjoyable for you, I'd be happy to return to anthropomorphizing paper.
  9. Hey, I think you're starting to get it! When parties of disparate beliefs refuse to compromise on civic/governmental affairs, violence tends to follow. Now read the Church's statement again: "appropriate religious freedoms" AND "rights of LGBTQ brothers and sisters." This is the Church saying we agree on the ideals in the Constitution, and so "this approach is the way forward."
  10. I find "teeth" to be an odd choice of words. It makes it sound like some kind of a trap. Which I suppose it could be understood to be in the sense that it is intended to restrain the reach of government. But more importantly, it enables citizens to enact, as President Lincoln would describe it, at government of the people, by the people, and for the people. I offer you the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth amendments. EDIT: I'll also add to that list the Eighteenth and Twenty-First amendments. As well as the Twentieth amendment. And the Twenty-Sixth Amendment
  11. I'm surprised to learn you have such a low opinion of the Constitution.
  12. So, just to be clear, you're saying that the Constitution of the United States is inadequate to guide the government of both Catholics and Episcopalians?
  13. This line of argument, to me, betrays the very premise of the Constitution to begin with. The Constitution as we know it was written because the Articles of Confederation were too rigid and destined to fail. The Constitution incorporates massive compromises that, had they not been made, likely would have prevented any form of governance between the disparate parties. Furthermore, I would argue that upholding the right own and sell human beings as property as a "moral ideal" ought to have been so far beyond the pale that we could assume the morality and religion of the people were so corrupt that they were beyond hope of the Constitution pulling them back from such corruption. Yet, here we are.
  14. Even if we presuppose agreement with Madison's statement ("Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."), what do you propose to do when religions disagree on points of faith? Consider two religions--the first holds a sincere belief that gay marriage is an affront to God; the second holds a sincere belief that gay marriage is of equal morality to heterosexual marriage. Is the Constitution adequate to the government of adherents of those two religions?
  15. I would caution against assigning identity labels to people. From the Church's Gospel Topics section on Same Sex Attraction And in the same topic under the section for individuals:
  16. Black Jesus in art is very different animal though. There most definitely has been an increase in representations of Christ outside of the Caucasian Jesus that is prevalent in religious are in the public domain (and for a long time, a lot of the art the Church used was used because it was in the public domain). These representations have more to do with helping Christians recognize that the mission of Christ is multi-cultural and multi-racial. The Historical Jesus, so to speak, is of less significance than the Jesus that understands and relates to my cultural background. Personally, I find it it be a beautiful and inspiring thing. I know I risk harping on this; I just don't want to see this awesome cultural trend get swept up in the same breath as the Black Jesus Conspiracy theory. They really are two very different things. For some fun, I went looking through the art work in the past few iterations of the Church's international art competition. I was able to find two instances of Arabic Jesus (here and here) and one of Mexican Jesus (here) and another with darker skin, though I'm not sure if any racial/ethnic representation was intended (here). Still, the majority of the renditions of Jesus in those are shows are very pale (even when accounting for limitations of the medium).
  17. Being a resident of that mission, allow me to clarify that this is not widely accepted. The vast majority of black Christianity in this area is still heavily influenced by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. That form of black supremacy doesn't fly around here. I think you'd be hard pressed to find practicing black ministers that perpetuate that belief. My impression from living here is that those who are most likely to subscribe to that idea are those that are working political angles.
  18. Men in general, no? But certainly some of them are useless.
  19. I'm going to lay out a bunch of propositions without justification, because I'm too lazy to look them up. But this illustrates how I think about the issue. It isn't entirely scripturally backed, but because I'm me, it's obviously correct Premise 1: Returning into God's presence is contingent on obeying his laws. Those who fail to do so cannot be exalted. Premise 2: God, knowing the unlikelihood of anyone living up to standard set forth in Premise 1, proposed a plan where an intermediary could absolve others of their guilt, allowing them to regain eligibility for exaltation. The condition to be an intermediary was completing a life completely obedient to God's laws. I think these two premises are relatively uncontroversial. You can nitpick them if you want, but at their core, I think most of would agree to the basic concepts. There is one thing that isn't addressed here, however. Premise 2 establishes the conditions for eligibility to be an intermediary. But it doesn't establish the terms for becoming an intermediary. This is at the very heart of @Chainsaw's question. And as other have stated, there is no definitive scriptural answer to this question. I think it is common for people to assume the Penal Substitution model. This, by my understanding, makes the assumption that every sin or misdeed is attached to a penalty. And Christ would have had to feel the weight of all of those penalties. As an adult, this model never felt right to me. In some ways, it feels like it multiplies the penalty of sin. Christ had to experience the cumulative penalties of the sins of some 40 billion people (or whatever), but all of those people would experience those penalties at least up until the moment of their repentance? In the case of natural consequences, perhaps even further? It just didn't feel right to me that God's plan to give people the option of exaltation was to increase the cumulative load of suffering in humanity. @Just_A_Guy proposes a Penal Substitution-lite model, where maybe it isn't quite so cumulative, but operates on a similar idea. There is a certain amount of suffering required of each sin, but maybe not an additional penalty on top of the natural consequences. (I may not be fully understanding him). But I think this ultimately has the same flaw in that it marks a multiplication of a fixed amount of suffering based on the actions of each individual. I don't feel good about it. I tend to view it more like this: Premise 1 gives God the rights to judgment--and his judgment is strict. Premise 2 establishes that he is willing to yield the right of judgment to another. Once the right of judgment is yielded to the intermediary, the intermediary is free to set the terms on which a person is exalted. The unanswered question, then, is what are the terms of sale of those rights. In my mind, I suspect the terms were that Jesus, having lived all of God's laws, would be given the rights to judgment so long as he felt all of the pains that are inflicted by the sins of a person on themselves and also on others. To rephrase it, the rights to judgment were sold on the condition that Jesus would be able to have perfect empathy for anything that we feel. So Jesus didn't have to suffer a certain amount of pain for every loaf of bread stolen. Instead, he suffered the pain of hunger, the pain of desperation, and the pain of having the loaf of bread stolen from him; and he only needed to suffer each of those pains enough to have empathy for us. He needed to understand what makes us hurt, what makes us tick, and what factors might lead us into sin. With that empathy, he could then judge if our hearts had returned into a state of being where we no longer have a desire to do sin. Ultimately, even this view increases the cumulative amount of suffering. But it does so in a way that minimizes that total suffering required to reach exaltation. And the idea of a God that is interested in minimizing suffering appeals to me*. It also makes sense to me in the context of the New Testament. We read the Jesus suffered in Gethsemane through the Atonement, and we largely think of that as where all that suffering was borne to purchase the right of judgment. But then he was tortured, mocked, ridiculed. The suffering kept going on for several more hours. But there is this one poignant moment where, hung on the cross, Jesus cries out "Father, why have you forsaken me?" For the first and only time in his existence, Jesus was cut off from the presence of his Father. It was the one thing He had never experienced. And it was so awful, that shortly after he declared "It is finished" and allowed himself to die. In my interpretation, He didn't experience that separation once for every person that lived. He experienced it once, and exactly once. And that was enough to understand how it feels. As a general principle, the price to exchange the rights to judgment can effectively be reduced to "whatever terms they agreed to." And there's a lot of interesting twists and turns you can take on that if you want to liken it to our legal system and contract law. But in the end, I don't think the specifics matter a great deal. I think it ought to be sufficient to recognize that an agreement on the transfer of those rights was struck, and part of that agreement is that we must live up to the expectations of Jesus. These expectations are that we live God's law, and repent of our failures to the best we are able. * With the obvious caveat that what someone believes about God usually says more about the person than it says about God.
  20. Since @Carborendum is going to pull me into this, I'm going to suggest that the incredulity might be somewhat misplaced. It doesn't look to me that Tai is trying to reinvent calculus, because her notational development doesn't include any attempt to generalize to formulae. Her method is focused on curves. The difference being that a formula has a known and well define structure. A curve may just be the line that goes through a set of observed data. When looking for the area under an empirical curve for which you have no defined structure, your options are to estimate a curve or to break the curve into shapes and add up the areas of the shapes. The two general approaches both have advantages and disadvantages with respect to what kinds of biases they introduce. (bias being the mathematical term for "difference from the true value"). When measuring something like glucose tolerance, the end point can be affected by diet, enzyme activity, food and liquid intake, etc. And with inconsistencies in when a person eats from day to day, you might have to develop a new equation for each person every single day. It would be absurd to do this for a lot of reasons, so working with the empirical curve is the most practical thing to do here. Tai's method, then, is an approach to getting the area under the empirical curve (as opposed to the theoretical curve). Her approach is an algorithm for forming the regions, areas, and their sum from a set of known points on a cartesian coordinate system. That is to say, she isn't proposing the trapezoidal rule as being novel, but the algorithm for processing it may be novel. Objectively, her algorithm is working better than the algorithms she compares against. Therefore, it would appear to have some interest in the field. Why would it have interest in the field? Probably because the software available to people in this field is limited in what it is able to do. (you can complain about this if you like. Certainly, there is software in the world that can do these calculations already. But a lot of them require programming experience, which may not be accessible to physicians or the software programs being used). So here's the point I'm trying to make. It looks like Tai is trying to solve an industry problem, not a mathematical problem. Side note: There was some talk about the difference of trapezoidal rule vs rectangular rule. The difference between the two only matters with empirical curves. But once you start taking the limit as the width of the shape goes to zero, then the solutions converge to each other.
  21. 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.
  22. 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......
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.