unixknight

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Everything posted by unixknight

  1. unixknight

    Nonbeliever's questions about your faith

    I've thought about why God doesn't make Himself more obvious, and I think the answer, at least in part, is this: The central feature of the Gospel is Faith. Without faith, we have nothing. So why is faith so critical? Well, Every single thing Jesus taught, especially in terms of how we interact with one another, is to be selfless. To put others first. To put God first. To put aside our own greed, lust, narcissism, whatever. Anything that we might prioritize over loving others (including God) is to be pushed aside. This is what Christian spirituality is. It encompasses self denial, fasting, abstaining from things... Name it. What is faith, but the ultimate expression of putting aside our self for a higher purpose? If God were to make His presence more obvious, then believing in Him would be a no-brainer. It wouldn't require faith to believe in Him and follow Him. Knowing God existed would become a given and nobody in their right mind would choose an atheist view if they knew, for a fact, that there as a God in Heaven. But what then? How could one demonstrate faith and a philosophy of selflessness? It's been said that honor is what you have when you do the right thing even when nobody is watching. Well, if every single person knew they were being watched all of the time, how would anyone, even God, judge us? By His existence being nigh impossible to prove empirically, only those who exercise faith in Him, and live like He knows what we do, are showing a desire to live to a higher, more selfless path. Who would you trust more to take your daughter out on a date? Eddie Haskell, who's the very paragon of a polite, friendly and clean cut young man (as long as he knows there are adults watching him) or Wally Cleaver, whose behavior changes relatively little when mom and dad leave the room?
  2. unixknight

    Nonbeliever's questions about your faith

    I don't know if I'd necessarily say they have "purpose." I think sometimes things happen because God causes them, and sometimes He doesn't cause them but they can be used for good. That being said, yes. Absolutely. Every bad thing that happens in this world can either improve us spiritually or not. It's up to us to choose how we respond. Sure that's occurred to me. And what if it is? My response would be the same. If Allah is the true incarnation of God and He is telling me to join the LDS Church, then I'd better do it, don't you think? ๐Ÿ˜‰ At the end of the day though, your own experience, feelings and senses are all you have. My own senses and feelings didn't teach me calculus, but I still have to rely on them to correctly convey calculus to me as instructed by my teacher or professor. Yes, another person was involved in the process of me learning calculus, but I still had to rely on my own wetware to get it. Are my feelings right or wrong? All I can do is trust my experience. It's the only tool each of us has in common. I know I'm not prone to hallucinations. I don't have flights of fantasy. I haven't ever had a similar experience about anything else. I know the voice of my Father in Heaven. I'm not going to make myself doubt it just for the sake of calling myself an enlightened skeptic But we can be certain. I know you aren't but I am, and I'm not alone in that. That's a complicated question to ask a member of this Church. The simplest answer I can offer is that yes, I believe it to be literally true, but heavy with metaphor.
  3. unixknight

    Life and lifestyle stuff

    I've seen that same sort of thing in other areas as well. Evidence that is known to have been fabricated, but is still used to spread the dogma. I actually had a friendly debate on one such subject with a friend, who actually uses these materials in teaching his high school class. When I asked him why he would use data that's known to have been fabricated, his very candid answer was "it's the best we've got." Think about THAT. The conclusion is already assumed to be true, and so they work backward and incorporate anything that corroborates it, even if it's shown to be unreliable.
  4. unixknight

    Life and lifestyle stuff

    Betcha after this summer a LOT of people will be doing their own reloads in California.
  5. unixknight

    Life and lifestyle stuff

    A few years ago I was arguing with an environmental cultist. He kept hitting me with the now infamous hockey stick graph that claimed to show a sharp increase in mean global temperatures over the last century or so. At the time, the source code for one of the atmospheric models used by a scientific agency in the U.K. had been leaked. This happened to be the very same model where this hockey stick graph was often sourced from. Being a software engineer, and interested in knowing what the unfiltered truth about this data was, I looked at the code. What I found (and this got a lot of attention because I wasn't the only one) was: (Layman's Terms) that the section of the code where it reads the data from whatever sources were fed into it ignored that data and replaced it with data that would produce the hockey stick. (Developer terms) The function that took in the data stream as parameters had that variable commented out and instead replaced it with an array of decimal values that matched the ones used to create the graph. It then returned this result. So in short, this hunk of atmospheric modeling software, which undoubtedly cost millions to build and maintain, and probably took years to develop, had at least one whole section of it completely rendered moot in order to force it to produce an output that supported the doctrine of the cult of environmentalism. When I presented these findings in my debate with the cultist, he became enraged, accused me of lying, feigned outrage that I'd question the integrity of these scientists who are, apparently, the very paragons of human honesty and virtue, and the argument ended on that note. "Hey unixknight, why are you such a skeptic?" Well, because if people on your side of the issue have to lie to make an argument, then your argument must be wrong. Otherwise the truth would be on your side. As for me doing my part to be a good steward of this world, I believe in keeping in mind how I live and what I do impacts the environment around me, and it influences my choices. I recycle what I can recycle. I don't use electricity I don't have to. My car has an Ecoboost system in it which means the turbocharger allows me to run a much smaller engine for the class car I drive than I would normally need. (It's a midsize sedan with a 1.5L engine, and it has plenty of power.) My truck ain't the most eco friendly vehicle ever built but I only use it to run stuff to the landfill or bring stuff home from Home Depot. I don't kill spiders, I don't dump out chemicals into my land or down the drain, and I don't waste energy. It's what I can do.
  6. unixknight

    Life and lifestyle stuff

    I agree completely.
  7. unixknight

    Life and lifestyle stuff

    Well on the upside, the switch from the "I'm just wondering what you guys think" phase to the "You're just wrong and not nearly as moral as me" phase happened quicker than usual this time. At least he's getting more efficient.
  8. Fair enough. I do agree that it's about the parents as well, in the sense that the parents are a critical part of the kids' life. All I'm saying is that it isn't right to cause drama over it if one can't be there... Because the kids hurt too when loved ones can't attend, and that just makes it worse, and taints the memory of the most important day of their life.
  9. unixknight

    So um... I have an announcement.

    Thanks! If I could only show up wearing my armor...
  10. She felt the same way. I don't think you're being fair when you say "I just don't get you guys that don't have an ounce of sentiment about being there for your child's [sic]right of passage." As I said right there in the post you quoted from: " Was I sad? yes. Did I feel left out? Yes." Doesn't make it about me. Did I not spend enough time writing about my feelings to convince you?
  11. unixknight

    Married in the Temple Unworthily

    Yes, because there's no other way to fix this. There is absolutely no benefit to delaying. Dunno. Depends on the way they approach it. (Hint: Be sincere and repentant.) See above for what it looks like, but Spoiler alert: The ending is they feel a whole lot better and can put all that behind them forever.
  12. THIS. THIS on a taco. Last year, my oldest son got married/sealed at the Temple. I wasn't able to attend because at the time I didn't have a recommend. Was I sad? yes. Did I feel left out? Yes. Was it about me? NO. It was therefore not relevant how I felt. It was his and his wife's day. Not mine, not anybody else's.
  13. It's a good question. The way I've answered it in my head, is that every culture has some mechanism for formalizing and recognizing the joining of a man and a woman to start a family. We're used to a big, formal ceremony but yeah some cultures have little to no ceremony at all. Two people just decide they're joined and that's it. As long as the idea is for it to be a permanent commitment, it counts. It isn't the ceremony itself that satisfies the marriage requirement, it's the commitment, by whatever means are understood and accepted by the cultural context. (So in a culture like ours where some form of ceremony is needed, it isn't enough to just live together and call it marriage... though I understand in some jurisdictions if two people live together long enough, it becomes recognized as a common law marriage. Dunno what the Church's view is on that tho.) Side note: When I was a kid (raised Catholic) I often wondered about a hypothetical scenario just like the one you described, because it occurred to me that if there was no priest around to perform the ceremony, what are you supposed to do? What if there was a worldwide cataclysm and just one man and just one woman had survived? (There was a Twilight Zone episode of that exact scenario, IIRC staring Elizabeth Montgomery and Charles Bronson.) What then? Would God have to perform the ceremony?
  14. unixknight

    Life and lifestyle stuff

    Except that you didn't challenge them, brother. It looks like they were ignored. It was stated that we are to be good stewards of the Earth, and you then said the response was "not at all." "Be good stewards" =/= "do nothing at all" regardless of what it actually means. And that's why @estradling75 is frustrated. (If I may presume to speak for him.)
  15. So I think I just realized something. When I first heard t his, I was looking at it from the opposite perspective... One of "If the couple gets married civilly, why is it necessary to wait a year to get sealed?" But having now read up on it, I realize that it's more about separating those two steps precisely because before, an unmarried couple either had to do both at once, which left out friends and family who didn't hold recommends, or put the sealing aside for a year in order to accommodate them. So this solves that problem by allowing the two phases to be handled separately, but without a year-long delay. Heck, you might even be able to do both on the same day at separate venues. Maybe.
  16. I haven't spent much time with that one, no, since it has never really been relevant to my own situation. Just to clarify, when I say the old policy never made sense to me, that isn't intended to imply that the policy itself was flawed, only that I didn't understand it.
  17. Makes sense to me. After all, if you start of as not married at all you could always have gotten married and sealed all at once. I never understood the need to wait a year.
  18. unixknight

    Nonbeliever's questions about your faith

    I might, unless I felt like adversity would teach the lesson better. Here's what I mean. I've got a bunch of kids. I teach them stuff. Sometimes, life is the better teacher. I let my kids learn from their failures as well as from adversity that comes about through no fault of their own. "Dad, my toy broke even though I was being careful!" Ok, that's a teachable moment. I now have an opportunity to teach them how to repair the toy using tools and skills they didn't have before. Sometimes I don't even get involved. Last week my oldest daughter's car broke down and my middle son went out of his way to go over and fix it for her. (He's a professional auto tech.) It was adversity. It was an unforeseen problem that my daughter couldn't have avoided... But look at the result. Her relationship with her brother was strengthened. (They'd been a bit distant lately from each other.) Her car now functions better than it did. My son will gain blessings from Heaven for his selfless act of service. Think about every natural disaster you've heard of. Think of the stories that go along with them. Stories of people giving of themselves to go help. Stories of heroism. That's spirituality! Yes, there's huge loss, enormous tragedy... But that's when we need each other the most, and that's when human beings are at their very best. Ask yourself this: Would we, as a civilization, be better off without that? One day this body I'm in will die. I have no idea when or how. I may die in 40 years in my sleep. I may be killed in a violent car accident in 5 hours. Somebody might murder me in 5 years. I may be killed by a tornado in 10 months. What difference does it make? Death is death. Whether my card gets punched in an hour or in a decade isn't going to matter nearly as much as the state of my spirit and my relationship with Heavenly Father when the moment comes. If I die in an avalanche knowing that I've done my best to live as the Savior would have me live, then I wouldn't regard that as the worst thing that ever happened to me at all. If my spiritual state is strong, why should I fear death? This is why it's important not to procrastinate. If Heavenly Father at some point decides to go all Old Testament and destroy a city I happen to be in - well, my life belongs to Him anyway. Reminds me of a great quote from a tabletop sci fi wargame, of all places: "My sword belongs to the creator. My pain belongs to the creator.My heart belongs to the creator. Claim them he may; they will ever serve him." -Grand Exemplar Kreoss. I've asked myself that question a LOT. How can we know that? Shall we just assume that every Catholic, every Muslim, every Buddhist who claims to have had a spiritual experience is somehow just delusional/mistaken/lying? The solution is this: You're asking the wrong question. We cannot know what goes on in the mind and heart of any person besides our own self. We do know what goes on in our own mind and heart. In the late spring of 1998 I was directly instructed by my Creator to join the Church. I know this to be true with greater certainty than any other piece of knowledge I have. I don't know what God says to anybody else or Why. Hypothetically, if a Muslim friend tells me he's had a direct experience with God and it has strengthened his faith in Islam, that's fine. It doesn't change what He said to me. I can speculate about why that might happen. Maybe God knows my friend's heart and knows that for whatever reason, he would be in better spiritual health through Islam, at least for now. Maybe my friend is mistaken. I dunno. Don't really care either. My responsibility is to obey my Heavenly Father, not to get into other peoples' spiritual business. For that matter, my telling you about my personal experience doesn't mean much to you (or anybody else) either. Why should it? I certainly don't expect it to. If you pray to Heavenly Father for answers then whatever answer you get will be for you alone. I can guarantee you He will not answer your prayer by saying "Listen to unixknight. Do what I told him to do."
  19. unixknight

    DNA testing

  20. unixknight

    .

    Know what the red flag is, to show that it's based on ideology and not science or even morality? It's when they specifically block parental consent being a factor. Where else have we seen this? Hmm... let me think.... ...ah yes. Abortion.
  21. unixknight

    .

    Isn't it odd how medical science has been completely cast aside in favor of this kind of political pressure? You can't get a new procedure to remove warts without an approval process but hey, life altering hormonal treatments that leave the patient irreversibly barren/sterile and show no statistical improvement on the suicide rate of self-described transgender patients? Sure thing, it if pushes an ideology!
  22. unixknight

    Hereโ€™s a tough one!!

    I don't think anybody here is condemning the people. Being critical perhaps, but I wouldn't say shaming. In any case, reporting this is an act of compassion.. as well as protecting the membership. I don't mean health-wise. I mean legally. Suppose the people who live in that house continue to deteriorate in health to the point where hospitalization occurs as a result. Suppose now that it's only at this point that the local government gets involved. Now imagine it comes to light that several members of a local church knew how serious the situation was and failed to report it... The church may well be legally liable here. (Perhaps @Just_A_Guy can speak to this point.) but consider also the media. "Mormon Church fails to report extreme health hazard - 3 hospitalized. Do churches have the right to exclude the authorities? Stay with us after the break to learn more!"
  23. unixknight

    Hereโ€™s a tough one!!

    That, right there, is all the reason to get out and let professionals take over from there. Even if the rest of the house were reasonably clean that alone would be reason enough to peace out.
  24. unixknight

    2019 Weight Loss Group

    We REALLY need a "groan" reaction.
  25. In thinking about preparedness, many scenarios would involve evacuating the area. I've done a little research and some pondering, and have some thoughts to share. Also, people with better ideas than mine are invited to speak up! ๐Ÿ˜Ž There are plenty of scenarios that might require you to get out NOW. Tsunami coming (if you live near the coast) Terrorism (They're looking to use nukes or dirty bombs. Either way, you need to GET OUT) Massive civil unrest Zombie outbreak (Joking but not joking. The Zombie plague scenario has been used by Government agencies as a fun way to educate about emergency preparedness to represent problems that require the most extreme measures to survive) If there's a situation where you need to evacuate... and I mean RIGHT. NOW. Could you do it? Could you be at least 100 miles away from the city you live in quickly? If you would be relying on roads, you're screwed. Understand that in any emergency evacuation scenario, people who stick to the roads are dead. If your entire evacuation plan involves packing the 72 hour kit and the kids into the family minivan and heading for the highway you may just as well bunker down instead and try to survive in the basement. If that's not an option, then you're in real trouble. In the event of a severe emergency requiring immediate evacuation, you need to think about the vehicle you're going to use to carry yourself and your family to safety. Considering the roads will be hopelessly jammed, you need to choose an overland route that will get you away from the area without relying on highways, road bridges or road tunnels. You need a 4x4. I don't mean your AWD Subaru or that full size SUV with the street tires and custom rims. I'm talking about a vehicle that can: ford water at least 3' deep drive over fences push other vehicles out of its path keep from being taken by force handle mud, snow, sand or debris It's not as hard as you might imagine to get such a vehicle. If you don't have a ton of money to spend, look for something old, something you could avoid having to do a state inspection on (in MD, a vehicle that's over 20 years old is eligible for historic tags, meaning it doesn't need state inspection.), something that replacement parts would be relatively cheap for (because junkyards) and something that would, in the meantime, be useful for hauling stuff around in. Such a vehicle can be had for less than $1500. We're talking an old F-150 or Chevy fullsize. Know what else such a vehicle can do? It can drive on... ...Train Tracks. The ground clearance on your Bugoutmobile should be high enough to roll over rails. Now you have a way out of town that won't be as packed as the main roads, a vehicle that can handle it, and if the railroad ceases to be an option you can still handle terrain or whatever else. You won't be the only person to try this, but it's better than the roads. That also means you can use railroad bridges and tunnels.