Vort

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Everything posted by Vort

  1. Vort

    Child support/ temple recommend

    Do either or both provide what you seek from them?
  2. Vort

    How close should extended family be?

    I remember laughing at the Marnie letter, but I've always felt she was pretty much savaged without real cause. On rereading the letter, it's very picky, almost anal-retentive, but it's not offensive. She wants stuff to be stackable, so says no aluminum foil. I can grok that. On the video, she seems like a woman who probably has a well-developed sense of humor, but it's not developed in a manner most of us are familiar with. I bet she's a delightful person if you know her well. I bet God loves her, and probably her family too.
  3. Vort

    Original Mission

    My oldest spent 12 months in one place, once for eight months and again at the end of his mission for four. Or something like that.
  4. Vort

    Original Mission

    Friend, your son was not called to go see the world and gain valuable personal experience sure to result in endless entertaining anecdotes and sacrament meeting talk fodder for the rest of his life. Your son was called by an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ to be Christ's representative to a dying world—to preach the Good News of his atonement, which brings us redemption, salvation, and even eternal life. I really think that both you and he are focusing on the wrong things. Again, I'm not without sympathy. But at some point, a man who would follow the Good Shepherd has to drop his preconceptions and personal demands, and simply kneel in submission before Christ. I'll go where you want me to go, dear Lord, over mountain, or plain, or sea. I'll say what you want me to say, dear Lord; I'll be what you want me to be. The lack of contact from your stake president about your son's emotional condition seems strange to me. You might consider having a serious conversation with your stake president to find out what's going on there. As for communication with the mission president, that occasionally occurs when a missionary is having trouble, but in general it does not. I don't believe my parents ever spoke with any of my three mission presidents at any time. I have been where you are now. In the end, your son needs to know that it's his decision and that you will support and love him in any case. But your son probably needs to hear your encouragement and your faith that things will turn out for the best. Let me get a little bit personal here. My three oldest sons have all served missions, two domestically and one in a distant country. Unlike their father, who loved his mission and breezed through it largely untouched by anything really bad (and, perhaps not coincidentally, largely ineffective in preaching the gospel), all three of those sons had real struggles. All three seriously considered coming home. One even received medication and counseling for depression while in the field. All three ended up staying, even the one whose mission president unfairly and wrongly misjudged his character—and, to be fair, who apologized to his face when he finished his mission. I think that none of the three looks back on his mission with fondness as a fun or exciting experience, but all three look back with satisfaction at the good work they accomplished and the lives they helped, both of their investigators and of their companions. I believe all three are grateful for their experiences, even though it cost them tens of thousands of their own dollars and put them two years behind in their educational and professional efforts. From the experiences of my sons, I have become convinced that it's entirely possible to struggle during your mission, to have hard and even traumatic experiences, to have to grit your teeth and endure much of the time, and still come off your mission a better, stronger, more whole man than you were when you went out. For what it's worth.
  5. The whole ordinance is like two dozen words. Seriously, it takes five minutes to commit permanently to memory, or thirty seconds to review if you don't have the patience to memorize it. (No offense to your hubby, just a general comment.)
  6. Vort

    How close should extended family be?

    Show me a man who doesn't want someone else to do his laundry, and I'll show you...a woman...
  7. Vort

    How close should extended family be?

    I agree with your mother. I agree with you more, but I think your mother has the kernel of a true idea that she doesn't quite comprehend or know how to bring about. I wish I could tell her, or better yet, show her. What will a family look like in Zion, in the celestial kingdom? Parents will not "control" their adult children. Parents will instead glory in the adult nature of their children, in their maturity and ability to handle situations even (or especially) when the adult children's handling of a situation is different from how the parent would have approached it. But make no mistake, parents will interact intimately with their children, even as adults. They will be much closer than best friends, but with the added intimacy of being father and son or mother and daughter, or any permutation thereof. It will truly be heaven. Your mother senses this at some level. She may have an intellectual picture of what she thinks things will look like. Maybe she just feels sadness over the possibility of losing her precious daughter's presence, and wants to hold her children close and help them. That, too, is an outgrowth of the idea of a true family community. Your mother's problem is the problem all of us have in this state; namely, that we're mortal. This is not heaven, not yet. It is our duty to bring about heaven—but that is not something that is accomplished overnight, or in a week, or truth be told even in a single lifetime. It is a distant goal we work toward. To tell you what no one actually needs to say: You must do what is best for your husband and yourself, for your children, and for your parents and siblings, pretty much in that order. That risks hurting your mother's feelings, which is too bad. (Really, it is too bad. Truly regrettable.) But such are the hard choices that adults must make.
  8. A couple of years back, I wrote my thoughts on what I called "long fasting". I decided to start experimenting with it this year, and it has resulted in some insights and thoughts that I decided might be profitable to share with this forum. I'm eager to avoid the hypocrisy condemned by the Lord in Matthew 6:16: Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; that thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. I'm mostly anonymous here, so I'm comfortable talking about these experiences. In that anonymous sense, I thought I'd jot down some notes about such fasts on this thread. (Note: Those who disagree with the entire premise or otherwise just don't like this topic are of course welcome to voice that viewpoint. I would ask that, after voicing disapproval, those folks don't continue bothering to read the thread. I think it would be better for all parties if those who dislike the topic just ignore it.) To begin, I want no one mistaking my meaning. Here are a few up-front disclaimers that I feel compelled to include: First, the leaders of the kingdom of God, also known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, have told us what constitutes a "fast": 24 hours without food or water, comprising two consecutive skipped meals (if you live on a three-meal-per-day schedule). This is what we might call the canonical fast; I prefer to use the term ecclesiastical or church fast. If you want to "fast" as the modern prophets have urged us to do, this is what they mean. As far as I know, this is all they mean. Second, I am not an expert of any sort in fasting. What I'm doing in this thread is sharing my experiences and insights. That is all. I'm not a guru, I'm not particularly knowledgeable about these things, and I'm not qualified to give expert advice. Third, I am not saying that a long fast is to be used instead of an ecclesiastical fast, that it replaces or is better than an ecclesiastical fast. That is manifestly not my place; such a pronouncement would come through the ordained leadership of the Restored Church, or on a personal level through the Holy Ghost, and certainly not from some guy on the internet. Fourth, I am not encouraging anyone to try long fasting. I have seen some effects, perhaps beneficial, in my still-nascent efforts. These are meant to be shared and received anecdotally. If you are in good health and think that long fasting might be interesting to try, I would not discourage you from doing so. But please do not mistake this for encouragement. It is not. Fifth, I do believe that there is a relatively small segment of the population who ought not try long fasting, for fear it could damage their health or the health of those depending on them. The largest of these groups might be pregnant women and nursing mothers. Not only are they themselves vulnerable to nutritional deficiencies, but their babies, whether pre- or post-natal, might be adversely affected by their mothers' lack. A second group that ought to exert caution in this area is those with Type I diabetes, for what I assume are obvious reasons. This goes for anyone else with blood imbalances or highly restricted dietary concerns. Thirdly, if you suffer from an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia, doing an extended fast seems to me tremendously unwise. If you were my son or daughter, I would urge (read: beg) you not to try this. The last group I would explicitly list is those in very frail health. If anyone in any of the above-named groups wanted to try long fasting, I would urge them to do so only under the care and guidance of a physician. (And given the US physicians' reflexively conservative approach to literally anything and everything having to do with health management, I doubt there are two dozen physicians in the entire country that would agree to overseeing a long fast in any patient, much less someone in the above-mentioned groups. But enough of my grousing.) Sixth, just FYI, long fasting does not include abstaining from water. To repeat: Long fasting does not include abstaining from water. If you want to fold a church fast into a long fast, then you would abstain from water during that "church fast" period. Otherwise, those who are long fasting should take special care to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. Seventh and last, if anyone actually wants to experiment with long fasting, I would encourage him or her to study and ponder Mosiah 4:27. We should not foolishly overextend ourselves. If you have never done a long fast before, then for heaven's sake, don't decide to quit eating for two weeks! Use some common sense. If any of this sounds interesting, I invite you to read this thread and participate to the extent you want to. I'll be adding posts as I go. I originally intended to include everything in one post, but that would make such a monster post that I think it's better to break it up into individual parts. FINAL DISCLAIMER: I'm very busy at work, and I can't spend all day Sunday typing up this thread, so it might take me days or weeks to write about my experiences. If no one cares, then I won't bother, but I'm guessing at least a few people will want to hear me, if out of nothing else than sheer curiosity.
  9. That's my guess. Martians probably fast for 24 hours 30 minutes.
  10. It only took me until I was 58. The strand is an Old English term for the beach; it still has that meaning today, though mostly poetically. Those who speak Germanic languages will recognize cognates in those languages. To strand therefore means "to leave on the strand", what we today would call being beached, as a ship left on the shore at low tide or by shipwreck. The occupants of a ship that has been stranded or beached will themselves therefore be stranded. English is such a cool language. Interestingly, the word beach comes from the Kent or Sussex dialect of Old English (bece, which I believe is pronounced "BEH-cheh"). It referred to the loose, rounded gravel found near a stream; English spoken in those parts still uses the term "beach" to refer to such loose gravel. The use of "beach" to be essentially the equivalent of "strand" spread from there. So all the other Germanic languages still call it something like a strand, but in English we mostly use the word beach these days. Did I mention that English is such a cool language?
  11. Vort

    Need help...

    Intelligent folks from near Gloucester Avoid overcooking their poucester. Their efforts they foucester By adding some ploucester. Good gracious! Put me on the roucester!
  12. Vort

    Need help...

    There was a young fellow from Gwent ["fellow" scans better than "man"] Who asked why bananas are bent. "The banana tree's fruity Starts straight," said his cutie. "By the time they get here, they're just spent." There was a young fellow from Gwent Who asked why bananas are bent. His papa replied, "They lie down on one side And the imprint results in a dent." There was a young fellow from Gwent Who asked why bananas are bent. Barely more than a child, His amour slyly smiled, Mistaking what he really meant. There was a young fellow from Gwent Who asked why bananas are bent. His grammarian physician, Who loathed end prepositions, Said, "Angst 'tis, with which they're up-pent." There was a young fellow from Gwent Who asked why bananas are bent. "What's the point?" asked some guy. "Because," came the reply. "Well, in that case, get bent," said the gent. There was a young fellow from Gwent Who asked why bananas are bent. "The fruit that is yellow Is curved," said the fellow. "Aw, go on," said his Mum. So he went.
  13. I know a little something about seeing with "spiritual eyes", not from myself but from an intimate acquaintance whom, on this topic, I consider an unimpeachable source. Such "spiritual sight" is imagined to be some dreamlike state, but it is the opposite. It's as if all your senses are working at top efficiency and your mind comprehends completely what you are seeing, hearing, and experiencing. It is not a uniformly positive experience; my acquaintance was terrified by some of the particulars. I do not expect anyone to read such a vague description by some anonymous internet guy and say, "Oh, wow! I'd better change my life, because this guy's acquaintance had some experience or other that was never described to me but that sounds like it might have been amazing!" My point is not to persuade with stunning details; even if I felt good about sharing such intimate and sacred things openly, I doubt they would convince anyone who did not already believe. Rather, my point is to claim that the idea of seeing with "spiritual eyes" is widely misunderstood and misused. The experience is rather the opposite of what some would have you believe.
  14. Vort

    Conference Talks

    Gotcha. Makes sense.
  15. Vort

    Conference Talks

    Right. The point is, the electron is being compared to the mustard seed, not to the mountain. Unless I misunderstood what your "10 to the 23rd power vs mass of a mountain" meant. I assumed you were referencing Avogadro's Number, possibly misremembering it for the mass of an electron, and comparing it to the mountain. Apologies if I misunderstood.
  16. Vort

    Conference Talks

    Mustard seed is to mountain as electron is to ___________. mustard seed→electron mountain→__________
  17. Vort

    When do I teach my kids anti?

    I understand your concern, and I don't dismiss it. But I think the focus is wrong. The root of the problem appears to me to be a hero-worshipping culture where our leaders (in whatever field) must approach spotless perfection. Being a merely good, decent, honest man is not enough. (Would to God that we had merely good, decent, honest men holding our political and societal reins.) No, the man under question must never have exhibited any weakness or foolishness ever. More than that, he must never have exhibited any distaste for current popular fads such as homosexual conduct. And being religious is literally a detriment to him, unless (as do the British) the man is sort of "publicly religious", wherein he claims belief in and sustenance from A Higher Power, but is careful never to reveal exactly whom or what he worships. Because such things are far too personal, and just not appropriate for public discourse. Instead, he can talk about his sexual conquests and his baby-mamas. If people cared about important things and refused to invest themselves much in trivial matters, this "problem" would not exist. So the fundamental deficiency is in how the public at large views and processes information. As long as this is the case, the Church will have trouble gaining traction. But guess what? That has ALWAYS been the condition of Christ's Church, from the very beginning. The world actively teaches people to care about trivia and to ignore matters of substance. That will not change. If only there were a way to get people to hear the truth despite their own prejudices. If only the Savior could call out to such people and they would hear his voice, because they are his sheep. If only.
  18. Vort

    Conference Talks

    vs the mass of a mustard seed, you mean. A mustard seed has a mass on the order of one microgram (10-6 kg). An electron has a mass of 9.109x10-31 kg, or about 10-30 kg. So there's a gap there of about 24 orders of magnitude. Therefore, if you have the faith of an electron, you could move 10-24 of a mountain. A typical smallish mountain like the inhabitants of ancient Palestine might have been acquainted with would have been around maybe 109 kg, the largest mountains might be many times this size. Therefore, if you have the faith of an electron, the lower limit on your substance-moving abilities would appear to be around 10-15 kg. This would encompass things approaching a trillion nucleons (protons and neutrons) in mass, or a cube around 10,000 nucleons on a side. If we assume the "average atom" has a diameter of 140 pm and contains, let's just say, 10 nucleons per atom, then we would have (10-15 kg) / (1.6 x 10-24 kg/nucleon) = something under 1012 nucleons (pretty much a minimum possibility) (1012 nucleons) / (10 nucleons/atom) = 1011 atoms The cube root of is 1000 times the cube root of 100, which is about 4642. So this is a cube of about 4600 atoms on a side. Since our putative "atom" is 140 pm in diameter, this makes the cube (140 pm/atom) x (4600 atoms) = around 650 nm per side. The smallest thing visible to the adult human eye with good vision is around 30 µm. Children might improve on this down to maybe 5 µm at best, which is still nearly ten times larger (per dimension) than our faith-of-an-electron cube of matter. But the point is, it's something! Build on that!
  19. Vort

    When do I teach my kids anti?

    I'm still not quite seeing it. Whenever we teach children, we teach them on a level they can understand. Subtlety is often not a big part of a child's emotional repertoire. So we say, "This is right and that is left, this is up and that is down, this is good and that is bad." Based on such a dichotomy, where do the prophets reside? Are they good or bad? They are good. As the child grows and progresses, beginning to see larger and more complex possibilities, then if it's appropriate, we can introduce less-than-flattering information to him about the prophets (or about his parents, or about anyone else that it would be appropriate to talk about). My children learned from my own mouth that Joseph Smith was poorly educated and obsessed with money or the lack thereof. But they also learned that he was a great and good man, highly intelligent in his own right, and a true prophet of God. Of these two groups of facts, which is more important to them to understand? Which has a greater positive impact on their progression through life and ultimately on their eternal well-being? I just don't see that value in the inordinate focus on personality quirks or imperfections. I certainly hope not to be remembered by my stupidity.
  20. Don't just leave us hanging!
  21. I'd rather be rich than stupid.
  22. My opinion? Eat when you're hungry. When you're not hungry, don't eat. I could imagine situations where forcing yourself to eat might be the wise course of action. But in the situation you describe above, I'm of the opinion that if you feel like not eating, don't eat, and use the situation to implore God for his comfort. Experiment with it a bit and see how things go. If you decide fasting in such circumstances is helpful, great! If not, then no harm done. FWIW. Good luck in any case.
  23. There are tales of American Indians covering 100 miles in a day on foot. I think those stories have been largely discounted in modern times, but maybe we should reassess just what properly trained and motivated people are capable of.
  24. Lovely person. And now I'm all curious about the asterisks. FTR, I don't agree with either of your acquaintances. I do believe that the physical sacrifice involved is intrinsic to the value of a fast. But I believe it's much more than this. Lots of things are available to sacrifice, if that's your mindset. Fasting provides a somewhat unique (can I even say "somewhat unique"? Is that like "more perfect"?) sacrifice in that you are willingly depriving yourself of a necessity of life. But I think it goes beyond this, as well. My own idea—and this is not canonical LDS doctrine, so please don't take it as such—is that intentional fasting and prayer somehow opens to us spiritual sensitivity and insights that we do not normally perceive. The scriptures are replete with stories of men gaining great spiritual gifts and magnifying the spiritual gifts they already possess through fasting. Somehow, the power of God is made manifest in such people, and their fasting is an integral part of that process. Now, I don't mean to make this procedural. I definitely do believe that God is not capricious, that he is a God of law, and that he follows processes to bring about his creations. But I don't claim to know those processes; they surely go far beyond any physics we have developed. My own belief is that fasting is, in effect, an eternal law, and that by following that law, we can experience its blessings. But I don't claim to know the boundaries or intricacies of the law of the fast. Obviously, it's more than just not eating anything. It certainly must be done with a pure heart. A major reason for my experimentation is to try to figure out how such things work. Yeah, the "God is bigger than food" thing leaves me nonplussed. I don't really have a response to it, except to say, "Okay, whatever." I guess if it worked for her, then more power to her.
  25. Vort

    Christ's Blood & The Book of Mormon

    In a sense, the Bible is more foundational than the Book of Mormon. But the Book of Mormon is truly and literally the word of God to our generation. I suspect that will be the case throughout this dispensation of the gospel, or at least until we have more historical revelation given to us to flesh out the books that should have been in the Bible but never made it for one reason or another.