Just_A_Guy

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Everything posted by Just_A_Guy

  1. Just_A_Guy

    Spiritual Bypassing

    The silver lining in this is that those of us who work with mental health professionals firsthand, are acutely aware of how often they fail; and I think a lot of us nurse serious doubts about the degree to which they know what they are doing at all. Many of them mean well. They can be helpful. They are not gods, by any stretch of the imagination. But, yes. Pay very, very close attention to your AG, DA, and (if applicable) judge elections.
  2. Just_A_Guy

    Spiritual Bypassing

    The article is much longer than I have time to really engage with at present. My two immediate reactions are: 1). Brigham Young is reported to have said that the devil will tell nineteen truths if by so doing he can get men to believe one lie; and 2). One of the major but, so far, mostly unacknowledged threats to religious liberty; is the growing trend of “pathologizing” core elements of Christianity in general and Mormonism in particular. The notion that, not only are our doctrines and practices wrong; but that they are psychologically harmful and therefore (by inference) can and should be prohibited even in an otherwise “tolerant” and pluralistic society. It is not only appropriate, but necessary that articles like this should be highlighted and picked apart and debunked.
  3. Just_A_Guy

    Radical Orthodoxy

    I see this as a number of LDS apologists and thinkers—some, very popular in progressive LDS circles—pushing back and saying “guys, you need to know that we actually do accept the Church’s truth claims.”
  4. Just_A_Guy

    Make the Forums Great Again

    As much as I enjoy talking politics—that’s been behind most of the major bannings / withdrawals that I’m aware of over the last year. Maybe we need to reconsider bringing back the ban on political discussion?
  5. Just_A_Guy

    The election

    You can PM Pam, Scott. Personally, I’d hate to see you go; but it’s your call. I apologize if I’ve contributed to an environment that made you feel unwelcome.
  6. Just_A_Guy

    The election

    On this business of “loving America”, I’ll engage with one possible controversial broad over-generalization, by offering another even more-controversial broad over-generalization: Republicans love America the way a newlywed man loves his wife: for what she is, and which he hopes she will eternally remain. Democrats love America the way a newlywed woman loves her husband: for what he may become, if properly managed.
  7. Just_A_Guy

    The election

    I don’t think it was really Trump that has held the GOP largely together over the last 4 years; it was the hard left’s increasing vocalness (not to say violence), and the unmasking both of the more radical parts of their agenda and the nominally-“impartial” institutions that are willing to make that happen. If the Democrats can set firm boundaries between their mainstream leadership and the party fringe and make a convincing case that Biden is simply a return to “normalcy”, I think most of Trump’s base will drop their paranoia and go back to (what I like to think is) the GOP’s natural position of elevating ideas over people, and being patient enough to believe that the strength of their policies will win out in the end. But if Biden appears poised to enact additional dramatic and irreversible changes to the leftwards that are seen as threatening conservatives’ liberty or their prospects for education or employment—single-payer health care, or court-packing, or fiddling with RFRA, for example—there will be a lot of scared Republicans whose knee-jerk reaction will be to stick with the “fighter” they know.
  8. Just_A_Guy

    General Authorities

    You broke the code, man. Two goons carrying violin cases will be on your doorstep shortly.
  9. Just_A_Guy

    The election

    Here’s my reaction to the first ten minutes or so: —Giuliani’s tone and asides suggest that he’s less interested in converting his opponents (or even the open-minded), than in confirming the suspicions of those already sympathetic to him. —Yes, it’s significant to now have apparent documentation of various forms of fraudulent electoral behavior; especially to contest the smug academics who keep assuring us that it Never Happens. —Yes, hopefully this will make some more open-minded Americans consider the issue and think “golly, if there were election fraud, what would it look like and what kind of evidence would it take to demonstrate it?” That’s always helpful. —Ultimately, I am not equipped to make any kind of rational, informed judgment on the overall significance of Giuliani’s claims. He talks of hundreds of affidavits—but there are tens of thousands of precincts, in hundreds of counties, in half a dozen contested states, and each with their own laws and rules and procedures. My understanding is that at least a couple of the affidavits have been cross-checked and that some of the affiants didn’t see what they thought they were seeing. —I’m glad this is going to the courts. I hope they take a careful, detailed, comprehensive analysis and are able to quantify the scope of the problem. But this is an incredibly complicated case (several incredibly complicated cases, really) and there’s no way we are going to have a definitive answer before the electoral college meets in December. Biden will be inaugurated in January. If Trump starts getting victories in state supreme courts, they will come piecemeal over the course of the next 3-5 years and will be almost universally ignored by the media and hushed up by Facebook and Twitter.
  10. Just_A_Guy

    Rending the Veil of Unbelief

    I hope this doesn’t come off as snarky—I don’t mean for it to. But . . . if it’s *possible* to have a corporeal body without being born into one, then why do we have to be born into one? I can think of a couple of ways that this manifestation might have been (at least, under the cultural standards of Mahonri Moriancumer) qualitatively superior to those seen by Adam, Noah, Enoch, etc, without the idea that Jesus somehow transformed Himself for the first and only time into a physical form that He wouldn’t take again for another two millennia.
  11. Just_A_Guy

    Trump 2024?

    1. Sure, so long as "the process" isn't some extraconstitutional, ahistorical claptrap specifically invented with the goal of getting Puerto Rico admitted. 2. There is nothing "constitutional" or "legal" about that. The Constitution is silent on the issue; it doesn't establish a formal progression from unorganized territory to organized territory to state. The statutes are not universally applicable; they were tailored for the needs and conditions within the various territories to which they applied. 3. Your assertion that "But congress is supposed to vote on it and have a good reason for voting not in favor of doing so" is incorrect. There is no requirement that Congress decide on statehood through an actual vote. In fact, Congress decides a lot of things by choosing *not* to bring the issue to a vote. The Constitution offers no guidance on what is or isn't a good reason; and enabling acts like the Northwest Ordinance were drafted with the presumption that certain cultural conditions already existed in the areas where states were being set up. 4. That verbiage, "free inhabitants", is interesting. Slaves didn't count. Native Americans didn't count. Why? Because, as I've already pointed out in an earlier quotation from the actual Northwest Ordinance, the act was intended to give Congressional representation to people who embraced a certain set of cultural values, which slaves and native Americans (allegedly) did not. Statehood isn't just about us governing them. It's about them governing us; so you'd darned well better chose your "them" carefully. 5. . . . And? 6. First off, your choice of words is a little artful here. The fact that there's no express constitutional or statutory reason why they shouldn't be a state, doesn't suggest that there's a constitutional or statutory reason that they should. Nor does it mean that Congress is barred from considering factors not explicitly mentioned in law or constitution. Factors like culture, values, economy and self-sufficiency, past track record of self-governance, reaction of the international community, defensibility, and--yes--how it would tip the balance of power in Congress (Missouri Compromise, anyone?). You still haven't given me a reason, under your preferred paradigm, as to why the US shouldn't have granted statehood England in 1800--or China today--if those people had, in a deliberate attempt to subvert traditional American values, jumped through the hoops you propose and demanded statehood and congressional representation. And second, let us reiterate: there are no constitutional or legal "requirements" for Puerto Rico to become a state. None. There has never been a universal procedure for any region desiring statehood. All there has been, is what Congress has deemed appropriate under the particularized set of circumstances of each would-be state at the time the application was made. To suggest that there is a standard process that all other states have gone through, and that Puerto Rico should be allowed to go through, that allowed and allows prospective states to disregard political realities and bypass any scrutiny of their own political and cultural and economic dysfunction, is a historical fairly tale; and at a certain point, repeating that fairy tale only reveals an underlying political agenda. 7. The fact that a significant portion of Americans embrace of Puerto Rico's political corruption, bureaucratic incompetence, and apparent disregard for individual liberty and personal property; speaks to a larger issue of American cultural and ideological decay. If this is about political parties, then it's because one political party has chosen wholesale to embrace that decay and foist it upon the rest of the country.
  12. Just_A_Guy

    More BSA misery

    We’ve talked about the potential that BEA would file for bankruptcy. Turns out they went ahead with a Chapter 11 filing back in February, and today was the deadline for all potential claimants to file their “proofs of claim” with the bankruptcy court. Apparently, over 92,000 proofs of claim have been received as of this afternoon; the vast majority, apparently, from self-reported sex abuse victims. Let’s assume that only half of these are accepted by the court, and that each victim receives the absurdly low figure of $100K (a recent verdict in Oregon granted the victim $20 million). Forty-six thousand claims at $100,000 per claim is $4.6 billion. BSA National apparently has $1.4 billion in assets (many already mortgaged) with the councils holding $3.3 billion more (assuming council resources can be tapped, which is debatable). That means in a best case scenario they have $4.7 billion to pay off at least $4.6 billion in sex abuse claims, plus whatever other debts the BSA has racked up. The bankruptcy is nominally a “reorganization”, but it’s looking an awful lot like the BSA’s corporate existence itself is in existential danger. Random thoughts: —The LDS/BSA divorce didn’t come a moment too soon; —A $120 billion “rainy day” fund doesn’t seem as extravagant as it used to.
  13. Just_A_Guy

    More BSA misery

    It’s worth noting in these types of situations that many sex abuse perpetrators are enormous recidivists. It’s not at all rare for a single perp to have ten or twenty victims, or more, by the time he is caught. I could well believe that the traditional close-knit, trusting, hierarchical nature of LDS communities allowed a far smaller-than-average pool of perpetrators to victimize a proportion of the community’s children that is nevertheless comparable to other communities where perpetrators are more prevalent but where they just don’t have as easy access to as many potential victims.
  14. Just_A_Guy

    Trump 2024?

    Of course, Mormondom has lots of stories about members being “assigned” by their bishops to the Republican or Democratic parties as Utah neared statehood; because Republican congresscritters were afraid that Utah would be a solidly Democratic state and opposed Utah’s admission partly for that reason . . .
  15. Just_A_Guy

    Trump 2024?

    The federal Constitution would require that a state legislature agree to its own partition; and neither Sacramento, nor Salem, nor Olympia would ever give up their strangleholds on their eastern territories. Not as autonomous regions, and certainly not as sister states. Opponents of Puerto Rican statehood, at least, are willing to cut the island loose and let it govern itself. But the colonials in the backwoods of California, Oregon, and Washington will just have to learn their place.
  16. Just_A_Guy

    Trump 2024?

    1. Utah wanted statehood so that it could choose its own local officials, rather than having federal appointees filling their executive branch and judgeships. They would have been happy with independence, had the federal government been so inclined; and even under the statehood rubric their primary wish was to be left alone. Puerto Rico has an elected governor who appoints their local judges. Statehood, for them, is not a step towards self-rule. It is a step towards letting them rule over the other states and diverting a bigger chunk of federal spending in their direction to help them cope with issues they can't, or won't, resolve on their own. 2. My friend, this is a bit of a straw man. My position isn't that a would-be state must have "no problems". My position is that with regard to Puerto Rico, "there are serious questions about their culture’s commitment to values like rule-of-law, noncorruption, individual rights, and sound fiscal management—not to mention a troubling affinity for Marxist dogma and a penchant for voting themselves money that was accumulated by people more prudent than themselves." It simply isn't true to suggest that there are universal "requirements for a territory to become a state". The Constitution merely states The Northwest Ordinance did set a precedent, but it was not a universally binding one; and there have been deviations from that pattern throughout history--sometimes for political reasons, and sometimes (as in the case of the Mormons, as well as the proposed indian state of Sekuoyah) because there were concerns about whether the locals could or would govern themselves in accordance with the underlying principles of the Republic. The Northwest Ordinance itself affirmed that "religion, morality, and knowledge" as " being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind". Certainly, if in 1800, the UK had said "Okay, America; we, with our population of ten million, declare ourselves to be subject to you and your population of five million. Now, give us our 2/3 of the votes in your House of Representatives, and our majority in the electoral college, and we promise we'll uphold the values on which you founded your revolution!", Congress would have the right to say "hey, wait a second . . .". Indeed, if China did the same thing in 2020--your logic would suggest we have to admit them, giving them over 80% of the House and an electoral college majority of their own. That, of course, is nonsense. Culture and values and prevailing notions of civic virtue in a would-be new state are a legitimate--in fact, a key--point of congressional inquiry. 3. Had Hawaii--or Utah--been nearly bankrupt within the past five years, and demanded a bailout from the federal government? Were they rife with corruption? Infested with a political ideology that has killed a hundred million people and poisoned both the economy and individual liberties of every nation-state it dominated? Had a per capita income less than half of the rest of the US? Had they repeatedly misappropriated federal relief aid and bungled disaster response after disaster response? These are not mere temporary problems to be worked through. These call into question the fundamental notions of what exactly the prevailing values in Puerto Rico really are. Back around 2003-2004, progressives had no problem acknowledging that some peoples (*cough IRAQIS cough*) just weren't culturally fit for American-style democracy. Why, then, do we accept this assumption that Puerto Rican culture can mesh seamlessly into the American experiment; especially when we have so much tangible evidence to the contrary? By your own figures, an overwhelming majority of Puerto Ricans don't want to be governed by Puerto Ricans. Why, then, should I? 4. There is nothing in the Constitution that says the ultimate arbiter of the decision is a plebiscite of either the would-be state in question, or of the American people as a whole. To the contrary, the Constitution vests that decision with Congress; and Congress has considered statehood for Puerto Rico. Some folks just don't like the results of that consideration, because a) it makes it harder for Puerto Rico's kleptocratic political class to get its hands into the pocketbooks of people living outside its own jursidiction; and b) it leaves the Senate--for the moment--in Republican hands.
  17. Just_A_Guy

    Trump 2024?

    By being such a dysfunctional armpit that anyone who can get out, does?
  18. Just_A_Guy

    More BSA misery

    Perhaps. The three questions/concerns I have are: 1). My experience with bankruptcy is limited to handling a couple dozen clean Chapter 7s and a couple of relatively simple Chapter 13s, all of which was nearly ten years ago. But AFAIK, the proof of claim process usually precedes dickering over the size of the bankruptcy estate, the nature of any exempt assets, or the details of the repayment plan. In fact, the whole point of the proofs of claim process is to identify the people who might have standing to be heard and/or object as these other issues are hashed out. I find it very unlikely that the bankruptcy judge would have assured the BSA at this early stage of the process that its camps and operational accounts are safe. 2). AFAIK, when this process began most estimates were that the PoC process might ferret out as many as 5,000 more claimants. The 92,000 figure is absolutely staggering. I don’t think anyone dreamed it would be that high, and it’s quite possibly a game-changer. The idea of a chapter 11 bankruptcy is that you get enough breathing room to pay off your “non-dischargeable” debts in full, while “dischargeable debts” may get paid at pennies on the dollar or not get paid at all. otherwise you’re forced into liquidation. But debts arising from “intentional torts” (ie cases where conduct was deemed “willful or malicious”) are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. These sex abuse claims (if meritorious) may very probably have to be paid in full by the time the case ends, which I believe is rarely longer than two years; whereas it’s looking like it would take *decades* for the BSA to pay off these claims. If there are simply aren’t enough assets in the pot to pay them off in full in a timely way, BSA will have no choice but to liquidate. 3). The BSA leadership lies. Sad to say, but it’s true. They told the Church they wouldn’t do certain things, and then did them; which I suspect was a big part of why the Church got out. They told the Girl Scouts they wouldn’t do certain other things, and then they did those things; triggering a lawsuit. I would take any assurances they offer to their stakeholders with a *huge* grain of salt at this point.
  19. Just_A_Guy

    Trump 2024?

    1. I’m talking about culture; I’m not sure why you’re responding with statistics about race. And I’m talking about Puerto Rico specifically, not Hispanic culture as a whole. Have you been looking at Puerto Rican politics over the past decade? When we look at the way Puerto Rico has governed itself of late, as well as the values espoused by prominent Puerto Rican politicians like AOC, I think there are serious questions about their culture’s commitment to values like rule-of-law, noncorruption, individual rights, and sound fiscal management—not to mention a troubling affinity for Marxist dogma and a penchant for voting themselves money that was accumulated by people more prudent than themselves. The fact that the Democratic Party (or even, to a lesser extent, the GOP) has degenerated into the same sorts of issues, does not mean that Puerto Rico deserves a seat at the congressional table in allocating the resources that are generally husbanded by other, more functional states (Puerto Rico’s per capita income, by the way, is barely half of Mississippi’s, the poorest US state). Mormon Utah consistently ranks among the best-run US states/territories. Puerto Rico . . . does not. 2. Be that as it may, their ability to bloc together in a geographical area and vote themselves benefits from the public purse is currently limited. In their diaspora, they have not been able to turn any American jurisdiction into quite the sort of dysfunctional morass that Puerto Rico itself currently is. Cripes, Puerto Rico was on the edge of bankruptcy and screaming for a federal bailout not five years ago! No ones saying that individual Puerto Ricans should, or constitutionally can, lose their US citizenship if PR attains independence. If they want to remain Americans and have their children enjoy birthright citizenship, they are free to immigrate and see firsthand how a successful American state functions, and make their voting decisions accordingly. But as for the island of Puerto Rico: I have no duty to buy what they have broken. Puerto Rico is likely to be even more of a drain on American resources as a state, than it is as a territory. It’s residents themselves understand this. Even as a territory they’ve got a pretty sweet gig—which is why they don’t want independence. To paraphrase Kennedy: they aren’t interested in what they can do for America. They’re interested in what America can do for them. 3. Fortunately, while “what the people want” is a major factor in US governance, it is not the only factor. As Latter-day Saints, our own history should make us particularly attenuated to the pitfalls of majority rule.
  20. Just_A_Guy

    Trump 2024?

    Because their culture is different. We may as well offer statehood to Cuba and Haiti. I’m sure lots of Cubans and Haitians would be happy to profess loyalty to the US and even do a stint in the US military, if it meant they could claim VA benefits and move to New York and demand “diversity preference” at a state-funded university and elect congresscritters who will promise them federal money in perpetuity if they will but stay on the Democrat plantation. We should have granted Puerto Rico its independence, long ago.
  21. Just_A_Guy

    Trump 2024?

    I was just going to say the same thing. I saw a story today saying that Biden is telling his staff to lay off of Trump, prosecutions-wise; but Biden can’t control the New York State AG. Trump may be spending his retirement overseas.
  22. Just_A_Guy

    More BSA misery

    From what chatter I see online, it looks like BSA was supposed to indemnify the chartering orgs. Many churches that still participate in Scouting have apparently filed indefinite proofs of claim in the Chapter 11 case, specifically because they’re afraid that otherwise the case will void the BSA’s indemnity. Our church seems not to be doing that. I think that if the LDS Church can reasonably be added as co-defendant on any of these cases, it will probably will be added regardless of any bankruptcy by the BSA; simply because it’s one more deep pocket to rope into the suit. But financially, we’re in much better shape than the BSA is to weather any coming storm.
  23. Just_A_Guy

    Trump 2024?

    If the GOP keeps the Senate, McConnell can keep bills he *really* doesn’t like from even coming to the vote. Biden is certainly a major part of deciding what legislation gets passed, but there’s also a big question mark about whether the GOP post-Trump retains its populist flavor or whether it reverts to a more conventionally ideological brand of conservatism. That may determine the ultimate fate of Biden proposals regarding—say—criminal justice reform, or fiscal policy.
  24. Just_A_Guy

    What's the difference?

    So, I may not be your target audience here—I didn’t “convert” from another religion to LDS; I was born in the faith. But of course, at some point I had to make a deliberate and informed decision to stay; so I’ll offer my two cents for what it’s worth. Maybe a parable, of sorts, will help: I’ve gotten into woodworking in a small way over the past couple of years. Nothing really special—a few bookshelves, a couple of boxes for various purposes, that kind of thing; I hope to make more furniture-type items going forward. I’ve accrued a collection of tools—less than I think I need, though certainly more than my wife thinks I need! The next tool that I want, is a thickness planer. The function of a thickness planer is that you feed a board into one end and, in seconds, an electrically-powered rotating blade shaves a layer of wood off the top face of the board. The result is a perfectly flat face. You can use a thickness planer for dimensioning lumber to the exact thickness you want it. You can also use it to take pre-milled wood that was cut sloppily, or that has warped/cupped/bowed since it was cut, and shape it into something that is perfectly flat and straight and ready for precision woodworking. Now, with a bit of skill and the right alternative tools (a workbench with clamps and a selection of hand planes), you could be an absolutely amazing woodworker without ever owning a thickness planer. It would be absolutely absurd to say that someone who owns a thickness planer is a “better woodworker” than a craftsman who lacks that tool, or that his product will always be qualitatively superior. Many woodworkers actually enjoy the workpace, or physical exercise, or tradition, or connection to their forbears, or just the extra attention that go into using and sharpening and tuning and maintaining their hand planes. But the fact is that a thickness planer just plain lets you work faster. A woodworker who chooses not to obtain that tool, will eventually find that his choice to dimension or flatten lumber by hand is imposing an artificial limit on the quantity of projects that he is able to undertake and complete. A woodworker who chooses to invest in a thickness planer, and uses it effectively as he works to improve his own skill set over time, will eventually be able to achieve more than the woodworker who chose not to obtain that tool. To me, religion is a tool—or, more properly, a set of tools—that helps us to produce the product God wants. To help us become what He wants us to become, now and in the hereafter. So in evaluating a religion, my starting point has to be what the religion says about the nature of God, the nature of man, the relationship between those two, what God’s plans are for humankind, and what the potential and fate of humankind actually is. If you accept the ideas that: --mankind was created as a sort of god in embryo --it is possible for a man to progress to a point where he can have the qualities God has, wield the powers that God wields, and do the things that God does; and --Jesus Christ’s Atonement was geared towards making it possible for us to do precisely that— --well, then, Mormonism is pretty much the only game in town. And frankly, I think as Church members, we should work harder at articulating this vision through our outreach and missionary work. The simple fact is that, per our theology—observant Christians who sincerely seek after Christ and live a Christlike life will get the Terrestrial Kingdom, which is basically everything their own faith traditions have led them to expect of Heaven. God didn’t restore the Church to get people into the Terrestrial Kingdom; he restored the Church for the benefit of that subset of humanity that seeks exaltation. That’s not some obscure “gospel meat” that should be carefully concealed until after the “milk” has been digested; it’s part and parcel of what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is offering to Christianity and to the world in general. But let’s say you reject that particular worldview, while still agreeing that God imposed religion so as to help humans to become better individuals who are more in touch with His greatness and goodness and saving and comforting power. Even by that measure, Mormonism offers a pretty amazing toolset—one that I believe, properly used, can still take one further than the toolset offered by any other religion or philosophy. These tools include: --A quantitatively and qualitatively superior means of direct communication with God via the Holy Spirit, which in turn offers superior opportunities for education, edification, solace, warning, and instruction/counsel about the various life-decisions we all must make. Mormonism also promotes the idea that it is possible to commune with the Father even more directly, via visions and/or other direct interactions with corporeal angels or with God Himself. --I would note, on this issue, that while I am absolutely unqualified to trace the history of charismatic or Pentecostal Christian movements—it seems to me that one of the big selling points in 19th century Mormon missionary work, was the idea of spiritual gifts. We see this in Mormonism’s own publicized histories of itself and some of its first noteworthy converts, and I see it a lot in private journals of some of my own ancestors. A theme that I took away from Terryl Givens’s “Wrestling the Angel”, as well as his biography of Parley Pratt (which delves deeply into Pratt’s preaching and writing), leads me to the impression that much of mainline Christianity (certainly the “respectable” institutionalized branches thereof) had pretty much pooh-poohed “spiritual gifts” like tongues, prophecy, revelations, visions, healings, etc—as artifacts of the primitive church that Christianity had outgrown as it matured. While again acknowledging my relative ignorance of Christian history beyond my own faith tradition—I do wonder if many of the pastors and theologians who saw the way Mormonism appealed to a lot of Christian “seekers” did some soul-searching about whether their own congregations could benefit from the restoration of some of these gifts; and undertook a private and individual re-evaluation of the idea of “spiritual gifts” generally that may have helped “prepare the way” for 20th century pentecostal/evangelical/charismatic Christian movements. --Divine power, channeled both through the Holy Spirit and through divinely-sanctioned priests, that enables the Saints to make spiritual/psychological progress that they’d never be able to do on their own. And a power that occasionally, according to the will of God, can even change the material nature of the world around us. --Sacramental rites and liturgies that reinforce our sense of connectedness to the divine, and challenge and educate us in new and sometimes unexpected ways. --I would note here that I think most religions have a surfeit of mishnahs and commentaries and sermons that are happy to spoon-feed us the ostensible “meanings” and “right interpretations” of the mysteries we see in scripture, in nature, in human behavior and the problems of life. Mormonism certainly has this, too. But Mormonism also has a set of esoteric temple liturgies where—not only do our leaders abstain from telling us what it means; but they give us an injunction not even to publicly speculate about what it might mean! (Even as they continually reiterate that it does have some very deep meanings, and that it’s tremendously important that we work those meanings out by continued participation in those liturgies, and that they cannot be simply abandoned just because they are mysterious or uncomfortable.) To participate in temple worship on a prolonged basis, is to repeatedly accept a challenge to get onto the wrestling mat with God Himself—where the religious authority’s role is less about trying to mediate between you and God, and more about just keeping you in the ring even when you want to quit. I don’t know that any other religion will push you into quite that sort of a struggle with God. --Authoritative leadership that can help safeguard against deception and offer meaningful counsel in approaching the vicissitudes of life, especially while we are still growing in the faith and trying to figure out the difference between the whisperings of the Spirit and our own prejudices and predilections. --Additional scripture that again, helps to safeguard against deception and teaches us to approach God and the Spirit; while also clarifying some of the “holes” and debunking man-made misconceptions about previously-revealed scriptures. --A strong sense of collective purpose and destiny (“Zion”, and all that), which fosters both a sense of community and opportunities for personal growth through ministering and service. (The emotional and material "safety net" the Church has developed over the years ain't bad, either!) I would hasten to note, just like my parable of the thickness planer, that nearly all of the spiritual blessings and opportunities and tools (or alternative tools that serve similar purposes) exist, to some degree, in most variations of Christianity; and many adherents to those sects have used the “tools” in their possession to much greater effect than many adherents of Mormonism (myself, certainly included) have used the tools in our possession. So I hope that what I’ve written doesn’t seem too smug! Stunningly beautiful souls can be--have been--crafted within virtually any Christian faith tradition, and a good number of non-Christian traditions as well. But the underlying issue, to me, is potential and eternal increase. All other things being equal, I am satisfied through personal experience that the “tools” of Mormonism can take me further towards these ends than the “tools” offered by any other religion or philosophy. And so, I stay.
  25. Just_A_Guy

    Are members in your area: Awake or Asleep?

    1. OK, we’ll come back to that. :-) 2. No, I’m not saying either section abrogates the other. I would agree that they should work together; we should synthesize them and form our conduct in a way that satisfies both sections. 134 tells us that we want our candidates to preserve individual liberties. 98 tells us that we want our candidates to also be individually righteous people. We can no more support a righteous authoritarian, than a wicked constitutionalist. 3. I hope you’ll pardon me for suggesting that this attempt to re-define the terms “honest”, “wise”, and “good” and suggest that what they really mean is “dedication to preservation of constitutional/natural rights through political action”, comes off as rather artificial. “Honest”, “wise”, and “good”, mean what they mean. I wonder whether many of us would have allowed a Clinton supporter to hijack these terms to suggest that his support of RFRA in 1993 qualifies him as “honest, wise, and good” and deserving of our support under D&C 98:10? Moreover, the relevant verse in D&C 98 is prefaced with the statement that “when the wicked rule, the people mourn”—verbiage borrowed from Proverbs 29:2, and which in context clearly had nothing to do with the US constitution or any of the rights it purports to safeguard. The verse is succeeded by the admonition that the Saints should “forsake all evil and cleave unto all good, that ye shall live by every word which proceedeth forth out of the mouth of God. For he will give unto the faithful line upon line, precept upon precept; and I will try you and prove you herewith”—surely you aren’t suggesting that those verses mean that the sine qua non for passing whatever “test” God gives us, is merely that we embrace a conservative approach to Constitutional jurisprudence? D&C 98:10, and it surrounding context, is a call to total individual and collective righteousness—and a call to expect those same standards from those we select to lead us. Your point that, given the sheer massiveness of our democracy, our individual political power is little better than if we were living under a monarchy; is a solid one. But then—doesn’t that make it even more important that we channel what little influence we have towards the kingdom of God and His righteousness; rather than wasting our resources and undermining our own moral authority by supporting person like Trump? How can we credibly denounce Biden as corrupt, a known liar, a cheat, a bully, and a sexual predator; when we tried our darnedest to prop up *another* politician who was corrupt, a known liar, a cheat, a bully, and a sexual predator? How do we redeem democratic government (and the civil society on which such a government must be based) when we spent the last four years stating that we don’t give a flying flip if a politician lies to us, so long as *we* deem those lies to be inconsequential or in the service of a greater good? 4. It seems that the assumption that underlies this, is that we have no guarantee of a better and greater form of deliverance if we wait for divine aid and refuse to provide our support to wicked people in the interim. I reject that assumption. The scriptures tell of too many groups of people who obtained “impossible” divine deliverance from their enemies by looking to Him rather than propping up the nearest strongman—Zion under Enoch, Judah under Ahaz and Hezekiah, Israel under the Maccabees, the Nephites under Nephi and Mosiah and Moroni and Moronihah. And in the Americas we have a very particular promise in Either 2:12; and that promise is not conditioned on us voting for whatever slimeball happens to properly speak the right constitutional shibboleths. The promise is conditioned on our serving Jesus Christ. Jesus is not conservatism. Conservatism is not Jesus. 5. Agreed. FWIW I don’t think I said “millions of Saints throughout must gather in Missouri”; only that a lot of Saints would be going there. Admittedly, there could be some weaseling over the definition of “a lot”! But the commission to build Zion in Jackson County has not been revoked. It’s going to happen. I agree with you in principle about the importance of temple rites. I don’t know that I’d agree that it’s the *temples* that are important, so much as the *authority* that is associated with those temples. But I’m probably straining at gnats here—the Church is investing massively in its temples, and seems to anticipate remaining in possession of most of them for the next few decades at least. 6. Perhaps. But I was told in very specific terms, back in 2016, that Trump would build a permanent conservative (well, right-ish populist) majority and that a Trump-stocked federal judiciary would keep me safe from the schemes of leftist moonbats. Jesus, schmeezus—it was *Trump’s* power that would save me from the neo-Stalinists like Kamala Harris!