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Everything posted by Just_A_Guy

  1. Me too. An advantage of being a mod is the ability to instantly hide my own duplicates. 😎
  2. I could get behind that. It's sort of a downward spiral. (Incidentally, I've always thought that the "pride cycle" could be better described as a "pride toilet bowl". But I digress . . .)
  3. MOE, you know I love ya; but I would respectfully suggest that I find this a bit selective. The context surrounding your second quotation is extremely suspicious of labels. Specifically, the section of the webpage entitled "Identity and Labels" reads in full as follows: We should exercise care in how we label ourselves. Labels should be used thoughtfully and with the guidance of the Holy Ghost. Labels can affect how we think about ourselves and how others treat us and may expand or limit our ability to follow God’s plan for our happiness. Labels may impact our goals, sense of identity, and the people we call friends. If labels get in the way of our eternal progress, we can choose to change them. Elder Dallin H. Oaks explained in a 2006 interview: “I think it is an accurate statement to say that some people consider feelings of same-gender attraction to be the defining fact of their existence. … We have the agency to choose which characteristics will define us; those choices are not thrust upon us. “The ultimate defining fact for all of us is that we are children of Heavenly Parents, born on this earth for a purpose, and born with a divine destiny. Whenever any of those other notions, whatever they may be, gets in the way of that ultimate defining fact, then it is destructive and it leads us down the wrong path” (Interview With Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Elder Lance B. Wickman: “Same-Gender Attraction,” 2006). If one experiences same-sex attraction, he or she can choose whether to use a sexual identity label. Identifying oneself as gay or lesbian is not against Church policy or doctrine; however, it may have undesired consequences in the way one is treated. No true follower of Christ is justified in withholding love because you decide to identify in this way. President Russell M. Nelson reminded us: “One day you will be asked if you took upon yourself the name of Christ and if you were faithful to that covenant” (“Identity, Priority, and Blessings,” Ensign, Aug. 2001, 10). As Paul expressed it: “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:27–28). One day, at the end of this short mortal journey, we will return to the presence of our Heavenly Parents. One day, all other labels will be swallowed up in our eternal identity as children of God. In context, your quotation that "[one] can choose whether to use a sexual identity label" is more along the lines of a rhetorical "you can choose whether to smoke crystal meth", not a permissive "go ahead and take my car on your date tonight, and everything will be fine!". In this case: yes, people have their agency--but one course of action is wise, and the other is not. One course of action is approved by God; the other--at least as a general proposition--He has consistently warned against. Just as a bit of historical geekery--I think we forget just how tenuous the United States' position was during the Napoleonic Wars. Adams reluctantly agreed to these as war measures; he knew they were deeply problematic. I'd highly recommend McCullough's biography of Adams for more on the issue. He had his flaws, to be sure; but Adams was no tyrant. I'll offer some thoughts on Jefferson, in my response to MOE below. Well, yes--the Constitution had to be adapted in a form that everyone would agree with; and so on topics where not everyone agreed, the Constitution said as little as possible. This sort of ties back in to Godless’s point on Jefferson: The filthy little corollary of Jefferson's idea that governments should reform every couple of decades, was that he didn't see any problem with armed insurrections and even wholesale, massively bloody revolutions with the same degree of frequency. So far as I am aware, Jefferson was more or less a cheerleader of Robespierre's Reign of Terror and only much later was more-or-less shamed into acknowledging its "excesses"--before then, I believe he went on-record saying that a revolution that left only one male and one female alive to repopulate a country was preferable to "tyranny". At any rate, the practical lesson here seems to be that if we don't respect the text of the US Constitution because we see it as an extraordinary document borne of the extraordinary wisdom of an extraordinary group, we should at least respect it because any attempt to use atextual or extratextual interpretations of constitutional law to force-fit novel ideas onto large swaths of the populace increases the probability of an armed insurrection. To put it bluntly--if one agrees with Jefferson, then one doesn't get to express moral outrage over the January 6 brouhaha/ mob/ "insurrection". And a significant key to the Constitution's longevity has been its relatively-universally-acknowledged silence, vagueness, or ambiguity on the major political controversies of any particular moment in American history. As for Adams and Madison's comments about a moral populace: When they spoke of the need for a degree of civic "virtue" or "morality" in order for the Constitution to function--I suspect they were defining those terms much more broadly than simply sexual probity (either homosexual or heterosexual). Certainly, sexual profligacy and (in those days before birth control) unwed parenthood/ illegitimacy/ bastardy could be deeply socially problematic in and of itself. But I suspect that Adams and Madison were speaking of deeper core values--concepts like the individual divinely-decreed worth of each human, respect for the rights of others as well as ourselves, reason and rationalism, tolerance, respect for rule-of-law, self-discipline, an ability to take the long view, and a willingness to deny one's baser appetites and even to voluntarily subordinate one's self-interest to a greater good. My understanding is that Adams (and, perhaps to a lesser extent, Madison) saw these as part-and-parcel of a fundamental Judeo-Christian moral framework; though certainly there's been a long and lively debate about whether these can sustainably exist outside of such a framework. In that sense: While I agree that American civics is in deep trouble and that a lot of it has to do with the moral decay that Adams and Madison warned about, I think that the LGBTQ movement (and indeed, the sexual revolution as a whole) is a symptom, not the cause, of that moral decay. I think the same of Trumpism, by the way. "Civic virtue" as (I would argue) most of the framers understood it, seems incompatible with most of the core arguments embraced by adherents of either faction.
  4. This is awesome. My family has been doing a weekly Sunday night program during Advent for the past four years now (based on material drawn from Eric Huntsman’s “Good Tidings of Great Joy”), so last night was a discussion on “hope”. This will make a nice addition.
  5. I appreciate your being willing to talk about what you’ve gone through, and certainly want to be respectful of that. I will simply note, as far as LGBTQ individuals go, that it’s comparatively rare to hear the conservative/religious family member post their side of the story; and when they do, it doesn’t tend to get as much distribution. The two LGBTQ folks in my own extended family—at least from my perspective—got unqualified family support and love from their immediate families; one family almost immediately [left] the Church in support, and the other almost immediately quit talking about religion in the LGBTQ family member’s presence. And yet both have made long, drama-queenery Facebook posts about how their families were just so terrible to them. I didn’t think too much of it until reading Shrier’s Irreversible Damage, where many of the parents of transgender teens were extremely progressive, irreligious, and even (in one case) lesbian—yet their experiences were still characterized by extreme alienation and wild accusations of bigotry being made by the transitioning teen. Additionally, my professional experience in family law has reiterated to me that “supportive family” can be a very slippery term—there’s a) the kind of support we want to get; b) the kind of support our family wants to give; and c) the kind of support we actually need—which may be somewhere on the spectrum between a) and b), or somewhere else entirely. It has been said—perhaps with more than a few grains of truth—that many Mormons have something of a persecution complex. I think this as well as the experience of many teens who are setting themselves apart from their parents—in terms of religion, sexuality, or a host of other issues—suggests that at some level, some part of the human psyche has a need to be misunderstood. I suppose that traditionally, society was structured in such a way that more or less forced us to outgrow it and eventually we realized that, tactical differences aside, our families really did love us and have our best interests at heart and that we had more in common with them than our teenaged selves had thought. Nowadays, though, there are all manner of intersectional groups ready and willing to tell us that “no one in your life understands you the way I do”—leading us to not only wallow in our narcissism and go seeking for validation of our self-pity like addicts to crack; but we make that worldview the foundation for our future selves. And then we wake up one day in our forties or fifties and wonder why the last three decades of our lives have basically been an unbroken line of failed relationships (and often, professional mediocrity as well).
  6. On a semi-topical note, I recently saw the below on Twitter and thought it worth quoting: 1. Convince gays to kick people out of their lives if they’re religiously orthodox 2. Watch their support systems dwindle [JAG adds] 2.5. Replace those support systems with an LGBTQ “community” that values the individual, first and foremost, as a vessel for and object of sexual desire 3. Witness them becoming isolated, lonely, and resentful 4. Put full blame on religious people
  7. Would it be? Would the Democrat have swallowed the Lee amendment if the Republican caucus had held firm?
  8. The impression that just came to me—and I could well be wrong—was, “The church is placing its faith in people, rather in law.” This approach revolts against every fiber of my political and professional being. But, taking the Church as a church, and tracing the interactions of the people of God with the broader societies in which they found themselves throughout scriptural history; and considering the atextualist dog-and-pony show that is post-FDR American constitutional law—it’s not necessarily that bad of a decision. Cruz and Lee are making two dangerous assumptions: that the Lee amendment (or something like it) is even politically possible; and that it would be honored even if codified in law; whereas the Church is playing a very ancient game—one that predates both the modern nation-state and the idea of representative government as we know it.
  9. Good friend of mine from childhood wound up gay, and he posted that article on his Facebook with a diatribe basically blaming the “don’t say gay” bills and the “groomer” panic. I’m still debating whether to push back on it. Will probably give it a few days to see if this story of the shooter being non-binary pans out . . .
  10. My FIL says he heard on Ted Cruz’s podcast that Cruz is accusing Mitt Romney of having talked an individual LDS church leader into going rogue and making the announcement on behalf of the entire church without authorization. Can anyone confirm if Cruz is actually saying this?
  11. I have little to day about Disney other than 1). I recently saw some graphs of Disneyland/Disney World ride wait times and relative down times. The figures for the last two years—and the underlying trend—were not pretty. 2). Disney Cruise Line recently unveiled its fifth ship, and made much of the primarily-female design team. The result is a departure from much of the tradition and style of the earlier ships, and reviews have been . . . ambiguous. I did want to respond to this, though: I agree with the overall tenor, but remarks like this make me wonder how far we’ve already gone. What would Moses, or Nephi, or Brigham Young or Spencer Kimball think about a story of boozy potty-mouthed solders cockily practicing to kill others, where the hero is a serial fornicator who is caught in the act (yet again!) by the teenaged daughter of the object of his seduction? Is a ten-second cameo of the two mothers of an animated hero really THAT much worse than what we’ve already acclimated ourselves to? (I’m not saying this by way of excusing the rise of LGBTQ tolerance; I’m saying that a) we (myself included) probably haven’t locked our homes down nearly tightly enough; and b) we are already pretty well acclimated to what previously would have been considered a horrifying degree of sociological moral rot.)
  12. It’s a day for surprises. You never thought you’d agree with @The Folk Prophet about being suspicious of corporations; and I never thought you’d agree with me about the desirability of a form of Christian nationalism gaining political hegemony in the USA. But on your first point: I think progressives and conservatives/libertarians actually agree that it’s right to be suspicious of corporations. Adam Smith even wrote: People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices…. The difference is, progressives tend to want to empower government to push back against this trend via regulation; whereas free-marketers generally believe such efforts are destined to be largely futile because corporate interests will simply hijack the regulatory apparatus in order to feather their own nests while squelching competition. Thus, Smith continued, But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies, much less to render them necessary.
  13. I hope that this spectacle buries the “sovereign citizen” defense once and for all. That said: “the judge outright told me I was evil after conviction, and she may well have been thinking that pre-conviction” is a heckuva grounds for an appeal.
  14. It probably wouldn’t have become a “ward” in the first place. I believe there are certain benchmarks for the number of worthy priesthood holders in an area in order to get authorization to upgrade a “group” into a “branch”, or a “branch” into a “ward”, or to split a ward.
  15. In general terms, “exercising the birthright” meant the same thing it meant in ancient times: one was shouldered with the primary responsibility to care for the temporal and spiritual welfare of the rest of the family; and one was granted the material resources necessary to do that work. Non-Ephraimites who convert and join the Church join in the covenant blessings and responsibilities of Ephraim by virtue of the covenants they make through baptism, priesthood ordination, and temple rites. That’s a huge part of the “gathering” process President Nelson is so fond of talking about. We’re all fundamentally doing the same work; though (and this is something I recently learned, and with contours that I’m still exploring) we may have differing tribal legacies that lead us to go about that work in subtly different ways. Regarding right of priesthood as outlined in the various sections of the D&C: no, a holder of the Aaronic priesthood is not necessarily a literal descendant or Aaron or a Levite. Now, there is an ideal that priesthood should be passed from father to son; and some of the scriptures you cite reiterate that idea. And a literal descendant of Aaron following the firstborn lineage could (subject to worthiness and the Lord’s will—see, eg, D&C 121:34-46) claim the right of head of the Aaronic Priesthood (ie, presiding bishop of the LDS Church), just as could be done anciently. Arguably they could also claim the priesthood office [as distinct from the ecclesiastical office] of bishop as well. But, the Aaronic Priesthood is always subject to the “higher” Melchizedek Priesthood (if you want to get super pedantic, all priesthood is technically Melchizedek; but the Aaronic Priesthood is a sort of subset of the Melchizedek Priesthood that concerns itself primarily with temporal matters and the lesser spiritual rituals). Someone holding the office of a high priest in the Melchizedek Priesthood acting under direction of the proper “keyholders” has all the priesthood prerogative and authority that someone holding the office of a bishop in the Aaronic priesthood has; that’s the point that 68:19 makes—one can be ordained to the priesthood and ecclesiastical offices of “bishop” without being a lineal descendant of Aaron (ie, a Levite) so long as one is also ordained as a high priest. D&C 107:76 suggests that a Levite who finds himself serving in the ecclesiastical office of a bishop could do so without the assistance of counselors, although—as someone once pointed out to me—it’s hard to imagine any bishop wanting to do that.
  16. Fortunately, it’s only the other guys who are political. Our side is just telling the truth, which some cretins are too unenlightened to accept.
  17. I had half-wondered since 2008 whether the church’s political involvement on the issue was less about making a difference socially/politically and more about making our stance crystal clear. Amish folks don’t have to register for the draft, because their faith’s stance on non-violence is well-known. Maybe in time we will need a similar accommodation, both individually and for the church as an institution. There are a lot of folks out there greedily rubbing their hands together and fantasizing about what they could do with the Church’s (formerly) $100+ billion war chest if only the Church’s tax-exempt status could be revoked . . . That said, the proggies generally and LGBTQ advocates in particular have a very long tradition of promising us that they would never do something—and then doing it anyways. (The “law of merited impossibility”, as I believe Rod Dreher has called it.) Like Vort, I am fundamentally left only with the faith that the Church’s leaders are being divinely guided and that the Lord (if not the leaders themselves) know what they’re doing.
  18. Ugh. As I think I’ve mentioned a few times, I work as legal counsel to DCFS/CPS in my state. This was very much over-the-line, even by my standards.
  19. One other approach to the problem in the OP would be to tell the relative: “If you find another apartment, I’ll front the deposit for you—just give me the landlord’s contact info and I’ll send them a check.” It’s a bigger up-front investment, but has a clearly defined cutoff; and it leaves the risk/cost of eviction (which is messier and slower than ever these days) in the hands of someone else).
  20. In the olden days of the internet, probably not; because the internet was likened to a public forum. Twitter pre-Musk had been censoring—err, curating—its content so heavily (especially in the last five years) that it could be argued Twitter has created an expectation among users that tweets that make it through their censors are accurate (blech!). But then again, pretty much everyone knows that Musk is basically trying to turn back the clock on Twitter and restore it to “public forum” status. So . . . yeah. Frankly, given all these reports about how overvalued Twitter is—when all is said and done, even if someone sued them and won, Twitter may well turn out to be judgment-proof.
  21. My speculation is that there’s been so much tribal intermarriage that at this point ethnicity no longer really correlated with tribal affiliation—everyone has some of everything. This may be less the case with Ephraim and Manasseh, as mentioned above; but even then—me, my wife, and my second kid are all Ephraimite, but my oldest is from Manasseh. So here again, tribal affiliation seems to be less an issue of ethnicity/ descent/ bloodline than of covenant and/or adoption.
  22. I’ve seen it done in times of emergency. But generally speaking . . . Contrary to what many folks will tell you, homelessness (at least in the US) is not merely an inevitable product of poverty. It is usually (not always, but usually) a product of poverty in conjunction with deeply antisocial behaviors (generally a result of untreated mental illness, drug use, or some combination of the two). I’ve worked with people who had stayed at The Road Home or other shelters in the Wasatch Front. The things they encountered at those shelters were horrifying. Drugs were rampant, physical violence and sexual assault were not uncommon, and filth was uncontrollable. On the whole, I’d rather take my kids to church at a maximum security prison than a homeless shelter—the security is better, prison inmates are held to a higher behavioral standard, and they face more rigorous displinary procedures.
  23. Random tangent: Is it just me, or do D. Todd Christofferson and Merrick Garland look an awful lot alike?