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Everything posted by Just_A_Guy

  1. Originally there were also to be Saturn stones, which I think would have looked cool (though the intended symbolism is lost on me).
  2. This seems to give rise to another question, though. We have skeletons of infants and children who died pre-Christ. But I had always understood that the non-Telestial dead who died pre-Christ were resurrected shortly after He was. So, why weren’t these little ones resurrected? Is *every* pre-Christian grave modern archaeologists find, the resting place of a wicked person? One solution to this that I’ve been toying with, is that while resurrection *might* in some cases entail the re-gathering/re-assimilation of all of the specific atoms/molecules that went down into the grave (especially when doing so constitutes a sign to others, such as Christ’s own resurrection)—that that may not *always* be the case; and resurrection may actually involve the selective retrieval of some body material that was discarded throughout one’s life (if *every* molecule that was ever part of/eaten by us came back in the resurrection, we’d be physically enormous.) Thus, I suspect that the fact that we today have remains that are traceable to a particular individual, doesn’t necessarily mean that the individual has not yet been resurrected. Peter, for example—we know he’s been resurrected. Joseph Smith saw him. He got ordained to the Melchizedek priesthood by him. And yet, I think the evidence is reasonably strong that the 1st century skeleton found under St. Peter’s Basilica and analyzed in the mid 20th century, does originate with the apostle Peter. But then, it must be that there isn’t enough of him there at the Vatican to even call it his “body” anymore. Certainly, the soft tissues are all gone. Whatever’s still there is like . . . nail clippings. The nonessential stuff.
  3. IIRC, Paul Reeve has pointed out that by “priesthood” Young is probably referring to the patriarchal order—that what changed Young’s mind about blacks and the priesthood (he was initially in favor of it) was coming to understand the importance of the temple sealing, developing a horror that righteous Abel’s line of posterity had been cut off, and concluding (via inspiration or otherwise) that Cain ought not to have priesthood-bearing seed until Abel did. So . . . maybe 1978 was the year Abel finally finally attained his exaltation, took his place upon a throne (as, IIRC, we are told that Abraham and some other patriarchs already have), and—presumably—attained godhood. Of course, in modern times we’ve been asked not to speculate about this. But since so many disregard that counsel by speculating—even arguing—that the ban was spurious, I don’t know that there’s a lot of harm in pondering the possibility that maybe BY was, to some extent, right.
  4. To some degree it probably is; but I believe God will send us better candidates when we show we want them and refuse to embrace the openly-amoral, proudly visionless libertines that the abortionists or the “beer, babes, burps ‘n’ brawls” wing of the GOP serve up to us. Naive, I know . . . A certain forum member back in 2016-ish got really mad when I cited 1 Kings 19:18 and likened it to Trump; but that’s still pretty much where I am. If the GOP thinks they need my vote, they know where to find me.
  5. Looks like I’ll be writing in President Nelson again in November (assuming he’s still alive, of course . . .)
  6. Well, wasn’t it Eisenhower who sent in federal marshals to de-segregate the schools? And I think that when Arkansas threatened to use the National Guard to keep enforcing segregation, Eisenhower federalized them—and sent them home. I imagine that the solution is going to be tailored to the circumstances of each case. Maybe it means sending federal troops to a county jail to secure a prisoner’s release. Maybe it means instructing the Treasury to quit making reimbursements to a particular state under some particular federal program. Obviously, the ability of the executive and legislative branches to coordinate a response will play a role in determining what kinds of options are on the table. IIRC, there’s a relative dearth of 10th Amendment case law from the Supreme Court. @JohnsonJones may know more about that than I do.
  7. To be fair, in the Church we do sometimes take ordinary words and assign them very specific, theologically-loaded definitions that would seem foreign to outsiders.
  8. I'll DM you if/when it becomes public; for now, it's probably a little too sensitive to go into detail about.
  9. Fundamentally it depends on whether the modern prophets and apostles are what they say they are. If so, then we can trust them to act as the “firebreak” when necessary. Insofar as the Church ever really taught that “scripture always trumps prophets”, I’m not sure that’s really an ideal paradigm. For one thing, it ignores the role of the reader in interpreting scripture. For another, scripture can often be cited for both sides of a particular controversy. For yet another, sometimes the scriptures are incomplete or silent or (most often in the case of the KJV) just plain wrong. And for yet another: sometimes God gives different instructions tailored to people in different times and places. “Scripture always trumps prophets” might be a useful generality to teach primary children; but at a certain point the exceptions become glaring enough that we start looking for more useful paradigms.
  10. I have no idea whether this is what Joseph Smith was thinking of; but I think of "estates" in the Austenian (is that a word?) sense--a son in a Jane Austen novel inherits an estate which he can either a) work carefully and conservatively, thus earning a living for his family and perhaps even increasing the size of the estate over time and securing the status of his children and grandchildren; or b) cash out the estate immediately, spend the proceeds on riotous living, and die a pauper. I believe that in Pride and Prejudice, a subtle comparison is even drawn between Mr. Darcy (who manages his inherited estate well) and Mr. Bingley (who has wisely managed his assets and is seeking to grow his estate) versus Mr. Bennett (who took no thought to using his inherited life estate to build an inheritance for his daughters, until it was too late) and Mr. Lucas (who could have built an estate but instead spent his assets pursuing a knighthood and the trappings of luxury and left a relatively modest legacy for his own children, thus driving his daughter Charlotte into an unhappy marriage as she pursued financial security).
  11. I don't think we have to go so far as to say "golly gee willikers, no one knows what the will of God really is; so I guess we're all just the moral kings of our own individual universes!" (Not saying that's your position; just waxing hyperbolic for argument's sake.) On the other hand, I think Spackman would likely point out that we, too, approach scripture and history and morality and God Himself with our own set of cultural expectations. Our own perceptions on gay marriage and race-and-priesthood are heavily influenced by--if not exclusively 21st-century--certainly post-Enlightenment Western notions such as liberty, democracy, equality, power (and who should wield it), culture, race, ethnicity, the modern nation-state, cross-cultural sensitivity, the tension between universal ethical standards versus allegiance to one's own identity group, the relationship between individualism and collectivism and between duty and personal fulfillment/happiness (both in society as a whole, and within the constraints of one's own "clan"), covenant, child-rearing, and relatively unique constructs of "love" generally and "romance" in particular. In the absence of modern prophets speaking authoritatively for God, we're on extremely tenuous ground if we assert that these particular values and notions are morally/ethically superior to those that rooted earlier civilizations; or if we purport to know God's will about any particular topic any better than any other person at any other point in history. It's especially perilous for us as Latter-day Saints to make projections about what kind of behaviors (or, for that matter, doctrines) will become en règle in the future; because the whole notion of living prophets presupposes that God has information to give to future generations that He didn't give to past generations--that He will expect actions of future generations that He did not expect of past generations. We can't say for sure that divine ratification of same-sex marriage is impossible; any more than we can rule out the banning of the color cyan, the mandating of eating fish on Fridays, a proscription on home solar arrays, the restoration of plural marriage (including concubinage), or a re-institution of a race/lineage-based priesthood ban. For all we know, tomorrow night President Nelson will get a revelation that the Savior of the World was actually an overweight pipefitter with a heart condition named Earl who died in Chicago in 1954. We conservatives have to concede that in theory, as far as the future goes, nothing is completely off-the-table. (Obviously, there are eternal truths and divine absolutes and there are indeed things that will never be permissible, worlds without end; but our ability to "know" precisely which parts of the Gospel as we understand it are truly immutable, is somewhat malleable.) All we can do is take a proposed doctrinal innovation and weigh it against the body of revelation and practice the Church has already received, and make sometimes-tentative and sometimes-pretty-darned-confident declarations about how "this could actually fit and solve a lot of problems" versus "this would be a radical departure from everything we have known and done in the past". (And then, of course, comparing that necessarily-subjective conclusion to the whisperings of the Spirit and the pronouncements of the current Church authorities.) When dealing with these kinds of questions, I think it's also easy to fall into an overly simplistic discourse about "what God wanted." The fact is, human motives aren't that clear-cut, and I don't know that God's are either. I don't want to eat my vegetables, or get up and go walking at 5 AM, or discipline my kids for misbehaving in a particular way. But I do it, because I'm playing a longer game, and I know that distasteful actions in the here-and-now are necessary to attain a particular goal over the longer-term. In that sense, I have no problem agreeing with @MrShorty that God probably didn't want to impose the priesthood ban. It's not how He got his kicks and giggles. But for some reason, He found it necessary. That reason could be any one of a myriad of things. Maybe it was due to the prejudices of Church members. Maybe it was necessary for the sake of PR for a church operating in a hopelessly prejudiced region. Maybe it was, as Elder McConkie stated after the fact, an extension of God's practice of dispensing the Gospel to different peoples at different times. Maybe it was strategically necessary as a guide for the Church to focus first on growing in the areas where Church growth would prove most sustainable while avoiding areas where Church efforts would be undone in coming decades due to political or cultural upheaval. Maybe a blanket ban nipped in the bud the pretensions of designing, predatory men (William McCary, perhaps, or others) who, if they could claim authority via priesthood ordination, may have led thousands astray or even precipitated a race-based schism in the Church. Maybe President Young (as interpreted by Reeve) was actually right that there really is something to the idea of Africans having common descendancy from Cain or some similar ancestor, and it being improper to allow that ancestor to have priesthood-bearing seed under the Patriarchal Order for a period of time. Maybe there were factors going on in the pre-existence that we know nothing about. We've been asked not to hitch our wagon to any particular speculative explanation, and so I try not to. But that doesn't mean that no such explanation in fact exists. On the other hand, stripped of 21st-century cultural baggage, the theological argument against divine origin of the ban seems to me to boil down to the protestation that "the God I worship just wouldn't do such a mean thing!" The trouble with this argument is that, as @Vort points out, Prince's biography of McKay cites multiple witnesses to illustrate persuasively that God did do such a mean thing, as recently as the 1950s. Which pretty much eviscerates the argument that He could not also have done such a thing in the 1850s. (And of course, Jews in the spirit world awaiting their redemption who happen to have died during the Holocaust, continue to suffer under a current race-based temple ban vis a vis proxy temple work; and that happened within the last twenty years.) Probably inevitably, arguments over the priesthood ban don't really revolve around the question of whether it was a divinely-instituted necessary-evil. Instead they tend to jump to the assumption that President Young, President McKay, and the other pre-McKay prophets instituted or maintained a spurious discriminatory practice against God's instructions and due to nothing more than their own unquestioning adoption of broader cultural discriminatory mores and oppressive power dynamics. Because the modern political ramifications of such a position are fairly obvious: If the GAs were hateful fun-sucking old doodie-heads once upon a time, then they probably are again; so we'll just wait for their moral judgment to catch up with ours, and in the meantime bring on the sexy time!!! But, with regard to gay sex and gay marriage vis a vis the priesthood ban: Reeve himself, in a podcast interview with Gospel Tangents around 2018-2019, pointed out that there is a distinction between that and the priesthood ban; as gays do have the option to govern their behavior in such ways as to make them eligible to receive priesthood and temple blessings. It's also worth noting that there was a very early LDS tradition of ordaining at least a few black men to the priesthood, and that even when the ban was imposed Young foresaw that it would someday be lifted. By contrast, there is no precedent in LDS history for permitting or solemnizing gay sexual relationships at any point in its history and no authoritative suggestion by a GA that such unions will ever be permissible. Like I mention above, when talking about future Church policy we can probably never say "never" with one-hundred percent confidence; because we simply don't know everything and we do believe that the Restoration is ongoing. But as many have shown in a variety of contexts, it's always tempting to trip all over ourselves trying to pre-emptively follow what we fancy the prophets will be saying in 50 years, to the point that we forget to follow what they're saying right now. The current Church position is the one that keeps us safe, leads us to Zion, and ultimately introduces us into the Divine presence. And if a person's going to prattle on about how someday the Church will allow gay sealings in its temples, I feel like I have a right to prattle on about how someday both society and the Church will allow the children of apostates and outsiders to be sold into slavery. My prediction, having the value of scriptural precedent behind it, would be just as well-founded as theirs is. And if @mikbone or @old or @The Folk Prophet tells us all that we should start praying to Pipefitter Earl the Corpulent on the basis that that's what all the Mormon cool kids will be doing as of 2124--I suppose we don't have have much of a basis to prove them wrong, either.
  12. Didn’t it turn out that 4 or 5 of those guys did indeed have convictions for doing bad things to kids?
  13. I generally agree, but will point out in partial response that the enemies of the Church are *already* emboldened by the mere appointment of a man whom they see as one of their own. In their paradigm, all they need to do is usurp a few high-profile positions, and then the Church membership like sheep will quietly do the bidding of the libertines. I don’t want to unduly embarrass the Q15, but part of me also wonders if maybe it isn’t a bad thing for the libertines to know that they’ll never be able to wholly do our thinking for us no matter what positions—or even quorums—some of their allies manage to infiltrate.
  14. Time will tell. My misgivings are that his expressions go beyond standard disagreement; it’s a fundamental loyalty issue. Plus, it’s frankly a little galling—at the behest of Elder Holland and others, many of us spent a lot of time and effort defending the Church and its teachings from the criticisms of people like Sherinian. Many of those who did so under their own name continue to face stigma, discrimination, and career stagnation; while the buffoons they were defending the Church from wind up getting Church money, Church public recognition, and Church confidence. It kind of makes some of us apologists wonder what the #%$@! we’ve even been doing this for over the last couple of decades; and feeds into a sneaking suspicion that the Church leadership doesn’t have our backs the way we’ve tried to have their backs. I hope and trust that I’m wrong, but it’s hard to make those niggling doubts completely go away. One of my comforts (other than knowing that the Lord is in charge, yada, yada, yada); is that for professional reasons I’m fairly confident that some things are going to come out in the next 2-3 months that will cause the Church’s PR guys quite a few headaches. The full facts, if known, would tend to exonerate the Church—but few will be willing or legally able to provide any public statement that might independently collaborate the Church’s response. (Incidentally: buckle up, folks. Take your vitamins, eat your Wheaties, say your prayers and read your scriptures and do all those things the prophet has been telling us to do. I may well be wrong, but think it’s going to be an interesting year.) If Sherinian is the snake in the grass that I rather suspect he is, he just won’t hold his job for very long under those circumstances. He’ll either say something so stupid or off-base that the Q15 will have no choice but to distance itself from him—or the professional need to back the brethren when every fiber of his being revolts against it, will just plain make his head explode. And a potential silver lining here is that if he is indeed good, he’s probably very good. I believe his wife Emily was the originator of the “I’m a Mormon” campaign from 10-15 years back, which I thought was extremely well done.
  15. In the abstract, I have no problem with states determining that certain candidates are ineligible to run. I think it strengthens the role of states in the electoral system. But of course, any regimen that tends to exclude a particular candidate would still have to pass muster under a due process analysis; and I have no idea whether the states in question have afforded due process to Trump (and whether the underlying statutory regimens are truly tenable) or not. I rather wonder, though, whether Kamala Harris couldn’t be excluded from office under those same statutes; since I believe her campaign was involved in raising bail funds for BLM rioters (including resistors of arrest and, possibly, courthouse/state capitol occupiers).
  16. I was privileged (ulp! There’s that word again) to have a 10th grade English teacher who insisted on giving us weekly vocabulary lists (and, thereafter, tests) of really obscure words. That was one of them.
  17. And for the sake of context, I believe the "basic claim" here is that Uchtdorf is "privileged"--notwithstanding his having grown up in Hitler's Germany with a father who was a non-Nazi bureaucrat, being evicted from Czechoslovakia into eastern Germany, starving in postwar Germany with the rest of his countrymen, living under occupation by Soviet troops, then ultimately having to flee east Germany because his dad was an anti-communist. But we know that Uchtdorf made it into the (barely-one-year-old at the time) German Air Force, which (we are to conclude) means: He was privileged (because if you didn't have connections you couldn't make it *anywhere* in mid-20th-century Germany) (except the chancellery, multiple times); His rise from destitution to prosperity had nothing--nothing!--to do with his own efforts, qualities, or anything else that might support the idea of meritocracy (because as we all know, German culture absolutely values caste, charisma, and the ability to schmooze at the expense of competence, efficiency, and skill); and Most germane to this discussion: White™ Dieter simply has no idea how hard or cruel life can be; and his apostleship would have been better conferred upon some hirsute womanizing tent-dweller in Portland or some "From The River To The Sea!"-gibbering student in London; either of whom would have had the wisdom and passion to funnel the Church's vast resources towards the cronies causes that rightfully deserve them.
  18. It’s a start. A pet peeve of mine I’ve had in these sorts of discussions in various fora is that people will express concern about a professor who did this or said that, and I (who have a daughter who hopes to start at BYU next fall) will be like “oh, can you tell me who said that so we can know to avoid their classes”, and suddenly people are bashful and worried about being accused of doxxing. I mean, I get that no one wants to be responsible for creating a mob. But if we aren’t going to identify the bad’uns, what’s the point of complaining about them?
  19. Ruby Franke pled out today. The plea statement included additional details that are not for the faint-of-heart.
  20. I really wish someone would set up a website naming the specific professors who are spouting this sort of stuff.
  21. Like some others have expressed: life is short, and this essay is very long indeed. The few paragraphs I skimmed were long on drama queenery and look-at-me-ism, and (for something purportedly written by a currently-serving missionary) short on Christ-Jesus-and-Him-crucified. I’ve seen no indication that the quality of the rest of the essay, the ideas contained therein, or the author himself merit much more time or attention.
  22. Holy understatement, Batman! Ethnic German family that had been in Czechoslovakia for some time, kicked out after WW2, then had to flee eastern Germany because his dad opposed Stalin— (oh—wait—maybe THAT’s why the proggies have soured on Uchtdorf!) . . . Given that West Germany’s second chancellor was the son of a shopkeeper and its third chancellor was the son of a factory clerk (not to mention the failed artist son of an illegitimate customs clerk who had been running the show in Germany a few years before), I’m going to assert with some level of confidence that mid-20th century German society wasn’t quite as rigid as you seem to suggest here. It seems that we have no grounds for asserting that Uchtdorf’s “privilege” amounted to anything more than being middle class and ethnically German in a country that even today is 88% ethnically German.
  23. You’re right about definitions varying. Race, in Brazil, is tied just as much to economic status as to actual skin tone. You can take two people of identical skin appearance, and based on dress and grooming and deportment and accent and other cues about wealth/stability, one will be dubbed “preto” (“dark”) and the other won’t. That’s another reason this whole business of whining about the race of the various members of the Q12 is so silly—progressive members are, ironically, imposing an American notion of what globalism is supposed to look like.
  24. 1. Erm . . . Uchtdorf’s family was refugees because their ethnicity in their particular area was on the losing side of World War II. Gong’s dad, I understand, was a professor at San Jose State (a minor school . . my mom went there) —secure, but likely not particularly wealthy. And Gong was working at the US embassy in Beijing when Tiananmen Square happened, so . . . there’s that . . . But perhaps the complaint about Gong’s “white upper middle class values” is the really revealing part here. Maybe we don’t actually care what color the apostles’ skins are, or how poor they are/used to be, or even what country they’re from; but we care very much about their being hostile to the cultural mores to which we are hostile and to which we think any God worthy of our worship must be similarly hostile. Is the problem really that apostles like Uchtdorf, Nelson, Oaks, and Soares were ostensibly born with some imagined degree of privilege? Or is it that their life stories hew uncomfortably close to a Horatio Alger novel; and we recoil at the notion of that being seen as a model for Saints in the third world, because we’ve committed ourselves to an economic/ political philosophy that denies such rags-to-riches stories based in WASP-y notions of hard work and education and creativity and self-sacrifice and family and faith and friendship and individual virtue are even possible? 2. This probably isn’t what you want to hear, but . . . BYU (and the other CES schools, and perhaps increasingly the PEF as well) are that leadership training program. My first mission president was Carlos Godoy—grew up lower-middle class in southern Brazil, converted to the Church as a teenager, went to college, married young, Master’s degree at BYU, management track at a series of multinational corporations, hiatus as a mission president while still in his 30s, corporate consulting work, and then the Q70 and now the presidency of the 70. But with regard to Church leadership specifically: I think one of the strengths of the Church is that theres no “leadership track” that individual members can pursue with the likely end of a role in the global church hierarchy. Keeps the riffraff out. I daresay that a number of secularist/ partisan think tanks have spent a lot of frustrating hours trying to figure out how they might infiltrate the LDS Q70/Q12 the way they’ve infiltrated the leadership of so many other modern institutions; to remarkably little avail.