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Everything posted by bytebear

  1. I believe the church spends every penny with the goal of bringing people closer to Christ. That includes all of the above. As for the eyes of the law, the church, when it invests in profit making endeavors, like cattle ranches or shopping malls, they do pay taxes on those investments, just as any for-profit company. The difference is, the church, can immediately convert farms to charity endeavors with no effort, and of course they use the profits to funnel back into the process. They learned a lot from programs like the Perpetual Emigrating Fund, and how to use current funds for future endeavors. The notion that someone in the church is getting rich is the most frustrating accusation. No one is getting rich, even though I hear from message boards that apparently Prez Nelson skims 2% off for his palaces.
  2. I want to point out one distinction here that the article and most people don't understand. The church has two distinct streams of donations. Tithes and offerings. Tithes are used for operating expenses. Offerings are spent on welfare and humanitarian aid, which is why you never see a high number in the Tithes column. And likely that 4% you mention is probably due to infrastructure costs, and not straight donations. No, that's where your fast offerings, missionary funds, Deseret Industry, etc all comes from. Most of those funds are handled locally, and never even reach the central church, but are redistributed through the bishop at his discretion. This is not part of the billions in the article. And virtually every penny goes to charity, since we know bishops are unpaid, and many of the labor in making and distributing food is done by volunteers. So, don't make the mistake of thinking the church is stingy on humanitarian efforts. They are simply not reporting that... and I believe are doing so deceptively.
  3. A few thoughts. I find it funny the people who want to take your money and spend it "the right way" or the way they want are also the ones who have racked up trillions in debt. Heaven forbid an organization have a surplus. I also found it interesting that in the article on WaPo, it mentioned that there is a "finders fee" for those who report tax fraud. Seems like this guy has a chip in his shoulder, and is also trying to cash in.
  4. Hinduism is more like modalism, where there is one God, but in many infinite forms, with infinite names. That is not the same oneness of the Trinity/Godhead. or the LDS nature of God the state of being. The definition give in the Doctrine and Covenants, talks about being God as a state of ever progression. And as long as we move forward, we are gods. God is not a single person, but a being with the ability to continue. Damnation is when we cease to be gods. Exaltation is our progression made eternal. But even that does not make us in the unique relationship with God the Father and God the Son, nor God the Holy Ghost. That unique relationship (combined) is our God, which is one.
  5. I think LDS folks don't mind not being considered "orthodox" or not sharing a common baptism. For example, the church will never accept the baptism from another church, simply based on the doctrine of authority. But, where feathers are ruffled, is in the accusation that the LDS Jesus is different, or insufficient, or even evil. We fully accept your belief and commitment to Jesus Christ, and encourage it. So, no, I think the common ground is in the belief in Jesus Christ. Beyond that, we can be different.
  6. If you keep reliving the same life, and are never able to make the commitment to achieve Celestial worthiness, isn't it the same thing, whether it happens once or a thousand times, the outcome is the same.
  7. No, and sealings are not canceled either unless a new sealing is requested. The church always assumes things will work out, even when we mere mortals think otherwise. That's why we seal ancestors based on records and not on what we think they might want. Eventually it will be sorted out, but we want to ensure the blessings to as many as we can. Baptisms are only voided when you are excommunicated, which is a formal process. And then all church blessings are revoked. When restored, you are baptized again, and your other blessings and priesthood ordinations are restored. And remember, the weekly sacrament is a renewal of the covenant, so is a renewal of your baptism. Interesting, in the early days of the church, baptisms were redone commonly, as a renewal of the covenant. Sacrament seems far more convenient. Another interesting fact, when the church was created in 1830, baptism was already performed for the remission of sins, but those who joined the newly founded church were rebaptized as a covenant to Christ's church and received membership in the church through the laying on of hands.
  8. I always just think of "God" being a singular noun that represents a plurality. "Family" works the same way. There is a family, but the family has distinct persons with in it.
  9. By the way LDS scripture affirms the oneness of God, both in the Book of Mormon (Mormon 7:7, 2 Nephi 31:21) and the D&C 20:28.
  10. I think the pre-mortal existence is key to understanding the LDS belief. Man is immortal, both pre- and post- Earth. LDS also defines God not so much in terms of role, or power, but in nature. God is ever progressing and becoming more, through his creations (us). we are "gods" because we have the ability to progress and procreate and take part in the nature of what God is. And I never understood why the corporeal nature of the Father is so difficult. One Christian would mock Mormons for believing in a 2/3 God. And I would remind him that he believed in a 1/3 God, if he believes in the physical resurrection of Christ. So, for both of us, at least a portion of God is corporeal.
  11. Everything you described about the nature of the Godhead, I agree with. I think the difference is we accept that God the Father and Jesus are corporeal beings, although exalted and perfect. And the notion that God is of the same species as Man. The nature of the unity of the Godhead/Trinity is really not of a concern to me, because I think we basically agree, they are separate persons, but also unified beyond just a committee in a way we cannot comprehend.
  12. Turkey, stuffing, cranberries, rolls, some kind of jello salad, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, pumpkin pie.
  13. Say the couple is in the afterlife, and have been convinced of Christ's divinity, and are now awaiting their sealing blessing. Shall we deny them this, because we don't know their state? No, we must unlock the keys of exhalation to everyone we possibly can, and as soon as we can for their benefit. I also believe the spirits in prison have a much more clear understanding of things that we know.
  14. I would (and still occasionally) have Jehovah Witnesses come by as there is a church just up the road. One time they came with a message about Adam and Eve, and the creation story. I listened and we chatted about it quite a while, and I gave my understanding, which was of course the LDS viewpoint, and one woman was just fascinated by my understanding and interpretation. She asked "How did you figure all of this out?" and I said, "oh, I believe in modern day prophets who give more light to the topic."
  15. Thing is, LDS teachings are Biblical, and quite plain, if you understand them through modern revelation. The King Follett sermon is a prime example. The introduction to the sermon by Joseph Smith says: The teaching of Joseph Smith are as plain in the Bible as any traditional belief, if understood through revelation. Smith didn't teach three heavens from the Book of Mormon or the Doctrine and Covenants, but from 1 Corinthians 15, but with a revealed understanding. The nature of the spirit world is from 2 Peter. Eternal marriage and temple ordinances from Genesis, etc. etc. Some "plain and precious" truths were lost over time, but I believe Smith fully believed in the truthfulness of the Bible, and that our "odd" teachings are plainly taught there.
  16. I find it interesting that when you study the life and teachings of Joseph Smith, it's just much an understanding of existing scripture as it is a prophetic edict. Smith didn't declare heavenly parents. Rather, in his role as the prophet of the restoration was given knowledge that gave better understanding on phrases like "first born" and "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." I think for Smith, it was just obvious from not just a deeper understanding of Christ, but from interactions with Him, and angels, and revelations given. Some things are revealed in great detail in modern scripture, like the physical nature of the godhead, and others are simply understood.
  17. Here are some study links: In Christian circles, there are interpretations on what it means to be First Born. Apparently this pastor wants to make sure you understand that He is not a created being, and that the term is more symbolic of Him being the author of creation. But I guess I want to emphasize the notion of Christ being the firstborn is not foreign to Biblical scripture or doctrine.
  18. Joining the church is really making a covenant with God, that you will follow his commandments and in return he offers the gift of the Holy Ghost, and a path to more blessings. Basically this gift and your friend's commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ is what sets them apart. You recognize it, and the missionaries will tell you the steps you would need to take to make the covenant, and join the church.
  19. When I was on my mission, we were teaching a family and the father asked about having to stop drinking beer. He said he didn't drink it often and he didn't have an addiction, nor was he an alcoholic. I said, "Yes, that's probably true, but you will be a role model for your children, and you don't know if they will end up struggling with it." It was one of those moments when I know the Holy Ghost was prompting me to say what he needed to hear. They were baptized a week later.
  20. Don't you know, the Salt Lake Temple construction is to add booster rockets so it will be launched to heaven.
  21. My high school in Salt Lake covered 4 or 5 stakes (back in the 80s). We had some dances, but most of it was coordinated through school friends than church friends. The school also had a lot of dances throughout the year. About 5 were sponsored by the school and a couple were done through the seminary program and were church sponsored. Those were often at fancy venues like symphony hall or hotel ballrooms. I really don't remember going to a lot of stake dances. I do remember going to the Ritz and the Bay dance clubs on the weekends.
  22. I could understand if it was a tux with a specific tie and cummerbund, but temple clothing are generally very generic. I guess he could buy a new set, but honestly, I bet you couldn't tell which was which.
  23. bytebear


    It's not rocket science. I mean we can off grandma in the retirement home and have a major economic benefit.
  24. Circumstances do not change the commandments of God. It's really that simple. And I don't understand the need to create a new life under less than ideal circumstances, when there are already thousands of kids living in less than ideal circumstances who are begging for a better situation that someone could provide, whether that be volunteerism or fostering or just being a big brother/big sister. One option just seems selfish compared to the other.
  25. bytebear

    Andy Ngo

    Antifa, like the Brown Shirts are a bunch of kids who want to beat people up with no ramifications, the "enemy" is irrelevant, although it's being pushed by an anti-American, anti-Free Speech agenda. But you need to find the head of the snake. Trouble is, the snake includes the people who are meant to investigate such things.