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MrShorty last won the day on September 24

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  1. A post surgery thought. After removing the affected portion of my gut, they examined it under a microscope and found residual cancer cells invisible to the MRI. So, in hindsight, the choice to proceed with surgery was the right one. I've gotten fairly sensitized to the observation that God doesn't always intervene (for the better) in everyone's lives, so I'm a little uncomfortable enthusiastically attributing my good fortune to God. At the same time, I recall the point of making the decision to proceed when the thought came seemingly unbidden that, after everything we had done and suffered so far to have the best chance of full cure, it would seem unwise to take on additional risk after trying so hard to minimize the risk. In hindsight, that thought seems almost prophetic. My own story isn't complete, so it's too soon to make final declarations. And I'm still very much aware that not everyone experiences these little miracles, and I have no explanation for why. But I am grateful today for a very small thing that makes me feel more confident in my future.
  2. I go under the knife this week. I will lose a portion of my GI tract, get a temporary ileostomy (small intestine exits the abdomen into a bag 🤢 ), then wait several weeks until he can put my GI tract all back together. As well as the cancer responded to preliminary treatments, we're all optimistic that I should be done with cancer after this.
  3. There might be other things at play (a recent spirited discussion elsewhere on what "sad heaven" means, for example), but I found the article interesting. Reactions: 1) One common reaction to any talk or essay on the topic is to reflect on our general and long-standing discomfort with universalism. As I understand the history, one of the biggest obstacles to 19th century saints accepting "The Vision" (as D&C 76 was affectionately called back then) was that they felt it was too universalist and they were uncomfortable with that. We eventually got past this issue with D&C 76, but we never did fully resolve our uncomfortable and complicated relationship with universalism. 2) Specific to Br. Goddard's essay, the thing that stood out to me (even above his use of exclamation marks) was his push against a "hierarchical, linear way of thinking" about the afterlife. I saw similar intimations in Pres. Oaks's April Sunday Afternoon talk, so I have been contemplating for the past 6 months this idea that maybe celestial, terrestrial, telestial -- rather than being in a happy, happier, happiest hierarchy -- are more different kinds of equivalent happiness. If everyone is so completely and perfectly happy where they end up, maybe it isn't necessarily better to be celestial? 3) While Br. Goddard didn't mention any "sad heaven" scenarios, I naturally reflected on my own "sad heaven." As Elder Holland told PBS, heaven just won't be heaven without my wife and children, but my wife and children have all left the church. Some (pointing to some statements by Pres. Nelson) will claim that, barring repentance during this life, my family will not make it to the CK. Will I be happier in the TrK or TlK with them (even if marriage/family is somehow "dissolved") than I would be single in the CK? Sometimes, in "eternal polygamy" circles, someone will talk about doing a little bit less than their best so they can avoid the CK and any threat of needing to enter polygamous relationship -- figuring they will be happier single in a lower kingdom than in a higher kingdom sharing a spouse or having multiple spouses. If the kingdoms are more horizontal and less vertical, then maybe these are less concerning? 4) Whenever these topics come up, I am often reminded of Joseph Smith's quote (paraphrased because I choose not to look it up to get it exactly right) about finding eternal truth by proving contraries. I sometimes wonder what real truths are lingering in these seeming contradictions between our universalistic beliefs and our non-univerlastic beliefs (is there a better opposite term for not universalism?).
  4. I sometimes wish I had chosen a career in math pedagogy or similar so I could talk more intelligently about things like this. A few thoughts Yes, it is obvious this is a simple Riemann sum approach ( to integration. The basic methodology (break up an integral into "slices" that you can easily find the area of, then sum up the area of the slices) is attributed to Riemann in the 19th century. I learned them as Riemann sums in my second full calculus class (I do not recall them being mention in pre-calculus or my first, simple calculus class). It appears to me (decades after graduation) that not every calculus class taught these methods, and not all of them attributed the method to Riemann. The first thing I notice in Tai's paper is that this is a medical application (Glucose tolerance and metabolic curves). It is not clear what Tai's credentials are, but I would guess she (assuming someone named Mary is female) is well studied in medicine. I don't recall (if I ever knew) the math ed requirements for pre-med, nursing, and other "practical" medical degrees and certification. What medical fields (if any) expect a solid course in calculus? Looking at the references Tai used in preparing the paper, I notice that all references are medical in nature. The only mathematical reference appears to be a geometry text. I could be wrong, but I wouldn't expect a geometry text to cover Riemann sums and definite integrals. Speaking of definite integrals, I notice that Tai never uses that term in the paper (unless I missed it). She always uses "area under the curve." I also notice that she refers to other methods by various names, but I would suspect that those methods are also Riemann sums (perhaps, left, right, or midpoint rules with the predictable errors from those rules -- especially if you don't know the calculus behind the rules). Reading between the lines, I infer that Ms. Tai has not had a calculus class, and perhaps none of her immediate colleagues or reveiwers/editors have had a calculus course, either. Within the narrow confines of her medical field, she has independently developed a method developed by others long ago. Climbing on my soapbox, assuming that someone in her field has had calculus, it shows the grand weakness in our math ed -- practical application. How many math teachers from middle school on up to college struggle to answer the "When am I ever going to use this?" question from students. It is also possible that Ms. Tai and/or her colleagues had calculus classes, but saw them as unnecessary hurdles to jump. "I'm never going to need to find the area under a curve, so I don't need to really know how to find definite integrals. I just need to get through the class, but this will never apply to my medical career." In some ways, this is why I wish I had chosen a career in math pedagogy. I would like to have been a part of figuring out how to make math ed applicable to real life. Of course, perhaps I do sin in my wish, because many very smart people have been trying for years and generations to figure out how to help students see the applicability of math to real life. That's probably more than the issue deserved, but this is the internet where random people go on all kinds of rants about trivial things all the time.
  5. I know a bit about living a mixed faith marriage. My advice would be to very carefully measure your relationship with the church and her relationship with Christianity. You have said that her relationship is 100% against broader Christianity, what is that going to mean for her "relationship" with the church? You have not said anything about your relationship with the church. Mixed faith relationships can work, but they will require more effort than relationships with a shared faith -- especially when one of those faiths is a high demand religion like the LDS church. You will need to be prepared for some of your beliefs, desires, and practices to clash with her beliefs, desires, and practices. She will need to be prepared for the same thing. Some of those clashes will not be easy to reconcile. If you are familiar with the work of David Schnarch, you will need to be "differentiated" so that you can easily face her invalidation of your beliefs. Likewise, she will need the emotional maturity to handle when your beliefs invalidate her beliefs. It can be very difficult. And, looking towards a family, children make it doubly difficult, as you must negotiate what to teach children about your own faith and Christianity in general, while respecting her being 100% against anything that looks Christian. Things that I see that help make mixed faith marriages work Mutual respect. Even if you disagree about many things, you have to be able to respect each other. If you are forever going to see her as something less than because she's not Christian, or if she is going to forever think you are something less than because you are Christian, it won't work very well. You need to find shared values. Hard work, generosity, loyalty, kindness, or whatever, but you need to be able to identify things you both value so you are not constantly and forever wrangling with differences. You've already been together for 2 years, so you already know something about each other. Making it a lifelong commitment, I expect, will change certain dynamics. Adding children to the mix will further change dynamics. I would suggest you explore with her what those new dynamics might look like before making those commitments.
  6. I'm not sure the JST "corrections" are all of the same nature. A few years ago, Kevin Barney over at By Common Consent (yes, I know, one of those less than faithful blogs that one should not be reading) proposed (based in part on some work by Robert Millet and Robert Matthews) 14 different "types" of things in the JST. He followed it up with posts with several examples from different Biblical books. It seemed like a reasonable understanding of the nature of the changes Joseph Smith made to the Biblical text:
  7. After several weeks, I feel great (after 6 months of chem and radiation, I had forgotten what it feels like to be myself). Follow up tests are showing no cancer remaining, so the chemo and radiation were very successful. Now the surgeon is giving me a choice. Stick with the tried and true treatment plan and cut the offending part of my gut out, because we know through years of experience what the risk of recurrence is (pretty small). Or forego surgery (a less tested and less understood course of action) and see what happens. The idea of skipping surgery is, naturally, appealing. But I'm just not sure I want to take on the uncertainty. If the cancer were to come back, there would be the regret of not having done everything we could now to prevent recurrence. If we do surgery and it comes back, well, then we shake our fist at God until we get it out of our system, then submit to His will. If only there was a way to see into the future, but there isn't, so I feel inclined to go with the known risk rather than the unknown risk and have surgery. It's a bit of a tough decision, but that seems best with what we know now.
  8. I don't know all of the who's who in Mormon history, but Ardis comes across as one who knows her stuff. She's not convinced: Her official verdict is "not proven"
  9. I, too, would struggle mightily with Eastern Europe and Africa. In part because some of the political borders have changed (some dramatically) from when I was young.
  10. Having served a Canadian mission, I wonder what it would look like if you also included the 10 provinces (and 2 major territories) of Canada.
  11. According to Jana Riess's article, this daguerrotype and the death mask were compared by some experts using facial recognition software and there was a solid match for 19 of 21 features they looked at. I don't have access to the JWHA article that appears to be the primary source for the popular publication articles, so I cannot say more about the methodology or arguments they are using to make the argument that this is a daguerrotype of the prophet. I'm intrigued by the possibility. It seems to me that the next step would be to get some other experts to replicate the analysis and see what they say and see if a consensus develops.
  12. An you're certainly not alone in coming to the same conclusion -- most notably, the Catholic Church agrees with you. It's one of those things where, with the precedent set by the Catholic and other Christian churches, it wouldn't necessarily be controversial to take the stand that life begins at conception, so I find it interesting that the LDS Church refuses to make that claim in any official capacity.
  13. If it doesn't get too personal, I will offer another data point. The Church officially feels very differently about stillbirth (and miscarriage) than they do about those born alive. My first child was stillborn at 39 weeks gestation (essentially full term). The Church officially says that they will not keep a record of him nor would they perform proxy ordinances (sealing to parents would be the important one) if needed. The Church is officially neutral on his status as a person and as a member of my family. Allow me to emphasize the neutral stance, in that they are not saying one way or another, but punting on the question until the next life. Contrast that with a child born premature at 24 weeks (speaking hypothetically only because I have not personally experienced this, I'm sure someone somewhere has personal experience with this scenario), who struggles for hours or days or weeks, and then passes away. By virtue of having "lived" outside of the womb for any length of time (however brief), that child is considered by the Church to be unambiguously a member of the family and eligible for proxy sealing to parents when needed. I don't know the answer to the OP's question. At conception seems too early, to me. As I understand it, the Church is a bit ambiguous about the space between conception and birth, and doesn't truly recognize a child as fully and unambiguously alive until birth (perhaps in keeping with the example given in the OP). This seems more an admission of a lack of revelation rather than a firm stance one way or the other, preferring to let God decide those things and tell us later (probably next life).
  14. I know we are yet a couple of months from the start of the season, but what do you make of USC and UCLA leaving the PAC-12 and going to the Big 10? Does the PAC-12 dissolve? Get demoted to a mid-major conference? Is college football, as some are speculating, heading towards a major rewrite of the conference landscape? And, perhaps the most important speculative question of all -- will BYU and Utah end up in the same conference again?
  15. Obviously, there is no reason for the US to do things the way Canada does them, but I returned from my mission to Quebec just a few years before the 1995 referendum in which the popular vote of Quebecers only narrowly voted to remain a part of Canada. In the aftermath, there was a Canadian Supreme Court opinion ( on what it would take for a province to secede, as well as the Clarity Act ( that outlined possible terms of secession. Again, we don't have to be like Canada, but it seems like there is a possible precedent there for looking at the possibility of a peaceful secession rather than resorting to a second civil war. I think you are right that the big questions are not really addressed in the "should we secede or not?" question. There are a lot of things that the states outsource to the federal government which, if a state seceded, it would have to figure out how it was going to accomplish those things. Minting of currency is one thing, but then how to bolster the value of that currency so it doesn't tank? How to manage military forces and resources? How to negotiate trade now that the state boundary is now an international boundary, and so on. I think it is easy in the heat of political rhetoric to overlook or downplay these kinds of pragmatic issues, but they are not small. As you say, it is an interesting hypothetical to talk about at parties and on the internet. I would hope that we would be very careful about the decision should it ever get beyond hypotheticals.