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About MrShorty

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  1. MrShorty

    Requiring a COVID-19 Vaccine (shot/s)

    @Carborendum I don't know how carefully government and other statisticians try to distinguish between those cases caused by COVID and those where COVID was not a factor, but I am aware that COVID is linked to increased risk of blood clotting which leads to a higher risk of heart attack, stroke, and similar conditions. Again, I don't know if or how they distinguish between "would have had a heart attack/stroke anyway" and "COVID caused the blood clot that this patient died from". Without trying to pile on the grief from your mother's death, it is possible that COVID was part of triggering her heart attack, which would suggest that it could be appropriate to include her in the COVID deaths statistics. From April 2020: From April 2021: Condolences on the death of your mother.
  2. @Just_A_Guy That makes for a nice, succinct dictionary definition, but I think we can all agree that there is more nuance than the dictionary definition suggests. Much of Christianity calls us apostate for renouncing Nicene Trinitarianism, to which we reply that Nicene Trinitarianism should not be one of the religious teachings/doctrines that define what it means to be Christian. It seems to me that there is a range or degree to apostasy. I think we all would agree that there are some "essential" doctrines (the existence of God and the atonement and resurrection of Christ, for example) that, if renounced, clearly make one apostate. I think we would also all agree that there are some obscure doctrines which, if renounced, would not be considered apostate. Patrick Mason (at least, I think it was Mason) introduced the idea of a truth cart for this kind of discussion, suggesting that there are some things that really do belong in our truth cart and some things that are not as important to put into our truth cart. If rumor has it correctly, he even accuses us (both the Church as a whole and the members individually) of sometimes putting the wrong things in our truth carts (perhaps an extreme example, but this might include all those heartlanders who insist that anyone who renounces their theory is apostate). So, while I agree with your definition, it seems that this part of the discussion often becomes more about which doctrines can be renounced and which ones cannot. A lot of the discussion and debate can end up being trying to settle disagreements about what teachings are essential and which ones are not.
  3. A nice binary, but is there more nuance to this? How does someone like Bennett fit into this? It seems like Bennett is not merely asking questions ("Did Pres. Young receive a revelation to implement the priesthood and temple ban? Was the 2015 policy the result of revelation?"). Bennett seems to be stating that he disbelieves that these things were revelation. At the same time, I don't think it fair to claim that he is in full opposition to the Church and its leaders, either. @Just_A_Guy You list a few currently well known "apostates". I guess the question I would ask back is -- is it inevitable for someone in Bennett's position (disagreeing with some claims to revelation) to end up becoming an apostate, or can one hold and publish these kinds of opinions and remain "not-apostate"? If so, what does that look like?
  4. @Just_A_Guy I kind of agree that we want to be careful not to follow the tangent too far, but it also seems to me that the tangent is potentially a case study for the question in the OP. I don't know how best to approach this, but maybe a couple of points. Re: 1) It's true that Pres. Young believed the ban was the result of revelation. Bennett disagrees. As it relates to me, I frequently ask myself whether or not it is possible for prophets and apostles to mistakenly call something a revelation when it is not a revelation. As it relates to the OP, when one disagrees with a prophets assertion that something is a revelation, is it appropriate to publicly express that opinion as Bennett does here? I could say more, but I don't want to bog down in the tangent. In the podcast interview, Bennett mentions that a ward member approached him in response to something he had published (not sure if it was in this document or in relation to something else on his blog) and suggested that he might be in troubled waters and should speak to leadership. He approached a councilor in his stake presidency (knew him from serving in a bishopric together?) and asked him. Reportedly, this member of the SP said that Bennett was trying to defend the Church, so he saw no reason for Bennett to back off from his writing. Whether or not we agree with Bennett's positions, Bennett seems to feel that he had a green light to put his opinions out there for public consumption. I don't want to bog down trying to defend or promote individual arguments or assertions or claims that Bennett (or others) might make. The question that I see in the OP is, when one disagrees with the brethren, is it appropriate to make public statements to that effect? The overall tone of the responses seems to be that, no, it is not appropriate, and maybe it can just end there with some satisfied with that response and others less satisfied.
  5. MrShorty

    Warm day today in Redmond, Washington

    I saw some Facebook posts from family in the Portland area that talked about "cooling centers" there -- places with air conditioning like convention centers that were being opened up so people could have a place to go to get away from the heat if needed. Is there talk of concern for those susceptible to heat related illness in these conditions? Some of us living in the desert southwest may not see these temperatures as really concerning, but maybe there is cause for concern in the PNW? Stay safe and take care of each other.
  6. I made time this weekend to listen to some of Jim Bennett's interview that you sent me. While I really enjoyed Bennett's approach to the issues he disccussed, I'm not sure it all fully resolves the question(s) posed in the OP. I find it interesting, for example, that Bennett does not differentiate between these two situation. On the contrary, he claims that they are the same situation. to quote Bennet Browsing Bennett's blog, I found that he also clearly asserts that " I knew, as well as I knew anything, that this policy was wrong." (Edit to clarify -- referring to the 2015 LGBT policy). During the podcast interview, he talked some about his views on LGBT issues, and one thing he said repeatedly was that, in his opinion, our current stance on LGBT issues is "unsustainable". When Dehlin tried to bait him into making statements of exactly where he thinks we are wrong and what he believes is really true, he dodged the efforts to pin him down on something, but clearly he believes (and is willing to state publicly) that he disagrees with something(s) about the the Church's stances on LGBT issues. Bennett's opinion runs contrary to many opinions -- including leaders. Somewhere in my reading I encountered another document (Millet, I believe it was this time) where then Elder Oaks said So, I guess tying this back to the OP -- is it appropriate for Bennett to publicly express these disagreements with the Church and its leadership? One thing Bennett said in his interview was that he has been surprised at times how many conservative members of the Church respond to a blog post or opinion of his with some kind of "you ought to leave the Church." It seems that some who read his stuff don't think his opinions are appropriate. I notice that much of our discussion has used the word "protest". Is the difference for Bennett (if Bennett's expressions of disagreement are appropriate) that he is "disagreeing" and not "protesting"? Is there a difference between public disagreement and public protest? Ultimately, I stand by what I said in my first response. As much as I might like Bennett's views and the way he approaches disagreement with the Church and its leaders, I find myself unconvinced that his approach is something the Church officially sanctions and endorses. I still doubt that there is a satisfactory answer to what should we do with disagreements. At times, I sensed that Bennett was uncomfortable with his position relative to the Church's position, just as I find myself uncomfortable relative to the Church's position. It still sometimes seems like this question is as much or more about how to sit with that discomfort rather than trying to find resolution.
  7. MrShorty

    Fun Game -- How Many States Can You Name on This Map?

    I got all 50. Like @Vort i frequently do the mental exercise, end up with 48 or so, then spend the next 30 monutes racking my brain for the two I missed. Having served a Canadian mission, some Canadians observed that Canadians are better at correctly picking out many of our 50 states than Americans are at identifying many of their 10 provinces.
  8. Overall -- excellent questions. If I may say, these are the kinds of questions at the heart of my own faith crisis and, if we could come to satisfactory answers to these kinds of questions, my faith crisis could be resolved. However, I've been around these questions long enough that I doubt there are satisfactory answers, so I would also throw into this that perhaps a big part of these questions may not be about finding satisfactory answers, but learning to sit with the tension and discomfort of these kinds of questions. IMO, yes, they were doing the right thing. Whether or not it was appropriate is a more difficult question. I think it was appropriate, because, as one of your other questions suggests, we won't get a revelation until we seek the revelation and we don't always seek revelation without some kind of outside pressure. I know we are uncomfortable with the idea that the Church is reactive to public pressure, but it seems that it does respond to public pressure. Pres. Nelson, in his remarks at BYU in the fall of 2019, explicitly said that the brethren sought further direction on the 2015 LGBTQ policy because of the "concern and confusion for some and the heartache for others" (reported in the Church News 17 Sep 2019: created by the policy. At the same time, we are uncomfortable with divisions within the body of Christ, and I think we struggle to know how to deal with these kinds of disagreements when they come from our co-religionists (for lack of a better word). I have observed here before that one of the most contentious debates I see on these internet forums are creationism vs. evolutionism debates where the Church does not even have an official position. When we struggle to keep contention out of our discourse when the issue is one where we are free to decide for ourselves, how much more difficult will it be to keep discomfort and contention out of our discourse when we disagree about something that the Church has chosen a side on? I've kind of addressed this, but I would say here that we are very much a conservative church. This means that we believe that what we have been teaching and practicing up until now (whenever now is) is "true" and we hold to those beliefs and practices until evidence that they are "false" becomes overwhelming. If no one protests, then our conservative inertia maintains the status quo. I don't know why God is not more proactive in making these kinds of changes sooner, but He seems to be quite willing to sometimes wait for us to come to Him to seek change. And so we come to the $64000 questions. Up front, I don't know the answers to these questions (as I indicated above, if I could answer these questions, I would not feel like I am in a faith crisis). The Church can be one source of truth. Other sources might include my own witnesses from the Spirit, the scriptures, and human reason. I find that each of these sources is reliable in its own way and also fallible in its own way. When they disagree with or contradict each other, I don't know what should be done. Sometimes, it seems right to elevate one source above the others (like when we talk about giving canonized scripture a primary place by saying that whatever we decide should not contradict the standard works). Other times, it feels more like a "vote" of the different sources (3 of the 4 suggest that X is true, so I'll reject the one dissenting voice). But there does not seem to be a single method or standard or source to turn to for arbitrating the differences. One interesting thing: Pres. Oaks at the 2019 Be One celebration spoke of a time while the priesthood and temple ban was in effect that he did not receive a testimony of the reasons for the ban. At that time, he chose to be loyal to the Church and the brethren, but did not go into any detail of what that loyalty meant to him. Perhaps part of the answer is that loyalty to the Church is more important than what we believe is or is not true. I wish Pres. Oaks had elaborated more, but I expect I would still find myself uncomfortable choosing loyalty over truth. Which isn't to say that loyalty is not important, but it just does not seem like it should be the answer to every disagreement. If you endured to the end of that, congratulations. These kinds of issues sit at the heart of my own struggles with the Church, so it should be obvious I don't have any real answers for them. At present, I am resigned or content (not sure which) to sit in discomfort with them with no certainty of what the future might bring. I will definitely be following the rest of this conversation with interest.
  9. MrShorty

    Full and complete lesson on modesty?

    This is a good discussion. Starting from this statement, I feel like one of the problems I have with modesty discussions is that they so often feel circular to me. As an example, when I graduated from BYU (mid-'90s'ish), when I wandered too far from Provo, I found myself in a restaurant with a male server wearing a pony tail (which was the style at the time). Me, having been at BYU for many years, found the pony tail "distracting". Why? Was there something inherently immodest about men wearing ponytails, or was it because I had been told that men should not wear ponytails? I find myself with the same kind of thinking with other aspects of modesty. Do I find women wearing pants to church immodest because there is something inherently immodest about women wearing pants, or is it because I have been told that women should not wear pants to church? Am I bothered by someone wearing jeans and a t-shirt to church because it is inherently immodest, or because I have been told it is inappropriate? Do I find multiple ear piercings in some people (men or women) distracting because it is "wrong" or because I have been told that God doesn't want women or men to wear multiple piercings? Which isn't to say that there should be no dress and grooming standards anywhere in society. Such standards are perfectly appropriate. The challenge I find when I think of a "full and complete" lesson on modesty is trying to get past these circular arguments to the eternal truth "bedrock" underneath them.
  10. MrShorty

    Encouraging Temple recommend renewals?

    You specifically asked my opinion. Here are a few thoughts rattling around in my head. The cynic in me has trouble see anything but "statistics" motivating the search for a new initiative. There's a bishop and/or stake president who is being asked in interviews with his priesthood leader about the "low" statistics, and he is uncomfortable being asked those questions, so he wants to find a way to raise the numbers to alleviate the pressure being put on him. My point being, look deep inside for what is motivating this kind of thing (in a time when temple attendance has been difficult or impossible or is only just barely available again). Before coming up with a new initiative, make sure that the real motivation is truly pastoral. If the motivation is administrative/statistical, work within yourselves as leadership until the motivation becomes purely pastoral. Along those lines, I sometimes wonder if one of the best things bishops and stake presidents could do is to learn how to "separate themselves" from their ward. Somehow be able to say to the priesthood leader, "these statistics represent real individuals, and each one has either chosen to have a TR or not, and I am not going to be responsible for each individual's choices (whether to take credit for them having a TR or feel guilty for them not having a TR)." I know it is more complicated than that, but it too often seems that the immediate motivation for something like this is making a report look better rather than true pastoral interest in individuals. I agree with @LDSGator that some of this is trying to identify why people aren't renewing recommends. Pardon the brief tangent, but one of the interesting things I got out of David Ostler's Bridges was the disconnect between leadership and members. Ostler asked leaders why people went through faith crises and also asked people self-identifying as experiencing a faith crisis, and the reasons differed -- substantially in some cases. I expect the same dynamic might be at play with TR renewals. Local leaders need to be able to approach their congregants and understand why they aren't renewing their TRs. Maybe (emphasis on maybe), that will inspire some kind of initiative that can help people renew their TR. Or maybe it will identify some other need (unrelated to TRs) that the ward/stake/branch needs, and put the TR statistic on hold. Somewhere in the search for reasons, be ready for some difficult reasons. Some like @Jane_Doe may have bad interview experiences from the past or real discomfort with some of the TR questions. Are leaders ready to sit with people in their discomfort and minister to them? I also agree with @Fether that having a current TR is not really the end goal here. The end goal is helping people have a good relationship with God and Christ and the Church. Having a current TR may be an easily measured numeric placeholder for that much more difficult to measure aspect. IMO, honestly focus pastorally on individuals' relationship to God, Christ, and the Church, and TR renewals will naturally follow. In the event the statistics don't, the focus is still on the right end goal. Those are my thoughts. Probably worth about what you paid for them.
  11. Are they wrong to believe that? Assuming (as I do) that all of these ordinances will be performed for everyone (by proxy if not by the people themselves) before all is said and done, then it seems basically correct for them to believe that they will be together forever. They may be "seeing through a glass darkly" so that they cannot see or understand how our priesthood and temple ordinances are part of getting from where they are now to that together forever future, but the ordinance will be properly completed so that, when the do come to understand (and accept), they will be able to be together forever. From our lofty position, we may better understand how they will get from where they are to realizing that eternal relationship, but their belief still seems basically correct.
  12. MrShorty

    fast for drought relief in Utah and western US.

    The problem with a drip irrigation system for agriculture is that the irrigation system really cannot be a permanent installation. So, it needs to be laid out every spring after planting, then gathered back up at harvest time (for something like alfalfa, that can be multiple times a year, for something like grain that would be once a year). One of the advantages of movable sprinkler systems that I am familiar with is that they easily move on and off the field when you need to be working in the field. Something like drip irrigation seems like it would be labor intensive to repeatedly install and remove. Which isn't to say that it cannot be done. If nothing else, we are a clever species with significant problem solving abilities. If drip irrigation can dramatically improve our use of water, I expect we can figure out how to do it.
  13. MrShorty

    Why did she stay?

    Gratitude is a possibility. I expect that if I were in a situation where a random stranger had said something to my accusers that effectively avoided my execution (or postponed or "stayed" -- I want to say there is a technical legal term for when the court finds you guilty of the accused crime but the court also decides that it will not impose the allowed punishment). Maybe I'm just naturally awkward, but I could see myself delaying my departure as I muster the courage or find the words to try to thank this stranger for delaying/postponing the sentence. @CV75: I like the possibility that I stick around to see if this man who was clever enough (almost as good as Perry Mason) to "stay" my execution (if that is the right word) might also have greater wisdom for me -- maybe even some nuggets that could change my reprobate nature. I suppose it's probably a question of just how humble I am in the moment. Would I have the humility to wait and see if this man has more to offer than what a clever defense attorney would offer? @Just_A_Guy: The possibility I'm naked is an interesting twist. Perhaps you are correct and there is little to no real risk of being stoned. Even still, are there other social consequences that I'm aware of (think Scarlett A's)? Am I waiting around to see if he has more to offer in avoiding these other social consequences? Am I selfish enough to see it all as avoiding punishment for sin while overlooking or avoiding the hard path of real repentance?
  14. MrShorty

    Why did she stay?

    Maybe I could have made the title more click-bait-y if I had tried ("Four reasons the woman in adultery stayed with Jesus -- the 3rd one will blow your mind"). At random today, I opened a chapter in the gospel of John to find myself reading the account of the woman taken in adultery (John chapter 8). I thought about the usual stuff, but one novel, unique thing stood out to me this time -- why was the woman still there when the Savior looked up from his doodling? Placing myself in the (somewhat socially awkward) situation, here I am, brought to a controversial teacher known for upsetting the establishment immediately after being caught committing a serious crime. I know I'm guilty and I know the penalty should be severe. This teacher, though, "shames" all of my accusers into leaving with the crime unpunished. After the last of my accusers leaves, what prevents me from leaving? why do I stay and wait for the teacher to acknowledge that my accusers have left? The scriptural account doesn't suggest that he barely caught me while I was on my way out (but it's not as if the scriptural account is given in that kind of detail). Is there some kind of patriarchal custom that keeps me there waiting for the last man in the area excuses me? Am I able to sense something about this man that keeps me there until he dismisses me? I don't know If I expect an answer from the group. I recognize that scripture does not always answer these questions. But something about this struck me. Why do I as a sinner stay in proximity to the Savior? I don't know that I expect any kind of "one true" answer, but I would not object to others' thoughts or reflections.