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About MrShorty

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  1. I would say it is mostly culture and tradition (cue Tevye and the people of Anatevka). I find that we are somewhat uncomfortable conceding too much to personal preference, but I sometimes think personal preference ought to have more sway. Part of me would say that God's opinion ought to have the greatest impact on what we choose, but I sometimes find it difficult to really find God's will amidst the much louder voices of culture, tradition, and personal preference.
  2. I find this an interesting question. The first time I really encountered this was while serving a mission. We encountered a woman who took an immediate interest in our message. She started reading the Book of Mormon and initially felt good about it. However, as we challenged her to really pray about it, she reported that she received the impression that God did not want her to continue reading the BoM and studying with the missionaries. Obviously, I have no way to verify her experience, but it was the first time I had to wrestle with the possibility that God would give someone an answer contrary to the answer we would expect as missionaries. I don't know that I have the final answer on the question. As I get older, I think there might be a bit more "It's between you and God" for a lot of things, and a lot less "you'd better pick right" than my orthodox self would have believed.
  3. MrShorty

    Christmas Star

    Not as good as @NeuroTypical got, but here's one I got through my telescope. Difficult to get a good, single frame shot. Either overexpose Jupiter or underexpose Saturn. Atmosphere was all wobbly and noisy, too. But, still, you don't get to see two gas giants in the same telescopic field of view very often.
  4. MrShorty

    Liberal Ideas Creeping In

    Some here would probably consider it a progressive cesspool, but BCC hosted a discussion the "individual adaptation phrase" a year or two ago that still seems to me to be very interesting. Opinions and interpretations all over the map. Some of it probably could be categorized as "rationalizing sin", but it is not clear to me exactly how to judge individual cases. In the face of such variability and ambiguity, I agree with @Jane_Doe and @MarginofError -- let people be responsible for their own choices.
  5. MrShorty

    Worst and Best drivers (by State) in the USA

    I also noted that the rankings seemed to be based on data for fatal accidents. So they looked at accidents where someone died, then looked at how frequently the specified factors (speed, failure to obey, etc.) were implicated in these accidents. So it wasn't just about how well drivers complied or not with traffic laws or "courtesy rules of the road" or minor accidents or all of the other things that we tend talk about when we talk about how good a state's/locality's drivers are. They seemed to focus in on fatal accidents and the driving patterns that seemed to contribute to those fatal accidents. I also noticed that they listed past years' results from the same study. One interesting observation quickly looking back over three years is that 2018 and 2020 worst state was Alaska, but, in 2019, Alaska was not even in the bottom 10. I doubt that Alaskans' driving habits (and drivers around the nation for that matter) really changed dramatically over three years. If a state can move a lot in these rankings with little to no change in driving habits, that suggests to me that either there is some flaw in the methodology or that drivers across the nation are almost equally good/bad. Some states (like New Mexico) seem to consistently make their bottom 10. If you want to really talk about rankings, a pattern of consistently appearing on a list like this might be more meaningful than a single year's snapshot.
  6. MrShorty

    Worst and Best drivers (by State) in the USA

    One of the most interesting thought experiments around letter/spirit of the law for me was to wonder how the sinless Savior of the world would treat traffic laws. These laws do not really have moral significance, so there aren't really moral ramifications to obedience/disobedience. How does a perfect, sinless person treat things like speed limits? The letter of the law is kind of obvious. Never exceed the posted speed limit, and pay careful attention to the signs so he/she knows what the speed limit is. The spirit of the law is to move people and goods around the community safely and efficiently. I've heard some justify their speeding by saying that it is more dangerous to be traveling at a speed significantly slower than the rest of traffic. On a moderately busy freeway where everyone is going 10 over, is it ultimately safer and more efficient to blend into traffic even though traffic is going 10 over? Or is strict obedience the way to go and the other drivers will just have to deal with it? Spirit of the law or letter of the law? Vague, general obedience or strict, exact obedience? I really don't know.
  7. This has often been said, but I recently came across some Pew data ( ) that suggests that it mostly applies to Protestants. Compared to Catholics, we are similar in this respect (about half of those who leave become unaffiliated in both). I'm not sure what it is, but it doesn't seem unique to the LDS Church in this regard. Perhaps it is as @prisonchaplain mentioned. The Reformation has already set the precedent for "if you don't like your current church, it's okay to find/make a different one." so that Protestants don't have as much resistance to just finding a different Christian church. Something about our Church and the Catholic Church reduces people's desire/willingness to find a different church.
  8. I like that, too, but it does raise the question of whether or not God wants everyone to be a member of this Church. I believe God wants me to be a member of the LDS Church, but does that mean that He wants -- let's say for sake of argument -- @prisonchaplain to also be a member of the LDS Church or does God lead him to be a member (and pastor) in the AoG?
  9. To me, some of this question revolves around what we mean when a say "a church is true". As others ( @laronius, @prisonchaplain @estradling75) have suggested, maybe truth exists on a continuum where all churches have truth and some more than others. So, when you feel like you have learned all of the truth that Catholicism has to teach you, you split off into Protestantism. And move through various branches of Protestantism until you get all the truth from them, and so on, never truly committing to any one church. As Latter-day Saints, we like to say that we have more truth than all of the others and invite people to join us for the richest truth smorgasbord (when they are ready). I suppose that can work, but what do you do when, as @estradling75 pointed out, you reach the end of what the LDS church can teach (because there is even more truth beyond what it teaches to learn)? Does this fit into the OP's question? In some ways, it is interesting that this comes a day after our SS class discussed Moroni 6 and the reasons given for membership and participation in church -- nourished by the Word of God, keep them in the right way, relying on the merits of Christ, fast and pray, and so on (see Moroni 6). As I think about the OPs question, I find myself basically looking at my choices regarding these purposes. What are my best choices for being nourished by the word of God and encouraged in my desire to follow Christ? To stay in the LDS church? Find a different church (Protestant or Catholic or other)? Maybe I have reached a point of such high spiritual maturity that I don't need anyone else to provide these things for me -- I can do them all myself? For me, even if the Church is not as true as I want it to be, it still seems to me to be the best place for me to get the benefits of church mentioned by Moroni. Others may decide differently, and I don't know what to make of those decisions, but I trust God to be able to make the best of each person's situation and that Christ's atonement still will have power in their lives and eternity. (Sounds kind of universalistic, doesn't it?)
  10. MrShorty

    Life, Death and an Isotropic Universe:

    I don't know about indications, but, at some point I wonder about the implications to what it means to be a child of God created in His image. Based on what @askandanswer pointed out -- that some like Elder McConkie have taught that Christ's atonement here on this planet is sufficient for all of God's creations (children?) throughout the universe -- I assume that we would believe that other intelligent life is also created in God's image. If they are too different from us (both in physical form and in lifestyle), then I would wonder what that means to be created in God's image. If nothing else, and interesting thread to spark some challenges to these assumptions.
  11. MrShorty

    This or that?

    When it comes to the soft-serve machine dispensed stuff that you get in fast food joints, I strongly prefer vanilla over chocolate. When it comes to real ice cream -- probably a slight preference for vanilla over (plain) chocolate, but everything goes out the window when you start putting other stuff in there (rocky road or chocolate with fudge or cookie dough or... Another reason not to visit this forum -- it sends me off to indulge in one of my favorite vices. You couldn't have asked a safer question? Like "iceberg or romaine"?
  12. MrShorty

    Life, Death and an Isotropic Universe:

    Re: points 1 and 2 -- yes we can look for those radiation signatures. Realistically, how far away can we see and positively identify them? I am no radio astronomer, so I really don't know, but what do our radio emissions look like against the backdrop of our sun -- and the broader universe? How far away could one realistically be to distinguish our radiation signatures from naturally occurring radiation? Re: point 3, I agree that part of the problem of our being detected by others is that we have only been transmitting/radiating unnatural radiation for about 100 years, so there is only about a 100 ly bubble in which we could be detected by those emissions (assuming they could be differentiated from the naturally occurring radiation from the sun). By the same token, a radiation signature from another civilization needs sufficient time to get to us. It took us some 4.5 billion years (of a 10ish billion year life cycle of the sun) to get to the point of radiating unnatural signatures. We need to look at a star during the "time" when that star might be harboring intelligent life. How narrow/wide is that time window?
  13. MrShorty

    Life, Death and an Isotropic Universe:

    True, but it seems arguable that science has not been able to penetrate very deep into the universe. According to the Planetary Habitability laboratory (, the farthest exoplanet (not even considering planet type or habitability) is about 30 kly away. For comparison, it is estimated that our planet is about 30 kly from the center of our galaxy, so our "bubble" of observing exoplanets consists of only a small portion of our Milky Way. I don't know what it would take to detect intelligent life outside of our solar system, but it seems almost certain that we have barely even begun to search and we are severely limited in our ability to search. At present, I'm not sure science can even begin to answer the question. I guess it depends on what characteristics you consider when you say "unique". Clearly, within our observation limits, Earth is the only one with confirmed life, but there are several "rocky, Earth size planets" within our observation limits. As much as I despise semantics, I get hung up what we mean/scripture means when it says "world" in this context. Is a star/solar system considered a world? A galaxy? A universe? I'm not sure how to answer the questions of how hostile other environments would be to life without assuming isotropy. Assuming life on other worlds is similar to our life, then I would hypothesize that all life exists under similar hostile conditions. Would life existing under non-hostile conditions be similar enough to us to be recognized as having the same Father?
  14. MrShorty

    Was Jesus married

    I agree that there are no official teachings. 2 things -- 1, was Jesus merely a "demi-god" or was He a full fledged god? We talk about Jesus being Jehovah the God of the Old Testament that He was fully God before He even obtained a mortal body. Part of the answer here might depend on exactly how one chooses to view Jesus/Jehovah's status before He came to Earth. 2) Why shouldn't Jesus be excluded from following the plan? There's a lot about Jesus that seems to make Him unique among Father's children. He seems to have been a member of the Godhead before He received a body. I see several ways that Jesus's path seems very different from our path. Personally, I see no reason to think that Jesus must have followed (or will yet follow) the path that we are following. There's a lot that hasn't been revealed, so who knows what is right and true. I'm sure there are some ways that Christ's path is similar to ours. Exactly how it is similar and how it is different hasn't been revealed.
  15. MrShorty

    Radical Orthodoxy

    @Just_A_Guy That may be true -- I'm not saying you're wrong. It seems to me an interesting commentary on the polarization of our times when people like Ralph Hancock or Dan Peterson or the Givens might feel a need for a document that declares them to be "orthodox LDS".