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Everything posted by MrShorty

  1. MrShorty

    Question on "Faith Crisis"

    Maybe patience is another key virtue in this discussion. We live in an era of instant everything, and sometimes it seems that patience is in short supply. Some processes, and I wonder if things like testimony and conversion are long term maybe even life-long processes (notable exceptions like Alma the Younger and St. Paul aside). The scriptural phrase "waiting on God" seems to capture some of what I feel is happening here. Maybe we all need more patience, more willingness to wait upon the Lord to resolve our differences in His time and in His way.
  2. MrShorty

    Question on "Faith Crisis"

    @Grunt I suppose it is natural for a comment that includes both the words evolution and heresy would naturally trigger a reference to Elder McConkie's "Seven Deadly Heresies" talk. I don't know how far down this rabbit hole we really want to go here, because we've been down it before and we will probably go down it again at some point. Yes, Elder McConkie tends to figure prominently on the pro-creationism/anti-evolutionism side of the debate because of statements like this. I observe that, in spite of the "certainty" of Elder McConkie's opinion, the Church on the whole has been unwilling to adopt Elder McConkie's opinion that evolutionism is a deadly heresy. Again, we can go down this rabbit hole if the group really wants to, but I don't see it helping the current discussion (but what do I know?). The real question that I think would further the current discussion, how do the creationists in the Church feel about worshiping with (being in communion with?) those who reject Elder McConkie's opinion(s) on evolution? How should we deal with such strongly held differences of opinion? Are there (to borrow from my old Missionary Guide training materials) "more effective" (that preserve our ability to share pews together) and "less effective" (that discourage saints with differing opinions from worshiping under the same roof) ways to deal with these strongly held differences of opinion? I can only speak for myself, but these are the questions that often take center stage when I wonder if I want to stay in communion with the Latter-day Saints. Exactly how you choose to answer questions related to creationism/evolutionism for yourself are less important to me than these other questions.
  3. MrShorty

    Question on "Faith Crisis"

    I appreciate the kind words. A lot of rabbit holes we could go down, but I wanted to respond to one idea: I agree. Pres. Nelson's remarks about spiritual self-reliance really resonated with me in the Women's session. However, I am also reminded of something I recently saw from Elder Callister. Observing that when LDS leave their church, they are more likely than other Christians to go agnostic/atheist or -- if I recall his words correctly -- "to become a church unto themselves." Flying solo if you will. I think what I sometimes take away from the "it's not our job to make you comfortable, it's your job" response is that members maybe don't care one way or another whether or not I show up to worship with them. If they don't care whether or not I'm worshiping with them, and I'm uncertain if I want to worship with them, it becomes really easy to just decide to drift away and worship by myself. I have observed in this group before that it seems like some of the worst debates in the Church are creationism vs. evolutionism debates, and seem to recall once questioning whether creationists and evolutionists could comfortable worship together. Others have observed that some of the worst debates are BoM geography (in particular, certain Heartlanders seem really intolerant of any other geographic model). Can the orthodox and the heretic come to a place where they can worship comfortably together? Maybe as @Fether's question kind of asks, should they? To @CV75's request for recommendations -- I don't really know. Following from this line of thinking, I might suggest some introspection into how we really feel worshiping with each other. Do I as the heretic really want to worship with the orthodox members of my ward? Does my ward really want to share pews with me on Sunday? I know the knee jerk answer is, " of course they do. We invite all to come and the Savior instructed us to turn no one away." As @Vort says, I as the heretic will likely not convince the Church that I am right, but I don't see the Church convincing me of the error of my ways (unless and until the Spirit chooses to convict me of those errors), but is it still possible to want to worship together even if/when the chasm between our theology/morality seems unbridgeable? Many days it seems like that is the key question I am asking myself (do I want to worship with people I have not come to a unity of faith with?) and I guess the Church seems like it is asking itself the same kind of question. If/When I (speaking as a generic person in faith crisis rather than my personal self) express a willingness and desire to worship with you, will you respond with a similar willingness to worship with me? What "false" beliefs and attitudes and sinful behaviors would make you prefer not to worship with me?
  4. MrShorty

    Question on "Faith Crisis"

    As one who judges himself in the middle of a faith crisis, here are some things I see through my glass darkly: 1) As with so many things today, it seems so polarized. The shrillest anti voices have nothing good to say about the Church, and the loudest pro voices have nothing bad to say. Here in a middle place, where it seems obvious that the Church has made errors but also contains much that is good, it feels awful lonely. It seems difficult to find people and communities to interact with that are comfortable discussing the good and the bad. 2) Related, there is a predominant "all or nothing" attitude. Many in the Church have long said something like it is all true or it is all fraud. Then the antis grab onto that, demonstrate one undeniable flaw or error in the all or nothing house of cards and claim that the whole thing comes crashing down. I find myself leaning into a "cafeteria Mormon" space, but that space tends to be maligned from both sides, and, again, you feel lonely. It's nice when you find spaces where people are talking about the things they choose to accept and the things they choose to reject from the Church -- that affirm that one can accept and reject pieces without needing to accept or reject the whole kit and kaboodle. 3) Also related is the frequent fear from the orthodox of "wolves in sheep's clothing". Of course, the antis are fond of calling the faithful mindless sheep. I know that the watchmen on the tower need to be (as Alistair Moody would say) constantly vigilant, but it is sometimes difficult to carve out a space in the Church for yourself when you feel like everyone is suspiciously watching you ready to cast you out as a wolf. It seems like it would help if there were spaces in the Church that were more comfortable with my questions and heresies rather than constantly suspicious of them. My epistemology, soteriology, Christology, and such are strongly LDS, so I am most comfortable in LDS spaces. But the things that feel wrong to me can make those LDS spaces uncomfortable as well. How the Church deals with the comfortable and the uncomfortable will impact how I move forward.
  5. I guess I'm a little behind in Come Follow Me, but I was recently reading the account of Samuel the Lamanite. In describing the events that would occur around the death of Christ, he talks about the rocks upon the face of the Earth, both above and beneath (see Helaman 14:21 and 22). The amateur geologist in me initially was thinking in geologic terms, but the idea of rocks above the earth did not make sense. I could understand rocks beneath and rocks on the face of the Earth, but those above? But, one does not need to read the text as if it is about geology. Maybe it is just a "fancy" way of talking about all of the rocks (something about the number 3, so that we talk about 3 types of rocks instead of 2)? Or is there another ancient meaning or context for talking about rocks above the Earth? Could "earth" be used here more to talk about "our level" and "rocks above" could refer to high mountains (though high mountains are usually associated with geologically active regions which doesn't match with the rocks beneath being a solid mass, but there I go again, talking about it as if it is geology and not something else)? It's a small thing that really doesn't change Samuel's overall message, but does anyone have any insights on the concept of "rocks above the earth"?
  6. Just saw this from the Salt Lake Tribune about an hour long podcast (and budding friendship?) between Elder Holland and Dr. Wood of the Assemblies of God. Haven't had a chance to listen to the whole thing yet, but thought some here might enjoy the exchange: Tribune article if you want a quick read. Youtube link to full podcast (if you want to bypass the Tribune so as not to accidentally contribute any advertising money to them)
  7. @laronius That might be the most reasonable interpretation. A different use of the preposition "above" -- I usually use "above" to mean something higher than "sitting on top of," but that is just me.
  8. Maybe, though the moon and other heavenly bodies would seem unaffected by the calamaties surrounding the death of the Lord.
  9. MrShorty

    Neuro's seitch for fremen fanboys

    @Midwest LDS I may read it, only time will tell for sure. So many times, it seems that I find prequels disappointing. The original Star Wars trilogy made vague references to a sequence of events that caused Annakin Skywalker to become Darth Vader. I can imagine all kinds of vague stories and events and myths that lead up to it, but something seems lost when all of that gets pinned down to one canonical story arc (that wasn't really executed that well, IMO). In the same way, I can imagine so many vague, mythical ways for the human vs. machine conflict to play out and lead to the commandment to never make a machine in the likeness of the human mind. Even if it is a good story, I fear I will be disappointed to pin it all down into one concrete story arc rather than think through the myriad plausible variations that exist in my head. Still, with the way Sandworms ended, there is enough curiosity about Omnius and Erasmus and Serena Butler to maybe want to see how Brian and Kevin (and maybe Frank, if Frank had any notes on it) really envisioned the Butlerian Jihad.
  10. MrShorty

    Neuro's seitch for fremen fanboys

    All Hail Shai-Hulud! Kneel before the Old Man of the Desert! Pay your respects lest the Divided God visit you in His wrath!
  11. MrShorty

    Neuro's seitch for fremen fanboys

    I finished Hunters of Dune and Sandworms of Dune to complete the series (at least, as envisioned by Brian and Kevin). More spoilers for those who want to avoid them. Hunters was kind of a slow slog through seeming randomness. The "enemy" is nameless and faceless through most of the book, so I never quite felt the urgency of humanity's preparations and infighting that slowed preparations over the course of the book. The growing and awakening of the gholas and the other events on the no-ship likewise seemed random and without direction -- other than the constant need to run from the nameless, faceless enemy. The reveal at the end that the enemy is none other than the robots from the Butlerian Jihad took me by surprise. Now that the enemy had a name and a face, Sandworms was more engaging. The plot still felt a little disjointed, but I was more interested in finding out how the humans would survive the robot invasion. Through the plot twists that revealed the last Idaho ghola as the ultimate Kwizatz Haderach finally revealed why, as I asked earlier, the original Leto II kept bringing back the Idaho gholas. I still wonder if Frank had this ending in mind as he was writing God Emperor or if this was a later development or even something that Brian and Kevin developed. Having the series end with another war between humans and robots with a different outcome was an interesting way to wrap things up -- kind of bringing the whole thing full circle. I guess my question now is whether or not to read the Butlerian Jihad books to find out how Brian and Kevin envision that beginning of the saga.
  12. MrShorty

    Liberals in the Church

    I am reminded of Senator Harry Reid's (I know, I know, "dishonor on you, dishonor on your cow" -- Mushu) speech at BYU where he recounted that he was frequently asked how he could be both a Mormon and a Democrat, to which he would respond, "I am a Democrat because I am a Mormon." While I would agree in a general sense that, yes, one's religion can and should one's politics, we need to be careful that we don't assume that our religion will influence everyone to adopt the same politics. Some will be Republicans because they are Mormons, and others will be Democrats because they are Mormons, and it seems to me that both outcomes should be acceptable within the Church. Beyond that, I would just echo what MarginOfError said. It seems harder to be "liberal" and be active in the Church than to be "conservative" and be active in the Church.
  13. I found this Wikipedia article about "age of consent" to be informative. There's a link to an additional article on "marriageable age" that -- I thought -- adding some clarification and confusion because marriageable age and age of consent are not exactly the same thing. But, I think the conclusion is still the same. In the US in the 19th century, such a monogamous marriage would not have been scandalous. Maybe uncommon, but not scandalous.
  14. @Carborendum You are correct, this is more of an expression of general human nature than something specifically "Christian". It just seems like we as Christians don't necessarily rise above our human nature any more than non-Christians. It just seems disappointing sometimes.
  15. I wish I knew what to do about that, but I don't. Christianity often seems filled with divisions and intolerance for heterodox and heretical viewpoints. I don't know how to get broader Christianity to agree with us or to accept us as a Christian variant or even how to erase other divisions within the body of Christ. Most of the time I just try to focus on myself and let God worry about the rest of Christendom.
  16. My thoughts -- and I don't know that they are coherent, because I'm not sure how well I understand the whole issue. 1) How are we defining pedophilia? Some say that a rigorous definition is "sexual attraction to pre-pubescent children". Others (especially in the 21st century) will tie it to age of consent or age of majority. The two most prominent "very young" of Joseph's wives are Helen Mar Kimball (married at 14) and Fanny Alger (16). Among Joseph's plural wives were a few rather young (by 21st century standards -- remember that age of consent when it existed in the 19th century was much younger than age of consent in our day) women. 2) Why use inflammatory words like "pedophilia" for this? The topic is difficult enough as it is, without "alleged trolls" entering the discussion brandishing inflammatory words like "pedophile" and claims that Joseph did it all for sexual conquest and such. Brandishing such language often indicates that the "troll" (alleged) is more interested in a fight than in honest discussion of a difficult topic. 3) I agree with @NeuroTypical that a study of history is the place to start. The "Saints" series is well written. In addition, there are several (like Brian and Linda Hales) who have done a lot of research into the Church's 19th century practice of polygamy. Someone who honestly wants to understand -- even if they end up judging that Joseph was "wrong" to implement and practice polygamy the way he id -- will be well served to study the history. Find out what is known, what is not known, and which allegations cannot be proven/disproven with the current evidences. Without delving into the details of the discussion, those are my initial thoughts. It can be a difficult topic that can easily turn into an ugly fight. I think most of us on this forum are not interested in an ugly fight, if that is the only reason for bringing up the topic. For someone who really wants to understand, there is a lot that has been written from a lot of different viewpoints, and some of it is difficult -- especially to our 21st century sensibilities.
  17. MrShorty

    Return to Church Guidelines

    In a top down Church, more than anything I think it was very public permission from the top for individual areas (within local guidelines) to start resuming public church meetings. In a top down church, the top has to speak so everyone knows their local authorities have permission to invite people back to church.
  18. @Fether Probably. Because we all know that the final, defining characteristic of apostates is the gullibility to push a button that says, "press if you are apostate".
  19. I'm sure that somewhere, someone would call me an apostate.
  20. I can kind of agree that most of Church resources unfortunately seem to steer people away from evolutionary theory, and I think it is because we have this false dichotomy in our collective heads -- that evolutionary theory cannot be gospel-centric. I don't know why published Church materials seem so reluctant to give any kind of nod towards theistic evolution, but there are plenty of us who believe in evolution without undercutting the pillars of creation.
  21. One scriptural addition (since there is enough concordism in this thread to not feel too bad about adding one). Genesis 2:7 (KJV) -- "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground..." Suggesting that man at least could have "evolved" (evolved and formed being essentially synonyms here) from rocks. Are we the only living things with a connection to rocks?
  22. This got me to thinking -- let me see if I can explain. The main objection to evolution here is that it must be "limited" in some way. But, we have had difficulty defining those boundaries across which life cannot evolve. I recall my own progression from creationist who didn't believe in cross-"type" evolution to now and, I think a good way of expressing that process is one of breaking down those barriers. Dogs and cats have to be a different type gives way to Mammalian carnivores probably have a common ancestor. Horses and cows have to be different gives way to ungulates probably have a common ancestor. Ungulates and whales must be different types gives way to whales and ungulates are common Reptiles, birds, and mammals must be different types gives way to reptiles, birds, and mammals seem to have a common reptilian ancestor. Vertebrates and Invertebrates must be different types gives way to Vertebrates may be descended from invertebrates. Humans must be a special creation separate from everything else gives way to humans and apes seem to have a common ancestry And so on.... It's probably not an exact description of the history of the science, but it seems like a reasonable explanation of the science to be, starting with the idea that microevolution occurs, but there must be boundaries between different "types", and the development of the science kind of feels to me like breaking down those evolutionary boundaries between assumed types. I went further in my thought train to include the idea that, if creationists are correct and there must be some hard boundaries that prevent one type from evolving into another type, then creationists could be (are) pursuing research to identify those boundaries. Such research will rely on fossil, anatomical, DNA, etc. (just as standard evolutionary theory, so it's probably not a good idea to broadly reject the types of evidence evolutionary biologists use). The problems will be the same as evolutionary biology runs into (spotty fossil records, speculation and extrapolation, and so on). However, just maybe when all is said and done, the reconciliation of evolutionary biology and creation biology is to identify the hard boundaries between types. My own unprofessional interpretation is that there are no apparent hard boundaries between types (vertebrates and invertebrates could conceivably be the same "type" or descend from the same "seed" organisms, same for plants and animals, etc.). Just a thought -- may need to think more on it.
  23. So, it isn't so much that evolutionists fail to present evidence for their theory, it's that creationists reject the evidence that has been presented. I suppose the thing that we disagree on is why fossil evidence can or cannot be used as evidence for macroevolution. Wikipedia has a fairly extensive summary article on the evidences for evolution. It includes evidence from the fossil record. I would like to note that I have mostly enjoyed this discussion, as it has mostly avoided the worst of the contentions that often bring more heat than light to this debate. I don't expect either side to convince the other in a lowly forum like this, but it is nice for once to have the debate go on without accusations of apostasy or similar.
  24. Up until now, I did not like the term "theistic evolution" because it implied that we were only talking about life on earth. You have shown me that the term theistic evolution can encompass all of that. With the caveat that my cosmology likely does not reduce down to simple yes/no answers to each of those simple questions, I would answer yes to most of that as a simple summary. I waffle between a view where God pushes the right buttons, pulls the right levers, enters the right constants, and presses "GO" and then let's the evolution play out with minimal to no further intervention or a view with Him getting the process started and then constantly shepherding the process along towards His goals (without looking to us like it is trending towards a specific set of goals). At this point, we are back to @Carborendum's question of what a "type" is and where we draw the line between micro and macro evolution. We talked about horses, and maybe called that microevolution from eohippus to modern horses. But horses are also classed as odd-toed ungulates, along with tapirs and rhinos. Evolutionary biologists would say that all odd-toed ungulates share a common ancestor. In your view, does that make them the same "type"? Is this evidence of microevolution or macroevolution? I introduced whales, which are said to be evolved from land based even-toed ungulates, and even-toed and odd-toed ungulates all share a common ancestor. Does that mean that horses and rhinos and cows and giraffes and camels and hippos and whales are all the same "type" and evidence of microevolution? Where do we draw a line (however vague) between "types" and/or between micro and macro evolution? If I understand the stories correctly, Joseph Fielding Smith and Dr. Henry Eyering had at least one "meeting" to talk about radiometric dating, and they both failed to convince the other of accuracy/inaccuracy of radiometric dating. As near as I can tell, there are examples of "outliers" like you describe, but there don't seem to be enough of these outliers to convince very many in the field that the entire principle of radiometric dating is flawed. As near as I can tell, these kind of examples have convinced them that care must be taken in performing the measurements (to avoid sample contamination, etc.) to get them right, but the theory is still considered sound and these kinds of examples are outliers that likely include some element of careless or incorrect methodology. I get the impression that it will take a lot of "outlier" data to convince the establishment that radiometric dating is fundamentally flawed.
  25. @ldsguy422 A couple of years ago, I recall pulling up that particular lesson in the OT institute manual interested in a variant of the OP's question -- were/are the authors in the Church's curriculum department open to theistic evolution. I was a little surprised when I saw that the lesson in question gave equal air time to the question of young earth creationism and old earth creationism and concluded that we don't know, but then went on -- through statements by Joseph Fielding Smith and Dr. Coffin -- to only present arguments in favor of creationism and against evolution. Even in the '80s (I believe that is when the manual in question was originally written), they should have been able to find someone (if not at BYU someone in broader Christianity -- maybe [gasp] Catholicism) who could write something to balance Coffins creationism with a theistic evolution viewpoint, but did not. I think I would be more impressed with a reference to the old OT manual if they had not seemed so biased towards creationism. I wish they had presented both sides of the creationist vs theistic evolutionist debate (much like they did the young vs. old creationism), or maybe even something like the so-called BYU evolution packet, or similar. Then I could take the manual more seriously on this topic. Some of the confusion could be, as @Vort noted in another thread, maybe we are using the term "creationism" differently than Dr. Coffin would use it -- in a way that includes theistic evolution as a type or form of creationism. However, it seems that you, like me, read this particular manual as saying that creationism does not include theistic evolution as a variant. If Vort is right, then we have not been consistent in using the term creationism to include theistic evolution. All that said, though, I think the now outdated OT manual you cite is evidence that some in the Church curriculum department were not open to theistic evolution in their day (as noted, I think it was originally published in the '80s and retired within the last few years).