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Everything posted by MrShorty

  1. MrShorty

    Despite All We Can Do

    I think this was one of the really interesting things in the podcast. How difficult it is to translate Jude 1:22. Your understanding of the verse relies very heavily on the KJV translators choice of words here. Pull this one up on Biblehub and see the different ways that different translators have chosen to interpret extant text(s) of this verse:
  2. MrShorty

    An unfortunate 1950s fundamentalism

    I probably can't speak for tesuji, but, in the 2nd link to Spackman's blog, Spackman writes: To be clear, many of these ideas or tendencies were present earlier in LDS history; what happens in the 1950s is a narrowing of the general discourse, a solidification of these fundamentalist tendencies. then, after giving a timeline of events/publicatioins, he observes It's probably just an outgrowth of Spackman's research emphases (a combination of Church history, history of science, and Biblical studies), but that seems to be how Spackman sees it. Why is this unfortunate. I don't know. Others upthread have said that maybe we needed this shift in order to retain a belief in God. If we were too accepting of the materialistic/naturalistic/atheistic explanations for life, the universe, and everything we would have lost our faith in God. I don't know if it is worth playing the "what would have happened if" game, but a quick browse of Wikipedia's Evolution and the Catholic Church article notes that Pope Pious in a 1950 publication insisted that Catholics could believe in evolution as long as they accepted God as the ultimate driver behind it, and the Catholic Church went down a path of quasi-officially adopting theistic evolution. So maybe it was a fortunate shift in that it preserved a faith in God that we otherwise would have lost, or maybe it was unfortunate in that it set us on a path of Biblical literalism and inerrancy that interfered with our ability to reconcile science and religion earlier.
  3. On some occasions when the topics of being "born again" or "conversion" or similar come up, it is sometimes suggested that we as Latter-day Saints have a different vocabulary than other "Born Again" Christians. Sometimes we worry that those vocabulary differences interfere with our ability to talk to each other about the experience of being born again (and various consequences of the born again experience). My goal in this post is to talk about the "born again" experience from an LDS perspective without getting bogged down in some of these word choices and definitions that maybe interfere with understanding. My goal is more about better understanding and less about debating the correctness of anyone's theology. This week's reading assignment in our Sunday School classes is Mosiah 4 to 6 in the Book of Mormon (link to the BoM text: As I read these chapters, it occurred to me that they contain a fairly straightforward account of one "born again" experience that I think demonstrates the "born again" experience. Because it is a story/history of a group of people experiencing being "born again", I hope that it will not get bogged down in word choices, because readers could choose their own words/terms to identify each part of the process -- words/terms that will make sense to them. My outline of the events in chapters 4 to 6 as I see this particular anecdote of a "born again" experience: 0) Context -- In chapters 2 and 3, we have the Nephite King Benjamin giving a discourse covering a variety of topics, including prophecies of the Savior. Chapter 4 begins with the people's reaction to this discourse. 1) Ch 4: vs 1 and 2 -- The people recognize their need for redemption. 2) Ch 4 vs 2 -- they call upon God for forgiveness. 3) Ch 4 vs 3 -- they receive a remission of their sins. 4) Ch 4 vs 4 to 30 -- King Benjamin takes up a commentary on this process, including what he calls "retaining a remission of your sins" (see vs. 12). This commentary culminates in verse 30 with caution against sin in general. As it pertains to some of the bitter debates over what happens after "being saved", I want to highlight here that, to us as LDS, retaining (the word Benjamin uses here) a remission of sins is just as essential as obtaining a remission of sin. As Benjamin describes it here, one retains a remission of sins through a lifetime of service and obedience (and not sinning). 5) Ch 5 vs 5 -- A covenant of obedience. In the today's LDS church, this covenant is associated with the rite/sacrament/ordinance of baptism. I am not certain why baptism is not mentioned here (perhaps because the people were already born and raised in something like the Church and had previously received the rite/sacrament/ordinance but not fully understood it or perhaps because, for some reason, the priesthood authority for such an ordinance is down in the Land of Nephi with Zeniff/Noah's priests and will be brought back with Alma (the Elder) later in the Book of Mosiah). Benjamin then comments in the rest of Chapter 5 on the nature of this covenant and what it means to "take Christ's name upon them". 6) Ch 6 -- Names of those present are recorded, perhaps as a part of remembering who entered the covenant in order to organize "churches" to help each other in keeping their covenant. It is just one people's experience, so I don't know that it is necessarily theologically rigorous, or that everyone who has a born again experience will go through all of the same steps or in necessarily the same order and all kinds of other cautions against trying to make this more than I think it is. For my fellow LDS -- anything else you would point out that I may have missed or glossed over? For other "Born Again" Christians -- How does this compare to your own "born again" experience (using your own words/terms/concepts)?
  4. Fair? I don't know about "fair". I think it is accurate to say that such exceptionalism and boundary maintenance occurs, and there are good reasons for it. I am reminded of an anecdote about Robert Millet (if memory serves). If I recall the anecdote correctly, about the time the junior Millet was preparing to serve a mission, he mentioned to his father that he had noticed a lot of scriptures in the Book of Mormon talking about grace. To which the senior Millet replied -- we don't believe in grace, that's something Baptists believe. Was the senior Millet expressing some kind of religious truth, or was he blinded by exceptionalism and boundary maintenance so that he could not see that grace is a true principle? How did his adherence to excepionalism and boundary maintenance make it easier or harder for him to understand those around him and their experience with God and faith and religion? As one who frequently listens to Christian radio, I often remark how many of these pastors will end a broadcast/sermon with some kind of "if in response to this you feel to acknowledge your sinfulness and would like to pray some kind of sinner's prayer to invite Christ to forgive your sin, please do so and receive the forgiveness that only Christ can offer." What stood out to me was how similar these radio pastors' descriptions are to the process I see in step 0 to 3 that I outlined in the OP. Back when I was young and immature and steeped in exceptionalism and boundary maintenance, I doubt I would have been in any good position to see the parallel. I know there are differences and I have no delusions of completely merging my own beliefs with that of broader Christianity. At the same time, I think there can be more overlap than we often acknowledge.
  5. @prisonchaplain That could be. I have seen streak of "Mormon Exceptionalism" that runs through us that, I think, sometimes objects to Christian concepts merely because we don't want to be too much like other Christians. It's unfortunate, because when our sole objection to something is so we don't look too much like other Christians, I think we miss an opportunity for true understanding. On the other hand, on a couple of occasions, it has seemed to me that other Christian's objections to Mormonism sometimes feel the same -- they are making more of an effort to appear different -- to appear nothing like those apostate Latter-day Saints -- that they object to a discussion like this only because they don't want to acknowledge any kind of common ground. I think it is unfortunate when our dialogue features this kind of exceptionalism, because it interferes with our ability to truly engage and learn from each other. I think part of my motivation is to hopefully get beyond the exceptionalist tendencies and find ways to learn from and about each other.
  6. I won't link* to the blog entry where I came across this, since the blog tends towards being critical of the Church, but I became aware this morning of a Brazillian Adventist who took one of the Church's videos of Christ, removed all references to the Church, then overlaid his own Easter message. A couple of intriguing ideas from the blogger I read: In what seems an ironic twist, Adventists in Brazil tend to insist that Latter-day Saints are not Christians. It seems ironic to me that he would use a "non-Christian" video of Christ for his Christian Easter message. The blogger posed the question at the end whether Latter-day Saints would be pleased by the piracy (some sort of underhanded admission that maybe we are more Christian than anyone wants to admit) or would we be completely outraged. * I also did not link to the video as it might be in poor taste to drive traffic to this little bit of plagiarism. If you want to see the video, your search engine should find it under "O Cordeiro por: Allinson Nunes" on youtube. If you want to find the blog entry, you should be able to find it at the Vozes Mormons blog. Moderators feel free to delete these hints (or even the entire post) if you find them inappropriate.
  7. When I distill the 1909 article, I end up with two main points -- God is the creator and man is created in God's image. I tend to conclude that we are open to any cosmology that incorporates those two elements (God is creator and man is created in God's image). Often the big debate that makes enemies of lifelong friends and so on is whether or not a theistic evolution worldview can adequately embrace those two points. As I noted before, I tend to think it can, but I know many in the Church past and present who felt that it could not.
  8. Personally, I lean towards a theistic evolution viewpoint for the development of life, and I think there are others within the Church who entertain similar possibilities. I also know that we had a stretch during the middle and late 20th century when many of us (including leaders like Joseph Fielding Smith and Bruce R. McConkie) who were staunch creationists and, while I don't think they ever spoke directly to the question of theistic vs. atheistic evolution, never spoke to the possibility of theistic evolution either. Elder McConkie, in his "Seven Deadly Heresies" speech, declared evolution to be a heresy. However, I have observed that he spends most of that portion of the speech decrying atheism and never directly addressed those who believe in evolution and retain a belief in God. Some of this could be a conflation of the concepts of theistic evolution and creationism. I know they occupy different categories in my own mind, but it seems that, in and out of the Church, some people treat them as variations of the same thing and others treat them as separate things. We had a creationist streak run through us for a few decades, but I see support building for shifting to a theistic evolution viewpoint.
  9. MrShorty

    Almost saved

    I enjoyed this, thank you. Occasionally I come across the idea that the worst "hell" is to find ourselves falling short of our full potential.
  10. MrShorty

    Deconstructing a Testimony

    I can't quite figure out how to respond, so I will throw out some thoughts and see what, if anything, happens. I don't know if it fits the "newness" of the idea, but I might say that my first faith deconstruction was 30 or so years ago. As a teenager, I had a decent testimony of creationism (waffled a bit on the old vs. new, but definitely creationist). Then I chose a bio-ag major at BYU and, to be brief, "deconstructed" my testimony of creationism (assuming this is what we mean by deconstruction). After all is said and done, I now find myself with many of the attitudes mentioned in the OP towards creationism. I tend to see my own view as better rooted in facts, history, and science where the creationists are more faith and emotion based. I tend to think that, if I could just get them to understand science and scripture the way I do, they, too, could be more enlightened like me, and so on. I try to be mindful that the creationists I worship with are not ready for the more complete truth that I believe, so I try to keep my opinions to myself at Church to avoid stirring pots that don't want stirring. If this is what we mean by deconstruction, then I tend to see it as merely part of the process of replacing erroneous beliefs with truth. Along the way, it seems possible to replace truth with error, but somewhere along the way, I cannot become completely paralyzed in my search for truth by the possibilities that I might be wrong. Is it only a faith deconstruction if the result is animosity towards the Church as a whole? As a concluding thought, I heard some interesting stuff said about the poor translation in the KJV for Jude verse 22. Looking at Biblehub, I see that a high percentage of translations render this verse as something like "have mercy/patience/grace for those who doubt." I sometimes feel like one of the things that is missing is this patience towards those whose faith is deconstructing. While acknowledging the need for boundary maintenance sometimes, how can we better interact with others to help them deconstruct/reconstruct their faith in a way that avoids the animosity that I see in the OP?
  11. MrShorty

    Liberty vs. Safety

    I don't know if this has any significance or maybe it is just making casual conversation, but something in this particular conversation reminded me of the Empire duet by Orson Scott Card (warning: spoilers ahead, if you need to avoid them). I forget details (did Averell Torrent ascend to the presidency in book 1 or 2?), but I recall that in book 2, Torrent solidifies his new status as more of an absolute leader rather than democratically elected president in the midst of a global pandemic. Not sure it means anything or not. Might need to read it again -- especially if/when we get quarantined at home with no where to go...
  12. MrShorty

    Liberty vs. Safety

    Me. The song was instrumental in memorizing the Preamble in 8th grade.
  13. MrShorty

    Liberty vs. Safety

    It seems to me that the question is not whether government should infringe on liberty to provide safety, but when and to what extent. My freedom to build my own house any way I see fit is infringed because of building codes and licensing requirements in the name of safety. My right to drive as fast as I want is infringed by speed limit laws in the name of safety. Mandatory vaccinations (discussed in another thread) infringe on my freedom to choose whether or not to get vaccinated in the name of safety and health. I tend to agree with Ben on this one, but I don't think it is as black and white as might be suggested. It seems to me that it is less about whether or not we should cede liberty to government in exchange for safety, but when, how, to what extent, etc. should we cede those liberties and when do we as citizens need to retain those liberties.
  14. I saw this article from the AP today in various news outlets If this link fails or you find it behind a paywall or something, the article is attributed to David Klepper of the Associated Press with a headline about New York state eliminating or ending the religious exemption to vaccine mandates and you should be able to find a copy of the article searching for those parameters. Since religious liberty has been kind of a hot button topic lately -- especially as it intersects other issues -- I found this piece interesting. I am certainly pro-vaccine and do not understand how so many accept the anti-vaccine pseudo-science. But I also feel some of the concern that the Church feels about eroding religious liberties. A few statements that stood out to me: Is it the job of the state to decide what is a legitimate or valid or honestly held religious belief and what is not? It is also pointed out that the choice is about sending kids to school. I get the impression that you are only required to get vaccinations if you want your child to attend school. Anyone can homeschool their unvaccinated child (within the limits the law imposes on homeschooling, which I don't know what NY allows as far as homeschooling). This might be the biggest statement. Even if I agree that public health overrides religious liberty in this case, what are the criteria that we use to decide when a public _______ issue overrides religious liberties? It kind of seems like it is up to case by case voting, but do I/we trust legislators (and even the voters in general) to do this well?
  15. MrShorty

    Neuro's seitch for fremen fanboys

    Finished Chapterhouse this week. And, in celebration (or something) stumbled on this somewhat amusing piece (or maybe it is just the slight possibility that there really is a sandworm actors guild somewhere out there that piqued my imagination): I decided to pick up Hunters of Dune and see what Brian and Kevin made of Frank's outlines and notes and such. Wish me luck. Oh, and if anyone is starting to count down -- Villeneuve's flick is scheduled to release in December.
  16. MrShorty

    BYU classroom lecture

    I know what you mean by this, but... The discussion groups I frequent tend to focus on sexual behavior/standards within heterosexual marriage. Frequently within these groups, the question of what is appropriate between a married couple comes up, and most of the time we try to steer couples towards "use your own personal definitions to govern your understanding of the law of chastity." (within, of course, the limitation of going outside of the marriage). So many times, the most difficult cases are the "but my mom/dad/bishop/stake president said that Elder (apostle/prophet) so and so said that..." because that appeal to authority carries a lot of weight in the Church. Take Professor Brau's statement outside of the context of this particular controversy, and I see many promoting exactly this -- come up with your own personal definition of what virtue and chastity mean (if any of you follow Jennifer Finlaysen-Fife, she frequently talks about this). Is it really that terrible of a skill to develop -- the ability to make moral judgements -- to really understand right from wrong? I think the thing that I see in this is that so many of us are afraid that, if we give students permission to make their own moral judgements, then they might make (in our estimation) wrong moral judgements (in this case, deciding that homo-romantic behavior is acceptable under the law of chastity). How shall we deal with CES students who come to wrong conclusions? How far should CES honor code offices go in "policing" students' moral reasoning and conclusions and the behavior that flows out of that reasoning?
  17. MrShorty

    Pornography Addiction

    In the sexology circles that I frequent, porn as addiction is much maligned. The therapists that I see talking about it frequently talk about why the user chooses to use porn (covering some other uncomfortable emotion or avoiding something uncomfortable or ...). I think you are wise to think about and talk about the issue and try to understand your own views and opinions on the topic before committing to marriage. Marriage is supposed to be for life -- for richer for poorer etc. -- including some sense of what you will tolerate and what you refuse to tolerate around porn exposure and use. You have every right to decide for yourself if and when this is a dealbreaker and when it is not. If you (and/or your boyfriend) are interested in approaches that lean away from the addiction model, you might look up: Cam Staley is an LDS researcher who has had a recent publication on the issue. Jennifer Finlaysen-Fife is a popular LDS sex therapist who has some ideas around porn use and integrity and such that I find compelling. Daniel Burgess did an episode with Saints Unscripted (I think they are still a thing on the main third hour page) on his views regarding porn as not addiction. any number of other LDS and non-LDS therapists and researchers who suggest alternatives to the porn/sex as addiction model. If your boyfriend has already tried and failed at the addiction model for porn use, he might try looking at it differently and maybe find success in another way.
  18. MrShorty

    New Handbook

    Which is why I was careful to specify bearded men in my post.
  19. MrShorty

    New Handbook

    I'll believe that when they allow bearded men to take tests or check out books from the library. Or maybe they will decide that this is the only aspect of the dress standard that is safe to enforce.
  20. MrShorty

    New Handbook

    That was the wording of the Nov 2015 policy, which was then changed to may require in the Apr 2019 update to that policy.
  21. Just came across an announcement that the Church is consolidating handbooks 1 and 2 into one, publicly available handbook. It is set for digital release in English on Feb. 19.
  22. Some elements of Holy Week and Christmas often bring up the question of the value of liturgy in Christianity. I was out and about town last night and caught a portion of an Evangelical radio program called Breakpoint and they were talking about the lack of formal liturgy in many Evangelical churches, and how some of that liturgy is starting to make its way into some Evangelical churches. One of the hosts reflected that, until very recently, he did not recall ever having or attending a Maundy Thursday or Good Friday service (for the record, his opinion was overall positive to see some of these liturgical elements entering the churches he was familiar with). I recall another essay I read where the author was describing insights gained attending a Good Friday service that included the symbolic elements that many traditional liturgical churches include that help the worshiper symbolically relive the historic experience of laying Christ in the tomb and reflecting on what that might mean when the promise of Easter is a somewhat unkown thing yet three days in the future. My question for the group (and I am putting this in Christian Beliefs because I would like views from those across the Christian spectrum) is just to get opinions on these liturgical elements. Respectfully like or dislike them? Do they add to your worship, or detract? Would you like more or less? Any other thoughts?
  23. MrShorty

    Women and Priesthood Power

    Except that I would still be in a position to lead and protect my family without the formal ordination to the Priesthood. A single mother is considered the leader and protector of her family without ordination. I don't think I am underestimating my value to my family -- I'm not seeing how my ordination to the Priesthood adds anything to that value. One part of the discussion has been whether or not women are authorized to lay on hands -- often citing the practice of women laying on hands for blessings earlier in this dispensation. I am not sure if those who advocate for this practice today are the last vestiges of the older practice as the practice finally dies out, or if I am seeing a resurgence of the older practice. Another part is kind of the same thing. When my child is sick, I can lay my hands on their head and give a blessing. With some of this "new" rhetoric, I am seeing us say that my wife could keel at their bedside and give essentially the same blessing. In both cases, we are each calling upon the powers of God/Heaven to bless a child, and as I am understanding the rhetoric, each is equivalent. There is no real difference between me laying hands on head and invoking the Melchizedek Priesthood than my wife calling on God by virtue of her position as a woman and mother. I find myself back at the same point -- what does my formal ordination bring to the scenario?
  24. MrShorty

    Women and Priesthood Power

    At what point does this become the Protestant "Priesthood of all believers" idea where there is no need for any kind of formal ordination? Since Pres. Nelson's talk in October, this maybe is the thing that has really been rattling around in my head -- Why am I ordained? As an Elder, I am not eligible to be called into most positions of Church government (What Ulrich called the Ecclesiastical Priesthood). In a thread started shortly after last conference, we talked about women being able to officiate in blessings for the sick and blessings of comfort, so those ordinances do not seem to require formal ordination (though I think there is some debate to be had on this). I guess I need to be formally ordained in order to perform baptisms and confirmations for my family members, which only happens a few times. As a youth, I needed to be formally ordained to pass, prepare, and bless the sacrament. Any other callings I am called to fulfill come with a "setting apart" in which I am given the requisite priesthood authority to perform those callings (and, the impression I am getting, is that this is new priesthood authority and not "activating" a latent authority that is already present in my ordination as I once thought). It just seems that my ordination grants me very little above and beyond what any non-ordained member of the Church has -- not that I need my ordination to grant me special privileges. It just seems that, at this stage in my life, I could abdicate my priesthood and still do everything I currently do in the Church and my family.
  25. MrShorty

    Neuro's seitch for fremen fanboys

    I picked up Chapterhouse this week to start it. The copy I got from the library included an introduction by Brian Herbert, that had a couple of interesting pieces of trivia that were new to me: Lady Jessica was based on Frank's wife Beverly. Brian claimed that more than 20 editors turned Dune down for publication before a Sterling Lanier "took a chance". I know there are a lot of those kinds of stories, and hindsight is 20/20, but I couldn't help but think there are a lot of editors and their publishing houses looking back and thinking about missed opportunities. From there, I guess I will dive into Chapterhouse and see if I make it out the other side.