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Everything posted by MrShorty

  1. MrShorty

    How Wide the Divide?

    In the Salvation chapter, Robinson specifically explains (in response to Blomberg's observation that the language used in the book seems very different from one of Robinson's Ensign articles where he gives a "bicycle" analogy) that, in this book, he is using language that Protestants will hopefully better understand. In his Ensign article, he was using language that LDS would understand without being concerned about whether Protestants would understand. This was one of those sections where, like @mordorbund suggests, I wonder if Robinson was employing a little "spin" to make our thinking a little more palatable to Protestants. I see many Protestants accepting and teaching some variation of "works as an outgrowth of faith/grace" that Robinson talks about. I even recall some statements from apostles like Elder Uchtdorf that fit into this. I wonder, if Blomberg had really pressed him to a yes/no "Do you believe in Sola Fide and/or Sola Gratia?" (I have noted many times that I like to think of those as separate), would Robinson answer "yes" or "no". I don't know how Robinson would answer. I have noted that I could answer yes to one and no to the other (I believe in salvation by grace alone, but believe that it takes more than faith alone to get there), but that's just me. In this part of the discussion, the thing Robinson did that really stood out to me was framing it as similar to the Arminianism vs. Calvinism debate. It's probably not perfect, but I can see how Robinson sees Mormonism (if you have a better "ism" for this word, I'm open to suggestions) as leaning more towards Arminianism and Evangelicalism (as Blomberg concedes) leans more towards Calvinism. This page ( ) notes that the Arminianism vs. Calvinism debate is potentially one of the most divisive in Christian history, so it should be no surprise that there is a significant debate between us and Evangelicals over these points. But, again, would we as LDS really classify ourselves collectively and unreservedly as Arminians? Maybe not. But, putting the debate into those terms should help Evangelicals, who would likely be more familiar with Arminianism and the different points in that debate, understand it.
  2. MrShorty

    How Wide the Divide?

    I am problem one of the frightened spectators, because I think fear is a big problem for me in having these conversations. Too many examples (a couple of my own experiences) where it wasn't handled well, and I find myself preferring to completely avoid the conflict rather than figure out how to work through the conflict in a good way like these two did. Assuming that it will ever be my place to fully enter this dialog (outside of the anonymity of an internet forum like this), I will need to get over that fear before I can make a meaningful contribution.
  3. MrShorty

    Suicide and the Law of Chastity

    I struggle enough with St. Paul's idea in 1 Cor. 7 that my sexual availability/unavailability might mean that I am at fault for my spouse's sin. I don't think that is right. I am even more uncomfortable with elevating that to the next level where my sexual availability/unavailability might be at fault for my fiancee's/spouse's very life. Any variation of "I will kill myself if you don't have sex with me" is all kinds of unhealthy and wrong -- even if I were to make concessions in the moral right/wrong department. I agree with NT, it is not fair to you to be yoked to someone whose very life depends on your sexual availability. If she is not currently in treatment for her suicidal ideation, then she needs to enter treatment. Get her emotional state back under control, then worry about how you are going to go forward -- including how you will deal with the moral right/wrong part of the question.
  4. MrShorty

    How Wide the Divide?

    @prisonchaplain Now that you mention it, that is another big take away from the book. How to have a respectful conversation about these religious differences. I think that model can even go beyond LDS-Evangelical relations into other denominational relations (perhaps even the big Catholic-Protestant divide). Just modeling the ability to "disagree without being disagreeable" is a valuable skill -- especially with a topic that can be as charged as religion.
  5. If it is too much of a threadjack, please ignore, but I am reminded of another board game I used to like that gave you some flexibility in choosing your "victory" conditions. It was a game called Careers. I forget many of the details, but you basically started the game by figuring out what combination of "love", "money", "fame", and maybe 1 or two other criteria would constitute your victory condition. Then you played the game, pursuing different career paths that would give you varying points in each category. The goal was to be the first to amass the correct number of points in each category and win the game.
  6. That sounds like a newer edition. The edition I am remembering did not have life tiles.
  7. Refresh my memory. It seems that there was an earlier version of the Game of Life that included number of children in the final "score" (if memory serves, each child was given a fixed dollar value when figuring your final worth)? I seem to recall winning one round in part because I had several children, which gave me a sizeable "bonus" at the end which pushed me over the top. I want to say that this was in the '80's maybe early '90's -- though the copy we were playing could have been older still.
  8. MrShorty

    Adamic Language

    I don't know if this will add anything to this discussion. Searching out other things, I came across this from FairMormon:'s_teaching_of_a_historical_Adam%3F?fbclid=IwAR3_l8bDWFBcNWX9Yb7sGVS_OHgilTUs6hmGhRaeDykGESjNzUJQeuiki7g That includes a section (almost at the end) that discusses the Adamic language. It's mostly about how it might fit into different theories of creation. Perhaps for additional interest, note 4 on that page links to a page at the JSPP where some alleged samples of the Adamic language are given:
  9. MrShorty

    Figurative vs Literal

    I am reminded of something Dr. Henry Eyring said (quoting from Dan Peterson's blog -- not original sources I tend to agree with Dr. Eyring. Yes, some have accepted scientific claims so dogmatically as to limit their spiritual growth. It also seems to me that some religionists -- including some of our apostles and prophets -- have been so dogmatic about their private interpretation of scripture as to limit our ability to discover the real truth. I'm not sure which side of this coin I fall on. Ultimately, I like Dr. Eyring's conclusion. I don't have to believe anything that is not true. I'm not sure if or how I will always, infallibly know what is true and what is not true -- as Vort says, this is where enough humility to accept that I don't really know the final answers.
  10. MrShorty

    Figurative vs Literal

    An interesting question. I expect that I am on the path towards something like Moe's viewpoint. Until I get there: One of the most contentious issues I see is the issues of a literal Adam and Eve (and no death before the fall and other cosmological questions). I have seen it suggested that a big reason Joseph Fielding Smith adopted young earth creationism and defended it so vigorously was this specific issue -- can you read the Bible as something less than literal history. He seemed to believe that anything less than literal history was an offense against scripture, so he taught young earth creationism. For whatever reason, the Church's response (members and curriculum writers, but not necessarily the official official position) was to adopt creationism as the semi-official position of the Church. We waffled a bit on young versus old, but we were decidedly creationists (but never quite officially). Donald Parry, in his Ensign article in the late '90's about Noah's flood, asserts that Mormons are among the few who take the Bible literally -- including a belief in a literal, global flood exactly as the Bible describes, with no room for a "local flood" theory or even an allegorical reading. As to the Book of Mormon, we have long adopted a kind of "all or nothing" approach to the Book of Mormon -- and Elder Callister's recent book doubles down on the idea. Either it is all true (including historically accurate) and therefore proof of the restoration, or it is all false and the entirety of our restoration narrative from Joseph Smith to Russel M Nelson is fraudulent. All to say that we have a history of insisting on literal readings of scripture -- more literal than I am comfortable with (but I'm just some internet nobody, so who cares what I think, right?). A few years ago, I started this thread asking what parts of ancient scripture must be historical and what can I tolerate as fictional/allegorical/less than history. At the time, I concluded (and mostly still agree) that the only thing I really need to be historical is about Christ and His atonement. I'm not too worried about whether He died on a cross or a pole (as the Jehovah's Witnesses like to argue) or whether he actually spoke to a woman at the well or not, or whether he was born in the spring, fall, or winter, or any of the details described by the evangelists. Something about him allowed him suffer and die to provide a substitiary atonement for me (and the rest of you, I suppose), and be raised from the dead (whether a part of three separate calendar days or 72 hours or some other time after, I don't care) so that I will also be raised to live with God and Christ again. I think I can tolerate a lot of ancient scripture being fictional/allegorical/ahistorical as long as that doesn't change. I think I can even tolerate less than literal historical readings of modern scripture. If I learn that details of Joseph Smith's First vision are not exactly as they are described in the 1838 account as canonized in the PoGP, I think I can be okay with that. If something about the way polygamy was taught and practiced under Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and on to Wilford Woodruff (and after) was not exactly how God intended to reveal it, I think I can accept that, too. If the Book of Mormon proves to be less than a history of actual people in this hemisphere, maybe I can be okay with that without losing all belief in the Restoration. Are these important questions? Like MoE, I'd like to say that they are not important. However, it seems to me that we frequently inflate their importance. Because of the theological relationship we usually draw between fall and atonement, many will argue that anything less than a literal, historical, physical interpretation of the accounts of Adam and Eve destroys the entire Christian narrative (more of that all or nothing thinking). Because of the importance of Joseph Smith to our restoration narrative, anything less than perfect, historical accuracy in his accounts of the restoration events and his understanding of what the Book of Mormon is destroys the entire restoration. Any chink in the "all or nothing" armor shatters the entire LDS paradigm. I sometimes think the importance of the literal versus figurative is in how it encourages and/or discourages people to remain as active participants in the Church. Perhaps this puts me in opposition to Fether's argument that figurative/ahistorical readings are a step on the road to apostasy, but I sometimes wonder if some of those who leave the Church would have stayed if there was more open tolerance for these figurative/ahistorical readings of scripture. That might be the real importance, in my opinion, for this discussion. How does the debate over literal vs. figurative figure into whether some accept or reject -- stay or leave -- the Church.
  11. MrShorty

    We can be Mormons again?

    Inerestingly, I came across a blog post over at one of those progressive blogs (that are often received with disdain here) that addressed this CHI update. The author compares the updated language to the language of an archived version from Oct. 2018, and notes only two edits -- the scripture reference in the first paragraph is changed from D&C 115:4 to Doctrine and Covenants 115:4 and to remove the reference to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in the last paragraph. The blog author suggests that the edit to NT's highlighted text that will make referring to members as "Mormons" unacceptable is still in the works.
  12. MrShorty

    So sick of the peeping stone story

    I had an interesting reaction the first time I read the gospel topics essay on the four extant accounts of the first vision. Why canonize only one of the four accounts? Why privilege the 1838 account over the other accounts? Several reasons suggested themselves, each interesting, but I am still left trying to fully understand why we privilege one account over all others. 1) Yes! 2) Yes, but. Do I have to believe every single thing he said about it even where it appears that he contradicts himself? With ancient scripture (like Genesis), I am disinclined to believe that every event described literally occurred as historical fact. Can I believe that the Prophet brought forth the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God while accepting that maybe he and Oliver overstated the importance and role of the Urim and Thummim and understated the importance/role of the seer stone? 3) Yes! 4) Plead the 5th. Not going to testify against myself.
  13. MrShorty

    So sick of the peeping stone story

    This and so many other aspects of our history are interesting little problems. Since I am not an expert in such historical research, ultimately I have to take it on faith that the historians/scholars hired by the Church to synthesize all of this down into our "best" understanding have done their due diligence in judging which sources are good primary sources, good secondary sources, and not so good sources (but I do not have the time, expertise, or inclination to try to adequately verify that for myself). If the new narrative represents a change from the narrative I grew up with, what then?? As a scholarly endeavor, this should not be above criticism, if we feel those criticisms are justified. I don't know who follows Jeff Lindsay's Mormanity blog, but one of the recent bees in his bonnet is how he feels that the JSPP has been severely negligent in their choice of sources for the recent volume dealing with the Book of Abraham. Again, I can't possible judge what is truth and error in this debate, but the existence of the debate is interesting to me. Again, I ultimately have to rely on the final consensus of these historians/scholars to know what our best guess at the true history looks like. The study of our history is interesting. It also seems to be difficult in many ways. If your criticism has merit -- enough merit to override the consensus of the Church's historians/scholars, then I hope someone will take it up and publish those criticisms where they can do some good (thirdhour is an amazing forum with some amazing people, but I'm not sure a simple forum post even on this forum is going to gain much traction) in the debate.
  14. To borrow from someone else (who may have been mistranslated) -- "Almost thou persuadest me to become a Texan."
  15. @mordorbund Isn't that one of the Articles of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Country Music Lovers?
  16. Something I am observing as it relates to the name of the Church. It seems that the effort to eliminate the term Mormon is mostly about removing it when referencing the Church directly. Specific things I have seen: 1) When stating that FairMormon would keep their moniker that includes "Mormon", it was said that it was acceptable for them to use the moniker because they are not officially part of the Church, but something independent. I occasionally hear rumors of other GA's reiterating the idea, but nothing I can reference. 2) I don't know if others have seen it, but there is a recent update to Handbook 2 that is floating around about the "referring to the Church and its members". The online version seems to have the section in there as section 21.1.34. This section emphasizes that we should refer to the Church by its full name, and should not refer to the Church as "the Mormon Church". However, when referring to members, the Handbook says that the full "members of the Church of..." is preferred, but Latter-day Saints and Mormons are acceptable. "Mormons" is less preferred, but still acceptable, according to the handbook. According to the Handbook, it is acceptable to refer to myself as a Mormon. We sometimes like lower-higher law descriptions, maybe "Mormon" is the telestial law, "Latter-day Saint" is the terrestrial law, and "Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" is the celestial law??
  17. @anatess2 Perhaps I have misunderstood BSA's requirement. Several years ago, when I was first called to the Cub Scouts, they insisted that I get my certificate for having taken the YPT before they sustained me. In theory, BSA did not want anyone actually working with the boys until after they had finished the YPT. I don't know. You may be right - that I interpreted the requirement incorrectly, but it seems that -- while BSA may tolerate a very low training threshold as far as knowledge of and commitment to the program is concerned -- they are trying to be very strict about the YPT.
  18. @JohnsonJones My sample size is admittedly small, but I don't recall anyone being released from a BSA related calling because they failed to take BSA's YPT. There was a constant nagging to take the training, but I don't recall anyone being released (or issued an ultimatum to take the training by a certain date or get released). My cynical expectation is that the Church is going to continue the same trend -- nag and nag, but never insist or else. I would hope that someone who cannot take the training due to technological ignorance or inadequate hardware would speak up and find someone to help. I would also hope that someone who just doesn't want to take the training would also say so (and not accept the calling) rather than accepting the calling and simply not watching the video.
  19. MrShorty

    Neuro's seitch for fremen fanboys

    I don't know if it is NT's misspelling of sietch in the thread title, or my pathetic attempt to connect the Dune and Star Wars universes (I will gladly edit my previous post to remove the reference, if need be), but this did not get very far. To give it another chance, as promised I picked up and recently finished God Emperor of Dune -- the 4th book in the series. (Spoilers will follow, if anyone wants to avoid them, stop here). I find this one an intriguing extension of the storyline. I won't summarize the story (unless those who have not read it want me to. The things that have always intrigued me in this story: Leto II's transformation into a sandworm/human hybrid. Perhaps it is just an extension of the previous books. Paul become the Kwisatz Haderach, Alia becomes "abomination", Leto II and his sister become something like abomination, but not quite. But this transformation seems grander than the others. The near continuous presence of the Duncan Idaho gholas throughout Leto II's reign. I'm not sure I understand why, but something about Idaho causes him to come back time and time again. I can recall the first time I read this how Leto II's death towards the end took me by surprise. Maybe I was too young to pick up on the foreshadowing the first time, but I did not expect him to be killed at the end, and the manner of his death was very memorable. Next up is Heretics of Dune. I have a couple of books in between, so it will be a little bit later this fall, maybe winter, before I get to it. Another book that has memorable moments, and I will enjoy being reminded of the many forgotten details from this next chapter in human future history (what kind of contradiction is that?).
  20. MrShorty

    Need reference for Christ's birthdate April 6th

    As I understand it, the main source for the April 6th claim is Elder Talmage in his book Jesus the Christ.
  21. I voted for the 2nd option, without denying the possibility that at least some of the apostles have had an experience like the 1st option. I wanted an option that blended 2 and 4 (given a special witness and also a special calling to carry that witness to the world). Maybe should have taken the write-in option and put blend of 2 and 4, but the vote is cast as it is.
  22. MrShorty

    Disgruntled about local policy.

    How many fights on the internet begin with these (or similar) words? Nothing to add to the specific policy under discussion, but that phrase caught my eye.
  23. MrShorty

    Marriage to the Lord

    I realize it has been a couple of weeks, but a blog post from Gottman's blog came across my computer recently with, I think, some additional ideas that seem pertinent to the relationship between "persons who are leaving/struggling" and "the Church*". The blog entry was about "solvable vs. perpetual problems" ( Solvable problems are those that, perhaps obviously, find solutions and then are done. Perpetual problems are the issues that don't truly resolve, but keep coming up over and over. In Gottman's view, these things usually reflect fundamental differences between the parties to the relationship. He also notes that what might be a solvable problem for some will be a perpetual problem for others, so it isn't always possible to generalize which issues are perpetual problems and which are solvable. One statement that stood out to me in the linked essay was "The goal should be to establish a dialogue about the perpetual problem that communicates acceptance of your partner..." In much of what I have read from those who have dealt with these perpetual problems with the Church, one common thing they say is that they did not feel like they could talk about their doubts, questions, concerns with anyone at church. If they said anything in Sunday School, they got shot down, they did not want to meet one on one with the bishop or the bishop did not have acceptable answers, they wanted to sin and no one at Church would endorse their sin -- a lot of different ways, I think, this could play out. For those who want to stay in relationship with the Church, and for the Church that wants to stay in relationship with these people, what are we doing and what more can we do to foster this dialogue? Some perpetual problems become "gridlocked", where the issue becomes uncomfortable and difficult -- usually involving the 4 horsemen we talked about earlier. A link in the above points to another essay with a list of characteristics common to gridlocked problems. Here's the list (think not only of how people who are leaving the Church exhibit this characteristics, but also about how you see the Church exhibiting these characteristics): The conflict leaves you feeling rejected by your partner. No matter how much you talk about it, you feel thwarted. Despite your best attempts, you are making absolutely no headway in the problem area. You become so impossibly entrenched in your positions that neither you nor your partner plan to budge. Anytime the subject comes up, you invariably feel frustrated and hurt. Your conversations about the problem are unpleasant as can be, entirely devoid of humor, amusement, or expressions of affection. Your inability to budge increases with the passage of time, leading the two of you to vilify each other when this conflict arises. In an infuriating catch-22, the reverse also manages to occur: as you vilify each other, your inability to budge and polarization in your views increases, and your chances of reaching a compromise plummet. Upon traversing this delightful territory, the two of you end up in the land of total emotional disengagement. As a description of some of what I see happening, it seems like a good description. I don't know what proposals to draw out of the descriptions. I thought, though, that it might be useful to someone to think about. * -- Again, I still don't have a good, concrete idea of who/what "the Church" is for this discussion
  24. I would agree with you, but this debate is not just about who is a "good" or "bad" or "heretical" or "apostate" or "unorthodox" Christian. Those are all types of Christians that we have judged fit under the umbrella of "Christian". I have seen others argue (is Pastor Christie from the OP arguing this?) that Mormons should easily fit under the Christian umbrella, but they must also be subclassified as heretical or unorthodox. Personally, I kind of like the idea of being labeled a heretical Christian, because I think that is the most accurate. I feel like I believe enough of the things that should define a Christian to fit under the umbrella, but there is no question in my mind that some of my beliefs are unorthodox or even heretical or apostate (from the point of view of mainstream Christianity).
  25. Nephi's quote leaves all kinds of room for unorthodox belief. Do I have to belief that Christ is embodied to look to Him for a remission of sins? Do I have to believe that Christ was God incarnate to look to Him for a remission of sins? Can I believe that Christ is not a part of the Godhead/Trinity and still look to Him for a remission of sins? If being Christian is about believing that Christ is the source from which I receive a remission of sins (and I don't think it is a bad definition, myself), then I can believe a lot of other non-orthodox and even heretical or apostate things about Christ and still look to Him for a remission of my sins. Lewis and the rest of Christendom seem to be arguing that there is a lot more to being Christian than just believing that Christ is the atoning source for sin. It's still the same semantic debate -- exactly what does it mean to be a Christian? We cannot seem to come to an agreement that satisfies all of Christendom, and so we incessantly debate it.