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Everything posted by MrShorty

  1. @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.
  2. @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.
  3. 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?).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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
  8. 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).
  9. 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.
  10. Which, I think, brings up a Mormon bias that is not necessarily shared by the rest of Christendom. It has frequently been said that Latter-day Saints much prefer orthopraxy over orthodoxy. The C S Lewis portion of this discussion is strongly focused on orthodoxy. "Elder" Lewis even goes so far as to say that behavior maybe should not even define what it means to be Christian. Lewis seems to argue that it is the belief system that makes you Christian or not. Your behavior may make you a "bad" or a "good" Christian, but it is the belief system that determines if you fit under the Christian umbrella.
  11. As one open to the idea that the story of Jonah might be inspired fiction and not something that really happened, this reminded me of this routine by Abbott and Costello where Bud kept interrupting Lou about inconsequential details of the story:
  12. In other discussions I have seen around this question, this has been suggested as one reason why we should argue for our inclusion under the Christian umbrella. Sometimes, the whole "I'm not a Mormon" campaign is framed as "if someone thinks I'm Mormon, they will assume I worship Mormon and not God and Christ." Which leads to ask the question this way. You have a new employee show up to work, and you are told that he/she is not a Christian. Knowing nothing else, what sort of assumptions about his/her religious beliefs do you make? I kind of doubt that among the early assumptions or questions would be, "I wonder if they just have a different view of the Trinity." C S Lewis made the point that being Christian should mean something concrete. Does the inverse discussion (what does it mean to be non-Christian) question add anything to the discussion?
  13. @prisonchaplain I think the NAE statement can kind of illustrate something I see in this debate. Based on a surface reading of those statements, I am sola scriptura away from being an Evangelical Christian, because, other than that first statement asserting the (Protestant) Bible alone as authoritative, I can agree with the surface reading of the other statements. For example, compare the second statement to D&C 20:28 "Which Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one God, infinite and eternal, without end. Amen." Now, you and I both know that the gap is wider than the surface reading might suggest. You and I know that there are details, nuances, and technicalities behind those Trinitarian statements that are at odds. The NAE statement is rooted in a Nicene understanding of the Trinity, where Joseph Smith's statement (assuming he actually understood the Trinity in the detail we ascribe to him in 1830) has come to be more of a social Trinitarian view. I know that, somewhere behind those statements about salvation is a "faith alone" component that I don't agree with. As you said, it is about drawing lines around what it means to be Christian. I don't know how to decide was are ancillary details and what are the fundamental beliefs, but it still sometimes feels to me that we are drawing those lines based on ancillary details to the fundamental beliefs rather than the fundamental beliefs themselves.
  14. @anatess2: I'm not sure what you mean by Texas was not Mexico. Everything I read says that Texas was part of Mexico until 1836, when it declared independence from Mexico. I could see Texans employing some rhetorical devices to claim that the Mexican government was not legitimate, but clearly the Texas war of independence was fought between Santa Anna's Mexican government and Texas's militias. Clearly there is a lot of political turmoil and unrest in Mexico and western North America at this time. Mexico's government had changed frequently and substantially between 1820 and 1840. From the outside looking in -- especially at Mexico's inability to defend its borders to the north -- it might be easy to say that we can pick and choose which laws were actually valid and enforceable. It still seems to me that it is a lot more complex than simply "Mormon immigrants were clearly illegal" or "Mormon immigrants were clearly within the laws of the time".
  15. I would note that, according to the US State Department, the US recognized Mexico's independent government in 1822: I am certainly no expert on what needed to happen in the 18th and 19th centuries before a nation who had declared independence could actually be considered a legitimate government. It seems overly simplistic to me to claim that anything the Mexican government in the 15 years between the signing of the Treaty of Cordoba and Spain's acceptance of the treaty was invalid. by 1830, the US government had recognized Mexico's government for 8 years. To then claim that US citizens could simply ignore an anti-immigration law passed by that government because Spain had not yet recognized the Mexican government seems hard to swallow.
  16. An internet search found a couple of Wikipedia pages (These obviously aren't the same sources that Scott is alluding to, but they should provide some reading material): The general colonization law is particularly interesting. It specifically mentions US colonists in Texas as being illegally there, but that, of course, would kind of be the start of the whole Mexican/American conflict until the mid 19th century. The article talks about New Spain/Mexico's concerns with the lack of Mexican colonization of these lands and whether they should allow or encourage foreign settlement. It appears that, as they decided to allow (with restrictions) foreign settlement, the hope was that these foreigners would assimilate into Mexico. It appears that many did not. The Mormon migration occurred late in the period (in the middle of the Mexican American war). At the time, the question of legality is probably as much about who you think will win the war as what laws are technically on the books.
  17. Joseph Smith is alleged to have said something about finding the kernel of truth in the midst of outlandish allegations against. Along those kinds of "devil's advocate" lines, might there be some truth (especially if we allow presentism to inform our view of history) to the allegations? The Mormon migration began right in the midst of the Mexican American war and the furor of Manifest Destiny. Our pioneers even sent a battalion to serve in the Mexican American war, though they never participated in any actual conflict. My impression has been that the early LDS pioneers were a mostly pro-US bunch who, I expect, would have celebrated that Utah came under US jurisdiction at the end of the Mexican American war. It seems that with the Oregon territory, the US's strategy was to send as many colonizers as they could to legitimize its claim to the territory. While the Mormons were probably thinking more about getting away from persecution rather than helping the US stake a claim to the Great Basin desert, that feels like a partial outgrowth of settling the Salt Lake Valley. Though, this sort of strategy towards a "hostile takeover" feels a bit different from illegal immigration. Perhaps the kernel of truth lies in understanding how the US colonization of Oregon, California, and Utah was part of Mexico agreeing to cede much of the western/southwestern US to the US at the end of the Mexican American war. Again, I think it would be important to avoid presentism, but try to understand it in the midst of 19th century US and Mexican and British politics and ideologies.
  18. MrShorty

    No more love

    I, too, would probably not want to go to the bishop, because the bishop is (likely) not a marriage counselor. I might go so far as to ask the bishop for a recommendation or referral to a counselor, but I would not expect him to do the actual counseling. If you are in counseling for your anxiety/depression, then your therapist may have a recommendation for marriage counselors. I think that professional counseling could be helpful if you can find a counselor that works well with both you and your husband. I have seen studies that suggest that the success of counseling is strongly predicted by how good that relationship is, so don't be afraid to try different counselors until you find a good fit. If you are interested in "self-help" counseling, Five Love Languages is a good book. I also liked Willard Harley's His Needs Her Needs. John Gottman is good, too (start with "Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work"). There are lots of others beyond that, to the point that it gets overwhelming. I am optimistic that your situation is still worth working on. I hope you will find some help and encouragement for you and your husband.
  19. I don't know if this adds to the discussion, but I thought of another potential parallel in one of my other hobbies. Several years ago, as those in charge of deciding exactly what it means to be a planet were considering our 9 planets, they decided that little Pluto does not meet all of the criteria to be called a planet. This has set off years of debates over whether Pluto should be called a planet or not. Those who want to call Pluto a planet sometimes argue that the definition of planet could be changed just a little bit and it would allow Pluto (and maybe a few other solar system objects like Ceres) to be considered a planet. Should we change the definition of planet just to accomadate those who feel it is an insult to Pluto to be merely a dwarf planet?
  20. As I finished reading Acts 10 - 15 for this weeks CFM, I picked up the manual to see what it said. Interestingly, there was a section referring to Acts 11:26 that called for reflection on Christian and names and such. Questions posed: What does it mean to be Christian? Is Trinitarianism (as perhaps PC and perhaps "Elder" C. S. Lewis suggest) an essential part of being Christian? What does it mean to take upon you the name of Christ? (My question) Are these two necessarily the same thing? In some ways, I like Vort's somewhat philosophical response. I don't want to be overly worried whether the rest of Christendom wants to accept that I am a Christian. I don't want to deny others the right of self-identification either. But names have meaning, and to tell me that I am not a true Christian because of a "technicality" (is Nicene Trinitarianism a technicality or something more fundamental?) doesn't sit well with me. I guess it boils down to what C S Lewis talks about. Christian has to mean something definable, or it becomes meaningless. But what are the defining beliefs of a true Christian? Trinitarianism is often cited. I have seen some Protestants try to define Christian by the uniquely Protestant solae (faith alone, scripture alone, etc.) which leads to not only exclude Mormons but also Catholics and many others. I have seen Catholics try to tie "Christian" to a belief in the pope in an effort to exclude Protestants from what Christian means. I have mentioned before that I liked the essay defining "Christian" by something like the basic kerygma given in 1 Cor. 15. When all is said and done, maybe part of the reason I end up in a "who cares" attitude towards being called Christian stems from the fact that the question just makes me tired.
  21. MrShorty

    Marriage to the Lord

    While we are applying Gottman's principles to our relationship with the Church, I came across this one today where the author talks about applying Gottman's "magic" 5 positive:1negative interaction ratio to our relationship to the Church:
  22. MrShorty

    Marriage to the Lord

    I like the idea. I think I would have made different parallels for the 4 horsemen in a relationship between a person and the Church*. (note that it has been a few years since I read 7 Principles so I may forget exactly what he said in that book, but I have tried to keep up on his principles by following his blog and referencing the book, so I don't think I am completely ignorant of what he teaches.) Maybe? 1) Criticism: The person is always finding fault with Church doctrines, policies, procedures, and behaviors. I note that Gottman makes a distinction between complaints and criticisms, so a person should still be able to have and express doubts, disagreements, etc. with the Church. On the blog, he notes that the antidote to criticism is the softened startup. Basically, it is not about having differences and conflicts with the Church, but how you manage those differences. Being able to bring up questions, concerns, and disagreements with the Church in a way that avoids the other horsemen (and it sometimes seems to me that the Church can be quick to exhibit defensiveness when someone expresses a question, concern, or disagreement). I might also mention here that part of this might include being able to identify the perpetual problems (those issues where the person and the Church are not going to find a mutually agreeable resolution) and figure out how to manage those perpetual problems in a way that allows the relationship between the person and the Church to continue. 2) Contempt: The person reaches the point that the Church can do nothing right. The Church is dangerous and on the wrong side of everything. It seems that there are many who leave the Church who have developed this level of contempt. Again, it seems that the Church's response is often defensiveness or even stonewalling ("even if they are my neighbor I won't talk to them anymore even about neighborly things"). The antidote is building a culture of appreciation and respect. Basically, the person must learn to see and appreciate the good the Church does and believes and build on that. Even if their disagreements are perpetual, finding other things in the Church to be positive about is important to keeping the relationship open. 3) Defensiveness: The Church has a tendency to tell people when they are sinning or where they need to do better (that should be part of the Church's purpose). If the person becomes defensive, they refuse to acknowledge their sin. Naturally, Gottman's antidote for defensiveness is take responsibility. When the Church accuses you of sin, acknowledge your guilt or where you could do better. Some of the problem here might be in discerning when something is sin. If the Church claims something is sin and I don't think it is sin, then we are back to trying to manage this difference of opinion. Defensiveness is often a reaction to criticism or contempt. Is the Church making complaints or criticisms? Could the Church use softer startups or express gratitude for the person as part of the call to repentance? 4) Stonewalling: When the person refuses to interact with the Church. "Everytime I go to Church, they tell me I'm a sinner, so I'm not going anymore." As you note, many don't want to even answer the phone/door when the bishop/home teachers/others come to call. The antidote is to learn physiological self-soothing -- learning how to have difficult conversations without descending into contention. Learning when you need a break to calm down and come back to the discussion later (I seem to remember Gottman talking about the importance of coming back later and not using "flooding" as an excuse to avoid the difficult conversations). Again, stonewalling is often a response to criticism and contempt, so what is the Church doing that helps contribute to a person stonewalling. Could it do something different? I think there is a place for discussion here. I'm not sure I am convinced that it is mostly one sided on the part of the one who leaves. Because the Church* is kind of a nebulous concept, where the person who leaves is fairly clear cut as an individual, it is easier to put responsibility on the shoulders of the one and more difficult to talk about or control how responsibility falls across the many different shoulders that make up the Church. In that respect, the person is bearing more responsibility just because they should have more control over themselves and their choices as an individual, but the Church cannot be responsible for every individual that might fall under its umbrella as far as this discussion is concerned. * -- I'm having trouble defining who or what "the Church" is in this, because it clearly is not easily represented as a single individual. I kind of have in mind some kind of conglomeration of the institution with its organization and policies and procedures and doctrines and manuals, the leadership -- both local and general, and the loyal, believing, orthodox members.
  23. MrShorty

    The Billy Graham Rule

    In some ways, I think this might be the heart of the question -- Is it morally wrong for unmarried men and women to be alone together? My impression has always been that the real moral right/wrong question is about adultery/chastity/sexual impropriety. Men and women being alone together, by itself, is morally neutral. Things like the Billy Graham rule are more like "hedges about the law". By setting a standard -- a hedge -- that is far away from the actual moral question, one eliminates/minimizes the opportunity to cross an actual moral boundary.
  24. That is very possible. I don't think that's what I am trying to say. I think Pres Ballard wants to see people genuinely committed to following the Savior. I think he is also concerned by those who don't simultaneously commit to the Church.
  25. @The Folk Prophet I think we are saying the same thing, then. The idea I was trying to convey was that, while scripture may say (as others have pointed out) that all that is required is a commitment to follow Christ, I think Pres. Ballard was also concerned that they should also be on their towards some level of commitment to the Church. In response the question I posed, I see you saying that we should not be content with baptizing those who are not committed to the Church even if they are committed to the Savior.