MrShorty

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Everything posted by MrShorty

  1. @The Folk Prophet Like I said, someone like PrisonChaplain might be better able to comment on the difference between committing to the Savior and committing to a specific Christian Church. We, with our "Mormon Exceptionalism" and "One True Church" claims have often said that they are not different. If one is unwilling to commit to this Church, then one is not truly committed to the Savior. And, we take a certain amount of flak from other Christians for these kinds of claims. Is there a difference? I'm sure there is a believable, logical sequence that leads one to conclude that one who commits to follow the Savior must commit to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, I cannot look at someone like PrisonChaplain and convince myself that he/she is not committed to the Savior because he/she is unwilling to commit to this Church.
  2. A couple of unrelated thoughts: 1) A lot of the discussion has been about what exactly Pres. Ballard meant by this early invite. As many have noted, the official missionary publications and instructions and training have long included/expected a baptismal invitation within the first few lessons. From my time in the early '90s, an "optimal" timeline would be first contact -> schedule two lessons per week and baptismal invite is before the end of the 2nd lesson (first contact to baptism invite ~1 week) -> continue 2 lessons per week until 6 are completed and the investigator attends church at least once and so on (first contact to end of lessons ~3 weeks) -> baptism shortly after lesson 6 (first contact to baptism 3-4 weeks). I cannot say how many people I talked to were really ready for the baptismal invite after the 2nd lesson. Some that I judged were ready really weren't, and some that I judged not ready were. Is this the kind of practice Pres. Ballard is talking about in this talk, or is he talking about some of the other rumored scenarios ("come join our baseball team. If you want to join our baseball team, we have this initiation where we dunk you in a swimming pool, then you will be an official member of the team"). Perhaps Pres. Ballard is being intentionally vague, so that someone doesn't get the idea that a certain minimum time needs to pass. Pres. Ballard says that he wants the person to learn something about our faith and feel the Spirit before being extended the invite. Those kinds of things may happen very quickly (hours or days), and others need longer (cue Eeyore, "Days, Weeks, Months...who knows?"). Perhaps it is not about a calendar based time frame, but an event based time frame that we should be considering. The difficulty from the missionary's perspective is judging when those events have occurred. 2) Some have mentioned the scriptural examples where the only real requirement is a commitment to follow Jesus Christ. In many ways, I will agree that this can be the only requirement for baptism. However, Pres. Ballard specifically also mentions the idea of "retention". Reading between the lines, I think Pres. Ballard is looking for something more than just a commitment to follow the Savior. I think he is looking for a commitment to follow the Savior and actively participate in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Perhaps someone like PrisonChaplain might be better able to comment, but I see two very different commitments there. Are we content with baptizing people who are committed to the Savior but not committed to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? If we expect a commitment to the Church as well as the Savior, should we raise the bar a little bit on what happens before inviting to baptism?
  3. MrShorty

    A Modesty Article that is going around.

    I am reminded of something Pres. Harold B. Lee said. Necessarily paraphrased, because I could not readily find a copy of "Teaching no Greater Call" or other reference to pull the exact quote from, he said that we should not only teach/communicate clearly enough to be understood, but so we won't be misunderstood. It seems clear to me that, no matter how good we think these analogies are, some are misunderstanding them. How much of that should be on the "teacher" (including the curriculum writers and other sources the individual uses to develop the lesson plan) and on the learner (because he did not adequately think through the interpretation) I don't know. It seems like there needs to be some kind of working agreement where both teacher and learner acknowledge each others' weaknesses and failings and try to work together so that Truth is taught and learned. I don't know all the ins and outs of doing that. It sometimes seems to me that we in this community want to blame all of these misunderstandings on the "idiot" learner as if the teacher could not have possible done anything different to avoid the misunderstanding. I linked earlier to something written by the group of BYU professors that published some recent books on sexuality who mention that they were still hearing references to these analogies just a few years ago. I have not encountered them recently in my limited circle, but I still hear of them from well outside my circle. I don't have a good feel for how commonly used they are, but they don't seem extinct.
  4. MrShorty

    A Modesty Article that is going around.

    Probably not adequately, but here's something at ldsliving by the authors of Sexual Wholeness in Marriage (2014) and A Better Way to Teach Kids about Sex (2018) that claims that they are still hearing about these metaphors being taught to young adults "in the years leading up to" these publications. http://www.ldsliving.com/The-Dangers-of-Using-Metaphors-When-Teaching-Youth-About-Sexuality-What-We-Can-Do-Instead/s/88898
  5. MrShorty

    A Modesty Article that is going around.

    @Just_A_Guy I recall the same article. I don't offhand recall the year, but it was before I got married, so early '90's at the latest. I found it quite enlightening at the time, because I learned that those analogies (which I had encountered at some point prior to this article) were wrong. An interesting thing I note is that, 20+ years later and these object lessons are not extinct from our teaching. One New Era article (and numerous online discussions since then) is not quite enough to push the analogy to extinction. I don't recall encountering very many references to this New Era article within my own Church instruction (perhaps because I have not been involved in the youth). Would it be enough to give that article greater visibility in our curricula? TFP, I hope I would not find anyone who is invested in these kinds of analogies. I don't understand why, but, even if none of us is invested in these ideas, these ideas seem to have a persistence to them. Would it be so terrible in this introspection process for the Church to ask itself why these false ideas persist in our culture/teaching and what it could do differently to refute them?
  6. MrShorty

    A Modesty Article that is going around.

    I think you are right, but I also don't recall ever seeing a curriculum manual that explicitly says, "We hear of some of you using chewed gum object lessons in your chastity lessons. Don't use them because they are false." It sometimes seems like our curriculum materials don't often disavow false teachings of yesterday. Maybe that's all that is needed sometimes. Or maybe those kinds of things fall under "teacher training". It sometimes seems like we are so resistant to any kind of "let's look at how we are teaching the gospel (formally and informally) and see if we can make improvements" when it comes to these kinds of topics. I think there are improvements that could be made.
  7. MrShorty

    A Modesty Article that is going around.

    Agreed, I was careless there. In that post, when I reference "the Church", I have in mind the institution/entity/people responsible for publishing curriculum materials, conducting teacher training, and such. Those responsible for deciding what topics are taught when and for suggesting to teachers how to teach those topics.
  8. MrShorty

    A Modesty Article that is going around.

    Theoretically, yes. If only we could all agree on what Christ would/would not do.
  9. MrShorty

    A Modesty Article that is going around.

    This, I think, illustrates part of the problem with these kinds of discussions. It goes beyond modesty into other sexual areas (good girl syndrome type topics). We can insist left and right that no one at church taught ______, but there seems to be a lot of people who learned _______ from Church. I sometimes think that one of our challenges in the church is how to deal with this sort of thing. Some insist that the Church needs no introspection -- its all the learners' (or a few teachers who went off the rail) fault. Some insist that the Church is terrible at developing curriculum and teachers and the Church bears the responsibility for the false doctrines they learned. Could this possible work better if we met in the middle. If the Church and teachers were introspective enough to ask questions about how to best teach these kinds of topics -- not only so that truth is taught -- but so that truth is not misconstrued? I sometimes think it would help if the Church and its teachers were more willing to point out cases where these kinds of things were poorly taught or easily misunderstood. Can we as learners simply accept that enough false doctrine is taught at church so that we approach our lessons and other claims made by our coreligionists with enough skepticism to filter those teachings through our own discernment filters and other teachers and sources? An additional dimension to these kinds of topics is that they are often aimed at our youth who are often in the early stages of learning teaching skills and learning learning skills and learning discernment skills so that it is easy for them to misconstrue things. I don't know how to do these things -- my own senses of skepticism and faith and discernment are still developing. There are things in that process that I must unlearn. There are things in that process that I must understand better so I can teach them better. Edit to clarify: When I write about "Church" in this post, I am thinking more of the institution than membership. Thinking more of the lesson materials and directions given to teachers for preparing lessons.
  10. MrShorty

    A Modesty Article that is going around.

    @Fether I think I can agree with the overall principles in the Church's statement. The devil is in the details that the Church's statement leaves up to our own judgement. How short is too short? How tight is too tight? What makes clothing "revealing" or "sexually suggestive"? Are stomachs really that erotic that they merit special mention? It seems like a lot of the times we are butting heads over how to interpret these principles. I don't think I want (and the Church likewise does not want) the Church to publish a detailed list of what they mean by short or revealing or suggestive. Perhaps we as Church members need a way to dialog around these differences of opinion that is more constructive.
  11. MrShorty

    A Modesty Article that is going around.

    One of the interesting claims I have seen come out of the nudist community is that, once you get comfortable with nudity, you no longer see nudity as automatically immodest. How do these questions of modesty apply across culture and community? Obviously some cultures and communities are more comfortable with different levels of nudity in everyday interactions. This can make it even more difficult to find The One True standard of modesty.
  12. MrShorty

    A Modesty Article that is going around.

    @Fether I'm not sure exactly where to draw the line. Perhaps it is like @marginoferror says -- it is about the message it sends. I don't think I would want to wear a shirt with a strip club logo on it, because that sends the message that I patronize strip clubs. Something with an underwear vendor's logo (Victoria's Secret, Jockey, Hanes, other) sends the message that I patronize vendors who sell underwear. Since all* of us wear underwear and, therefore, buy underwear, it doesn't seem like it should be an offensive message to send (though I'm not sure why I want to advertise that I buy and wear underwear, but everyone should accept that I do). Maybe that is the real difficulty I see with the modesty discussion. We an usually agree on the extremes. It's trying to navigate the middle ground where personal judgement and choice are at play. How should one navigate this middle ground? When it doubt, don't wear it? When it doubt, wear it? When in doubt, descend into choice overload paralysis where you end up staying home because you can't decide? * I guess I should be careful with the "all" here. I have no way of knowing if every last person reading this buys and wears underwear. For those readers who are not buying and wearing underwear, I think a don't ask don't tell kind of approach would be best. I am also reminded of this brief exchange from a couple of years ago when @Mordorbund claimed to have been buying @Neurotypical's underwear online that still makes me laugh when I think about it:
  13. MrShorty

    A Modesty Article that is going around.

    This just seems extreme to me. Are we really going to say that women can't wear a standard t-shirt (or sweatshirt or sweatpants) with the word Pink on it (because Pink is associated with Victoria's Secret which sells women's underclothing)? I can accept that it is good for me to take some thought about how my clothing choices might affect others, but it seems like there should be reasonable limits on that concern.
  14. MrShorty

    Book of Mormon - Restored Covenant Edition

    One of things that struck me about the things said on the ZRF site is how hyperfocused they are on the 1908 edition. It reminded me of "King James only" Christians who zealously defend the King James version and won't accept any of the textual criticism that has taken place in the last 400 years. The textual criticism the ZRF has done/is doing may be good, but I did not like the zealous "We are creating the one true BoM" that came across. Like estradling suggests, I think an edition that unobtrusively highlights where the textual variants occur can be a nice study aid. As the student, I can try the different variants and see how they inform my interpretation of the text. I'm not even opposed to "this variant is better because it is older" kind of statement, because there can even be something to learn in seeing how the text changed through time. But don't tell me that your variant is the one true variant and all others are spawned of the devil.
  15. My thoughts: #1 is not all that new. I find it interesting that it is gaining traction from the oldest article in Dialogue (1999) to Ash's article at Sunstone (2006) which most conservative members seems to treat with disdain to now being published by Book of Mormon Central which is considered more mainstream. Ultimately, I think it illustrates some of the hazards of trying to rank sins. One, as noted by these articles, the Book of Mormon does not detail Corianton's sin -- only that his dad described it as forsaking the ministry to chase after the harlot Isabel. We don't really know how far he got in the chase or anything about Isabel's side of the story. One challenge in ranking sin is defining exactly which sin we are ranking. I have long felt that one problem with the typical ranking is that it ranks consensual sexual activity at the same level as assault and rape. In my opinion, rape must be somewhere between murder and consensual sex, but the standard interpretation doesn't acknowledge that -- perhaps because it wasn't on Alma's radar and he's the source for the ranking. Exactly what sin is next to murder in seriousness? Two, all sin keeps us out of God's presence, so it doesn't matter what sins you are guilty of. Another thing that has recently crossed my mind on this one is whether or not this is simply an exaggerated expression from a very frustrated dad. Alma is obviously frustrated with Corianton. How many frustrated dads (when the object of the frustration is the son's girlfriend) will compare her to a prostitute? Could Alma be exaggerating the seriousness of the sin out of frustration rather than an expression of doctrinal truth? #2 In many ways, I like the interpretation presented, but dislike that the entire argument seems to hinge on the presence/absence of a comma. We don't know exactly what was on the plates, but many ancient texts did not use much punctuation at all, and to a relatively uneducated youth like Joseph Smith, detailed rules of punctuation may not have been well understood or always followed exactly. Presence/absence/misplacement of commas can provide some interesting ideas to consider in reading and interpreting a text, but I don't think I would want to hinge my final declaration of truth on commas. #3 is interesting. I recall somewhere reading that, when John Taylor originally translated the BoM into German (and other languages), he rendered the English "after" in this verse with word(s) that meant "in spite of" or "despite", so I don't think this is a new thing. As others have noted, because of our troubled relationship with other Christians (including Protestants and Evangelicals), I think we sometimes struggle with our ideas and understanding of grace and faith and works and salvation. As @The Folk Prophet notes, we maybe need to be careful that we don't become too Sola Fide/Sola Gratia Protestant in our views, because we are not Protestants. At the same time, we believe that "justification through the grace of our .. Savior is just and true." (D&C 20:30) It sometimes seems to me that we have swung between wanting to appear less Protestant then appear more Protestant without ever clearly and simply stating where we stand. I have noted before that I see us as having a "Sola Gratia" type but not a "Sola Fide". Protestants seem to tend to conflate the two, and it seems to me that, if we could tease the two apart, that our belief could be very well expressed as by grace alone but not by faith alone.
  16. MrShorty

    Chastity

    I guess I have not encountered those discussions, then. I guess I agree -- maybe it depends on exactly what you mean. Are living prophets and apostles still giving the same counsel that Pres. Kimball gave? As near as I can tell, after Pres. Kimball, the Church leadership has backed down from talking about what couples can/should do in their bedrooms. They have even gone so far as to not publish Pres. Kimball's letter on the subject. Pres. Kimball and Pres. Lee are the only ones that I know of with public opinions on oral sex. It has been said that the opinions we should follow will be repeated and reiterated. Perhaps the recent silence on the issue is evidence that Pres. Kimball's opinion is not binding. What have prophets and apostles throughout our history counseled about following counsel? A mix of things, so some of the challenge is deciding when to reject an opinion because I don't think it concords with what is in the 4 standard works or because I have not received a confirming witness of the Spirit. I sometimes think this might be a nice topic for someone to really sift through the "follow the prophet and you will be blessed even if he's wrong" against "no one should feel obligated to follow the prophet if a teaching cannot be found in the four standard works" kind of things. or, it still feels like "you just follow the prophet" except when you don't and how do you judge when you don't need to follow the prophet.
  17. MrShorty

    Chastity

    I'm not sure that masturbation is the example I would have chosen. Tends to be more contentious. The example I probably would have chosen was his view on oral sex in marriage, which does not seem to trigger as much contention. Perhaps because in the decades since Pres. Kimball, no one from the Church wants to officially endorse what Pres. Kimball stated (they seem to try very hard to say that couples can decide for themselves independent of what Pres. Kimball opined). Unless we are going with either extreme (all or none of their views are mistakes), this seems like the $64 question. How do we make this judgement? When is it necessary to make this judgement (some issues are minor -- like the question over Christ's birthdate. others are more important)? What are the consequences of judging incorrectly (either erroneously agreeing with them or erroneously disagreeing with them)? I don't think I fully understand this issue, which could be why I repeatedly bring it up in different contexts. How do we discern truth from error?
  18. MrShorty

    Chastity

    I hope I am not wandering in darkness towards the great and spacious building, though I guess one must always be conscious of the possibility. Is every opinion that runs counter to Pres. Kimball's opinion (or other prophet/apostle's opinion) automatically coming from the great and spacious building? Is it possible to hold and express and opinion contrary to a prophet's opinion and not be on the road towards the great and spacious building?
  19. I think this is the main idea that I find so fascinating in this whole thing. In the OP's original news article, a statement was made that -- in the case of vaccinations in general -- public health trumps religious liberty. This is what led me to ask this group about making that kind of judgement. Vort introduced the idea of mandatory seat belt and helmet laws, so this can obviously go beyond just religious liberty and public health. It seems that a lot of legislative effort and political debate get hung up in the tension between personal liberty and some public good. Sometimes "we" (speaking of the voters and legislators as kind of a collective) judge that the public good should trump personal liberty, and other times we judge that personal liberty should trump public good. I am enjoying the discussion around how that kind of judgement should be made.
  20. MrShorty

    Chastity

    Okay -- then let's say that I have verified my opinions against the opinions of people I trust. Some of them are authors of books (where it can be a little easier to verify credentials and such) and others are various other experts in the fields of marriage and sexuality (though many of them I encounter over the internet). However I think you want to parse the "who" I consulted in coming to these opinions, I feel pretty good about those conclusions -- except that they run contrary to Pres. Kimball's opinions.
  21. MrShorty

    Chastity

    @anatess2 Confirmation bias certainly could be at play here. Maybe even for both the things where I agree with Pres. Kimball as for the things where I disagree with him. It seems to me that discernment is hard work sometimes. Sometimes the easy outs are some form of "when the prophet speaks, the debate is over" (Duane Boyce has a nice article over at Interpreter from a couple of weeks ago) or "I don't like what the prophet says so I will reject it". I find I don't readily understand the difficult stuff in between.
  22. MrShorty

    Chastity

    @anatess2 I would like to hope that I am not making these choices based solely on "Well, no one on the internet would ever lie or try to deceive, so the internet people must be right." I would like to hope that I am making choices based on the strengths/weaknesses of the arguments. Some of Pres. Kimball's opinions on certain sexual topics, in my opinion, don't hold up to the arguments presented by random people on the internet. Some of those random people claim to be experts (so we could branch off into what do you do when the opinions of experts clash with the opinions of prophets/apostles), therapists (similar branch), scientists/sexologists (another similar question), or any other variation. Sure, people on the internet can be some pretty crazy people wearing whatever crazy sock puppet they chose, but sometimes I find the arguments compelling. And, I agree with The Folk Prophet, that it is kind of sad when I find the arguments against one of Pres. Kimball's opinions compelling.
  23. MrShorty

    Chastity

    I know this was written sarcastically, but I will agree - it is a real head scratcher. I ceratinly agree with some of Pres. Kimball's opinions on sexuality and chastity, but there are others where I prefer the opinion of random people on the internet. I have not tried to poll myself to see if I am in agreement with 80% or 50% or whatever% of his sexual opinions, but I know there is a sizeable percentage in both categories (and another sizeable percentage of not sure). So, yes, a real head scratcher. When do I hearken to the opinion of Pres. Kimball and when do I hearken to the opinion of random people on the internet?
  24. @NeuroTypical Again, I would tend to agree, but it is easy for me to agree because I believe that vaccines are safe and effective and my religion does not require me to avoid vaccines. My goal is not necessarily to get too bogged down in the anti-vax junk (not that I have any control over the direction this thread takes), but to explore the intersection of government and religious liberty.
  25. @MormonGator I think I will agree -- but (you knew there would be a "but") -- who gets to decide and how should they decide what is a valid public health concern?