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Everything posted by MrShorty

  1. MrShorty

    Why Do We Bless Our Food?

    My thought -- I'm not sure the phraseology matters. When I have thought about this topic, I usually end up at D&C 59:21, acknowledging God's hand in all things -- including that I have food to eat. It usually seems to me that blessing the food or saying grace or whatever you want to call this tradition has as its main purpose to remind me that, as King Benjamin said, I rely on God for daily sustenance. An expression of gratitude definitely seems appropriate. A forward looking blessing is not inappropriate. I don't expect to ever find some metaphysical change in the food or in my body's ability to digest. It seems more for my spiritual self to remember God in one mundane part of life.
  2. MrShorty

    Thoughts on Pioneer Temple renovations

    My thoughts -- I have seen some express some regret over the "remodel"/"gutting" of the Logan temple back in the '70's (I can just barely remember the open house and rededication) because they took out so much of the original. I find myself with both excitement and trepidation. Trepidation because I don't want to see these temples "gutted" and modernized. I want them to retain their historical, pioneer feel. Excitement because it will be valuable to do what we can to preserve and refresh these buildings.
  3. MrShorty

    Anti-abortion bill in Alabama

    Except that it is not just MoE that suggests this as a test. I did not see a quote from a church handbook in this thread, but the gospel topics essay on abortion (I believe using language similar to the handbooks) that Maybe we want to try to wrangle whether that is the same thing as "viability" or not, but it sure seems to be a very similar concept -- and similarly difficult to pin down to a "bright line" between which defects will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth and which defects will. In some ways I think this is the most intriguing part of this discussion -- is how these kind of official statements from the Church seem to contrast with others on the pro-life spectrum and how our Church allows for exceptions that others don't want to allow for. As the OP asked -- does the Church's position fall short?
  4. As a chemist, this ranks right up there with the "should we ban dihydrogen monoxide/hydrogen hydroxide?" survey questions.
  5. MrShorty

    Anti-abortion bill in Alabama

    A few thoughts without really seeing the full text of the law, but encountering a few summaries from online news sources (whatever they are worth).: First a quick summary of the legislation: It bans all abortions except when the life/health of the mother is at serious risk. One source claimed that it also made an exception if the fetus would not survive past birth, but most sources did not mention this exception. An amendment to include exceptions for rape and incest were rejected just before passing. A couple of sources noted that the crime is assigned to the doctor who performs the abortion, but the bill (explicitly or implicitly) protects the mother from being charged and convicted. Did I miss anything? OP's questions: Should Latter-day Saints embrace a stricter position on abortion like what we are seeing in Alabama? If we assume that the Church's stance represents God's truth, then I don't think we should adopt the stricter positions. If we believe that the Church's stance is God "accommodating" us in a fallen world, then maybe we need more revelation to know how God really feels about abortion. Does the church’s position fall short? Some other Christians claim that it does fall short. A lot depends, as I hinted in the previous question, to what extent we believe the Church's stance is revealed by God. Or is this Alabama bill too extreme? The Libertarian in me tends to lean more pro-choice on this issue, so I would say that it is too extreme. As others have noted, legislatures tend to have real difficulty crafting legislation that is not simple black and white without triggering unintended consequences. With an issue like this, I would prefer that the legislature(s) craft legislation towards the "lowest common denominator" and let individuals make their own decisions beyond that. As @prisonchaplain noted, we can speak prophetically into the culture (as long as we are allowed that freedom of religion) and warn people that God will hold them accountable for these decisions and hope that they will take these decisions seriously -- and maybe even hope that they will make the same decisions we would if we were in the same situation. The libertarian in me would prefer to see the ultimate decision be up to individuals and doctors and not up to legislators and legislation. I recognize that such a position would have other consequences and unintended consequences, but there it is.
  6. MrShorty

    BYU Honor Code changes

    I don't know the full history -- nor can I say exactly how policies were implemented or enforced. had a Jan. 2018 copy of the Honor Code investigation and administrative review process document that claims that " The person submitting a report is asked to identify himself or herself and to provide information regarding the alleged violation that will assist the university in its investigation. Although the Honor Code Office (HCO) generally does not investigate reports given by anyone unwilling to identify himself or herself, the HCO reserves the right, in its discretion, to proceed with an investigation based on a anonymous report. " A policy like this -- completely left up to the HCO's discretion whether to investigate anonymous reports -- leaves plenty of room for investigating anonymous reports with no sense of how the HCO will use its discretion. Utt's letter suggests that going forward -- assuming the official policy is worded and implemented the same way Utt describes it -- anonymous reports will only be investigated if there is a threat (how will the threat be determined?) to the safety of the person reporting.
  7. MrShorty

    Neuro's seitch for fremen fanboys

    I, too, have long enjoyed Herbert's universe. I have also, long been the subject of mockery for bringing the first Dune movie home, since it just failed to capture what Herbert put together. I am cautiously optimistic that the new movie will be worth seeing. Until then, I occasionally pick up the books (or audio books) and re-read them. (Currently on the verge of picking up God -- Emperor of Dune again). I will note that I have not read past Herbert's original five books into the extended books that his son wrote. Something "purist" in me did not want to go beyond Herbert's own writing -- even though I know Brian used notes and such from his dad to write the books. Every once in a while, I entertain the notion that Tatooine was a distantly pre-Butlerian jihad Arrakis. The almighty Sarlak (or a mobile cousin) would become Arrakis's great worms. I never get much beyond that.
  8. MrShorty


    accidental double post. -- to be punished by 30 lashes with a wet noodle.
  9. MrShorty


    When the ministering program got started -- with all the talk of "flexibility" and "do whatever works for your friends and families", I wondered how we felt about a model like "just say hi and share other pleasantries at church, but I/we don't need regular in home visits". All of the publicly shared examples of ministering involved -- like you describe -- time and effort to become well acquainted (maybe not best friends but something much more than name on a list) followed by service opportunities -- maybe even reciprocating service opportunities. No one describes scenarios like yours or some other form of "minimal contact" scenario. My personal interpretation of the program has been that, if a family says they don't want a visit, or that they really don't want to get to know me better, then "ministering" is saying hi like I would to any other random ward member when I see them. Maybe my question for you, specifically -- if your assigned families know who you are and are saying they don't need/want to know you better and don't want to spend time with you, why do you feel a need to go beyond what they say they want/need? For the rest of the group, I would ask the broader question -- does the ministering program require us to develop a close knit network within our wards, or does it allow and accept those scenarios like above where we allow for individuals and families to maintain distance or be "stand-offish" or otherwise less than excited about being a central part of a close knit network?
  10. In response to carlimac, I saw this link to Ardis Parshall's blog post in the Deseret News's ( of this announcement: It seems that a big part of it were those who had elaborate civil ceremonies and receptions that -- in the opinion of leadership -- overshadowed the temple ceremony too much. I found it interesting again that Elder Stevenson is quoted in the Des News article again making this about couples with non-member family members so that they can choose to have both a civil ceremony and include those family members followed by the sealing ceremony for those who hold temple recommends. Perhaps, reading between the lines, this is a setup for future changes. On the surface, the First Presidency and other GAs are talking about making it about families and not needing to choose between a temple sealing and a civil ceremony that can include non-TR holding family members.
  11. I thought it was particularly interesting that the letter specifically mentions the scenarios "when a temple marriage would cause parents or immediate family members to feel excluded." As long as I can remember, there have been lessons with case studies and hypothetical scenarios that addressed this, and all of those lessons concluded that the "right" choice was to marry in the temple. It seems to me that, by specifically mentioning this scenario, they are saying that the right choice going forward may very well be to include those family members in the wedding.
  12. If you will allow a somewhat irreverent, but amusing (at least I found it amusing), look at the Trinity and its analogies, look up Lutheran Satire's "St. Patrick's bad analogies" video on youtube, where Donall and Conall shoot down several analogies used for the Trinity. Even if it has difficulty explaining what the Trinity is, working through the bad analogies (and the associated heresies) I think helped me better understand what it is not, which at least partially helped me better understand what it is. Be warned that, if you keep looking through their stuff, you will eventually come across Donall and Conall meeting our missionaries -- just in case you would prefer to avoid that.
  13. MrShorty

    Replacement for youth programs

    When Elder Rasband talks about goal setting and working towards those goals, it sounded to me a lot like the current YW personal progress program.
  14. When I put "Are Catholics Christians?" -- Most of the reasons given by the counter-cult ministries that Catholics are not Christians seem rooted in the 5 solas. As Anatess notes, that's more about being Protestant -- not necessarily Christian. Maybe an interesting side note -- listening to Erwin Lutzers radio show a week or so ago, during the Q&A portion, he fielded a question from someone who pointedly asked if Catholicism is a cult. What I thought was interesting is that he did not simply say, "no." His answer was more about it depends on how you define cult and if you define cult certain ways then Catholicism may indeed be a cult. I don't think I understand the nature of God very well. 3 in 1, 1 in 3, perfect unity but separate beings/personalities. Whatever the exact nature of God is, it seems so far removed from my own mortal experience that I'm not really sure I like the way we tend to argue and try to exclude each other over something that seems so difficult to really understand.
  15. MrShorty


    At the risk of being inflammatory.... So we will replace, "Maybe our prophets/leaders make mistakes" with, "Maybe God is capricious" (or at least seems capricious to mortal eyes)? I will have to think more on what I think about this. Is it necessarily either/or? Could it be both/and? Our leaders are fallible and God does appear to make changes for reasons we don't discern? And we won't always know when something happens because our leaders are fallible and when God is exercising His prerogative to change programs/policies/commandments as seemeth Him good?
  16. As an amateur astronomer, I would say that light pollution from earthbound lights is bad enough. Light pollution from orbit would ruin a whole lot of good observing.
  17. MrShorty

    thoughts on liturgy and "high church"

    For my thoughts, I find that I wish there was more liturgy in the Church. LDS have the temple experience that provides a "high church" experience, but I sometimes wish for more symbolic experiences like it. I have often wondered how to incorporate something at Christmas that feels more like stepping back in time waiting for the advent of the Savior into the world. Something like the Good Friday experience mentioned. Perhaps something uniquely LDS around the 24th of July that can symbolically take me back to 29th century America and reflect on our LDS pioneer heritage. I recognize that such things can be overdone so that the forms of the liturgy become more important than symbolically experiencing Christian history. But I wonder if there is value in finding ways to include these kinds of experiences.
  18. MrShorty

    Christ was Crucified on Thursday

    @anatess2 Sure, that is the other explanation used to explain what the prophecies mean by 3 days. Like the OP's position, if it were as compelling as some say it is, then the alternative explanations would not exist. I find it interesting that different viable explanation exist and that they can coexist peacefully (most of the time) in Christianity. And, as you say, it is not a theologically significant thing. Just like with other scriptural/theological minutiae -- Was Christ born on Apr. 6 BC1 or not? Was Noah's flood truly global or merely local? Was Jonah really swallowed by a whale or is that fiction? Hemispheric BoM geography or a small scale geography? -- Different opinions and explanations abound, and they try to coexist within the Church.
  19. MrShorty

    Christ was Crucified on Thursday

    I have seen this theory before, and I agree that it makes a certain amount of sense. The OT prophecies of the Messiah seemed to suggest that he would be 3 days in the tomb before being resurrected, and a Friday crucifixion (so Christ is dead from Friday afternoon to early Sunday morning) doesn't quite exactly fill those prophecies. This idea of a floating Sabbath is one way to reconcile the NT description of the events with the OT prophecies. Of course, this is only one possible explanation. As near as I can tell, this debate has been going on for some time, and I don't expect an article at thirdhour is going to resolve the debate once and for all. It is interesting perspective that is worth being aware of.
  20. MrShorty

    Residents of ThirdHour

    LDStalkers who later became LDSnetters who later became Mormonhubrists who later became ???? Right. so maybe Thirdhoursaurs?
  21. I'm not sure what the point is -- especially if limited to an LDS perspective. A couple of possible non-LDS perspectives that may be pertinent: Next of kin type issues. A spouse has certain rights and privileges that a mere roommate may not be able to claim. Having an official marriage license is one way to help clear those kind of issues up. Married couples sometimes have tax advantages. More legal perspectives than church perspectives. I think it is an interesting part of the discussion. The Church has officially said in a few places that attraction itself is not sin, but acting on those attractions is. I have not seen rigorous clarification on the gray areas in between feeling attraction and engaging in sexual behavior. It seems pretty clear in some scriptures that some of our thoughts and desires can condemn us, but I don't know where in between "I feel a sexual desire" and "I did a sexual thing" it goes from not-sin to sin.
  22. But, is moving towards chaos sinful? The concept of "hedges about the law" is an interesting one. Yes, they were put in place to help avoid sin. I find it very interesting that the Savior, during His mortal ministry, seemed less than enthusiastic about some of the hedges about the law that were in place at the time. Are hedges about the law inherently good things? Is it sinful when someone chooses not to respect/obey/observe a hedge about the law? This feels almost like we are back to the beginning -- is it sinful to obtain a marriage license? Is it sinful to be in a celibate same sex relationship that otherwise looks an awful lot like "committed, long-term" marriage/relationship? If we truly believe that it is only the sexual behavior that makes a same-sex relationship sin/transgression, then do we have a place of full fellowship for those who claim to have celibate same-sex relationships?
  23. After years in a sexless [heterosexual] marriage, I find it easier to believe than others might. Maybe I should, like MormonGator suggests, be more willing to praise and celebrate our sacrifice and self-control rather than seeing our marriage as flawed and broken. It would sure be nice if I could. Maybe some day I will get there (along with all of my LGBT brothers and sisters who are less than enthusiastic about a lifetime of celibacy). Of course, credibility like that is ultimately decided case by case, but most of us will not be the ones in the leadership positions tasked with making the judgements. So how are we as rank and file going to deal with Adam and Steve when Steve is made a counselor in the EQ presidency and Adam is SS president? Are we going to be comfortable with that?
  24. @wenglund thanks for the overview of common law marriages. It is interesting how the letter of the earthly law might bump up against something like this. I seem to recall that the Church's 2015 version included language like "married or in a relationship that looks substantially like marriage", which seems to be what the letter of the earthly law is also trying to do. Of course, the Church tends to shy away from the kind of legalese that is so prominent in earthly legislation, so the interpretation of individual scenarios is left up to local priesthood leadership. Though maybe we don't need to get too bogged down in the legal details. With the new policy is a statement that we are putting homosexuals and heterosexuals on the same footing. So are we going to be more tolerant of same sex public displays of affection (holding hands, hugging, kissing, etc.)? In some ways, sharing a home/address is just one more step along the continuum. Just like heterosexual couples have long wrestled with the question of when do displays of affection become sexual, how will homosexuals face the same choices? As @Midwest LDS 's example shows, there is precedent for not accepting heterosexual roommate situations, perhaps that simply extends to case by case consideration of same-sex roommate scenarios?
  25. Yet another permutation. I have not encountered opposite sex roommates being denied recommends like that. An interesting twist on the theme -- though I wonder what the justification is for denying a recommend in those scenarios. Probably something specific to the individual/couple that swayed a leader's opinion. I'm not sure which prior example you are referring to. I don't believe that sex is an addiction, so comparing it to an alcoholic and whiskey feels overstated -- I might have seen it more like a dieter who keeps a box of donuts around (though sugar/food addiction is also a hotly debated topic). These kinds of examples like examples of stupid or unwise behaviors, but I don't usually think of stupid behaviors as sinful behaviors. When does doing something unwise like this become sin? Especially when talking about the Savior's temptations in the wilderness, we will usually assert that it is not sin to be tempted. Is it sin to knowingly expose yourself to temptation? Sometimes it seems like there are gray areas in these rather than stark lines between black and white.