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Posts posted by MrShorty

  1. I don't know about indications, but, at some point I wonder about the implications to what it means to be a child of God created in His image. Based on what @askandanswer pointed out -- that some like Elder McConkie have taught that Christ's atonement here on this planet is sufficient for all of God's creations (children?) throughout the universe -- I assume that we would believe that other intelligent life is also created in God's image. If they are too different from us (both in physical form and in lifestyle), then I would wonder what that means to be created in God's image.

    If nothing else, and interesting thread to spark some challenges to these assumptions.

  2. When it comes to the soft-serve machine dispensed stuff that you get in fast food joints, I strongly prefer vanilla over chocolate.

    When it comes to real ice cream -- probably a slight preference for vanilla over (plain) chocolate, but everything goes out the window when you start putting other stuff in there (rocky road or chocolate with fudge or cookie dough or...

    Another reason not to visit this forum -- it sends me off to indulge in one of my favorite vices. You couldn't have asked a safer question? Like "iceberg or romaine"?

  3. Re: points 1 and 2 -- yes we can look for those radiation signatures. Realistically, how far away can we see and positively identify them? I am no radio astronomer, so I really don't know, but what do our radio emissions look like against the backdrop of our sun -- and the broader universe? How far away could one realistically be to distinguish our radiation signatures from naturally occurring radiation?

    Re: point 3, I agree that part of the problem of our being detected by others is that we have only been transmitting/radiating unnatural radiation for about 100 years, so there is only about a 100 ly bubble in which we could be detected by those emissions (assuming they could be differentiated from the naturally occurring radiation from the sun). By the same token, a radiation signature from another civilization needs sufficient time to get to us. It took us some 4.5 billion years (of a 10ish billion year life cycle of the sun) to get to the point of radiating unnatural signatures. We need to look at a star during the "time" when that star might be harboring intelligent life. How narrow/wide is that time window?

  4. 1 hour ago, Traveler said:

    Science has not found a trace of intelligence life anywhere.

    True, but it seems arguable that science has not been able to penetrate very deep into the universe. According to the Planetary Habitability laboratory (, the farthest exoplanet (not even considering planet type or habitability) is about 30 kly away. For comparison, it is estimated that our planet is about 30 kly from the center of our galaxy, so our "bubble" of observing exoplanets consists of only a small portion of our Milky Way. I don't know what it would take to detect intelligent life outside of our solar system, but it seems almost certain that we have barely even begun to search and we are severely limited in our ability to search. At present, I'm not sure science can even begin to answer the question.

    1 hour ago, Traveler said:

    How unique is earth to this universe?

    I guess it depends on what characteristics you consider when you say "unique". Clearly, within our observation limits, Earth is the only one with confirmed life, but there are several "rocky, Earth size planets" within our observation limits.

    1 hour ago, Traveler said:

    We are led to believe that G-d has created many worlds

    As much as I despise semantics, I get hung up what we mean/scripture means when it says "world" in this context. Is a star/solar system considered a world? A galaxy? A universe?

    I'm not sure how to answer the questions of how hostile other environments would be to life without assuming isotropy. Assuming life on other worlds is similar to our life, then I would hypothesize that all life exists under similar hostile conditions. Would life existing under non-hostile conditions be similar enough to us to be recognized as having the same Father?

  5. I agree that there are no official teachings.

    2 hours ago, Gomezaddams51 said:

    Being a Demi-God shouldn't exclude Jesus from having to follow the "Plan".

    2 things -- 1, was Jesus merely a "demi-god" or was He a full fledged god? We talk about Jesus being Jehovah the God of the Old Testament that He was fully God before He even obtained a mortal body. Part of the answer here might depend on exactly how one chooses to view Jesus/Jehovah's status before He came to Earth.

    2) Why shouldn't Jesus be excluded from following the plan? There's a lot about Jesus that seems to make Him unique among Father's children. He seems to have been a member of the Godhead before He received a body. I see several ways that Jesus's path seems very different from our path. Personally, I see no reason to think that Jesus must have followed (or will yet follow) the path that we are following.

     There's a lot that hasn't been revealed, so who knows what is right and true. I'm sure there are some ways that Christ's path is similar to ours. Exactly how it is similar and how it is different hasn't been revealed.

  6. It is an interesting document. The main thing that has stood out to me is this idea

    the path of discipleship takes us through a narrow course between two spiritual monsters: unbridled progressivism and obstinate fundamentalism.

    It is an interesting idea. I kind of roll my eyes at the language ("spiritual monsters -- really?"), but I find the overall idea compelling. I'm not sure how narrow (or wide) this path really is (and we all know what scripture says about wide and narrow paths). The idea seems somewhat vague, because the basic ideas are (intentionally?) poorly defined. What do they really mean by fundamentalism or progressivism? I agree with them that it is often a difficult path -- perhaps because of the vagueness of the definitions.

    In some ways it feels like a document by academics for academics, so maybe it won't amount to much among those of us "lay" members of the Church. If so, maybe it's much ado about nothing, because it will only be something academics take seriously.

  7. I don't know if there are statistics by church/denomination that would tell us one way or another whether we are better as Latter-day Saints or not. An internet search found this recent (Sep. 2019) literature survey (a popular outlet called it "the first comprehensive study exposing patterns of sexual abuse in religious settings.") that contains no statistics of its own, but does have a good sized bibliography and discusses a few specific cases :
    Catholic that focuses on the well known controversy they are dealing with
    Protestantism where they discuss cases, but note that there is little to no data to pin down how prevalent it is across various Protestant denominations.
    A few "cults" (like the Fundamentalist Mormons) are mentioned, but again, there seems to be very little statistical data to pin down prevalence.

    Considering that it is hard enough to get people to agree on an overall prevalence (is it 1 in 4? 1 in 3? 1 in 2?) of sexual abuse based on DOJ or whatever source people are using, I am not surprised that it is difficult to impossible to get good numbers on how common it is in specific churches/faith communities. I, like others, want to believe that we are better than others. However, it seems like we would have to be astronomically better than the world to be worth patting ourselves on the back. Something like (pulling numbers out of the air), "We are so much better than the world because only 1 in 6 of our youth are abused where it is 1 in 4 in the rest of the world." seems so unsatisfying. I don't know what kind of improvement to hypothesize without some numbers to back it up, so I'm inclined towards something like Carb wrote -- we are probably similar to the rest of the world even if we might actually be marginally better. At least until some data comes along to change my mind.

    If the article gets lost behind a pay wall or something, the reference is Susan Raine and Stephen Kent, "The Grooming of Children for Sexual Abuse in Religious Settings: Unique Characteristics and Select Case Studies" Journal of Aggression and Violent Behavior Sept. 2019.

  8. As an Eagle Scout, I am overall grateful for what I got out of BSA. I am sad to see them struggle, I will be sad if BSA substantially disappears. I wish things could have been different. I wish that BSA leadership would have had the foresight to take youth protection more seriously sooner to try to prevent this outcome. It is what it is -- I cannot say that the outcome ought to be different. But I am still saddened, and will be saddened by the outcome.

  9. On 10/23/2020 at 11:49 AM, scottyg said:

    Why would I not trust the answers He gave me?

    I have re-read your post @scottyg, and this question keeps leaping out at me. It goes back to the question of whether or not God would give me answers that would lead away. If I trust what I think God is telling me, there are some conflicts there between what I feel God is telling me and what the Church says God is saying. It's not necessarily about the entire "is this the true Church", but smaller issues and questions.Trusting what God has said in the past about this being His Church, but also trusting what He seems to be telling me now about specific issues is difficult. Trusting God is key, but it is difficult when you get seemingly mixed messages from God.

    I am reminded of something Pres. Oaks said at the Be One celebration that seems similar. He said that he prayed about the reasons being given for the priesthood and temple ban, but did not receive confirmation of the truth of any of them. He determined to be loyal (and I keep wondering exactly what he meant by that) to the brethren and the Church in spite of the conflict. In many ways, this is where I feel I am at. I don't receive confirmation of some things, and I find myself trying to understand what it might mean to be loyal through the contradictions or if I should distance myself from the Church or just what God wants me to do in the short and long term.

  10. @Traveler I probably cannot speak for others, but I don't feel like I am just looking for a way out of covenants. If changes to covenants are even included in what happens, I would probably classify them more as "changes to my covenants" or "new understandings of my covenants" and not some kind of underlying motivation for my faith crisis.

    I get what y ou are saying about keeping your word, but when a nun or similar converts and joins the Church, we don't hold them to prior vows they may have made (for example, this nun who joined the Church was released from her vow of poverty: ). If covenants can change as part of a conversion experience, it seems reasonable that they may change as part of a deconversion/reconversion experience as well. It's mostly a discernment process trying to understand exactly what God expects of us.

  11. 20 hours ago, estradling75 said:

    I hear what you are saying... But you are excluding "What do you think God wants you to do" from your calculations.  And as long as you exclude God you will have problems in faith oriented environments.

    Part of the "crisis" in faith crisis, I think, is not being certain what God wants from me. Certainly, I am wrestling with those uncertainties and seeking clarity from God and scripture and such. Part of that uncertainty could be simply being open to idea that God no longer wants me to worship with the Church. I know we have had a couple of discussions about whether or not God would/could instruct someone to believe something different from the Church or even to reject the Church altogether.

    If an investigator comes to Church and says they are having good experiences with the missionaries and likes much of what they are learning, but they are waiting for more clarity on the question of baptism, we would enthusiastically encourage them to continue the process of conversion. None of that encouragement means that we believe that we have any direct responsibility for whether or not the investigator continues the conversion process or the outcome of God's communications to them personally. Similarly, if a former member speaks to us of initiating a reconversion process, we likewise encourage them and offer support. It feels different to me when the process could be a deconversion process. It feels to me like "you are ultimately responsible for your own testimony and salvation" feels more like "you are on your own, brother. I want no part of encouraging this." That could just be me, but I think what I am wanting us to consider is if we feel the same sense of encouragement towards the process of study and prayer when we see the possibility of it leading away.

  12. 23 hours ago, Grunt said:

    See, I think this is an issue that those who challenge faith run into and I have difficulty understanding why.

    It seems to me that so many faith crisis issues distill down to the issue of picking and choosing which apostolic statements to accept as truth. If you want to understand what is happening in the mind and soul of someone in faith crisis, I suggest seeking to understand how and why an otherwise good member of the Church would choose to reject  specific concepts taught by some apostles and prophets.

  13. 2 hours ago, estradling75 said:

    If our faith is dependent on the actions others, of them not falling, it is a form of idolatry.  It is also a position of powerlessness, because we surrender our agency to another.  The only position of power, of agency, and of worship of the true and living God, is to act as best you can on the truths you know no matter what others do.

    I must also not be communicating clearly, because I agree wholeheartedly with this, but it doesn't express what I see going on. Perhaps a parable/analogy/whatever this is:

    Person A through various means and sources comes to some understanding and relationship with God, theology, morality, etc. Upon encountering person B, they discuss their views on religion and decide that they have much in common and, despite any differences, they want to meet periodically (weekly/monthly/whatever) to worship and discuss and learn from each other. Over time, they have many good meetings, discussing commonalities and differences, always eager for the next meeting. At some point, A expresses a new insight, which B disagrees with. Something about this new disagreement causes A to wonder if these meetings are still valuable. Suddenly, A is ambivalent about the next meeting, and expresses his concern to B. Can you see how the likelihood of the next meeting occurring depends on B's enthusiasm? Person A and Person B's faith and understanding of truth and relationship to God need not change just because they decide to no longer meet, so each is still standing on their own two spiritual feet. It's a question of whether to two individuals want to or maybe even should continue to fellowship.

  14. 9 hours ago, Vort said:

    Have patience with us, MrShorty. We're not there yet, either. I'll try to reciprocate. I'm at best a pale, distorted reflection of the Savior. But I'm a brother, and I try to remember to act like one. I often forget, and I'm ashamed of that. But I like to think my failures and deficiencies don't define me, and that yours don't define you.

    Maybe patience is another key virtue in this discussion. We live in an era of instant everything, and sometimes it seems that patience is in short supply. Some processes, and I wonder if things like testimony and conversion are long term maybe even life-long processes (notable exceptions like Alma the Younger and St. Paul aside). The scriptural phrase "waiting on God" seems to capture some of what I feel is happening here. Maybe we all need more patience, more willingness to wait upon the Lord to resolve our differences in His time and in His way.

  15. @Grunt I suppose it is natural for a comment that includes both the words evolution and heresy would naturally trigger a reference to Elder McConkie's "Seven Deadly Heresies" talk. I don't know how far down this rabbit hole we really want to go here, because we've been down it before and we will probably go down it again at some point. Yes, Elder McConkie tends to figure prominently on the pro-creationism/anti-evolutionism side of the debate because of statements like this. I observe that, in spite of the "certainty" of Elder McConkie's opinion, the Church on the whole has been unwilling to adopt Elder McConkie's opinion that evolutionism is a deadly heresy. Again, we can go down this rabbit hole if the group really wants to, but I don't see it helping the current discussion (but what do I know?).

    The real question that I think would further the current discussion, how do the creationists in the Church feel about worshiping with (being in communion with?) those who reject Elder McConkie's opinion(s) on evolution? How should we deal with such strongly held differences of opinion? Are there (to borrow from my old Missionary Guide training materials) "more effective" (that preserve our ability to share pews together) and "less effective" (that discourage saints with differing opinions from worshiping under the same roof) ways to deal with these strongly held differences of opinion? I can only speak for myself, but these are the questions that often take center stage when I wonder if I want to stay in communion with the Latter-day Saints. Exactly how you choose to answer questions related to creationism/evolutionism for yourself are less important to me than these other questions.

  16. I appreciate the kind words. A lot of rabbit holes we could go down, but I wanted to respond to one idea:

    On 10/21/2020 at 10:38 AM, estradling75 said:

    It is not up to the Church or any Church member to "deal" with your comfort or uncomfortableness... It is on you.

    I agree. Pres. Nelson's remarks about spiritual self-reliance really resonated with me in the Women's session. However, I am also reminded of something I recently saw from Elder Callister. Observing that when LDS leave their church, they are more likely than other Christians to go agnostic/atheist or -- if I recall his words correctly -- "to become a church unto themselves." Flying solo if you will. I think what I sometimes take away from the "it's not our job to make you comfortable, it's your job" response is that members maybe don't care one way or another whether or not I show up to worship with them. If they don't care whether or not I'm worshiping with them, and I'm uncertain if I want to worship with them, it becomes really easy to just decide to drift away and worship by myself.

    I have observed in this group before that it seems like some of the worst debates in the Church are creationism vs. evolutionism debates, and seem to recall once questioning whether creationists and evolutionists could comfortable worship together. Others have observed that some of the worst debates are BoM geography (in particular, certain Heartlanders seem really intolerant of any other geographic model). Can the orthodox and the heretic come to a place where they can worship comfortably together? Maybe as @Fether's question kind of asks, should they?

    To @CV75's request for recommendations -- I don't really know. Following from this line of thinking, I might suggest some introspection into how we really feel worshiping with each other. Do I as the heretic really want to worship with the orthodox members of my ward? Does my ward really want to share pews with me on Sunday? I know the knee jerk answer is, " of course they do. We invite all to come and the Savior instructed us to turn no one away." As @Vort says, I as the heretic will likely not convince the Church that I am right, but I don't see the Church convincing me of the error of my ways (unless and until the Spirit chooses to convict me of those errors), but is it still possible to want to worship together even if/when the chasm between our theology/morality seems unbridgeable? Many days it seems like that is the key question I am asking myself (do I want to worship with people I have not come to a unity of faith with?) and I guess the Church seems like it is asking itself the same kind of question. If/When I (speaking as a generic person in faith crisis rather than my personal self) express a willingness and desire to worship with you, will you respond with a similar willingness to worship with me? What "false" beliefs and attitudes and sinful behaviors would make you prefer not to worship with me?

  17. As one who judges himself in the middle of a faith crisis, here are some things I see through my glass darkly:

    1) As with so many things today, it seems so polarized. The shrillest anti voices have nothing good to say about the Church, and the loudest pro voices have nothing bad to say. Here in a middle place, where it seems obvious that the Church has made errors but also contains much that is good, it feels awful lonely. It seems difficult to find people and communities to interact with that are comfortable discussing the good and the bad.

    2) Related, there is a predominant "all or nothing" attitude. Many in the Church have long said something like it is all true or it is all fraud. Then the antis grab onto that, demonstrate one undeniable flaw or error in the all or nothing house of cards and claim that the whole thing comes crashing down. I find myself leaning into a "cafeteria Mormon" space, but that space tends to be maligned from both sides, and, again, you feel lonely. It's nice when you find spaces where people are talking about the things they choose to accept and the things they choose to reject from the Church -- that affirm that one can accept and reject pieces without needing to accept or reject the whole kit and kaboodle.

    3) Also related is the frequent fear from the orthodox of "wolves in sheep's clothing". Of course, the antis are fond of calling the faithful mindless sheep. I know that the watchmen on the tower need to be (as Alistair Moody would say) constantly vigilant, but it is sometimes difficult to carve out a space in the Church for yourself when you feel like everyone is suspiciously watching you ready to cast you out as a wolf. It seems like it would help if there were spaces in the Church that were more comfortable with my questions and heresies rather than constantly suspicious of them.

    My epistemology, soteriology, Christology, and such are strongly LDS, so I am most comfortable in LDS spaces. But the things that feel wrong to me can make those LDS spaces uncomfortable as well. How the Church deals with the comfortable and the uncomfortable will impact how I move forward.

  18. Just saw this from the Salt Lake Tribune about an hour long podcast (and budding friendship?) between Elder Holland and Dr. Wood of the Assemblies of God. Haven't had a chance to listen to the whole thing yet, but thought some here might enjoy the exchange:

    Tribune article if you want a quick read.

    Youtube link to full podcast (if you want to bypass the Tribune so as not to accidentally contribute any advertising money to them)


  19. I guess I'm a little behind in Come Follow Me, but I was recently reading the account of Samuel the Lamanite. In describing the events that would occur around the death of Christ, he talks about the rocks upon the face of the Earth, both above and beneath (see Helaman 14:21 and 22). The amateur geologist in me initially was thinking in geologic terms, but the idea of rocks above the earth did not make sense. I could understand rocks beneath and rocks on the face of the Earth, but those above?

    But, one does not need to read the text as if it is about geology. Maybe it is just a "fancy" way of talking about all of the rocks (something about the number 3, so that we talk about 3 types of rocks instead of 2)? Or is there another ancient meaning or context for talking about rocks above the Earth? Could "earth" be used here more to talk about "our level" and "rocks above" could refer to high mountains (though high mountains are usually associated with geologically active regions which doesn't match with the rocks beneath being a solid mass, but there I go again, talking about it as if it is geology and not something else)?

    It's a small thing that really doesn't change Samuel's overall message, but does anyone have any insights on the concept of "rocks above the earth"?

  20. @Midwest LDS I may read it, only time will tell for sure. So many times, it seems that I find prequels disappointing. The original Star Wars trilogy made vague references to a sequence of events that caused Annakin Skywalker to become Darth Vader. I can imagine all kinds of vague stories and events and myths that lead up to it, but something seems lost when all of that gets pinned down to one canonical story arc (that wasn't really executed that well, IMO). In the same way, I can imagine so many vague, mythical ways for the human vs. machine conflict to play out and lead to the commandment to never make a machine in the likeness of the human mind. Even if it is a good story, I fear I will be disappointed to pin it all down into one concrete story arc rather than think through the myriad plausible variations that exist in my head.

    Still, with the way Sandworms ended, there is enough curiosity about Omnius and Erasmus and Serena Butler to maybe want to see how Brian and Kevin (and maybe Frank, if Frank had any notes on it) really envisioned the Butlerian Jihad.