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  1. Like
    MrShorty got a reaction from Just_A_Guy in Radical Orthodoxy   
    It is an interesting document. The main thing that has stood out to me is this idea
    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.
  2. Like
    MrShorty reacted to Carborendum in Liberal Ideas Creeping In   
    Well it is quite the coincidence that Grunt put up this thread...
    And I'm seeing this thread next to his thread and considering that my family just saw Fiddler on the Roof together.
    We had a nice discussion about the differences and similarities between tradition and traditional religion.  There are points we have to bend on and points we simply cannot bend on, lest we break. For many questions, we need to listen to the Prophet and pray about his counsel.  For other questions, we rely on the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost to guide us.
    There is always the question of where to draw the line, and when to firmly hold the line.  One primary reason that Pres Nelson is pushing the "Hear Him" message is that we're constantly innundated with information.  It is all too easy to rely on most of that information as true without even screening it or considering how our faith is affected by it.  But through it all, we need to Hear Him.
  3. Like
    MrShorty reacted to Grunt in Radical Orthodoxy   
    I saw this on Facebook.  As a convert, it didn't seem super controversial to me or what the reasoning was behind it.  Thoughts?
  4. Like
    MrShorty reacted to Fether in Make the Forums Great Again   
    My honest thoughts.
    I joined about 2 years ago because I enjoyed the conversations and felt there were some great insights... today I feel like all insights have been exhausted. Conversations seem to be rehashes of old and few are posting gospel questions anymore. politics have a negative effect, but it’s the lack of honest and thoughtful gospel questions. That is/was the life blood of this forum.
  5. Like
    MrShorty reacted to JohnsonJones in Liberal Ideas Creeping In   
    It's been going on for a while, and while some of it is not that disturbing and could be encouraging (liberal in and of itself is not a BAD thing, our religion is not Conservative OR Liberal, it does NOT worship our political beliefs and we should not mistake political opinions or parties as our religion.  Too many worship at the altar of the false idol of politics, putting forth their politics as their religion rather than having the Lord as first and foremost) there are other items which have been disturbing me for a while which are in direct conflict with what was taught and given by the Prophets and Church leaders through the centuries up until now.
    Some liberal ideas are reflected in the Bible and so are not terrible in and of themselves.  We are to render unto Caesar what is Caesar and unto the Lord what is the Lord's for example, to be in the world but not conformed of it (Romans 12).  This can be where we allow people the freedom to be who they want to be without persecution.  The idea of loving your neighbor, or loving the person but not the sin I can see reflected in encouraging those who are in sin to come to our church (And hopefully repent, but that is their free agency) but still not approving of the sin. 
    On the otherhand, there have been a great number of ideas that have been brought into the Church in the past decade.  Some of it is the confusion brought on by those who have created church manuals themselves.  You talk about their criticism of Spencer W. Kimball, but there is a trend to do so now that was encouraged by the Church essays and such.  In it they cast down a few items taught as doctrine in the past (and even declared as such) and instead imply that the leaders of the time were speaking their opinions and that we do not know why they taught such opinions or actions that they took.  This cast doubt on the prophets and their prophetic mission as obviously those at that time did not think these General Authorities were speaking only as men on these topics.  This opens up the gambit where we have no idea when a Prophet is a prophet and when he is a man (Brigham Young on the other hand clarified it somewhat, but today there are items that he said as a prophet that we say he said as a man, and the same for Joseph Smith).  It is very easy now for Saints to take these ideas and apply it to whatever they want in regards to prophets...including statements by Spencer W. Kimball (and ironically, to some of the ideas in the Bible itself, at least if you accept Paul as a prophet).
    However, these changes that go contrary to how the gospel was taught extend to many other facets of the church, and many are directly contrasting to that taught previously.  Sometimes it is just in direct contradiction to things taught in our modern era but other times, they are in direct contradiction to EVERYTHING written and taught in the Church from the Beginning of the Bible, reinforced in the Book of Mormon and by our Modern prophets, and more.  Some of the more disturbing in my thoughts again, is that I see it extended even into the temple and how things are done there (without going into it any more than that).  I see it as driving a wedge into the Church in many ways, and this approach has shown a reduction of Baptisms, retention and many other things reflected in the Church least to my view.
    So...what is a member to do?  What do I do?  I remember that I received a testimony of the Gospel and the Book of Mormon.  I remember that I have gotten a testimony of the divine calling of the Prophets and the Apostles.  This testimony is MORE than just some emotional feeling that I had, or some emotion that is can be felt otherwise.  It is a distinct and explicit testimony where I have heard the Holy Ghost testifying that the gospel is true.  Because of this I KNOW that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that the Gospel is true.  No matter what else, I KNOW the truths given to me. 
    It does not matter what the changes are to the Church for now.  As Elder Uchtdorf has said in summary..."Where will you go?"  There IS no other place to go.  You stay in the boat because it is the ONLY vessel which was designated as the vessel of the Lord, at least until the Lord comes back.  We do the best we can, even with what is happening around us.  As you are probably not (you may be, but most of the members are not) the Prophet or the First Presidency, there is very little you can do or any of us.  Instead, we follow the Prophet and if there are things that are done that lead people away or are not in accordance with what the Lord desires, it will not be held upon our heads (unless in direct contradiction to the commandments and we are directly told by the Lord not to, which has not occurred to me as of yet) but those who have caused the sins to occur due to their responsibility and power.  As such, we stay in the boat (in the church) and cling as hard as we can to what we know is true.  The gospel is true, and we know that in it we can find a safe haven for when the Lord comes (and he will be coming and is coming).
    I see a LOT of changes (or what you may call Liberal Ideas) that have crept into the Church in recent years.  In fact, if you had me look at the Church today from when I joined decades ago and many of the things that it is teaching or promoting in regards to Church doctrines and to a lesser degree it's history, I may have thought it was an offshoot of the Church rather than the main Church.  However, there is ONLY one church that still brings and delivers the gospel as found in the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.  We can either hold to it and stay in, or give up.  I don't plan on giving up any time soon.  If nothing else, when I have problems or difficulties, I lean back on the testimony I have received so long ago which I cannot deny, and grab onto it in realization that despite any doubts I may have, I still have a testimony that I cannot deny and that holds me to the Church.
  6. Like
    MrShorty reacted to Carborendum in Isaiah Translation   
    You know, it is all about balance.
    I agree that the primary benefit if for us to find a testimony of Christ through the Book of Mormon.  And while it may come through reading it and praying about it.  I can't quite verbalize the balance point between "forgetting about the meaning of any of the words" vs. parse every single word to the uttermost senine until we finally get it right.
    Yes, we can take exegesis too far.  If we rely on scholarly evidence too much to point to a spiritual truth, then where is there room for Spiritual impressions?
    OTOH, if we make interpretations that don't even remotely relate to the text, then why bother having the book at all?
    It is a balanced walk that many end up falling on one side or the other.  And sometimes it is difficult to determine where that balance is.  The answer, though obvious, is difficult to apply sometimes by us fallible mortals:  Rely on the Spirit to guide you.
  7. Haha
    MrShorty reacted to Just_A_Guy in General Authorities   
    You broke the code, man.
    Two goons carrying violin cases will be on your doorstep shortly.
  8. Like
    MrShorty reacted to Carborendum in More BSA misery   
    This lends to the credibility of my hypothesis that possibly, we have just as many victims, but the perpetrator statistics are supplemented by those outside the Church.
    Depends on how "common" it has to be to be considered "common."
    I think despite the general statistics, that we are at least marginally better than those outside the Church.  But it is still common enough that I can't just chalk it up to statistics.
    Additionally, I see how many are just "hanging around" the Church without really living it at all.  If you don't live it, you won't be obedient.  So, I wouldn't be surprised if the stats worsened.  But I believe the last I heard the stats worsened across the board all over the country.
  9. Like
    MrShorty reacted to Carborendum in More BSA misery   
    That is a good point.  It is interesting to note that the Bible names Adultery, Fornication, and Homosexuality as sexual sins.  It doesn't mention anything else.  I'm not sure how we might interpret that through our "eyes of presentism."  But it is something to think about.
    Yes, and that was the point in itemizing the first point that I quoted from those giving the presentation.
    I wonder if it isn't just about our people being "just as bad."
    I should point out that the statistic was not of the perpetrators.  It was the number of victims.  I don't know the source of the statistics that were presented.  But it is entirely possible that the victim count was tainted because of outside perpetrators.  We do have to consider that those offshoot groups that hide in our ranks do still practice polygamy in secret.  And that will tend to increase child molestation rates.
    It is also possible that the number was unfavorably biased against us because, well, as I've said before, Latter-day Saints tend to be very attractive people.  Not only that, but we're also raised to be pretty agreeable people (present company notwithstanding).
    Get any abuser next to a very attractive and very agreeable person, and, yes, the rates of incidence against such individuals would be high.  So, the rates of abuse may be that we're only raising our children to be harmless as doves without being as wise as wolves.
    For instance, I don't tell my children about the birds and the bees until they are old enough to understand sexual attraction.  I do, however, tell my children about modesty.  I wonder how many other parents do. What if something happened to the children before that age?  Would they know it was even wrong?   I know many parents (both in and out of the Church) who let their little girls (maybe 5 to 10 yo) run around topless because "they haven't developed yet, so it's no different than a boy." SMH.
  10. Like
    MrShorty reacted to Just_A_Guy in More BSA misery   
    It’s worth noting in these types of situations that many sex abuse perpetrators are enormous recidivists.  It’s not at all rare for a single perp to have ten or twenty victims, or more, by the time he is caught.
    I could well believe that the traditional close-knit, trusting, hierarchical nature of LDS communities allowed a far smaller-than-average pool of perpetrators to victimize a proportion of the community’s children that is nevertheless comparable to other communities where perpetrators are more prevalent but where they just don’t have as easy access to as many potential victims.
  11. Like
    MrShorty reacted to Vort in More BSA misery   
    There are those who take umbrage at the idea that Latter-day Saints might be morally "better" than other groups. My rejoinder is: If membership in the kingdom of God does not, on average, help people to be significantly morally better than they otherwise would be, what is the point of joining the Restored Church?
    Rates of sexual abuse are only one measure of moral turpitude. Furthermore, not everything under the umbrella of "sexual abuse" is equally damaging to the victims (or the perpetrators). But if there is literally no statistical difference in rates of sexual abuse between Latter-day Saints and everyone else, and this is not actually an artifact of political convenience or a poorly (or dishonestly) designed metric, then I very seriously question our devotion as a people. There should be a measurably large difference.
  12. Like
    MrShorty reacted to Carborendum in More BSA misery   
    About 15 years ago, we had a special 5th Sunday adult meeting. It was about sexual abuse.
    One thing they pointed out was that "sexual abuse" can be a wide array of abuses.  On the lower end, it would include things harassment. Another thing they pointed out was that the Church population is no better -- and no worse -- than the population at large.  Whatever differences there are by state, the state-by-state rate vs. the rate of Saints in each of those states -- the numbers were statistically identical whether you were LDS or not. While I was thankful for finding out that we were no worse.  I was grieved over the fact that we were no better.  We really should be.
  13. Like
    MrShorty reacted to MarginOfError in More BSA misery   
    Assuming that what my local council has told us is accurate*, these claims are not an existential threat to the BSA.  The bankruptcy was filed specifically to restructure in a way that preserved the the ability of BSA to operate.
    Previous to the bankruptcy, BSA had no limits or safeguards on any of their money from legal claims. Every asset they had was available.  The bankruptcy was filed to place a firewall between the operational expenses and real estate holdings and legal proceedings. The courts granted this firewall on the conditions that 1) it only applied to cases of abuse that occurred prior to 1982 (I think--that was when BSA implemented its youth protection training), and 2) BSA had to fund and operate an advertising campaign with the goal of reaching at least 95% of males in the USA between the ages of 25 and 50 (I might have those ages a little mixed up).
    This means that the court has agreed to a finite pot of money available to victims of abuse prior to 1981. Operational accounts are not available for these settlements, nor can camps or other real estate be liquidated. 
    2020 is a larger threat the the BSA than anything else.  Cub Scout retention in our council is about 40%. When my Pack wrapped things up last year, we had about 6 or 7 Webelos.  Currently, we have two participating.  The loss of membership combined with BSA's unwillingness to restructure itself (most notably, reduce staffing) is what will kill it. It either needs to run a massively successful recruiting drive next summer, or prepare for some lay offs. Their current strategy of raising costs on everything isn't sustainable (unless they just want to be a rich kids club)
    * My council is particularly incompetent. It isn't unheard of for us to get chastised for not showing up to some event they never told us about.  Despite being a registered scoutmaster in their ScoutBook software, they still can't seem to figure out how to send me an e-mail unless I go up to a Roundtable meetings and write it down on a piece of paper.
  14. Like
    MrShorty got a reaction from Just_A_Guy in More BSA misery   
    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.
  15. Like
    MrShorty reacted to JohnsonJones in More BSA misery   
    Grim thought to think about.
    Many of these Claims came from Utah, Arizona, and Idaho.  Guess which organization was the sponsor for these BSA units.  IF BSA ceases to exist as the front...guess who gets the lawsuits next?
    Even Grimmer thought, the BSA in the past 20 years had stronger restrictions (admittedly, many claims are prior to that where they had almost NO way of protecting the youth from these individuals) and sifting to try to make it harder for predators to be leaders (which the Church rarely enforced or did anything about, in many instances, actually did the exact opposite).  The church has put a token training up, but hasn't done anything close to the BSA in it's restrictions on leaders.  They don't have the BSA to blame anymore, and angry people do drastic things. 
    I'd put the Church up front and center in the next decade or two for lawsuits that could (key word...COULD...not will or anything that predictive) make the BSA lawsuits seem trivial in comparison.
  16. Like
    MrShorty got a reaction from Just_A_Guy in More BSA misery   
    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.
  17. Like
    MrShorty got a reaction from Just_A_Guy in More BSA misery   
    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.
  18. Sad
    MrShorty reacted to Just_A_Guy in More BSA misery   
    We’ve talked about the potential that BEA would file for bankruptcy.  Turns out they went ahead with a Chapter 11 filing back in February, and today was the deadline for all potential claimants to file their “proofs of claim” with the bankruptcy court.
    Apparently, over 92,000 proofs of claim have been received as of this afternoon; the vast majority, apparently, from self-reported sex abuse victims.
    Let’s assume that only half of these are accepted by the court, and that each victim receives the absurdly low figure of $100K (a recent verdict in Oregon granted the victim $20 million).  Forty-six thousand claims at $100,000 per claim is $4.6 billion.  BSA National apparently has $1.4 billion in assets (many already mortgaged) with the councils holding $3.3 billion more (assuming council resources can be tapped, which is debatable).  That means in a best case scenario they have $4.7 billion to pay off at least $4.6 billion in sex abuse claims, plus whatever other debts the BSA has racked up.
    The bankruptcy is nominally a “reorganization”, but it’s looking an awful lot like the BSA’s corporate existence itself is in existential danger.
    Random thoughts:
    —The LDS/BSA divorce didn’t come a moment too soon;
    —A $120 billion “rainy day” fund doesn’t seem as extravagant as it used to.
  19. Haha
    MrShorty reacted to NeedleinA in Where did it happen   
    I have my suspicions

  20. Haha
    MrShorty reacted to NeuroTypical in Where did it happen   
    Ok people, you leave me no choice:

  21. Haha
    MrShorty reacted to NeuroTypical in Where did it happen   
    Listen math nerd, this is an art thread, got it?  Keep your fancy arithmetics to yourself.
  22. Like
    MrShorty reacted to Emmanuel Goldstein in Where did it happen   
    Oh, don't mistake my irritation with lack of faith. The message of the book is without a doubt, true. I just want more variety and I want people to keep their minds open to something other than the dictates of most BYU PHD's. 
  23. Like
    MrShorty reacted to Just_A_Guy in What's the difference?   
    So, I may not be your target audience here—I didn’t “convert” from another religion to LDS; I was born in the faith.  But of course, at some point I had to make a deliberate and informed decision to stay; so I’ll offer my two cents for what it’s worth.
    Maybe a parable, of sorts, will help: 
    I’ve gotten into woodworking in a small way over the past couple of years.  Nothing really special—a few bookshelves, a couple of boxes for various purposes, that kind of thing; I hope to make more furniture-type items going forward.  I’ve accrued a collection of tools—less than I think I need, though certainly more than my wife thinks I need!  The next tool that I want, is a thickness planer.
    The function of a thickness planer is that you feed a board into one end and, in seconds, an electrically-powered rotating blade shaves a layer of wood off the top face of the board.  The result is a perfectly flat face.  You can use a thickness planer for dimensioning lumber to the exact thickness you want it.  You can also use it to take pre-milled wood that was cut sloppily, or that has warped/cupped/bowed since it was cut, and shape it into something that is perfectly flat and straight and ready for precision woodworking.
    Now, with a bit of skill and the right alternative tools (a workbench with clamps and a selection of hand planes), you could be an absolutely amazing woodworker without ever owning a thickness planer.  It would be absolutely absurd to say that someone who owns a thickness planer is a “better woodworker” than a craftsman who lacks that tool, or that his product will always be qualitatively superior.  Many woodworkers actually enjoy the workpace, or physical exercise, or tradition, or connection to their forbears, or just the extra attention that go into using and sharpening and tuning and maintaining their hand planes. 
    But the fact is that a thickness planer just plain lets you work faster.  A woodworker who chooses not to obtain that tool, will eventually find that his choice to dimension or flatten lumber by hand is imposing an artificial limit on the quantity of projects that he is able to undertake and complete.  A woodworker who chooses to invest in a thickness planer, and uses it effectively as he works to improve his own skill set over time, will eventually be able to achieve more than the woodworker who chose not to obtain that tool.
    To me, religion is a tool—or, more properly, a set of tools—that helps us to produce the product God wants.  To help us become what He wants us to become, now and in the hereafter.  So in evaluating a religion, my starting point has to be what the religion says about the nature of God, the nature of man, the relationship between those two, what God’s plans are for humankind, and what the potential and fate of humankind actually is. 
    If you accept the ideas that:
    --mankind was created as a sort of god in embryo
    --it is possible for a man to progress to a point where he can have the qualities God has, wield the powers that God wields, and do the things that God does; and
    --Jesus Christ’s Atonement was geared towards making it possible for us to do precisely that—
    --well, then, Mormonism is pretty much the only game in town.  And frankly, I think as Church members, we should work harder at articulating this vision through our outreach and missionary work.  The simple fact is that, per our theology—observant Christians who sincerely seek after Christ and live a Christlike life will get the Terrestrial Kingdom, which is basically everything their own faith traditions have led them to expect of Heaven.  God didn’t restore the Church to get people into the Terrestrial Kingdom; he restored the Church for the benefit of that subset of humanity that seeks exaltation.  That’s not some obscure “gospel meat” that should be carefully concealed until after the “milk” has been digested; it’s part and parcel of what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is offering to Christianity and to the world in general.
    But let’s say you reject that particular worldview, while still agreeing that God imposed religion so as to help humans to become better individuals who are more in touch with His greatness and goodness and saving and comforting power.  Even by that measure, Mormonism offers a pretty amazing toolset—one that I believe, properly used, can still take one further than the toolset offered by any other religion or philosophy.  These tools include: 
    --A quantitatively and qualitatively superior means of direct communication with God via the Holy Spirit, which in turn offers superior opportunities for education, edification, solace, warning, and instruction/counsel about the various life-decisions we all must make.  Mormonism also promotes the idea that it is possible to commune with the Father even more directly, via visions and/or other direct interactions with corporeal angels or with God Himself.
    --I would note, on this issue, that while I am absolutely unqualified to trace the history of charismatic or Pentecostal Christian movements—it seems to me that one of the big selling points in 19th century Mormon missionary work, was the idea of spiritual gifts.  We see this in Mormonism’s own publicized histories of itself and some of its first noteworthy converts, and I see it a lot in private journals of some of my own ancestors.  A theme that I took away from Terryl Givens’s “Wrestling the Angel”, as well as his biography of Parley Pratt (which delves deeply into Pratt’s preaching and writing), leads me to the impression that much of mainline Christianity (certainly the “respectable” institutionalized branches thereof) had pretty much pooh-poohed “spiritual gifts” like tongues, prophecy, revelations, visions, healings, etc—as artifacts of the primitive church that Christianity had outgrown as it matured.  While again acknowledging my relative ignorance of Christian history beyond my own faith tradition—I do wonder if many of the pastors and theologians who saw the way Mormonism appealed to a lot of Christian “seekers” did some soul-searching about whether their own congregations could benefit from the restoration of some of these gifts; and undertook a private and individual re-evaluation of the idea of “spiritual gifts” generally that may have helped “prepare the way” for 20th century pentecostal/evangelical/charismatic Christian movements.
    --Divine power, channeled both through the Holy Spirit and through divinely-sanctioned priests, that enables the Saints to make spiritual/psychological progress that they’d never be able to do on their own.  And a power that occasionally, according to the will of God, can even change the material nature of the world around us.
    --Sacramental rites and liturgies that reinforce our sense of connectedness to the divine, and challenge and educate us in new and sometimes unexpected ways. 
    --I would note here that I think most religions have a surfeit of mishnahs and commentaries and sermons that are happy to spoon-feed us the ostensible “meanings” and “right interpretations” of the mysteries we see in scripture, in nature, in human behavior and the problems of life.  Mormonism certainly has this, too.  But Mormonism also has a set of esoteric temple liturgies where—not only do our leaders abstain from telling us what it means; but they give us an injunction not even to publicly speculate about what it might mean!  (Even as they continually reiterate that it does have some very deep meanings, and that it’s tremendously important that we work those meanings out by continued participation in those liturgies, and that they cannot be simply abandoned just because they are mysterious or uncomfortable.)  To participate in temple worship on a prolonged basis, is to repeatedly accept a challenge to get onto the wrestling mat with God Himself—where the religious authority’s role is less about trying to mediate between you and God, and more about just keeping you in the ring even when you want to quit.  I don’t know that any other religion will push you into quite that sort of a struggle with God. 
    --Authoritative leadership that can help safeguard against deception and offer meaningful counsel in approaching the vicissitudes of life, especially while we are still growing in the faith and trying to figure out the difference between the whisperings of the Spirit and our own prejudices and predilections.
    --Additional scripture that again, helps to safeguard against deception and teaches us to approach God and the Spirit; while also clarifying some of the “holes” and debunking man-made misconceptions about previously-revealed scriptures.
    --A strong sense of collective purpose and destiny (“Zion”, and all that), which fosters both a sense of community and opportunities for personal growth through ministering and service.  (The emotional and material "safety net" the Church has developed over the years ain't bad, either!)
    I would hasten to note, just like my parable of the thickness planer, that nearly all of the spiritual blessings and opportunities and tools (or alternative tools that serve similar purposes) exist, to some degree, in most variations of Christianity; and many adherents to those sects have used the “tools” in their possession to much greater effect than many adherents of Mormonism (myself, certainly included) have used the tools in our possession.  So I hope that what I’ve written doesn’t seem too smug!  Stunningly beautiful souls can be--have been--crafted within virtually any Christian faith tradition, and a good number of non-Christian traditions as well.
    But the underlying issue, to me, is potential and eternal increase.  All other things being equal, I am satisfied through personal experience that the “tools” of Mormonism can take me further towards these ends than the “tools” offered by any other religion or philosophy. 
    And so, I stay. 
  24. Like
    MrShorty reacted to prisonchaplain in What's the difference?   
    @Carborendum, thank you. "Excellent recovery," as they say. Of course, I believe there are traditional answers and discussion points to all of these. BUT, there is no doubt that people are finding answers, fulfillment, "Now I get it!" etc. in your church. To use the first AoF as an example, there is no question but that the traditional churches have struggled with describing the nature of God from the time of Christ until now. Indeed, Jesus claim to be the Son of God is a big part of why he was opposed--at least theologically. The appeal of the LDS Godhead on one side, and of modalism on the other (Jesus is God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost--United Pentecostal Church) both attest to the dilemma. Ironically, those that struggle are quite often the ones who are the most hungry to know God in deeper ways. So again, I appreciate your answers!
  25. Like
    MrShorty reacted to Carborendum in 'Despite All We Can Do' – 2 Nephi 25:23 in Literary and Rhetorical Context   
    I disagree with the conclusion of the paper:
    Scholarly works and exegesis certainly help us understand the scriptures better.  But they cannot override the revealed word and declarations from Apostles or other scriptural verses which address the same topic.
    From the Bible Dictionary on "Grace":
    What are our own "best efforts"?
    What is the relationship between grace and works?
    We can all agree that "all our best efforts" and all the ordinances in the world will never be sufficient to obtain Eternal Life without the Grace of God through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
    The question is what is required to obtain that grace?
    The sectarians believe that you need only make a mental decision to accept Christ as your Savior.  Then His grace is sufficient for you. Thomas Paine would have a problem with that.  They also say that "baptism" is "too much work" for such Grace to be "free".  I believe Naaman (and his servant) would have a problem with that.
    We believe that a lifetime of dedication is required to keep us from becoming an "enemy to God." When He says "jump", we say "how high?"
    The changing of "after" to "despite" changes the meaning to the point where we're where the sectarians are.  Why even bother with ordinances?  Why even bother with "obedience"?  Why bother with covenants?  Why bother even trying if it's all by Grace "despite" anything we do?  Re-wording that automatically brings up the notion "why bother?"
    Literal meaning or not, reality of the details or not, the end result and conclusion must be that using "despite" discourages us from doing anything to obtain His mercy. It discourages us from even TRYING.  And the TRYING is what differentiates us from the "saved by grace" crowd.  Yes, we believe that all our works cannot save us. Yes, we believe it is through the Atoning blood of Jesus Christ that we are saved.  But our emphasis is on the continual EFFORT to endure to the end.
    "After" does encourage us to put forth all we have to obtain that Grace.
    "After" is the correct word.