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  1. Regarding House, it is that one of the less-endearing qualities of the main character (a doctor) is that he is an outspoken atheist who frequently belittles the religious beliefs of his patients. It is not a major part of the show, but there are several episodes that center around those themes; fans of the show call them 'House vs. God' episodes. Personally, I find them rather tedious. Additionally, there was briefly an LDS character on the show, a black man, who was known as the 'Black Mormon' or to House as 'Big Love'. At one point in the show, House referred to Joseph Smith as a "horny fraud" and the Black Mormon slugged him, tired of the constant abuse heaped on him by House. Regarding Big Love, one of the underlying conflicts in the show is the ongoing tension between the mainstream LDS church and the Mormon fundamentalists who make up most of the show's main cast. The mainstream church is generally not represented either unfairly or negatively, although there is a story arc in which the fundamentalists and the mainstream church are both after a set of historic documents which allegedly validate the lifestyle of the fundamentalists, and both sides resort to some pretty iffy tactics to get their hands on the documents (which, it turns out, were fraudulent anyhow). The South Park "All About Mormons" episode lobbed soft bombs, as the show does with most religions (except Scientology; they really let them have it). I've heard a lot of criticisms of the The Mormons PBS documentary, not the least of which is that while numerous representatives of the church were interviewed, and the church cooperated heavily, the majority of the 'pro-church' interviews ended up on the cutting-room floor, while those skeptical of or hostile to the church got the lions' share of screentime.
  2. It is a regional dialect. Bahston, maybe?
  3. Um, thanks, I guess. I just talks how I talks, really.
  4. What you describe is called teaching; it involves actual respect and dialogue. Baiting is disrespectful or dismissive of the other person's viewpoint. It is the academic equivalent of trolling on a message board, and inappropriate in all situations.
  5. So you did; I missed that. That would be something I would think people could get behind, not least because it is not hard to do; there is a ton of material out there on how to give good sacrament talks, more than enough to build a 2 or 3 lesson curriculum.
  6. M-Music, you make a lot of really good points. As someone who has been attending meetings as an investigator for about 2-1/2 months, I can corroborate a lot of what you've said. Sacrament meetings are generally interesting, but not always; I find it depends in large part on the speakers. Fast Sunday meetings are uniformly uninteresting and often confusing, largely for the reasons Dravin mentioned earlier in this thread. (My first thread ever posted on these boards was to the effect of "Is this what is supposed to happen at a testimony meeting?"). So I can identify, at least on a small scale. All of that said, I'm not sure that the answer is necessarily to be found in changing the character of the music. I say this because I've been in churches where there has been declining interest in Sunday services, and they changed to a contemporary worship format, thinking that sticking a praise band up front* would bring people (young people, especially) flocking to their church. There was a brief uptick in attendance followed by a continued drop, as well as growing dissatisfaction among the older people, and those who were more traditional. I've actually seen it play out this way in a couple of churches. I know you're not suggesting a praise band (you specifically said drums and guitars were right out), but I say this only because I would be skeptical that the key to getting people excited about sacrament meeting lies in the music. I don't pretend to have any real answers, but I'm not sure its there.
  7. ELPHABA: "But I see no purpose to your teacher calling it a "myth," other than her personal desire to plant a seed. One of the reasons it's inappropriate to teach the Bible is true is because not all students are Christian. It only makes sense that the same should hold true for teaching the Bible is false--Christian students shouldn't be subjected to that in a public school." I have a problem with any teacher who feels it is appropriate to bait their students, regardless of the beliefs of anyone involved, or the subject matter involved in the baiting. Not appropriate behavior at all from the teacher. That said, I have no problem at all with the phrase 'creation myth', if we are talking about that category of stories universal to (all/most/many) cultures describing the creation of the world. In a secular academic setting, to suggest that any of them are true, false, or more or less true than any others is inappropriate.
  8. No offense, but did you even read the definition you quoted to me? It is right there: "adherence [...] to the letter of the law rather than the spirit." I suppose we will have to disagree that the simple having of laws and insisting that they be followed constitutes legalism. By that definition, an absolute commitment to the spirit of the law could also, paradoxically, be legalism, especially when adherence to the spirit of the law creates a harsher result than the black letter of the law. I suppose too that you can say that legalism is a good thing, if you want. But you'll have a hard time talking to those who use legalism as a slur, which was of course the whole point of the OP.
  9. Don't know if there are Simpsons fans around, but whenever I see something like this (re: making worship services more interesting) I am reminded of this exchange involving the venerable Reverend Lovejoy, after an energetic sermon by a young, eager, guitar-playing visiting minister: <Carl> Hey Reverend, you should do that during your sermons. You know, a little more razzle-dazzle, huh? <Lovejoy> Oh I already do, Carl, if by 'razzle' you mean piety, and by 'dazzle' you mean scriptural accuracy. <Carl> What a tool.
  10. PRIMATE: I think you miss the letter vs. spirit distinction I alluded to earlier. Having strict standards and rules is not legalism; insisting on rigid and unthinking application of the letter of the law at the ignorance of the spirit is legalism. If your position is that this sort of thing is rampant in the LDS church, that is fine; my observations disagree, but that's okay. But I do wish that you would stop insisting that having rules, laws, etc. at all is legalism. It is not. Again: simply having laws is not legalism. If teaching high standards for behavior, and insisting on teaching that God's laws exist to be followed, then I suppose I will have to admit that legalism abounds in the LDS church.
  11. I make an effort to pay attention; I don't know if that means I am engaged or not. Not that it is easy all the time; there are times when the speakers are uninteresting or hard to follow or just plain bad, which makes it difficult. Also, for the month or so I attended a family ward, there were consistently problems with the sound system, so speakers were generally drowned out by shouting children; it was as though a sacrament meeting had broken out in the middle of a daycare. Of course, being at a singles/university ward has its own problems. I get that not everyone can be engaged during the meeting, but little groups talking amongst themselves is not helping matters. Just like the university, some of us are there to learn.
  12. Where is the legalism? I see no legalism; I see insistence on a high standard of conduct. Legalism and strictness are not the same thing, regardless of context. Having strict rules or laws or regulations or whatever does not imply legalism.
  13. Straw-man. Whatever your problem is with lawyers, it has nothing to do with the church. The 'legalistic view' of the Atonement is probably something akin to Penal Substitutionary Atonement, which is but one possible way of explaining of how the Atonement works. It is not the only one, nor even the dominant one in LDS theology, to my understanding. Legalism is not embodied either in a strict application of laws or a concern for a clear explanation of what the law actually says. One can be strict as all get-out and not a legalist. I'd imagine Christ was rather strict, what with stuff like "Be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect." Sounds pretty strict to me, but he was far from a legalist.
  14. "Your Bishop has a private beach?" Wish my bish had a private beach. The only thing he has is a private jet. Maybe if all of us were paying a full tithe...
  15. Any job does interfere with one's family. Then again, I find that not having money also interferes with one's family.