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  1. I have experience of 'angels' as people call them, but you must believe what you will, as your reality is your reality. What our culture in general knows and says of them is so wrong as to be mind boggling. I will just say that you can find out for yourself though. And also, as others say, they are not here to 'save' us from everything, else there'd be no point in existing, would there..?
  2. I would think this happens more within concentrated Mormon communities, perhaps? Or at least, to a greater degree in such communities. As to New Order Mormons, my question would have been better put as; what does the phrase actually mean?
  3. I know - makes you wonder about everyone saying their church is the only true one on earth, doesn't it..?! :)
  4. Oh I did; it's around twenty years since we divorced and she moved a long way away. My kids are all adults now, and the one from the fire testing incident went on to blow things up for a living! But he's very respectful to others in the area where things need blowing up. :)
  5. Why? I guess those words must mean something I'm not aware of..? It's obvious that the n-word is not always used in a derogatory way. But it is used in a nasty way by both white and coloured people (in various ways), and is used by some coloured people to ensure separation of culture, enforced social peer control, etc. George Orwell was right about social mind control - he just got the date a bit out.
  6. This is the kind of point I find very interesting, as we can see things in so many different ways. It's also obvious that people often struggle to know whether they're feeling selfishly absorbed in their pain, or 'godly sorrow', or if in fact, there is a quantifiable difference. For myself, I've grown to see 'commandments' in the same way that many see the Old and New Testaments. One tends to be fire and brimstone, and the other tends to be more gentle and healing. As an attempt at an example, I once watched one of my young toddlers burn his hand and let him do it. Before your hand hits your mouth in surprise, let me add that he was old enough to understand perfectly well what I was telling him, and the electric heater he was about to touch had a guard, and had not been switched on for long enough to be dangerous. He did the 'kiddie dare' thing as soon as I told him to come away from the heater; he stood his ground and reached out to touch it while staring me down as a challenge. I again told him to come away, and said it would hurt if he touched it, but he continued to challenge me. After a few tries to make him come away from it, I left it to him and said, "Ok, you touch it if you want, but it WILL hurt!" He touched the guard, and of course threw a screaming tantrum, giving me dirty looks in the process as though it was my fault. My wife, naturally, threw a fit at me, but our son was quite unharmed. My point? Well, I could have gone all 'Old Testament' and shouted loudly that he would surely burn, etc., and his fear of father yelling would have driven him away from the fire. I could also have considered that my child had broken MY commandments, 1) to not touch fires, and 2) to obey father at all times. But I left it up to him, and he learned a simple lesson. I know there are no perfect analogies, but it occurs to me that if I as an ordinary human father have no wish to push my ego onto my children and have them follow like robots, then how much more free of such power trips are heavenly beings? So, I'm sure that when we learn lessons our spiritual parents don't think, "Aha, you need to feel suffering for that!" More like, and with a loving smile, "Ah, you understand a little more, yes?" So is 'committing a sin' something which entitles us to punishment alone, or learning alone, or both..? And what does that make of 'repentance'..? I've never heard of the 'New Order Mormon' thing. Is that a phrase of your own, or one currently used by church members? In answer to your other questions, I'd say that; ~ I feel comfortable with my spirituality and very tangible spiritual experiences. ~ I think my feelings about the church are not hugely relevant, as I'd have to define how I feel about members in general, local members (who I haven't met), the church as an organisation in the world, the church as a spiritual organisation, etc. In many cases members have internal conflicts regarding these different aspects, and often suffer somewhat through such. ~ I wouldn't say that I'm looking for renewed 'full fellowship' in terms of ordinances, callings, etc. ~ I certainly don't want to attend any church for purely social reasons, as I can socialise anywhere. I think what I said earlier is the best I can put it at present; a) To fulfil my inner wish to be of service and commune with others who have similar moral outlooks to myself, and... b) To gain something from such community too, eg., decent friends and companionship, a little more structure to life, and a sense of belonging. I obviously don't have any concrete answers, which is why I'm taking my time, considering options, and feeling grateful for the thoughts you're all offering. 'On your own terms'. I guess this is the clincher for many, if not all of us in some respect. Also, I do think that geographical location matters with regard to 'falling away'. Living in somewhere like the UK, where your branch or ward members are likely to be scattered amongst the general population is very different to living in an area of Utah where almost everyone is a member. In the former case, leaving church means no real change in life around you, whereas in the latter, leaving church can often lead to huge changes in your life, including how the neighbourhood treats you, whether you're considered for employment, and so on. As I've said elsewhere, I don't for a minute think that such changes are always wholly negative, but they can be to some degree, and are completely in some cases, with families having to move to another state to feel accepted as 'normal' and ok. That brings up questions about Mormon societal culture as well as its role as a church, and without getting into all that, it seems to me that its impact is very different in predominantly Mormon towns and cities. Here in the UK, as elsewhere, you can leave the church behind very easily (at least once you're over the initial pain of feeling abandoned, as many do).
  7. One of the problems with such a statement is that while church members may accept it as a 'given', non-members will probably not. I like your points, but beginning with a statement which many will simply not agree with means that they may not bother to consider what you say in the larger sense. The topic being about 'proof', this is probably quite important. :)
  8. True, I may have done, but neither of us need get our socks in a twist, eh? As to "Shades of Bert", well, that's a bit of an unkind comparison perhaps, being that you don't know me (though I have no idea as to whether you know Bert personally). But lumping people together as though hinting that one is at fault, so another must be too, is, umm... well, not helpful I'd say. Yes, yes, I know what we have in the case of Santa. All I was suggesting is that Santa is the last part of the old tribal belief in the shaman's journey, ie., returning with gifts. Maybe we should go right to the source here, and email Santa. And I wish he'd have come to my house and thrown gold down the chimney, darn it! :)
  9. Wow, Bert, I had to respond to your post. I hope I don't sound like I'm 'having a go' at your thoughts - I find what you've said genuinely interesting. The part I quoted above seems to say that the moment any man and woman decide to live together then their marriage is 'okayed' by god. Are you hinting that this is so of any union, within a church or not? Just curious. The bit about children born into such a union being seen as 'holy before the lord' could also be taken to mean that other children are not 'holy before the lord'..? That sounds reasonable, though I wonder how anyone would know (if they split up) that god would/had 'un-joined' them..? I like that as a definition, and would say that it applies to my own past experience. While I lived with my next partner for a short while before marrying, and have lived with a few others over twenty years (though not many, and usually for some years), I see from experience that the ideal benefits of a male/female relationship was in fact 'diluted'. In other words, without quite clear 'ground rules' and realistic expectations, emotions and desires can so easily become demands which lead to the relationship breaking down.
  10. The wonderful thing about life, volgadon, is that I don't have to show anything. :) We all discover what we discover for ourselves. Without getting into a protracted debate about it, I was merely hinting about shamanic practices of flying up to 'heaven' by the shaman, usually entwined in smoke, as smoke having ethereal qualities it's been seen for thousands of years as a conduit or helper in spiritual things. The shaman then came back via the same path taken heavenwards, the smoke being the unmissable trail to stop him from getting lost 'up there'. He returned with treasures for the tribe, though of course in the form of healings, predictions, etc. When I began shamanic training years ago, with the assistance of a Native American who lived in southern Canada, I had such journeys quite naturally and without the use of any drug or alcohol. Shamanic practices are not always the same, but it's interesting that even Buddhist sects in the high mountains of Tibet/India continue some quite amazing shamanic practices which have been passed down since Mongol times (ie., the famous khans). A friend of mine who's a vicar in a mainstream church tells me of this, as she goes over there once every year for at least a month. It's an interesting topic, but even many shamans say that the age of the shaman is long gone, and much is lost. Tracing such things in the academic sense is to miss much of what it's all about, and I'd say pretty much a waste of time except to record aspects of human tribal behaviour and ritual.
  11. Haha - this has always been something which comes up in my life. I'm a tall and fairly well built guy, have close cropped hair, and look very much like a guy's guy. But in fact, as I said, I love the company of women, having grown up with just my mother and grandmother, sisters, aunts and mainly nieces, etc. It can cause minor problems. Some women think I must be gay because I have a strong feminine side (though I certainly don't sound effeminate), and unfortunately so do some gay men. I get propositioned by such usually about once or twice a year, though it doesn't bother me. Three reliable psychic people, two of whom are well known, and one of whom helps the police find bodies and such (seriously), upon meeting me for the first time said almost exactly the same thing; "You are balanced, male and female in power, neither one being stronger than the other. You have achieved wholeness". Sounds great, but hasn't made any difference to my life being much the same as anyone's. :) When I first went online more than ten years ago, a lesbian friend talked me into joining her favourite chat room. Nobody asked if I was a man, so it was assumed I was a woman. I wrote little poems for fun at the time, which chat members then kept requesting. When someone discovered quite by accident that I was a man, there was an uproar! You'd have thought I'd broken into a sheik's harem or something. Silly, but amusing now.
  12. I can see your point, but in this case we're talking about super-intelligent, incredibly powerful beings who have what I can only call 'purified versions of human emotions'. In my experience, they suffer no consequences of our mistakes or pain, as human parents would. Heck, if they did, they'd be constantly unhappy due to the actions of their children - no way to spend eternity! A very good question, and one I'm trying (slowly and with due consideration) to answer for myself. I'd say perhaps two general things; a) To fulfil my inner wish to be of service and commune with others who have similar moral outlooks to myself, and... b) To gain something from such community too, eg., decent friends and companionship, a little more structure to life, and a sense of belonging. As is no doubt plain, I'm weighing things up to see how I feel within myself before 'jumping in', as I know from experience that attending church brings various pressures to conform, and to 'progress' in various ways. Church structures which do this can be seen as either safety from the world, or in the case of many non-members, routine to keep the member busy and brainwashed. We take our pick. :) That's a really interesting response slamjet, though not how I saw the question at all. I think one of the most awkward things about forums and email, etc., is that so much is lost between mind and mouth, and more lost between ears and another mind. The problems of being human, eh?!
  13. Yes Suzie, I'm male. I grew up around almost all women though, so I chatter on and prefer the company of women in general.
  14. Many thanks for the responses folks. As far as being excommunicated, and having to repent, of course I have probably quite different views to active church members as I've been away for almost twenty years. No close contact with members or missionaries, either. I was ex'd a couple of years after getting divorced, because I moved in with my new partner. I met someone and we got a house together, intending to marry (which we did after about six months). Somehow the church knew where I'd moved to. Secret street cameras and covert operations by missionaries dressed in combat gear to hide in gardens..? :) Anyway, I got a knock on the door from a very embarrassed old quorum friend, who said he didn't know why the bishop had asked him to deliver a sealed letter, etc. (Mormon's are rubbish at lying!) So, I was ex'd, but not too concerned about it. I don't know what happened with my ex-wife, but she moved a few hundred miles away to be away from me and the church (yes, it's just possible in the UK). Since leaving church in the throes of divorce, everyone - and I mean everyone - cut us off cold. All old friends we'd known for years, people who said we had such close bonds; gone without so much as a sigh. In case any non-members reading this think, "Aha! I knew Mormons were like that!" well, no you don't. I've heard other tales of people being looked after, friendships carrying on for years, and even huge obstacles overcome with the help of members. I think in our case, as with others, they were all embarrassed to 'chose sides' and so dumped both of us, or as happens with some members (and indeed whole wards) they band together so they feel safe from 'infection' by ex'd members. Anyway, the other point is repentance, and by all means chuck in your own feelings and perspectives on this - I'd love to have them. To me, repentance is not a matter of grovelling and obeying rules, sack-cloth and ashes and all that, but simply making restitution where you can (emotionally in the main), and making the decision to change your behaviour because it didn't work out well. Personally, I don't feel that I offended the lord by having a few relationships over twenty years which were not in marriage, mainly because I don't think any of us can offend or hurt him or HF/HM. By all means chuck in a couple of scriptures saying otherwise if you want, but that's just my feeling. The lord gives us guidelines to follow for our own good, and when we don't, we reap the consequences of our actions. I think what I'm doing here is trying to clarify the reasons why I've considered going back to church, and looking at whether I'm being more selfish than serving, or more serving in the way of a doormat, as so many do (and I once did) in church.
  15. Some advice from active members would be useful regarding what a retuning non-member (ex'd years ago) would be asked or able to participate in. For example, you wouldn't be asked to give talks, and certainly not offered a calling until baptised, obeying all the rules, etc..? All advice most welcome.