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  1. Like
    askandanswer reacted to lagarthaaz in Intellectualism welcome?   
    A recent talk by Elder Ballard on this very topic: 'There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking questions'
    "Let me make sure that you are hearing my epistle and that you understand this important point. There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking questions or investigating our history, doctrine, and practices. The Restoration began when Joseph Smith sought answers to his sincere questions...
    When someone comes to you with a question or a concern, please do not brush the question off—do not tell him or her to not worry about the question. Please do not doubt the person’s dedication to the Lord or His work. Instead, help the person find the answers to their questions...
    We have heard stories where someone asking honest questions about our history, doctrine, or practice were treated as though they were faithless. This is not the Lord’s way. As Peter said, “Be ready always to give an answer to every man [or woman] that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you...
    We need to do better in responding to honest questions. Although we may not be able to answer every question about the cosmos or about our history, practices, or doctrine, we can provide many answers to those who are sincere.
    Help those with questions to realize that the Lord does not require His Saints to have advanced degrees in history and Church doctrine... The Church is blessed with trained scholars and those who have devoted a lifetime of study, who have come to know our history and the scriptures. These thoughtful men and women provide context and background so we can better understand our sacred past and our current practices." Russell M. Ballard (September 13, 2015). 
  2. Like
    askandanswer reacted to Capitalist_Oinker in Intellectualism welcome?   
    Whenever I hear the word "intellectual" I always think of a particular college professor I once had. The man had a PhD and two Masters degrees, was fluent in four languages, and considered himself the smartest man in whatever room he happened to occupy.
    One fine winter day he slid his Lincoln off the road and into a ditch, and then asked me if I would be so kind as to help him out.
    I pulled my truck up next to his car, handed him the hook on the end of my winch while I rolled out 25 feet of cable, and then turned around and watched in utter amazement as he proceeded to attach the hook to the car’s hood ornament! 
    Ever since then I’ve not been much impressed with “intellectualism”. 
  3. Like
    askandanswer reacted to Just_A_Guy in Intellectualism welcome?   
    It might not be a bad idea to read the whole of Packer's speech, in order to understand where he was coming from.  Here's an online version of it.
    IMHO: "Intellectualism" is to "Intellectual" as "Islamist" is to "Islam" (or, to be grammatically proper, "Muslim").  Neither "intellectuals" nor "Muslims" are bad.  The trouble happens when groups of people claiming either label, decide that they should be granted disproportionate control of the broader society within which they exist.  Thus, Elder Packer notes in the same talk:
  4. Like
    askandanswer reacted to The Folk Prophet in Intellectualism welcome?   
    The primary challenge we face in this life...the core test of life, if you whether we will humble ourselves and submit our wills to God's or not. The problem with "intellectualism" is that it can run us head on against this and become a major stumbling block to people. But the test amounts to the same. The problem isn't with intellectualism. The problem is with humility vs. pride. If we humble ourselves then intellectualism holds no danger. If we do not, it will destroy us. This is the same for anything. But there is a special challenge around intellectualism when it comes to the pride/humility equation because intellectualism, by it's nature, is centered in self and tends toward self-aggrandizement.
    As the Book of Mormon teaches, "to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God." ( That 2nd part is key.
  5. Like
    askandanswer got a reaction from Maureen in Utah Mormons   
    Australia to Utah?! Australia to anywhere?! Jojo, this life is meant to be about progression, not regression. :)
  6. Like
    askandanswer reacted to puf_the_majic_dragon in Paul, Corinthians 8:13 and political correctness   
    As with anything related to politics, there is more than one point of view about "political correctness".
    To someone who endorses politically correct language and actions, they see it as extending courtesy and avoiding unnecessary offense. To use TFP's waitress reference, calling someone a waitress who you know would be offended by it is rude - but what if you don't know? Do you call her a "waitress" and risk offending her? Or do you play it safe and call her a "server" knowing that is less likely to offend anyone?
    To someone opposed to political correctness, calling someone a waitress shouldn't be offensive in the first place, and trying to avoid offending people gets carried to unreasonable extremes. There's also the sense that extreme political correctness infringes on basic personal rights or liberties, or that political correctness imposed rather than voluntary.
    There is truth in both views. There is also a growing counter-culture that is encouraging people to "be yourself" and "don't care who you offend". This is sending the message that being offensive is OK or even desirable. "You shouldn't change yourself to please others." Which is, frankly, a pernicious and false doctrine. (We should change to please God, and we're instructed to not compromise our morals or principles to please "the world". Satan's corrupted this truth into avoidance of any kind of personal censorship.)
    The Savior summarized the doctrine of the matter in Matthew 18:7 "Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!"
    My exegesis of this is that offense is going to happen so we shouldn't get bent out of shape over it, but we should also go to great effort to avoid causing offense.
    As to Paul's reference in Corinthians - the modern day equivalent might be that if your friend is starting a vegan diet, you shouldn't eat a 20oz prime rib steak right in front of them. And if a ward member in Sunday School is allergic to certain colognes, you shouldn't pour on a whole bottle of Old Spice every Sunday morning. (That's a real example - my dad's bishop recently asked the ward to not wear cologne or perfume anymore because a member of the ward was allergic. My dad got rather bent out of shape over the "extremism of political correctness". Personally, I think Jesus would prefer we all smell bad rather than send a ward member into an allergic asthma attack.)
  7. Like
    askandanswer got a reaction from puf_the_majic_dragon in Paul, Corinthians 8:13 and political correctness   
    Our Sunday School lesson today included a discussion of 1 Corinthians 8. A closer than usual look at verses 7-13, particularly verse 13  led me to think that Paul, by refusing to do something simply because the doing of it might cause offence to someone in general, is endorsing and practicing political correctness.
     7 Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.
     8 But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.
     9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.
     10 For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;
     11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?
     12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.
     13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I willeat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.
    But maybe he was just being mindful and responsive to the sensitivities and frailties of others? But perhaps that is what political correctness is? What do you think? Was Paul practicing political correctness here? If not, how was what he did different from political correctness? If it was political correctness, where/how do we draw the line between helpful and less helpful political correctness?
  8. Like
    askandanswer reacted to Vort in Could Jesus read minds?   
    In computer software programming, there is the concept of an "interface". The idea is that I have some information of some sort in Part A of my program, and Part B needs to be able to get at that information. So I set up a sort of contract with Part A, wherein I agree or mandate that Part A will provide information in a certain, closely specified way. Part B can now ask Part A for the information, and Part A will provide it exactly as agreed. I don't guarantee how Part A will generate that information. No one knows; maybe Part A will go through a huge and complex formula to calculate it, or maybe Part A will simply read the information off of a database. That's my business. But Part A will provide the information in the format we have agreed on. Of that, everyone can be absolutely sure.
    So, for example, when you ping your favorite stock site for the latest market information or a quote of the price of a share of XYZ Corporation, you don't know (or care) how the site is getting the information, how it's processing it, or anything like that. You care only that the information is accurate and that it is given to you in a form you can use.
    I remember in the post-Apollo era of the 1970s, when I was a teenager, the US and the USSR decided to stage a political performance of sorts by having a US Apollo-type space capsule dock in low earth orbit with a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft. But of course, the docking mechanisms of each spacecraft were different, so a middle piece was needed, an adapter that fit the Apollo capsule on one end and the Soyuz spacecraft on the other. It was an interface that allowed communication between the two spacecraft, which would otherwise have been impossible or at least very difficult.
    Our brains are private. Or maybe our brains actually are not private, but our spirits are private, which amounts to the same thing. I have for decades wondered in awe at the idea that you can have some idea in your brain, and then by flapping your lips and grunting, you can cause that same idea (or something very close to it) to arise in my mind!!! This is miraculous, even unbelievable. It is the miracle of language.
    There is no way to transplant the idea from your brain directly into mine. There is no possible mechanism for that; on the cellular level, your brain is a completely different structure from my brain. Your synaptic connections between your neurons are utterly unique, certainly not the same as mine. The basic principles upon which your brain works are the same as mine, or very close, but the actual brains themselves bear only gross resemblance to each other. On the microscopic scale, they are unalike. Your idea exists in some combination of synaptic connections and firings, but you can't just go wire those same connections into my brain, because all the synapses are different.
    So we need an interface, something to allow a translation between how your brain makes associations and how my brain does it. That interface is called "language". I believe there is also a spiritual language, which may or may not be spoken, but which serves the same purpose of bridging the gap between us. God knows this language perfectly, and we are struggling to learn it. So if it is impossible to "read minds", as I suspect it is, that doesn't mean it is impossible to "know thoughts". The two are not the same.
    Hope that made some sense.
  9. Like
    askandanswer got a reaction from Jane_Doe in Conflicted after Stake Conference   
    In many points, your post is very similar to the talk given by Elder Wilfred W Andersen last General Conference when he spoke on The Music of the Gospel. Its probably worth another look, Here is how the talk starts:
    Years ago I listened to a radio interview of a young doctor who worked in a hospital in the Navajo Nation. He told of an experience he had one night when an old Native American man with long braided hair came into the emergency room. The young doctor took his clipboard, approached the man, and said, “How can I help you?” The old man looked straight ahead and said nothing. The doctor, feeling somewhat impatient, tried again. “I cannot help you if you don’t speak to me,” he said. “Tell me why you have come to the hospital.”
    The old man then looked at him and said, “Do you dance?” As the young doctor pondered the strange question, it occurred to him that perhaps his patient was a tribal medicine man who, according to ancient tribal customs, sought to heal the sick through song and dance rather than through prescribing medication.
    “No,” said the doctor, “I don’t dance. Do you dance?” The old man nodded yes. Then the doctor asked, “Could you teach me to dance?”
    The old man’s response has for many years caused me much reflection. “I can teach you to dance,” he said, “but you have to hear the music.”
    Sometimes in our homes, we successfully teach the dance steps but are not as successful in helping our family members to hear the music. And as the old medicine man well knew, it is hard to dance without music. Dancing without music is awkward and unfulfilling—even embarrassing. Have you ever tried it?
    In section 8 of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord taught Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, “Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart” (verse 2). We learn the dance steps with our minds, but we hear the music with our hearts. The dance steps of the gospel are the things we do; the music of the gospel is the joyful spiritual feeling that comes from the Holy Ghost. It brings a change of heart and is the source of all righteous desires. The dance steps require discipline, but the joy of the dance will be experienced only when we come to hear the music.
  10. Like
    askandanswer got a reaction from Blackmarch in Syrian Refugees   
    I'm struck by some of the similarities between the fleeing refugees and the fleeing Mormons, from Nauvoo to Salt Lake. Obviously, there are also quite a few major differences, but it is interesting to reflect on the similarities. 
  11. Like
    askandanswer got a reaction from Jane_Doe in Could Jesus read minds?   
    I guess that what Jesus was doing was using the gift of discernment, as explained in the Guide to the Scriptures.
    DISCERNMENT, GIFT OFSee also Gifts of the SpiritTo understand or know something through the power of the Spirit. The gift of discernment is one of the gifts of the Spirit. It includes perceiving the true character of people and the source and meaning of spiritual manifestations.
  12. Like
    askandanswer got a reaction from Jane_Doe in I think my ward is going to be split.   
    Sounds like there is some division within the church!
  13. Like
    askandanswer reacted to Just_A_Guy in Paul, Corinthians 8:13 and political correctness   
    I would further suggest that Paul is not talking about "political correctness", which is externally imposed; but by "common courtesy" or "Christian charity", which comes from a sincere internal desire for the welfare of one's fellowman. 
    As I recall, most rules of 18th-19th century European etiquette on some level boiled down to "consider the feelings of your guest, and act accordingly."  I don't think it's coincidence that political correctness becomes more pervasive as past practices of etiquette and common courtesy fade.  The former is an imitation of the latter; engineered (IMHO) largely by people who remember how nice it is to receive courtesy but who, themselves, can no longer be troubled to give it.
  14. Like
    askandanswer reacted to Vort in Paul, Corinthians 8:13 and political correctness   
    In general usage, "political correctness" is a pejorative term pointing out the whininess and brittle foolishness of those who insist on taking offense at some small verbal offense. Specifically, most who decry political correctness do not begrudge careful language or politeness, but rather chafe at the restrictive yoke imposed by those who seek to criminalize language they don't like, or at least ensuring devastating social consequences for such language. This is as anti-American a practice as anything that readily comes to mind.
  15. Like
    askandanswer got a reaction from Jane_Doe in Conflicted after Stake Conference   
    In some of the meetings I attend, some of what I hear is wheat, and some sounds like chaff. I don't mind that, that's just how things are. I keep in mind that my chaff may well be someone else's meat. I listen to what's said, make a judgement as to how helpful/useful/informative/interesting it is what I'm hearing, and then based on that judgement, decide the level of care and concentration with which I will continue to listen. I don't expect every meeting to focus solely on topics central to the gospel because in any large organisation, there will always be a diverse range of issues that need to be addressed at any one time.  
    And if the "official' channels for involvement don't seem to be working the way you'd like, there are always the more direct friend-to-friend approaches that can often yield a multitude of opportunities for valued service. If you don't get called to a calling, then it might help to further strengthen your social networks so that you hear informally when someone is is need and an opportunity for service arises. 
    And as for being spoon-fed perfectly prepared sermons, I'd argue that that is exactly why we listen to General Conference. 
    And I've found to be a great place to ask questions and get lots of really well thought out, articulately expressed answers - with some occasional chaff of course, but that's how things are. 
  16. Like
    askandanswer reacted to spamlds in Paul, Corinthians 8:13 and political correctness   
    We have to look at the context of the situation Paul presents.  The gospel going to the Gentiles was a new thing.  The Jews who had accepted Jesus as their Messiah tended to hang on to their traditions, like circumcision.  They had a strong revulsion against anything having to do with idolatry.  The Gentiles didn't have this aversion as part of their culture.
    The first controversy in the Church was over whether Gentile converts needed to be circumcised.  In the minds of some, Christianity was a revision or reformation of Judaism.  Thus there was an anticipation that the Gentiles needed to be circumcised and follow the other parts of the law of Moses.  The Church had to resolve it in a conference in Jerusalem.  The counsel that was given by the apostles to the Church is contained in Acts chapter 15.
    28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;
    29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.
    This was a struggle for many who were Jewish converts.  It was a culture change that was appalling to them because they had to let go of certain prejudices against Gentiles and their ways.  For example, a Jew would never eat the leftover food from a feast where that food had been offered to an idol.  Even if they didn't participate in the sacrifice and offering to an idol, they would not want to even be associated with it after the fact.  A Gentile wouldn't have that aversion.
    Sometimes social situations would occur that tested the saints and even the apostles in this regard.  Being sensitive to Jewish opinion in Antioch, Peter avoided entering into the houses of Gentiles.  Perhaps he didn't want to stir up persecution or he may have been concerned for offending potential Jewish converts.  Paul took him to task for it.  Paul's devotion to "equality" was admirable, but the Church's leaders took a more conservative approach at the moment so as not to offend many.  (Hmmm, sound like the priesthood ban to anyone?)  
    11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
    12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
    13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.
    14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
    The "political correctness" involved here was downplaying the liberality of the gospel so as not to offend conservatives.  It can also work the other way.  Today we might be the minority, conservative opinion on issues like abortion or gay marriage and in some situations, it's better for us to not cause strife or contention, even while we don't yield on our values.  We have to make the judgment call whether or not we should be strident and offend or quiet and not offend.  Situations vary.  We have to use discretion.  There is a time when life demands that we take a stand and challenge others to make their decision for Christ and another time where we might quietly keep our standards and avoid forcing a decision on those who are not yet ready to be challenged in such a manner.
    In all things, we keep the commandments.  The need for discretion occurs when and how we declare that other people need to keep them.  
  17. Like
    askandanswer reacted to Traveler in Matt 8: 30 - 32   
    It is my impression that there are times that as we attempt to drill down and glean tidbits of information from scripture we can come to wrong conclusions.  There may be more to learn from the symbolism in the narrative.  First off, keep in mind that it was forbidden for Jews to eat pork.  What swine were kept, were only maintained as a garbage disposable that included human waste.  In Jewish society there was no animal more disrespected than swine.  The worse job in the world to an ancient Jew would be a tender of swine.   This is why swine were use symbolically in the parable of the prodigal son.
    I believe the purpose of the scripture was to demonstrate the desperateness of the unclean spirits and despite their desperate plight; their willingness to degrade themselves for swine and also that despite their hatred of Christ their respect of him and willingness to accept whatever they could get from him.
  18. Like
    askandanswer got a reaction from prisonchaplain in Could Jesus read minds?   
    I guess that what Jesus was doing was using the gift of discernment, as explained in the Guide to the Scriptures.
    DISCERNMENT, GIFT OFSee also Gifts of the SpiritTo understand or know something through the power of the Spirit. The gift of discernment is one of the gifts of the Spirit. It includes perceiving the true character of people and the source and meaning of spiritual manifestations.
  19. Like
    askandanswer got a reaction from omegaseamaster75 in Tight and revealing   
    Or perhaps modern dress standards are actually a fulfilment of the prophecy that in the latter days "all things shall be revealed." :) 
  20. Like
    askandanswer reacted to Blackmarch in Are Mormons materialists?   
    We also have in the D&C the statement that spirit cannot be made or destroyed, which is another thing that has greatly interested me in the past as it appears extremely similar to the law that energy cannot be created or destroyed.
  21. Like
    askandanswer reacted to Vort in Could Jesus read minds?   
    "Reading minds" has become a meme of cheap sci-fi. Knowing the thoughts of another is a gift of the Spirit, given to those whose calling requires it.
  22. Like
    askandanswer got a reaction from Blackmarch in Sports, Sex, Screen and Spirits: Do They Distract Us from Life?   
    Most of us can walk and chew gum at the same time. Surely the solution is to buy a split screen tv so that we can watch our sports and conference broadcasts at the same time thereby ensuring that we do not sacrifice the religious for the profane? :)
  23. Like
    askandanswer reacted to prisonchaplain in Could Jesus read minds?   
    I would argue that Jesus could not read minds.  He was, after all, fully human.  He became "a little lower than the angels."  My take is that the Holy Spirit granted him the insight, just as he might to us, as a gifting at a particular time. 
  24. Like
    askandanswer got a reaction from Average Joe in Having the missionaries over tonight for dinner   
    So one bottle down, how many cases of Jack do you still have left?
  25. Like
    askandanswer got a reaction from mirkwood in Mirkwood   
    It all seems a bit murky to me