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About rongo

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    Baseball, basketball, football (especially college); LDS Church history; the Gospel; reading

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  1. I'm not sure that teaching Paul Reeve's version of this as a gospel doctrine lesson is a good thing, either (I think you or someone else indicated that all of her quotes came from this book). The topic is a lot bigger than just this, and if we're going to try to teach a rigorous version of this, it shouldn't just be one unique take. This isn't the only instance I'm aware of where a teacher reads someone's book and teaches exclusively from that. I don't think that's a good thing. What Reeve didn't address in his essay (he's supposed to be the actual author of the Gospel Topics essay), and which is the 800 pound gorilla in the living room, is: what do we do with prophetic statements when they are later disavowed? To cover the board with cards with quotes pounding away at how wrong past prophetic statements were is one thing (that appeared to be the lesson some are ga-ga over), but then what are the implications of that (both looking back and looking forward and in the present)? We still look at the pre-existence as impacting mortality in positive ways (Abraham 3, foreordination, Alma 13, etc.). What effect does disavowing statements that tie mortality to the pre-existence have on selectively using these scriptures for things that don't involve race? The Reeve-ian / Darius Gray approach also dismisses many other statements out of hand that undercut the argument that this was all Brigham Young's fault (e.g., Zebedee Coltrin, Abraham Smoot, etc.). Shouldn't these statements also be considered and factored in in an ostensible rigorous treatment? The gospel topics essays are not "shovel ready" for teaching or discussing --- they still have large holes and gaps. They are a start, and are better than nothing, but it would be even better if we had prophets, seers, and revelators weighing in and sharing their thoughts and insights on these significant issues. They are purposely silent, choosing to let third parties speak anonymously for them, and thus avoid getting dirtied by the fray (and possibly have to be "disavowed" in the future). I've been know for teaching "meaty" lessons when I have been a teacher, but I don't like this lesson as it has been represented. I think it pushed a specific agenda that is by no means settled, and in fact, has significant counterpoints that are purposely not considered.
  2. Spiritual self reliance

    I do temp work during the summer. Day-labor construction, but there is office and factory work as well. If you're signed up and are there are 4:00 AM, you have work, and it pays daily. So, if someone needs an electric bill and a car payment paid, is able-bodied, and can't find work, I give them the cards for the agencies and tell them to drop my name when they apply (I'm one of their primary reliable workers, and I have a car and can pass a drug test). With the daily pay, you can keep the wolves at bay and plan and attack bills in order of importance or due date. I have only had non-members take me up on that . No members will even apply, and they feel ill-used that I insist that they work through that while they are looking for something more permanent.
  3. CH1 Now online for all membership

    We didn't like them. That was a big factor in getting the vasectomy. And, while my wife didn't get pregnant with them, we did have the two scares. And they could well have failed in a couple of instances (breakages, etc.).
  4. CH1 Now online for all membership

    That hormonal manipulation is not good or healthy. How could it be? You're designed to ovulate and for fertilized ova to attach to the uterus wall. Hormonal imbalance to ensure that this doesn't happen doesn't seem good for the body (and some cancers are linked to contraception). Physical implants that irritate and force the same thing also seem --- not good for you.
  5. Spiritual self reliance

    I could see it in extreme circumstances, but in my experience, this approaches zero. When it is clear to people that there will be no backstop, no safety net, then they magically find work. Or relocate. Or family that you were told absolutely cannot help . . . helps (usually, when people say they have exhausted resources, they haven't tried family. The Church is far less embarrassing to go to). The problem with government or church assistance is it is very, very hard to have it be short-term while people are back on their feet and don't need it any more. And you are an ogre for teaching and adhering to welfare principles. Definitely not the fun part of being a bishop.
  6. Spiritual self reliance

    Not obvious. We have pendulum swings in the Church all the time on policy and practice (and emphasis), and I don't believe that newer or more recent is always better. Nor does it always stand the test of time. That's why the pendulum swings . . .
  7. CH1 Now online for all membership

    I know they are. They aren't elective, though. You know, the advice given to us when we were married was to wait a couple of years to start having children. If we had it to do over again, we would start right away. We were told that we would have been poor students (which we were, anyway), we needed time to bond as a couple before kids come along, it will be too many stresses while in school, etc. But after 20 years of marriage and 4 kids, we see that we would have been just fine. Interestingly, we had planned on 5-6 kids, but after the 4th, for the first time we could visualize ourselves stopping at 4. It was then that my wife was hospitalized and had a colectomy and an ileectomy, and we were told not to have any more. Also interesting: we were told that they were stunned that we had any kids at all. Most of the women who have this are unable to and spontaneously abort. So, we feel very, very blessed and fortunate. We are very leery about contraceptives. As I said, we believe that they caused my wife's clotting disorder (doctors have told us that we are probably right, but that it would be impossible to prove that it was *the* cause, and not genetics or a combination of both). So, while I know the Church's position on birth control and have no problem with it, I'm not a fan, personally. I'm scared to have my daughter on it when she's married.
  8. CH1 Now online for all membership

    I think we all know who we are here on this board, and where we're each coming from (for the most part). I believe that the Brethren hold all priesthood keys, and are authorized by God to administer the work in the latter-days. One thing I am disappointed in is the apparent hyper-risk-adverseness the Brethren have been for quite some time, in terms of making statements that could be problematic in this era of hyper-criticism and viral online blow-ups. They are super-cautious and governed by a slavish adherence to PR, such that where in the past they would have given explanations, clarifications, pronouncements, etc., they don't do that today. Important exception: Proclamation on the Family issues, and that they are clear and bold on this should tell us something. But for things where prophetic and apostolic guidance are really important, they are silent. Issues such as the ones in the Gospel Topics essays. Of these, I am reminded of B.H. Roberts's plea in his letter to the FP and Q12 in 1921: We haven't had prophets, seers, and revelators discuss what *they* think and what *their* collective experience and knowledge brings to bear on things like the priesthood ban, polygamy, etc. for a long time. Instead, we get outsourced, anonymous essays written and approved from academics. It is clear that they don't want to be on record discussing them, but they are offered as "something" so there's something there. I don't know why we've had this state of things for quite some time, but I suspect that it has to do with being burned by withering criticism in the past on these topics and wanting to avoid that. I believe they hold the keys and are authorized, but I yearn for prophets, seers, and revelators revealing and seeing things instead of reacting and doing PR flanking maneuvers. And I would be perfectly fine with a frank answer of "We don't know. God hasn't revealed this," but that answer is avoided like the plague, too. It wouldn't look good, and might cause some people to doubt. Like Elder Roberts above, though, this function is one thing I think that we actually have prophets, seers, and revelators for ---- but we have stayed away from this function (explaining and clarifying) for some time. I think they want to avoid something like the 1949 FP letter on the priesthood ban, which is now repudiated (again, I would like to hear from them as individuals on how they explain or come to terms with the essay's disavowal of statements, but not disavowing the ban itself, how the disavowal works with scriptures about the pre-existence affecting earth life in other ways that we all readily accept, etc. Just to give one example. But, we're not going to hear *anything* on that, because it's too hard for the PR machine to package and process and remain tefloned against). Like bluebell, I think the collective choice of when and on what hills are chosen to die on (and which ones are left alone) is sometimes disjointed. I'm thinking about doing a combined adult 5th Sunday discussion on the larger picture of things that people might be unaware of in the handbook --- like cremation or surgical sterilization. Not that those alone are necessarily important, but in order to discuss them and see what our collective wisdom can come up with as far as reasons. I would definitely share anecdotes of people being dismayed after the fact because they didn't know --- or people being dismayed or feeling guilty, such as with cremation, when they shouldn't be. I don't know that there is a planned "outcome" for the discussion, but I think deeper, adult discussions are what the Brethren want us to be having as adults now.
  9. CH1 Now online for all membership

    The Egyptians had it right thousands of years ago. Canopic jars are still messy, though . . .
  10. CH1 Now online for all membership

    A brother in his 80s in my ward just passed away this Tuesday. His widow was concerned because she could only afford cremation, and I assured her that there is no eternal detriment to him or her. He will rise in the resurrection! It's caused me some thought on this. Similar to circumcision for me, I want to be buried simply out of cultural conditioning. Cremation would be a lot cheaper. A lot cheaper.
  11. CH1 Now online for all membership

    I agree. I can see some deadweight policies available for future handbook revisions (e.g., cremation). Since there are no doctrinal or eternal consequences for it, why give a recommendation at all?
  12. Spiritual self reliance

    Well, a generation ago, the Brethren would have said that it is automatically and always spiritually damaging. That's why the quote (now in disuse) was that people are to muster resources in this order: 1) self 2) family 3) the Church 4) not in any case the government, ever. Yes, this has changed in our day. But I think that the eternal principle remains the same. This is my experience in working with people.
  13. Spiritual self reliance

    Because it's spiritually damaging to people. I get why the Church changed. It shifts a significant amount of drain onto local and federal governments. But that, in itself, is not living according to self-reliance principles.
  14. CH1 Now online for all membership

    I'm not sure how "special" the "special attention and treatment" is, though, in the case of surgical sterilization. There are no consequences at all for not consulting the bishop at all. Obviously, the policy with sex-change surgery does carry membership consequences. It's similar with cremation. The Church states that it doesn't recommend it, but there are no consequences at all if you do (and in fact, the Church recommends that temple clothing be worn for cremation if it happens). So, the Church not recommending it . . . how important is that, really? Obviously, good members are going to want to do what the Church recommends, and not do what the Church recommends you not do.
  15. Spiritual self reliance

    It was changed in the 2000s. Quietly, and without fanfare, but it was there and then, suddenly, all materials on welfare said to avail yourself of any government and community welfare you could before turning to the Church. It was remarkable to me. The quote from President Grant about abolishing "the evils of a dole" and J. Reuben Clark about rescuing what's finest inside of people through self-reliance have similarly been removed from discussion about welfare. I still teach the "old-fashioned" welfare principles. I think the goal is for people not to need SNAP, WIC, county cash assistance, or Section 8 housing.