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Everything posted by rongo

  1. Sorry, rockpond. Any response I try to make is "403"d. I can't imagine why. No bad content or anything. Suffice it to say that I consider most people's response to the affiliation question to be similar to the final question: in the end, do *you* consider yourself . . .
  2. My former stake is holding their trek in December (in the Sonoran Desert near the Mormon Battalion camp site on the Butterfield Stake Route). My daughter and son (junior and freshman) will be participating in it. My wife and I were surprised to read the instructions sent to parents. No pioneer gear/wear. No women's pull. No dolls named after dead ancestors. No people dressed in white representing angels. Etc. I guess my advice as far as historical accuracy and the Church's dos and don'ts was heeded after all, "post-humously," after we moved. I had sent the stake leaders links to the Church's instructions in pointing out "sacred cows" that many stakes continue to disregard. The focus is going to be on the Restoration instead of handcart companies, but there will still be some necessary carting to bring supplies. It is essentially much more a co-ed extended camp out, with kids still divvied up into "families," and with lots of faith-building activities, campfires, etc.
  3. I've never had giggling, laughing, or joking. It is a humongous sentence, so I find that the questioner needs to slow down, pause at the commas, and enunciate. Even then, it is confusing to many people, so I find that it needs to be explained as needed. I don't think it is solely addressing the polygamy issue, but rather, "any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary or opposed to those accepted by the Church." It's a good time for some to reflect on their "support, affiliat[ion] with, or agree[ment] with" such groups.
  4. These two items seem to be avoiding a problem to me. Suicide and suicide contagion are real phenomena (cf. Malcolm Gladwell's excellent chapter on this in "Tipping Point"). Studiously not talking about it seems to be burying our heads in the sand. I do agree that we should avoid contributing to the snowballing mania about it, as it appears to influence vulnerable people (people who are prone to suggestion about suicide).
  5. Ouagadoughou: It comes down to individuals and their experience. Have you experienced tangible miracles in your life, and do you believe in miracles? If the answer to that is no, then no amount of evidence will convince you. Even empirical evidence. On the other hand, if a poor person heard this counsel, and decided to lay it on the line and test it, then they will have done their own test that is 100% valid for them. Maybe it doesn't work, it's a bunch of baloney, and their cycle of poverty continues. Or, maybe testing it and paying a full tithing no matter what does, indeed, result in their breaking the poverty cycle. When God's messengers lay it on the line like this, they give people a choice. They can test it and see if the seed grows, or if it doesn't, and the result (either way) will impact them going forward. But people have to take the first step of faith in order to test it and see. Many poor people in impoverished nations testify that they have been blessed, spiritually and temporally, such that they don't have room to receive it. My testimony only has an impact inasmuch and to the extent that the Spirit testifies to others. My family has seen this in our lives --- in spades. We have had tangible, back-of-the-Ensign miracles because we pay tithing, but we have also had the Spirit and confidence that, come what may, we have good standing with God and are keeping our covenants. Skeptics will never be able to convince our children that these types of miracles aren't true or don't happen, because they lived it with us. They know of many of the miracles that we have had in our lives. An important principle is taught in Journal of Discourses by Heber C. Kimball, and that is that God's math in blessing us doesn't operate on the principle of 2+2=4. That is, the way God blesses us, or the way that he "delivers," often can't be logically and mathematically derived on paper. So, when paying tithing looks on paper like it will be catastrophic (I used the expression "feeling like you're jumping off a cliff" in counseling with a man about paying tithing, and he thought it was an apt description. This is someone who served a mission and was the dean of admissions at an elite Eastern University, too, but he didn't have the faith to pay his tithing), but people try it anyway in faith, and things work out (sometimes logically, but often not). When Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball went on their mission to England, they were given $5.00, and they made their way to New York. Along the way, they paid for food and lodging, and they marveled that they never ran out. When they got to New York, they had $82.50 (Heber C. believed that angels had physically put it in his pocket, while Brigham Young speculated that God had commanded the elements to transport and combine in his pocket). Things like this really happen (they have happened to me and my family), and when skeptics rail on the Church for teaching the bold doctrine of tithing, we just shake our heads. O they of little faith! For a God who we personally and experientially know can manipulate and command space, time, and the elements, prophesying to the poor that tithing will end their cycle of poverty is no leap at all.
  6. I've never, and I don't think anyone has really, interpreted that to mean affiliation = "acquaintance-ship." That is, simply being related to or interacting with polygamists (or other groups --- polygamists aren't the only ones referred to in this question when it comes to "support" or "agreeing with" them) does not denote "affiliating" with them. It seems clear to me that what it meant is active advocacy. I worked with a COP (child of polygamy) as a ward mission leader in Salt Lake, and I had a member of my ward who was an adult daughter of a polygamist father. Both had to be interviewed by an apostle to be baptized, but there were no temple recommend issues after that with them having polygamist family. They renounced and dis-affiliated themselves from it, and that suffices as long as the leaders feel they are sincere. Blood relation or even friendship/acquaintance-ship doesn't constitute a strike with question #7. I would be fine with changes that clarify this, but I don't think they are necessary.
  7. You're overreacting to this. I never said "facts" depend on anecdotal experience. Individual impressions do, though. That's why they're individual. What I am saying is that if individuals have the impression that crime is worse, then that is their impression. Regardless of how many sociologists tell them it's really not that bad. If you're in a war zone, then the fact that Alpine, Utah is not doesn't color your impression. You sure about that? I'm going to wait and see how the people of those and other cities react to increasing violent crime. Note: this doesn't mean I think they're going to vote Republican. It means that they will demand the things start being done to change the trend. Population demographics and psychology are very different in Baltimore/Chicago and Berlin. So is the existing political landscape. You definitely have a minority view among active LDS that the phrase "law and order" is dog-whistle shorthand for racism, xenophobia, fascism, etc. Most people really do understand "law and order" under the expression "law and order."
  8. 1) This depends entirely upon individual anecdotal experience. Violent crime certainly hasn't been falling in Chicago or Baltimore. If you live there (I'm from Chicago), it is perfectly understandable to have a "something needs to be done about this!" mindset, no matter how many sociologists tell you violent crime is actually declining and isn't really that bad. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_Chicago https://www.yahoo.com/news/baltimore-puts-230-desk-officers-streets-murders-mount-131536561.html This is the phenomenon in Germany: horror and outrage and rising crime in areas (even if not in the whole country). No, nothing like that. There are a lot of differences between how Jews were unfairly villified in Germany in the 30s and concerns about violent crime and violent crime syndicates in 2018 Germany. Did you actually read the Wall St. Journal article in the OP? Only to liberals. CFR that it well-established outside of CNN or Politico.
  9. That's an important point as well. It is remarkable that AfD is drawing support and numbers from people who are not right-wing. As you mentioned, these people won't tolerate what reactionaries are railing against --- and if these doomsday policies and predictions do end up coming to pass, then these "soft" supporters will abandon AfD and it will collapse. I think the people pooh-poohing "law and order" concerns as "dog-whistle for racism" grossly underestimate the power that violent crime can have on families --- especially when it happens in front of them and society is completely not used to that. That can turn any Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson) into a Death Wish vigilante. I think the same underestimation is evident among those who rage about President Trump's election. I didn't vote for Trump, but I understand the phenomenon behind his election and what drives that. A lot of people who can't stand him voted for him because of a reaction against how things are.
  10. This is an important point. The original emergence of the AfD was mostly right-wing. Last year's elections represented *gains* comprised of, surprisingly, SPD, and more left-wing parties. Which is pretty astonishing, but it illustrates how the immigration and crime problem can make for strange bedfellows. No, I don't expect the Green Party to ever move to the right . . .
  11. It does and it doesn't. It sounds cliche, but in a real sense, "we are more connected than ever before, and we are more alone than ever before." It's a way to have nominal, superficial "constant contact," but it often makes getting results harder. I've noticed (and pointed this out to multiple people when they couldn't get volunteers to clean the church or set up for a RS activity) that, "when you talk to everybody, you're talking to nobody." Meaning, when you make an announcement to a group (in spades, on social media), people are free to pass the buck. This is also a problem with "passing the clipboard around for signups." I've told countless frustrated people that they can't put something on Facebook and expect people to just show up. You have to talk to people in person or call (not text) them on the phone. If it just goes to voicemail (common, these days), leave a message and keep trying. Don't be afraid to knock on the door. If you talk to someone in person, they are much more likely to respond and actually come. I think that's what President Nelson is addressing. We (most of us) live our lives almost solely online now. We feel lonely if we get off of the online network. I think he was encouraging us (women, this time; youth last time; men, next time) to begin living life in the flesh again, instead of online.
  12. Done discussing in good faith and sticking to mockery? That's all you ever contributed here. I won't press you on backing up any of your claims. People can make up their own minds about that.
  13. What do you think about Okrahomer's post, Gray? Any response to that? That's the hot issue in Germany. It isn't, "Holy cow, we have budding fascism among us!," it's "Holy cow, people across the spectrum are turning to the right in many ways." Primarily from the two main parties, the CDU and SPD, but others as well. And, even if they don't become far-right, there are millions more who are more to the right now than before. Germany has a coalition government, which means that the party that wins needs to cobble together a coalition to put them over the halfway mark. The sharp rise in the AfD and the steep declines in the CDU and SPD (the decline was even sharper in the SPD, the more liberal party), means that whoever governs is going to have to have AfD's support. Even if SPD members don't become AfD, they are sliding more to the right and may be CDU. Or (and which also has an effect) not vote at all because of unhappiness, dissatisfaction, etc. That shows up in declines in votes, rather than "switching party" numbers. Also, this trend right-ward isn't just in the U.S. and Germany. It's popping up in many other countries as well. Much of it has to do with "law and order" concerns, economy, and immigration.
  14. CFR for where you are paraphrasing this from. And, CFR that "this is fascism." Please provide a definition for fascism, and show how it compares to your paraphrased definition. I'll help you. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism You'll need to demonstrate that the AfD is pushing for "dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and strong regimentation of society and of the economy," according to this source.
  15. Okay. Where are you claiming that the 17% of the electorate came from?
  16. That's not a CFR answer. Your Nehor flippancy isn't going to bail you out of this one. Would you please post a link to the source from this google search that you think supports your claim that the AfD itself encouraged Nazi salutes at rallies? All these results show is that some people did them at rallies when the AfD won seats. But that happens here in the U.S., too. You are claiming official, systemic support from the party, and you are not going to be able to show that (and you know that). All you can say is, "Well, look who the Neo's are supporting?"
  17. I never said Greens. That would be ridiculous. I'm saying that people from the mainstream CDU and SPD are where the AfD bloc had to have come from. By definition, liberal by American standards. Greens, Edleweiss Pirates, etc. are altogether something else. I would never claim that they came from them.
  18. I'm going to CFR you on that. What, in AfD's "stated politics are more Mussolini or Franco level fascism?" And what "Mussolini or Franco level fascism" are you comparing to said "stated politics" to arrive at that? Thanks!
  19. 1) Germans (and Europeans) are more liberal than Americans in general. Even "conservatives," such as the CDU, pale in comparison to the Republican Party in the U.S. This can be jarring to conservative American missionaries when they learn that active LDS members in their congregations hold views they find to be shocking, and which are pretty rare in the active Church in the U.S. 2) The AfD came out of nowhere to garner 17% of the vote, and rising. Angela Merkel barely managed to retain the chancellorship because of that, and it is throwing the coalitions into chaos. Where did that come from? Any way you slice it, it took liberal people turning more conservative to comprise that 17%.
  20. "Supporting protests?" You are clueless about this, Nehor. Germans carry a lot of guilt about the Holocaust and Nazism, such that normal patriotism is shocking because of fear that it could turn into . . . that. It's sad. Where, exactly, are you getting this idea that Germans "support protests where people are throwing out Nazi salutes?" This happens in the U.S., too. Does that mean that "Americans support protests where people are throwing out Nazi salutes?" Come on!
  21. Surprised? It will vary, based on the leader, but in general, most won't issue a recommend if a person cannot honestly give the right answers. Which is as it should be. I had a couple who wanted to return to the temple, but didn't believe in God, the atonement, etc. The best they could answer was "We would like to believe that." I commended them for their desire to get back to the temple, and told them that when they could honestly answer that they believe in God and in the atonement of Jesus Christ, then they can return. It seems like some people want people to be able to answer, "I don't believe that, but I wish that I did." Or, "I believe that the Church believes this," and be approved. Why have any questions at all if beliefs like this are approved?
  22. But that's the thing. Becoming conservative on immigration does not equal "fascism." Whenever liberals see countries like Poland or the Czech Republic (countries my parents have lived in and are living in) sharply restricting immigration from places like Syria, they cry "fascism!" There are very good reasons why many otherwise quite liberal Germans are coming to agree that maybe having millions of people from hotspot countries might not be a good idea, and none of them stem from "fascism" or "hate." For a very orderly country, rising organized crime is very troubling.
  23. I found this article fascinating because of my experience as a missionary in northern German in the mid 1990s. https://www.wsj.com/articles/ethnic-crime-families-provoke-german-crackdown-1539604801 Some have asked about Church policies regarding teaching Muslims from certain countries in France, Germany, etc. --- often with disbelief that such a thing is possible in the Church. This varies regionally; I don't think these restrictions exist in the U.S., for example. But, there are very good reasons not to teach and baptize even interested, sincere individuals from certain countries in certain parts of the world. I had superficial dealings with terrorists in the Hamburg mission not too many years before 9-11, which is chilling in retrospect. They were chilling, even then, and gave a very bad feeling. We had an active, German-speaking convert who was a high-up official in Kurdistan, and should not have been taught and baptized (the sister missionaries said he was from Afghanistan, which back then wasn't an issue but would be now. He received visitors at all hours of the day, and told us when we were with him that they could never find out that he had been baptized, because not only would we and he be dead, but there would be repercussions for people back at home. I'm glad he was baptized, contrary to policy, because he had a testimony and was an asset (he spoke German, and integrated into the ward in Braunschweig). It's also interesting that the article mentions the rise of Kurdish mob families in Berlin. This man was Kurdish, and I am fascinated by the Kurdish people. They have something special about them, and I wish they had their own country (Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Iran all want Kurdistan because of oil and strategic location). I believe that Abraham was Kurdish, and not from southern Iraq (there were two Urs, and a language shift of l to r makes "Ur of the Kurdees" a real possibility instead of "Chaldees"). My last companion, a greenie, sent me a picture of Kurds protesting with lit torches after I went home. I had never seen anything like that. I also think you can see from the article why the new right-wing AfD party (Alternativ fuer Deutschland) is gaining prominence. Even fairly liberal people are becoming alarmed by massive immigration from certain countries, rising violent crime, and rising criminal elements.
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