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Everything posted by cinepro

  1. The First Presidency has just announced a change to the missionary communication policy: Normally I wouldn't care very much, but my daughter is on a mission, so this will obviously make a big difference to our family for the next few months!
  2. We've talked a lot about the changes President Nelson has made to the Church in the past year, but as I've thought about the recent changes to the missionary communication policy, I feel that there may be something that both the critics and TBMs are overlooking. Obviously, each change brings a flood of Facebook memes from believers about the latest "revelation", attributing the change to divine intervention. Conversely, critics immediately write them off as some combination of obvious, lacking, superfluous. But both groups failed to see something that perhaps will be obvious in hindsight: President Nelson is quite possible the first President of the Church in the last 100 years who is an actual "change agent." Meaning, President Nelson is the first leader we've had that sees his role as one of change, not loyalty to the past and being chained down by policy and tradition. And why is this? Because he is the first General Authority that comes from a culture where change was required and respected, and where he excelled at being innovative. Specifically, his experience as a cutting-edge (pun intended) heart surgeon, where he was instrumental in developing new procedures that revolutionized that area of medicine. While I consider previous Prophets to be good and inspired men, they were all brought up in the Church bureaucracy in such a way that they most likely saw themselves as loyal stewards of the past. President Monson - Worked for Deseret News, the Church Press, called as Apostle at 36. President Hinckley - Seminary teacher, Sunday School board, various church committees. President Hunter - Lawyer. While I have great respect for lawyers, they are trained to honor precedence and argue for their position. It is not a profession that fosters "change" thinking. President Benson - Farmer, government worker. President Kimball - Insurance broker. and so on... So my theory is that President Nelson hasn't approached his office as one who has been called to preserve the traditions and policies of the Church (and not step on the toes of those who came before him). Instead, he is approaching it like an innovative surgeon. If the Church is a "body", and it is imperfect, then Nelson is going to do what is most needed and effective to help it get better. He'll do the least necessary, but he's not afraid to use a scalpel and go in and make changes. And it doesn't matter how precious a policy or tradition was to those who came before him. The odd thing is, if I'm right, how no one saw it coming. Both critics and Church members get so hyper-focused in what they want to see, no one said "Hey, this guy comes from a very different culture and has accomplished very different kinds of things, so this could be a very different kind of Presidency..." And sadly, I don't know that anyone else in the immediate line of succession has any indication of being this kind of leader.
  3. I've seen those same accusations (that isolating the missionaries from their families is an intentional tactic to keep them in line and programmable), and it shows an intense lack of thought or awareness on the part of the person making the claim. They present the idea as if someone in the COB made the decision back in 1920 that it would be better to keep missionaries isolated from their friends and families, and thus limit communication. Or even that it was implied that God was somehow behind the policy, as if it were the result of revelation. Certainly, I admit that there were no doubt countless statements made by mission presidents about "obedience" that could have implied as much when it was a rule to not call home. But is that really the most likely explanation for the communication policy? Or do we conveniently forget the fact that until very recently, long-distance phone calls were very difficult, time consuming and expensive? Missionaries only called home once or twice a year (or not at all) because for the missionaries in the USA, it was costly, and for those outside the USA, it would have been prohibitively costly to call more frequently. Even if the Church had wanted missionaries to call home every week or month, it would have taken a huge amount of time and money. The logistics for each missionary to arrange a time when both they and their family could be available would have taken time and effort. Then there would be a problem with missed calls and delayed connections. And the cost for each call. Multiply that by 15,000 missionaries, or 20,000 missionaries, or 40,000 missionaries, and it doesn't take an impulse for cult-mind-control to figure out that "Hey, let's just not have them calling home." It's only been the past 15 years that internet-based calling has been reliably available, and then the last 10 years where smart phones and Skype have made it seem almost quick and easy. But then missionaries still didn't have reliable access to the technology, so you would face the same logistical problems. I do imagine there was some inertia and resistance to the idea of more frequent contact, but the biggest mover on this (aside from President Nelson's apparent willingness to question why we do stuff) is the advance of technology, where almost every missionary now has a smart phone and a way to call their parents (who also probably carry a phone around with them) for free. So we're not seeing the shackles of Orwellian mind control falling to the pressures of feeble-minded homesick missionaries. We're just seeing the evolution of technology and its adoption in the mission field, with maybe a few-year lag for tradition's sake.
  4. cinepro

    Review of Dehlin's "Truth Claims" Essays

    I think the simplest explanation is that Dehlin really believes in what he is doing and is sincere, despite his mistakes and ineptitude. Kind of a "pious fraud", if you will.
  5. Hi everybody. Some of you may recall that a few weeks ago, we had a spirited discussion about the accusations currently being leveled against Barbara Miles, President Nelson's daughter, which are a resurrection of charges that were first leveled back in the mid-1980s. The thread was closed (perhaps mercifully), but I did want to share that I've found the research paper Barbara Snow published in 1990, wherein she attempts to present her theories in a clinical way. For those who aren't up to speed, in the mid-1980s, several children in the neighborhood (and ward) of President Nelson's daughter and her husband (the Miles) were taken to see therapist Barbara Snow, and after several visits they began making accusations of weird sex parties against the Miles and others. These accusations were following a pattern set in previous years by other kids that were seeing Snow, with one "ring" resulting in over 30 adults in the neighborhood being accused. No evidence of the abuse was ever found, but two men were sent to prison based on the accusations (and Snow's insistence the kids were reliable). The entire story is told here. Now that we're all back up to speed, I'll share Snow's research paper. It's attached. Please read it. These are the points I found most interesting: - Snow repeatedly points out that none of the children ever showed evidence of abuse or made accusations in their initial visits. It always took a while. - Snow acknowledges that in most cases, the parents who were accused were actually the ones who had brought the children in for counseling and evaluation to discover if they were being abused! (p.478) She presents several theories as to why abusers might act so illogically, none of which are "the parents were innocent and it was the therapist who gave the kids the idea and prompted them to make the accusations." - The Case Example on p.479 appears to be the Carstensen/Miles case. She notes that the abuse by one of the parents was revealed after nine months of counseling, and that until then the parent had been "conscientious, concerned and supportive" with the counseling. - The paper describes five different neighborhood sex rings in Utah in the 1980s, and explains that in four of the cases, there were first accusations made against local teenagers, and then only after counseling did the accusations expand to include the adults. (p.479) Oddly, it doesn't appear that any of the teenagers thought to accuse their co-molesting adults once they were dragged in by law enforcement. - She acknowledges the "tremendous duplicity" among the adults. "The overwhelming majority of known offenders were active members of the predominant religion in the neighborhood. Several held high profile church and community leadership positions. They were typically in marital relationships that non offending partners described as stable and low in conflict. Most were respected parents with positive family images. Many were recognized in their various areas of employment, including the legal and child-care professions. Women were identified as perpetrators in all five neighborhoods...These women in the neighborhoods were most often mothers and grandmothers who were involved church, community, and extracurricular activities of children."(p.480) - If you recall Bill Carstensen's confession while undergoing treatment and therapy, Snow confirms the conditions under which his statements were made: "His confession was discounted, however, because he had hypnosis and sodium amytal as part of his treatment in an inpatient hospital." (p.481) Two of the side effects of sodium amytal are "confusion" and "hallucinations." - After listing all the different stuff that was claimed, she adds "The killing of children and infants was identified by six children in four neighborhoods. Thirteen percent of the children said they had participated in eating flesh. Whether these events were factual or persuasive replications is unknown." (p.483) It's surprising to find a claim that even Barbara Snow found hard to believe. - "The majority of children initially denied any knowledge or involvement and many maintained silence for a significant length of time. This appears a rational survival strategy given the assaultive, terrifying and relentless nature of the coercive techniques used with the children to force silence." (p.485) - "Disclosure became a process, not an event." (p.485) - "The authors were struck by the initial apparent normalcy of the children included in the study."..."The appearance of normalcy was facilitated by the children's ability to dissociate, compartmentalize, and repress - abilities they had developed as highly refined psychological survival skills." (p.485). - "The facade of normalcy extended to the behavior of the perpetrators as well. The high incidence in this study of religious leaders within these neighborhood cases seems almost incomprehensible as their daily lives represent a conspicuous model of morality." (p.486). - "The appearance of normalcy extended to the juvenile perpetrators of this study as well. None of the youth showed overt signs of self-styled satanic activity and were considered to be conscientious, responsible, and representative of traditional values."(p.486) - "Ritualistic abuse of children in a neighborhood setting is insidious and difficult to detect." (p.486). SnowRitualisticChildabuse.pdf
  6. There are some articles that quote the children (now adults) as they recall what happened. This one tells the story of a guy in Bakersfield who was sent to prison during their hysteria in the early 1980s: After 15 Years I Finally Had Gotten Justice After being released in 1999, the daughter wrote him a note that said:
  7. Well, there was this about 10 years ago, but she has her license back: Embattled therapist agrees to probation
  8. Just want to say that everyone's doing a great job, and I think this thread will finally be the moment where we come up with society's first ethically consistent, totally logical view on abortion, where everyone will be forced by the strength of the ethical, moral, legal and scientific arguments to agree on a single, unified view that solves all contradictions. I can't contribute anything to the conversation, but I just want to be able to tell my grandkids I was here when it happened.
  9. cinepro

    Missionary work during the priesthood ban

    This blog post relates one account from a missionary to Brazil in 1977: And then there's this paper as well: Religious Accommodation in the Land of Racial Democracy: Mormon Priesthood and Black Brazilians Footnote 9 also has info about the special lineage lessons: I found this especially interesting: And then this book if you're still interested in more info... The Mormon Church and Blacks
  10. That would be the "facade of normalcy" that Snow documents.
  11. It could also be a situation where a nonexistent group mixed with an already extant large group.
  12. cinepro

    Statement on Book of Mormon geography

    While the articles (there were three) do a good job of arguing for the Mesoamerican model, there is one area where Sorenson stretches: I'm sorry, Sorenson, but that has never been a question for Book of Mormon readers. It has always been assumed that the plates got there because Moroni was in the area and buried them there after the final battle. It only becomes a question when the Mesoamerican theory posits that the final battle took place thousands of miles away (and that the Hill Cumorah in the Book of Mormon was also thousands of miles away from New York). The article also really punts on the "Two Cumorah" issue, which I suspect was a bridge too far for the Ensign to broach. No where is it stated clearly that in order to believe in the Mesoamerican theory, you have to believe that the Cumorah in the Book of Mormon is a totally different hill than the one near Joseph Smith's house.
  13. cinepro

    Statement on Book of Mormon geography

    I'm merely suggesting that we could get D&C Section 139 that reveals the location of three or four New-World Book of Mormon cities or events, and it would mirror D&C 116. Can you explain how your theory explains the revelation to Joseph that a deserted pasture in Missouri was the location of ancient Adam's sacrifices, but excludes revelation to President Nelson where he could simply state: "Montrose, Iowa, is named by the Lord 'Zarahemla', because, said he, it is the place where ancient Mosiah ruled as king as told in The Book of Mormon." Certainly, President Nelson could ask. As for being "expedient", it appears to be expedient enough for the Church to issue a statement about it. So it's important to somebody. Bonus picture of Wayne May dowsing an excavation site in Montrose, Iowa looking for the temple at Zarahemla:
  14. cinepro

    Statement on Book of Mormon geography

    Did someone say Zelph...?
  15. I remember reading up on him from years ago. It was my impression that he was independently wealthy. He was the first to publish scans of the 1st edition of the Book of Mormon online, long before the Joseph Smith Papers project. http://www.inephi.com/Search.htm
  16. cinepro

    Statement on Book of Mormon geography

    But they really don't have to. God could easily reveal where any of the locations were, and President Nelson could simply stand in Conference and say "Thus saith the Lord, Zarahemla was at XYZ location, Bountiful was at ABC location." That's all it takes. Right now, you have a lot of Church members totally wasting their time, money and energy pursuing a totally wrong geography. It would be the merciful thing to do. And before anyone argues that would be outside the scope of the kind of thing God would reveal, I would recommend reviewing the D&C to see what, exactly, God feels is worthy of revelation (and canonization).
  17. cinepro

    What is love?

  18. cinepro

    A Spencer W. Kimball Quote on Blasphemy

    Four years ago, I had this same conversation with my son. Imagine his surprise when this question popped up on a test in Seminary:
  19. You might find this article interesting: Joseph Smith, Captain Kidd Lore, and Treasure-Seeking in New York and New England during the Early Republic
  20. If dowsers are any indication, I'm guessing "self-deluded" is the most likely explanation Although I wouldn't rule out "fraud" in some cases as well..."a fool and his money" and all that.
  21. cinepro

    Mormon Stories trying to expand its market.

    The reason for that is because all those things aren't "Mormon" things, or "church" things. They're just regular "people" things, and are likely to be found in any group of humans. We're tribal creatures. This is a good podcast on it: How our unchecked tribal psychology pollutes politics, science, and just about everything else
  22. cinepro

    Is anybody math checking Bednar?

    That is appalling. I demand nothing less than a 3-hour podcast discussing this issue.
  23. In the Church's recent press release regarding the Temple changes, they made the following claim: This claim appeared to pique Bill Reel's curiousity, as nothing seemed to come to mind that would support such a claim. In the pursuit of knowledge, Bill issued a reward to anyone who could provide quotes supporting the claim. Others pitched in and the bounty climbed to $150. On January 12, Here is how Bill worded the challenge: Interestingly, today it was announced that the challenge has been met and the reward awarded! Here are the quotes that were found: Congratulations to "Kevin Owens", the winner, and thank you to Bill for issuing the challenge. Whether or not Bill actually expected the challenge to be met, I think it was an interesting exercise (and I suspect the writers of the press release themselves might be surprised to see that actual quotes were found...)
  24. cinepro

    New Elijah Able info

    Artist's rendition of God at the implementation of the Priesthood Ban:
  25. cinepro

    New Elijah Able info

    Can't remember where I read it, but someone claimed that Joseph Fielding Smith hypothesized that there was actually a different (white) Elijah Abel, and that we were mixing up his ordination with the black Elijah Abel. So it was all just a big mistake.