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Hamba Tuhan

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About Hamba Tuhan

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    an isle of the sea

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  1. Happy to let you be alarmed on my behalf, Erik!
  2. Abuse among men, as adults or children

    I'm not sure the purpose of this thread, but it seems to be, in part, to give other men permission to speak out? I'm happy to share if that will help. I have experienced unwanted sexual advances literally more times than I can relate. During certain phases of my life, they have been borderline ubiquitous. For example, I did my master's study at a large public university in America (which, like the city where it is located, is famous for being very diverse and 'liberated'), and many of my classes were in the humanities building. Every single male toilet in this building had a sign on the door reminding me that I had the right to use the facilities free of interference or harassment. I didn't like the sound of this, but I didn't understand it either, and I also didn't want to have to run to a completely different building just to relieve myself, so I just started to use the toilets there. Quite quickly, I learnt the reasons behind the signs, and eventually I realised that I would need to avoid drinking water before any of my history or music classes. That didn't always work out as planned, of course, and even a quick trip to the toilet carried about a 50/50 risk. I also swam laps three times per week at this same uni. I can't count the number of times another student stalked me from the showers and then stood in the visible distance and engaged in a solo sex act. Many dozens of times I have used a public urinal and had a man do something very similar next to or near me. On (thankfully only!) two occasions, I have had other men touch my body inappropriately (intentional genital contact). The only time that I was the object of aggressive sexual behaviour by a female was in the back seat of a taxi, ironically on my way to church. I had met this law student at a guest lecture that I gave, and she pretended to be interested in going to church with me. I tried giving her the address to our chapel, but she faked not being very good with addresses and insisted that she would pick me up in a taxi so I could give the directions to the driver. It was a long drive, and I reached the point where I had to say, 'Do not touch me again, or I will be forced to do something neither of us will like'. She touched me again, and I snapped. (It wasn't anger, but it was certainly a willingness to be physical with a female, which is not something I'm wont to do in any situation.) I ended up pinning her against the car door with both of my feet, and I kept her there till we arrived at the chapel. She then had the nerve after church was over to invite me to go home in another taxi with her. When I declined, she pouted and stamped her foot and acted all hurt in public. Other Church members wondered what I'd done to upset this poor girl. I never told them. I've never repeated most of these experiences to anyone. I've certainly used what I've experienced, though, to teach others to be wise and wary, maybe most especially when I was serving as Young Men president.
  3. The second half of what you have written completely undercuts your first claim. Having a wife plus male and female lovers does not equal homosexuality as it has been defined. You are right that same-sex behaviour has been with us since the dawn of time (and virtually always as part of a sexual smorgasbord as you described above; otherwise, humanity would have died out). The response of societies to this reality has been almost infinite in its diversity, over both space and time.* What is completely new is not 'homophobia' but homosexuality and its necessary companion heterosexuality. The development of a concept of fixed, gendered sexual identities has a completely known genealogy and appears to be unique in all of human history. Literally every professionally trained historian whom I personally know agrees with this point, including the queer ones. I understand why this demonstrable historical reality is unwelcome for personal and/or political reasons, but it is what it is. ----- * Just two examples from my part of the world: In many societies, living arrangements were clearly demarcated between women's and men's compounds. Women, girls, and young children of both sexes lived in the women's compound. Men and older (around age 5+) boys lived together in the men's compound. Married men visited the women's compound in order to have sexual relations with their wives, but they also had unlimited sexual access to the unmarried boys and young men in the men's compound. In a number of societies where marriages were arranged between men and the future bride's parents, if the girl wasn't yet old enough to perform the roles of a wife or even if her parents just wished to keep her around a bit longer, the parents would provide a male sibling to the future husband as a sexual proxy until the marriage took place.
  4. I am happy for a dentist-turned-historian to have and share his opinion on this topic. For what it may be worth, after two postgraduate degrees in history (MA and PhD) and several years working as an editor for an academic history journal, I can honestly say that I don't know a single professionally trained historian who would agree with him.
  5. I think some of us would dispute that claim... Yes, we live in the capital, and the national government is the largest employer by far. Today I'd be happy for you to have it!!!
  6. I think you may have misread me. I wrote that 'close to 100% of our active members are full tithe payers'. It's been over three years since I last served in the bishopric, so my data are a bit dated, but our average sacrament meeting attendance then was around 180 people per week, and we had over 100 temple-recommend holders. And not every full tithe payer holds a recommend, of course. Our current primary president doesn't, but I know from interviewing her that she could. We certainly have active members who don't demonstrate high levels of commitment, but they form a rather small minority. Interesting. Thanks for sharing. I actually think our ward would be much lower than 79% if one considers all self-identifying members. Last night, the Elders and I were invited to the home of one of our members who hasn't been to church in about 20 years. She asked for a priesthood blessing, speak with affection for the gospel, etc. -- clearly a self-identified Latter-day Saint -- but I know that she doesn't tithe and probably hasn't done so as long as she's been inactive. I can't speak to the people on our records who are genuinely lost to us, but the vast majority of the inactive members still identify as such, but very few of them would pay tithes regularly. In a place like this, one is mostly in or out, not in belief/ID but in markers of engagement/commitment.
  7. Scrutinizing general conference

    Actually, it is decidedly not what I think and believe that matters. I don't pay a full tithe and attend church and actively serve in my callings so that somehow what I already think and believe becomes ascendant. The absolute centre of the gospel of Jesus Christ is the atonement, and the foundation of the atonement is that what we think and believe and do and say and become and desire are often very, very wrong. This is why, as I noted in this forum earlier this year, the common message of each anti-Christ in the Book of Mormon seems to have been that people are somehow perfect 'just the way they are'. If that were true, there would be zero need for an atonement or a Saviour (hence the label 'anti-Christ'). Consider the following: So why do I belong to and earnestly engage with the Church of Jesus Christ? Specifically so that I can be corrected. So that my thoughts and beliefs and words and actions can be refined to match what God Himself thinks and does. So that -- through the mighty change of heart -- my desires are not left intact in any area where they are not in harmony with what the Almighty God of Heaven understands is best for His children in general and for me in particular. I work in a political sphere and have done so now for 11 months. I'm just not interested in my spiritual life being part of some 'contest of ideas' in the way the world views that process. If I'm wrong -- and I often am -- then I want to be corrected. I also understand that if the Lord corrected everything I've got wrong in a single go, it would probably literally kill me, so I'm also grateful that He patiently works with us over the course of a lifetime to refine us enough to be able to take us home and continue the process there. From my perspective -- and based upon my personal experience -- prophets play an essential role in this process. As I termed them earlier in this thread, they are chosen by God specifically to be 'pesky'. They annoy us when we feel comfortable. They are a threat to us when we feel smug. They scold us when we choose the easy path of succumbing to the natural man. They keep saying the same thing over and over again till we either get it or get sick of them. The scriptures, I think, make it abundantly clear what happens to people who don't let themselves be pestered by the prophets. I love that we have them. I revel in the correction. It is my personal witness that when I hearken to the living oracles of God, everything works. And as a consequence, I know precisely where I fit into the plan. Am I there yet? Nope, not even close. But the Lord has assured me personally that He wasn't kidding when He said He is mighty to save. I trust him and seek to be loyal to him (faith). I know what He has already done for me and therefore fully expect much more to come (hope).
  8. All together, but after my post above, I suspect the figure may be quite a bit higher. I'm unconvinced that only 1.2 million households in the world contribute tithes to the Church. I have no access to the book or its methods and so can't comment. I hope Quinn is closer to accurate than you are, but clearly I don't know. I just think it is possible. In fact, I hope tithing receipts are somehow much, much higher than $33 billion per annum, and I likewise hope that the Church's investments are bringing in more than $15 billion per annum. And I hope that these figures, whatever they currently are, just keep increasing, potentially even exponentially. I love that we no longer seem to face financial obstacles to accomplishing the work the Lord has given us to do! And, I should add, I'm grateful to the good and faithful tithe payers and inspired leaders who together have made it all come together with the Lord's blessing!
  9. Our bishop is a senior manager within a national government department; his wife (the Young Women president) is the activities director for an aged care facility. His first counsellor is a senior police constable; his wife works as an archivist for a government agency. His second counsellor is an aerospace software engineer. Our executive secretary works in indigenous affairs for our local government, and his wife works for a private health fund. Our ward clerk works with troubled youth in residential care. Our primary president is a stay-at-home mum, but her husband is a linguist with the department of defence. Our Relief Society president is a general practitioner (physician) in a private health practice, and her husband is an accountant. Our Young Men president is a specialist in satellite technology on a private contract with defence. Our Sunday school president is a tech writer for the tax office, and his wife is a marriage/family/addiction counsellor with a global online practice. Our high priests group leader also works for the tax office but in a senior management role, and his wife cleans houses. Our elders quorum president works in global shipping and logistics. I'm the ward mission leader, and I'm senior political adviser to a member of our local parliament. Did I forget anyone?
  10. Based on personal experience serving in bishoprics, it does sometimes happen, but overwhelmingly the wealthy members I know send their 'extra' offerings into things like the fast offering fund, missionary fund, humanitarian aid, perpetual education fund, etc. I do think that some people are significantly underestimating how much tithing some households pay. I don't live in the US, but my quick estimate is that just the members of our ward council are probably paying about US$160,000 per year in tithing. I also think people may be underestimating tithing faithfulness. It's purely anecdotal, but I heard Pres Hinckley say that at no previous time in Church history were more Saints full tithe payers. A couple of years ago, I ran that claim past someone on a forum (not this one, I don't think) who claimed to have worked in Church finance, and he said that was absolutely the case. I know from my past experience in my ward that close to 100% of our active members are full tithe payers, and we even have members that rarely show up to church who contribute.
  11. The Joy of the Temple

    A quick addition to my post above that better captures the topic of this thread. My trip to the temple this past weekend was a last-minute thing, and consequently I felt ill-prepared for it, but I was happy to be in the House of the Lord Saturday morning. I hadn't arrived with any questions, worries, or pressing issues, so instead of praying, as I often do throughout the session, I just sat back and enjoyed the beauty of the experience. I did know in the back of my mind that when I finally got home later that day, I would need to prepare a talk for sacrament meeting, but I wasn't too worried about that. Since my bishop had assigned me, I'd thought long and hard about what to say, and I had a rough outline and some good content already in my head. And then something happened. I don't actually know how to describe it, but as I sat in the endowment room, a sermon started to 'scroll' through my mind. It came in bits and pieces at first -- 'line upon line' -- until it was complete, but from that point it just looped over and over again, including throughout the next endowment session. By the time I'd finished both sessions, I had the words and ideas pretty much memorised. It was not the talk I'd partially outlined in my previous thoughts at all, and in fact it was incredibly bold, I thought. At one point I actually said, in my mind, I can't say those things; people will be offended. Then a quiet answer: Hamba, be bold. I didn't know quite why this 'intervention' happened. I hadn't been seeking help in any way, but it left me feeling empowered and at peace. In the end, I had no chance of preparing the talk I'd had partially planned, and I suspect the Lord was at least partially motivated by His foreknowledge of that fact. Whilst I was in the temple, somebody smashed through the back door of our house and proceeded to ransack the bedrooms, taking a number of valuable items. I got home from the temple a little before 8pm, and it was nearly 3am before everything was sorted, and I was able to lie down to sleep. In the few seconds before I was unconscious, I found myself thinking how glad I was that a ready-made talk had already been 'handed' to me. (No doubt the Spirit could have guided my preparation to give the talk the Lord wanted, but there literally wasn't any time for that process to occur.) I got up four hours later and was able to speak for 30 minutes without a single written note. I merely gave the sermon that had been thoroughly impressed upon me in the temple. How grateful I am to have access to both revelation and a place where the revelation flows!
  12. Finally got a chance to read the article. Interesting that Quinn basically agrees with me:
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