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About mapman

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    Nathaniel James

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  1. Modesty standards

    I agree with the poster that said that the modesty discussion should include not wearing costly apparel. I think modesty is at its essence humility in the way we present ourselves. The issue of people's sexual thoughts about other people then isn't central to the doctrine of modesty, but I guess a related issue. I think we need to be more clear about what are actually innapropriate thoughts. Are we responsible for intrusive sexual thoughts? I don't think anyone would say you are since you can't control them, but I think lots of people feel guilty about them anyways. What differences are there between sexual objectification and other sexual thoughts? Do you have to consciously choose to objectify someone? Are different thoughts appropriate for a single person than a married person? I'm interested in people's thoughts on these questions.
  2. Mormon Newsroom and Suicide

    This journal article, "Depression in Childhood and Adolescence," concludes that "Across development, a family history of depression and exposure to stressful life events are the most robust risk factors for depression. Familial transmission involves both psychosocial and heritable processes; genetic and environmental influences also combine to influence risk." From a little bit of Googling and reading, my impression was that the consensus among researchers was that depression in children and teens most commonly is a mixture of genetic/biological factors and traumatic and stressful events in their life. The church statement posted in the OP I think is correct to point to bullying of LGBT people as one of those traumatic experiences that can lead to depression and suicide. This study, "Avoidance or boredom: Negative mental health outcomes associated with use of Information and Communication Technologies depend on users’ motivations," argues that using technology in a compulsive way to avoid problems in your life is linked to depression and anxiety, while it is not connected to using the same things merely for entertainment. Just a couple of articles I found that seemed relevant, I'm not that knowledgeable of psychology or anything.
  3. Mormon Newsroom and Suicide

    Maybe it's just because I didn't have a cell phone or video games when I was a kid, but I have a hard time seeing technology as being one of the primary causes of mental health issues. I agree that we should be more aware of how technology can affect the development of kids, but it seems like a lot of young people go through some really rough stuff that is more likely to cause long-term problems, whether it be bullying, family problems, deaths of loved ones, or whatever. I think a lot of young adults in the US have a hard time with the perception that the world is sliding backwards into insanity and hate. Also, economic opportunities for a lot of people setting off in life are pretty limited. In any case, I was hoping someone would be able to cite some kind of scientific study so that we're not just sharing anecdotal experiences and personal theories.
  4. Mormon Newsroom and Suicide

    Is anyone aware of studies of what are the main causes of depression and anxiety in children these days? With people my age (college student), it seems like depression and anxiety are also higher now (as well as suicide), but it seems like it might have more to do with lack of hope in a happy, prosperous future than with social media or technology.
  5. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, it has given me things to think about. Another scripture that is probably relevant is D&C 130:22-23: "But the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us. A man may receive the Holy Ghost, and it may descend upon him and not tarry with him."
  6. I would have assumed that he was talking about the Holy Ghost, but I guess I'm not really sure about what the difference is. I'm sure people outside of the church can become more in tune with the Spirit as they grow closer to God. I think that when you get baptized into the church, it is an important step closer to God and a sign of obedience, so the spirit will be poured out more abundantly than how it was before (however much that was). I was taught that the Gift of the Holy Ghost means that we are sanctified from our sins and that we can have Gifts of the Spirit. I'm interested on what your thoughts are on that. Can non-members be sanctified by the Holy Ghost or have Gifts of the Spirit?
  7. Well, it was meant more as an example of how God can have different roles for different groups of people, not that we are literally like the Levites. Nephi's vision talks about there being two great churches, the church of Christ and the church of the devil, so I think there is support for believing in an invisible church of disciples that transcends religious boundaries. Though I'd think that non-Christians can be followers of Christ as well even without knowing it, like the good people who prayed to Tash in the Chronicles of Narnia. I also think that the scriptures are pretty clear that the visible organization known as the LDS church has a special part to play in the last days. I have thought about how members of our church are mostly adopted into Ephraim and how the scriptures talk about the special role Ephraim plays in the latter-days. Maybe other people in God's service represent other tribes in the role they play in God's plan.
  8. I'm sorry if anything I said upset you. I appreciate your efforts at dialogue and defense of Mormons. I'm sure it is something that has born good fruits. I think I can speak for most Mormons by saying that we appreciate it when other Christians defend our being categorized as Christians. It is very frustrating when people think we don't believe in Jesus or in the Bible because they were told we aren't Christians. I'd also just say that I was trying to articulate what I understand our doctrine to be, and that there could potentially be room in Mormon theology for developing a closer identity to the Christian religion as a whole. I don't know that it would ever happen or that it would be what God wants, but who knows what the future holds.
  9. The Book of Mormon talks about being baptized by the Holy Ghost and having the Holy Ghost poured out more abundantly upon the church members after baptism, so I'm pretty sure that's where it comes from, though talking about "constant companionship" might not be entirely accurate. I think it more meant that being baptized by the Holy Ghost means that the Gifts of the Spirit are made available to all the members. Mosiah 18:10, 13: "Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you? And when he had said these words, the Spirit of the Lord was upon him, and he said: Helam, I baptize thee, having authority from the Almighty God, as a testimony that ye have entered into a covenant to serve him until you are dead as to the mortal body; and may the Spirit of the Lord be poured out upon you; and may he grant unto you eternal life, through the redemption of Christ, whom he has prepared from the foundation of the world."
  10. I don't think you're anti-Mormon. I don't think anti-Mormons and critics are the same thing. Mormons that have issues with certain aspects of church history or teachings are certainly not anti-Mormons either. That being said, some people really are anti-Mormonism, and I think it is pretty easy to identify (usually by their mocking tone). In any case, I agree with your assessment. I don't think that any Mormons actually believe that when teachings are changed or revelation is received that it is God changing his opinion about something. I think you are absolutely right that the race issues in the church are the result of human failings and are not God's fault. This is why I think that it is a great thing that our teachings can be refined over time because it does no good to make teachings born out of human failings unchangeable. I have had a hard time understanding why people talk about unchanging and eternal doctrines as well, and it seems like all it does is set up unrealistic expectations, but I think what Clark was saying does a good job explaining why people might think of doctrine that way.
  11. I hadn't thought about the linguistic aspect of this before. I think your comparison to the way we talk about the laws of physics makes a lot of sense! Talking about doctrines as the absolute truths that we are trying to get at never made sense to me, but I realized that's exactly how I think about the laws of physics, so it makes more sense now why people would talk that way.
  12. I don't think that it is offensive for a religion to believe they are the correct way to salvation. That's why there are different religions in the first place, and unless they were to tell me otherwise I would assume that they believe their way to be the correct way. I presume that most Evangelicals don't believe that non-Christian religions lead to salvation either. We Mormons just don't have a separate category for Christian religions in our theology. We believe all sorts of religions are inspired and carry out a part in God's cosmic plan, and that would include other Christians. The spiritual experiences and relationship with God of a Mennonite, or a Buddhist, or a Neopagan are all just as valid as a Mormon's. It's kind of like how the Levites had an important role to play among the Israelites for their salvation, but God wanted people in the other tribes as well for other purposes.
  13. The problem that people have isn't so much that the church doesn't have well-defined doctrine, but that it is refined over time. I guess some anti-Mormons hate this because it messes with them trying to hold things over our heads for all eternity. Some Mormons that have a fundamentalist way of understanding the church also seem to have problems with this. For me it's a feature, not a bug. For example, I still don't get how it bothers people that the church changed its teachings about race. How is that anything but a good thing? I have seen anti-Mormons mock the church for this by saying that God "changed his mind" about race, yet presumably they should be happy that the church made this change?!
  14. My thoughts on some of your points: 1. Yeah, Mormons aren't formally taught about the beliefs of other religions. If a Mormon wants to learn about that they would have to seek out the information themselves. There is an institute class on world religions, but most Mormons aren't going to take that class. I think Mormons get frustrated that their beliefs are so often misunderstood, so I think you are exactly right that we are usually talking past each other. 2. Mormon aversion to the creeds comes from the days of Joseph Smith who would somewhat frequently condemn them. My impression has been the creeds are pretty important to Catholics and especially theologians in the Reformed tradition, and it seems like anti-Mormons use them as a primary reason to claim we're not Christians. You're probably right, though, that your average Christian doesn't care about them very much. 3. Although we used to practice rebaptism, baptism has always been viewed as a prerequisite to salvation by Mormons. The Book of Mormon teaches that the order of salvation is to have faith in Christ, be repentant, baptized by water and spirit, and then endure to the end. I'm not super familiar with the history of rebaptism in Mormonsim, but a person's first baptism into the church was always seen as regenerative. So I guess there is a fundamental disagreement there with other interpretations of baptism. 5. Honestly, Mormon doctrine on universalism is kind of "fuzzy," so it will probably be hard to definitively answer all your questions about it. Instead of getting into specifics, I think we prefer to just say that God will sort it all out. But I think maybe what you're missing is the assumption that everyone will eventually realize that the fullness of the Gospel as taught in the Book of Mormon is true, though for many that conversion might only happen after the Second Coming or after spending a thousand years in hell or whatever. So we are universal in that we believe everyone will at least have the opportunity to know the exclusive truth. Hopefully that makes sense. 6. I don't want to derail your thread, but I think that there are some real differences between Mormon understanding of revelation and that of orthodox Christianity. You can correct me if I'm mistaken, but I don't think most Christians are willing to accept new books of scripture that are more perfect than the Bible, or revelations to add to and correct Bible passages. Mormons have an open scriptural canon and view their prophets and apostles to be just like the authors of the Bible.
  15. That's a good point about the doctrine of the apostasy does seem to reflect poorly on other Christian churches. I think that Joseph Smith's view of the apostasy changed somewhat as time went on, or at least he explained it better. The first vision accounts sound more negative, but he also taught about searching out truth in other religions, which is maybe one reason why there is so much in common with the Restorationist movement. I also think that Joseph Smith was more opposed to creeds in principle because they are opposed to the principle of continuing revelation, not so much over the specific content of the creeds. A lot of Mormons have positive opinions of other Christians, but I have also heard people mock other churches. On my mission in Argentina I'd hear other missionaries often complain about the Catholics for only being Catholics because of family tradition, Pentecostal types were mocked for being weird and the manifestation of the Spirit among them as being from the devil, and I think most held a pretty dim view of Jehovah's Witnesses. But still I think a lot of missionaries were averse to such talk. It's hard for me to know which is more common, but most people probably chill out when they aren't missionaries any more. I don't like it either when people say "they have some truth" like it means their religion isn't evil but that it is pretty much useless. I think that we would do good to put in some effort to sincerely learn from other religions.