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About mapman

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    Senior Member: Divides Heaven & Earth

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  1. I appreciate Bro. Jensen coming here (as well as the latterdaysaints subreddit) to address concerns. I certainly don't know as much about the topic as him, but I've done a fair amount of research myself and in my opinion the JSP editors have done a very fine job with the Book of Abraham materials. When it comes to disagreements over the Egyptian alphabets, I think part of the problem is that some people are inclined to believe for what I presume are ideological reasons that either they somehow are actually literal translations of ancient Egyptian or that JS wasn't very involved in their production. The evidence just isn't there for either of these views, unfortunately. As Bro. Jensen mentioned, JS's handwrote one of the copies of the alphabet. He also mentions working on the project multiple times in his journals. The interpretations of the hieroglyphics course are not accurate in a literal sense, and so I think it was the right decision to treat these documents as 19th century writings and consult mainly historians of American religion instead of Egyptologists, which I think was the point Hauglid was trying to get across. I'm not qualified to say how good of an Egyptologist John Gee is, but unfortunately he doesn't have a great track record with dealing with the evidence in the 19th century documents, and to me many of his arguments come off as stretching the evidence to fit his religious ideas. The question over whether the Egyptian alphabets predate the Book of Abraham text or not I think is a false dichotomy, since it is pretty clear that they were both produced over the course of several sessions, and they only partially overlap in content. I feel confident in saying that the first few verses of Abraham 1 are based on the Egyptian alphabet documents, though.
  2. Yeah, I'm trying to understand where people are coming from. Guns really are pretty much completely irrelevant to my life, so it feels like a different world to me when I run into them. My girlfriend told me the other day that her dad wants to go shooting shotguns with me some time, and I don't know how to respond to that because it really doesn't sound fun to me. Maybe we could do archery because I enjoy that a lot, lol. Anyways, I appreciate you sharing your opinions and experiences. My hope is just that everyone feels welcome at church.
  3. It is a lot easier to kill someone with a gun than a flotation device when mishandled.
  4. I have a hard time believing that concealed carriers have never killed people accidentally. My whole point is that getting shot at church is not something that "very reasonably could happen." Sure, it's theoretically a remote possibility, but the debate is whether the proposed solution creates more problems than it solves. The church leaders at least clearly decided that having random church members try to defend against mass shooters that probably will never show up wasn't a good idea.
  5. I admit it isn't necessarily a completely rational response, but guns are things designed to kill and I feel uncomfortable around them when they aren't in controlled situations. I respect that you are a responsible gun owner, and hope that most people are, but the amount of accidental killings that happen makes me think not everyone is. I'm definitely in favor of better training for gun owners, but the church isn't responsible for making that happen.
  6. I don't disagree that mass shootings have increased, but it is still hardly a common occurrence. The news cycle likes to promote paranoia over it though, which unfortunately is exactly what these terrorists want. In reality, unless you're a member of a gang, you're probably going to go your whole life without ever seeing someone get shot at. I'm trying to respect other people's experiences, but I'm just having a hard time understanding why anyone would ever live their life feeling afraid of getting shot at church. I don't worry every time I take a shower that I'm going to slip and break my skull open even though that is probably much more likely to happen.
  7. I grew up in a household that never owned any guns, and the only time I ever fired a gun was a couple of times at Scout camp, so people saying that they wouldn't go to church if they aren't allowed to carry seems downright bizarre to me. My first reaction to finding out some random member at church had a gun I would definitely feel less safe, and I don't think I'm the only one that would feel that way. My guess would be that some of you guys are dramatically overestimating the probability of being shot at by a criminal in church, and underestimating the chances of accidental injury by random brother who thinks he's in a Western movie or fantasizes about being a hero who kills a mass-murderer. This thread has been woefully devoid of facts, but maybe someone can provide some actual numbers on the probabilities.
  8. I reported it a couple hours ago. It seems like the mods haven't been as involved as much recently and take longer to take action (just my impression, I could be wrong). I definitely feel the same way about the topic as you, but I don't think this is the right board to discuss it unless we are talking about a quote from a church leader or something. This thread has been pretty much devoid of any mention of the church so it seems off-topic.
  9. What's with the spamming of political stuff that doesn't have anything to do with Mormonism?
  10. Getting recommendations from seminary teachers has been a thing for a long time, at least since 2011 when I applied. When I was a student I had a job where I helped prospective students calling in asking about the application and we would occasionally get questions about whether seminary was a requirement to get in. We were told to tell them that it wasn't a requirement and that they would take into account their whole situation (like if they were a non-member or recent convert) and that if they wanted to there was a section of the application where they can explain their situation. It's interesting that they would be emphasizing it more now, like others here have said I'm not actually sure that it corresponds so well to qualified students as they think. It's also worth noting that if you have (I think 12) credits from another university, you fill out a different application and you don't have to submit anything from high school including seminary.
  11. As others have mentioned, if you were to write the symbols small enough there would be enough room to fit the Book of Mormon in Hebrew on the golden plates based off of the witnesses descriptions. Obviously no one knows how all of this worked for sure, but I think there is another possibility: that the BoM wasn't a literal translation of the plates, and that it is longer than what was actually written on the ancient record. Consider Mormon 9:32-33: "And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech. And if our plates had been sufficiently large we should have written in Hebrew; but the Hebrew hath been altered by us also; and if we could have written in Hebrew, behold, ye would have had no imperfection in our record." The meaning of this passage is ambiguous, but it implies that Reformed Egyptian was significantly more compact than Hebrew. I'm not positive what was meant that writing in Hebrew would make it perfect, but I think it could mean that the literal meaning of the words would have been written down in Hebrew, allowing for direct translation instead of translating through revelation in a seer stone. Before knowledge of the translation of the Rosetta Stone became widespread, it was commonly believed (especially among those of an esoteric or mystical bent) to regard hieroglyphics as emblems that contained ancient wisdom hidden within them. Their meanings were discerned through revelation, intuition, or mystical methods, and then formulated into common language. Thus one symbol was taken to represent a whole set of ideas. For example, Athanasius Kircher translated the symbols that modern Egyptologists read as dd Wsr, "Osiris says," as "The treachery of Typhon ends at the throne of Isis, the moisture of nature is guarded by the vigilance of Anubis." This understanding of hieroglyphics is demonstrated in the Kirtland Egyptian papers, where individual symbols are sometimes interpreted as whole paragraphs of text. The symbols are interpreted in different ways in different "degrees", and not in the way that Egyptologists have discovered they mean, suggesting that these interpretations were received by inspiration and are not literal translations. I don't know that this is actually how the Book of Mormon was revealed to Joseph Smith (and the doctrines of the book are more important anyways), but it is an interesting idea to me. It does leave us with the question of what was actually written on the golden plates.
  12. It's interesting how similar the uncertainty expressed by Elder Ballard over this is to the repeated insistence of "we don't know" with how the priesthood ban began. This despite that we've known for a while now how the priesthood ban began, and I would assume it wouldn't be too hard to find the origins of this either. In any case, the important thing is that it is something that was taught by the leaders of the church. Perhaps if Elder Oaks weren't so insistent that the church never apologizes we wouldn't have all these lame attempts to divert responsibility from the leaders of the church. It sounds like they are trying to reform some of the bad practices in the mission, which I wholeheartedly welcome. The thing that bothered me the most on my mission was when other missionaries treated baptism flippantly like something that belongs to them, or something they can stick on their resume for being advanced in leadership. I felt like I was blessed to be able to play a part in their baptism, a sacred and life-transforming event in their lives. I wonder if some returned missionaries now feel regret for being too pushy with people.
  13. 8/9 of my immediate family (including me) are active members still. The other one had his name removed, but from what I understand will still occasionally go to church things if invited. On my mom's side of the family, my grandparents are very active, and I think that something like 3/4 of my aunts and uncles on that side are active members. The majority of my cousins are active as well as far as I know, though its probably more like 2/3 of them. My mom's family has been in the church for many generations, some of the lines going back to the 1830s. Generally speaking, this side of the family is either very conservative or wants nothing to do with Utah or the church. On my dad's side, my grandparents are active, as well as all of their kids as far as I'm aware. I think almost all of my cousins are active. There's only one of them that I know is inactive, maybe two others as well, so like 95% active (I have a lot of cousins). My grandparents are converts. I've noticed that generally on my dad's side people don't care as much about cultural traditions and aren't as dogmatic in their views, which might explain why more of them are still active members. Back in the 70s several of my great-uncles joined a polygamist group and tried to get my grandpa and my dad to join them by showing them various statements by Brigham Young about polygamy. I think they had to figure out what they believed about the church and came out on the side of sticking with it, but a little more nuanced.
  14. He is saying that he is absolutely sure that a religion is "false." He sounds like a fundamentalist to me. Plenty of members and ex-mormons are fundamentalists, they just latch on to different simplistic worldviews. The rest of us can be more nuanced knowing that there is still a lot to learn and that no religion or philosophy is pure truth or pure falsehood. Ultimately, the question of the truth of our religion is whether the principles of the Gospel described in the Book of Mormon lead us back to God or not, and you can't know that from reading books. Anyways, he is obviously completely oblivious to how history works. I don't know if there is ever a point where you can say we know everything about a subject, and even if there is, we are definitely nowhere close to being there when it comes to the origins of Mormonism. The origins of Mormonism has actually got to be one of the most ambiguous episodes in the history of religion in America, and is an active area of research, so I don't even know what he's on about. I agree with him that leaders of the church and curriculum have taught a lot of bad history, but it doesn't make Joseph Smith a charlatan that things got sugar-coated and twisted.
  15. There's an uncanonized revelation of Joseph Smith that lays out a process for the church body to try members of the first presidency for "transgression." Back then there was the stake of Zion in Missouri with the high council, and then various stakes and branches of the church in different locations. According to this revelation, the high council can put the first presidency on trial, present three witnesses to testify against them, and then vote whether to remove them. Then it would go to the rest of the church for a vote, and We no longer have a central stake, so this process wouldn't work any more. If there is some sort of updated process put in place for us to try the president of the church, they haven't told us what it is. Edited to add: From what I understand, I think that the quorum of the twelve is understood to be a high council when it comes to church discipline, something like the Supreme Court. So maybe discipline against the first presidency would have to start with the apostles.
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