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the narrator

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  1. Yeah, the $30 billion includes it's bank and financial investments.
  2. Not making a joke. While the Catholic Church has a lot of real estate directly used by it members or for its charities, only a fraction of the LDS Church's real estate is owned for worship or other "religious" purposes. The vast majority of its real estate is for financial investment, business, and for welfare farms, and the purchases in the last couple decades for the purpose of financial investments have dramatically increased. Furthermore, while the Vatican frequently operates at a deficit, only bringing in 1/100th in donations of what the LDS Church brings in through tithes, IIRC most of the LDS Church's expenditures are paid with the interests made by investing it's $7 billion in annual tithing revenue. I was recently told by someone who is generally in the know that the total assets of the LDS Church right now is at $630 billion.
  3. The real estate of the Vatican itself is only worth about $1 billion, not counting it's priceless art.
  4. I don't think there is any discomfort. I think it just points to how small potatoes the LDS Church is. (Unless we are talking $$$. In that case the total assets of the LDS Church dwarfs that of the Catholic Church.)
  5. Here is the Pope's itinerary for the day. And here is what the Vatican found newsworthy from that day.
  6. I found it interesting, and somewhat funny, how differently Salt Lake and the Vatican viewed this meeting.
  7. Maybe rather than working hard to align with words and labels, just focus more on emulating Jesus. Instead of demanding that others see us as Christians, show them what it means to follow Jesus. Stop obsessing with how many times we can use the word Jesus, and instead read the Gospel accounts about him--especially the slightly more historical synoptic ones--and ask how concerned he is with his name being plastered everywhere, beautiful temples, and nuclear families, as opposed to his concerns about bringing justice to those under temporal oppression. Or, maybe we should just ignore the actual Jesus and be more like this guy:
  8. Nope. Partly because I don't believe in an afterlife. Passage doesn't say anything about trying. In the context of the Sermon on the Mount, those who do the will of the Father are those building the Kingdom of God (where the poor, powerless, starving, and mourning are taken care of). Jesus is saying that's what God cares about, not about transcendent miracles done in his name. Because names and their importance are ultimately about ego and power over others (such that God in the OT is frequently portrayed as horribly ego driven and narcissistic), and Jesus is far more concerned with helping others rather than his own ego.
  9. Matthew 7:21-23 always comes to mind when I'm reminded of this effort.
  10. I turn 40 in less than 3 months, so I truly appreciate this.
  11. Nah. The organizers (who happen to be men by virtue of their roles as directors of the Religious Studies and Mormon Studies programs at UVU) consulted with women on who to invite and, as far as I'm aware, only invited women--probably to prevent old Jordan Peterson loving dudes from grandstanding about how men were sadly discriminated against by not being given equal 50% speaking slots.
  12. The last session on Friday is focused on cross-cultural issues. Don't know what everyone's will be speaking on, but I know that my friend Taunalyn Rutherford's dissertation is on Mormon women in India.
  13. Meh. I'm sure you can find some Jordan Peterson videos to comfort you as you go through this hurtful phase of being discriminated against.
  14. Dudes have dominated virtually every Mormon-related conference since Joseph Smith gathered his family together for story time--including almost every Mormon women's conference. Heaven forbid that women get to exclusively discuss themselves for once.
  15. UVU's annual Mormon Studies conference is focused on women in the Church. Should be interesting: https://www.uvu.edu/ethics/womenofmormondom/index.html
  16. Oh the irony of a bunch of dudes in here telling women what their experience of sexism really is.
  17. I quite preferred only talking to my folks twice a year, and was usually eager to get off the phone with them when I did. I'd be annoyed feeling like I had to call them each week. Though I get that it could be incredibly helpful for some. I'd prefer just cutting back the draconian limitations that prevented missionaries who really needed it from being able to speak with family. Old rule surely began because of the sometimes incredibly high costs of long distance calls, which the internet has dropped to zero. So makes sense.
  18. I agree. There is plenty of reasons to see Joseph being influenced by Masonry long before Nauvoo even. What Clawson's paraphrasing of Richards shows is that the latter seemed to believe, like the others who were endowed in Nauvoo, that Masonry was indeed a relic of ancient religion.
  19. Was hoping to add a comment here earlier this week but have been down with the flu. Wanted to respond to two items: 1. Plagiarism. It's not plagiarism because the source material was clear to everyone. Joseph and his colleagues weren't pretending that the endowment came from nothing. They knew fully well and did not hide the fact that it was being built on top of Masonry. It's not plagiarism just as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is not plagiarism. 2. Catalyst. This theory implies that Masonry was simply an inspiration and starting point for something else. Again, this isn't how Joseph and his colleagues understood the endowment. For them, the endowment was the completion of Masonry, restoring key elements that had been lost. I may have mentioned this before in another comment, but the endowment being the completion of Masonry is one reason why Mormon men in Nauvoo were required to become Masons before being endowed: On Nauvoo saints becoming Masons first: Joseph Fielding: Heber C. Kimball: On the endowment restoring a lost degree: Franklin D. Richards (the last remaining Nauvoo Mason in the Qof12 in 1899): Of the same meeting, Elder Rudger Clawson recorded: An interesting point in this last quote is that Richards says that the reason the Nauvoo Lodge was formed in the first place was to get access to the rites.
  20. I think it points more to how visionary experiences became more visitationary experiences over time as people recall and share their memories with each other. (IMO, the same goes with the First Vision, which over time became more of a First Visitation, as well as the accounts of the 3 Witnesses, particularly Harris, whose changing accounts of seeing the gold plates become less visionary and more material over time.) Everyone does this in various fashions. For example, I have plenty of memories of really seeing things that were initially dreams, imagined events, and misremembered important elements. For a few years I've been telling friends about a sacred experience I had blessing my baby son while my wife held him. Part of it involved a distinct memory of my 2-yr-old daughter running up and grabbing onto my leg as I was performing the blessing. I have an image of my mind of looking down and seeing her hold me, completing our whole family being a part of the blessing. I recently read the brief account of the blessing I wrote the day after it occured. My daughter didn't grab my leg. She ran up and held onto my wife's leg. Assuming this earlier account is correct, my memory of it was wrong. The craziest thing is that despite knowing my memory is wrong, that is still the memory I have of the event.
  21. I think it's very understandable for Whitmer to think that these were later creations prompted by the incorporation of Rigdon's restoration theology, and the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.
  22. The complete lack of any mention of John the Baptist nor the restoration of a Melchizedek priesthood before 1834 was a challenge for the editors of the Joseph Smith Papers, who ultimately decided to mostly ignore it in the introductory material rather than highlight the issue. The reason Whitmer doubted it is because Joseph and Oliver apparently told nobody about it.
  23. What's largely missing from the essay but only briefly noted or implied in lines such as this: and this: is that Joseph's colleagues, and most likely Joseph himself, believed Masonry to have come from ancient temple rituals and that the endowment was a restoration of parts that had been lost. They didn't see Masonry as simply some social club that had neat things that could be incorporated into the endowment, but rather that the Masonry was the rituals of ancient religion that Joseph completed.
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