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Kevin Christensen

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About Kevin Christensen

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    Brings Forth Plants
  • Birthday 04/28/1954

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    Canonsburg, PA

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  1. A notably distinct theory of the Atonement, as noted by Lorin K. Hansen. https://www.dialoguejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/Dialogue_V27N01_207.pdf Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  2. Much more information on life after death. https://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1382&index=2 The notion that specific plain and precious things were missing (1 Nephi 13, specifying covenants and specific teachings, such as that "the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father"), the means by which they were lost, and additional texts appearing via then gentiles after the appearance of the Book of Mormon besides the Book of Mormon by which they will be restored and confirmed. https://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1459&index=4 http://www.margaretbarker.com/Papers/TextAndContext.pdf A method for evaluating competing paradigms that is not completely paradigm dependent. Alma 32 FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  3. Sure. Do people simply follow authority figures and tradition, conforming, making judgements based on tribal standards and personal loyalty and advantage, or do they seek for "greater light and knowledge, desiring to be greater followers of righteousness?" My preference for Perry over Fowler has to do with the way the Level 6 of Fowler happens to praise people for concluding as Fowler did. The lower 3 in Fowler do have some support. The higher ones are fluffier. It's the Perry Scheme focus on how people process information that I like. The retreat from complexity and uncertainty, to relying on hierarchy, trusting an authority figure, as Tevye says in Fiddler on the Roof "When you're rich they think you really know", judging on surfaces rather than righteous judgment that, according to Jesus starts with self-examination. Using hierarchy and scapegoats as a strategy for dealing with moral complexity is a danger sign in most societies, as the last few years have shown. Plus, I've found it useful to look at the reasoning of various people, and seen that it casts light on what is happening under the surface. (I've gone into detail in some Interpreter essays.) A lot of what is discussed under the heading of Faith Crisis in LDS culture fits into the Perry Scheme. FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  4. D&C 52:14, " I will give unto you a pattern in all things" If that is correct, there are patterns to be found. One of the patterns happens to be opposition in all things. But without patterns, we'd have no language, no art, no myth, no story, no medicine, no science, no culture, no reason for discipline and discipleship, because all would be simply unpredictable, unknowable chaos, and Korihor and Cain would be right. One of the things heroes do that makes them heroes is to face, and defeat chaos, and return to society with a boon. Job doesn't find meaning in chaos, but elsewhere, sometimes in just the hope that there is pattern, plan and purpose that overcomes chaos. Pattern recognition is what intelligence does. And part of that is recognizing larger and better patterns, constantly improving. It took a while for me to appreciate this pattern, but I find it useful in approaching a lot of social chaos. FWIW, Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  5. I bring this up fairly often, and thought I'd make it easier for newer folks to see what I am talking about. Perry studied the development of students coming to Harvard from various provincial backgrounds and conducted interviews over several years to understand how they came to cope with the university environment. There is a book. A few decades ago, an LDS author named Veda Hale used the Perry Scheme as a framework for tracing character development in Levi Peterson's novel Canyon's of Grace for a Sunstone presentation. While we were both on the LDS literature list, I made a post that he liked, and in return, she sent me this appendix from her paper. I've grown to appreciate this more and more over the years, and have quoted from it in some of my Interpreter essays. (In Sophic Box and Mantic Vista, I made a case that Joseph Smith and the LDS scriptures try to guide us to Position 9.) It reads like concentrated poetry, and I think, is very relevant to the LDS experience. I prefer it to the Fowler 6 Stages scheme because I see Fowler as sorting people based on their conclusions, whereas Perry does so on how people process information. **** I was cleaning up my email and wondered if I ever sent this to you. Whatever....here goes. Veda PERRY SCHEME OF COGNITIVE AND ETHICAL GROWTH TABLE OF TRAITS BY POSITION AND TRANSITION POSITION 1 - Basic Duality. (Garden of Eden Position: All will be well.) The person perceives meaning divided into two realms-Good/Bad, Right/wrong, We/They, Success/Failure, etc. They believe that knowledge and goodness are quantitative, that there are absolute answers for every problem and authorities know them and will teach them to those who will work hard and memorize them. Agency is "Out there". The person is so embedded here that there is no place from which to observe themselves, yet they have a dim sense of there being a boundary to Otherness somewhere that gives their Eden-like world view boundary. Transition 1-2 - Dualism modified. (Snake whispers.) The person starts to be aware of others and of differing opinions, even among authorities. This started the feeling of uncertainty. But they decide it is part of the authority's job to pose problems. It takes hard work to deny the legitimacy of diversity and to keep the belief in the simplicity of truth. (It should be kept in mind that in any of the transition states it is easy for the person to become depressed. It takes time for the "guts to catch up with leaps of mind." When a sense of loss is accorded the honor of acknowledgement, movement is more rapid and the risk of getting stuck in apathy, alienation, or depression is reduced. When one steps into new perceptions he is unlikely to take another until he comes to terms with the losses attendant on the first.) POSITION 2 - Multiplicity Prelegitimate. (Resisting snake) Now the person moves to accept that there is diversity, but they still think there are TRUE authorities who are right, that the others are confused by complexities or are just frauds. They think they are with the true authorities and are right while all others are wrong. They accept that their good authorities present problems so they can learn to reach right answers independently. TRANSITION: 2-3 - Dualism modified Now the person admits that good authorities can admit to not knowing all the answers yet, but they will teach what they know now and teach the rest when they have it. They accept that disciplines are divided into the definite and the vague, but that in the end even science fails. Though they have given up dividing meaning into just two realms, they still feel knowledge and goodness are quantitative and that agency is "out there". POSITION 3 - Multiplicity Legitimate but Subordinate. (Snake's logic considered) The person still feels that the nature of things naturally produces differing opinions, but it's as it should be, because the Authorities will figure it all out and hand on their conclusions eventually. ALL OF THE POSITIONS ABOVE FEEL ABANDONMENT IN UNSTRUCTURED LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS. WHEN CHANGES IN THINKING START TO HAPPEN, IT CAN BE A DANGEROUS TIME. (The forbidden fruit has been partaken and one is out of the Garden of Eden.) There are seven ways a person can go. Transition 1. The person can make the transition by modifying dualism drastically to where one no longer trusts authority to have any answers, and they think it will be a long, long time before they will; therefore, there is really no way to be judged by them. Bitterness sets in, as it seems as if rewards don't come by hard work and rightness, but by good expression and arbitrary factors. With an inability to distinguish between abstract thought and "bull", disillusion settles and blinds the person to where they become dangerously cynical and take advantage of any opportunity to get gain. Transition 2. The person could decide that, if there are so many different answers a depending on individual perspective, that it is impossible for any true judgment; therefore anything goes. All is of equal value. To have an opinion makes it right. Transition 3. Same as above, except it dawns that there are some facts that, if known, can make for a better choice among the many. Transition 4. Anger and frustration win out. Instead of becoming cynical and opportunistic, person acts out negatively. Transition 5. The person is moving closer to accepting relativity. He trusts authorities to have valid grounds for evaluations. To get along, one needs to accept that authorities are using reasonable information in making their answers. So the person tries to discover what it is authorities think and want. Transition 6. Person realizes that on some matters, reasonable people reasonably disagree, that knowledge is qualitative and is context-dependent. They begin weighing factors and approaches in ways that force comparison of patterns of thought, they think about thinking and this occupies the foreground. But they still tend to want to conform so much that they have trouble thinking independently. Transition 7. This position between multiplicity and relativity is now closer to relativity. The person sees that thinking relatively isn't just what the authorities he has been dealing have reasoned out and want him to accept, it is the way the world works, in most cases. NOW UNCERTAINTIES OR DIVERSITIES MULTIPLY UNTIL THEY TIP THE BALANCE AGAINST CERTAINTY AND HOMOGENEITY, PRECIPITATING A CRISIS THAT FORCES THE CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW VISION OF THE WORLD, BE IT ONE MARKED BY CYNICISM, ANXIETY, OR A NEW SENSE OF FREEDOM. POSITION 5 Relativism discovered. The person accepts that all thinking is relative for everyone and are much taken with this new perspective. It could be a time of profound anxiety as the person struggles to understand how to make right choices. They decide they can and must do something about this new world view, but they may spend a long time before sensing a need for commitment. They can take responsibility for a task at hand, but don't yet realize they have a responsibility to choose commitments. THIS POSITION COULD MAKE FOR A PERSON WHOSE AGENCY FOR MAKING SENSE HAS VANISHED ENTIRELY. THEY COULD ALSO REACT BY POSTPONING DECISIONS, FALLING INTO APATHY OR GOING INTO A RAGE. IT COULD GET SO BAD IT COULD APPEAR THE PERSON NEEDS CLINICAL HELP. THE POTENTIAL FOR CYNICISM COULD BECOME EQUALLY ALARMING EDUCATIONALLY. If the person RETREATS, rage takes over and he loses agency to make sense. He survives by avoiding complexity and ambivalence and regresses to Dualism, position 2, (multiplicity prelegitimate). He becomes moralistic righteous and has "righteous" hatred for otherness. He complains childlike and demands of authority figures to just tell him what they want. If the person at this point doesn't retreat, he may go into a state of TEMPORIZING. His agency for making sense has vanished, but he postpones any movement. He may reconsign agency to some possible event. If so, Guilt and shame accompany the uneasiness about a failure of responsibility they feel hopeless to cope with. Or if not either of the above then the person may try to ESCAPE. He becomes apathetic. His agency for making sense has also vanished, but in his feeling of being alienated, he abandons responsibility and uses his understanding of multiplicity and relativism as a way to avoid commitment. He is drifting and has some sense that later he will find himself to be living a hollow life. This drifting with insecurity about "goodness" of his position can make for such a detachment that precludes any meaningful involvement. He starts to rely on impulse. THIS CAN BECOME A SETTLED CONDITION. "For the students reporting their recovery of care,...their period of alienation appears as a time of transition. In this time the self is lost through the very effort to hold onto it in the face of inexorable change in the world's appearance. It is a space of meaninglessness between received belief and creative faith. In their rebirth they experience in themselves the origin or meanings, which they had previously expected to come to them from outside." (page 92 of the Perry Scheme.) POSITION 6. Commitment Foreseen. FROM HERE ON THE PERSON WILL FEEL FRUSTRATION IN TOO-STRUCTURED OF AN ENVIRONMENT. Now the person thinks he is alone in an uncertain world, making his own decisions, with no one to say he is right. He makes choices aware of relativism and accepts that the agency to do so is within the individual. He sees that to move forward he must make commitments coming from within. He foresees the challenge of responsibility and feels he needs to get on with it. He also senses that the first steps require arbitrary faith or willing suspension of disbelief. He knows he needs to narrow his focus, center himself and become aware of internal, what could be called, spiritual strength. He starts to see how he must be embracing and transcending of: certainty/doubt, focus/breadth, idealism/realism, tolerance/contempt, stability/flexibility. He senses need for affirmation and incorporation of existential or logical polarities. He senses need to hold polarities in tension in the interest of Truth. He begins to maintain meaning, coherence, and value while conscious of their partial, limited, and contradictable nature. He begins to understand symbol as symbols and acknowledges the time-place relativity of them. He begins to affirm and hold absolutes in symbols while still acknowledging them to be relativistic. He begins to embrace viewpoints in conflict with his own. Now the person has a field-independent learning style, has learned to scan for information, accepts that hierarchical and analytic notes are evidence of sharpening of cognition. He is willing to take risks, is flexible, perceptive, broad, strategy-minded, and analytical. The TRANSITION position between Position 6, "Commitment Foreseen", and position 7, "Commitments in Relativism developed" is as follows: Besides the above, the person feels he is lost if he doesn't decide, that if he can once make one decision, everything else will be OK. POSITION 7. Commitments in Relativism developed. The person makes first commitment while being aware of Relativism, and has a vivid sense of CLAIMING AND POWER. He now more fully feels that agency is within him and foresees responsibility with excitement and anticipates more empowering as he makes more commitments and choices. The TRANSITION between Position 7 and Position 8, sees the person having made his first commitment but feeling that everything else is still in limbo and he is foreseeing problems coming from trying to juggle responsibility. He senses need to be: wholehearted--but tentative, to be able to fight for his own values--yet respect others. Now, besides the other ways of studying, the person begins to read not to conciliate Authority, but to learn on his own initiative. POSITION 8. Commitments in Relativism developed continues. The person makes several more Commitments while realizing he must find balance and establish painful priorities of energy, action and time. He starts to experience periodically serenity and well-being in the midst of complexity. He has a sense of living with trust in the midst of heightened awareness of risk. He accepts fact that order and disorder are fluctuations in experience. He searches for models of knowledgeability and courage to affirm commitment in full awareness of uncertainty. HE STILL NEEDS TO RECOGNIZE THAT EVEN THE MODEL MUST BE TRANSCENDED, AND HE SENSES HE NEEDS TO DEVELOP IRONY. The TRANSITION between Position 8 and 9 brings trauma. The person feels everything is contradictory and he just can't make sense out of life's dilemmas. But he begins to develop sense of irony and sees he must embrace viewpoints in conflict with his own, not in the old multiplistic way of "separate but equal" or "live and let live" but truly embrace them with what might as well be called "love". POSITION 9. Commitments in Relativism further developed. The person now has a developed sense of irony and can more easily embrace other's viewpoints. He can accept life as just that "life", just the way IT is! Now he holds the commitments he makes in a condition of "PROVISIONAL ULTIMACY", meaning that for him what he chooses to be truth IS his truth, and he acts as if it is ultimate truth, but there is still a "provision" for change. He has no illusions about having "arrived" permanently on top of some heap, he is ready and knows he will have to retrace his journey over and over, but he has hope that he will do it each time more wisely. He is aware that he is developing his IDENTITY through Commitment. He can affirm the inseparable nature of the knower and the known--meaning he knows he as knower contributes to what he calls known. He helps weld a community by sharing realization of aloneness and gains strength and intimacy through this shared vulnerability. He has discarded obedience in favor of his own agency, and he continues to select, judge, and build. veda
  6. Kent Brown's essay uses descriptions from later Book of Mormon writers who had what we are missing and made references for which we don't have the full story. Bradley's previews of his forthcoming book have been interesting. He presented at FAIR a few years ago. Kevin C.
  7. Burnside says: S. Kent Brown (who appears in the excellent Maxwell Institute Video on Lehi's Journey in the Old World) discussed some of the reasons for the time in "A Case for Lehi's Bondage in Arabia." https://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1393&index=9 Abstract FWIW, Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  8. Communities are driven by shared narratives. Consider two narratives that Othello has to choose between: 1) Desdemona has been unfaithful. 2) Honest Iago has been manipulating his insecurities, fears, self doubts. Within the play, the sense of betrayal that Othello feels is real. However, what will do him the most good? 1) Finding a community that will validate his pain? 2) Removing the beams from his own eye, that he might see clearly. And after Othello has smothered his innocent wife, how motivated is he to find the truth? And when he finds it, is he filled with joy, or remorse, and why? My own program has been simple. Give things time, keep my eyes open, and re-examine my own assumptions now and then. This is important because "anomally emerges against a background of expectation." The things that shatter Othello's faith in Desdemona can all be interpreted differently. He is not objectively following the facts where they lead. He is buying in to a narrative. And his action of murder is an intensely personal and final decision. The tragedy of Othello is not that Iago showed up, but that that Othello lacked patience, trust, and faith. The kinds of things that populate the usual Shock list (as Tacenda dropped in), I have encountered myself. Whenever I ran across something I did not expect, say flawed leaders in the church, I asked myself, "What should I expect?" Perfection and infallibility? Not according to D&C 1 in a formal, canonical statement of "mine authority and the authority of my servants". It bluntly says It also bluntly states that neither revelation nor human virtue are exclusive to the LDS. I first ran across the 1970 Improvement Era essay on First Vision accounts in a stack in a Missionary apartment in England. When I got home, I found a copy in the basement of my home, where I had not bothered to read it. I could have protested, blamed others, as though I were entitled to have everything fed to me, or I could look in a mirror and ask the kid who was busy being a kid, singing in choirs, being in plays, playing basketball, thowing discus and running, reading WWII history and Alistair MacClean, and Ray Bradbury, and Frank Herbert, and Edgar Rice Burroughs, and watching Star Trek and the Outer Limits and Laredo and 12 O'Clock High, on whether he had a different explanation. I could consider why I should blame my young Sunday School teachers or seminary teachers, every fourth year, who were not that much different than me, except that most, I knew, read less, and had lives of their own. So I went to Deseret Book on South Temple and Main, and bought, Backman's The First Vision. And tracked down the BYU Studies article, and much much more over the years. So rather than shattering disillusion, I experienced enlightenment, growth. Instead of self-justifying resentments for others, I found humilty in looking at myself, and exciting discoveries that encourage me to this day. I've seen the poor LDS manuals, but decided that they do not define the community. Because what I learned from faithful scholars like Anderson, Backman, Madson, Nibley, and others was exciting. And in every Sunday School class I have attended, I have tried to light candles and kindle fires and point to sources. I have learned that the people who offer their lists of "things no one told me" ALWAYS leave important information off their lists, and that they in turn, are not in the least bothered or shamed or dissuaded from repeating the same stuff later after I point out their own selectivity, their own failure to put forth important information. For instance, I have never seen any mention by those who claim that the 1832 account contradicts the 1838 account, of observations like those of Matthew Brown in his book on the First Vision that the First paragraph's reference to "testimony on high" is an obvious allusion to the Father's introduction, that the emphasis on the Son is because of a deliberate choice to compare himself to Paul, who also had a vision, and knew he had one. And that one instance of "Lord" is an above-the-line insertion where a word was left out. If the insertion had been "God" instead of "Lord" we'd have no controversy. The 1970 Improvement Era essay did point that insertion out. It makes a difference. For many years I have been pointing out Margaret Barker's essay on The Original Setting of the Fourth Servant Song, offering evidence that it was based on Hezekiah's bout with the plague during the siege of Jersualem, which means it predates Lehi. Tacenda, I notice, did not include mention of that, as a public service. But she ought to know since I have pointed it out many times. Such public services undermines the shock value of the list. And that is the point. Trump is particularly shameless about his own behavior, and always deflects "What about...?" hiding behind self-righteous accusations. And he constantly projects, seeing his own weaknesses in other people so he doesn't have to deal with its presence in himself. Disappointment is driven by background expectation. Given that I am not omniscient, one reasonable conclusion when I run across something that I did not know or did not expect is that I don't know everything and my own expectations may be amiss. Hence, Jesus advises people to first check their own eyes for beams. I've read many of the anti-Mormon classics, reviewed several at length, devoting months of effort and hundreds of footnotes, and did not have trouble with any of them. I made a point of preparing as well as I could before hand, and was willing do do serious research to explore questions. What about when an LDS leader does something bad? Well, having read the Bible, and seen what David and Solomon did, and the children of Israel sometimes did, and what Joseph Smith and others were chided for openly in the D&C, I can be pained, but not disillusioned. What are my expectations? I've repeatedly quoted the dictionary definition of "sustain", which means, basically, "put up with the crap." What about the tendency of many LDS to just follow the leader? That, I have learned, is a human tendency. Position 2 of Perry Scheme for Cognitive and Ethical Growth. It's a human tendency not a uniquely defining LDS trait, a strategy for dealing with complexity. Rather than complain about others not being as enlightened as I would prefer, I keep learning myself, to remind me that I am not as enlightened as I would prefer either, and I share what light I have while seeking light from others, and taking Brigham Young's potent advice to "understand men and women as they are, and not as you are." I've read detailed responses to every item on the list, and have contributed to responses at times. ("Seek and ye shall find" actually works, though it makes a difference if you are "seeking to make a man an offender for a word" or "seeking to see whether these things are so.") If you want easy self-justification, grievance lists work. That is an important part of why 12 Step Recovery requires a commitment and effort to "dismantle the grievance story" rather than "Join a grievance community." Every paradigm choice involves deciding "which problems are more important to have solved," and part of what makes a problem important to solve is the door that you want to open. However, if you want to plant the seed, nurture it over time seeing what time and care can do, then you might have a fruitful and enlightening experience. When I look at lists like that, I think of all the things I have learned that go far beyond it, and can easily see that if I had collapsed at the first touch, that some of the most important learning of experiences of my life would never have happened, and I would never have known what I was missing. When one of my friends left the church many decades ago, I sought to understand exactly why such things happen. That took me to libraries, bookstores, bound periodicals, to Kuhn, and Perry, and Barbour, and Nibley, and Dialogue, Sunstone, BYU Studies, Joseph Campbell, Eliade, FARMS, Margaret Barker, Interpreter, and beyond. And that seaching has contributed to my own understanding, and to most of the 38 or so articles I have written since. Still, all we have is gentleness, meekness, persuasion, pure knowledge. If another person turns that away with "What about...?" or "I want to do what I want to do..." all I can do is keep my eyes open, give things time, and re-examine my own assumptions now and then. FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  9. There are more words of Christ in 3 Nephi that those that correspond to Bible chapters. And those who don't consider them, or the Temple context for 3 Nephi and the enormous difference that makes (see Welch's Illuminating the Sermon at the Temple and the Sermon on the Mount, for starters) or the other chapters of the Book of Mormon that contain revelation from Christ, are not likely to learn anything new. The reason why some don't learn anything new is explained in the Bible, with the parable of the sower, and the seed, and the difference in yield depending on the soil and nurture and time. But I have learned a great deal. So the "we" does not apply to me. I've gotten a far better yield from the same seed. Robert nicely linked several important studies of temple issues, which contain a great deal that is new. And what does the Bible say about the afterlife? Not nearly as much as the Book of Mormon. Is Jesus the son of the God of Israel, or, is he the God of Israel? How about the words to the sacrament prayers, or baptismal prayers, or priesthood ordinations, or the identity of the "other sheep" or what about the expectation that the Lord would come. What about the gathering of Israel in the latter days? What about apostasy after the Lord's coming? What about the name of the church? What covenants should we make and to what end? What constitutes the gospel? What is the firm foundation on which we should build? What does it mean to have "fullness of joy"? What is the place of the gentiles? Can they be numbered with Israel? How? And elsewhere in the Book of Mormon are many things that confirm, clarify, and extend much that is in the Bible. As well as important prophesy about the Bible (see 1 Nephi 13) and an explanation when things were lost and how, and the different means by which the information will be restored both by the Book of Mormon and other texts coming through the gentiles after. FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  10. You realize that I am quoting about paradigms based on Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, one of the hundred most important and influential books published in the 20th century? And I personally have tested the Book of Mormon in original ways, and have kept up with arguments by both defenders and skeptics. The range of my reading includes Coe, and qualifies me to knowledgably comment. I notice that you have not commented on the evidence you asked for. In this case, LiDar surveys and the content of the Book of Mormon. LiDar revolutionized the archeology overnight. What you have done instead is to use anti-vax as a paradigmatic metaphor to justify dismissing defenders of the Book of Mormon. The metaphor does all your intellectual work. What should do the work, according to Kuhn are testability, experiment, depth and breadth of explanations and consistency with other information, fruitfulnes, and future promise. You talk about being scientific, but offer only rhetoric and labeling. A black and white view of things also corresponds to Position 2 of The Perry Scheme for Cognitive and Ethical Growth. Just saying. FWIW, Kevin Christensen Canonsburg
  11. How about this? https://bookofmormoncentral.org/blog/4-ways-the-new-maya-discoveries-may-relate-to-the-book-of-mormon It's also important to be a bit reflective on what goes on to define scientific communities, and what we ought to reasonably expect from different communities. We're not playing the same game by the same rules. There are overlaps and intersections, but the overall paradigm involves different sets of rules and concerns and questions and problem fields. In the secular world, angels and books are against the rules and out of the question. One of the main lessons I have learned from reading Coe's occasional comments over the years is that we cannot expect them be as authoritative on the Book of Mormon as they are within their specialties, that if there is anything plausible or remarkable, they would be the ones to tell us for sure. For instance, with Dehlin, he claimed that a lack of brass helmets and iron arrowheads disproved the Book of Mormon, despite neither of them appearing in the text. Coe claimed that since the Great Mother is important in Mesoamerica, and that the Hebrews were strict monotheists, that the contrast obviously discredited the Book of Mormon. To me it demonstrated that Coe has not read Patai's The Hebrew Goddess, or Dever's Did God Have a Wife? or Daniel Peterson's "Nephi and His Asherah." And there is much more. FWIW, Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  12. Try looking not for modern slogans but the ideas behind them. Which promises? The notable thing about 3 Nephi 8-29 is the Temple setting, and that both implies and demonstrates temple promises. 3 Nephi contains rather more than just repetition of the Sermon on the Mount, but extends into a post-resurrection discourse. See Welch here on the Temple: https://publications.mi.byu.edu/book/illuminating-the-sermon-at-the-temple-sermon-on-the-mount/ And see Nibley on comparisons to the Old World 40 Accounts not contained in the Bible: https://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1112&index=21 And not everything said was written down, nor do we have everything that was written down. Just an abridgement. And it it important, when considering the notion of the Book of Mormon restoring certain "plain and precious things" not contained in the Bible, that there is more examine than just the Book of Mormon. Barker on the Secret Tradition: http://www.margaretbarker.com/Papers/SecretTradition.pdf She begins by observing that " There was far more to the teaching of Jesus than is recorded in the canonical gospels. For several centuries a belief persisted among Christian writers that there had been a secret tradition entrusted to only a few of his followers." All of this is worth a look and a ponder, I think. It's important that the LDS do lot let our self-concept be "colonized", that is, taken from those surface characteristics chosen that mark us as "other," as not like our critics, whether secular or various Christians. Rather, we ought to think in terms of our personal covenants, and the setting in which they are made and with whom we make them. FWIW, Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  13. Regarding Jesus as the incarnation of the God of the Old Testament, that is "God in Flesh": Barker's The Great Angel: A Study of Israel's Second God makes this case in detail, showing the original distinction between El Elyon, God Most High, and his son, Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel, the Lord of Hosts. And it also happens to be the clear message of the Book of Mormon: https://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=2694&index=4 Brant Gardner has an exceptionally good description of how this all works. https://www.fairmormon.org/conference/august-2003/monotheism-messiah-and-mormons-book FWIW, Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  14. In addition to Mark's and Pogi's apt points, it also helps to look up "sustain" in a good dictionary. It is a super word, describing a full range of responses that any viable organization ought to get from its members if it is to survive the humanity of those members. Sustain 1. To keep up; keep going; maintain. Aid, assist, comfort. 2. to supply as with food or provisions: 3. to hold up; support 4. to bear; endure 5. to suffer; experience: to sustain a broken leg. 6. to allow; admit; favor 7. to agree with; confirm. This means that I as a member of the gathering, as part of the church, when I raise my hand to sustain other members in their callings, I promise God that at the very least, I will put up with whatever difficulties arise. We all have choices to make in dealing with people who don’t live up to our expectations. One involves whether to adjust our own expectations. Another involves whether to resent people for being human, or to forgive them, as well as ourselves, for being human. Our choices turn out to affect the quality of our lives as well as our faith. FWIW, Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  15. Of course, till I hit 53 or so, I could and did sit on the couch and eat ice cream every night if I felt like it, and I had minimal consequences. It wasn't until I had unexpected consequences on the scales that I found a reason to change. From that point on (I am 65 now), it was not a matter of going on a temporary diet or exercise program but adapting to the new reality via permanent changes of lifestyle. And that involves an adaptive set of ongoing changes that continue until I get the results I want. My wife has a different metabolism, different health issues (things like pregnancy and endometriosis and knee replacements cannot be an issue for me, as they has been for her) , and therefore different realities to deal with. On the one hand, Patrick Carnes observes a range in commitments that correlate directly to effort and results. I wish things were different. I want things to be different. I will try to make things different. I will do whatever it takes. On the other hand, even, "whatever it takes" is subject to the circumstances described by the Serenity Prayer. "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." My wife simply cannot do some of the things I can do. She has never been able to eat they way I did. And that means "whatever it takes" will not be the same for her, and subject to different constraints and costs. So the things she cannot change is not the same as the things I cannot change. Neither of us can "do whatever it takes" and become younger. And the things I have had to change, doing whatever it takes, is not the same as the list of things she cannot change. And the price we have to pay to reach a particular goal or ideal may not be the same either. What I can do with regular walking and limiting snacking to weekends may come at the cost of bariatric surgery for someone else. But yes, I agree that our actions do best show what our treasure actually is. It's just happens that some one who does not know the full circumstances of what a different person can or cannot change and at what cost, is not always the same. There is a price to pay for the things that I want most that includes some other things I want. FWIW, Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
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