Jump to content


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

523 Excellent


About readstoomuch

  • Rank
    Seasoned Member: Separates Light & Dark

Profile Information

  • Gender

Recent Profile Visitors

2,790 profile views
  1. Peggy Stack Reports Missionary Numbers Are Still Declining

    Yes. Unfortunately our mission president does not have that vision. I have tried to explain to missionaries and future missionaries that it is about the work of salvation wherever that work may be.
  2. Peggy Stack Reports Missionary Numbers Are Still Declining

    There are definitely issues with missionary work. About 10 percent of missionaries seem to be coming home early. Most of those from mental or behavioral problems. Not entirely, as there are a few with regular medical disorders such as torn ligaments and other such things. Some of the missionaries coming back have left the Church. More than it used to be, as far as I can tell. This includes my oldest son. My youngest son is on a mission in Europe and is having a good experience. Some of the trouble is about what to do during the day. In modern industrialized countries there is not much to do. Here stateside it is that way. The elders can`t see widows or single women without another brother with them. The sisters we have now are in two wards around us. They can see widows and sisters during the day from both wards. Our wards are associated with the local food bank and so this has given the missionaries things to do during the day. Studies show that missionaries spend at least 10 hours a week in service have 35 percent less depression than those who don’t. Some mental health professionals have recommended service as well as two pdays a week. Two pdays a week is not going over with some people, but it could make a difference for some with anxiety or depression. Until the missionaries can be integrated with the wards more directly I am not sure missionary work will change. If service could be a bigger part of missionary work, I think eventually people would come into the Church. No guarantee, but I think service opens doors. As baptismal rates drop, I don’t think doubling down on members to do more is going to work. I have thought about all of this stuff for hours, but its hard to make changes happen. Even when you are a ward missionary or in the bishopric. So, I see really good things from missionary service. Then, I have reservations and things I don’t like.
  3. Reconciling the Lucy Walker story

    Boy, I was going to write something like this. JLHPROF probably said it better than I would have. You can't really have a discussion about polygamy. Every time it deteriorates into what it has. I don't think we understand it and probably never will in this life. Especially, the early introduction that basically had to be secretive and was controversial. I think Bill knew how it would go when he started the thread. That's all I have to say.
  4. I tried to imply this in a previous post, but I will state it more plainly. The 1832 is in his handwriting, but he also never took the time to publish it. It is a lovely account and I only see Lord when I read it also. It doesn't fully state there were two beings. Was it a rough draft? Was he looking for others to help him put it into a publishable form? He must have known the 1832 account was out there, yet he opted to print the 1838 version. I think they get compared as two apples, when they are not both officially printed, corrected and "finalized" for lack of a better term. I know in some people's book the handwritten version should be given more sway. Yet, for the most part he dictated his documents. Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith Translation, Book of Abraham, and Doctrine and Covenants. That medium seems more comfortable to him than the handwritten process. Not that he wasn't articulate or intelligent. That is a different conversation than whether he could write as well as he could dictate.
  5. In 1981-1983 I was exposed to the multiple accounts. This is a very complicated subject. Much easier for someone to spit out a few statements that seem earth shattering such as the CES Letter. Of all of the sources I read James Allen and Milton Backman (article by Allen, book by Backman)were the best sources I read. There was also this big pamphlet passed around my mission called A Response to Mormonism: Shadow or Reality by an Anonymous LDS Historian. I thought the anonymous critique brought up some very good things. After having digested all of it and reading all of the accounts, a few things became obvious to me. The First Visitation was not discussed early on in the Church as much as Moroni`s appearance. The date and time of his event was somewhat nebulous to him. He saw it more as a personal experience early on. The 1832 version is the only one in his handwriting. I have some suspicion that he didn't feel like it was a polished enough version to publish. He was not as articulate when he was writing himself, compared to the revelations he was dictating. His letters to Emma are an obvious reference point. The visitation appeared to be between him being 14-15. A year or so ago, I realized it could be hard for us in this modern age with smartphones, watches and reference points to understand someone not remembering the exact day something happened. Since we don't know what it was like, I suspend judgement on it. I don't want to practice presentism when judging Joseph Smith's situation. I also find Steven Harper`s book and articles useful. So in the end I thought all of the versions were faith promoting. Harper brings up some issues about how memories are formed, which are worth taking note. I never saw the First Visitation in quite the same terms after reading all of them. I don't think it is cut and dry as we can make it sound sometimes. Much like trying to understand what Joseph`s translation process meant. I can forgive the Church for not trying to teach all of the versions in Sunday School. I think scholars are still coming to grips with the subtleties involved. The appearance and its meaning took years for him to understand. I apologize if I don't respond to someone asking about my statements. Very busy. A final thought I just had is that all of the ensign articles were very easy to find compared to the books in 1983. Even as a missionary. I had copies of the articles on my mission. The pamphlet by an anonymous LDS historian was readily available to missionaries, but many weren't concerned. I think that says much to the issues now. Most people/members are not really that concerned about the nitty gritty of history. I, on the other hand, was greatly concerned. The sources were not that hard to come by. I always thought that they (the First Vision accounts and other historical items) should be talked about more often. I even started to write an account trying to use all of the documents that I had. Its not an easy task. Since I was never able to write something, maybe others struggled with trying to discuss the complexities of the First Vision account in Church publications.
  6. How can one trust the Holy Ghost

    The opposite end of the spectrum would be that I can`t trust science because it let me down or was at some (many) points wrong. I came across a Journal of the American Medical Association in 1950 and it said my doctor prefers Winston Lights, so I smoked. Nazi scientists wrote about Eugenics. We must select for the very best and exclude (exterminate) all those genetically inferior. Its obvious that Nazi`s are bad and that isn`t really science. Then you read headlines about Down`s syndrome almost being eradicated. Its simple, an early prenatal test is done from umbilical chord blood or a placenta sample. If it shows Down`s syndrome or other defects, then you get an abortion. Society is saved the cost and burden of that child throughout their lifespan. That`s Eugenics, maybe not by a machine gun or gas chamber, but still a similar result. There are many reports of a bus picking up handicapped children for school in Germany under Hitler and one day they just never came home. Another example, this drug was good for me and now it is bad. Am I to believe it was good or bad for me? Maybe its both. Science is a good tool, one that I need, but it doesn`t have all of the answers or always get things right. The Holy Spirit, scriptures and prophets are also a tool that I should take advantage of. In fact, all the better if I use all of the tools that are given to me. Science makes a model, works off of that theory and then new information is received. If the information can be reproduced or fit into a model that has proof also, then I can teach it as a potential model. Until the model is proven wrong in some way and almost always it is, at least in some way. That process happens within religion also. Hopefully, the process leads to more correct facts over time.
  7. This is about the 4th topic posted on this message board lately that seems chronologically to follow the very topic being posted on the MormonDiscussionPodcast Facebook page. Lately there seems to be an increasing vitriol to that Facebook page. Sort of a cross between the Tanners, MormonStories, MormonThink and Richard Abanes. Bits and pieces of rhetoric and innuendo from the past with an occasional real fact. The research to get some kind of understanding of the subtleties involved is intense. It is sad how many are deceived by this anti-Mormon rehash. The people who seem to follow this blindly is amazing
  8. LDS Chapel to Become Jewish Synagogue *

    Seventh Day Adventists and Lds share churches fairly frequently in the south. Just before Katrina I went to a professional conference in New Orleans.Church was held at a beautiful synagogue. Wondered if it survived.
  9. Evolution presupposes that a genetic mutation or trait brings a competitive advantage for survival. If a trait is not passed on then it dies out. That is one of the backbones of evolution. Sometimes it can take awhile to figure that out. Could being gay also coselect for speed as an example? In that case the gay guy can outrun the saber tooth tiger. The trait would still have to be passed on, but someone could make a theory and see if it ever is proven.
  10. Mormon 9:22–24 vs Mark 16: 15-18

    I asked a question also. What seems weird to me is that the post that started this thread and the dozens of other threads on your Facebook do not seem to be “leading with faith.” Your motto
  11. Mormon 9:22–24 vs Mark 16: 15-18

    Is it fair to say that Bill Reel brought up the argument without tools to reconcile it within a faithful context?
  12. Mormon Discussion podcast and negativity

    I think your post and a link as an advertising gimmick is against board rules. This is a CES Letter knockoff. You are accomplished at gathering the biggest hits of anti-Mormonism. You are not balanced in giving the best LDS arguments or being balanced. You have good hair, though. It spikes quite nicely. After looking at this I have to say MDP is so much more balanced than you my friend. I know I started this thread about the negativity, but he puts far more effort in that you do in that direction. His sources are generally so much better and reliable, even if I disagree with him sometimes. So, I think Bill could do more good without the negativity, but I think maybe it is time to stop the vinegar myself about MPD. Introspection is good for the soul and we all need it.
  13. Mormon Discussion podcast and negativity

    This thread has been critical or at least had a number of different opinions about MDP. I`m sure that is irritating, but that`s what happens through most of MDP podcasts. The Church and its leaders are subject to criticism and opinions about its supposed wrongdoings continuously. One of the latest podcasts/posts is directed at Elder Oaks recent conference talk. There is extensive presentism concerning what happened in the past. Because something happened in the past, how do we defend the Church`s present position. In particular Elder Oaks must become a historian and answer the questions. If not to MDP directly, then down the chain of command. I have no idea if Elder Oaks reads the website. Do you have to have a Phd in Church history to be an apostle. At least some history is reasonable, but to what level of knowledge? Many of these historical issues have no black and white answers, often just opinions. Isn`t the Spirit the most important thing the Apostle should have. I was a fan of MDP and have trouble being one now. It seems like it is spinning out of control and I just hope it doesn`t drag too many people with it. People will say ignore the podcast. Fine. MDP sees its mission to keep the issues in the Church`s face. Who is supposed to keep MDP honest in what it does?
  14. Mormon Discussion podcast and negativity

    In the podcasts I heard messy quite a bit and variations on that theme. Then unhealthiness, then the abusive parent. That may have been when I finally went to that place in my head where this isn`t a "middle ground" podcast any more. It can be a broken record also about all that the brethren do wrong. Are there refreshing and uplifting moments-yes, I can`t deny that. It`s just harder to find and if it gets hard enough it gets tiresome trying.
  15. Mormon Discussion podcast and negativity

    The thread has morphed a bit, but probably got into the meat of the matter. MDP seems to be trying to make sure that members know that realistic history has not always been taught correctly by the institutional Church. I think that well into the 50s people were more familiar with polygamy, one of the big sticking points. Fawn Brodie published No Man Knows My History in 1945. John Widstoe and BH Roberts published some books in the 1st half of the century that also discussed polygamy. BH Roberts was criticized for how blunt he was in the 6 volume Documentary History of the Church (not to be confused with the 7 volume History of the Church). In the late 70s and early 80s The Story of The Latter day Saints and The Mormon Experience were available. I remember from Quaker to Latter day Saint that was quite candid about Edwin Wooley Kimball, his plural wives and his somewhat stubborn nature. This was another book by Leonard Arrington. I remember saying to myself that we needed to teach more of this in Church. Something that about 20-30 year really started to happen. It was in fits and spurts before then. In 1983 I went to hear Leonard Arrington talk. I asked if I could spend some time talking to him and he asked me to have lunch with him. I kind of in a round about way said that I had been disappointed and confused to learn so much after my mission about Lds history . It was quite a positive experience to talk to him, much like talking to Richard Bushman. He said they were just barely getting the papers catalogued and professionalized to a point that serious research could go on. Restrictions on the archives were unfortunate and not unusual for institutions such as Churches and Universities. He also felt that there was a new openness and that we don`t have any thing to be ashamed of and there "was no document that he came across that had caused him to lose his faith in the Church." I know he had run ins with the general authorities. You might even say that I had more sympathy for the Arrington side than what I saw the institution do. I have read Prince`s book and others about Leonard. That day talking to him gave me a lasting impression that a person who had dug through all of the muck and details I think Bill is trying to make sure we know was a true believer. I have had some similar conversations with Larry Porter who I know the best. Larry was out there digging in the trenches in documents all throughout New York and Pennsylvania. One of the things that gets lost in talking about the foibles is how much positive the Church has to tell. Leonard brought that up. The richness of the material that is positive is so vast that it takes forever to go through. The every day saints who weren't general authorities have left numerous diaries and sources. The Restoration is an interesting and profound group of people. There is negative side or more blunly , we are human. The human side of the story needs to come out more often. Our manuals need updating in a serious kind of way. I would love the Milk Strippings story to be told differently. I think it will happen. More has happened in the last 10 years than I even expected. In the end the real job of our Church is to prepare the earth for the return. I pray that we can tell the amazing story of the Mormons. I fear that we spend too much time in the nineteenth century, when the twentieth has brought about so much. The foundational stories are important, but as new lands open up there are many new pioneers this very day whose voice also needs to be heard.