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jkwilliams

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Everything posted by jkwilliams

  1. jkwilliams

    President Nelson in Bolivia

    Even after all these years, I still get emotional about the wonderful people of Bolivia. I know most of the people President Nelson mentioned, and I rejoice knowing how happy they and all the rest of the Bolivian Saints must have been to hear from President Nelson. Apparently, he was suffering from soroche (altitude sickness), so it must have been that much more strenuous to give that talk in La Paz. So, for anyone interested, here's the full video of his talk. I'm slightly disappointed that his translator was not Bolivian (obvious from his accent and a few other clues).
  2. jkwilliams

    President Nelson in Bolivia

    And it's pretty cool that he learned enough Spanish to speak to them in their language.
  3. jkwilliams

    Missions are not boring!

    A coworker of mine, who was baptized in the church but has never been active, is currently reading the book I wrote about my mission. Just about every morning he comes over and says something like, "I just read about [an experience I had]. Did that really happen?" This morning he came by asking about a sister missionary who got pregnant, and when I confirmed it happened, he said, "You always think of missions as being boring, like really regimented, but wow, it is all so interesting." I thought about this and replied that one of the first things I learned on my mission is that, despite the rules and reporting, you and your companion were pretty much on your own. You could have done just about anything and then just made up your reports (I knew people who did just that). But I also realize that what makes a mission interesting is both the stuff you expect to happen (or at least hope it will) as well as the unexpected. So, I have some questions: What made your mission "interesting"? What experiences that you expected made it interesting, and what happened that you hadn't expected that made it interesting? For me, it's a lot of the little stuff, the things I take for granted but that cause other people to do a double-take: the weekly shower at my wife's house, using money as toilet paper, hanging by a toe on the outside of a packed bus. But it's the big stuff, too: saving an infant who was near death because we happened to have the recipe for a rehydration drink, meeting a family who had literally just been praying for God to send them messengers when we knocked on their door.
  4. jkwilliams

    Missionary Safety

    Six years ago, I presented a paper at Sunstone on the apparent unwritten law in the church that you never say anything negative about your missionary experience. The only exceptions are when you use the story to talk about something positive you learned or gained from it. Here's the original draft of my Sunstone paper on my blog: https://runtu.wordpress.com/2012/07/31/spinning-the-mission-experience/ And here's the audio of my presentation: https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/sins-of-omission-spinning-the-missionary-experience/ It seems someone else has reached the same conclusions and has started a web site about discussing traumatic mission experiences and how the church can do better in preparing and protecting missionaries so these experiences are less common. https://www.timeforcambio.org The story of one of the founders of the site is pretty horrifying. She served in the Bolivia Cochabamba mission, just as I did. A year into her mission, she was raped and her companion assaulted. The story is pretty awful, but to me, the worst part is that they were given no preparation to keep safe, they were ignored when they told mission leaders they were worried about their safety, and the assaults themselves were minimized by leaders and other missionaries. Here's the story (be warned it's pretty grim): https://www.timeforcambio.org/single-post/2016/05/08/Finding-support-and-help-how-your-community-can-make-a-difference I must say I'm gobsmacked that in 2016 the church was still not doing much to teach missionaries how to keep safe. Back in my day, we had "ambassadorship class" in the MTC, where we were told not to talk about the USA or politics, but that was as far as it went. We were expected, as this sister was, to work after dark, even in the most dangerous areas, and we were repeatedly told that if we followed the rules, prayed for the spirit, and kept the commandments, we would be protected. I know of two sisters in my mission who were abducted and robbed, but who somehow convinced their abductors not to rape them, and of course, two missionaries were murdered in my mission. And yet, 30 years later, the church was still providing no specific guidance and no resources either to keep the missionaries safe or to help them after a traumatic incident. She does note that there have been some positive changes: What kinds of things can be done to improve missionary safety? What kind of training did you receive as a missionary? As I said, we received no specific training about safety or what to do in an emergency. Let's hope that is changing for the better.
  5. jkwilliams

    Legacy LDS Message Board Members

    Yep, that's him. Still has the spiky hair.
  6. jkwilliams

    Legacy LDS Message Board Members

    I remember him well. As I recall, he taught at BYU for a while.
  7. jkwilliams

    Legacy LDS Message Board Members

    I started on an email list (Zion's-something-something) in 1994 and then was on alt.religion.mormon a few months later. Dang, I feel really old. I'm not sure how I ended up on the FAIR board, which evolved into this one, but I think it was around 2002-2003. It is kind of fun to look at my old a.r.m. posts to see that earnest young high priest taking on the antis. Good times.
  8. jkwilliams

    Mormon Leaks document on handling Child Abuse

    It says it was an accusation, but then it talks about the church working with the victim, so mixed messages, IMO.
  9. jkwilliams

    Mormon Leaks document on handling Child Abuse

    I thought I did meaningfully explain my position, even giving examples. Oh, well. I kind of knew you'd end up with "But it'll never be enough." For whom? That you think my thoughts merit nothing more than "where will it end?" suggests this conversation is a waste of time. Definitely not playing this game, either.
  10. jkwilliams

    Mormon Leaks document on handling Child Abuse

    FWIW, leaks are a lousy way of providing transparency.
  11. jkwilliams

    Mormon Leaks document on handling Child Abuse

    As I said, it's about accountability. You can provide information for accountability that does not involve putting out any information about individuals. Frankly, the idea that transparency is all or nothing is ridiculous and clearly an attempt to shut down discussion.
  12. jkwilliams

    Mormon Leaks document on handling Child Abuse

    I've said nothing about leaks. How does that follow from anything I've said?
  13. jkwilliams

    Mormon Leaks document on handling Child Abuse

    I'm not sure how that follows from what I said. I'm not suggesting that the church needs to divulge detailed information about, per your example, a case of sexual abuse. Not sure where you're getting that. As a member, I think it would be helpful to know what the church is doing to better prevent and deal with sexual abuse of children. I'm quite sure the church keeps statistics on this, and publishing those statistics might be a good barometer of how well we are doing as a church. Would anyone's privacy be violated? Not that I can see. I feel the same way about finances. "Unfettered transparency" is a strawman because no one is asking for the church to publish every last detail of its financial operations. Would it be good to know what the church takes in and how it is managing the money? Of course. I've been to countless leadership meetings that have stressed "accountability," but it's always accountability to your priesthood line authority going up; there's no accountability going the other way. Personally, I think some accountability from leaders to those under their stewardship would improve leadership and make the church run more efficiently. I don't find that unreasoned or unreasonable.
  14. jkwilliams

    Mormon Leaks document on handling Child Abuse

    Take finances, for example. Until 1959, the church published an annual report of its income and expenditures, and then stopped doing so. President Hinckley said that how money from donations is spent is a matter between the members who donate and the church, but we as members have no right to see what the church is doing with the funds we donate. I'd like to see at least some reporting of income and expenditures, which would increase accountability to the members who gave the money in the first place. Yes, I understand that the church is predicated on absolute trust and sustaining of church leaders, but keeping the numbers under wraps does nothing to encourage trust. I don't know what the right answer is, but yes, more transparency would be a positive thing.
  15. jkwilliams

    Mormon Leaks document on handling Child Abuse

    I haven't seen a lot of calls for "unfettered transparency," just some transparency from the Church. Do members have a right to any information about the Church? Seems to me you're arguing they don't.
  16. jkwilliams

    Mormon Leaks document on handling Child Abuse

    It doesn’t suggest that to me.
  17. jkwilliams

    Mormon Leaks document on handling Child Abuse

    I know that. Trust me, I know.
  18. jkwilliams

    Mormon Leaks document on handling Child Abuse

    I stand by what I said. That 42 reported cases a year doesn't strike you as sad or upsetting isn't my problem.
  19. jkwilliams

    Mormon Leaks document on handling Child Abuse

    Yikes, as in that's 42 reported cases a year, knowing that the vast majority of these cases are never reported at all. I'm not suggesting the church or its missionaries have a higher rate of abuse than the rest of society, but that seems to be how you are interpreting it.
  20. jkwilliams

    Mormon Leaks document on handling Child Abuse

    I wonder how much has changed in 6 years. I don't think we can say one way or the other.
  21. jkwilliams

    Mormon Leaks document on handling Child Abuse

    As I asked earlier, does anyone know if the mission president is required to report? Is he considered the same kind of ecclesiastical leader as, say, a bishop or stake president?
  22. jkwilliams

    Mormon Leaks document on handling Child Abuse

    I should note that I broke my rule in not talking to Ryan about this board. I asked him about this because I wanted the answer. It's about what I thought it would be.
  23. jkwilliams

    Mormon Leaks document on handling Child Abuse

    I don't enjoy this at all, but I guess you find it funny that I'm interested. I've mentioned before that there is a long history of child abuse in my wife's extended family, and this kind of stuff just hits home with me. I readily admit it's hard to respond to this without emotions being involved.
  24. jkwilliams

    Mormon Leaks document on handling Child Abuse

    You're right about the 6 months. My mistake. Either way, I agree with you that this is a summary intended to address legal issues, not ecclesiastical issues. But please stop reading "hostility" into my comments. Not helpful.
  25. jkwilliams

    Mormon Leaks document on handling Child Abuse

    Obviously, but what's there is certainly interesting ¿no ve?
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