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About HappyJackWagon

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    6 foot 5. Actually 6 ' 8" with his afro

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  1. Thanks for chiming in Stem. For every miraculous healing via priesthood blessing where the doctors can't explain the recovery, there is another miraculous healing with no priesthood blessing that the doctors can't explain. IMO- for priesthood blessings to be considered useful for the purpose of healing there needs to be some kind of consistency there. For example, if there is an average of one "unexplained" or "miraculous" healing for every 100 priesthood blessing then we would need to ask ourselves if that 1% is significant enough to place faith in a blessing. If I were going in for a medical treatment with a 1% success rate I may still do it because 1% is better than 0% but I wouldn't have any faith in the treatment. If I'm told the procedure has a 1% success rate I can set proper expectations. If I was told the procedure was always successful if I just have a good attitude and believe it will be successful, even though the real success rate is only 1%, then I would be misplacing my faith and placing an unrealistic hope in a medical treatment that didn't deserve my faith and hope. Of course there is no way of knowing what percentage of healing blessings are successful. I used the 1% rate as an example but personally believe it is MUCH lower than that. In fact, like Stem states, I believe the success rates of healing from priesthood blessings would mirror rates of other unexplained healings that didn't include a blessing. ETA- why should one expect a healing blessing to work at any greater rate than a regular prayer? Do they have the same success rate? If so, why is there a need for a healing blessing? If not, why isn't prayer sufficient?
  2. I think you're getting confused between past and present. My present state of faith is much different than my past state. My present state of exercising faith in healings is non-existent because of the experiences I've had. I experimented upon the word and found no good fruit regarding physical healing. Therefore I choose not to exercise faith in that regard. I don't believe it any more. But I'm acknowledging that IF I witnessed a good fruit I'd be willing to give it renewed consideration. Seems pretty reasonable to me.
  3. I'm not sure why it's confusing. I've exercised a significant amount of faith throughout my life, including the giving and receiving of healing blessings. I no longer do simply because the exercise of that faith (or test) didn't yield any results. There were no positive fruits from the healing blessings given over decades so I no long believe them to be any kind of miraculous bestowal of power. They are generally nice words aimed at helping a person feel more hopeful. I've never witnessed them either. I've had good experiences but nothing I'd rate as miraculous in any way. I disagree. If I witnessed a healing blessing that miraculously worked in a tangible way, like regaining sight or limb, then I would definitely be swayed. But after a lifetime of exercising faith and seeing no miracles, then I'm left to wonder why that is. I think that is a legitimate question.
  4. I agree that if a "healing blessing" isn't actually about healing the physical body, then it is likely to be viewed as being much more successful than if it being measured against a tangible, verifiable result. But if the healing blessing isn't really about healing the body maybe it should be renamed or at least change the expectation from physical healing. I suspect that most people who receive a blessing for the purpose of being healed from an ailment are actually expecting to be healed from that ailment. I disagree with your assertion that witnessing a miraculous healing would negate the need for faith. The miracle would point in the direction to which a person should place their faith; Jesus. But just because he healed them wouldn't necessarily mean everything else he said and did was true. A person would need to choose to follow and exercise faith, using the evidence of his works as a reason to motivate the faith.
  5. There's been a lot of talk of powerful miracles on this thread and others. I see Marginal Gains stating that he has never witnessed a truly miraculous healing. I've given numerous blessings during my life, some for major health issues but most for minor ones. I generally felt pretty confident giving a blessing of healing that a cold would be overcome, even if it would take a couple of weeks. Yet I've never seen a deaf person be healed nor have I witnessed a blind person receiving sight. I've definitely never seen an amputee be healed and have a limb restored. Has anyone witnessed that? I'm willing to hear your first hand accounts if you have them, but I seriously doubt they exist. Is one of the good fruits of healing blessings in these serious cases actually that the person is healed? Where is the evidence of that? I've experimented on the word and exercised faith, yet the ill still die, the deaf remains deaf, the blind remain in darkness. IF the gift of healing really existed beyond the theoretical I think we'd be seeing these things. I think people would be flocking to the church if it was demonstrated that healing blessings worked. Yet that doesn't seem to be the case. Healing blessings seem to bring comfort in some cases, but little else.
  6. One can choose to call the sweeping of a drive by a neighbor a miracle. That's their choice. But to many, myself included, it is very unimpressive to assign supernatural/divine intervention in something so mundane that it could literally happen in every town with snow on a given day. People do kind things. That's not a miracle. It's being human. We should be thankful and appreciative, but calling it a miracle only serves to lower expectations and change definitions for what has traditionally been considered a miracle, like the examples in the OP. Moses parted the red sea. John Smith swept my drive. I doubt the drive will make it into any future scripture. One testifies of God's strength and power, the other testifies of a person's deep desire to find God's strength and power, and become satisfied when someone sweeps the drive. Such attribution of "miracles' renders the word meaningless.
  7. In 200 years there will likely be records of major miracles occurring today. It takes time for those stories to grow into the kinds of major miracles you're talking about. The difference is that everything today is verifiable. There are audio/video records of so much that it may be harder for the tales to exaggerate to those levels. In some cases things are exaggerated on purpose, but in many cases it's just the natural progression of good people trying to build up the faith of others with affirming stories. A few years ago Pres. Nelson personally told me, in response to a very similar question I asked him, that we don't need the same kinds of miracles/manifestations that the early saints received because the leaders are more mature in listening to the still small voice. Frankly, that sounds like an admission that these things aren't happening, and that it is justified because we don't need them. I disagree, but when prophets/apostles don't have the same kinds of manifestations Joseph did, then they have to explain it somehow.
  8. Radio West- Policy

    I don't recall people claiming to know as much as they were speculating. Personally, it was my wishful thinking that it would be reversed quickly, but with Pres. Nelson and Pres Oaks at the helm I don't see it going away any time soon.
  9. I'm feeling a disconnect between your title and your post.The title of your post asks if the Trib is anti-Mormon but then you cite the comments section for your evidence. Is it fair to suggest the Trib is anti because many of their commenters may be? Are some stories unflattering? Of course. Why should anyone expect differently? For example, the BYU/Title IX stories weren't flattering for the church, yet they were true, and let to positive change. One could argue that the Trib helped to make BYU and the church better institutions. In my experience it's usually a mistake to label someone as anti, but it seems even less wise to label a newspaper anti based on comments posted by readers online.
  10. Membership numbers and other stats not announced?

    Agreed. The church has the methods of determining legitimate levels of high engagement through temple recommends/attendance and tithing, among other things. Of course there are "less active" who don't attend church as often but still consider themselves Mormon. There are some that come every week who aren't endowed and who don't pay tithing, so those "less actives" would be harder to count properly. The only way to do that is by determining activity levels by county church attendance. Of course that is an easily manipulated number. By simply changing policy the church could claim a person who attends once per year is "active" instead of the once a quarter guideline they have now. But that really doesn't reflect on the person's actual level of engagement.
  11. Membership numbers and other stats not announced?

    Good points. Thanks. The question I have with "real growth" is what is really being measured? For example, the church can have legitimate "real growth" in the number of temples it is building and operating. That number is merely a reflection of the will of church leaders. Same with unit size. Those things can be changed as they desire. It is often assumed that those areas of "real growth" are indicative of "real growth" in strength and activation of the members, but that is merely an assumption. At work, I can grow my portfolio in new accounts by simply opening more accounts than I close. I can legitimately say I have "real growth" even though the value of the new accounts don't cover the higher value of accounts I've lost. IOW- I can grow new accounts yet still lose in the areas that really matter, like profitability. New accounts can be manipulated to an extent by providing special offers or discounted rates to new customers, yet if I can't manipulate the profitability. With the church, we simply don't have enough information to know if Elder Cook was right about the church being stronger than ever. We can count the number of new temples/wards/stakes, but that doesn't really tell us anything about the strength of the membership. What are the rates for current temple recommend holders, home teaching statistics, church attendance? It would be interesting to see the trends to get an idea of whether or not church membership really is stronger now than it was 20 years ago. I have my doubts.
  12. Membership numbers and other stats not announced?

    Church growth was around 1.5%. Global population growth is @ 1.1% which really surprised me. I thought it would have been higher. Of course the real number reflected in 1.5% of a 16 million member church is a far cry from 1.1% growth on a population of around 8 billion. That means 75-80 million people are added to the global population each year while 240,000 are added to church membership. So if we divide 240,000 by 75,000,000 we get an annual church growth rate around .3% of the global population.
  13. Growth rates are decreasing. IIRC last year was the lowest growth rate, in convert baptism as well as new births, the church has seen in decades. But that could be an outlier...an anomaly. But this year's growth rates have weakened further. 2 years in a row is the beginning of a trend in the wrong direction. But yes, there is still growth, just not the kind to brag about. ETA- typically, in the business world if a corporation has a declining rate of growth, they would not declare the corporation to be "stronger than ever". This is one of the reasons Elder Cook's comments seemed so out of touch. Slowing growth hardly indicates "stronger than ever". He did not expound to describe the data he was basing his comment on so we can only assume he knew what he was talking about by making the statement that seems unsupported by the limited data we do have.
  14. What is Going Well in Your Life?

    SMAC- What a great idea for a thread! What's going well for old HappyJack? Let's see. Family is great- marriage to a partner who is perfect for me and 4 healthy, active, intelligent, studious, accomplished teenagers. My health is excellent- Over the past year I've gotten into the best shape of my adult life. I've shed many extra pounds through consistent diet and exercise. I've become much more active physically and feeling great. Having great success at work- While I don't particularly enjoy my job, it is going very well. Receiving good recognition and rewards. *Bonus- It's spring time so everything is better