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About esodije

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  1. So, supposedly Denson has her pick of three law firms and is trying to decide on one? That seems pretty unlikely—we’ll see.
  2. I think the point of filing what seem like frivolous, even stupid lawsuits is to push the envelope of what the courts will allow to be litigated. Fifty years ago, who would have thought that class-action suits against tobacco companies, never mind suits asserting a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, would produce the results they have done? I never underestimate what activist courts are capable of.
  3. It would be nice to know the unalloyed truth, whatever that is. For all the speculation and efforts to interpret the muddled evidence that has come out, it’s still literally the case that the truth could lie anywhere in a range between an MTC president’s having had inappropriate conversations with sister missionaries (and the church’s having no inkling of it as an institution until much later) and said MTC president’s having tried to force himself sexually on a sister missionary (or two?) in a manner legally constituting rape (and the church’s knowing about it but leaving him in that assignment until his term was up). If the news media had been doing their job, we would long ago have had input from other accusers (including the other MTC accuser), people who’ve known Bishop at various stages of his career, Denson’s ex-husband, missionaries who knew Denson in the MTC and interacted with her there for hours on end every day, and law-enforcement agencies that have either arrested Denson or investigated various allegations made by her over the years. But people seem to prefer inkblots, and that’s the perfect description of this case.
  4. There could never have been any question, as a statistical matter, that more missionaries would come home early when the starting ages were lowered. It undoubtedly has “captured” at least a percentage of the young people who might otherwise have drifted away after high school, but it goes without saying that 18-year-olds are less mature and less able to bear adversity than are 19-year-olds. There was always going to be a downside.
  5. Well, if a black brother ordinance worker can wear dreads, I want to be able to grow a beard.
  6. The people in question were well on their way out in any case; I’m confident I played no major part in it. (I wasn’t the SS instructor, by the way.) Moreover, we had young married women who were getting offended in Relief Society along the same lines, so the generational divide was/is pretty systemic. I will say this: it’s pretty difficult to talk about church history, or even how the advent of the US contributed to the Restoration of the Gospel, without getting into politics on some level. I will also say this: people who make lots of noise about church history being the reason for their apostasy seem like so many Claude Raineses exclaiming, “I’m shocked—shocked!—to find inconsistencies and inaccuracies in the official accounts!” It’s usually a pretense for some other source of dissatisfaction, something to which I’m not unsympathetic.
  7. Oh, don’t be so sanctimonious. Of course it started up in Gospel Doctrine, and, worse, it played out in social media. The irony is that I wasn’t even unsympathetic to many of their ideas (same-sex marriage [at least as a matter of civil law], expanded priesthood/leadership roles for women in the church, honest appraisals of church history, healthcare for all, even an “Aquinian” attitude toward early-stage abortion, etc.). However, these days I come off as a right-wing nutball simply because I believe (a) that religious matters should be addressed in a top-down fashion (you know, like from God), whereas (b) specific “common consent” policy matters should be addressed organically through our elected officials (and if they’re too worried about remaining viable for re-election to take up controversial subjects, or to impeach over-reaching judges who think every social issue is a nail to be struck with their “constitutional” hammer, I say turn all of the buggers out).
  8. One of the young couples who left were offended by my expressed belief that social change is better left to Congress and state legislatures—using as an example the fact that the NM legislature abolished the death penalty in the state with no controversy whatsoever (whereas if the courts had done it, we’d still be arguing about it). The fellow said, “Well, the Mormons probably would have liked a little help from the courts in Missouri in the 1830s.” And my reply—that there’s a huge difference between asking a court to enforce or vindicate rights that already exist in law or under the Constitution and asking a court to create rights that have previously been unrecognized (and which probably have been specifically unaddressed by the legislative branch)—only made things worse. The Mormons obviously would have liked the US Supreme Court to invalidate Congress’s anti-polygamy statutes in the 1870s (instead of creating the constitutional maxim that the First Amendment protects only religious belief, not necessarily religious practice); however, the Court paid great deference to Congress, as I feel was appropriate in the circumstances. (Nowadays, not only would Congress probably not take up polygamy, but the federal courts wouldn’t be the least bit reticent to invalidate anything Congress had done that the judges believed to be bad policy.) That such strong philosophical differences exist between church members highlights how politics has overwhelmed any social (or even religious) bond we used to have.
  9. There isn’t nearly the kind of “brand” or sense of identity associated with church membership now that existed in past generations. I don’t think that “brand” could have been sustained any longer—the cost, the commitment of time, and modern entertainment options/distractions all spelled its eventual doom—but many a convert of yesteryear found a stimulating social circle in the church simultaneously with the appeal of church teachings. In my observations, generally only the emotionally needy now find social comfort in the church, and the resulting mutually non-beneficial friendships can hardly be called “friendships” in any meaningful sense. Without that strong social bond, however, I’ve found that political differences—and there are many now between generations—create a massive amount of disunity. My ward has lost 4-5 formerly stalwart young families (most RMs) in the last five years. They may have disagreed with certain church policies, but the friction they felt from older, more-conservative members greatly accelerated their departure.
  10. My thoughts exactly. Denson is the Client From Hell, and Bishop is the Material Witness From Hell.
  11. So, does anyone know whether Denson has found other counsel to rep her in the lawsuit? (I read somewhere that she asked the court for an extension, to July 10 or thereabouts, to find another lawyer.) The good folks at Mormon Discussions were pretty sure that the new lawyer(s) would have stumbled upon a huge windfall based on Bishop’s statement to the BYUPD that he’d immediately confessed his 1984 misdeeds with Denson (whatever they were) to some ecclesiastical leader—implying the church knew it had happened but had not removed him as MTC president on account of it. I’m curious to know if substitute lawyers will think likewise.
  12. I hadn’t previously appreciated the irony of your word choice. Funny stuff.
  13. As I recall, the whole notion of the BoM being the keystone of the LDS religion is based on what it proves or doesn’t prove about Joseph Smith’s prophetic calling. If the book is what it purports to be, we may reasonably conclude that JS was what he purported to be. And if the book is a fictional concoction based on cribbed biblical passages (viewed through a prism of 19th Century thought) and containing various historical anachronisms, we may reasonably conclude that JS was a fraud. Backing away from the BoM as a historical record, while simultaneously trying to maintain belief in the Restoration and JS’s pivotal role in it, doesn’t really work. I think the Community of Christ is proving that quite amply.
  14. I don’t know how anyone can listen to the December 2017 recording and not conclude that Bishop’s elevator wasn’t reaching the top floor, post-op medications notwithstanding. Nobody dealing from a full deck would have talked one minute longer to Denson once it became clear that the latter had used deception to arrange the meeting and was actively collecting incriminating statements. There is nothing in the leaked portions of the BYUPD interview that makes Bishop seem any more lucid, and the absurd notion that the church paid for Denson (or anyone else) to have a boob job should be a giant red flag. (Remember that Denson herself laughed off the idea—see p. 37 of the PDF transcript—that she and Bishop had ever discussed her breasts in the MTC, as she “had no breasts at 21.”) I still cannot fathom people’s taking Bishop’s babblings at face value, not to mention forming essentially out-of-the-brown conclusions with no other basis. There are witnesses who can cast light on this whole situation—especially other missionaries who knew Denson in the MTC, her ex-husband, and the other MTC accuser.
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