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About smac97

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    Brings Forth Plants

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    My name is Spencer Macdonald

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  1. Emotional healing and Spirit World

    He was born to an unwed 16-year old. He was first named "No Name Maddox." He never knew his father. When he was five, his mother was imprisoned for robbery for three years (he spent that time with an aunt and uncle). They spent the next few years living in run-down hotels. When he was 13, his mother tried, unsuccessfully, to place him in foster care. He was instead placed in a boys' home, from which he escaped after 10 months and returned to his mother, who rejected him. Then he started committing burglaries. He was caught (while still 13) and sent to a juvenile facility in Indiana, where he was sexually assaulted. After multiples escape attempts, he succeeded in 1951 (age 17 or so). He went on a cross-country trip to California, committing several robberies along the way. At this point he was illiterate. And characterized as aggressively antisocial. More stints in juvie. Paroled. At 21, he married a waitress, supported her through petty crimes and auto theft. Moved to California. More crimes, more incarceration. His wife had a baby. And left him. He continued to go downhill from there. He committed many evil acts. He had a pretty awful childhood and young adulthood. He probably had some mental illness(es). And lots of substance abuse. And he committed many evil acts. At some point, yes. Per Alma 11:42-43 (emphasis added): 2 Nephi 9:13-14 (emphasis added): Mosiah 3:24-25 (emphasis added): Alma 5:17-18 (emphasis added): I don't know all the details as to how things will be sorted out. But everything will be taken into account. God is perfectly just. And merciful. The Atonement will apply in ways I cannot presently comprehend. Mitigating factors all. The next life will be profoundly better than this one. All but the most utterly wicked and depraved of us (Sons of Perdition) will be given a kingdom of glory. The lowest of these, the Telestial, is so glorious that it "surpasses understanding." Thanks, -Smac
  2. Results of BYUs climate survey

    From the report: I wonder how this compares with comparable surveys on other college campuses. Thanks, -Smac
  3. CH1 Now online for all membership

    Here's a video about alternatives to creation. It has really given me something to think about: Thanks, -Smac
  4. CH1 Now online for all membership

    I don't know. The Brethren don't confide in me. The Handbook is not some slapdash, thrown-together how-to guide. It reflects the substantial cumulative of experience, wisdom, and good faith efforts by the Brethren to lead this Church. I generally sustain them (while also recognizing that they don't get things right every time), so publicly criticizing them is not appropriate. I also believe that they are doing what they think is right, and that they do not act for stupid or illegitimate or nonexistent reasons. So again, I will not publicly criticize or second-guess them. They are working hard and deserve the benefit of the doubt. And Elder Oaks' clear and reasoned counsel about publicly criticizing or speaking against the Brethren remains sound, together with his recommendations for addressing differences of opinion in the Church (which recommendations specifically preclude publicly criticizing or speaking against the Brethren). Thanks, -Smac
  5. CH1 Now online for all membership

    I've said nothing about you not getting to heaven. As for publicly second-guessing and criticizing the Brethren, I'll refer to Elder Oaks' 1987 address, "Criticism" (emphases added): I've lost count of the number of times I have quoted from this article. Surely it must mean something to those who sustain Elder Oaks as, among others, a prophet, seer and revelator. Thanks, -Smac
  6. CH1 Now online for all membership

    It's all in the eye of the beholder, I guess. I don't see it that way. Where has the Church failed to give guidance where it is needed? But what if members have repeatedly requested such guidance? What if the Brethren have prayerfully determined that such guidance is appropriate? I don't know what these "issues" are. But temple-related matters are generally treated with a lot of discretion. Well, there is obviously a balance to be struck. The Brethren seem to be trying to provide guidance on "correct principles." So yes, some guidance matters. Okay. I think the Church's guidance is pretty even-keeled. And it's readily available. Okay. I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. I am not persuaded that the Brethren sit around Salt Lake, twiddling their thumbs and providing counsel to the members of the Church "for not legitimate reason." We don't really know the origins of the counsel. I wouldn't feel comfortable in declaring that the Brethren have "no legitimate reason" for it. No, it's guidance. In the Church's administrative manual. From General Authorities. Acting within the scope of their authority. And the guidance is tailored to individual issues, and is designed to maximize discretion to the individual members of the Church. But guidance from General Authorities, tailored to specific issues and clarified as to the Church's degree of emphasis on its position, can be very helpful. All other things being equal, I'm not sure that's a problem. I'll leave such matters to the Brethren, and not publicly second-guess or criticize them for their reasonable exercise of discretion. Thanks, -Smac
  7. CH1 Now online for all membership

    Yep. And yet there are members of the Church who still want some guidance from the Church. So the Church provides it, and does so with appropriate gradations (i.e., the Church has no position, the Church "encourages" or "discourages" something, etc.). I'm not sure that's a problem. "For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things..." (D&C 58:26). “I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves” (Joseph Smith, quoted by John Taylor, Millennial Star, 15 Nov. 1851, p. 339) The Church provides guidance where needed, with the appropriate level of emphasis. Otherwise, the Church seems to want to refrain from micromanaging our lives. Hmm. That has not been my experience. Can you give some examples of each? How do you know that? What about members who want some guidance from the Church on this subject? If the Church did not provide guidance, the complaint would be only slightly different ("The Church is indifferent to the needs of the members. It does not provide guidance on topics important to members, leaving them to fend for themselves, which may make them worry, feel guilty, or second guess themselves for no legitimate reason." But what about people who do want recommendations/counsel from General Authorities? Who are we to assert that they have "no legitimate reason" to ask for such guidance? Thanks, -Smac
  8. Hal Boyd, the editor of The Deseret News, has published a response to Mr. Andersen's article: Deseret News editor Hal Boyd's response to Mormon mocking published by The Atlantic The Ignorance of Mocking Mormonism He makes some good points. My favorite (emphasis added): The best parts of me are Mormon. The choices I have made which have brought me the most happiness, security, optimism, reassurance, comfort and hope have been those which comport with the teachings of the Church. The choices I most regret have pretty much all been contrary to the teachings of the Church. Thanks, -Smac
  9. CH1 Now online for all membership

    Probably so. I don't know. It may have to do with traditions/doctrines about the resurrection and literally "rising" from the grave, burial in temple clothing, but that's just a guess. I can appreciate that. Thanks, -Smac
  10. CH1 Now online for all membership

    But cremation is still a messy and environmentally toxic process. I watched a YouTube video that outlines some alternatives to burial and cremation. The ideal process would be both affordable and environmentally friendly. Thanks, -Smac
  11. CH1 Now online for all membership

    I think the Church is not entirely neutral on the issue of cremation. So the policy is what it is. It's a soft one. I think the Church is working hard to provide guidance to the members in appropriate degrees. Some things the Church is genuinely "neutral" about (like political affiliation), and so it states as much. Some issues the Church has a very firm and clear and unequivocal stance on (same-sex marriage, polygamy). Some issues the Church has a very firm and clear stance on, but allows for some limited individual discretion (abortion). Some issues the Church provides generalized guidelines/preferences, but leaves the decision pretty much to the discretion of those involved (cremation). I am quite appreciative of the Church seeking to clarify its guidance on these issues. 100 years ago the members did not have as many medical/social options as are available today. I am grateful that we have prophets and apostles who are working to provide issue-specific guidance with clarity, including how much discretion the individual has relative to that decision. I don't think the Brethren are in the business of guilt trips. They are trying to provide guidance that they feel is appropriate. Thanks, -Smac
  12. CH1 Now online for all membership

    Special enough to get a section in Handbook 2 devoted to it. Yep. Yep. The Church seems to work hard at giving as much discretion to the individual as possible. So some things are not "normally encourage{d}" (cremation), while others are "strongly discourage{d}" (elective surgical sterilization), while some few things are simply incompatible with continued membership in the Church (polygamy, same-sex marriage Well, not really. Section 17.2.2 of Handbook 1 states that the Church "does not normally encourage cremation," but allows for family preferences and legal requirements to be determinative. "Does not normally encourage" (cremation) seems a far softer stance than "strongly discourages" (surgical sterilization). There seems to be a lot more discretion left to the individual and family as to cremation. I would have a very hard time directly ignoring the Church's "strongly discourages" policy as to elective surgical sterilization. The importance of the Church's position is self-evident in the nature of the decision, and in the wording of the policy. As for cremation, I am a bit more open to that. I have read some disturbing stuff about the unregulated nature of burials, particularly as pertaining to the chemicals used to embalm the body. I have some concerns about the environmental impact, such that an alternative to burial might be okay for me. Not cremation, though. I also have some real qualms with the expense associated with burial. Thanks, -Smac
  13. CH1 Now online for all membership

    I have an acquaintance who was aware of the policy before he got a vasectomy. He knew because . . . he inquired. I don't fault people for not being aware of the policy. It's an obscure issue, and not one that lends itself to everyday chitchat at church or to treatment in General Conference talks. I can see why Latter-day Saints might not think to confer with their bishop. I can even think of situations where an LDS couple might simply choose to not confer with the bishop at all. The policy does not mandate such a thing, after all ("the persons responsible for this decision should consult ... with their bishop..."). Moreover, consultation with the bishop would be mostly in an advisory capacity. What is there to disagree with? A Google search for "lds position on vasectomy" takes ten seconds, and the first search result is . . . section 21.4.15 of Handbook 2. Again, I can see why Latter-day Saints might not think to confer with their bishop. I can even think of situations where an LDS couple might simply choose to not confer with the bishop at all. I'm not persuaded that consultation with the bishop is mandatory. The bishop is there to help. To provide counsel if requested/needed. To help those involved understand the Church's position. Otherwise, the decision is left to the individuals and their medical advisors. Perhaps you have a point to the extent that elective surgical sterilization is becoming more common. Perhaps the Church's position on this should be presented and explained, albeit with tact and decorum, and in the right time, place and manner. The Church So the the issue is surgical sterilization as an elective form of birth control. And such a procedure is not merely "frown{ed} on," and is instead "strongly discourage{d}" and "should be considered only" in two specific, non-elective circumstances. Again, perhaps you have a point. If "99%" of those considering surgical sterilization as as an elective form of birth control, then perhaps the Brethren should address it (perhaps by a letter to be read in Priesthood and Relief Society). Okay. You've convinced me. Thanks, -Smac
  14. CH1 Now online for all membership

    Hard to say. I've known about the Church's position for a very long time. The Church has a fairly "hands off" approach to most medical issues. But it seems like medical treatment that pertains to fundamentals, such as gender reassignment surgery and procreation, are singled out for special attention and treatment. I would have spoke with my parents, who I suspect would have brought me up to speed on the Church's position. And yes, I probably would have done some online research. Even if the Church did not have Handbook 2 readily available online, I could probably triangulate the Church's position by using a variety of sources. Permanently eliminating my ability to father children? Yes, I would have given that a lot of thought and study. That too. Thanks, -Smac