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About smac97

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    Creates Beasts Of The Earth

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    My name is Spencer Macdonald

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  1. Sophists ("a person who reasons with clever but fallacious arguments") don't really do well in the U.S. legal system, which is structured to be adversarial. I usually have an opposing attorney who scrutinizes my arguments for flaws and fallacies. So no, I don't think I'm a sophist. But I don't have pretensions about being Socrates, either. Thanks, -Smac
  2. Ah. Perhaps that is so. Thank you for the clarification/correction. Thanks, -Smac
  3. I find virtually all Sacrament Meetings to be Christ-centered. Today's talks were about the Sacrament and Sabbath observance. These topics have to do with Jesus Christ, and nothing else. Today the Gospel Doctrine lesson centered on the stories of Daniel and Esther in the Old Testament. These stories, and the lessons and precepts to be derived therefrom, are profoundly Christ-centered. Hmm. I've always viewed these topics as being topically and thematically intertwined with Jesus Christ. Without Him, the temple and missionary work would have no relevance or significance. I view Joseph Smith's work in the same vein as I do the authors of the New Testament. And the Old Testament. In the end, these people are but conduits through which revelations about Jesus Christ flow to us. Thanks, -Smac
  4. Today I was reading from Richard L. Anderson's Investigating the Book of Mormon Witnesses. Last weekend I perused John Gee's An Introduction to the Book of Abraham. I have spent the last several months using Brant Gardner's Second Witness (Volume 1) in tandem with my study of The Book of Mormon. As I write this I look across the room to a bookcase that holds Opening the Heavens: Accounts of Divine Manifestations 1820-1844 and Historicity and the Latter-day Saint Scriptures. I need to finish reading the former and re-read the latter. Yesterday I spent some time in the kitchen making dinner for my family, during which I listened to Daniel Peterson's 2017 FAIR presentation, What Difference Does It Make? And yet in the last month I have also read quite a bit of stuff written by Bill Reel, Gina Colvin, and Sam Young. I also spent some time perusing mormon*****.*** (oi, what a dank and unpleasant and profane place that is). I have also read from MRM, UTLM, and Dan Vogel. Two recent items of study have been 1) criticisms of The Book of Abraham and 2) Deutero-Isaiah in The Book of Mormon. Interesting stuff. My doctorate is merely a JD, surely the redheaded stepchild of the academic world. But it and my experiences as an attorney have been very helpful. I too like to think that I am familiar with honest inquiry and critical thinking. Thanks, -Smac
  5. I appreciate the sentiment. Truly. I too have pursued a path that involves "honest inquiry and critical thinking." But more than that as well. "People don't" . . . reach the same conclusions that you have? Different presuppositions, perhaps. Different emphases. Different experiences. Different influences. Different decisions. I hope you don't subscribe to the "Only stupid / uninformed / intellectually and morally compromised people stay in the Church" school of thought. Thanks, -Smac
  6. Her narrative is . . . odd. Full of invective and disparagement and anger regarding all the various ways in which the Church does just isn't good enough to meet her expectations/demands. What a strange way to approach participation in a group. It's like she's saying: "Yes, I will be a part of this group, but only so long as it meets every one of my personal and subjective and malleable expectations, and only if I am personally satisfied with each and every decision made within it. Otherwise, I'm outta here!" I don't see how any religious community could withstand the absurd and unreasonable expectations foisted on it through the subjective, navel-gazing, fault-finding, my-way-or-the-highway behaviors seen in people like Gina Colvin. I wish her well. I hope she finds solace in the Anglican Communion. I think the prospects are grim, though. Thanks, -Smac
  7. smac97

    Silk in Ancient MesoAmerica

    From John L. Sorenson's "Open Letter to Michael Coe": And here: More here. Thanks, -Smac
  8. Gina Colvin has posted some thoughts about her upcoming council. Oi. What an unpleasant read. Thanks, -Smac
  9. You may have a point. The pervasiveness of it sure seems to have started with the 2000 election, though. Not sure what you are referencing here. And in the absence of "specific examples," there's not much more to say. And I used "critics of [my] church" because the Church is the subject of this board. But I'm not going to deny that members of the Church can succumb to this "perpetual outrage" phenomenon. Not really. "Unhealthy levels of outrage" are often self-evident. Sam Young, for example. That is an interesting admission. Not sure how to respond to this. Thanks, -Smac
  10. I see some similarities in the dynamics that play out, or can play out, in divorce proceedings. The dissolution can be amicable, but can only be shot through with anger and outrage. Thanks, -Smac
  11. Says the guy who is exploiting a suicide to criticize a religious group he dislikes. It poisons the well, you see. Poppycock. Nobody is saying "that BYU can't do wrong." Umm... You're just taunting now. This is you being "objective," is it? -Smac
  12. Anecdotes like this are not particularly compelling. But I'll bite. CFR, please. Moreover, if a bishop or stake president refuses to follow the Church's policies and procedures regarding mandatory disciplinary councils, then I think that's a fairly significant problem. Thanks, -Smac
  13. Why are you trying to coax him to another board? What's wrong with this one? What's wrong with the points raised in this thread (the ones you are largely refusing to address)? Thanks, -Smac
  14. My son just recently completed a two-year Young Church Service Mission. He has bipolar disorder. Before that he was diagnosed with celiac disease, and before that mono. The last many years of his life have been rough. However, he has repeatedly and emphatically expressed appreciation for the Restored Gospel, and for the Church, and for his missionary service, in helping him become stabilized emotionally and intellectually and spiritually, in giving him a sense of purpose, in giving him an opportunity to serve others, and so on. To be sure, he has also needed counseling and medication. I am grateful for all of these things. They have saved my son's life. They have made him a stronger and healthier and happier person, despite facing many challenges. So when a critic swoops in and presumes to lecture us about the various flaws and shortcomings of the Church and its efforts to improve the lives of its members, and when the lecture is rhetorically based on a suicide, I tend to find that a bit irritating. The Church is is working very, very hard at fulfilling its mandates. And in many, many ways, it is succeeding. Of course it can improve. Of course it should improve. But the drive-by hectoring doesn't help. The exploitation of suicides doesn't help. Thanks, -Smac