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About Stargazer

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    Observing the heavens since 1951.
  • Birthday 10/03/1951

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    West Sussex, UK

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  1. The Demise of Scouting

    I think there used to be some connection in some places in the UK. When I was at Cheltenham in the early 70's not a word about Scouts was ever breathed, but my wife tells me that Worthing or Brighton used to have Scouting activities as part of the Church program. Not sure if that was official or just a local wrinkle, though.
  2. Church Statement on Medical Marijuana

    Yes, I know we won't go full libertarian. Nothing and nobody on earth is perfect. We must always settle for something much less than ideal. The same is true for laws and how humans operate. The ideal case is when we all permit our fellow men to go to hell on their own dime, as long as they don't drag anyone else unwillingly down with them. The ideal case is seldom if ever reachable. But do we then take Lucifer's Plan to heart, and force everyone into heaven? You may think "crocodile" tears, but guess what? Abortion is committed against a third party, the fetus, who is an innocent party. If I take a drug, it is me, myself, and I that I am doing it to. Non-equivalent cases, rongo. But you may ask, "But what about your friends and family who will be affected?" My response is "What about them? Will you force me to conform to their will in all cases? Or is my life my own?" My late wife declined to undergo conventional cancer treatment, instead opting for completely non-effective "natural treatments". She paid for her misplaced faith in these things with her life. This affected me, her children, and her friends. We, our children, her sister, and I, all tried to convince her to go with the proven methods, but she refused. Should we have been able to invoke the force of the State, and force her to have surgery, radiation and chemotherapy? You may judge otherwise, but I think I prefer the principle of free agency.
  3. Church Statement on Medical Marijuana

    No, though I've seen some of the headlines. I don't believe marijuana is harmless. I wouldn't touch the stuff with a ten foot pole. I do believe that it is not worth the effort, time and expense of being treated like a deadly plague that must be wiped out at all costs. People smoke and chew tobacco, and die from ailments resulting therefrom -- are you willing to put tobacco onto the same list that marijuana is on? I tend to lean towards the extreme libertarian view of the matter. We might as well throw up our hands and legalize everything. If you want to screw your life up by drugging yourself, have at it. But don't demand that I pay to fix you. We allow people to drink alcohol, and put up with the side-effects, including the hurting of other people. We allow people to jump out of airplanes that are going to land in a few minutes anyway, to climb mountains, raft wild rivers, and play dangerous sports like American football. Is it the business of the State to keep us all from stubbing our toes? I have a problem with how the enforcement of drug laws can easily lead to police departments doing things they shouldn't do. There have been cases where policemen would carry little cloth bags of marijuana in their pocket, and just before the drug dog is supposed to sniff a car, they touch the bag then touch the car where the dog will smell it, causing the dog to alert. And thus give them "probable cause" to search the car without the owners permission, where the owner had previously asserted fourth amendment rights. And how some police departments have gained extra funding by civil forfeiture where drugs have been either found or "found". Do you know how easy it is to plant marijuana seeds on someone's land? One of my sons has a felony drug possession conviction because he was driving a car with a person he didn't know had drugs on him, and when the car was pulled over (and they recognized his passenger as a frequent-flyer, aka "usual suspect"), then searched, and he got busted. Because the passenger had hid his drug stash under the drivers seat. Nobody believed they weren't my son's drugs. You know how it goes: traveling with "bad company", sleeping with dogs and you wake up with fleas, etc. As for Nanny State... My wife has to put up with a fair amount of pain due to her arthritic knee, and she needs to take over-the-counter analgesics a few times per day to stay functional. At least when she's doing a lot of walking and/or standing -- and with her occupation as theater nurse (assists surgeons), she does a lot of standing. The British government, in its efforts to keep everyone from hurting themselves, makes it necessary for her to enter two to three different shops every few days in order to buy enough Tylenol or Ibuprofen to tide her over for a few days. This is because the manufacturers are not allowed to put more than a few tablets (like 8 or 16) in any given package, and then consumers are not allowed to buy more than two packages at a time. So she goes to shop #1 and buys two tylenols. Then shop #2 to get two ibuprofens. Then sometimes another shop (or two) to get some more. In the States, this would take one stop at the supermarket to buy a bottle of 100 of each. A month's supply, or more for her, but she can't do that because the NANNY STATE is afraid she's going to stub her toe. Oh, and yes, the fixed- or locking-blade knife that I routinely carry every day in the US had to be left behind when I came over to the UK, because people aren't allowed to carry any such knife around out in public. Because, as you know, if you carry a knife there's a darned good chance you're going to flip out and stab the first person who looks at you funny. Which does a lot of good, as you can see, since London is fast becoming an important city for knife crime. As usual, criminals break laws. And since London also gets frequent acid attacks, they're going to outlaw acid, too -- like that will help. Also, Mayor Sadiq Khan stopped the police from doing "stop and search" (it's racist don't you know), and now the crims don't have to worry they'll be caught with knives OR acid. Sorry, I'm a little worked up over it.
  4. Miracles happen, yes, and sometimes the will of the Lord is expressed completely outside the bounds of the Christian faith, and sometimes outside the bounds of any faith whatsoever. The rain falls on the just and the unjust, as well. But this doesn't mean that faith is unimportant, or invalid. As for myopia, I find that that it occurs everywhere, including in those of faith, and in those of little or no faith. As Paul said, we see through a glass, darkly. I would gently suggest that I do listen to and consider others, but perhaps you don't see me doing that. The greatest miracle of all has always been, and remains, the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
  5. Church Statement on Medical Marijuana

    A church acquaintance of mine who tends to be very libertarian politically (and thereby frequently annoys some of the more conservative members of his ward) used to be pro-legalization of MJ. Now that Washington state made it legal he's not so sure. His business is landscaping, and he has had difficulties finding employees who won't come to work stoned on the stuff. Not all his employees of course, but it happens enough that he really has his doubts now about the practicality of the new law. I was one of those who voted to legalize it in Washington, as was my wife. And a few other LDS of our acquaintance (including the aforementioned). I am living in the UK now, but before I came here I didn't see any significant problems in Washington from legalized pot. And it avoids having law enforcement waste resources trying to enforce the unenforceable.
  6. India Temple

    You think it doesn't? There was an interesting story from my mission that one of my companions told me. Previous to serving with me in Wuppertal, Germany, he had been assigned to another city in our mission. The branch president (or bishop, I don't recall exactly) was an ordinary working stiff in post-war Germany who didn't own a car (the German economy even in the early 70's made it difficult for many to own a car). He was advised by the Mission President to buy a car. He thought that he couldn't really afford one, but in the end decided to sustain his church leader, and went ahead with the purchase of a vehicle that he was worried he could not really afford. It worked out well in the end because his experience in budgeting for tithing enabled him to find a way to budget for the car. In addition, he decided to go back to school, taking night courses, to improve his job performance, so he could better afford the car. The improvements were noted by his employer, and he began getting promotions. In a year or so he was advised by the same mission president to upgrade to a better car, so he bought a Mercedes. The effort that this entailed led to further improvement in his situation, and by the time they created a stake in his area he had become an executive in his company and could definitely afford the car. His improving leadership skills also led to his being called to be the bishop in his ward. This was not my companion's observation, but what the man himself told about his life. Just think, paying tithing ended this one man's poverty -- not by some magic, but by the effort needed to organize himself to be able to pay it. But of course, you certainly wouldn't attribute that to tithing. Have you ever heard of the concept of "unintended consequences"? Well, that should encourage you, actually. Just think, when it doesn't occur you can then feel all the schadenfreude you clearly wish to.
  7. India Temple

    I think that is a fine idea! I'm pretty sure there will be a temple in Mecca after the Millenium kicks in.
  8. Okay, our stake president was on vacation overseas when the priesthood organization change was announced, so we've only just now gotten around to reorganizing our ward priesthood. The result is a little surprising, from a certain point of view, but I've had confirmation that this is the Lord's will, so there we are. And the result is: the previous Elders Quorum President, age 23, unmarried, was called to be the new EQP. His counselors are the previous HPGL assistants: my home teaching, er, ministering companion and myself. One might feel that the new EQP is a trifle inexperienced! He's a returned missionary (returned just a bit over a year ago). But his father is in the bishopric, and a long-time leader in the church before that, so he's presumably been raised with correct principles. And he does not seem overwhelmed by the new responsibility, in fact he seems to be approaching this larger responsibility in the best way one could want, that is with confidence. I think I am going to enjoy assisting him!
  9. You think that was bad... When I was called as a new branch president, I needed an Executive Secretary, so I just called one. We sustained him in sacrament meeting when a high councilor happened to be present. Well, HE was certainly surprised! Since that's supposed to be approved, and called, by the Stake. In this case, they approved him retroactively, but I got my first taste of the need to RTFM! (RFTM = Read The Freaking Manual)
  10. On Zion Distant, and Babylon Close

    And what are we to make of people who accuse those who voted for Hillary, or any other good Democrat these days, as participating in the wholesale slaughter of infants (via abortion), and therefore, they who voted for those abortion-lovers will reap the whirlwind? I think we will get further by not implicating those whom we disagree politically with evil -- both sides do it, and both sides are wrong. Neither Trump nor Obama is the devil. And perhaps this thread needs to be closed, because the civility has completely leached out of it and turned into political bickering.
  11. The apostles brought the matter of some man, not a disciple, casting a devil out of someone using the name of Jesus, to the Lord himself. Although they were bothered by this (and told the man he shouldn't do it because he wasn't authorized) Jesus wasn't bothered by it, and told them it was OK. The fact is, there is power in the name of Jesus Christ, if exercised in faith, and holding the priesthood is not needed to exercise it. Priesthood is not only the power, but also the authority to act in God's name. It's two-barrelled. Faith is just one of the barrels. If GG's cardiologist had started an investigation into her healing, with a view to discover how it was done so it could be used in other cases, do you have any idea how quickly his license to practice medicine would have been in jeopardy? Unless he was trying to get the elders up on charges of practicing medicine without a license, of course. And lets just see how long the credibility of an astrophysicist lasts, if he or she is caught trying to prove that God was behind the Big Bang. Or that of an archaeologist who claims he has discovered fossilized footprints of the people who walked around Jericho seven times in order to get its walls to fall.
  12. Noah's Ark.....i know call me crazy.

    Yeah, God commits murder every day. Possibly millions of time per day! Because he doesn't act to stop the deaths! To the barricades! We must protest! Your point 3 made me suddenly think of poor Jim Morrison's biography, "No One Here Gets Out Alive". Which I've never read, but thought the title was interesting.
  13. On Zion Distant, and Babylon Close

    Well, this thread won't last very long, I predict.
  14. Dang, and here I thought this was a new thread. It's over two years old! RevTestament has necromanced yet another thread!