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Stargazer

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Everything posted by Stargazer

  1. I do wonder about this. Is there something with the upcoming generation that they aren't as emotionally resilient as previous generations? I've been hanging out for many decades on this earth, and it didn't seem like a lot of missionaries were coming home early except for physical health reasons, and darned few of those. I recall that about ten or fifteen years ago two of the sons of one of our stronger members in the ward had to leave their missions temporarily for emotional health issues, but after a few weeks they went back to finish their terms. I worked with both young men as a scout leader and it never seemed that they had issues. Except that their dad was quite wealthy and they had a lot of advantages that others didn't. Maybe that was it. How does it seem to you with those coming home early? Perhaps they went out too early?
  2. Where was that quote? In this thread? Anyway, there is this (admittedly not in the Bible, but the sentiment is real): 8 Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also. 9 And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever. 10 Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written. 2 Nephi 29:8-10
  3. Stargazer

    Missionaires allowed to call home weekly

    I don't know if I would have liked it or not. My parents weren't members, and weren't particularly pleased with my serving a mission (instead of doing something useful like going to college). But I was not the baseline case.
  4. Stargazer

    Poster Missing

    I can understand. I've cut back on my own posting lately, for I am beginning to find this site more tedious of late, but apparently not quite tedious enough to quit posting altogether.
  5. Stargazer

    Left Hand

    To be fair, we first conducted an email courtship for a couple of months before adding Facebook and Messenger to the mix. By the time we met for the first time (after a 2 month acquaintanceship) the total number of words in this exchange came close to 240,000 words. I proposed 5 hours after meeting her, and 5 days later... I was 64 and she was 55, so we figured we shouldn't waste time. It's been lovely!
  6. Stargazer

    Anybody remember seeing this?

    Well, I don't know about anyone else, but I've never seen it before, I'm pretty sure.
  7. Stargazer

    "Why some people leave the Church"

    Gosh, yes. Mountains. There was a period of time in my life when I could not qualify for a temple recommend. My life was a bit of a mess: newly divorced and broke. I took a week off work and went up to Mount Rainier National Park to do some solo camping. I spent three days on a solitary trail leading up to Eagle Peak, across a valley from the massive volcano, always visible through the trees. On the second day at mid morning I broke from the upward hike near a running stream, and having eaten a Mountain House beef stroganof meal, I leaned back against a tree and read in the Ensign magazine. Minutes later I started hearing odd noises, as if someone were sneaking up on me in the brush. I turned my head and spied a deer fawn, followed by its mother, as they strolled slowly under the trees. The same sound assailed me from the other side, and I turned my head in that direction and saw another doe/fawn pair moving in the same direction as the other two. Astonished, I watched as they strolled along ignoring me until they went out of sight. By the afternoon, I had climbed to an alpine meadow and in full sight of Mount Rainier I sat on a ridgeline and read out loud the entire D&C 76. That section caused my heart to soar! That evening, after setting up my tent on my chosen campground, I sat at the edge of a hundred foot high cliff near some bushes and watched the sun go down. Suddenly I was surrounded by a large flock of little birds who swooped in, out and around the bushes for several minutes before moving on. One or two of the little birds perched on one of the bush twigs and looked at me curiously, as if they had never before seen such a big, flightless bird. I was a changed man upon my return from this little adventure. I would break out in smiles at odd times, whenever I thought back on that glorious hike. It was a pivotal time in my life. I love the mountains! And do you know what? Having recently been called to be temple workers in the London Temple, my wife and I now get to have a similar experience nearly every week! Climbing the mountain of the Lord's house. Oh, by the way, my wife loves mountains, too! Here we are in the Austrian Tyrol last year:
  8. Stargazer

    Shrinking pains

    You make me want to change my user name to James T. Kirk.
  9. Stargazer

    Shrinking pains

    We had one of those. He started doing it when he was around 6 or so, and though he didn't do it every month, I think he covered about 3/4 of the months. He didn't take up all the time available, but I wished mightily that someone would tell him what a testimony was. After a few years of this, without intending to do anything about this little minor glitch, on one fast sunday I managed to get up and hit the podium to be first to bear testimony. I prefaced my testimony by saying something like this: "I love the gospel a lot. I love talking about the gospel a lot. In fact, I'd love to give you a talk right this very minute. But this is not the place to give talks. It's the place to bear a brief but heartfelt testimony of the gospel. So that's what I'm going to do. Bear my testimony and sit down so others can have the time to bear theirs." Whereupon I bore a brief and heartfelt testimony, and then I sat down. This young man followed directly after me. So I mentally prepared myself for a sermon. But surprisingly, instead of doing his usual, he said he was going to follow the example of Br. Stargazer and bear his testimony and sit down. He did, and then he sat down, without giving a sermon! I was surprised and pleased -- I hadn't had an agenda, but look what happened! As far as I can remember, from then on he forebore giving sermons -- except when he was called to give a talk. Someone actually listened to me! Amazing.
  10. Stargazer

    Left Hand

    Well, thank you. In his place I might have chosen differently. But I'm not in his place, and I prefer to respect his decision. I've done things that others might have regarded as eye-opening (such as marrying a woman I'd only met 5 days previously), and I'd've liked to hope that others would just shrug their shoulders about it and move on.
  11. Stargazer

    "Why some people leave the Church"

    Ah yes! "They Live". Cult classic.
  12. Stargazer

    Left Hand

    You know, I keep saying something that's pretty darned important, and you keep ignoring it. Why would this be? Because it doesn't conform with your narrative? I will try again: If everyone knew it was his sister, he wouldn't have a reason to worry about rumor-mongers playing up "unknown woman" angles. It isn't that he is avoiding being seen with his own sister, it's avoiding looking like he's with some woman not his wife, because virtually nobody knows who his sister is. Are you going to ignore this one more time? How about another example that might make this more clear: President Trump walks down the sidewalk with Ivanka Trump. Nobody comments about the pretty woman, who is not his wife, that he's walking with. Because everyone knows it's his daughter. But what do you suppose would happen if he were seen walking down the sidewalk with a very pretty young woman not his wife, who was unknown? That's right, it would become the talk of the town, hints about Melania getting riled up about it would show up in the National Enquirer, and so on. I'm not dragging Trump into this in order to get political -- he's just the most egregious example of the point I'm trying to make. You just don't get it. YOU don't care, because you're NOBODY. I wouldn't care, either, because I'm NOBODY. Do either you or I care if some witless dimwit wants to think that we're walking with some bimbo? Heck no! But President Oaks is neither YOU nor ME. He has not only his reputation to worry about -- and under different circumstances (such as him being a nameless Schmo like you or me) he probably wouldn't care either. But he has the reputation of the CHURCH to worry about. Do you really think he should just shrug his shoulders and say "Full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes"? Maybe you do. Maybe he should. But what he's decided to do is a rational position to take and a reasonable decision to make. Clearly we are in one of those damned if you and damned if you don't situations. This is a textbook example, with you providing the damned if you do side of the equation. And I am not comparing Trump to President Oaks, just in case you want to misunderstand me. I'm comparing the similar situations.
  13. Stargazer

    Left Hand

    I'm not sure if you understand why public figures need to exercise what might seem to us peons to be over-the-top caution. And by the way, it wasn't "being alone with his blood sister", it was being seen in public walking with a woman not his wife, even if she was his sister, because who the heck knows she's his sister? Perhaps few enough people know what his wife looks like, but the number of people who do know what his wife looks like is much larger than the number of those who knows what his sister looks like. Of course, you've never ever heard of church leaders being accused of stuff. Never happens. No such thing as a rumor mill, is there? You do not seem to be someone as dense as this seems to suggest. Of course YOU can walk across campus with any given woman at any time, including your sister, and nobody will think the first thing about it, because you are one among an anonymous crowd with no fame whatsoever. But nobody as well-known as President Oaks can take anonymity for granted. And I am sure you have read 1 Thess 5:2 "Abstain from all appearance of evil." Perhaps you don't understand it in connection with prominent individuals. President Oaks doesn't enjoy your privilege of non-notability. If someone sees you with a woman not your wife, who the heck cares? If someone sees President Oaks in the same circumstance, tongues may soon begin to wag, and the consequences will devolve not only onto him, but also onto the Church. I think he is wise to take appropriate precautions, because the potential fallout is much more serious. How is avoiding a potential misunderstanding over a matter of morality living a Victorian life?
  14. Stargazer

    Left Hand

    This was in 1972 or 73, so not so much old-school.
  15. Stargazer

    Left Hand

    For that reason I like to pray in German, because of the familiar form of "you". Makes it feel more intimate and personal -- more than "thee" and "thou" does. Indonesian seems to be quite an interesting language actually. I met a man from there on my mission in Germany and discovered that one of the ways of pluralizing a word was to say it twice! And I saw that in a typewritten document he had on his desk there was word written, with a numeral two as a suffix, e.g. "student2". I asked about it, and he said it was a shorthand way of saying studentstudent. Oddly enough, I don't think the Indonesian word for "student" is "student" -- but the document was written in German, but apparently intended for Indonesian immigrants. It was one of the peculiar things about the visit. He was trying to recruit us into his Amway business!
  16. Stargazer

    Left Hand

    Bishop Jack, you annoy me sometimes I confess, but I had to laugh heartily at this image. Perhaps such a marquee could be useful. With a button on the podium. LOL. [Removed something that revealed I didn't read the entire post!]
  17. Stargazer

    Left Hand

    I always use my right hand to partake of the sacrament -- and I don't buck the tradition just to say I'm not bound by a mere tradition. But while I would advise another to use the right hand (if present), I would not make a big deal out of it. I also don't see the utility of praying using King James Version English, even though I almost always pray like that. I've heard from that some GAs consider that prayer needs a particular "prayer language", but in other languages there is no such thing. I am sort-of fluent in German and can pray in that language without a problem -- and there is no equivalent to "thou" "thee" "thine" and so on. German prayers are spoken in the contemporary standard language, and in addressing Deity the familiar form of you, your is used -- because God's your father, and you don't use formal language with a parent. I believe the same is true for Spanish. So I don't get bothered if someone prays in a public meeting using "you" and "your" when speaking to God. It's like the big deal about being married in the temple, instead of being married civilly and getting sealed afterwards. You can't be married in the temple in some countries, for example the UK, because by law marriages must be solemnized in public. So there's no sanction in the church in the UK with being married civilly and getting immediately sealed in the temple afterwards. But in the US they make you wait a year after a civil marriage. Even if you both have temple recommends.
  18. Stargazer

    "Why some people leave the Church"

    If there were communists under my bed, they'd have to have the relative dimensions of flatworms. There's very little space down there.
  19. Stargazer

    "Why some people leave the Church"

    I know a tax accountant who is completely opposed to the federal income tax. He does everything he can to keep people out of the IRS's crosshairs. Even helped me out of a jam once! Old high school buddy I hadn't seen in decades until Facebook came into existence.
  20. Stargazer

    "Why some people leave the Church"

    Yes, I saw that. And responded, being more enlightened about his situation. One day I hope to have trained myself to delay reacting to what people say when I have incomplete information about them. It's a heartbreaking place to be. I can imagine being there, if I rev up my imagination sufficiently. It would take a great deal of courage to deal with appropriately, I am certain.
  21. Stargazer

    "Why some people leave the Church"

    I'd guess stake sunday school presidency, then, or stake young men's presidency, or similar. No need to confirm this. My earlier concern was indeed something like stake high council or stake presidency, and the way you put it I assumed a long-standing status. Your newly-minted unbelief puts a completely different face on it. Thanks for clearing this up. I shan't attempt to argue over "peace" in regards to this. A long time ago I had a difficult question to answer, and I wondered if I should go ahead with an action despite how messed up the situation was, and the Lord gave me peace over it. In fact, I would have described the experience exactly as you have, as "instantly felt peace wash over me". It turned out that this was the path the Lord wanted me to go, but in the short term it resulted in very negative consequences -- four years of a lot of heartache, in fact, and a residual heartache that went on for years. My own actions had precipitated the situation -- and the Lord apparently wanted me to learn a lesson. I'm not saying that is what is going on with you. Our circumstances are quite different, aside from the matter of "peace". Which I agree is a very pleasant feeling. If you later turned the corner and found your way back into faith, you would find yourself not alone. If you dig into Social Hall you can find an old thread about a member who lost his faith, became an actual anti-Mormon for a time, but later found his way back. His story in its early stages resembles yours, actually. Except that he had his name removed (excommunicated by request, since name-removal didn't exist back in 1989). Perhaps you might like to watch the video. It's here -- it's rather entertaining, believe it or not. Saints Unscripted: An Ex-ex-Mormon's Story. He actually mentions this board (not by name) and even one of the frequent posters here (@Garden Girl ). There's also the story of Don Bradley (an occasional poster here): see the SLC Tribune's story about him: The Rest is History: How a Mormon scholar turned doubter, then believer. Perhaps these stories will do nothing for you. But I just wanted to make sure you saw them. I may have used the "f" word, but upon fuller information I take it back, and I wasn't calling you a fraud in any case (I hope), just that holding a high position under the situation as it appeared seemed fraudulent. You're not a fraud. You simply find yourself in an unfortunate situation that is not fully of your own making. I can most definitely sympathize with you. I'd be very distressed, too! I was imagining the case of you being in a stake presidency or something -- crikey! It's a sick situation, bro. My stepson is a returned missionary who has lost his faith to a degree, but when he consulted with our bishop over it, the bishop was very understanding and loving towards him, and nothing like you describe has happened to him. What happened to your brother-in-law isn't necessarily (or even likely) to happen to you -- unless you share the same bishop! I would hope not, anyway. You know your bishop and your stake president, presumably. Do they seem like this is how they would react? That actually sucks, your brother-in-law's experience. What part of the meaning of "confidentiality" doesn't his bishop understand? Makes me grind my teeth. I wonder if you should do like the prophet Nathan did when confronting King David about the Uriah/Bathsheba situation? He presented a hypothetical situation to the King that was similar to David's action, and the king got real upset and came down on the matter like a ton of bricks. Then Nathan told him: Gotcha! Peradventure you could come up with a hypothetical situation that resembled your own, and ask your stake president what he would do in such a case? But frame it as if it were something someone had told you about. See what he says, and if it looks dire, just back off. Maybe write a letter to Elder Uchtdorf. No, I'm not joking -- you never know, you might get an answer! I once wrote a letter to Elder Oaks and got a response -- in my case I was being recalcitrant about something and he called me to repentance in his letter! I repented really quickly, I must say. Well, I like it, too. I occasionally hear testimonies from members who testify to some pretty odd things in testimony meeting. It's hard to hear these sometimes, but it's not that hard to just let them roll off my back. I really do sympathize with you, Joe. I do believe that I've heard or read all the things that have caused you to lose faith in the Church (Joseph's polygamy, etc). But all I've ever had from it was momentary puzzlement. I shall not attempt to dissuade you from what you've come to believe, or not believe -- that's a problem that you'll have to deal with yourself. But at the risk of seeming to be speaking from a position of wealth to one in poverty (as in "let them eat cake"), I think the problem is superficial to a certain degree. I found that despite it all, the reality of the Restoration and the genuineness of Joseph's prophetic call shone forth to me through manifestations of the Spirit that I cannot deny. It isn't my place to be presenting those experiences to you, because they won't help you. You have to seek your own -- and perhaps you need a cooling-off period in order to approach things from a different avenue. If you want my advice, which you might not, here it is. For the time being, I would just let things be. Perhaps consider floating a trial balloon to your leaders, testing the waters a bit, but in any case continue fulfilling your calling as you have been, and let things settle out in your mind. Does your wife know about the matter? I am very hesitant in advising you about telling her if she isn't. I know that my wife is having a degree of distress dealing with her son's disenchantment with the Church. But avoiding the issue over the long term isn't a good idea. You know, you can still pray about how to approach this. If you've gotten peace over the matter as you describe it, perhaps you'll get some over the rest of it. I have a sock puppet, by the way! It's @Telescope . I created it to test a problem I was having with the board software. Turned out the board software didn't just hate me, it also hated my sock puppet.
  22. Stargazer

    "Why some people leave the Church"

    Perhaps you're right and some in high callings don't believe. But I am perfectly capable of creating a new user account on this board and then claiming that I am the Pope, slumming amongst the Mormons. Nobody'd believe me, but ... if I claimed to be a stake president in my new identity, I bet it'd be taken at face value. And then I could say I didn't believe in the church, and that Joseph Smith was honest but deceived, and then people'd be citing me as evidence that members in high callings didn't believe. It happens that if lost my testimony but still wanted to participate, I'd refuse callings that were contrary to my belief state. It would not be honest for me to do otherwise. As for anyone else in this disbelieving position, I make no judgement -- it's their call.
  23. Stargazer

    "Why some people leave the Church"

    Have I no idea what conversations he has had with his stake president? Of course I don't. I'm not judging him. I am treating this as an exercise in logic. I am a computer programmer. If one answers the questions in one way, one is entitled to a temple recommend. If one answers them in another, one is not. If one does not have testimony of the restored gospel, in relation to the temple recommend interview questions this results in a logical outcome of "not entitled". But if one's stake president is aware of one's disbelief and still gives one a recommend, then one is de facto worthy of a temple recommend. Perhaps not de jure, but when a judge in Israel has judged, oh well. And if an appropriate answer to two questions is optional, why then, we can waive appropriate answers to all of them, can't we? You're a non-tithepayer? Oh, nevermind, here's your recommend. Have to have a martini (shaken not stirred) every day after work to relax? Sure, why not. Here's your recommend. You've joined a polygamous offshoot? Well, who wouldn't? Here's your recommend. It's the wild west out here! Or perhaps we can assign 10 points to each question, with a threshhold number. Anything over 100 points, and you got your recommend! Look, I can see renewing a recommend for a person who is having doubts and is trying to work him or herself through them -- attending the temple can presumably help in a faith crisis. But for someone who has come down on a decision that the Church is a fraud? In that case, if I were an interviewing authority (once upon a time, I was such), I would withhold issuance of a recommend pending a re-conversion, and I certainly wouldn't call someone to a position that relied upon faith and access to the Spirit, and especially not to a position that amounted to being a judge in Israel. Unless there were a clear instruction from the Spirit that I should act otherwise. And if that were the case, I would be delaying issuance of a recommend or calling until I confirmed in fasting and prayer that it was truly according to the Spirit. And that brings up another problem. If one does not have a testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith and his successors, and is in a position to interview for temple recommends, everything goes out the window. One could not ask two questions of interviewees in good faith -- because one would be a hypocrite in connection with the interview. How does one act as a "judge in Israel" if Israel itself is a fraud? For that matter, how does such a one teach church classes, having a belief that the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, or Doctrine and Covenants are not what they say they are? Where it says "Thus saith the Lord" and one doesn't believe the Lord said any such thing? How the heck could one teach faith in them? One would be a fraud teaching one's class that Joseph was a prophet, or that Moroni 10:4 offers a route to a testimony. I suppose someone without a testimony could be a ministering brother or sister. I'm sure you think I'm being too tightly wound on this. If so, I admit it. I am. Yes, it is. As I said, I am not judging him. I do not preside over him. If he has a temple recommend, that has nothing to do with me. If he holds a "prominent church position" it's none of my business. All I am saying is that if one answers the T/R questions in one way, one is entitled to a temple recommend. If one does not, one is not.
  24. Stargazer

    "Why some people leave the Church"

    He says that he keeps all the commandments, and that's quite noble in his situation. But "worthiness" is not solely a matter of keeping all the commandments. In this context, "worthiness" shouldn't be taken as a measure of morality, for example. "Worthy" has subdefinitions which apply differently depending upon the situation. One such definition is "fit for a purpose". I might look at a item of furniture and say "That is a worthy chair". Meaning that it is fit for the purpose for which it is intended. Not that it is a moral chair. It's a somewhat antiquated usage, but that is closest to the intent of a T/R. One's worth as a human being is not what is meant in terms of a temple recommend. Most prominent church positions require holding a valid temple recommend. Which of the TR questions can he answer in such a way as to be eligible to hold a recommend? Almost all of them. Two of them are problematic: 3. Do you have a testimony of the restoration of the gospel in these the latter days? 4. Do you sustain the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and as the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys? Do you sustain members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators? Do you sustain the other General Authorities and local authorities of the Church? Based on his admission in this thread, if he answered the T/R questions honestly, he would have had to give a NO to both of these. He believes Joseph Smith was a fraud, which means that the Restoration is likewise a fraud. According to him, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is likewise a fraud, because how could someone believe that men perpetuating a fraud be rationally called "prophets, seers and revelators"? Whether it functions credibly or creditably as a religious organization, or is a beneficial organization, is immaterial with respect to worthiness for a temple recommend. If he holds a temple recommend, then he holds it fraudulently. There are certainly positions in the Church that a non-believing member could honestly hold. Prominent positions should certainly not be among them. In my humble opinion. And I am not judging him. That's between him and God, as you justly point out.
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