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About Amulek

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    Senior Member: Divides Heaven & Earth

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  1. But they help us develop an informed and reasoned basis for deciding "whether something is right or wrong." Not exactly. All they do is help us decide if our pre-existing moral judgment (i.e., whether something is right or wrong) applies in some particular case. So, for example, assume arguendo that you were raised Jewish and came to hold a moral belief that is wrong to eat certain kinds of animals. Science could provide you with facts about all of the various species of animals on the planet, and it's true that you could use those facts to help determine whether or not some specific animal runs afoul of your moral code, but science doesn't actually tell you anything about whether it is right or wrong to abstain from eating pigs in the first place.
  2. I don't think I referred to moral facts, so I think we actually might be in complete agreement.
  3. Well, the majority agree on them...until they agree on something else, at least. Legally, yes. Usually. However, I can think of (admittedly, very rare) cases in which I might be willing to agree that it is morally acceptable to either allow an infant to die or to deliberately, humanely end his life. Fair enough. But scientific facts, in and of themselves, don't tell us anything about whether something is right or wrong. Ultimately, it is how we evaluate the facts in light of our moral judgment that governs how we behave and what kinds of laws we enact.
  4. Exactly! All judgments about when canine embryos achieve "puppiness" (puppihood?) rest on unproven and unprovable moral calls. Same goes for when humans acquire (or ought to acquire) certain rights. Now, of course, these judgments may be informed by medical observations -- for instance, when the brain develops to a certain level, or when something will end up naturally growing into a born human without any further intervention -- or by pragmatic considerations, gut feel, opinion polls, tradition, views about how precise and clear legal lines should be, or whatever else. But ultimately these judgments rest not on the scientific or social facts as such, but on moral judgment calls about how one evaluates these facts. All of us draw lines in this field, whether at conception, viability, birth, or whenever else. None of us can prove the validity of those lines through science or through abstract logic.
  5. I think that's a huge part of it. Missionaries who are prepared to serve are less likely to come home early, and that preparation needs to be well rounded: spiritual, physical, practical, etc. If YM/YW programs were run correctly, there would be pretty much no need for missionaries to spend time in the MTC at all - they would be ready to hit the ground running.
  6. While I happen to believe that leaving the church is wrong, that's not the point I was making. I was making the point that some things ought to be handled personally rather than by using an intermediary. It's really not that difficult of a position to grasp.
  7. I guess what would be the point exactly. Up until a year ago, my bishop had six young kids. He had a demanding job. He had people that actually wanted to meet with him and listen to his spiritual advice. Why would I waste his time and mine with a pointless discussion? How does that help either of us? Doing the right thing is a good in and of itself. And taking personal responsibility for one's choices / actions is part of what we generally expect people to do. If you had an argument with your wife and you called up a lawyer to have him put together and then deliver an apology package on your behalf, do you think that would be equally satisfactory as taking care of it personally? Or if you were to steal something small from a store: would you take it back personally and make it right, or would you have an attorney go to the store in your stead and return the item or offer to pay for it? You could certainly use an intermediary for all these things, but (in my opinion) doing so would be a bit of a cop-out. I think leaving the church is kind of in the same ballpark. If you were capable of standing before witnesses of the church to declare that you intend to faithfully live the gospel forever, then you can take the brief period of time it takes to appear before a witness of the church and declare that you no longer wish to be a member.
  8. And....I do disagree with that description. Definition of take the easy way out (via Merriam Webster) : to find an easy way to avoid having to do something difficult I don't know about you, but using a lawyer's website to auto-generate a scripted name removal request sure sounds like 'find[ing] an easy way to avoid having to do something difficult' to me. Look, if someone hasn't been to church since they were nine years old, or if they are a forty year old deacon or something like that, then fine - use the internet lawyer. For all practical purposes you haven't been a member of the church for the balance of your life, and I can understand why you might just want to have it taken care of without having to do too much yourself. However, if you've been to the temple and have been endowed / sealed, then I think a certain amount of 'disapproval' is warranted for those who refuse to deal with exiting the church personally. You got yourself into the church on your own, so get yourself out on your own - don't hide behind your lawyer. As I said before, I know there are circumstances when making use of an attorney is going to be necessary, and I don't have a problem with that if it's the case, but I think those are rare situations. For the overwhelming majority of folks, I don't think a cordial, 15-30 minute visit with your bishop is too difficult to manage.
  9. I imagine such questions would frequently come up, but one doesn't need to answer them. It isn't like it's an inquisition or anything. That's not what I stated or think, so no....we don't agree on that insinuation. Okay, I'll bite. What is an easier way to electively have your name removed from the records of the church?
  10. I think you would be surprised. I didn't say anything about them having to explain themselves or why they want to leave, but I do agree that they are looking for the easiest way out.
  11. So you're talking about people who want to have their names removed from the church, but they're still fine with having ministering visits along with intermittent missionary visits? They want to be out of the church but they don't want anybody to actually know that they're out of the church? If such a group of people exist, they've got to be a pretty small subset among those looking to have their names removed.
  12. I consider involving an attorney to be sort of like the nuclear option when it comes to name removal. Under normal circumstances, I don't see why a lawyer would ever be needed. I can certainly think of situations where one would be necessary, but those are exceptions to the rule. I suspect that the majority of people who have an attorney handle their request aren't really looking for privacy or anything like that; they're looking for a guilt-free exit from the church - one that doesn't involve having to sit down and look his/her bishop in the eye and say they want to leave.
  13. They're more of a specialty store, but historically most of their specialty items have been things like organic foods, gluten-free food, vegan baked goods*, etc. They were recently bought out by Amazon, so I expect to see some changes in the future, but so far the root beer selection has (thankfully) remained the same. *Yes, pastries made without butter taste about as gross as you are thinking.
  14. You make this sound as though BYU is 'behind the times' on this issue when, in fact, they are actually ahead of the curve here. Assuming innocence and allowing representation are part and parcel of what we expect when it comes to the criminal justice system, but universities aren't required to do anything like that because all they are doing is controlling access to their institution - an institution which you have no affirmative 'right' to attend. As such, the overwhelming majority of universities do not have anything close to procedures analogous to the criminal justice system when it comes to adjudicating issues relating to student behavior. Seriously, just google 'university kangaroo court' and you'll get pages and pages of examples. It is only just recently that schools have begun to receive any sort of push-back on these issues at all. Most schools are just staying quiet and waiting for the noise to pass so they can just keep on doing what they've always done. BYU, on the other hand, has decided to implement changes which will benefit their students during these proceedings. They are among the first-movers on this front and should be sincerely recognized for the positive changes being made - rather than receiving backhanded complements from critics who happen to find disfavor with the school's chartering organization.
  15. Bleh. Barq's is just a half-step above 'store brand' root beer in my opinion. What you really need to get your hands on is a case of Abita Root Beer - made in Abita Springs, LA. You're probably outside their regional distribution area, so you probably won't be able to get it at a regular grocery store. If you ever happen to run into it at a Whole Foods or some other specialty shop, be sure to grab it; you won't be disappointed.
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