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About Amulek

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    Senior Member: Divides Heaven & Earth

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  1. Unsure. I ran a similar search and only found two police reports for her: one for the car fire this year and one for an undisclosed out of state arrest warrant last year. Admittedly, the drain cleaner in orange juice thing sounds like a bad film trope. And McKenna has always been paranoid about 'the church' trying to intimidate her. Remember the hot mic moment toward the end of her first press conference where she was asked about being visited by the strengthening church members committee (or something similar). You had to turn the volume up, but she said the church had been following her - to which her attorney reminded her (again, off mic) that they didn't know that. Plus, the church doesn't need to silence McKenna. Most of her case has already been thrown out, and, let's be honest - when given a platform, McKenna frequently turns out to be her own worst enemy. Hopefully, some rogue actor didn't take it upon themselves to involve themselves with this woman. She has serious problems and needs real help.
  2. I understand that. But negative expressions still exist. It's still derogatory to say things like 'this is so gay' or to speak about 'the gay agenda.' I think the church tries to use value neutral language whenever possible to avoid any sort of negative connotation. Plus, considering the age of many church leaders, I think many of them are in the same position my mom with this (described earlier in a post to HFT). If, for the majority of your life, some expression was considered a slur, it's hard to just switch over and start using it - even if people tell you that's really what they want you to use. Another potential factor is that, while 'gay' is the preferred language of the day, who knows whether or not it will revert back to being a slur in the future. Just look at the way racial terms have evolved over time. Regardless of what may have been acceptable back in the day, people still pull quotes from past church leaders that (in today's context) make them look hostile. I'm sorry, but the overwhelming majority of people - all people - act on their sexual attractions. The difference, of course, is that the church considers opposite-sex expressions of attraction in courtship and (later) in marriage to be morally acceptable, while opposite-sex expressions are prohibited. That's obviously not how those in the mainstream LGBTQ community view things, and that's why there exists this battle over definitions and words. I think that's a fair assessment. Lots of us aren't yet Zion-level when it comes to loving our gay brothers and sisters.
  3. My point was simply that "gay" isn't a value neutral term. It used to be a derogatory label...until it wasn't...except, of course, when it sometimes still is - depending on who is saying it or how it's being used. You were talking about being gay, but not acting on it (i.e., "If you are gay, don't act on it"). So, if "being gay" means 'being attracted (physically / romantically / emotionally) to members of the same sex,' then "acting gay" would, in context, mean acting on that attraction. I didn't mean anything like 'acting in a way that might stereotypically be associated with gay men or women.' Admittedly, it isn't a formulation I have ever used - mainly because I've never thought of someone being some-adjective, but not acting on it. That just sounds a little strange to me. It's kind of like saying, 'It is okay to be Scottish, so long as you don't act on it.' It just doesn't compute. I believe that perception is, in no small part, driven by those outside the church, including those in the mainstream LGBT community. Even though it isn't true. I am quite confident I have never suggested anything even remotely similar to that.
  4. The term "gay" has some baggage with it too. And I think some of the reticence of church has in using the term exclusively is because of how that term is generally understood. It is offensive to most of the LGBT community.  Thank you for answering this. I was genuinely interested in getting your thoughts. So, it's okay to be gay as long as you don't act gay? See, I think this is sort of the problem that the church is trying to avoid by distinguishing between attraction and behavior. Some of this is just the way that language works. For example, we frequently talk about albino animals, but we don't use special language to talk about animals that are not albinos, right? It's not meant to be offensive or anything; there just isn't a real need for anyone to invent a special term to specifically identify the non-albino set. I mean, when you talk about a lion, I'm pretty sure that pretty much everyone pictures the same sort of thing. You only need the word "albino" to indicate that you are talking about a very small sub-set of lions. I think the church does clearly teach that identifying as gay is not a sin (see, e.g., the quote in my previous post to you). However, I think the church is cautious about using expressions like "being gay." If the church were to say 'you can be a gay Mormon,' what do you think most people would understand that to mean?
  5. So, 'When der Führer says we is de master race...' it would be offensive for us to, as the song goes, <pffft> right in the Führer's face? I mean, that's how they self-identified, so we should have respected that; the preferences of the group should be prioritized over any kind of objective criteria, right?
  6. Personally, I don't have a problem referring to people by the identifier of their choosing. Well, within reason, of course. However, I am interested in flushing this out a bit more. Is it the expression "same-sex attraction" in and of itself that is considered offensive? Or is it the way people use it that is what causes the offence? For example, when someone says, "So-and-so has same-sex attraction," I understand that this might be considered offensive (as you have explained) because it sounds an awful lot like the way we talk about people who have a disease (e.g., So-and-so has Tuberculosis or, perhaps more poignantly, So-and-so has AIDS). So, even though one may happen to be using the exact same language that is used when talking about other personal attributes (e.g., So-and-so has red hair), the perception is different when it comes to sexual attraction because of the unstated implication that same-sex attraction isn't normal. Or, even if that isn't the intended implication, it's sort of the understood association, right? But what if we don't talk about "having" it? I ran a site search on lds.org this morning, and the only instances I was able to find for "[has/have/having] same sex attraction" were from youth asking questions - never from church leaders. I'm not saying no leader has ever used the expression, but it does seem like the times where the church uses the phrase "same-sex attraction" are generally in situations like this: The Church distinguishes between same-sex attraction and homosexual behavior. People who experience same-sex attraction or identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual can make and keep covenants with God and fully and worthily participate in the Church. Identifying as gay, lesbian, or bisexual or experiencing same-sex attraction is not a sin and does not prohibit one from participating in the Church, holding callings, or attending the temple. So, is speaking about someone "experiencing same-sex attraction" offensive as well?
  7. Well, one of those "things from the past" is that the term 'gay' used to be a derogatory term...for quite a while, actually. And it happens to be a term that can still be used in a derogatory manner, depending on the speaker or context (e.g., this is so gay). It's only within the last couple of decades that the LGBT community has reclaimed the word from being an epithet and turned it into a self-identifying term. That's totally fine by me. I'm cool with that. But what about people like my parents? People who mostly think of the word as being an insult still - one that they personally try to avoid because they think it's wrong to do so. It isn't insensitivity that drives them to look for other terms - it's exactly the opposite, in fact. You can tell them that 'gay' is the right word all day long, but it just doesn't click for them. It's like if you had grown up your whole life knowing that X was a racial slur but, over time, people from that particular group decided that they wanted to be known by the term. Certainly you could understand why it might be difficult for someone in that situation to be hesitant about adopting its use. One of the things that I think has been missing in this discussion of 'trying not to offend' is the flip side of that virtue: try not to take offence. It's been my experience that when both of those are present people tend to get along just fine.
  8. Maybe I've just been fortunate to have mostly positive experiences with this topic, but in the ward we live in now - every time there is an election drawing near - there are multiple gentlemen in our Elders Quorum who remind everyone when early voting begins/ends and when election day is (for those who missed out on early voting). They never say anything about how one ought to vote - only that we should remember to do so. On another occasion, my wife and I lived in a ward where someone in the High Priest's group was on the City Council, and he would send out emails about all of the upcoming local elections. Again, he never included anything about how to vote, but if there was a bond measure, for example, he would provide the summary of the issue from the city's website along with a link to the original proposal so you could go and read it (and then decide) for yourself. I thought that was pretty helpful...and perfectly acceptable. I guess that's kind of what I envision how this calling is supposed to work. You've got elderly people in the ward who can't make it out to the polls anymore? Have someone who can help them obtain mail-in ballots. Don't know how to use a computer to register in your county - we've got someone who can help you with that. Need to know when the next election is? Where your caucus meets? Etc. We've got you covered. And hey, maybe you start to get involved a little - especially at the local level - and begin to see that you really can make a difference in your community. That's what happened to the fellow we knew who ended up on the City Council - he found out that the council member in his district was running unopposed, so he decided to throw his hat in the ring. He ended up winning and then running unopposed himself in the next election. Pretty cool.
  9. Yeah, I've been trying to get my wife to care about politics for years, but her eyes still gloss over whenever anything remotely approaching a serious political discussion ensues. Unfortunately, the world is filled with people who are ignorant about politics. Sometimes the ignorance is inadvertent, but often it is a rational choice - the incentives are just too weak to get people to invest in gaining the knowledge to make more informed choices. I remember reading an article (don't CFR me on this, going solely on aging memory here) about how, in a previous election year, voters were asked what was the number one issue for them. The overwhelming reply was that the economy was the number one issue. Of those who said that the economy was the most important issue, more than 2/3 were unaware that the economy had grown during the previous year. I didn't get the impression that specialists would be teaching about issues from the article. The kind of things they will be involved with include "helping members register to vote, request mail-in ballots, attend their party caucus meetings and find their polling places." All of that seems like pretty helpful, neutral stuff.
  10. In my experience, people who aren't into politics just aren't into politics. The problem isn't that they don't know how to register or when/where to vote, it's that they just don't care that much about voting in the first place. I'm doubtful that a ward political specialist is going to do much to change that. I mean, honestly, when was the last time a ward anything specialist made a big impact on lots of people's behavior? I suspect ward political specialists will end up being no different than the ward magazine rep or the genealogy specialists: they will be someone people can go to if they are interested in knowing how to do something / get started with something, but probably not much more than that.
  11. Here is the Google Ngram for TBM: link. Some of the various meanings (none related to Mormonism): Tired Business Man, Tunnel Boring Machine, Three Blind Mice, and Thick-billed Murres (a type of bird). Most of the rest tended to be abbreviations for terms used in biology / chemistry (e.g., Trophoblastic Basement Membranes, Tingible Body Macrophages, Tribenzylidene-methane). As for internet usage, you're probably about right timeline wise. Seemed to be a fairly common term in the late-90s / early 2000s but doesn't seem to be as popular right now.
  12. Wow. That is much more moving than what I thought when I saw the film. My reaction was, 'Wait, if he just traveled back in time and settled down with agent Carter, then doesn't that mean he hooked up with his own grand-niece in the last movie? Yuk!'
  13. I would be interested in seeing a longitudinal study along those lines. My personal observation has been that, as people age, their commitment to the church (and its teachings) either solidifies or they simply end up leaving the church. According to my now teenage daughter: old. As in, all I have to look forward to in life is becoming a grandpa and then dying. Guess who now doesn’t get to date until she’s 30… I have always considered myself a bit of an outlier here. When I was about sixteen I had some very profound, personal religious experiences which convinced me of the truthfulness of the church. Based on those (and many other) experiences, I can say with perfect confidence that I will remain an active, believing member of the church for the rest of my life. I grew up in a small town in Texas, and I don’t need more than one hand to count the number of friends I had growing up who were Mormon. I’ve been to plenty of other churches over the years. In fact, I just recently attended a weeknight service to support one of my coworkers – she and her husband were giving a sermon on marriage; it was quite nice (except for the music of course – I can’t stand all that wannabe folk/rock nonsense that passes for praise music in most churches these days). And if my wife were to join another religion – say, Catholicism – then I would happily attend church with her and support her in her faith. But even if I were to go with her every week, I wouldn’t consider myself to be a ‘secular Catholic.’ I would still be an observant Latter-day Saint – just one who happens to sit with his wife during mass. I have attended a wide variety of religious services. I have been to Midnight Mass with my Catholic friends; attended more mainstream Protestant churches than I care to recount. I have drunk Kool Aid with Satanists. And I have even tasted maha prashadam – the special, sanctified food of the gods – during the Feast of Juggernaut. In all my experiences with other faiths, I have always tried to look for whatever truth and light they have to offer – admittedly, a bit trixy when it comes to the Satanists. At the end of the day though, despite the good that they may have, I find all of them lacking what can only be found in the Church of Jesus Christ: the fullness of the everlasting gospel.
  14. Why not? Where in the Constitution does it authorize religious leaders to issue marriage licenses? Is it before or after the section where it authorizes them to administer drivers license tests? I'm sorry, but even though we have a strong common law tradition of allowing religious leaders to officiate marriages, there's nothing in the Constitution which would prevent states from requiring that all marriages be performed by a magistrate. Such a law would apply to all religions equally and would have no impact on anyone's freedom of religion. You could still be 'church married' by whoever you wanted - Pastor, Rabbi, Shaman, High Priestess, etc. - but you would still have to go to the government in order to be 'civilly married.' And, should you undertake the former without the latter, the government would be under no obligation to treat your 'church marriage' any differently than it treats the religious marriages of modern day polygamists. I really just chimed in to add my comments about the 'churches will never be excluded from legally marrying people' debate. I've got no idea why the church decided to change it's policy now. And, if I'm being brutally honest, I really don't care.
  15. I'm not an expert by any means, but from what I gather "PathwayConnect" is what used to be called "Pathway" which used to be called "Academic Start" (before it was actually rolled out, at least). I'm honestly not certain what, if any, meaningful changes have been made between the "Pathway" program and "PathwayConnect." Perhaps it's just a re-branding. As I understand it though, PathwayConnect is a one-year jump start program to help prepare you for college. And if you take it, some of the credit hours will transfer to BYU-I should you decide to pursue a degree through the Pathway Worldwide program (they really should have called these things different names - it is kind of confusing). Additionally, completion allows you to pay a reduced price for any credit hours taken through the Pathway Worldwide program. Anyway, the jump start program has really taken off - so much so, that that the number of senior missionaries who serve as mentors and oversee the (required) weekly meetings have posed an obstacle for growth. By pre-approving missionaries for admission, they are essentially guarantied a spot in the program should they want to participate. At least, that's what my takeaway is.
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