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About TOmNossor

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    Seasoned Member: Separates Light & Dark

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  1. I found this while searching for something unrelated to this conversation. Here is how the Catholic Church deals with folks who teach heretical things. http://canonlawmadeeasy.com/2012/11/08/was-theologian-hans-kung-ever-excommunicated/ This document details two individuals who both taught things not in alignment with Catholic truth claims. While the document does not say it, it is clear to me that if they rejected Catholic dogma they were excommunicated "latae sententiae." Hans Kung expressed a willingness to align his teaching with Catholic truth claims. He exchanged many letters with the Vatican. He may have never repented, and he was declared unable to teach Catholic theology, but he was never told he was excommunicated (he also didn't share the letters publicly and try to embarrass the Catholic Church). In contrast, Father Tissa Balasuriya didn't express willingness to align his teachings. He refused to sign a profession of faith. He sued the Bishops in his area for impacting his book sales. Ultimately he was formally told that he had excommunicated himself. Bill Reel seems much more similar to Father Tissa than to Father Kung. Charity, TOm
  2. I forget the exact requirements for a CFR. I will give you all I got. I should first state that I WISH I knew as much about Mormonism as Dr. Peterson. I would be happy to carry his books for him so that I could listen to his presentations and …. I hope that I didn’t come across differently. I KNOW it was a message board post, not a podcast. I know it was before podcasts were a thing. I think it was on ZLMB (but it could have been on the old FAIR Board). I miss ZLMB! I ONLY remember it because it struck me. I doubt I responded as I would have been too timid perhaps today but certainly then. Maybe I largely imagined it, but in this case my point is the same. I was trying to express to Sunstoned how from as early as I can remember I have rolled with the punches concerning things I believed about Mormonism. I don’t think people should believe that early LDS Polygamy was a bad thing such that God had nothing to do with it, but Todd Compton’s book in the LDS book store (pre-Deseret in Albuquerque, NM) just seemed like a viable position to me when I read it. I was a little surprised that he could/would say the things he said (otherwise I would have no memory of this event), but it was just part of the tapestry of Mormonism. The same was true of the seer stone. I do not remember EVER believing that Joseph translated in a more conventional manner with plates and spectacles. My only memory was to see someone who I knew knew way more about this than I did questioning the stone in the hat. I am pretty sure it was Dr. Petersen, but even that could be wrong. At some point in time I came to grips with the idea that a miraculous book produced with a stone in a hat is still a miracle just like a miraculous book produced with direct access to angel delivered plates in a language nobody understood was/would be a miracle. I find it extraordinarily unlikely that I know EVERY problem and every CORRECT response to problems within Mormonism. I fully expect to have slightly different views on this or that issue 10 years from now. I might say that I hope I have different views on the origins of the BOA 10 years from now because my current views are not strong enough to stand by themselves without being linked to the Book of Mormon and the Witnesses and …. But, I do not anticipate any punches that come my way in the next 10 years will do serious damage to the conclusion I have held for almost 2 decades now. Anyway, that is the best I have. Maybe my memory is flawed, but I find it unlikely I could find anything to substantiate my memory. Charity, TOm
  3. I don’t know as much about various Protestant churches as I think I do about Catholicism. Catholicism is very much about “right belief.” Every Catholic who does not believe the Eucharist is Transubstantiated into the body and blood of Christ OR that the Pope is not infallible under certain conditions is excommunicated. If Bill Reel was Catholic and did not believe that the Pope possessed the Chrism of Infallibility, he would be excommunicated per Canon Law. If Bill Reel was a priest (especially a priest with a congregation, Parish Priest), he MIGHT receive a formal excommunication. But if he was only a lay person, he would have “excommunicated himself” (and ONLY his FAITH is important, he doesn’t have to post his rejection of Catholic dogma on the Internet or invite others to reject Catholic Dogma to be “latae sententiae excommunication” (a sentence already passed, not requiring a formal declaration). If he was a she and had an abortion, the excommunication would just be. The CoJCoLDS is far more orthopraxic, about right practice. There is no such thing as “latae sententiae excommunication.” Charity, TOm
  4. I can understand disillusionment when one discovers things they thought to be true were not in fact true. I still say what Wendy Ulrich taught me long ago, “may we all be disillusioned, because who would want to be ‘illusioned.’” I struggle to understand the former member who touts the strength of their previous testimony and now has taken intellectual reasons to some conclusion that seems warranted to them and no longer believes. I try to understand, but it is tough. I joined the Church (in my 20's) without anything like the testimony that is unfurled on occasion by former members to establish their bonifides. I knew about polygamy, but I remember pulling Todd Compton’s (who is still a member in good standing as far as I know) book off the shelf at the local “church” bookstore. I read almost a third of it in the store and found it interesting. I remember thinking that the book seemed to suggest LDS polygamy was a bad thing, so I guess this is at least one of the views held by folks who write books FOR the church? OK. I do not remember when I decided that the BOM was translated with a stone in a hat, but I do remember being shocked to see Daniel Petersen question the certainty of this truth (I guess I was ahead of him on this). Oh well, perhaps it was the stone, perhaps it was somewhat different? I believed and still believe the intellectual case for the CoJCoLDS was stronger than the intellectual case against the CoJCoLDS and I had very little spiritual testimony to support this belief. The “Why Not Engage the Evidence of Historicity” thread includes some of the things I find compelling together with things that I find less powerful, but my judgement is that Joseph Smith, an unnamed cabal of 19th century conspirators, Oliver Cowdry, Brigham Young, and … could not have done this on their own. It was folks who knew the anti-Mormon arguments much less well than I did (one Catholic who became a Sedavacantist and one Protestant who became a Catholic – in part due to our conversations – and now is mostly atheist/agnostic) who brought me to a place where I had to sincerely pray to KNOW and receive a testimony. It had nothing to do with the absence of intellectual evidence supporting the CoJCoLDS, the presence of intellectual problems undermining the CoJCoLDS, or the adequacy or non-existence of arguments both pro and con responding to these evidences and difficulties. Instead, perhaps God wanted me to follow Him despite the evidence. Perhaps I have placed my intellect on an alter and God wants to be the subject of my worship. Perhaps the council against “Private Judgement” (a Catholic thing) means that I must pray to know (I do not think it does within Catholic circles, but perhaps it should). Today, I can put my spiritual bonifides next to my intellectual bonifides and if I offer them to you with $2.85 you can buy hot chocolate (in other words they cannot get you much). All that means I struggle to understand the intellectual journey sufficient to overturn the claimed powerful testimony purportedly embraced by many former critics. It is totally at odds with how I have engaged the evidence. In the absence of some spiritual testimony or with the intention to suppress it for the purposes of finding “truth” (a fool’s plan IMO) TOGETHER with a profound refusal to consider the “pseudo-rational mumbo jumbo” coming out of places like FAIR or FARMs (while ironically just moving to better arguments rather than rejecting all anti-arguments ie a diet of Dan Vogel not polluted by Bill McKeaver), I can make sense of such a journey out of the church. I suspect that is offensive and I do not mean for it to be. I could list a long list of perhaps they thought this or felt this or … but I know that is offensive too. I must recognize that as you said, that is your path (experience), not mine. My view of the CoJCoLDS suggest to me that it would be phenomenally better if you do not loose faith in God completely. I will do one of those LDS things for you and I hope your journey results in “joy” to replace hurt and anger (which you may have moved past already). Charity, TOm
  5. I have no idea what the “right” course of action is for the church, but it is not inappropriate to ask Bill to change his message or to cease to be a member. The wonderful family I minister too seems to have a great marriage. That being said, I have ZERO doubt that if I had magic truth serum, I could ask either the husband or the wife for a list of dozens of faults and problems that they have with their spouse. I could then use a magic mind control serum and have one or the other take their list and spend 95-100% of their shared communication pointing to these faults. The one who was not under the magic mind control serum, would be amazed at what was happening. They would probably spend weeks acknowledging the TRUTH contained in the list. They might even change some things contained in the list (perhaps they might write essays about times in the past where one-sided history didn’t tell enough of the story, thereby presenting a more full history). But if the list was used and added to and was the majority of their interactions, over time, the marriage would be destroyed. Divorce might happen or perhaps just misery. Per my observation Bill started out trying to say how it was important to maintain one’s faith even though there were tough issues. Over time it seems that he has become more about talking about problems than he has about encouraging faith. That is his choice (AND IT IS A CHOICE, nobody had a “magic mind control serum”), but it will damage the relationship. I am happy folks are committed to marriage and stick it out. I am happy folks are committed to the church and stick it out. I am not saying that being committed to Bill is a bad thing and the church is perfect in ceasing to be committed to Bill. But, it might be best for the church and Bill to end the relationship and it is entirely reasonable. Charity, TOm
  6. TOmNossor

    Why Not Engage the Evidence for Historicity?

    I think your assertion evidences to just two things. One, I TOm, enjoy evidence and problems so for me personally I would very much enjoy such things. Two, you WISH to make this assertion because it fits your agenda. But, you are mistaken, my position would not change because I embrace the position of the Church and the BOM. Long before anyone thought about ancient travels from Jerusalem to Nahom to Bountiful, long before anyone thought about horses or cement in the New World, long before …; the Church has been claiming along with the text of the BOM and a large number of Biblical verses that one should PRAY to know. I see ZERO reason that a large cash of archeological finds would change this. I do not follow this board enough to know all the histories of its posters. What is your experience with “praying to know?” Have you done it? Did you once believe? If you once believed, is it your position that the historical problems with the BOM caused you to revision your answers to prayers and abandon faith in the CoJCoLDS? I have no doubt that this describes some of the things that lead to journeys out of the CoJCoLDS. But, I like Ryan Dahle, Daniel Petersen, and a number of posters on this thread do not see the evidence breaking this way. Charity, TOm
  7. TOmNossor

    Why Not Engage the Evidence for Historicity?

    I hope you read my entire post, but I don’t think you understood my point. I am not saying the BOM is not historical, I believe it is. There are problems with the simplistic views of the BOM as a historical document in the way that the Federalists Papers are historical documents. But, Cinepro said, “The problem is that believers and critics alike aren't required to support any theory. It's not a competition where all the theories are lined up and whichever is best must be believed (and certainly, I agree that if we allow for God's intervention and can attribute anything we want to that intervention, then the theories involving God are far stronger).“ It is my position that the Church does not invite people to believe in the BOM because of the evidence many educated LDS (and a small number of educated non-LDS) find witnesses to its historical nature. The Church instead invites people to pray to know if the BOM is from God (Not even if the BOM is historical). This prayer is a very Biblical way of approaching truth and in many cases the results of these prayers can re-orient the worldview of those who doubt there is a God sufficiently to forever leave that atheist/agnostic idea behind. Instead, critics of the church claim that one should recognize that the BOM is obviously not a historical book. That there is NOTHING to the “God did it” hypothesis. AND then those without testimonies must not pray to know and those with testimonies must dismiss these experiences as unreliable. The critics claim the only rational response is to not believe the BOM came from God. As a LDS, I do not need the BOM to be an obviously historical book. I really do not expect God to produced evidence of Christ’s resurrection and 2000+ mile instantaneous journey to the New World that must be accepted by all scholars and rational people. I merely suggest that there is enough evidence that the BOM is an ancient book and “God did it” that it is reasonable, intelligent, rational, … for LDS to continue to believe. AND that it is reasonable, intelligent, rational, … for non-LDS who consider praying to know if the BOM is from God to in fact pray to know if it is from God. This thread has pointed to a number of reasons I think the BOM is more likely to be a historical book AND more likely to be a historical book that came from God than not. But, all the church needs from the efforts of folks like Brant Gardner or Daniel Peterson is a BOM that reasonably could have come from God. I am an engineer. I approached nuclear reactor issues and I approach microelectronics issues with study and reason. I personally find great value in approaching the BOM in ways based on subjective evidence that all rational folks can weigh and measure. I joined in my mid-20’s and became serious about KNOWING in my late 20’s. I find the BOM emerges as a complex book that didn’t source solely from any 19th century human and very very probably didn’t source from any solely non-supernatural means. From here I think praying to know is a reasoned response. Charity, TOm
  8. TOmNossor

    Why Not Engage the Evidence for Historicity?

    Cinepro, Thank you for the response! You say“The problem is that believers and critics alike aren't required to support any theory. It's not a competition where all the theories are lined up and whichever is best must be believed (and certainly, I agree that if we allow for God's intervention and can attribute anything we want to that intervention, then the theories involving God are far stronger).“ I think this is all believers myself included should be looking for. You seem to say there are no theories that answer all the questions without some “ad-hoc” justifications. The “God was involved theory” is better than any other theories. From this place it would seem that following the path encouraged by the church is a good choice for those so inclined. AND for those who have followed the path and received an answer to prayer concerning the divinity of the Church embracing this answer would be a very rational choice. I see things a little differently than you. I can see how “God did it” can become a mindless statement to justify anything. But the church claims a number of things including “God did it.” AND including the BOM is an ancient book that describes the visit of a Jewish man to the “new world” thousands of miles from where this ancient Jew was killed and resurrected. “Ancient things” present in the text not only align with “God did it” but also align with the claims made by the book and those who purportedly received it from God. If the BOM is fertile ground for the finding of connections to the ancient world this aligns with what the church claims. Sometimes the connections are so strong critics feel compelled to postulate rare maps and access to other material. Your “ad-hoc” criticism is precisely why I consider the Book of Abraham production combined with the extant papyri to be a significant problem for LDS truth claims. Maybe there was other papyri, maybe the “translation” was symbolic. Maybe the papyri were just catalysts. It is all “ad-hoc.” But, I don’t see the BOM evidences as purely “ad-hoc.” Instead I consider the rare responses to these evidences to be purely “ad-hoc.” Such and such was in Josephus. That map is at Dartmouth. Yes, it is cement, yes it is in presence of deforestation and lots of water, but the author of the BOM didn’t know that the production of the cement caused the deforestation so therefore it is not evidence. Anyway, I do not think the CoJCoLDS has ever said folks should become and stay LDS because the BOM is historical and thus comes from God. The CoJCoLDS says pray to know if it is from God. It is the critics of the CoJCoLDS that say the BOM is obviously not from God because of these problems so disbelieve in what you thought were answers to prayers and come follow me. Charity, TOm
  9. TOmNossor

    Why Not Engage the Evidence for Historicity?

    I am enjoying this thread. I am not horrified by the heartland vs. the Mesoamerican model. There are problems and benefits to both. I have always leaned strongly in the Mesoamerican direction. That being said, it is not appropriate to use evidence from the heartland model to explain problems with the Mesoamerican model. One could say, “there is no compass problem with the Mesoamerican model because look at this heartland orientation.” Then say, and look at Teotihuacan where there is a convergence of “lack of trees,” “many waters,” “the land Northward (relative to the rest of the proposed geography for the BOM in this area),” and the archeological find of manmade “cement.” But this is either dishonest or idiotic. I find the “tight” vs. “loose” translation to be a much larger issue. I only partially agree with Cinepro when he says the existence of the other weakens the one. Brant Gardner (I am pretty sure I am right that he is the loose translation guy and I have seen him say …) offers arguments about this or that problem being caused by loose “translation.” Some of the “translation artifacts” are evidence of ancient origins are weakened by the idea of a “loose translation.” As I recall Brant Gardner acknowledges this and so I do not criticize his position ONLY the position of those who use “loose translation” explanations for this or that problem and “tight translation” evidences for this or that evidence. I have long felt that it is appropriate to view the translation as tight or loose and take the good with the bad. I have not yet decided which case is stronger, but I think both have merits that critics seldom address. NOW, the real reason I post right now (only 5 pages into a 37 page thread) is that I think the recognition of the incompatibility of “loose” vs. “tight” is important so I refuse to allow evidences and explanations from both sides to be put on the scale. The reason I mention this here is because of the things Daniel Peterson and SMAC point to. Critics seem to agree that the BOM is not from God, but their explanations are often mutually exclusive. If it is appropriate for believers to evaluate the strengths of the “loose” translation model and not intermingle those strengths with the “tight” translations strengths, SURELY it is appropriate for the case of “automatic writing” or “the brilliant conman” to stand alone. Critics shouldn’t ask that an amalgamation of evidences from contradictory explanations be weighed. And when they do LDS are right to reject this and call it intellectually lacking! Charity, TOm
  10. Well, perhaps in addition to failing to stake out a position of truth that didn't fail to love, I failed to present to you something I thought was based mostly on reason and less so on emotion. I hope to post some things to Mark tomorrow and I am afraid that I cannot refrain from poking on Gray's latest post, but mostly I want to retreat from this debate until I feel less yucky. Charity, TOm
  11. California Boy, I am sorry. I am the sounding brass and tinkling cymbal. I am sorry. I set out to express a position without hurting people and I have failed to do that. I truly do believe that you can and are likely to do fabulously raising your family. I am sorry. Charity, TOm
  12. I have no need to close the thread. I read through Rory’s thread on New Mormonism. I think it helped me understand your position better. I want to explore it some more. Let me start by saying that my wife would say my hair is brown with some gray. If you and Rory had lunch with me, would you Rory and I KNOW that my hair is brown and gray? Would it be true that my hair now in 2018 is brown with some gray? Does God know that my hair is brown with some gray? If you and Rory and I had lunch together for months and every day I ordered water with lemon and I told you that I never drink anything other than water with lemon. Could you know that I would order water with lemon next time we had lunch? Could you have faith that I would order water with lemon next time we had lunch? Would this faith be associated with your past experiences of our lunches? Would it be associated with my profession that I only drink water with lemon? Or would it be both? Would it be possible to say that reason and faith directs you to the belief that I will have water and lemon? Now, you and I agree that God the Father has flesh and bone. We agree that God can do things that we do not understand. He can communicate to us interpersonally without speaking words that could be heard by our friends who are sitting next to us in the pew. But, I would think that we both would reject that God is ultimately unknowable and so transcendent that we only experience His energies. We can get to know Him. Can we know what color His hair might be? Can we observe how He answers our prayers as we have lunch together for months and “hear” Him tell us that He will always meet us for lunch and answer our prayers? Can we know that he will answer our prayers tomorrow at lunch? Can we have faith He will answer our prayers tomorrow at lunch? Would this faith be associated with our past experiences of God at our lunches? Would this faith be associated with God’s “covenant” with us that He would answer our prayers at our lunches? Would it be possible to say that reason and faith direct us to the belief that God will answer our prayers at lunch? I hope these questions give you some jumping off point to educated me. I am still of the opinion that there is a place for “faith and reason.” I am still of the opinion that folks who do not use faith and reason can retreat to good social action and in the name of love accept all kinds of things. Charity, TOm
  13. I cannot solve these with word definitions absolutely intact. I think your case that True vs. analogical in this context creates a conflict. That something is known with certainty but is obscured seems problematic too. I will give it a shot. I think I will lean towards the idea that faith and reason should go together, but I will explore this with you. JPII might mean: There are facts that are true that are known. The way those come to be known is through likening the transcendent with things we experience in our world through analogies. There are aspects of the Trinity that are known through the image of the 3-leaf clover. There are aspects of the Trinity that are known through the common Trinity shield, “is God, is God, is God, is not ….” The Trinity is true and some folks come to know this. These analogies help express what is known, but like all analogies can be pushed too far. TOm says: I do not actually subscribe to the idea that the Trinity can be known in the human mind because I think if you push to hard you get to violations of the law of non-contradiction, at least if you wish to rule out my views of the Trinity and all the other views that have been declared heretical by the Catholic Church. JPII might mean: That certainty is a product of faith and contact with God. That when our rational mind tries to pin down EXACTLY what this certainty is, our human limitations obscure it. By analogy, you might be certain that you have a powerful beast in the cage, but because a curtain obscures your view you are unsure if it is a lion, tiger or bear. TOm says: Not too much. I will repeat the quote from Arch Bishop Chaput: Perhaps I should offer Faith and Rationality. I think we can think deeply, faithfully, and rigorously about our faith. I think we “take refuge in humanitarian feelings and social action.” We immerse ourselves in loving others and subordinate truth to love. These are things that I was thinking about. I will reply more to your next post. Charity, TOm
  14. “People like me!” Good gosh! This is pure emotion. TOm is beating up on the kind and loving man California Boy. This is dehumanizing and is not an argument. Never mind that I explained I would welcome you to worship with me today AND on a future day when perhaps the church changes its position on SSM (in case you cannot worship with me today because of the current church position). I also said: I would bet on you being extraordinary if I gambled and there was a market. But, I am “people like me.” You do not have to use reason to arrive at your positions that is ok. You will win most arguments with most people by using emotion. You are in fact winning in real life. That being said, I am suggesting that members of society at large and members of LDS society should not abandon the evolved or historical or revealed truths associated with the importance of marriage and family for emotional appeals that do not align with rational arguments. You relying upon emotional appeals makes me think my assessment of this is more likely to be right than I thought before. Now, probably for the emotional strength of this, you said that I am “so eager to cast gay families as being so inferior to straight families as if straight marriages are so successful over gay marriages.” If I understand what you have said, then you do not understand the preponderance of evidence (studies that both of us have provided and reasoned arguments) in this thread or what I am trying to say. My purpose is far more muted and success IMO does not require me to denigrate “gay families as being so inferior.” Every one of your studies argued that rearing of children in SSM results are no better or worse than non-SSM rearing results. The studies I sited argued that ON AVERAGE children reared in SSMs have more problems (emotional and other problems) than children reared in a family with their biological mother and father and that these results meet statistical tests to indicate that sample sizes and detected differences are statistically significant. Furthermore, there is evidence that the methodologies involved in your studies, errors in identifying SSMs (this was a really dopey error done by folks that I cannot think really wanted to present real data), errors in sample size (having a direct impact upon what sort of differences would be statistically significant), and errors in self-selection bias; created the evidence of parity (without these errors the averages differ by statistically significant amounts – not axe killer vs. Mother Teresa amounts, but statistically significant amounts). That being said, I told you to be an extraordinary SSM father so that you can achieve parity (or hopefully and LIKELY better than parity, because parity as you point out sucks in all parts of the world), precisely because I do not think of gay families as being SO INFERIOR. My muted purpose is to argue that the IDEAL is that children are raised by their biological mother and father in a stable home. My daughter is not part of the ideal, but I will do what I can (and stay out of the way of my wife as she does GREAT things) to help my daughter do better than parity. The data from your studies and my studies can only mean that this IDEAL rearing on average (ON AVERAGE) is better for children than SSM rearing. This is one of the reasons that this rearing by biological mother and father is the ideal. There are others reasons have nothing to do with church or God that the ideal is as I describe and our studies do not address these. Furthermore, I suggest that as a society and as a church we should teach the ideal and emphasize the ideal. We can then make allowances for divorce, adoption, single parent homes, SSA folks who may enter into SSM. These allowances should be designed to ameliorate potential pitfalls identified when the ideal is not possible/achieved. But, the IDEAL will not change because nobody lives a perfect life. “Be ye therefore perfect, eventually,” not “be completely satisfied with less than perfect because perfect is just too hard.” I am so unemotional about all of this. I really do not care that you referred to me derisively as “people like you.” I wanted to talk about this without causing pain or opening old wounds. I truly would welcome you into my ward and I will gladly sit next to you now or when/if the CoJCoLDS changes its position on this. I am sorry for the mistreatment that I expect has happened for you. I don’t know how your “coming out” affected your life, your parents, and others. I love my uncle and my nephew and a handful of friends. My uncle is married and comfortable in his skin, my nephew not so much. I cannot erase hurt and pain, but I know someone who can. Jesus Christ died for those with SSA and those without SSA. I hope you find peace and threads like this do not cause you pain in the future. Charity, TOm
  15. I wanted to quickly respond here (I thought I should argue before I agreed so ...). It was because of something you said long ago that I have ceased to speak of homosexual and heterosexual people (except when I slip up or when I am trying to shock folks by calling myself a dirty "ro" or a "breeder"). I would welcome a pullback from our current cultural view of sex and attraction. I cannot see how that will come about, but I appreciate your perspective as a historian. I am only slightly removed from being a fish who doesn't know what it means to be wet! Charity, TOm