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About rchorse

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    Member: Moves Upon the Waters

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  1. Feelings of inadequacy and hopelessness don't come from God. Nobody is a perfect parent, and whether children stay in the church or not is dependent on so many factors (especially the child's agency) that it can't be attributed to just one thing. I know many great parents who did everything right, but still had some or most of their children leave the church. I don't agree with the line of thinking that if the parents do everything right, the children will always stay faithful. If that were true, then we'd have to ask what God did wrong to lose 1/3 of his children in the pre-earth life. All that matters is that we do our best. Only we and God know if we have done that or not.
  2. This. While I did have one fantastic pizza in Italy near Naples, I was not impressed by the rest of the pizza I had there. Unfortunately, there are plenty of bad cooks in Italy, too, and it seems like they tend to be drawn to the tourist areas. We ate at several restaurants in several different cities there and had some pretty good food and some mediocre food. None of it was mind-blowing. Some of the Italian food I've had in the US and in Argentina was better than what we had in Italy. That said, I hope to never darken the door of another Olive Garden in my life.
  3. The reasons a leader may be inspired to call someone are not always clear cut. In one case, I received very clear spiritual direction to call a woman to a leadership position. It was one of the most clear revelations about a calling I received in my whole time as bishop. I was unaware that she was unworthy at the time, and she accepted the calling. Interestingly, it was serving in the calling and participation in ward council that caused her sufficient spiritual awakening/discomfort to come to me and confess and begin the repentance process. She was immediately released when she confessed, but I know that calling was inspired. I believe God inspired me to call her to help her repent. And just FYI, no innocent parties were harmed as a result of that calling. Like I said, I think some callings may be uninspired, but I don't agree with blanket statements that no callings come from God. I also disagree that a large percentage of callings are uninspired. I think the vast majority of callings are inspired and a small minority may not be.
  4. Are some callings uninspired? Probably. Sometimes leaders are not in tune with the Spirit and sometimes God just leaves things up to us to figure out. But I've had too many experiences with either being called to or released from a callling shortly after praying about it to think that callings are not inspired. I remember specifically one ward I was in where I had gone 9 or 10 months without a calling and prayed that I would be given something to do. The next Sunday I was given a calling. Sure, maybe that's a coincidence, but I don't see it that way. On my mission, I prayed to be transferred away from my first companion. I was transferred after only 1 month with him. In both cases, I didn't tell anyone other than God about the issues I was having. I have had many such experiences. As a bishop, my experience issuing callings was interesting. In some cases, I received very direct and clear revelation about who needed to be in a calling. But most of the time, it came through a process of counseling with my counselors and praying about it. Sometimes, we received a very clear answer as we prayed. Other times, the answer was more along the lines of "All the options you're considering are fine. Do what you think is best." In at least one case, members of the ward council and my counselors pressured me for months to call a couple into nursery. It always just never felt quite right. I finally gave in after almost a year, and we called them. Within 2 or 3 months it blew up in our faces, and I had big problems with this couple because of this calling. So, in my experience, leaders do make mistakes in callings, but I also believe that the vast majority of callings are inspired and that leaders do their best to seek the will of the Lord when deciding on and issuing callings.
  5. It's not just mission presidents and general authorities getting paid. The church has thousands of paid employees around the world, including translators, curriculum development, accountants, programmers, logistics personnel, people who sew garments and baptismal jumpsuits, and so on. Those manuals that get sent out every year also cost a lot of money and are written, edited, printed and shipped by paid church employees. It's not free to program apps and websites or make church videos, etc. Running a website and database like FamilySearch alone has to cost millions each year. It's one thing to disagree with where the money is being spent. I can see how reasonable people would choose to spend money elsewhere, if they were in charge. But to claim, as that commenter I quoted did, that nothing is flowing back from church headquarters to the local units/members around the world is ridiculous. I see ample evidence of where the funds are flowing back without having to look very hard.
  6. One commenter to the article Tacenda posted said, "Money flows to the central church. It does not flow back." Yeah, all those temples and chapels just magically appear and the full-time employees of the church all work for minimum wage. 🙄 Are people really so ignorant about what it costs to buy land for and construct a church building or a temple or how expensive landscape maintenance can be? I get that the church doesn't publish those costs, but a quick look at similar commercial construction and operating costs for organizations of similar size should make it clear that a whole lot of money is flowing back from the central church. Is it flowing back to rich Utah wards? Probably not. Is it flowing back to support the church in developing nations and areas where the church is not as strong? Clearly, just based on the number of temples, chapels and other resources going to those areas. If you don't trust the church to use tithing funds responsibly, don't pay tithing. I don't get the mentality that trusts the church to administer the ordinances necessary for salvation, but draws the line at the lack of transparency with finances. And if you don't trust the church to administer the ordinances necessary for salvation, why would you care if you can get a temple recommend or not? Or is it just that some people have a need to find fault with the church no matter what it does?
  7. A refugee investigator summed it up nicely in a testimony today. He said, "My joy has been restored."
  8. Video games are no different than other forms of entertainment, like TV, movies, sports, etc. There are good games and bad games just like there are good TV shows and bad ones. Mario Kart is not the same as Resident Evil, just as Little House on the Prairie is not the same as Saw 1-whatever. What's important is to make good choices about which games you play and make sure that you're not spending too much time playing. We let our kids play video games maybe once a week for an hour or two at most. Fortnite is not an option, as we don't let our kids play any games where they're hurting other people. But racing simulators, Lego video games, etc. have not been an issue. We let our oldest play Minecraft initially, as it seemed fairly harmless. But we noticed him getting way too into it after a couple weeks, talking about it nonstop, dreaming about it, etc. and decided it wasn't a good game for him and deleted it. Unfortunately, with kids who are addicted to video games and disrespectful/abusive to parents and others, most of the blame lies with the parents. I've made it abundantly clear to my children that if they don't follow our rules with video games or any kind of media, they will not have them anymore. That said, I find it problematic to forbid all access to media, phones, and video games because it will leave my kids completely unprepared for the freedom that comes with adulthood. When they're away at college or out on their own, they'll be able to watch and play whatever they want on whatever device they want for as long as they want. If I haven't prepared them to make responsible choices with their time and consumption of media because I've just forbidden everything, then I haven't done my job as a father.
  9. Anyone can create an account on lds.org. Depending on how the account is created, it can be tied to a membership record, but it doesn't have to be. Access to different areas on the site is dependent on membership status, callings, etc. Non-members, for example, would only have access to notes they've made, personal donations, and similar things. It could be problematic to remove all access for an excommunicated or resigned member, as they would also lose access to any saved notes and past donation records.
  10. After a few extremely improbable series of events in my own life that just shouldn't have happened based on how unlikely they were, I'm not inclined to give that particular line of argument much weight. Extremely unlikely things can and do happen. The Flood, global or otherwise, either happened or it didn't. I can't bring myself to care much either way. If everything in the accounts we have of the flood is symbolic or figurative, it would not bother me. On the other hand, I believe that God has the power to do what He needs/wants to. I'm really agnostic about the flood, evolution, methods of creation, Book of Mormon geography, etc. What I care about and what impacts my life in many positive ways is a testimony of Jesus Christ and His restored gospel. The flood and similar common topics of discussion only matter to me in terms of what I can learn from them to bring me closer to Christ. It's fun sometimes to speculate and hypothesize about what might have happened, but speculation is all it is, as I don't believe there will ever be enough evidence to prove it one way or another, at least not in mortality.
  11. All three of our boys are uncircumcised. The reaction from the doctors and nurses was mixed. Some acted surprised and seemed to think we were weirdos, while others said they were glad, and there's really no reason to do it. Our boys are now 9, 7 and 4, and we've had exactly zero problems because they're not circumcised and we've had exactly zero extra work or care in terms of cleaning and hygiene.
  12. From what I was told, it's because of that German tendency to take titles too far that the saints where I am were instructed by some general authority or other to not get hung up on the titles. All I know is that in my stake no one uses the titles, and they're definitely not liberal in other ways.
  13. I think we should just let people call each other what they want as long as it's not insulting or offensive. It was a culture shock for me to move from Sandy, Utah to Germany and hear people addressing the stake president by his first name. Now that I'm used to it, though, I much prefer it. Besides, if we're all really brothers and sisters, we should use whatever is agreeable to the one being addressed. I don't call my actual brothers "Brother rchorse". I call them Jim or Bob or whatever they have asked me to call them.
  14. There is never an audit of an individual member, and as far as I'm aware, there never has been. It's all based on the honor system as to whether someone paid a full tithe or not. The only audits are of the ward/branch finances by the stake auditor and the stake finances by a regional auditor to make sure all funds are accounted for and used properly.
  15. What does that have to do with anything? I think it's pretty clearly established that being called of God does not mean that God will prevent a person from doing bad things or succumbing to temptation. One need only look at Judas. He was quite literally called by God, and he still did bad things. Same with David, Saul and many others. If being called of God is a real thing, then it clearly doesn't mean God will not allow the person to do bad things after being called. Really, the only way this argument can make any sense is to take it to the end conclusion that no one is called of God and there is no God because bad things happen in the world. This whole line of argument is so tired I just can't bring myself to give it any more energy.
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