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Marginal Gains

Is much of the Word Of Wisdom merely advisory?

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Just now, Gray said:

You could have voting rights tied to church attendance without too much trouble, I think.

Or home teaching stats. =@

But then you wouldn't have a statistically significant sample size. :lol:

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17 minutes ago, rongo said:

Well, even in the "golden age," only those present voted. Then and now, you have to be present to vote. I don't think "balloting" to seek the vote of people who never attend is worthwhile.

As a side note, how would the Church handle balloting for the Address Unknown file? 

I do think you would have different results with anonymous common consent voting than with the group pressure of public meeting voting by the raise of hand. I could see there being a lot more "no" votes on bishops, stake presidents, etc. if it were anonymous

I agree. And I'm not sure its a good thing that people cave to peer pressure to sustain even when they feel they shouldn't. It's not like a unanimous sustaining vote is necessary to install someone into a new position. Maybe an anonymous vote would be more honest.

I wouldn't worry much about the address unknown file. That would seem to fit into your "Not present= no vote" idea. But I'm not sure I'd be as quick to dismiss anyone's vote simply because they weren't present at a meeting, especially if there isn't advance notice that there will be a vote on an important issue or calling. IF on the other hand, there is a notice that a new bishopric or SP will be called and sustained on X day, then I think it is fair to require people to be there to vote. But not so much if it's a surprise, like it usually is.

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2 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

So common consent is only to be used to accept the individuals serving in specific callings, and not the specific issues or teachings?

That was the intention. In 1907 the First Presidency specified what common consent referred to when they said: 

"It is a law that no person is to be ordained [or set apart] to any office in the Church, where there is a regularly organized branch of the same, without the vote of its members. . . . The ecclesiastical government itself exists by the will of the people; elections are frequent, and the members are at the liberty to vote as they choose."  (Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder, and Anthon H. Lund, Improvement Era 10 (May 1907): 487-88)

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1 minute ago, HappyJackWagon said:

I agree. And I'm not sure its a good thing that people cave to peer pressure to sustain even when they feel they shouldn't. It's not like a unanimous sustaining vote is necessary to install someone into a new position. Maybe an anonymous vote would be more honest.

I wouldn't worry much about the address unknown file. That would seem to fit into your "Not present= no vote" idea. But I'm not sure I'd be as quick to dismiss anyone's vote simply because they weren't present at a meeting, especially if there isn't advance notice that there will be a vote on an important issue or calling. IF on the other hand, there is a notice that a new bishopric or SP will be called and sustained on X day, then I think it is fair to require people to be there to vote. But not so much if it's a surprise, like it usually is.

It would be really interesting to see how the Church would handle significant "no" votes for a bishop or stake president (more than a hand or two). In the Smoot hearings, President Smith noted an instance where a stake rejected, by sustaining vote, a stake president. The presiding apostle was incensed, but did not move forward with it and submitted another man who was accepted. I don't think that would happen now.

I've shared before what happened with my first counselor in a previous ward. He has an MBA and a JD, and has a very high-paying and politically prominent state government position. When he lived in Utah, a general authority met with him and told him that they were presenting a certain man on Sunday for stake president. They had heard misgivings about ethics about him, and wanted his input. He said that he had very grave concerns about business ethics and honesty. He was asked if he would sustain him if he were presented anyway, and he said that he would because he had shared his concerns, and the presiding authority knew of them. The man was sustained and set apart, and two weeks later, fled the country because of a pending indictment. 

I would hope that that is an outlier, and that when vetting turns up red flags, someone else is selected. But when there are no red flags, but hypothetically, the people simply reject the candidate (really hard to imagine in Mormon culture in 2018), I don't think the presiding authority would accept the result of the vote. I think it would be held out as a "where do you stand, and what are you going to do with this call?" situation. i.e., votes to the contrary have been noted, but we're moving ahead anyway.

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33 minutes ago, JAHS said:

That was the intention. In 1907 the First Presidency specified what common consent referred to when they said: 

"It is a law that no person is to be ordained [or set apart] to any office in the Church, where there is a regularly organized branch of the same, without the vote of its members. . . . The ecclesiastical government itself exists by the will of the people; elections are frequent, and the members are at the liberty to vote as they choose."  (Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder, and Anthon H. Lund, Improvement Era 10 (May 1907): 487-88)

So how does that work when we consider that the new First Presidency was ordained/set apart to high offices without a vote of church members. Although sustaining to callings was part of the original intent, I also think the original intention was to get the approval for "all things" regarding church government. I don't think it's feasible to vote on "all things" but the church doesn't seem interested in voting on anything.

 

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1 hour ago, HappyJackWagon said:

So how does that work when we consider that the new First Presidency was ordained/set apart to high offices without a vote of church members. Although sustaining to callings was part of the original intent, I also think the original intention was to get the approval for "all things" regarding church government. I don't think it's feasible to vote on "all things" but the church doesn't seem interested in voting on anything.

Someone's been listening to Radio Free Mormon... ;)

It's important to understand the difference between Church calling and priesthood office.
Church callings require a sustaining vote.  Priesthood offices have different requirements, which may or may not include a sustaining vote.

It is true that President of the Church is a calling, and as such should require a sustaining vote BEFORE the setting apart occurs.
But at the same time the priesthood position as the one man on the earth anointed and appointed to be God's mouthpiece does not.  The very first succession in the Church made that clear.
Leaving the transfiguration discussion aside, Brigham taught at that time that:

  • I do not care who leads the church, even though it were Ann Lee; but one thing I must know, and that is what God says about it. I have the keys and the means of obtaining the mind of God on the subject.
    I know there are those in our midst who will seek the lives of the Twelve as they did the lives of Joseph and Hyrum. We shall ordain others and give the fullness of the priesthood, so that if we are killed the fullness of the priesthood may remain.
    Joseph conferred upon our heads all the keys and powers belonging to the Apostleship which he himself held before he was taken away, and no man or set of men can get between Joseph and the Twelve in this world or in the world to come.
    How often has Joseph said to the Twelve, 'I have laid the foundation and you must build thereon, for upon your shoulders the kingdom rests.'
    If the people want President Rigdon to lead them they may have him; but I say unto you that the Quorum of the Twelve have the keys of the kingdom of God in all the world.
    The Twelve are appointed by the finger of God. Here is Brigham, have his knees ever faltered? Have his lips ever quivered? Here is Heber and the rest of the Twelve, an independent body who have the keys of the priesthood—the keys of the kingdom of God to deliver to all the world: this is true, so help me God. They stand next to Joseph, and are as the First Presidency of the Church.
    You cannot fill the office of a prophet, seer and revelator: God must do this. You are like children without a father and sheep without a shepherd. You must not appoint any man at our head; if you should, the Twelve must ordain him. You cannot appoint a man at our head; but if you do want any other man or men to lead you, take them and we will go our way to build up the kingdom in all the world.

    Does this church want it as God organized it? Or do you want to clip the power of the priesthood, and let those who have the keys of the priesthood go and build up the kingdom in all the world, wherever the people will hear them?
    If there is a spokesman, if he is a king and priest, let him go and build up a kingdom unto himself; that is his right and it is the right of many here, but the Twelve are at the head of it.

     

And yet Brigham wasn't set apart as President of the Church until 3 years later in December of 1847.
So again the calling vs the priesthood.  One requires common consent.  The other does not.
Joseph likewise understood the difference between presiding priesthood authority and president of the Church.

  • Last Monday morning certain men<brethren> came to me and said. “Brother <they would hardly consent to receive Hyrum [Smith] as a Prophet and for me to resign, but I told them I only said it to try your faith and it is strange brethren but you have been in the Church so long and not yet understand the Melchisdeck Priesthood.
    [”]>Joseph, Hyrum is no prophet— he can’t lead the church; you must lead the church; if you resign all things will go wrong.” you must not resign; if you do the church will be scattered.
    ” I felt curious, and said; have we not learned the Priesthood after the order of Melchisedic, which includes both Prophets, Priests and kings; see Rev. 1 ch. 6 v. and I will advance your Prophet to a priest, and then to a king; not to the kingdoms of this earth, but of the most high God, seeRev. 5 ch. 10 v. “thou hast made us unto our God, kings and Priests, and we shall reign on the earth.”

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, rongo said:

Or home teaching stats. =@

But then you wouldn't have a statistically significant sample size. :lol:

Oooh, that stings!! :D

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1 hour ago, HappyJackWagon said:

So how does that work when we consider that the new First Presidency was ordained/set apart to high offices without a vote of church members. Although sustaining to callings was part of the original intent, I also think the original intention was to get the approval for "all things" regarding church government. I don't think it's feasible to vote on "all things" but the church doesn't seem interested in voting on anything.

 

When the chosen first Presidency is presented to the members for sustaining it is more of a ratification of what has already been done which is a common occurrence in the church.
What if they did start presenting everything for voting to the members of the church and one member voted against it? Would that end it? Would they take the majority vote?
Those in the minority who vote against it might get pretty upset about it which would foster even more contention than already exists. There are enough ordained church leaders among the general authorities
who are already involved in the process to provide enough checks and balances to insure incorrect decisions are not made. 

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The word of wisdom was written for people without refrigerators or supermarkets, so when it says to eat meat rarely we should probably take that to mean we should not eat meat at all, since we have fruit and vegetables available all year round. I try to be a vegetarian but eat a can of fish sometimes, and I ate chicken at the Christmas party -- which turned out to be a good idea since there were few vegetables served. 

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18 hours ago, JAHS said:

When the chosen first Presidency is presented to the members for sustaining it is more of a ratification of what has already been done which is a common occurrence in the church.
What if they did start presenting everything for voting to the members of the church and one member voted against it? Would that end it? Would they take the majority vote?
Those in the minority who vote against it might get pretty upset about it which would foster even more contention than already exists. There are enough ordained church leaders among the general authorities
who are already involved in the process to provide enough checks and balances to insure incorrect decisions are not made. 

You're right that "ratification" is a common occurrence in the church today. Any idea when that started. Getting a sustaining after the fact seems to defeat the purpose of requiring common consent prior to an ordination or setting apart. It's become a common practice but it's a strange one. In todays world I just don't see why a ratification would be done when a sustaining before the fact could be done in line with scriptural requirement. Doesn't a "ratification" just illustrate the sham that sustainings have become?

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It is a law that no person is to be ordained [or set apart] to any office in the Church, where there is a regularly organized branch of the same, without the vote of its members

 

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On January 31, 2018 at 8:05 AM, Marginal Gains said:

Scott Lloyd, on a different thread, said:

Which begs the question (if one agrees with Scott) about how we differentiate between the bits of the Word Of Wisdom that are binding, and which aren’t?

Like all revelations from God, they all are without a doubt "advisory", as all of mankind is free to choose. Also, like all revelations from God, they are without a doubt "commandments". When God the Creator speaks of dietary laws, and the aspects of those laws that govern good health and prosperity, it is incumbent that we listen. As our creator, and our "model", of a perfected and immortal being, my guess is he knows a thing or two about our bodies.  

I have diabeties, and other health problems. Some are do to genetics, and others due to me only living the "don'ts" and too few of the "do's", as it relates to the foods that will help me remain healthy. In fact it seems that when it comes to the Word of Wisdom, we all seem to focus too narrowly on the things we should avoid, the "commandment" side. We do so almost to the complete exclusion of the guidelines for positive healthy living. 

Each time I see my Doctor, (not a member) all he preaches is 99% of what we know as the Word of Wisdom. Each time he gives me guidelines meant to save and prolong my life. He is not "commanding me", he is "advising me", and gives me the reasons why I should obey. These reasons are, blindness, heart attack, strokes, amputations, and death. All very good reasons to listen to his "advice" as "commandments". So, I listen because as a Doctor, he knows and understands the need for "clean living", but certainly not as much as the God who created us. 

The Word of Wisdom began as the "word and will" of God to the "weakest of Saints", who grew up in a world which had no idea the countless implications of many of it vices. Then it became "commandments" to the generations to follow who we taught while in their youth these proactive health practices. 

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On ‎2‎/‎1‎/‎2018 at 1:11 PM, JLHPROF said:

Someone's been listening to Radio Free Mormon... ;)

It's important to understand the difference between Church calling and priesthood office.
Church callings require a sustaining vote.  Priesthood offices have different requirements, which may or may not include a sustaining vote.

It is true that President of the Church is a calling, and as such should require a sustaining vote BEFORE the setting apart occurs.
But at the same time the priesthood position as the one man on the earth anointed and appointed to be God's mouthpiece does not.  The very first succession in the Church made that clear.
Leaving the transfiguration discussion aside, Brigham taught at that time that:

Actually, I haven't listened to the episode about this. I haven't listened to any podcasts for quite a while now.

Some callings are also priesthood offices which require ordination. For example, Bishop is an ordination and a calling. A man should be sustained before being ordained to that office and calling. A ratification would be a very strange occurrence for a new bishop after he had been serving in the calling for a few weeks/months. Likewise it is strange the prophet would be ordained prior to being sustained. No one's attempted to answer my previous question about when and why ratification became a thing in the church. It seems quite contrary to scripture.

My understanding is that one is ordained to the priesthood office of apostle and then receives authority to exercise all keys when he becomes prophet. Is that authorization simply a setting apart or is it an ordination as prophet?

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On 2/1/2018 at 9:00 AM, Gray said:

It seems to frame itself as a health code, but not just a health code. There seem to be spiritual and intellectual promises connected to it as well:

Here is the problem with this idea -

Isaiah 40:28-31

Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Proverbs 3:7-8

Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

These are allusions to other passages of scripture - and in that context, they are not a health code. The Word of Wisdom is not framed as a health code by these phrases - only by decontextualizing it (of course, that's a relatively common thing in the Church, which has reduced the Word of Wisdom effectively to a handful of thou shalt nots ...)

Of course, this becomes a greater challenge when we both try to interpret it narrowly and very broadly at the same time.

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2 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

Here is the problem with this idea -

Isaiah 40:28-31

Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Proverbs 3:7-8

Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

These are allusions to other passages of scripture - and in that context, they are not a health code. The Word of Wisdom is not framed as a health code by these phrases - only by decontextualizing it (of course, that's a relatively common thing in the Church, which has reduced the Word of Wisdom effectively to a handful of thou shalt nots ...)

Of course, this becomes a greater challenge when we both try to interpret it narrowly and very broadly at the same time.

Joseph Smith frequently borrows phrases from all over the Bible - in the context of the WOW itself, it does seem to function as a health code+. I don't think Isaiah or Proverbs helps much, because it's only the phrasing that is being borrowed. Dietary advice plus promised health blessings make it a kind of health code.

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13 minutes ago, Gray said:

Joseph Smith frequently borrows phrases from all over the Bible - in the context of the WOW itself, it does seem to function as a health code+. I don't think Isaiah or Proverbs helps much, because it's only the phrasing that is being borrowed. Dietary advice plus promised health blessings make it a kind of health code.

Yes, but it's so much more than a health code. Not only the language Benjamin McGuire pointed out, but expressions like "hidden treasures of knowledge" and other things point to this as a spiritual law more than it is a physical one.

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21 minutes ago, rongo said:

Yes, but it's so much more than a health code. Not only the language Benjamin McGuire pointed out, but expressions like "hidden treasures of knowledge" and other things point to this as a spiritual law more than it is a physical one.

Yes, that's what I said a few posts up:

Quote

It seems to frame itself as a health code, but not just a health code. There seem to be spiritual and intellectual promises connected to it as well:

I don't think that makes it MORE of a spiritual law, but it's part spiritual, part physical, part intellectual.

 

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