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  2. This begs the question against "supernatural" occurrences. The term "supernatural" is an artifact of an outdated materialist paradigm (especially in the context of Latter-day Saint theology) and I don't believe that applying it to events has any meaningful non-prejudicial impact on the assessment of likelihood.
  3. Today
  4. A major disconnect for me is that your characterization of the assumptions and arguments on both sides of the debate seems extreme to begin with. For instance, I feel pretty confident that Joseph Smith didn't create the chiastic structures in the Book of Mormon, but I definitely wouldn't say it is categorically impossible for him to have produced them. I just think it highly doubtful that he did. Likewise, I don't think that most people on the other side of the debate really think it is categorically impossible for an angel (if such a thing exists) to direct a farmer to an ancient record. They just find that proposition highly unlikely and haven't yet found anything to convince them otherwise. Thus, this whole "impossible" business that you are propounding just doesn't seem like a helpful starting framework. More importantly, however, is that (at least from my perspective) the debate really isn't for those on the extreme ends. It is for those in the middle. And there is a wide spectrum of beliefs and dispositions and starting assumptions held by those in the middle. Thus, your critique of why these arguments are fundamentally flawed (i.e., because their major lines of evidence will never be convincing to those on the extreme opposite ends of the debate) seems to misunderstand whom the arguments are actually aimed to persuade. Final point: When I assess any argument for or against the Book of Mormon's authenticity, I always try (to the best of my ability) to first assess that piece of evidence on its own terms. Only then do I attempt to assign its relative weight amidst the complex array of competing lines of evidence. This automatically opens up two different levels of assessment that I think can be useful. If an argument is fairly strong or useful in isolation and only fails to be persuasive because the counter-argument is exceedingly compelling (to a given individual's perspective), that is a pretty good sign that the first argument was indeed based on meaningful evidence. I recognize that this rationale validates all sorts of arguments against the Book of Mormon in the sense that it legitimizes them as "evidence." And I'm okay with that. In fact, it seems to be a very good thing. Because then I actually have to carefully look at such arguments and assess them in a serious manner on their own terms, without just dismissing them because I already have my mind made up based on apriori assumptions that are extraneous to the data in question. In lots of cases I can say, "Yes, that seems to be pretty good evidence. Nice work critics. It ultimately doesn't convince me, but I understand why you are persuaded by that piece of data." Dismissing such arguments (i.e., labeling them as "non-evidence") by adopting a highly prohibitive statistical definition of "plausible"--one which is not only irrelevant to most off the available evidence on either side of the debate but also which is ramped up even further by unnecessarily privileging certain apriori assumptions held on the extreme ends of the debate--just doesn't seem helpful. This should be obvious, no matter which side of the debate one is coming from.
  5. The scriptures do prove that God is a man, and strongly infer that He was once like us. "God is not a man, that He would lie." The context says He is not the type of man who would lie. "I do nothing of myself, but what I have seen the Father do. Whatsoever He does, the Son does likewise." "The man has become as one of us, knowing good and evil." How is it that God knew evil? The list goes on. ... The Hebrew letters of their name, Yehovah, means, Behold the hand, Behold the nail. ie That's the Father's name too.
  6. Fortunately (in some cases), and unfortunately (in others), the way that evil is limited is by the extent to which anyone pays heed to The Evil One. The less heed one pays him, the less evil there is on the earth (see Matthew 4:1-11); the more heed one pays him, the more evil there is on the earth (see Alma 3:26-27). If I am free to choose, and I believe I am (see 2 Nephi 2:27), then I can choose how much evil there is in my life.* For now, we live in a fallen world in which it seems that evil is having quite its day, and, certainly, I would be the last to minimize that state of affairs. However, in the end ... as though we were reading, again, a book that, already, we have read once, or as though we were seeing a movie that, already, we have seen once ... we know Who Wins. For now, one does the best one can to fight the most valiant battle one can against one's Adversary. _________________ *I am aware, acutely, that people, through no fault of their own, may have great evil visited upon them, and that is tragic, truly. However, even such people are free to choose whether to return "evil for evil." Perhaps each of us knows someone who has what may be the greatest courage we know, the courage to avoid returning evil for evil.
  7. On our mission in Central America, our laundry was hired out to women who washed clothing in the river. One joke was that you could tell that an elder had been in the mission over a year because he didn’t know which hole to get into when putting on his garments.
  8. If your real problem is that you don't think people are pushing an anti-growth agenda by lying about water, why don't you respond to that with substantive criticism of that position? Engaging respectfully with people you disagree with will convey that you are not insecure about having your worldview challenged.
  9. While we're mentioning things that apologists get wrong, I'll pile on here by mentioning a couple of logical fallacies relevant to the OP that apologists often use. 1) When a certain criticism of x is shown to be invalid, it's implied or directly stated that this strengthens the case for x. Bad or invalid arguments against x say nothing whatsoever about the truth of x. This often occurs, for example, when pointing out all of the things critics have "gotten wrong" about the Book of Mormon. As if the longer the list, the stronger the case for the Book of Mormon. Stop doing this. 2) Comparing the relative likelihood of a supernatural explanation of x with a natural explanation. There is no such thing as an empirical likelihood or probability of a supernatural occurrence. This type of comparison is meaningless; it is a category error. For instance--it would have been very difficult for Joseph Smith to have created the Book of Mormon, so the more likely explanation is that it was revealed to him by God. I've use this one myself. It's tantalizing, but ultimately fallacious.
  10. Same questions as before, but asked a different way. I already addressed these questions. As I said two posts ago: "There is not a "Heavenly Father of our Earth", he is the one God who is above all." God is the "Eternal God of all other gods" (Doctrine and Covenants 121:32) And the verses I quoted earlier from Abraham 3 back this up as well.
  11. Writes an American ... All-white underpants for men are virtually non-existent in my part of the world. Our temple actually imports 'briefs' from America to be used in the baptistery. And I've never seen (or worn) a pair of boxers with the desired length. Personally, I'm praying that my garments hold out longer than usual. The last two lots all promptly started falling apart at the five-year mark, and I will reach that point in November. My housemate returned to full activity at the end of last year and was able to buy only five pairs of garments when he resumed wearing them. He then ordered another five pairs, but they only arrived last week!
  12. Just buy Hanes white shirts and boxers and a bit of embroidery thread...
  13. Let’s look at the whole thing. Building cities decreases water consumption if all the land being used for expansion was previously farmland and assuming those people do not need to eat or that all food can be imported. There we go. I stand behind the snark as it was mostly aimed at your conspiracy nonsense in the quote.
  14. Precisely. I'm a practical man, and I try to be consistent in my piety. Southern Comfort sold in the UK is exactly 35 per alcohol. America's FDA requires vanilla extract to be a minimum of 35 per cent alcohol. I can either be scrupulous about both substances when used as a flavouring, or I can not worry about either. And if I want to be super scrupulous, I would need to cease eating out full stop, and in some cases avoid entire cuisines at home. Chinese, Korean, and Japanese dishes are frequently cooked with rice wine, and the instant miso paste that I just used to make up a mug of soup is 3.7 per cent alcohol according to the label. The Korean gochujung (glutinous red chilli paste) that I used in my tofu and kimchi stew last night contains alcohol as well, though I'm not sure of the percentage. When I was studying in America, I worked one summer at a coastal restaurant, and we had a complete list of ingredients for every dish that we could consult if a customer had a question. My memory is that nearly half of all dishes were prepared with alcohol. All of our grilled seafood was cooked with sherry. Our crab cakes included brandy. Cider was used in making our popular French onion soup, and our cheesy broccoli soup included beer. The tomato sauce that went on our chicken parmigiana and pasta and was served with the mozzarella cheese sticks was made with red wine. And of course, many of our desserts and breakfast foods (like French toast) were made with vanilla! Thankfully, as the Church's Gospel Topic entry makes clear, this law proscribes 'alcoholic drinks', not every single food that does or may contain alcohol -- like American hamburger rolls (1.2 per cent alcohol!) and ripe bananas.
  15. "It takes less water to grow people than to grow crops." Less snark, closer reading would be nice.
  16. Both UPS and FedEx truncate a shipper's name beyond 35 characters. The Church could fix this, if it wanted to, but just using 'The Church of Jesus Christ'.
  17. I actually saw something about that a couple of days ago so apparently that is happening with several people.
  18. 😄 Probably then, not part of the Great Garment Shortage. If we have to make our own, at least they could hand out sewing patterns. 😥
  19. Banned behaviours: ”Altering members’ quotes on the board” https://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/66539-board-guidelines-update-please-review-before-posting/
  20. Satan's face in a circle with a bar across it, kind of like a "No Parking" sign?
  21. The way I try to think of it is this....there are no Ward or Stake boundaries. I strive to do what I can whereever I can. There will be no Stake or Ward boundaries in the Celestial Kingdom, so if I'm blessed to get there....I will have a leg up on things!
  22. Good to see you!! I agree that that is pure Greek philosophy, and to me, evidence of the apostasy, and not biblical, and not sourced from Hebrew thought
  23. It's kind of interesting that you've brought this up because I was just thinking about this yesterday. I really can't imagine living a life where what I want to do is the standard I use for whether or not I should do it. And that probably sounds like it's coming from a snarky place but I don't mean it like that. I just honestly cannot imagine a life where the end all/be all is doing what I want when I want. It probably would feel like a vacation, for sure.
  24. Yesterday
  25. When I said “an observant Latter-day Saint,” I meant one who is typical. I didn’t say it was universal among observant Latter-day Saints. A tad hypersensitive today, are we?
  26. That makes sense. At some point, a person could become overly scrupulous about such things, but I do appreciate piety. Here's a fun article on foods with trace amounts of alcohol: Common Foods With Hidden Alcohol: Are They Safe For Pregnancy? — Baby2Body
  27. Let's remember that wine wasn't banned for temple recommend holders until prohibition or around there and beer until around or after WW2. I have talked with people who went to ward parties back in the day where the active holders of the priesthood were drinking beer. Different times for sure, but now anyone can toke up as long as it is "medical".
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