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Stormin' Mormon

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About Stormin' Mormon

  • Birthday 05/23/1977

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  1. There's an arguable case that the early Christian church was only hanging on by its fingernails until the timely intervention of Constantine. I think the restored Church has had considerable success even without a God-emperor sheltering it from persecutions or making it the official state religion. That success could be attributed to the religious pluralism encouraged by the Bill of Rights.
  2. It wasn't until the early 20th century that the Supreme Court first interpreted the 14th amendment to incorporate the Bill of Rights against the states. In other words, prior to that, the freedoms outlined in the Bill of Rights only applied to actions taken by the Federal Government. It's why Joseph Smith was told, "Your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you." It's why the Nauvoo City Council was able to legally vote on a measure that shut down a printing press that had been critical of the prophet.
  3. You: not serving a mission puts you in a lower caste Response: Well, here are several bishops who never served missions You: Well, what I MEANT was you can't be a General Authority if you didn't serve a mission Response: Well, here's an example of some GAs who didn't serve a mission because they fought in WWII. You: Well, what I MEANT was someone who wasn't forced to serve in the military. Response: Well, here's an example of three apostles who chose to serve in the military rather than serve a mission You: Well what I MEANT was someone who served a mission after 1974. I'm not sure I want to keep playing this game.
  4. Exactly my point. A Bishop isn't going to tell his congregation that ministering (a priesthood responsibility that no one cares about) is purely optional. Why would you expect it to be any different for any other priesthood responsibility?
  5. By my count, that's the third time you've moved the goalpost. That's not a good indication that you are arguing in good faith.
  6. You seem to think that the existence of the behavioral norm is the problem, and not the inappropriate enforcement of that norm by the occasional over-zealous parent or stake president. Throwing out the norm because it's been clumsily enforced is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. It's akin to abolishing all traffic laws because sometimes an innocent person has been shot by a cop at a traffic stop. Come to think of it, I can't think of a single behavioral norm (be it at church, at work, or at school) that hasn't on occasion suffered from maladroit enforcement, encouragement, or implementation. Human institutions are run by humans, and are subject to the failings common to human communication. Even inspired human beings are still human beings using human language. And human language is loaded with opportunities for miscommunication, misrepresentation, and misattribution. There is nothing wrong with encouraging, requiring, pushing our young men to serve missions. Missions are great training grounds, not just for learning how to be a disciple of Christ, but learning how to live on ones own, learning how to solve problems, learning how to set goals and be accountable for one's work, learning how to take general direction and translate it into specific action. I am more successful in my professional career because of the lessons I learned on my mission than I would otherwise have been. The problem, as you have noted but fail to actually acknowledge, is that sometimes the norm is pushed too hard. The problem isn't with the norm and isn't with the pushing. It's with the "too." Scale back your rhetoric a bit, focus on the actual problem, and you might make some headway in your argumentation. And maybe don't lead off with hyperbole. A caste system it most definitely is not.
  7. If your bishop gets up in front of the congregation and tells the young men that fulfilling their ministering assignments is purely optional and they can do whatever they want you and I both know there will be a disciplinary council. He will be released from his calling and disciplined for openly and publicly opposing the brethren. Are there any behavioral standards that holders of the priesthood should be held to? What SHOULD a bishop teach his congregation about what is expected from a disciple of Jesus Christ? Are there ANY responsibilities demanded of someone who holds the priesthood of God? What power is there in a priesthood that demands nothing, expects nothing, requires nothing?
  8. None of the current first presidency served missions. They were not draftees; they served in the military or National Guard by choice.
  9. By this logic, the church shouldn't teach any behavioral norm because it ostracizes those who don't conform. Law of Chastity? Can't teach that cuz we don't want to offend those living with their girlfriends. Word of Wisdom? Don't want to offend the smokers. If that's the standard, what's even the point of a church? Final point: there is no ward or stake calling, no temple blessing, no activity in the church that would be denied to somebody who didn't serve a mission. I've served in an EQ presidency with a guy who chose not to serve a mission. Yes, there's a desire for our young men to serve missions, just as there is a desire for them to obey the Law of Chastity or keep the Word of Wisdom. But there's no caste system, nothing to prevent them from receiving their full temple blessings or serving in high callings in the Church.
  10. Honestly, this is a tempest in a teapot. Biblical scholars postulate the existence of a Source Q, from which the synoptic gospels drew much of their material. It is entirely reasonable to assume that these verses come from Source Q, and were later added to the Book of Mark by a well-meaning scribe. There's nothing in the scholarship to indicate WHEN these verses were first invented, only when they showed up in Mark.
  11. Some years ago, I read a book called "Predictably Irrational." Fascinating read, covering a number of topics. But one part, regarding sexuality, has stuck with me over the years. Forgive me that I'm resorting to memory here. The author describes an experiment in which a control group was shown a number of pictures of both men and women and were asked to rate them on sexual desirability. Another group of men were brought into a state of sexual arousal, and then shown the same pictures. The group that was already sexually excited indicated a much broader selection of sexual desirability from among those pictures. (Or maybe it was the same group of men in both instances and they were asked to look at pictures in both an unexcited state and an excited state, and the experiment compared the differences in the gender-ratio of their picture selections. As I said, it's been a while since I read the book). Point being, we think we know what excites us sexually, as we sit here in an unexcited state. We think we know exactly what our sexual preferences actually are. But those preferences can be very different, and much broader once we find ourselves in an aroused state. It may very well be that sexual preferences aren't just fluid over a lifetime, but throughout the day.
  12. 25 Years Ago Today... September 2, 1996 I don’t know how many times I visited Barrio Blanco during my first month as a missionary. It was only a 20-minute walk from our front door to that poor and undeveloped neighborhood, but much of it was along a dusty, shadeless road. I always dreaded our visits out there because the hot sun seemed to beat down harder on my head when walking that road, and there was nothing at the end of it except deeper poverty than I had ever witnessed before in my sheltered, middle-class life. But on a Monday in early September, that dusty road inspired not dread, but the best piece of poetry I have ever written. I had penned other poems throughout my teenage years, most of it overly-sentimental dreck. But I continued writing because I found poetry to be a soothing way to give definition and form to the barely-understood emotions that were always churning under the surface of my teenage soul. Today’s churn of emotions was inspired by a chapter I had read the previous evening in “Jesus the Christ,” by James E. Talmage. The chapter had detailed how, in the final year of Christ’s ministry, many of His disciples began to realize that this Jesus of Nazareth was not going to throw off the shackles of Roman bondage, that the salvation He offered was something else entirely. As Christ’s popularity with the masses waned, many disciples stopped following Him. I read that chapter on the bus ride home from our Sunday meetings in Abasolo. I closed the book and gazed out the window as the sun set over the mesquite and chaparral landscape. What would I have done, had I lived back then and walked with Jesus the Christ? Would I have been able to dig down deep and discover the faith to keep following Him, even after my initial expectations had proven unsound? I doubted it, given how deeply challenging this first month had been. The loneliness and fear that had caused me to cry myself to sleep a few weeks earlier were not the hallmarks of a sincerely devoted disciple of Jesus Christ. I wondered if I really had the faith necessary to . . . walk the dusty road. With a start, I realized that every day that I chose to walk the dusty road to Barrio Blanco I was making anew the decision to walk as a disciple of Jesus Christ. The logic of the world gave me no reason to brave that wearying trudge; I walked that road because I had an earnest desire to bring my savior’s love to the people who lived in that outlying neighborhood. The faith that inspired me to walk that dusty road today was the same that would have inspired me to walk the dusty roads of Palestine or Palmyra. These thoughts lingered with me through the night, and now it was our day off. Elder Lopez and I packed our bags of dirty clothes and headed out to do our laundry. I usually used that time to write letters home, but today I used it to start sketching out a poem that was based on these musings from the previous evening. Over the next two years, I would continue to fiddle with the poem, rewording bits here, adding new thoughts there. By the end of my mission, it had been polished and refined in much the same way that its author had. That dusty road to Barrio Blanco has since become a symbol in my life—a symbol of faith, of dedication, of discipleship. Whatever dusty road I am called upon to walk in days to come, I pray that I will walk it as faithfully as I did that first dusty road so many years ago.
  13. I think the Church's stance towards LGBT relationships is downstream of two concepts. (I'm going to avoid using the word "doctrine" in this post because I don't want to go down that particular rabbit hole). 1. Spirits are gendered. Our male and female natures were part of our pre-mortal identity and will continue with us into the eternities. 2. To become like our Father in Heaven we must be eternally bonded, male to female, as he is. It is only in such a pairing that spirits can engage in the creative works of eternity. Downstream of these two concepts is the conclusion that in order for a person to reach their full potential in the eternities, they must be bonded (or sealed) to a person of the opposite sex. If sin can be defined as any behavior or attitude that hinders us from achieving that full potential, then homosexual relationships must therefore be classified as sinful. In order for the Church to declassify gay relationships as sinful, one or both of those concepts would have to be altered in some way. The first concept, as far as I know, is not found in canonized scripture. It is most prominently taught in the Proclamation on the Family. However, the second concept is so wrapped up in nearly two hundred years of practice and teaching related to temple sealings, the Abrahamic covenant, and exaltation, that I see very little chance for that concept to alter much, if at all. Perhaps one path forward is for the Church to continue to acknowledge these two concepts (and the uncomfortable conclusion that they lead to), but to push Church practice and policy towards treating this particular sin no differently than other common sins (like the non-payment of tithing or violations of the Word of Wisdom, either of which are still serious enough to keep one out of the temple, but not serious enough to merit disciplinary action). The Church might also step back from classifying "homosexual behaviors" as sinful and only treat "homosexual sexual relations" as sinful. That would allow for a more permissive approach to gay dating, hand-holding, or PDAs. Whether or not that is a satisfactory arrangement, I don't know. (On a related note, another teaching that is downstream of the two concepts outlined above is the existence of our Heavenly Mother. Teachings about our Mother in Heaven can exist without those concepts, but the above concepts logically REQUIRE that such a being exist. If one or both of those concepts is weakened, I wonder what would happen to these beliefs (folk or otherwise) concerning her? Not immediately, but over time. Without those concepts, would the Church of 50 years from now still have common folk teachings concerning our Mother in Heaven?)
  14. The logical construction of "If A then B" cannot be reversed to make "If B then A" If it's raining (A), then the street is wet (B). That does not mean that if the street is wet (B), then it is raining (A). There way be many other reasons for the street to be wet. A recent street sweeper. A broken water main, etc. Here we have: If tithing (A), then approval from the Council (B). That does not imply the reverse. If the council is approving it (B), then it doesn't logically follow that it must be tithing (A).
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