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Stormin' Mormon

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  1. Why would 11 disinterested farmers agree to put their reputations on the line for the local charlatan? Conversely, why would Joseph trust 11 disinterested farmers to stand firm in their defense of a man they barely knew? If I was trusting my reputation, future livelihood, and even my very life to 11 other people, I'm not sure I would have picked 11 randos over 11 close and trusted friends. There may have been greater evidentiary value to using the disinterested farmers, but it's not like that choice wouldn't have been laden with its share of risks as well.
  2. First: I'm sorry if the following derails us into political territory. Everyone please resist the urge to opine on the political merits of the Tea Party, the ACA, or any particular politicians. Second: I'm not convinced the Richardson-BYU incident was a hoax. I'm more of the opinion that it was something she misheard, and then a doubled-down on when the media attention got way bigger than she expected. Third: The final disposition of the incident linked to below turned out to be inconclusive, so I'm not sure if it can be called a hoax. The one video presented as evidence against the claim was taken several minutes after the alleged shouting of racial slurs. A conservative activist offered a bounty (to be paid to the United Negro College Fund) for anyone with video evidence, and as far as I know, that evidence never turned up. Make of it what you will. So, without further ado: an example of a sane person making claims of being racially harassed in a public venue where it was known there were numerous recording devices around: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/tea-party-dems-row-over-n-word-video-evidence/
  3. Is the Church not allowed to take a stand against unfair discrimination in employment and housing unless it also gives material aid to LGBTQ groups operating on Church properties? Can we not allow for institutions and individuals to have nuanced views on topics as complex as this? There's a lot of daylight between knee-jerk homophobia and unconditional support of the gay community. There really shouldn't be a question of authenticity or pretense if someone stakes a position somewhere in that nuanced middle.
  4. These quotes from Teryl Givens seem apropos to the current discussion: https://www.fairlatterdaysaints.org/testimonies/scholars/terryl-l-givens https://journal.interpreterfoundation.org/letter-to-a-doubter/
  5. I'm not Amulek, so I can't speak for him. But engaging with what was actually said goes a long ways towards differentiating oneself from common internet trolldom. Read the whole talk. He goes on at great length about the name of the church. And as far as I can tell, President Nelson only used the "Jesus is offended" line to refer to the nicking of the name of the church. I think the church has been consistent in wanting to use its given name, even when it's gone back and forth on whether it's appropriate to refer to the people of the church as Mormons. So, let's not paint with such a broad brush and instead engage with what was actually said.
  6. I haven't been following this story closely, despite the fact that I live only a few hours from where it all went down. And while I don't make any excuses for the Church where its policy directives suffered some sort of breakdown, I don't understand the anger that is directed at the institutional church. This is FAR from the Standard Church Sex Scandal (tm) that pops up in the news from time to time. Compared to the SCSS, this case does NOT have: A priest or other high church leader accused of abuse; The accused using their position or acting in the color of their office to perpetuate the abuse; or The church taking active measures to cover up the abuse, downplay the abuse, or make it more difficult for law enforcement to intervene. So, yes, the story is bad. The abuse was terrible. There was some sort of breakdown in the way things were SUPPOSED to happen with the hotline and reporting and so forth. But the level of anger, disgust, or disillusionment directed at the institutional church just does not seem justified to me. At worst, the Church was negligent; but there's no case to be made that it was complicit.
  7. Similar to what I was going to say. This apparent phenomena is no different than how any other community behaves. It is, in fact, what was described in the original meaning of the word "meme." Words and ideas come into vogue, people adopt them, new ideas come into vogue, the newer ideas are adopted and the old ones pass out of use. I am trying to be fair minded, but I can't see this as anything other than a giant nothingburger.
  8. A huge part of the non-spiritual value I got from my mission was in learning how to live on my own. In retrospect, I can see clearly that I was "living on my own" with a robust safety net. I had enough to eat, I had medical coverage, I had a place to live, I had a job, and all my bills were taken care of by someone somewhere. But I was not being constantly supervised; I was given a directive (bring souls to Christ) and given a lot of latitude on developing strategies and tactics in pursuit of that goal. And my parents couldn't provide emotional support on specific challenges because mail took 3 - 4 weeks to get home and back with a response. So even if I wasn't REALLY living on my own, my young naive self thought I was, and when I returned to university afterwards, it was with so much more confidence in myself than I had had during my freshman year.
  9. I think you are ascribing to me a position I don't actually hold. My position is that I have no position on premortal gender because we know so very very little about spiritual existence. My position is that it only takes the least bit of imagination and ingenuity to come up with a speculative framework on how premortal gender could maybe possibly potentially operate. My position is that it is the height of hubris to declare something "nonsensical" when we have NO information (revealed or observed) about the operational aspects of an unembodied, spiritual world.
  10. From Elder Cook's recent conference address: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2022/04/29cook?lang=eng I'm not sure it would be fair to characterize the choice as one between military service and missionary service. It sounds like missionary service was not really something a young men could choose to do, but rather something they were invited to do by their local leaders.
  11. No, I don't believe that premortal gender is completely different from how "gender" is used in relation to biological bodies. We don't know much about premortality--what characteristics were bundled in each gender category, nor how our genders interacted with the premortal world around us. Because we know so little about premortality, it is the height of hubris to confidently declare that the notion of unembodied gender is nonsensical.
  12. So very little has been revealed about our unembodied existence, one can only speculate about what gender meant in that context. But it's really not that hard to imagine that spirits exist in some kind of binary fashion. Think of them as the positive and negative forces from a magnet, or the positive and negative charges of subatomic particles. This report on a psychological study indicates that speakers of non-gendered languages tend to assign gender to even the most abstract concepts; odd numbers tend to be thought of as male and even numbers are thought of as female. (https://www.vice.com/en/article/gvv8vy/the-gender-binaries-new-study-says-people-assign-gender-to-numbers) Unembodied gender need to be anything more than a type of binary polarity.
  13. How about if the General Young Women's presidency creates a list of 10 to 12 class names that CAN be used, and then the local leaders (be they YW presidencies or the class presidencies or what have you) select their class name from the approved list.
  14. My wife is the Vice President of the Music Boosters at my kids' high school. During marching band season, she's putting in twice that in a month. The president of the Boosters is a member of the stake, as is the secretary. All of them put in tons of hours throughout the year. In addition to those three ladies, I can think of dozens of others in my stake who volunteer at least that amount of time in youth theater programs (our community has two of them), and youth sports leagues (one of our SP counselors is a regional director of a youth soccer league, and probably spends as much time in that role as he does in his church calling). It's not very hard for me to imagine 34 hours of community service a month. That's less than 8 hours a week! ETA: To say nothing of the partnership our stake has with the local food bank, which has told stake leadership that they would not be able to operate without the volunteer hours donated by members of the stake. And for every example I know personally, there are likely 10 others I don't even know about.
  15. Check out Elder Renlund's GC talk from April 2015 (Latter-day Saints Keep on Trying). In it, he quotes Nelson Mandela, with my very favoritest definition of saint:
  16. English has an amazingly rich and diverse vocabulary. Not every language is as lucky. In Spanish, the word "los santos" can either be translated as "saints" or as "holy ones." I can see why that could come across as pretentious. Makes we wonder what connotations the word used in the Church's name has in other languages. Edited to add: off topic, but...I giggled a bit in the MTC when I first learned that "the Lord" is translated as "el Senor" in Spanish. The Mister, I thought to myslef.
  17. That was part of it. But President Nelson also emphasized the fact that the name came directly from the Lord by revelation, and so the name of the Church was non-negotiable. Since "Latter-day Saint" is part of that name, and "Mormon" is not, use of the former phrase is okie-dokie, but use of the latter is not.
  18. I don't know about uniforms, but it's fairly standard for employers to dictate what its employees can and cannot say while engaging in official work duties. Even as a free speech absolutist, I have no problems with an employer insisting that its employees accurately reflect the employer's values and views and not the employee's while engaged on the employer's business. Further, when engaging in activities while off duty, emplolyers often insist that employees ensure that they are not seen as a representative of the employer. If I find any fault in the football coach herein discussed, it's that he did not do enough to distinguish when his public duties ended and his private actions began. Here's a section from my own employer's employee handbook. The name of my organization has been changed to SME (which now stands for Stormin' Mormon's Employer).
  19. Nothing except "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech." Prayer is an exceedingly easy issue with regards to religious liberty. It's pure speech and nothing but speech. All the same caselaw and judicial doctrine regarding free speech also applies to issues regarding prayer. And since content-based speech restrictions are highly suspect, restrictions on prayer are, too. Where an employer grants latitude to its employees' speech, it cannot do so based on the content of that speech. Other religious liberty issues are much more grey, much more debatable, in my mind. Issues regarding clothing, holidays, provision of services, etc all interact with employment law in much more complicated ways.
  20. If the stake had called a school employee to be a seminary teacher, would the high school then have had veto power over the church calling?
  21. I agree in part. The school should not allow ANY member of the coaching staff to act as private individuals while in uniform. That should mean no greeting of personal friends, no talking abut the local city council race, no opining on politics, religion, or multi-level marketing schemes. If they are in uniform, they are representing the school and extraneous, private speech ought to have been circumscribed. Any such discussions could give the false impression to impressionable youth that the speech is approved by the employer. But the public employer cannot grant that permission to its employees on a discretionary basis. It's not even a religious liberty thing. It cannot allow permission for its employees to engage in discussions about any non-work subject EXCEPT for local BBQ, best haberdasheries, or the state rodeo circuit. Once it grants permission for its employees to act or speak outside the purview of their employment, they have very little discretion about which topics their employees can and cannot engage in.
  22. Is the bus open to any member of the public who wants to ride it? If not, then no, he can't lead a prayer there. If the school is allowing members of the public access and/or resources to speak, it cannot then deny the same to members of the public who would use that access or those resources for religious purposes. When I was a teenager in Colorado in the 90's, my first two years of seminary were held in our ward meetinghouse. But then a court case ruled that if the school was open for outside organizations to use before or after instructional hours, it could not then deny the same access to religious groups. My last two years of seminary were then held in a Social Studies room in my high school before the school day began. It's the same principle here. Other members of the coaching staff were allowed to relax, let down their hair, take off their public employee hat, opine on local matters, greet personal friends and family, engage in activities outside of the purview of their employment. After allowing that permission, it cannot then withhold the permission if the activity undertaken turns out to be religious. I'm not arguing for prayer in classrooms, in the cafeteria, on the school bus, on in any other specific venue. But if the school itself decides to allow private actions or private expressions on its property or by its employees, it has very little discretion about WHICH actions or expressions it will allow. It's all or nothing.
  23. Not during. After. As a member of the public who has attended a number of football games at the local high school, I can well attest to the number of random members of the public who wander onto the field after the game. I have done so myself to greet friends or chat with players (who were members of my seminary class).
  24. A school cafeteria is not a public forum, especially not during school hours. How many randos wander into the cafeteria of the local high school at lunchtime to engage in ANY sort of speech? All speech from members of the public is being treated equally in the school cafeteria. I agree with your last statement, though. But since the school allowed its employees to engage in SOME private speech, it could not thereafter withhold permission based on the content of the speech.
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