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Everything posted by rongo

  1. I don't think this D&C warning is aimed at potential sons of perdition. I think it's a warning to those who may stray. The sons of perdition are very few in number (most of us won't qualify for it).
  2. I think it's "where much is given, much is required/expected." "Ye that hear me not . . . that have professed my name" are cursed with the heaviest of all cursings. I think all of us know people well who have willfully turned against the teachings and authority of the Church, and with rare exceptions, I think their lot (their demeanor, their attitude, how their life is going, etc.) can be seen as the "heaviest of all cursings." There are exceptions, but they "prove the rule," I think (original meaning: test the rule, as an exception). Many of us know people who have lost light, knowledge
  3. You know, that's a really good point. Germany (all of Europe, actually) is a lot more secular than the U.S., but we are rapidly heading that way. Yes, despite, that secularism, Europe still sees the religion of their past as being an important cultural heritage, and wants its youth to know about it (even while not really believing the religious side of it). Freedom of religion is probably just as robust in Western Europe, I would say, as it is here, but as you point out, they still have the state churches (which means that you pay a small "church tax" if you are a member of the state churches;
  4. My mission was in northern Germany (heavily, but very nominally Lutheran). People would often sneer that we are a Sekte (cult), and we would point out that the very word is related to the word Sektion (section). What does that make the Lutheran Church? They broke away from the Catholic Church. Most people are atheist/agnostic, or so "inactive" in Lutheranism as to be functionally atheist/agnostic, so they didn't really care. It was a pejorative meant to end the discussion. The treatment of other faiths in school was very respectful and professional, at least in the Gymnasien, in my exper
  5. In some European countries, missionaries are regularly asked to visit schools and introduce the Church, answer questions, etc. That happened to me several times in the mid 1990s as a missionary, and it's happened to my son in Norway (he gets back from his mission in June). It's really interesting that in much more secular countries than the U.S., they still not only have but require religion instruction. They see it more as cultural well-roundedness, and aren't afraid of kids "getting" religion. In Germany, we would get a phone call from the Religionsunterricht teacher, asking if we were the r
  6. When our family was young, a talk in Priesthood session of conference woke me up to the fact that "two meals" means "24 hours." I remember eating heartily just before midnight of fast Sunday, not eating breakfast, and having a big lunch. There is a big difference between that and beginning your fast after dinner on Saturday, and breaking your fast with Sunday dinner. My wife can't fast for health reasons, so she takes her warfarin with some crackers or cereal in the morning, and then has some crackers or cereal as needed. She receives all the benefits of the fast that the rest of us do b
  7. Are you praying for a specific purpose, and dedicating your two meals to something? If not, then you are just eating one meal a day. You get the health benefits of limiting your caloric intake.
  8. I was surprised years ago to read in a (wonderful, well-written and researched) published history of the Morgan Utah Stake that stake prayer circles were abolished in the early 80s. I asked my parents about this, and they said, oh, yes, they used to do these as a high council or a stake presidency in the stake center. I once fasted three times in one week on my mission. I had to make a difficult decision on whether to approve someone for baptism, and the mission president told me it was my decision, not his. I had experience with revelation, and fully expected one, but got noth
  9. Boy, is this true in spades --- and you're really not allowed to talk about it because of outrage. I've seen a literal explosion of students in the last four years identifying as this or that along the LGBT spectrum (what they're doing is experimenting, and as you said, there are actually a lot of social benefits in identifying). My wife asked me how many gay or trans students I had (this was at a former school), and out of the total number, it was between 10 and 15 percent. Much, much higher than what social scientists think the actual rate of homosexuality is, and all of these kids seemed to
  10. I think that intelligence is what acts, and spirit/physical matter is what is acted upon. I think that lower creations have agency within their spheres, but only man (God's spirit children) has the ability to fully exercise agency along the full spectrum of obedience or rejection.
  11. Regarding the prayer circle in the temple, there are two anecdotes I really like, both from George Q. Cannon. I think that fasting is certainly part of "praying in the right way:" --- While Brother Woodruff was speaking about what President Young had told him in Winter Quarters . . . a thing came to my mind that I was taught in the same way in the beginning of my labors on my first mission, and the impression it made upon my mind has been a lasting one; I have never forgotten it . . . There were ten of us, of whom I was the youngest, wind-bound in the Bay of San Francisco, and w
  12. My views: [ETA]: Sorry! I didn't read carefully enough. I thought you were asking about more than one person fasting for the same thing. As to your original question, no, I don't think fasting for more than one person lessens the strength or potency of fasting one bit] 1) I believe that it does. That's why we fast together on Fast Sunday, sometimes for common things. I believe that the combined prayers and fasting is powerful. Maybe not more powerful than a powerful "solo" fast for a purpose, but I believe it's good to do everything that is at one's disposal. Even better than fasting
  13. If it is doctrinally true that "gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose," then I don't think the current science on the mutability/immutability of sexual orientation is the final answer. In other words, if that doctrine is true (regardless of how we feel about that), then it isn't simply the random fortunes of biology. I agree that it is difficult to remain active and believing in the Church when one is gay and feels no attraction at all to the other sex. We don't have much that is helpful in the way of explaining this state
  14. I had a Zoom meeting with two women from the Goethe Institut - San Francisco to plan out our semi-annual state conference. One of them is from Bielefeld (2nd area of my mission!), and the other is from Köln. In passing, I asked about how things were in Germany currently, especially with Covid, and I was told that they are locked down "hard." If this is true, then I find it hard to believe that the youth headed to Germany in February is still happening. Anyone know anecdotally of any missionaries who will make it to Germany (or other foreign areas) in the next little while? I have two **fo
  15. He also flawlessly and effortlessly repurposed passages, like "fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners" out of Song of Solomon (used a few times in D&C in a much different way to describe the Church and the latter-day work). He appears to have been "soaked" in Bible language, and he drew upon this for expression. This is all the more interesting to me because his mother said he was the least inclined of her children to read. Again, I think that after he looked up James 5 in response to Reverend Lane's talk on James 1:5 (per his brother William), after what
  16. Thanks for the additional updated info (updated to me) ! Given that God inspired Paul with this, it's obviously still not a problem if God inspired Mormon/Moroni with the same thought --- and had Joseph Smith use the KJV version in dictating a translation. My personal view is that God endowed Joseph Smith with superhuman feats of memory (I see no evidence that he used manuscripts, papers, or books in the translation process), hence the prevalence of identical or close KJV language in those sections of the Book of Mormon. Unlike Roberts, I don't think that he simply referred to a copy of t
  17. Why would @LDS Watchman be banned for answering your questions? What board rules or rules of civil discussion has he broken?
  18. Of course I don't mind! Most apologetic responses, as you noted, are directed at Protestants for the simple fact that Protestants have been much more aggressive historically against Mormon missionary work. Obviously, this is probably different in heavily Catholic countries, but for the most part, Catholics aren't really on Mormons' apologetic radars. I am aware that these 19th century criticisms increasingly apply to the institutional Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the 21st century as well. I think the truth of the statements still stand, regardless of the extent
  19. The full table of contents for the handout (I'd post it, but the file size restrictions prevent it). Formatting and "plain texting" wreak havoc, but I don't want to sit and format it here. : Useful and Relevant Quotations ………………………………………………………………………………………………………3-5 ---Duty of Latter-day Saints in dealing with criticisms of the Book of Mormon 3 ---Duty of critics of the Book of Mormon concerning Latter-day Saints’ responses 3 ---Insincerity of demands for “proof”
  20. Here are some items from the 26 page handout we had at our "Book of Mormon: Fact or Fiction?" fireside back in 2010 (we did a series of three, this being the second one. My primary president was the presenter, and there were 96 slides. The handout was interesting and necessary information not covered in the slides. There was also a Q&A that went very late --- 130 non-members were present). Some of this has a bearing on the question of translation method. Criticisms of the Book of Mormon reflecting 19th Century American language "Today some critics are fond of pointing out that t
  21. I'm kind of partial to it, myself (cough, cough).
  22. I also don't find the EmodE theory to be persuasive or compelling (no animosity, just disagreement). I don't think many examples of "exclusively" archaic grammar and usage truly are (I think that examples contemporaneous to Joseph Smith can be found). I also find the theory of a "ghost committee" of reformers several centuries before Joseph Smith who translated the text and transmitted it to Joseph to be weird and unnecessary. I think the manuscripts, textual evidence, and witness accounts all attest to reality more in line with Elder Roberts's thoughts in the early 20th century.
  23. Oh, yes. I own the Original and Printer's Manuscripts volumes, and have a bunch of Critical Text Project things from Skousen. The EmodE theory is different from his --- he does posit places of "tight" and places of "loose" translation, which I think the text clearly shows (spelling of names, for instance).
  24. Undoubtedly. I think this goes both ways --- both for claims of not enough, and for claim of too much. I think of the title quote from my FAIR paper on prophetic infallibility https://www.fairmormon.org/archive/publications/well-nigh-as-dangerous “It is well nigh as dangerous to claim too much for the inspiration of God in the affairs of men as it is to claim too little. By the first men are led into superstition, and into blasphemously accrediting their own imperfect actions, their blunders, and possibly even their sins to God; and by the second they are apt to altogether el
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