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Posts posted by rongo

  1. 5 hours ago, bluebell said:

    I still have questions.  For one, that would be extremely vulnerable seeing as how there is no federal protection for an accounting holding billions of dollars, right?  What if something happened to that bank?  It's also hard to fathom that the person paying for temple furniture in Bangkok is doing so with the exact same account numbers that the bishop uses to pay for Mary's electrical bill and that those are the exact same account numbers that someone else uses to buy a million square miles of ranch land in Florida. 

    I never said anything about "exact same account numbers." The local ward checking accounts on up the chain all interface with and draw from the Church's checking account. The scenario you are envisioning would require 33,000+ separate checking accounts for wards and branches alone. Who monitors and transfers money if/when some of these get overdrawn (our stake has high councilors audit our assigned wards, and one of my wards overspent their budget last year)? Bishop Burton was saying that this is never a factor (except for on paper, and when discussing why they spent more money than they were given), because all of the checking accounts in the Church tap into the one checking account for the Church. He also emphasized that even fast offering is only an on-paper category, as far as that account goes. Which should be obvious to anyone who's issued checks. The boxes of checks with the routing and account numbers are used to reimburse YW leaders for activities (ward budget), pay an electric bill (fast offerings), etc. We don't have different checkbooks with different account numbers for different category expenditures, because we only use the ward's checking account for all of these. Same as the Church, whether they are buying temple furniture for Bangkok, paying $10 million to the NAACP, or buying a property. According to Bishop Burton, it's the same checking account from the top down (even if, for purposes of daily local transactions, this account is tied to accounts through Zion's, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Dresdner Bank, etc.). 

    [quote]And then we have places like Ensign Peak, who obviously move around church funds into multiple places.  Are those not considered accounts? [/quote]

    I don't think this matters when Ensign Peak money is put into the checking account (the account the Church uses to pay for everything) to be available to be spent. When that happens, there aren't separate categories like "from tithing only," "tithing interest dividends," etc. Doesn't Ensign Peak "move around church funds into multiple places" using the checking account? How else would it "move funds around?"

  2. 2 minutes ago, Danzo said:

    I agree, Rongo's statement was probably oversimplified.  

    I think what Bishop Burton meant was that the various deposit accounts (Zion's Bank, BofA, Wells Fargo, Dresdner Bank, or whatever) all sweep into the Church's account. And vice versa --- the checking accounts all sweep from the one Church account. 

    His explanation made a lot of sense to me. The Church doesn't have zillions of employees constantly transferring money back and forth between innumerable local and international accounts. These accounts all sweep into or out of the Church's checking account. 

    Elder Anderson has said one of the big holdups to the Church getting into China (formally) is a CCP requirement that no Chinese donations leave the country. 

  3. 37 minutes ago, bluebell said:

    I've been trying to figure out how to respond to this thread, since I was tagged in it, but I haven't been very successful. 

    That other thread that my quote was taken from is almost 10 years old.  I have no idea what else I posted in it, or whether or not my feelings about the issue have changed much.  My quote on this thread doesn't really shed any light on what my feelings on the issues back then were exactly.

    I feel pretty good suggesting that my understanding tithing and how it all works has improved over the last almost 10 years as situations have presented themselves that have allowed/caused me to look into it further.  My understanding of what Pres. Hinckley said has also evolved as I've received more information.

    My understanding of Rongo's statement has also grown more perplexed and less accepting at face value, because the idea that the church has one account with billions of dollars sitting in it seems kind of nonsensical after everything else that I've learned.  And if I wasn't understanding his words accurately, then my reply to him means even less than it once did.

    There really is only one checking account in the Church. As Bishop Burton explained (it was in answer to my question at a bishops' Q&A), it would be crazy to envision countless accounts that have to constantly send debits and credits back and forth. All of the money in the Church (liquid, fungible money) is thrown into one big bucket, and any check written in the Church is drawn from this one account. There are internal "categories" for bookkeeping purposes (like at the local level: the "other" accounts, budget categories, etc. --- but there really is just the ward's checking account, despite these internal categories that are on paper only). 

    I think it was unwise and silly for the Church to treat "no tithing money was ever used for XYZ" as a hill to die on. It doesn't bother me that tithing money was used, for one thing, and it looks like tortured mental gymnastics to continue to treat "on paper only" internal categories as physically separate accounts. 

    ETA: Bishop Burton went so far as to say that there aren't even separate accounts for fast offerings and tithing. My question was how it works when a bishop writes a fast offering check on January 1, but Sunday isn't until January 6, so there aren't any donations yet. Is this money "floated" or transferred until then? He said that this isn't how it works at all. There is only one giant account on which all checks are drawn. All income coming into the coffers goes into one account. He said there is never any danger that a check will "bounce," because there are billions in the one Church account. 

  4. On 1/30/2023 at 6:03 PM, bluebell said:

    Rongo, I know that this is something that you feel very strongly about--you've spoken of it many times in the past--but women working outside of the home is not the cause of society's high divorce rate.  As Mustard Seed said, the divorce rate has been going down for decades.

    Here's one study that shows that it peaked in 1979 and has been going down since.  Also, the state with the lowest divorce rate is New Hampshire and the highest is Alabama.  I would be greatly surprised if Alabama had more married working mothers than New Hampshire (to explain why it was so high and NH was so low.) 


    14 hours ago, Calm said:

    This is surreal you are still trying to claim we agreed this long after I stated we didn’t.  Do you think I am going to suddenly change my mind and say Rongo was right all along!

    I was alerted that I've been referenced here. I haven't posted here since I left in July and said I wasn't going to post here any more, and I have never made a sock puppet. This isn't me, and I'm not sure why both of you think (or want to think) that it is. Stylistically, syntactically, and strategically, I don't think there is any similarity. 

    Just for the record. Back to retirement! :) 

  5. 28 minutes ago, bluebell said:

    I get the frustration but you're going off the rails a little.  Just don't post if you don't think that the way the board is run is ethical.


    26 minutes ago, bluebell said:

    We would miss you but do what you feel like you gotta do.  

    I might already be off the rails,and grinding the rims to nubs. 

    I'm ticked enough about this, I think you're right.

    It's been a great 18 years, people! Kirk out.

  6. 1 minute ago, The Nehor said:

    1) Would you be satisfied or would you argue the point and then be equally miffed that he ignored you?

    2) They don’t automatically trigger bans.

    3) Danger Will Robinson!

    I would be happy and would shut up if he simply contacted me and told me what his thought process is (because this situation is so out there. When things are heated and people are being jerks, that's understandable. But I can't make heads or tails of this. So what assurances do I have that he won't have an episode and ban me again for no reason?)

    It would not be a conversation. I wouldn't reply to his response, if you're serving as re go between here. ;)

  7. 2 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

    Setting a precedent for explaining bans means he has to spend time explaining to anyone who asks. Wanting to banter does not mean he has the energy or desire to explain decisions. It is also possible Nemesis wasn’t the one who did it. When the mod does explain themselves the poster will (almost inevitably) want to present a counter argument and why would the mod want to have that kind of boring back and forth? I know I love talking to people who assume that my not wanting to debate them about a decision I make makes me “cowardly or lazy”.

    Mods have decided a flag or report was nonsense. I know. I submitted a report or two that was deliberate nonsense as a joke. No one was thread banned. I have gotten explanations once or twice for a ban but it wasn’t through inquiring. It was by entertaining the mod. Last time I did I sent a hyperbolic self-deprecating message about the rank injustice of the thread ban and how I can prove I was not guilt. I got a short response telling me that I got the reason for the ban wrong. Once corrected I had to respond along the lines of ‘Well yeah, I did do that. Fair enough. Hugs and Kisses, Nehor’

    1) Nemesis could reply in private, as I first contacted him. He could also be terse and brief. I still think that even "jerks" deserve some sort of brief response. He doesn't have to get into a ***-for-tat in threads.

    2) If flags or reports don't trigger bans, then that raises even more questions.

    3) I'm getting dangerously close to "RIP rongo: 2003-2022" territory. 

  8. Just now, juliann said:

    I've lost track of how long it has been since Nemesis took over the FAIR board. Nemesis deserves nothing but praise, he maintains and pays for the board himself. It amazes me he keeps it up after all these years when he doesn't even use it himself (other than the rare comment.) It is pure service to all of us who hang around here. This is a unique place with a long history, so long live Nemesis.

    Disagree about "nothing but praise." Maintaining this with his own money is a good thing, but do you disagree that even that doesn't excuse his management style? Where else do people never know what their offenses are?

    Has he ever admitted that he messed up and undone something? Anyone aware of an example? That would show me something.

  9. Before I have to walk the plank for speaking evil of Nemesis, a couple more thoughts.

    1) Has a thread originator ever been banned from his own thread? I doubt it, and definitely not when not behaving outrageously. No one has any idea what the offending post was!

    2) The arbitrariness here is astounding. Why can't @Tacenda get rep points, bit other posters who are at least as vocal in their skepticism and unhappiness with the Church can? Nemesis has said before, "It's my board, I can do what I want for whatever reasons I want, and I don't have to explain myself to anyone." Technically true, yes, but just what kind of a parent, spouse, neighbor, etc. is a person like that like? No, you don't have to tell people what their supposed offenses we're, but why not do it? What kind of a person runs a message board that way?  

  10. 5 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

    Welcome to our illustrious club, mate. 


    The frustrating things is that @Nemesis has posted since the ban happened, so he should respond at least to a private message. Especially when there doesn't appear to be any reason to anybody. I'm sure Nemesis has read this thread, too, but is just lying low and waiting for this to blow over. He's posted since then, and the this thread title has to have caught his attention.

    Nemesis always says he doesn't check often, doesn't communicate, etc., but it looks like more of a cowardly or lazy thing when he doesn't respond than a "too busy" thing. Nemesis takes the time to banter extensively, when he wants to. e.g., the thread where he was musing about being bishop of the MDDB ward. 

    The other thing that bothers me is how it appears people can be banned for frivolous things, simply because someone reports something. Does Nemesis ever decide a flag or report was nonsense? 

    Periodically, there is discussion about why this isn't as good as it used to be, where have manu good poster gone, etc. We're looking at exhibit A, right here.


  11. Scott, you're a technical genius. Signing out let's me read the thread. Thanks for the tip!

    I would start a part 2 thread (I wanted to comment on "righteous lying" and other things, but I have no idea if I'll be banned from that thread, too. Not knowing your accuser, the alleged offense, and what  @Nemesis is thinking or intends is absurd. I can't even imagine what might have even been a stretch of a pretext. (shrug?)

  12. 5 hours ago, MustardSeed said:

    I believe differently, I know me, and if Rongo doesn't validate as much as he educates I couldn't support.  

    The modern counseling term "validation" is what we used to work on under the Missionary Guide as "empathy." All people, all the time (there were role-plays and cassette tapes we used in our study). Validation/empathy is **huge** (I've worked with several CES letter casualties, and they're not interested in anything you have to say if you aren't genuinely empathetic, and not just "trying" or "faking it"). 

    Whether or not I would strike the right balance between validation and education in your case, I don't know. Maybe you would end up commiserating with Raingirl out in the foyer. ;) 

  13. 6 hours ago, juliann said:

    Rongo, I so appreciate your effort to do this and I believe that you are probably the only one in your ward who can do it responsibly. So I hope you will take what I am trying to explain in the spirit it is intended. You will have single women in RS. Think of the underlying message in pitying single women and implying being married to anyone at all, in any configuration, is preferable to what they are now. One of the things the church is trying to do, but not succeeding well, is to treat single women as valuable disciples just as they are. They are not living Plan B. This is their Plan A and they can contribute as much to others and the church as any married woman and live just as full and meaningful a life as anyone else. 

    Of course (and no offence taken). There are probably more single women than average in this particular Relief Society, and all wards have at least several. 

    My sister is a RS president in Gilbert, and she has been divorced for almost 25 years now. She would be very good on this topic as well (I'd need to bring her up to speed a bit on some things, but she already knows quite a bit). Maybe I could suggest that she do this (thinking out loud). 

    I'm always very cognizant of "do no harm" and ensuring that people leave uplifted or at least edified, and that would include where people are at in the audience. I wonder if the sisters the RS president is concerned about will even come (depending on where they're at and how calcified their "setting" vis a vis the Church is)? 

  14. 7 hours ago, manol said:

    I agree.

    If Joseph did indeed lie (or equivocate or otherwise give intentionally misleading responses) about polygamy, one of the conclusions a person might draw is that Joseph set the example and therefore it is okay, and even right, to lie or equivocate or mislead under some circumstances.  (I'm under the impression this was the late-19th-century interpretation of many in the Church, but I could be wrong.)  What are your thoughts around that aspect?

    That's always the wrong lesson to be learned from "sanctioned lying" instances in the scriptures or Church history (e.g., Abraham, Sarah, and Pharaoh, Nauvoo polygamy, etc.). It's not too far from that to justifying lying in temple recommend interviews because the person feels justified. 

    I'll have more to say on this later (I only have time for some quick-strike responses right now). Honesty and "righteous lying" (ever justified?) is a very interesting topic to me. 

  15. 7 hours ago, MustardSeed said:

    The hereafter is supposed to be the big carrot, enticing me to live righteously on this earth and make the right decisions. The celestial kingdom has never looked particularly pleasing to me, but the men tell me this is where I’m supposed to work towards. I don’t trust that there’s a man on the planet not even my husband who can truly appreciate the conundrum this puts me in.

    All you can do in your boat, I would say, is to develop a close communication relationship with God (through the Holy Ghost). You probably already are. You seem to be navigating this as well as possible, in your case, from how it seems to me. 

  16. 8 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

    So true.  Was Joseph being contentious when he refused to join a local Church and instead went into the grove?  Was the Savior carrying a spirit of contention when he disagreed with the Pharisees on doctrine?  Discomfort and disagreement are not the same as contention.  You can disagree without contention, even if uncomfortable.  Contention is about winning.  A contest.

    Yes! Many members are used to "Mormon nice" --- no disagreement, and apparent agreement all-around. We even see some of that in this thread --- disagreement makes some very uncomfortable. 

    Honestly, people who thought past "ask anything" and controversial topics activities were "contentious" were mostly uncomfortable that people were free to depart from the tightly-correlated party line in asking questions, or in discussing topics and issues that were beyond "the standard three-hour block." Or that non-members were openly invited and attracted, and able to ask questions or even "take shots" at the Church (they were actually very respectful, but we did get many expected "old chestnut" questions, too). 

  17. 9 hours ago, InCognitus said:

    Back in February we had a stake conference at a stake in Arizona, and the stake high counselor over missionary work gave an excellent talk in the leadership meeting about improving missionary work in our wards and stakes.  One of his bullet points was "being prepared for uncomfortable discussions when sharing the gospel with non-member friends".  He said that the ward leadership should "set aside time regularly to teach members how to deal with these questions", and said that we should prepare ward members to handle uncomfortable discussions.   

    I was intrigued by what he was proposing and wanted to try to implement something like he was suggesting in our ward, although I wasn't sure exactly how it would play out.  But unfortunately I was preparing to move, and was released from my calling and moved shortly after that, so I never got a chance to get involved in it.  But I think the kind of thing you are doing is what a lot of people need.

    Keep plugging away in your new stake! Area leader roulette is a big factor --- some leaders are very supportive, while others are very risk-averse. And others yet are blasé and completely uninterested (and therefore a "no"). It all depends. Good luck!

  18. 29 minutes ago, bluebell said:

    In the instance with Peter, James, and John, they could have just said "we've been commanded not to talk about it".  So I disagree with the bolded part of your statement.

    There are some times when not answering would be an answer I suppose, such as being asked if you are practicing polygamy.  An answer of "I've been commanded not to talk about it" is the same as "yes".  So perhaps being dishonest would be necessary under those circumstances (though I'm not completely convinced).  But I think that most times a divine command for secrecy does not need to collide with a desire for absolute honesty. 

    We have plenty of examples of this when it comes to the dealing with people asking questions about what goes on in temples.  No one has to lie in order to keep from revealing things they've covenanted not to reveal.

    Very good point that "no comment" or "commanded not to talk about it" is a yes answer in the polygamy situation. 

  19. 8 hours ago, carbon dioxide said:

    This is more than just a difficult subject.  This is one where lots of people have planted their flag into a certain position and are pretty much committed to it.  So yes contention can always pop up but some topics to a much greater degree than others.  Rongo is a much braver soul than I am.   I wish him well if he decides to go ahead of this. 

    Keep in mind that the audience and discussion isn't going to be anything like this thread.  We here are a poor comparison to an audience in a local unit somewhere. Sometimes we lose sight of that.

    If there actually was a ward where the class was composed of the 20-30 personalities who participate regularly here (including some ex-members who still somehow come to church every week :) ) --- can you even imagine? 

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