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Everything posted by rongo

  1. I find it to be an intriguing thought. It seems to have more purpose than eternity in outer darkness, and it would explain how there is never a lack of "qualified" tempters under Brigham Young's view that every world has its own savior and tempter (adversaries are essential to the plan, that which has been done in other worlds). "Evil" intelligence is evil and uncreated, but I would like to think that there is at least a possibility that that "cycle" can be broken. It's also interesting to me from the point of view of comparative religion, kernels of truth everywhere, etc. Akin to Christian atonement and human sacrifice (warped application and understanding of the true principle of the need for atonement). Reincarnation and transmigration of souls are found in belief systems, ancient and modern, and I don't think they arose out of thin air.
  2. Not disputing anything you've said here. I have found that, as then Elder Oaks taught, people get the blessing God has for them, despite wording. My own personal experience leans heavily towards miraculous and efficacious healing --- so much so, that my wife and children have rock solid belief in this. We have every expectation that prophesied healing will come to pass from our life experience. Still, it's also not good if what is prophesied repeatedly doesn't come to pass (in spades). I have an outlier extreme example where I blessed a young woman with recovery, and she died the next day. Her non-member parents and brother who were present, and the nurse attending her at the time did not react how one would expect with that (the nurse wanted to know what church we were from after). I thought that the family would have been hurt, angry, and skeptical, but they didn't react that way. President Packer told us as a stake conference that far too many men "play it safe" in blessings and avoid prophesying or saying anything monumental, preferring bland, generic, safe blessings. He told us to prophesy, and leave it up to God to back it up. There's no denying, though, that giving blessings is an awe-inspiring, awesome, and awful responsibility, and each time you walk the razor's edge. Past success is no guarantee in the present, and I think it's just as "scary" for an apostle as it is for a layman --- again, despite even decades of experience. It's humbling, and every time is potentially different --- sometimes, you feel powerful "back of the Ensign" inspiration. Other times, you feel nothing. I'm grateful that in my own experience, it is much, much higher than a 50/50 proposition. But, I accept others' experiences that are quite different at face value, and some have not had a good experience track record at all. I think that I would rather be at the one end of the pole than the other (faith and expectation over skepticism and a feeling that it doesn't really have an effect).
  3. It has been heavily used, starting with President Nelson. Another one he uses a lot (with people using it a lot, following his lead) is "gathering Israel on both sides of the veil."
  4. Yes. If they claim to identify as one thing, but live through their actions as something completely different, then what use is the "identifying," actually? It serves a different purpose altogether. I'm with Erica Anderson, a transgender psychologist who is concerned about the explosion of "identifying" teens over the last several years. It's trendy to "identify," and convenient that you don't even have to "do" the things that the group you "identify" with does. You get the benefits of "identifying" while having to do it. Like an honorary doctorate! [quote]https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2022-04-12/a-transgender-psychologist-reckons-with-how-to-support-a-new-generation-of-trans-teens “I think it’s gone too far,” Anderson said. “For a while, we were all happy that society was becoming more accepting and more families than ever were embracing children that were gender variant. Now it’s got to the point where there are kids presenting at clinics whose parents say, ‘This just doesn’t make sense.’” Anderson believes some gender-confused kids are “falling under the influence of their peers and social media,” adding that “some clinicians are failing to subject minors to rigorous mental health evaluations before recommending hormones or surgeries.” “What happens when the perfect storm — of social isolation, exponentially increased consumption of social media, the popularity of alternative identities — affects the actual development of individual kids?” Anderson said. “We’re sailing in uncharted seas.” “Giving over to hormones on demand will result in many more cases of poor outcomes and many more disappointed kids and parents who somehow came to believe that giving kids hormones would cure their other psychological problems,” the trans psychologist continued. “It won’t.”[/quote] [quote]http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/when-kids-come-in-saying-they-are-transgender-or-no-gender-these-doctors-try-to-help/2018/01/19/f635e5fa-dac0-11e7-a841-2066faf731ef_story.html Anderson has been sounding the alarm on the issue since at least 2018, when the trans psychologist bluntly admitted identifying as trans had become “trendy.” “A fair number of kids are getting into it because it’s trendy. I think in our haste to be supportive, we’re missing that element.”[/quote]
  5. If a self-identifying gay man fantasizes about women while masturbating? Yes, I would say his claim to being gay is suspect. Why wouldn't he fantasize about men? If fantasizing about both men and women float his boat, then he could choose to only foster/nurture the attraction to women. It wouldn't be an imperative of nature he was born with and can't do anything about. No, that sounds like textbook homosexual to me. Not any more. At minimum, she is "bi." This happened to a student of mine. Had a girlfriend, holding hands and kissing in the hall. Confessed to being pregnant in her baptismal interview (the district leader had some heavy lifting in that interview). She is a mother of three today, and doesn't identify as gay at all. I think this is what will happen with the lion's share of those caught in the wave of "identifying as gay" right now. Most aren't, really, and they will tire of the fad (or will abandon the fad as it peters out). --- I know that the reaction scrambles to, "Well, people can be bi," or, "it's a spectrum. No two people's sexuality is the same." Sure, but if one happens to be truly "bi" (actually and equally attracted to both) and is a striving Saint, then it is certainly possible to successfully repress the "forbidden" attraction and only foster/nurture the "accepted" attraction. I know another mother of three (not the same one) who confessed to me that she is attracted to women, too. It isn't part of her life; her husband and three children are. Yes, "bi" exists, but I think it's a lot less prevalent than people claim.
  6. Slaves were set free during the year of jubilee (every 50 years). Debts were also erased, and land reverted back to the original family who owned it.
  7. No, no, you've got it all wrong. How do you know you aren't "truly on the spectrum?"
  8. Here are several: https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2021/02/24/gen-z-lgbt/ https://www.vice.com/en/article/qvqw8d/how-2018-became-the-year-20gayteen https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/survey-20-percent-millennials-identify-lgbtq-n740791 https://www.inquirer.com/health/gay-lesbian-teenagers-doubled-suicide-rates-20200210.html Or by them openly telling people about it, openly identifying with the gay groups at school, etc. What I mean is that they aren't really "on the spectrum;" they are glomming onto this social trend for various reasons. Many decide they aren't later, or that they are somewhere else "on the spectrum." I've had "out" students get pregnant. Most of these students, in my observation, are mimicking media and social media trends, or are trying to fit in with an instant friend group. What does "truly" mean? That they identify: sure. That they really are? No, nowhere close to 1 out of 5 people in reality.
  9. That can be a moving target with future administrations and cohorts of leaders, though. If it is determined down the road that such changes are not integral --- would not do violence to the doctrinal integrity of the Church --- then such changes may possibly be made. The disavowal of explanations for the priesthood ban is an example of this. Many of those who made them or gave full-throated endorsements or defenses of them certainly regarded them as "integral" --- with the disavowal of them "doing violence to the doctrinal integrity of the Church." That many today disagree with this doesn't change the fact that it required a pooh-poohing of these concerns. Paul Reeve's disavowal was simply accepted without any explanation of what we should make of the past and current explanations then.
  10. 20% of modern teens are not gay or trans, but these are the numbers we have "identifying" as such. Roughly 1/5 of my students do, and have for several years (across different school systems and districts), so this tracks with my lived experience. This explosion over the last ten years is a social phenomenon, not a genuine biological one. And the phenomenon is wreaking emotional and mental havoc on a generation of kids.
  11. I think it's because it isn't lack of acceptance that causes the depression in many of these kids --- it's the Venn diagram overlap between gender/orientation confusion and mental health issues (not caused by bullying or lack of acceptance). For many of these kids (my experience bears out these stats that 1 out of 5 teens identify as non-straight --- which is eye-popping, and definitely out of whack with biology or historical numbers), the fact that they are pretending to be or trying to be something they actually aren't causes tons of mental stress and anguish. ETA: In my experience, kids who start experimenting with the gay identity spectrum (almost overwhelmingly girls, which is interesting. I wonder what the explanation for that is? Why not more boys?) are themselves depression/anxiety prone before that. There are also things like studies showing that the teen pregnancy rate for gay-identifying girls is off-the-charts higher than it is for straight girls. Which shows me that there is a lot more going on than "born this way, just being true to who I am --- oh, I'm also doing things with boys, so I must be somewhere else on the spectrum than all to one side." This confusion is certain to cause at least some mental stress and anguish.
  12. First formed (by combining spirit matter with uncreated and eternal intelligence). In one sense, we are all eternal (no beginning and no end, because of intelligence). In another sense, we really have a beginning when we are created (organized). With the veil of forgetfulness, birth on earth into mortality can also be seen as a beginning, even though from a wider perspective we existed before.
  13. Did you feel like doing it, or was it just the impulse? I ask, because I had a sister in a former ward (prominent, and her husband was very prominent) who had lived with voices constantly telling her to kill herself for decades. She told me that she didn't feel like doing it, though --- just that the voices were very real. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia and the prescribed medication made the voices go away completely --- but with (to her) even worse side effects. She chose/chooses to live with the voices because she wants to "remain herself" (she didn't feel like herself at all on the medication). She's not a threat to herself or her family or anyone else, but it is exhausting dealing with the voices. She was adamant that she recognizes that she doesn't feel suicidal or depressed --- she just hears voices that she knows aren't real (but are audibly indistinguishable from real voices). I can't imagine living with that **coupled with** suicidal feelings.
  14. Long time, no hear, Jeanne! Good to hear from you!
  15. Yes, but I wouldn't trade the blessings we get in the here and now for anything.
  16. I think the purely Christ-centered ones may stay, but Restoration ones, like Palmyra or the Man Who Knew, are discontinued. ETA: As per Okrahomer's link, what I posted is inaccurate (British Mission, Nauvoo are still on). Still, I think there are reasons why the purely Book of Mormon or Witnesses ones are being done away with.
  17. Here are some others (typed up from my index): Joseph F. Smith, April 11, 1878. Journal of Discourses19:264 Jesus had not finished his work when his body was slain, neither did he finish it after his resurrection from the dead, although he had accomplished the purpose for which he then came to the earth, he had not fulfilled all his work. And when will he? Not until he has redeemed and saved every son and daughter of our father Adam that has or ever will be born upon this earth to the end of time, except the sons of perdition. That is his mission. Joseph F. Smith, Sunday, June 18, 1882. Journal of Discourses 23:175 the mission of Jesus will be unfinished until he redeems the whole human family, except the sons of perdition, and also this earth from the curse that is upon it, and both the earth and its inhabitants can be presented to the Father redeemed, sanctified and glorious. Brigham Young, October 8, 1859. Journal of Discourses 7:336 I know that parents are often much troubled about their children. I have heard many relate their troubles and sorrows in this respect, though they are comparatively trifling, unless your children disregard all your tender solicitude and wise counsels and examples, and, when arrived at maturity, forsake you and go headlong to destruction, when you will think that you never had any trouble until then. The want of bread for them in their infancy was no sorrow, when compared with such a trial. Parents---you who continue to live the life of true Christians, and are filled with faith, virtue, and good works, I promise you, in the name of Israel's God, that you will have your children, and no power can rob you of them; for all will be saved, except the sons of perdition. If they go to hell, you will have the privilege of dragging them from there, if you are faithful. That is the promise made to Abraham. You are aware that the children of Israel acted as badly as the Devil could make them, and the Lord afflicted them in this life, because of the promise he made to their father Abraham that he would save his seed. Brigham Young, April 6, 1860. Journal of Discourses 8:35 How many Gods there are, and how many places there are in their kingdoms, is not for me to say; but I can say this, which is a source of much comfort, consolation, and gratification to me: Behold the goodness, the long-suffering, the kindness, and the strong parental feeling of our Father and God in preparing the way and providing the means to save the children of men,---not alone the Latter-day Saints---not those alone who have the privilege of the first principles of the celestial law, but to save all. It is a universal salvation---a universal redemption. Do not conclude that I am a Universalist, as the term is generally understood, although that doctrine is true in part, like the doctrines or professions of all professing Christians. As was stated yesterday, by one of those who spoke, when he was a Methodist, he enjoyed a portion of the Spirit of the Lord. Hundreds of those now present have had a like experience in a greater or less degree, before they joined this Church. Then, when we inquire who will be saved, I answer, All will be saved, as Jesus said, when speaking to the Apostles, except the sons of perdition. They will be saved through the atonement and their own good works, according to the law that is given to them. Will the heathen be saved? Yes, so far as they have lived according to the best light and intelligence they had; but not in the celestial kingdom. Who will not be saved? Those who have received the truth, or had the privilege of receiving it, and then rejected it. They are the only ones who will become the sons of perdition, go into everlasting punishment, and become angels to the Devil. Orson Pratt, September 16, 1860. Journal of Discourses 8:311 We might mention the following in the revelation upon marriage, concerning sealing blessings upon persons, and sealing them up to eternal life---sealing upon them blessings for time and for all eternity, at the time when the man and woman go forth and are sealed unconditionally; at least, the revelation says, if such a one transgresses, he shall be destroyed in the flesh and suffer until the day of redemption; and then they shall come forth and inherit all that was placed upon their heads by the servants of God, on the condition that they have not committed the sin against the Holy Ghost or shed innocent blood. This would seem to be as near as unconditional promise as can well be made to mortals. But this is not altogether unconditional, for there are some exceptions; but it would come as near as anything we have ever read of. This ought to be a comfort to the Saints, and not a license for them to sin and commit all manner of blasphemies; but it should be a comfort and a consolation to those that may, in the hour of temptation, be overtaken in a fault, to encourage them to turn unto the Lord their God with all their hearts, minds, might, and strength. Then they can lay hold of these promises, and with them come forth in the morning of the first resurrection, and inherit all that was placed upon their heads. But when we reflect upon pain in this life, it is grievous to be borne and to think of. When we think that a man may be buffeted, not only in this life, but until the morning of the first resurrection, this ought to cause the heart of every Latter-day Saint to shrink from everything that is sinful. What! shall we offend God who has made these great and precious promises? Where is our life, if we should offend God, the giver of all these good things? If we should dare to sin upon such a promise, we should indeed be deserving of the severest punishment. Let no Latter-day Saint, then, try to claim these great and precious things, if they willfully commit sin, and because the Lord has promised that they should only be punished for a season. The time of their punishment is here in this life, and it is sure not to extend into the other for any great period. Yet there is far more satisfaction in being perfectly honest before God and men,---yes, far more satisfaction, joy, and consolation here in this life, to live without any threatening and punishment in this or in the next life. Brigham Young, April 29, 1866. Journal of Discourses 11:215 I could say something encouraging to parents, if they would heed. Let the father and mother, who are members of this Church and kingdom, take a righteous course, and strive with all their might never to do a wrong, but to do good all their lives; if they have one child or one hundred children, if they conduct themselves towards them as they should, binding them to the Lord by their faith and prayers, I care not where those children go, they are bound up to their parents by an everlasting tie, and no power of earth or hell can separate them from their parents in eternity; they will return again to the fountain from whence they sprang. Brigham Young, August 11, 1872. Journal of Discourses 15:128 "Well," says one, if I am pretty sure to get a state of glory better than this, I guess I will not take the trouble to inherit anything more." Well, run the risk of it, every man on the earth has that privilege. The Gospel is preached, sin revives, some die and some contend against it---some receive it and some do not; but this is the sin of the people---truth is told them and they reject it. This is the sin of the world, "Light has come into the world, but men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil." So said Jesus in his day. We say, Here is the Gospel of life and salvation, and every one that will receive it, glory, honor, immortality and eternal life are theirs; if they reject it, they take their chance. I hope and pray that we may all be wise and receive the good part, that we may have the benefit thereof. Brigham Young, October 8, 1876. Journal of Discourses 18:263 A few words to the sisters---you mothers who are trifling with the ordinances of the house of God, and the blessings that are proffered to you, I will say that the time will come, if you persist in doing so, when you will mourn, and will be willing to give worlds, if you possessed them, for the privilege of living your lives over again. Some of you are treating with contempt the oracles of the kingdom of God upon the earth, and in commission of this sin you trifle with your own salvation, as well as the salvation of your children. Repent, and turn unto God, and teach your children the importance of doing the same, and of the sacredness of the ordinances and the laws of God. It is the mother's influence that is most effective in molding the mind of the child for good or for evil. If she treat lightly the things of God; it is more than likely her children will be inclined to do the same, and the Lord will not hold her guiltless when he comes to make up his jewels; he will disown all such when he comes to claim his own, and will say, Go hence, I never knew you. Brigham Young, October 9, 1859. Journal of Discourses 7:289 I will now tell you something that ought to comfort every man and woman on the face of the earth. Joseph Smith, junior, will again be on this earth dictating plans and calling forth his brethren to be baptized for the very characters who wish this was not so, in order to bring them into a kingdom to enjoy, perhaps, the presence of angels or the spirits of good men, if they cannot endure the presence of the Father and the Son; and he will never cease his operations, under the directions of the Son of God, until the last ones of the children of men are saved that can be, from Adam till now. Orson Pratt, January 19, 1873. Journal of Discourses 15:318 I will here ask, will many of these individuals who have sinned against God come forth and inherit that high degree of exaltation in the celestial world? This is a great question. Can they inherit the same glory that will be enjoyed by the Saints who have lived in different ages of the world and endured faithful to the end? Can they receive that full exaltation and shine forth in the kingdom of God? No. Why not? Because they are not prepared for it. I do not say but what they may in some future age, according to the purposes of God, be led along from one step to another, until, finally, some of them attain to celestial glory. ETA: @bluebell They were very particular to exempt the sons of perdition from this otherwise seemingly universal "reaching" of the covenants. I found that interesting going back to look for these.
  18. Brigham Young, who is the source for some of the promises, believed that sons of perdition have their intelligence stripped from their spirit matter, and start all over again. So, it worked within our doctrine as he understood it. I see it as akin to the Second Anointing. Neither are absolute --- people can't be saved against their will, and they can't be saved when they're still evil, regardless of what ordinances have been performed. But, the teachings offer a tremendous amount of hope --- especially through the lens of "eternal" eternal progression (progression between kingdoms and within kingdoms).
  19. Yes, that is what the message has to be. No one wants to "twist the knife" for grieving and scared families, but I think the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction out of consideration (i.e., that they will be fine and on the same footing as those who don't commit suicide). There is just as little known about that as there is about the alternative (they will be damned forever). Like murder, abortion, out-of-wedlock births, etc. suicide interferes with the plan of salvation ideal. The actual mental state of mind, degree of accountability, etc. will be factored in in judgment, but I think it's safe to say that not all suicides are un-accountable. The number of social factors feeding into suicide trends seems to be increasing. I found Malcolm Gladwell's discussion of suicide contagion in his book The Tipping Point to be fascinating. Here is a very brief discussion in a blog about that part of the book (starting with the Micronesia suicide epidemic): https://www.intellectualtakeout.org/blog/suicide-contagious/ All of the factors wreaking havoc with young people today are "memes" (Richard Dawkins definition) --- they are socially contagious. I think the proliferation of mental health maladies is among these, and frighteningly, LDS families seem in increasingly more cases unable to protect their children from these. Doctrine (understood and lived), priesthood power, and Church culture (family and ward) **should** prepare and protect against it, but in many cases, falls short.
  20. Given Elder Holland's emphasis and efforts in teaching about mental health (and his own experience with that), I think the last thing he wanted to convey with his talk is that victims of suicide are having coals heaped upon their heads. I think what he wanted to convey was that it is not the answer to suffering in life.
  21. This is a tough one for me, because I believe (and take at their word) the teachings of the prophets on this (what Orson F. Whitney references when he says "Joseph Smith taught no more comforting doctrine . . ."). But, justice can't be robbed, and there is a strong sense of injustice if sealings "save" the wayward who have no interest or desire. Because I believe in progression between and within kingdoms, this is somewhat taken care of, because it leaves room for the sealing power to "search out" after the wayward, while also requiring them to "pay the uttermost farthing" and "suffer, even as" Jesus before that is realized. My code name in my raw notes for the Journal of Discourses index I put together for myself for this topic is my mother-in-law's name. She held firmly to this teaching, and when were married, my wife was in the minority of the eight children who were active in the Church or even on a trajectory to be active. Her mother stayed in an unhappy marriage because of firm faith in this teaching, and endured decades of unhappiness. After she passed away from cancer about ten years ago, all of her siblings who had strayed have come back --- often in miraculous ways. One, by one. I joked with her --- but it wasn't a joke, really. I believe that is actually a large part of what is behind this --- that her mother has been systematically working with her children from beyond the veil and "getting them back." I think there is great power and truth behind the promises, even while believing that people can't be saved against their will. In the coming years, I think more and more people are going to be clinging to these promises, as most families are being infected with apostasy and bad choices, despite many people's efforts to do everything they can to avert this.
  22. I figured it would be changed. Still, interesting that it made it "to print" in the first place. Still has the redundant "ward congregation."
  23. What was approved (but with bad logic, in my opinion) was "Latter-day Saints" to refer to members. As some have explained it, this is because it is part of the full name of the Church, while Mormon isn't part of the name at all. But, the rationale behind this has never been explained by Church leaders. "LDS" is anathema. I think it's clear that President Nelson's intent is to stamp out use of Mormon over time, to stamp out negative associations people have with that.
  24. Not as the name of the Church --- in the same way that Mormon Church is not the name of the Church. I would think that "Latter-day Saint Church" is a "victory for Satan" under the same logic that "Mormon Church" is. For the record, I have never called the Church either --- neither before President Nelson's emphasis, nor after. I've either used the full name of the Church, or "the Church," depending on context and audience. I still do use "Mormons" for "members," and terms like "Mormonism" or Mormon as an adjective (just not with church). I am really surprised to see the Deseret News actually call the Church "the Latter-day Saints Church." I think this shows that even those most supportive of the emphasis don't follow it 100%. We've even had visiting 70s refer to Mormons, and then smile self-deprecatingly when they realize this.
  25. Isn't "the Latter-day Saint Church" as bad as "Mormon Church?" And from Tad Walch in the Deseret News? https://www.deseret.com/faith/2022/4/7/23010650/lds-mormon-latter-day-saint-church-ukraine-shows-each-ward-is-a-humanitarian-organization Granted, the copy editors probably wrote the headline, not Walch, but I'm stunned to see a headline like this. I mean, if the Deseret News slips like this, is it realistic to expect members not to?
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