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Everything posted by rongo

  1. This goes along with my #1: Polygamy, period. This is really hard for many people. They're not ordered in any significant order --- just the order I thought of them (and added on addenda from this thread).
  2. Probably mostly from the bishop (a terrific bishop, with whom my wife and I had a long talk in our living room when he came to visit when we moved in. Our library in countless bookshelves is always a question [Have you read all of these?]. We see eye-to-eye on a lot of doctrinal and historical items). Some people have "checked references" and enquired about us with friends in our old stake (about an hour and a half away). The stake president also had already heard about "those rongo boys" in seminary, and came down off the stand to talk to us on our first Sunday (they created quite a stir with their manner and knowledge. The seminary teacher is now an institute teacher at ASU). I told her to clear it with the bishop first, but I'm sure he'll be supportive and enthusiastic about it. She has an evening RS activity in mind, rather than a Sunday lesson. That way, there can also be an "ask anything" Q&A. Tacenda, I can't express enough how much I wish that people had received help during the time window when they needed it. Once feelings of betrayal and deception set in, it's very difficult to help, even when people admit that they don't have any issues "intellectually" with this or that problem anymore.
  3. This message board has, what, maybe 30 people who are active posters? The reality is that the vast majority of members aren't dialed into the online chatter of the last 20 years, and online discussions are a poor bellweather of the "facts on the ground" in our wards and stakes. By preference, I prefer good old fashioned live, local discussion --- because there is a personal, local connection --- to the multiplicity of podcasts, daunting online resources, etc. Especially as a starting point. It is anticipated to be a beginning point for them, not drinking out of the fire hose. Key for many is going to be realizing that it's okay to talk about these things with each other, and that a lot has already been discussed. Totally agree about going directly to God with concerns.
  4. Added to the OP as #10. It wasn't just during the Reformation era. I have an ancestor, John W. Hess, whom I have shared with many people in many different wards. It's fun to compare notes on which wife we are from (he was wealthy). One of my YW presidents was from the teenage trophy wife, while the others were old and closer to his age (he used to take her out to show her off, and leave the old wives home). We used to tease each other light-heartedly about which wife was better to stem from. It is amazing, even in 2022, to ask people by a show of hands how many have polygamy in their ancestry. The new RS president and YW president are both converts (10 years for the RS president; a little over a year for the YW president. She just went through the temple, and loved it). I've found in the past that even new converts have polygamous ancestry (or Mormon ancestry).
  5. This is a good point, and is part of the polyandry explanation.
  6. #1 above added as #9 in the OP. The other two I would put as under polyandry proper (polyandry will take some explanation, and not a drive-by).
  7. Great point (hat tip, @The Nehor). Added to the OP under 7a.
  8. We moved into a new ward in April, in an area where we don't have connections. I was asked by the new Relief Society president (called two weeks ago) to address the Relief Society sisters about polygamy, because of concerns that have been expressed that are keeping some sisters away from church or tempting them to formally leave the church. What specific concerns with polygamy am I missing in preparing for this? I have . . . 1. Polygamy, period (concern about it being of God, ever, under any circumstances) 2. Caving to political pressure in ending it (concern that the Church followed man and not God) 3. Lying to hide and cover up polygamy (discomfort with lying under any circumstances) 4. Need for the Second Manifesto (1890 didn’t end it outright). 5. Polyandry (Joseph Smith being sealed to other men's wives) 6. Joseph Smith’s teenage wives (concerns about his sealings to women under 18) 7. Polygamy today via sealings to additional spouses (concerns that polygamy will be part of the hereafter, as denoted by sealings to multiple spouses). 7a) Incongruity/disparity between men and women additional sealings. 8. Modern-day offshoots = 19th Century Mormon polygamy (concerns that polygamy among modern-day offshoots illustrates how it functioned from the 1840s to the early 20th century). 9. Bad and demonstrably incorrect folk explanations (e.g., more women than men, etc.). 10. Required for exaltation? Doctrinal shift on this? 11. Lost boys effect (young men squeezed out of the marriage market via marriages to older men). 12. Joseph Smith had nothing at all to do with polygamy. It was all Brigham Young's fault! 13. Fanny Alger --- Thanks in advance for any subtopics under this heading that I'm overlooking!
  9. I'm curious what these questions are, if you don't mind elaborating. If you'd rather not, that's okay, too. Thanks!
  10. True, but it also doesn't automatically equal an incorrect one, either. Whether or not something is true depends on whether it is true or not, not the iterations of teaching and disavowal or neglect. Maybe we only thought we knew then, and don't know now. Maybe we really did know then, and are wrongly neglecting, deemphasizing, and disavowing now --- but it would sure be nice to have someone with keys actually talk about it. We just have deemphasis and radio silence. I really wish that when doctrine is changed or "nuanced," explanations were given explaining the thought process and addressing the obvious concerns over that course of action.
  11. The problem for a lot of people is that we used to know these things by way of authorized explanation, and there is a sense that the default explanation for everything in this era of "we don't know" doesn't actually represent doctrinal "progress." Many feel like the old explanations were true and correct, and they see the overtly PR approaches as being overtly PR approaches only. Attempts by the Brethren to actually explain some of these things would be a great thing. I think some are afraid that there is fear to ask or to attempt to explain these things. We have radio silence on whether they are even enquired about.
  12. Both of these are but two examples (the young missionary from around 2010 I referred to earlier is actually too young to have grown up with the "old" teachings, but even he felt the disconnect of "the shift" on this). Apologetic spin comes across as "Baghdad Bob," and isn't effective when what people feel in their heart and memory runs counter to the "Today, we disavow . . ." approach to past teaching that is being deemphasized or recast. People's concerns are much more in the emotional arena, rather than the intellectual, and "FAIR-esque" explanations don't do well when sailing into those headwinds.
  13. What "more doctrine [has been] revealed" that has added more clarification and explanation to the Snow couplet? The opposite has happened --- and all unspoken. It has been quietly deemphasized, except to say that we don't really know anything about it. But without any "more doctrine" or authoritative explanations. This is also speculative explanation on the part of laymen, in the absence of any explanation from those who are authorized. We don't know any of what you wrote above by way of authorized explanation.
  14. While it's impossible to prove anything with absolute certainty, it is possible to prove things to people's satisfaction, and that should be the goal of apologetics and testimony (even when it falls short). There are several quotes I've used in some firesides and Q&A sessions. Austin Farrer (friend of C.S. Lewis): "Though argument does not create conviction, lack of it destroys belief. What seems to be proved may not be embraced; but what no one shows the ability to defend is quickly abandoned. Rational argument does not create belief, but it maintains a climate in which faith may flourish." B.H. Roberts: "Those who accept [the Church and Restoration] for what it claims to be may not so state their case that its security rests chiefly on the ability of its opponents to prove a negative. The affirmative side of the question belongs to us . . . The burden of proof rests on us in every discussion." "What will the effect be upon our youth of such a confession of inability to give a more reasonable answer to the questions submitted, and the awaiting of proof for final vindication? Will not the hoped for proof deferred indeed make the heart sick? … Again I ask, is silence our best answer? And again the question comes, can we remain silent in our age of free inquiry?" "If we cannot, what is to be the effect of it all upon the minds of our youth? What is to be our general standing before the enlightened opinion of mankind? Is silence to be our answer? Again will occur to thoughtful minds the difficulties attendant upon silence. In the last analysis of things silence would be acknowledgement of defeat." --- Too often, believers retreat into this arena of relying on critics to prove a negative, or insisting that we don't have to prove anything. We don't have to do anything, of course, but if we want to inspire confidence and faith in people (especially silent observers or heart-sick believers who are wavering), we will put forth a good showing when dealing with the "strong reasons" of critics "in public and in private" (D&C 71:7-8). Too often, in my observation, believers beg off in this, insisting that critics have the duty to prove, and this "makes the heart sick" of many. It makes it look like we don't have answers.
  15. Thank you, all. She is doing much better. She's been hospitalized five times in the last fifteen years with complications from a clotting/bleeding disorder. Usually, we have some notice (bleeding, cognitive problems, weakness, etc.) over days or weeks, but this came out of nowhere and she was critical in a couple of hours. She's hard for the hospital staff, because she violates a lot of benchmarks and protocols. Her INR is usually only 1.9, despite being on 10 mg of warfarin (without the warfarin, she clots in her organs, and she had an ileoectomy and colectomy 15 years ago from that). But, her INR can spike to above 7 on short notice (dangerously thin blood). She's always been a medical marvel, and this time, her blood pressure at the ER fell to 50/40, but with hemoglobin level of 9 and O2 saturation of 100% the ten hours she was in the ER. This is while she continued to lose **vast** amounts of blood in front of them in real time. The ER doctor said that usually when people's blood pressure is so low, their heart races furiously as it tries to keep blood circulating, but her heart rate and pulse were very normal the whole time. Her "normal" hemoglobin led to fights over protocol, because that is too high for transfusions, but she obviously needed blood (three units). We both are grateful and appreciate every minute, because by rights she should not be here. It's not her time to die, and God has preserved her life and given her a good quality of life. She is **much** better now than she was last week.
  16. My wife was in the hospital for five days last week (massive intestinal bleeding). Of many miracles we experienced was that she got right into an ICU bed for a couple of days. The ER doctor told us that we must be living right, because it's taking around a week for an ICU opening to open up. I asked about Covid, and he said there are almost no hospitalizations from that. ERs, ICU, and hospitals are at capacity with non-Covid issues, by and large, he said. I think there is a big difference between positive tests / cases and hospitalizations and deaths.
  17. As in, more deaths than the abortions alone? 60 million + since Roe? Generally, I agree. I think this meddling with the fountain of life, agency, and "my turn on earth" simply puts this beyond libertarian laissez faire. And, I agree that as much as possible needs to be done to help mothers, families, and children if abortion is prohibited as elective birth control.
  18. Not in hindsight, from our perspective, because we know God commanded him to do it. This, to me, is the most difficult dilemma in scripture or history. You'd better be darn sure it's really God commanding you, and not your own thoughts, insanity, etc. Everyone today (including us) would condemn anyone claiming this as crazy (cf. Vallow, Lori and Daybell, Chad). And, this young man you're commanded to kill is the only possible fulfillment of the promises --- and, he was a miracle baby in the couple's 80s. I think it would have to be a real trial, akin to Satan's temptations of Christ in the wilderness --- and it makes our own struggles to discern revelation from our own thoughts seem really small in comparison. But, if Abraham had refused, he would have willfully chosen not to do this type and shadow of what the Father went through in allowing the atonement. No, he would not have been morally justified. A woman who truly receives revelation that her abortion is justified is likewise justified in it, but there are strict policy restrictions on this. She'd also better be darn sure it's not self-deception, wishful thinking, etc. I think that's where you are going with this, right?
  19. All of this discussion about abortion over the last few weeks has led me to think introspectively about the argument that has been made that abortion may be "better" and more merciful, happy, etc. for a baby than adoption, life with challenges, or an outright horrible life. I really think even a life of slavery, adversity, etc. would be preferable to preemptive abortion, and I believe that the child's spirit would forcefully agree. Even unspeakably bad lives have potential and bright spots, and I don't believe that we (even the mothers) have the right to interfere with the fountain of life and deny these children "my turn on earth." I know that some speculate that aborted babies will get other chances, but this is speculative (we don't know that this is true, and the forcefulness with which abortion has been condemned tends to indicate the opposite, doesn't it?), and I think this interfering with the plan, the fountain of life, and the agency (as in, full deprivation of the opportunity to experience life and exercise agency) is why abortion has been and still is condemned by the Church (reasonable and rare exceptions noted in policy).
  20. No. a) no mother knows in advance that her child will turn out evil. b) even Hitler, Pol Pot, etc. deserve to have a chance to use their agency, and not be preemptively aborted. c) most people asking this question reject the reality and possibility of prophecy. On what grounds could a mother be justified in preemptively aborting because she thinks/knows he will turn out bad. That's worse than doing it because of Down's Syndrome or Spina bifida. And most people would say she was evil, deluded,and crazy.
  21. This was his exhibit A, and it's compelling. Setting aside the usual and customary trinitarian caveats ("it's a huge mystery, we can't even begin to comprehend, etc."), for those who also accept his logic that the New Testament shows that they are actually different people (Mormons, social trinitarians, Orthodox, etc.) --- if this doesn't mean that the Father had been a Savior as well, what does it mean? It is, and it isn't. It isn't if one is talking broadly about Jesus fully experiencing mortal life ("fully man"). While we aren't Saviors, in a real specific sense, He was once a man as we are. While I wouldn't expect President Hinckley to get out in the weeds on this, his evasive answers in Time and on Larry King could/should have been better. I think it's obvious that he was knowingly evasive, and this has caused problems for some people.
  22. Managing expectations and assumptions is certainly part of it, but I think for most people who have a faith crisis, it's the feeling of betrayal and deception that trumps everything after that.* Lost trust is not easily regained, and the raw emotions make weighing evidence and arguments dicey. *Whether or not the feelings of deception and betrayal cause the expectations/assumptions problems, or whether the expectations/assumptions problems cause the feelings of betrayal and deception, is a chicken/egg question. It's probably both/and, not either/or, but the main thing is that the emotions of feeling like the rug has been pulled out are very difficult to overcome after it happens.
  23. Your repeated use of the word "today" is interesting, especially in a discussion specifically about if and how teaching and emphasis have changed between "then" and "now." Referring to "today" kind of makes the point that there has been a shift. It reminds one, for example, of the gospel topics essays ("Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past . . .") Therein lies the problem and the challenge with the needle-threading and fence-sitting the Church undergoes "today" in talking about controversial doctrines and practices. It is unsatisfactory and it gets old for the official communication on everything to be "we don't know," or "there is no official position on this," or a refusal to take a stand when stands were constantly taken in the past. And, it's worse than useless to "disavow" past doctrine without offering authoritative explanations in their place (counter doctrine, as you said). That is a surefire way for the "disavowals" to not take root, and for the past explanations to remain alive and well. But then when people notice the clear shift (and the "scrambling the jets" reactions exhibited here --- to try to make the past explanations still match the shift) --- that is obvious to most people.
  24. I've never done this, Teancum. A disturbed missionary once asked me if we teach that we can become gods. Of course we do,I answered. Why did President Hinckley say what he said in the interview,he asked. I pointed out that the current priesthood manual (it was he Joseph Smith year) has the King Follett Discourse in it. He was still bothered by what seemed like obvious evasiveness. I told him that most people have never been interviewed by the press, especially on TV and radio (there was also the Larry King interview where Hinckley was evasive. Not just the Time print interview). It's hard to answer questions that take some explaining and background and context in a very limited time (it's especially hard when you have the voice in your earpiece telling you 15 seconds to break. I had also just done three radio interviews about the Church at this time,so I had had this thrilling and nerve-wracking experience). You especially don't want to get pulled out into the weeds when you don't know if you're going to have enough time to explain it. President Hinckley was really the beginning of the PR push to try to deemphasize "weird" Mormon beliefs. Romney's dodges on "weird" Mormon beliefs in the campaign trail were worse, but I do sympathize with the situation and setting. I did get the missionary to understand that Hinckley that wasn't denying the doctrine,he was being cagey in interview settings. I personally would prefer less "dodging" and PR spin approaches,and more proud and confident owning of our "weird" doctrine. We can all act in our own spheres of influence. Eric Hawkins and Carrie Jenkins don't dictate me.
  25. Mormons who downplay the effect of the CES letter don't have any actual experience talking with people who are struggling because of it. I've mentioned before that I have often been asked to meet with CES letter people (who are willing to have people discuss it), and it is not just a rare and occasional thing. Yes, it's not remarkable in and of itself, but it is a one-stop shopping, omnibus collection of claims and complaints about Church history, doctrine, and practices.
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