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rongo

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  1. It wasn't codified until relatively recently (last several years or so), but it's been in many people's "unwritten order of things." I can say that white-shirt, suit wearing men like me are in the distinct minority now --- other than men older than 60 (I'm 46). I think "old fossil" holdouts are being swamped by shear numbers.
  2. When I was first called as a bishop in 2007, my executive secretary gave me the Interpreter's Bible. It is a twelve volume set, with each volume being more than a thousand pages. A few months into my calling, my wife was hospitalized for months and had several major surgeries. Our kids were really young at the time, and when they were down for the night, I started reading and taking notes. I visited her daily, but also had a lot of alone time outside of the little kids, church, etc. (I exhausted my paid leave and then was on FMLA for a few months). I finished it in 2018, so it took me about 11 years. Now, I'm working on putting those notes into an index I can use. It was helpful when I did three radio shows on Mormonism (the "no other gods beside me" passages from Isaiah figured prominently in one of the episodes), and there is a lot of good exegesis in those twelve volumes. One of my favorite parts is the sermon notes, which have observations, insights, and stories (including some neat historical stories from around the world) that apply to the verses at hand. It's not uncommon for there to only be two or three verses on a page (KJV and RSV side-by-side, because the rest of the page has exegesis and sermon notes). There is a lot of really good talk material in there, but it can be hard to locate until I've fine-tuned my index. But, it's not a race. It took me about 12 years to read and compile my Journal of Discourses index, and that's also about 10,000 pages.
  3. Yes. Based on the details given here, this is something that is completely at his discretion (the makeup of the EQPresidency). He presides over it, and he can approve or deny whomever he wants for whatever reason he wants. Most (wisely) don't run roughshod over the ward recommendations, but it is completely his prerogative. The first example has specifically been no-no'd by the handbook. The second example is just weird (I know that it's happened, but probably not very often). The third one is similar to the case at hand. The stake president decides whom to call into the high council, and he can have a personal requirement that they all be married, if he wants. There's nothing contra-handbook about that.
  4. I misunderstood. So they're micromanaging ward callings (other than EQpresidency)? Yeah, that's different.
  5. It's not changing the handbook to have personal preferences in certain stake callings (like having children, as Nehor said).
  6. Sure. My model is Brigham Young's explained throughout Journal of Discourses (passim). The world was created in creative periods of indeterminate length. Adam and Eve were born on another world and brought here, as were plant and animal life. "How biological life operates" (i.e., cellular respiration, metabolism, protein synthesis, replication, reproduction, etc.) is understood exactly the same way under both models.
  7. But the apparent expansion of the universe exceeds the speed of light on the outer edges (it appears to be moving faster than c, and accelerating). This is what has given rise to the "dark energy" theories, because astrophysicists are trying to explain how those areas can be moving so fast. His point (his name was Dr. James Jorgensen; cf. page 4 here https://publications.anl.gov/anlpubs/2008/01/60754.pdf ) was that apparent laws that work at certain "macro" levels do not at "micro" levels (gravity is a good example of this). That's why quantum physics was developed; Newtonian mechanics and even Einsteinian relativity are violated at the Planck length. One point he made was that when the Father and the Son appeared to Joseph Smith, they weren't bound by c --- while having physical, resurrected bodies, they didn't have to leave aeons earlier so that they could arrive in upstate New York in 1820. For most purposes and observations, c is the upper speed limit in the universe, but there are exceptions (especially at the Planck length), and we "see through a glass darkly" and there are things we don't know. Richard Muller, the father of the "dark energy" theory, does not believe tachyons exist, and the reason he doesn't is because he doesn't want to (he feels that would violate free will). You are correct that tachyons are theoretical only (I'm not sure how we would even detect them), but they are hypothesized because they arise out of the math. If they do exist, then they exceed c by astronomical amounts.
  8. That's a good question. Maybe if organic evolution did a much better job of explaining how complex things like flight, the eye, the brain, etc. developed through gradual, incremental changes over extremely long periods of time because random mutations made survival and likelihood of passing on genes more likely. It's axiomatic that evolutionary changes are very slow and over unimaginably long periods of time, but there are things that had to have had instant "leaps" without "intermediate forms." With sexual reproduction, for example, you have to have not only that develop through evolutionary mechanics, you also have to have the opposite sex develop at the exact same time and in the exact same place.
  9. A bigger problem in my view is that the PH/RS lessons are conference talks. Have been for years, and will be for the foreseeable future. In many wards, so are the sacrament meeting talks.
  10. Come Follow Me is brutal. Are we back to the same Book of Mormon manual next year? I'm the high councilor over Sunday School, and I've observed lessons in 10 of the 12 wards so far. All Things considered, the teaching is pretty decent --- with CFM being a real limiting factor. I hope there are some other things in the works, because CFM represents a four year sabbatical from write lessons and manuals. We have a running joke in our family about the predictable questions (what do you feel prompted to do this week as you read about the dimensions of the Tabernacle? ).
  11. I agree, which is probably why the status quo will reign: love and be kind to everyone, but no need to come out in support of gay marriage (or people living together). Preach the truth and try to convince people to repent and change. Be kind and diplomatic.
  12. Because the Church also doesn't support gay marriage. Under the same logic as Elder Paul Johnson gave when he addressed the gay dating issue at BYU: because only men-women marriages are vid in heaven, anything that gets people further away from that is to be discouraged. I don't think there is a way, doctrinally, for the Church to come out in support of gay marriages. Elder Bednar's quoting of the Proclamation in response to the question really is the doctrinal underpinning to this,I think. ETA: I think @bluebell's comparison with LDS children living together is a good one. We can support and love family and friends in Tris boat (and we do), but it will forever be incompatible with the gospel and the Church. Supporting gay marriage (but not sealing) is the same.
  13. Unless one rejects things like the resurrection or the reality/possibility of physical miracles, there are limits to "taking scientific opinions over prophets." The question is where one draws that red line (everyone differs on exactly where one puts that), but there are a number of fundamental things (like the resurrection or Jesus' miracles or angels) that are soundly rejected by science that are fundamental to Mormon faith. Added to that is the fact that many people have personally experienced miracles that defy science. I think that President Smith and Elder McConkie were probably well-read in the sciences (especially because they considered loss of faith on the part of members because of it to be a problem) --- they just didn't acquiesce to it always, without question when it came to things they considered to be vital.
  14. I think it's much more common in private settings (one-on-one, fathers and sons campouts, camping with youth, etc.). I remember asking a member of our stake presidency in Chicago (a head physicist at Fermilab, a particle accelerator) about all sorts of things as a high school student. Great discussions! He told me that just as Newtonian gravity works well for things on our scale, it breaks down at the subatomic level (the Planck distance) --- and the speed of light as an inviolable limit works well for things at our level, but it is able to be surpassed (tachyons; expansion of the universe that exceeds c, leading to theories about dark energy). On evolution, he said that of course there is adaptation, but (his words) "you don't get birds from frogs." I think you're right that these sorts of discussions in church classes are rare, but they do happen, and they are a heisses Thema for a lot of people.
  15. And also based on my studies of science, and reason. Not based solely on scriptural interpretation, although this colors and influences how I see science. Everybody has his own "weighting" system between scripture interpretation, reason, and science, and this yields a spectrum of views on things like organic evolution, literal historicity of things in the scriptures, etc. Although I now teach strictly German, I am certified to teach high school biology and middle school science (physics, chemistry, biology, and earth science) through 2033. I find science fascinating, and I can test as proficient or more on it as any skeptic. In the past, I've had fundamentalist students (non-Mormon) who were upset about learning about evolution, and I've told them that there is nothing to fear and nothing threatening to their faith in learning about the theory in detail. What are the reasons behind the theories, and what evidence is given? You can strongly disagree with it and still learn why people think that, and what the evidence is. And, if you want to be able to intelligently refute it, then you have to understand it and be conversant in it on their terms.
  16. I side with scriptural literalists, like Smith and McConkie, when it comes to human geography, etc. But, I read a lot of science, and I would still have loved to have read Eyring's response. I think it would have been that the literal interpretation is just wrong, but it's interesting that he didn't touch that in his book dealing mainly with reconciliation between science and faith.
  17. I think Hal Eyring wrote two books: Reflections of a Scientist, and Faith of a Scientist. I enjoyed reading them,but one disappointment was when he shared a conversation he had with President Fielding Smith when he served as general Sunday School president. President Smith had asked him how he explained the passage in the Book of Moses that says that Adam was "the first flesh, the first man also." He simply ended the chapter without saying what or how he answered (or if he answered). Very disappointing! I wanted to know what he said, and I wondered why he ended the chapter without saying.
  18. The difference here is that the situations are very different. He is not being called to a service mission after his proselyting mission; this is his first mission. He will be getting married during his mission, and they will be living in his same student ward complex. I asked my son more about this this morning. He (the roommate) insists that it isn't a service mission, it's a "consecrated stake mission" (per the stake president, per the roommate). So maybe this isn't even a formal service mission,maybe it's more of a "gentleman's agreement" to encourage some sort of service and marriage (instead of putting in mission papers)? That would actually make more sense to me than Salt Lake encouraging marriage while in the midst of a service mission. I found that thought very surprising. I think Salt Lake would recommend honorable release in order to be sealed instead. It sounds to me like it's just a stake assignment because the stake president is encouraging them to get married.
  19. I think that Church members outside of North America who have a strong view on Book of Mormon geography come down on Heartland/Mesoamerica in about the same numbers proportionately as they do in North America. For me, it was Dr. John Clark's paper on travel distances, topography, and geographical features that sealed it for me in favor of Mesoamerica. If you look up the relevant passages and follow along with his explanation, Mesoamerica (a specific part of Mesoamerica) is the only possible location --- and no North American setting is possible. He makes a very compelling case, based on the details in the Book of Mormon first, and not the other way around (i.e., beginning with a desired outcome, and making the passages fit that). https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1006&context=msr It isn't just geezers fighting the battles of the 1950s in Gospel Doctrine. It depends on whether or not someone brings up the topic --- if the topic doesn't come up, most people don't go out of their way to broach the subject. I still think that most members today lean more anti-evolution than pro-evolution, if they are asked. It just isn't a topic most people go out of their way to bring up.
  20. Well, there are big differences logistically between service missionaries and proselyting missionaries. They normally live at home, they don't have companions they have to be with, their hours and demands are different. I know some whose Facebooks show them at every new release movie. So, service missions accommodate marriage a lot more than proselyting missions. I also don't think this is widespread, or well-publicized (i.e., I don't think the Church is going out of its way to publicize it as an available option). My son says it's part of a pilot program (per his roommate). We just know that it's been stressful getting the roommate out, because he had wanted to stay indefinitely beyond his lease or even couch-surf, but our younger son and another boy needed to know they have apartment spots nailed down (a different roommate just moved out). He was going to move back in with family in the Phoenix area pending his mission, and now the change of plans involving renting another apartment in the complex. He doesn't know what his assignment will entail --- and unless his and his fiance's families are loaded, both of them will probably have to work while he does his service assignment to afford the rent.
  21. My son's roommate is going to do a service mission. He's able to do a traditional mission, but he and his girlfriend (from the student wards) are going to get married and move into another apartment in the same complex while he completes his service mission. This is good for our family, because our other son will take his place in my oldest son's lease. This is, of course, very new --- that young missionaries can serve while being married (they are going to be sealed during his service, so he will start his service mission first). His fiance already served her mission. They are choosing this service mission route specifically so they can get married and he can serve a mission. I guess it's similar to a couples mission --- just several decades earlier than normal.
  22. I would much rather patriarchs boldly say what they feel should be said, than have them "play it safe" and keep it bland and generic to avoid things like this (and we all know examples of this). I think the potential for amazing prophecy outweighs the chance that some things might be blatantly unfulfilled. President Packer told us in a meeting about a blessing he gave a toddler, and he "played it safe" and gave a generic, bland blessing that didn't say much. He was smitten with guilt, and returned a few minutes later, surprising the mother. He said that he had just given the toddler a blessing, and he had come back to give her the blessing the Lord has for her. He told us to prophesy, and don't be afraid, and leave it up to God to fulfill it. Again, I think that overall, for most people who take it seriously, the amazing, inspiring, and aspirational prophesy in their patriarchal blessings far outweighs the "misses." No mortals are human fax machines, and that would also be true of President Nelson in giving a blessing. But the Church and our lives are much better with patriarchal blessings than saying, "Aw, what's the use? They don't really guide, direct, and predict much of anything."
  23. I don't think it's as easy as learning rare languages, because the Church is just as comfortable (probably even more comfortable) sending already connected Americans with no language skills as mission presidents. Many of these never do learn or become proficient in the language, and work only in English (some might be passable in a lingua franca, such as French). Because of this disadvantage, they almost always have ecclesiastical administration experience (i.e., bishop, stake president, at minimum). If you would like more leadership opportunity than you currently have, then I recommend that you: 1. Attend all church meetings and activities (including baptisms, firesides, etc.) 2. Be early to all meetings, every time 3. Greet people you don't know and get to know them. Talk to people. 4. Volunteer for service, and cheerfully serve in any and all service opportunities. 5. Stay after and clean up, every time. 6. Go out with the missionaries on appointments. There is a big difference between being like this because it's intrinsic (how you really are and feel) and doing these things because you want to stand out more so you're considered for callings, but even people doing this for mercenary reasons stand out like a sore thumb. Same ten people, elite company, etc. Most men's potential is capped at elders quorum presidencies and bishoprics; the reality is that you usually need to also be wealthy and connected for consideration as stake president on up. But, that's okay --- the callings that really impact people's lives are bishop on down. People have relationships and rub shoulders with their local leaders and colleagues; the "upper" callings are administrative and don't really have an impact on people's lives. Mission presidents certainly have a big impact on their missionaries and often the countries they serve in (much less so in the Mormon Corridor), but you usually need to be wealthy and connected to the "Mormon royalty" network for consideration. It's just how it is.
  24. O also think that nearly all of the outlier examples are 40 years old or older. Today, exceptions are usually due to need (rare languages, etc.).
  25. It's very rare, but there is a good reason for it. The experience of being a judge in Israel, dealing with people drama, and working with "mantle revelation" is invaluable for presiding over a mission. I'm aware of one: President Turek in the Warsaw Poland mission. He was a 37 year old native Pole who was an institute director in East Germany. And he was fantastic (my parents were the office couple under him).
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