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Posts posted by cinepro

  1. On the subject of missionaries coming home, the Church appears to have solved the problem with crowds at the airport.  We had one missionary from our stake coming home from South America and his family just got a call from him when he was already at the airport ready to be picked up.  Another family in our stake has a missionary in the same country and hasn't heard when they'll be home, so they're expecting to get a phone call out of the blue any day now!

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  2. This is an interesting overview of the fringe religious groups in the area:




    In our coverage of Chad and Lori Vallow Daybell and her missing children, JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan, people who have known them say they have extreme religious beliefs and are members of a doomsday “cult.”

    But the nature of the reported cult is hard to define, especially since the Daybells have not spoken to the media. (We have tried.)


    What we do know is Chad and Lori are or have been members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and they are also affiliated with several informal groups whose teachings go contrary to what one would hear in a typical Latter-day Saint congregation.

    We reached out to several people in east Idaho who were or are part of these semi-secretive groups. Several have agreed to go on the record with their names, and others have agreed on the condition of anonymity, as they are still active Latter-day Saints or fear retaliation from other members of these groups.


    There doesn’t appear to be any sort of formal organization or clear doctrine among these nonconventional groups of Latter-day Saints. In fact, many of the people interviewed by EastIdahoNews.com reported vastly different experiences.


  3. I like this overview of how society usually reacts to these things (from 2016):



    Every disease provokes its own unique dread and its own complex public reaction, but themes recurred across outbreaks.

    1. Governments are typically unprepared, disorganized, and resistant to taking steps necessary to contain infectious diseases, especially in their early phases.
    2. Local, state, federal, and global governing bodies are apt to point fingers at one another over who’s responsible for taking action. Clear lines of authority are lacking.
    3. Calibrating the right governmental response is devilishly hard. Do too much and you squander public trust (Swine flu), do too little and people die unnecessarily (AIDS).
    4. Public officials are reluctant to publicize infections for fear of devastating the economy.
    5. Doctors rarely have good treatment options. Nursing care is often what’s needed most. Medical professionals of all kinds work themselves to the bone in the face of extraordinary danger.
    6. In the absence of an effective treatment, the public will reach for unscientific remedies.
    7. No matter what the route of transmission or the effectiveness of quarantine, there’s a desire to physically separate infected people.
    8. Victims of the disease are often thought to deserve the affliction, especially when those victims are mainly from marginalized groups.
    9. We plan, to the extent we plan at all, for the last pandemic. We don’t do enough to plan for the next one.
    10. Historical memory is short. When diseases fall from the headlines, the public forgets and preparation falters.




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  4. Another odd quote from the article:



    “We don’t know when the next 2008 is going to take place,” said Christopher Waddell, a member of the ecclesiastical arm that oversees Ensign Peak known as the presiding bishopric. Referring to the economic crash 12 years ago, he added, “If something like that were to happen again, we won’t have to stop missionary work.”

    During the last financial crisis, they didn’t touch the reserves Ensign Peak had amassed, church officials said. Instead, the church cut the budget.

    So, he used 2008 as an example of why they might need the fund, but they didn't actually use the fund in 2008?  Instead, they "cut the budget"?

    Would it be too much to ask for them to explain to us under what conditions they will "break the glass" and actually use the money?  Because as far as I can tell, the cost of serving missions has been going up, not down, and the Church has been laying off workers (the facilities coordinators) and outsourcing that work.

    So if 2008 wasn't it, what will it take for the Church to actually dip in to the fund?  

    As for tithing, I think the big problem is that the Church has backed themselves into a corner by pretending tithing is something that it isn't.  The idea that all Church members must pay 10% of their gross income is a policy based on tradition, not a doctrine.   And, like the priesthood ban, we've seen what happens when this happens.  Instead of being open to changes in policy, leaders get entrenched in a certain mindset and "it's always been this way so it can't change" until finally something happens to make them look at it closer and realize it hasn't always been this way, so it can change.  And then it does.

    So maybe this "revelation" to the world about the fund will be the impetus for the leaders to re-evaluate their assumptions about tithing and we'll see Tithing 4.0 implemented within the next few years.

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  5. On 1/29/2020 at 7:05 PM, Hamba Tuhan said:

    As Elder Bednar said near the end of our regional priesthood leadership training meeting nearly six years ago, 'Brethren, there is far, far too much tradition in this room'.

    "...now, everyone please don't take off your suit coats unless I do, remain standing until I sit down, and don't stand up until I do."

  6. Not a feather in the Church's cap, to be sure.  This article graced the editorial section of Sunday's LA Times:

    Op-Ed: California’s forgotten slave history


    Slaveholders occupied the upper echelons of the Mormon hierarchy in San Bernardino. According to U.S. census data and the records of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the colony’s co-founder and its bishop owned slaves. One of San Bernardino’s high counselors, Robert Mays Smith, did too. In fact, Smith claimed 14 enslaved women and children, making him the largest slaveholder in the continent’s Far West.

    Although most Mormons hailed from free states, the leadership of the LDS Church welcomed slaveholding converts in the 1840s and ’50s. Slaveholders were among the first settlers in what would become the territory of Utah, which was organized in 1850. In 1852, the Mormon-dominated territorial legislature passed a law innocuously called “An Act in Relation to Service.” With the measure, Utah became the first Far Western territory to legalize African American slavery.


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  7. On 12/30/2019 at 3:08 PM, bluebell said:

    I have zero--less than zero--faith that HBO will actually be able to accurately portray a member being caught between Las Vegas and her spiritual beliefs.  It's practically a given that this series will show a caricature of mormonism.  

    I agree.  It's especially disappointing when the Church goes to such great lengths to accurately present "the world" in its films.

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  8. 1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

    There's something intimate about eating a meal together, I guess.  Having a meeting?  Well, that's just business, humdrums and boring.  There's little chance of impropriety in the boring atmosphere, but a high change when you're chewing on a beastly bone and gazing into each other's eyes through the candle little mist.  


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  9. 12 minutes ago, Attalus said:

    I wonder if we'll ever advance to the point of being able to watch and participate from home, or from anywhere we can get the signals on our phones or tablets.

    Back in the 1980s, BYUtv actually had a ward that it broadcast.  It was a camera set up in a regular looking chapel, and you could see the Bishop get up and conduct the program, with random ward members speaking each week.  I suspect it was for people who were unable to get to Church but still wanted the "Sacrament meeting" experience each week (with the Sacrament being provided by the local ward, of course).

    Sadly, none of these have been preserved on YouTube, but apparently one ward recently did something similar...


  10. And this part is really problematic if it's true...


    Nielsen’s complaint further alleges that between 2009 and 2014, Ensign pumped $1.4 billion in several installments into the City Creek Center, a shopping mall in downtown Salt Lake City featuring a retractable roof. The mall, partly owned by the church, had also been hit by the financial crisis.

    Amid complaints from members about the church venturing into retail, church leaders have repeatedly made assurances over several years that no money from tithes would be spent on developing the mall, a joint venture with the Taubman real estate group.


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  11. You should at least post the first paragraph or two, for those who can't access it, and for posterity:



    A former investment manager alleges in a whistleblower complaint to the Internal Revenue Service that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has amassed about $100 billion in accounts intended for charitable purposes, according to a copy of the complaint obtained by The Washington Post.

    The confidential document, received by the IRS on Nov. 21, accuses church leaders of misleading members — and possibly breaching federal tax rules — by stockpiling their surplus donations instead of using them for charitable works. It also accuses church leaders of using the tax-exempt donations to prop up a pair of businesses.

    This number is pretty incredible...



    Based on internal accounting documents from February 2018, the complaint estimates the portfolio has grown in value from $12 billion in 1997, when Ensign [the Church's investment arm] was formed, to about $100 billion today.

    As mtomm points out, the greatest fallout from this is going to be loss of trust.  It will be interesting to see if this changes how people feel about tithing.  Or, since the tithing numbers are secret, not see.

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  12. On 12/6/2019 at 11:19 AM, Ryan Dahle said:

    It should be noted that supernatural theories can accommodate a mixture of natural and supernatural explanations in a way that strictly naturalistic theories can't. God can use or allow naturalistic elements or components to be a part of his miraculous endeavors, but naturalism doesn't allow God into the equation at all.

    Uh, that's true of everything.  Any theory that can include supernatural elements can always explain more than one that is limited to only natural elements.  A theory of bigfoot that includes bigfoots with supernatural abilities including translocation and telepathic abilities explains the evidence far better than one that is limited to purely "natural" phenomenon.  But that doesn't make it a better or stronger theory.  Just impossible to disprove.

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  13. 8 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

    No person, even if a genius, could have done so.  The contents of the book itself belie any attempt to explain it by natural means, even if we cast about for a genius in the 16th century (and there are several brilliant candidates).  Had the BofM been no more than a clever piece of fiction, it would be impossible to find manifold real world connections in the ancient New World -- which we find in profusion.  And that is only one aspect of the overall problem of explaining away the BofM.

    Just because no person (or no other person) has done something doesn't mean no person could do something.

    And I'm not sure why you think the contents of the book "belie any attempt to explain it by natural means."  There have been tons of different theories presented over the years; I'm shocked you haven't heard of them.  Not only have there been numerous attempts to explain it by natural means, even if there were no attempts to explain it otherwise, that does not lend credence to any supernatural theories.

    And of course, this ignores the fact that the contents of the book also "belie" any success at explaining the contents of the book by supernatural means too.  The supernatural theories leave just as many gaps and questions as the natural ones do.  Heck, even the most simple question of "tight" or "loose" translation can't be answered; both are contradicted by the "contents of the book."

    As for "manifold real word connections in the ancient New World", I would argue that any book of sufficient length made with the style and setting of the Book of Mormon could reveal tons of connections to an ancient setting, with the number of connections only limited by the education, creativity and perseverance of those who were dedicated to finding those connections.  Book of Mormon studies would fit comfortably with UFO research, Bigfoot taxonomy, and ghost hunting.  All real, valid endeavors pursued by smart, dedicated people that have produced mountains of "evidences."  I can't "explain away" all of their evidence, and I don't necessarily have fully formed counter-theories at the ready, but yet I don't feel logically compelled to believe in UFOs, bigfoot or ghosts.  I just accept that their evidences haven't met the burden of proof yet, and withhold belief until that day comes.

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  14. 5 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

    Exactly.  Education and intelligence are very different.

    As Joseph said: "But I am learned, and know more than all the world put together. The Holy Ghost does, anyhow; and he is within me, and comprehends more than all the world; and I will associate myself with him."

    That raises the question of what knowledge Joseph actually revealed?

    Obviously, there's tons of religious stuff that might be true, but it might not be.  But for all the comprehension given him by the Holy Ghost, did he ever teach a single thing about the world that was new and would now be considered reliable enough to be taught in, say, a regular university biology, physics or history class?


    I mean, imagine if I told you that I had a developed a computer program that had access to an source of information that was omniscient and had all the wisdom and knowledge of the universe.  You might wonder what new and interesting knowledge this program had revealed.

    If I told you it revealed that there were a race of people living on Saturn ten million years ago but they disappeared without a trace, you might find that interesting, but you might also wonder if I could share a cure for cancer while I'm at it.

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  15. On 11/23/2019 at 12:48 PM, Avatar4321 said:

    Why do you think it would be necessary to make it obvious that the changes weren't made? All Satan needs is an excuse.  A reason, no matter how flimsy, to disbelieve and he could get people to disbieve. Just look at all he does with the obvious nonsense out there about the Church

    Whether we attribute the plan to Lucy Harris or Satan, either way the "plan" makes no sense.

    If you're Satan and you want to stop the Book of Mormon from coming forth, you don't steal the pages, hide them, and then wait for a the BoM to be published months or years later and then alter and produce the previous pages (while depending entirely on readers of the Book of Mormon to rationally compare between the published book and your altered pages and make a reasoned judgement based on their critical thinking skills).  You destroy the pages.

    If you're Lucy Harris and your husband is pouring his time and money into an endeavor that you see leading to your financial and marital ruin, you don't create a plan that will require your husband to spend even more time and money to finish the project at which point you then act to destroy your best shot at getting your money back.  You destroy the work in progress in the hopes that he and his partner get discouraged and give up.

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  16. I don't know if it's directly related, but my daughter mentioned that the big change in her mission is that now they can wear headphones when studying or talking to family on the phone.  Until now, they were not allowed to wear headphones under any circumstances.

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  17. On 8/2/2019 at 1:01 PM, clarkgoble said:

    This really varies region to region I suspect. Since I've left singles wards I can't recall the topic being discussed. When I taught the 16 year olds I think there was only one lesson in the manual focused on it. Although that was a few years ago. 

    There is one lesson on Pornography for the Aaronic Priesthood, but since the teachers and class members can pick which lessons they do each month, there's no guarantee they'll even cover it.

    Come Follow Me - How Can I Resist Pornography?

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