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Posts posted by cinepro

  1. 1 minute ago, smac97 said:

    Okay.  What "testable claim{s}" exist for The Book of Mormon?

    How about this: "Is it possible that a few small groups traveled overseas to, and settled in, the Americas well before Columbus?"


    If you're saying that in order to preserve the plausibility of the The Book of Mormon, any claims in the book need to be semantically reworked or interpreted to fit existing data to make them unfalsifiable, I would agree.

  2. This is an interesting podcast on a similar situation from a few years back.  It's well worth a listen.

    (Act Two)


    Reporter Ted Gesing interviews Mike Nyberg about adopting a little girl from Samoa, only to learn over time that her Samoan family had no intention of giving her up for adoption. The US adoption agency had told the Nybergs that their adoption would be closed, and that their little girl Elleia had been living in a foster home waiting for adoptive parents; but in Samoa, Elleia's parents were told that their daughter could come to the US and receive a better education, and that the adoptive family would send money and regular updates on their daughter's progress. The whole situation leaves the Nybergs trying to find their way through sticky moral territory. (31 minutes)


    • Like 1
  3. There seems to be some sensitivity to the rules and guidelines in the Church about how women dress, especially when these rules are implicitly (and sometimes overtly) tied to how men think. 

    The most famous quote on this subject is obviously from Elder Oaks, who said this:


    Finally, do not patronize pornography. Do not use your purchasing power to support moral degradation. And young women, please understand that if you dress immodestly, you are magnifying this problem by becoming pornography to some of the men who see you.

    In my recent thread about the stricter dress guidelines in my daughter's mission (they must wear sweaters or jackets when at the Church in the presence of Elders), this was said:


    I worry more about how they internalize this rule and how they view their own bodies and if it makes them feel they are a danger to the opposite sex. Do they feel they are responsible for the Elder's thoughts and actions? You never know how these types of rules will be internalized now or down the road. 

    So I need someone to answer this question:

    If it turned out that the ways women dress does have an influence on men's thoughts and they way they see them, why would it be wrong to tell women that?

    With that question in mind (and assuming that simply telling girls and women how the world works isn't a bad thing), what is the problem with letting women know, or reminding them, that dressing in certain ways does affect men's thoughts (and in ways they might not appreciate)?

    First, if anyone wants to argue that it isn't the case, they are welcome to do so.  I believe it is the case that the way women dress affect men's minds, so I'll proceed on that assumption.  Here's one example of the science on that:


    There is a well-known tension between seeing someone as, and appreciating them for, a body as opposed to a mind. At least, that’s what parents tell their daughters when their school clothes veer too far towards the revealing.

    Science has backed parents up on this. A recent study found that showing men pictures of sexualized women evokes less activity in areas of the brain responsible for mental state attribution—that is, the area of the brain that becomes active when we think we are looking at an entity capable of thought and planned action. Other studies have found similar results. When men see body shots of women as compared with face shots, they judge women to be less intelligent, likeable, ambitious and competent.

    Second, I will note that I do recognize the idea that it would be great if this weren't the case.  And I suspect Oaks would agree.  If the Church had a magic wand or rock that it could wave and get all teenage boys to stop being affected by how women dress, I think they would use it. 

    Third, there appears to be an argument that by somehow mentioning this to women, it is giving license to or encouraging men to have those thoughts (or somehow creating those thoughts).  I do not see how that is the case.  Especially in the Church, boys are pleaded with to not have those kinds of thoughts.

    I suppose we could argue about whether or not those ideas are genetics vs. environment.  As with most things, it's probably a bit of both.  But at the end of the day, I'm willing to bet that any 15yo heterosexual boy is going to physically react to a pretty woman in a bikini the same way, regardless of the society or culture they were brought up (their feelings about how they reacted will probably vary, of course).

    When people got the vapors about Oaks' comment, one thing that no one seemed to point out was, that for all the hubbub, he was right.  I think that's what upset people the most. It's like at some point society decided that if we just pretended this wasn't the case, men would change and women would be empowered. 

    I think we can all agree that we wish this was the case, but at the end of the day, what's the honest, rational and scientific thing to tell women about the way they dress?


    • Like 4
  4. 10 minutes ago, Calm said:

    Are missionaries supposed to avoid window shopping?  Impulse buys?  The mall experience is to draw you into shopping at a variety of stores, so I could see that as reasonable if the MP saw window shopping or store browsing as a waste of time and money.

    Well, I did note how I can still recall the popular songs that came out on my mission from hearing them at the mall (Green Day, Weezer, Ace of Base).  It was kind of funny to get home and hear a song and think "Oh, I love this song, it reminds me of P-day."  So it might just be the music. 

    And the Victoria's Secret window displays.

    • Like 2
  5. Update:

    So I got some more details. 

    It's definitely a rule based on the Elders in the mission.  If all the sisters have a "sisters only" meeting, they don't have to wear sweaters or jackets in the building.  Even if it's a meeting where the Elders don't have to wear coats, the sisters do need to wear sweaters or jackets.  The sisters always have to wear sweaters or jackets for Church meetings, but if they're at the building for another type of activity during the week and there are no Elders there, they don't have to wear sweaters or jackets even if there are men from the ward there.

    Also, none of the missionaries are allowed to go into any indoor mall.  They can enter a store that has an entrance to the outside, but if the only entrance is to the indoor mall, they can't enter the mall to go in.

    • Like 1
  6. 52 minutes ago, Metis_LDS said:

    Cinepro for starters I believe you to be honest.  Having said that my reaction to this is WHAT!!!!!  Oh well it is good you have stunned me, now I know what the brothers in Elders Quorum felt last week when I said it was inspired that President Nelson listed the Temple Recommend Questions in conference so that no one could tamper with them.  They all looked stunned.  I would ask where this Jacket and Sweater place is,  but support you in not saying.  Sometimes things can get really crazy!!!

    I promise you this is for real. I couldn't make up something like this if I tried.

    • Like 1
  7. My missionary daughter recently sent a picture of her at a baptism, and in the picture the sister missionaries are wearing coats and sweaters over their dresses (inside the building).  We asked if it was cold in the building (because it was still warm outside), because it looked kind of weird for them to be at a baptism with coats on, and we were told that all the sister missionaries have to wear sweaters or jackets whenever they are around Elders.  Because their missionary-approved dresses and shirts just aren't modest enough by themselves, so there needs to be another layer of protection.

    If anyone wants to know what it looks like when the focus on "modesty" gets out of hand, this is it.




  8. I'm teaching a class tomorrow and as part of my review of Conference last week, I'd like to discuss different stories that the speakers told, but I didn't listen to all the sessions.  If you can remember a speaker telling a story (a personal story, not just a scriptures story), please share.   The speaker and general subject of the story is all that's needed. 

  9. On 9/30/2019 at 12:18 PM, Thinking said:

    On the Church's home page there is a picture of a family watching general conference at home. The father is wearing a white shirt and tie.

    What do you wear to watch conference in your home?

    That's not the only picture the Church has. This one seems a little more realistic (granted, any of the pictures from this post could be from the Saturday sessions)...



    Or this one for the Roku app:



    Or the image here...


    And this video from the Church shows a very casual family...

    And while not an official publication, this article from LDS Living has a whole bunch of pictures showing the different ways people watch it...


    It includes these interesting options:







    • Like 2
  10. 21 hours ago, smac97 said:

    Could you provide some examples of these "frequent policy changes"?  Apart from the 2015 policy changes, I have not noticed much in the way of "pendulum"-like swinging in the Church's policies.


    While it may not qualify as "frequent", the change in emphasis on the name is definitely a swing.  You'll recall that Nelson floated his view in conference back in 1990, and then just a few months later, President Hinckley (then in the First Presidency) stood up and offered his view on the Church and its members being called "Mormon"(which totally contradicted Nelson's view).  So Hinckley's view won out for almost 30 years as the Church conducted massive PR campaigns with the word "Mormon" as a centerpiece, as President Nelson apparently bided his time and ate his vitamins.

    When it comes to the name, I'm a Hinckleyite, not a Nelsonite.  You can't say that Nelson's view is a new revelatory development because he obviously had it back in 1990 and was shut down.  At most, you could argue that God timed Nelson's calling to lead the Church in such a way that the name change could be implemented in 2018, which is right at the time that God got sick of all the "I'm a Mormon" and "Meet the Mormons" PR stuff and wanted the Church to get back to more obviously being referred to in His son's name.


    • Like 2
  11. On 9/25/2019 at 8:46 AM, smac97 said:

    4. M also states (speaking, I think, of modern Egyptological interpretations of the glyphs/hieroglyphics) that "I'm not even sure if that is the question we should be asking," since we don't know if Joseph was actually trying to tell us how "an average ancient Egyptian would have seen it" (that is, how they would have construed the glyphs), or if he (Joseph) was telling us "how a Jew would have re-interpreted it," since "they certainly did re-interpret Egyptian things," or if he was telling us that "this is what we should get out of it," or if he was telling us that "there were a group of priests in Thebes who were taking Jewish things and intermixing {them} with Egyptian religion," and "is that how they {the priests in Thebes} would have interpreted it," or is it "some other thing he's telling us."  "In the end," M states, "we don't know," and that "we are typically basing our questions and research on assumptions, often without looking carefully at what those assumptions are."

    (emphasis added)

    I think this is where Muehlstein works up the biggest sweat from tap dancing.  Read what he says, and then recall what we actually have in our scriptures for Facsimile 3:




    Fig. 1. Abraham sitting upon Pharaoh’s throne, by the politeness of the king, with a crown upon his head, representing the Priesthood, as emblematical of the grand Presidency in Heaven; with the scepter of justice and judgment in his hand.

    Fig. 2. King Pharaoh, whose name is given in the characters above his head.

    Fig. 3. Signifies Abraham in Egypt as given also in Figure 10 of Facsimile No. 1.

    Fig. 4. Prince of Pharaoh, King of Egypt, as written above the hand.

    Fig. 5. Shulem, one of the king’s principal waiters, as represented by the characters above his hand.

    Fig. 6. Olimlah, a slave belonging to the prince.

    (Emphasis added)

    It's all good until Joseph says "whose name is given in the characters above his head." How does this work if Joseph isn't actually claiming to translate the Egyptian characters into their Egyptian-author intended meaning?

    Muehlstein's objective doesn't appear to be to shed any actual light on the subject, but instead he's trying to un-tether us from reality when thinking about the Book of Abraham, hoping we will drift mindlessly into an alternate universe where anything anyone says about the Facsimiles has an equally valid claim to being "true."  I understand this the last gasp of defense, but are we all just supposed to pretend that the explanations of the Facsimiles (especially #3) don't say what they say?



    "In the end," M states, "we don't know," and that "we are typically basing our questions and research on assumptions, often without looking carefully at what those assumptions are."

    I'm guessing that Muehlstein's entire approach to the Book of Abraham is based on his assumption that Joseph Smith was a prophet and the text he dictated while looking at the ancient Papyri has to relate to it in someway.  Until he demonstrates he has looked at this assumption carefully, I'm not sure we should treat his opinions with much weight.

    Honestly, one question I would like to see Muehlstein asked is this:

    If you were teaching a post-graduate class on Egyptian, and as part of a test a student was given a picture similar to Facsimile 3 and gave answers similar to what Joseph gave, would you give that student an "A" on the test and laud him for his translation ability?  If you marked the student's answers incorrect for not adhering to the accepted Egyptian translation, and he argued that he wasn't translating as an every-day Egyptian would but instead was using an alternate translation from another society that had possibly co-opted Egyptian imagery centuries later, would you still give him an "A", even if he couldn't establish the basis for this alternate translation?  What if he told you that he couldn't provide more support for this alternate translation, but during the test he had prayed very hard and these are the answers that came to him, so they must be correct, even if we don't understand exactly how?

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