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Hamba Tuhan

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About Hamba Tuhan

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    Places Sun, Moon & Stars In The Sky

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    an isle of the sea

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  1. Again, data do not tell stories; we do. The best stories include the data in ways that seem reasonable, so there may not be an infinite number of good stories to be told, but there are definitely different ones. That entirely depends on how we choose to interpret the data.
  2. That's the whole point. The data don't tell the story; we do.
  3. You're missing out. Our stake presidency let us know that we're never going back to in-person seminary classes ever. And there was much rejoicing ...
  4. When I was teaching university history in America, my first lecture to first-year students was always on this point. Data do not speak for themselves; rather, they are interpreted within frameworks of understanding, and these frameworks are not empirical by nature. A blunt example made by a professor of biological anthropology at the university where I obtained my masters degree illustrates this: This man had discovered and named a number of human ancestors in Africa, but as he pointed out, the bone fragments he had found only became human ancestors because he and others had already adopted an interpretive framework that assumed that humans had non-human ancestors. Alternatively, if one didn't make that assumption, then he had merely found remnants of some extinct primates -- which is also interesting per se but a completely different story. And that, he said, is what he had been doing his entire academic life: telling stories based on very, very few pieces of actual evidence. (He pointed out that all the bone fragments from supposed human ancestors found anywhere in the world could easily fit in the back of his Ford pick-up.) But he had no way of knowing if his stories were true; he told them because he liked them in preference to alternative stories. Indeed. My personal perspective on Book of Mormon 'evidences' is that many of the so-called anachronisms in the book are exactly what I would expect to find in a genuine piece of 'contact literature' -- based on having read thousands of pages of such literature as part of my PhD research. Or they could just be anachronisms that Joseph Smith introduced into a fictional text. The choice is ours to make. But when people use data to construct a different story and then claim they've discovered the 'true history' of the Church, I shake my head at their naivety ... or sometimes LOL, depending on my mood.
  5. As I've mentioned before, I was the assistant executive editor at a AAA-rated history journal for nearly five years. At one point, we received a brilliantly written submission that we duly sent out to all the usual experts for peer review. The analysis was groundbreaking, and the reviewers universally panned it for contradicting their own positions. The executive editor sought and obtained board permission, and we sent the submission out for peer review again, this time to reviewers we felt would be more open to its groundbreaking claims and challenges to established paradigms. They universally loved it, and we published it. So yeah, peer review ...
  6. Until two weeks ago (when we resumed in-person services), we did all of our sustainings via email. The instruction was to reply (NOT reply all!) if one objected, with no response being assent.
  7. I've been told that it's just standard hair clippers.
  8. A few weeks ago, I invited one of my non-member mates over for dinner and had the Sister missionaries provide a spiritual thought over Facebook Messenger. I told them to prepare for no more than 5 minutes, but it turned into a 20-minute discussion and was really good. I hope a few more people are doing things like that! Last Sunday was my first time back to sacrament meeting, and the Sisters also had an investigator present whom they had met online somehow. My mate also came, and he'll be coming to my place for home church and dinner this Sunday. But yeah, it's been hard. I'm the high council member over missionary work, and we've all been struggling to know what to do and how to do it.
  9. If you consider Church history since the Restoration, you will quickly realise that this has always happened. And then turn to the scriptures, maybe starting with the New Testament and the Book of Mormon, and you'll realise absolutely nothing has changed.
  10. Cricket is a cult more than a sport. You'll never get it unless it gets you first. My first bishop here taught sport but admitted to me once that he found cricket less interesting than watching the grass grow.
  11. I believe that to have been your experience, but it hasn't been mine. As Ken intimated above, I've known far more converts whose curiosity was first piqued by exposure to over-the-top 'anti-Mormonism' than people who have been poisoned by it. No doubt it happens. But I haven't encountered anybody in many years who would even know who Ed Decker or others of his ilk were/are. Where I live, at least, that conversation has been supplanted by a far more sinister one. In our national election last year, we actually had a shadow minister who swore that, in government, she would oversee the passage of legislation making it illegal for religions to teach that people can change ...
  12. Yep, and the sooner we realise it, the better. I've had this conversation with friends who are Muslim and Hindu as well. Our current government here is blatantly antagonistic towards people of faith, having last year passed legislation to limit the availability of community-zoned land for places of worship. This isn't, of course, what the legislation actually states, but I was in the ministerial briefing, and we were told up-front that this was the intent. Previously, 75 per cent of applications for these blocks were being sought by faith groups, mostly for temples and mosques. The legislation alters that by making the land available only for 'government priorities' (that's a direct quote!). So if the government doesn't think a new mosque is a priority for a certain suburb, no application can be made. And even if an application is invited, the applicant has to demonstrate that its land use will support the government's agenda. And then if such an application is successful -- unlikely! -- the government can dictate the days and the hours when the house of worship can and must be used. Forget the endless arguments of old-school anti-Mormonism. People of faith in many nations are increasingly facing existential threats, and we can't survive these if we're distracted by theological disagreements.
  13. The long Protestant tradition of using theological arguments and half-truths to frighten people away from the 'evils of Mormonism' notwithstanding, the real enemy, in my opinion, is not our fellow Christians, no matter how much they may currently be lacking in their beliefs. The ground has shifted significantly over the past two decades, and consequently the real debate has gone from 'You believe in the wrong Jesus' to 'Any kind of belief in Jesus is stupid ... and is killing people'. The secular attack on all people of faith has therefore largely supplanted sectarian sniping. I think this illustrates my point quite neatly. Decker is, to many Saints and others alike, an identifiable buffoon. Dehlin's goal is to destroy faith wherever he may find it whilst pretending he's just there to help struggling members.
  14. Minus the wealthy family, I think you just illustrated the principle quite well. I'm still really sorry but! Hopefully you'll find employment very soon.
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