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  1. I lived next to the Ogden airport in the 80s. That airport used to have many old farm homes adjacent to it. Homes whose residents could walk out onto their backyard, cross the property line, and walk onto the main runway if they desired. In the 1990s the federal government started modernizing it by expanding the runways, buying up adjacent property and tearing them down homes, and installing fences. I just don't recall seeing any farm animals nearby, but all other aspects felt farm-like from the runway end.
  2. I wouldn't be surprised if both stories are harmonious. They are in a small airplane. An engine makes a "bang" noise. Flames come out of the engine. The pilot handles it professionally, as they are trained to deal with a bad engine. The pilot stops one or both engines. The pilot starts a spinning steep descent to both aim for a nearby airport and put out the flames. A lady on the flight panics loudly. Nelson is initially alarmed, but is comforted because he has lived a life for which he's proud. The flames are extinguished. The pilot resumes a normal landing sequence. They land at the Delta Airport, which in the 1970s resembles a farmers field (or perhaps even had animals on fields very nearby). No external damage is seen on the airplane. The pilot was always in control and not alarmed, as planes are designed with redundancy. The passengers walk away shaken.
  3. We are a church fundamentally rooted on the concept that people sin, including leaders. This means mistakes happen, including membership councils (for example, I think that Oliver Cowdrey's removal was incorrect.) We are judged by God at the last day, not by the actions of our local leaders. Local leaders are simply trying to learn and grow and keep the church in order, just as the rest of us are trying to learn and grow.
  4. As I said, his checklist isn't peer-reviewed. That he appears on CNN often doesn't make him an expert. Academics in his field stay far clear of trying to define that pejorative. I suspect if he ever tried to have others critique his work, they would rightly point out his checklist is useless due to a combination of being overly broad, nebulous, and unrestrictive. His checklist frankly has the same characteristics as astrology, where if you squint just right you can apply it to anything. As I said before, your prior argument where you cited Hassan may not be a bad argument. But you should avoid a pop-culture book writer and TV show guest and instead focus on someone with academic weight.
  5. Ugh, this canard again. Steve Hassan simply created his own formula to define a pejorative to sell books. He created the equivalent of a checklist to describe "jerks". He deliberately avoided peer-review because he's only interested in writing books. His checklist is so vague and expansive that it can easily include graduate school programs, high school sports, and military programs. And he forgot to include mechanisms to indicate what does not count. Your argument can be a fine one, but Steve Hassan is not the authoritative source you want backing you up.
  6. A quote from Helfer addressing a crowd cheering her for fighting the church: "[Heated] I swear to God, if they mention pornography, one more time on a Sunday. When we all know that every time you say 'pornography' YOU'RE PICTURING IT! Oh thank you for reminding me about h***** people [she does vulgar mimicking] when I'm trying to worship my God. And Elder Oaks did that on General Conference on Easter Sunday! And what, I'm just supposed to be like [In a timid tone] 'Oh, excuse me Elder Oaks of revelatory power, um, I'm respectfully calling you out on this' [Mimicking Elder Oaks] 'You don't have the authority to call me out Sister Helfer.' [Speaking of herself] I have all the authority! No, what you did was kind of crappy. . . . No. You can't talk about that on Sunday, when my teenage sons are hearing you. And then you're wanting them to not think about it and not do it. Well you just reminded them about it. So I'm guessing they're going to go home tonight and probably look something up. Thank you! Thanks Elder Oaks for that."
  7. Several years ago during a leadership training, President Monson went out of his way to mention incorrect approaches for holding a council. It sounded as though he just got through managing one or more of these improperly held councils. The verbiage made it sound like the council's finding of excommunication was incorrect and had to be restarted with a correct council.
  8. I've had a cop do that to me. When I was a teenager, I was on a pedestrian bridge one evening watching a lightning storm. The cops received calls that someone else nearby was throwing rocks. One set of cops arrived, questioned me, and left. Another set of cops arrived a few minutes later, shined lights in my face, and demanded I immediately leave public property. When I said it was a public sidewalk and it's nowhere near curfew, he threatened to arrest me and throw me in jail while we sort it out. But I don't see how this pertains at all to Helfer's situation. She initiated the matter by spending years publicly hurling attacks at the church and attempting to redefine theological sins while brandishing her membership credentials. The stake president's job is to inject himself into that, as that is part of the rules of church membership.
  9. This is close. I'd agree that a police officer should be expected to receive abuse hurled their way, and always retain composure and professionalism, even if the other person has their mental faculties intact. That's the best example so far that I can think of. Though the cop has legal recourse to (appropriately) arrest and jail the individual, write a ticket and let the person go, or simply drive away if the person is obnoxious. If the cop abuses his power, he or she can lose the job. Though the cop doesn't have any formal relationship a citizen, so the cop has the ability to do his or her job and then walk away. A cop/citizen relationship is nothing like a priest/parishoner relationship.
  10. I'm trying to find any comparable social situation where her adversarial behavior would be tolerated and lovingly accepted for weeks and years. With one side expected to show patience and maturity, and the other side allowed to lash and fight continually. These don't work: Before a judge in a courtroom? Absolutely not. As a spouse in marriage? Perhaps patience for some time, but it quickly meets the definition of an abusive relationship. As a patient in a doctor's office? Not a chance. As a customer of a club or a gym? Absolutely not. As a student or faculty member at a university? No, universities embrace professional adversarial relationships. Her behavior would start stretching a university's professional code of conduct. Further, a university requires constructively working with others in academic teams, committees, publishing papers, etc. (I can't imagine trying to publish a paper with a tactic of being adversarial to the editor.) As a sinner to God? He will always love you, but we are punished for our actions if we do not abide by His commandments. These do work: As an elderly person with a failing mind? Yes, the person isn't responsible for his or her actions, and won't learn. Caregivers must maturely accept all abuse directed their way. As a young child to a parent? Yes, the parent should keep working with that child, to show a good example, as the child isn't mature enough yet. But at 18, society treats that child as an adult. As a mentally handicapped person in a care facility? To some degree, depends on the level of handicap and the ability for the person to learn. Helfer clearly isn't in the bottom three, she has her mental faculties intact. And her actions wouldn't and shouldn't work in the top six. So why should her stake president be expected to tolerate her behavior when no other social situation permits it?
  11. At some point, people need to be responsible for their own actions. The stake president didn't make her lash out this way. John Dehlin didn't make her lash out this way. This is on her.
  12. Local leaders have the responsibility of representing Jesus Christ's position in the church. It is very much a marriage and not a parent-child relationship. I've said many times that marriage is imperfect, filled with miscommunications and misinterpretations. Everyone makes mistakes in this church. The stake president made mistakes. I recall on social media someone got mad at the stake president because in his letter, he said that she should listen to her bishop, and seek "His counsel". The poster was upset that "His" was capitalized, but it wasn't clear if this was a typo and referred to the bishop, or confusingly switched to Jesus Christ. That's another communication mistake. Do we get further upset at the stake president for this latest error? Just like in a marriage, we make mistakes. How we respond to these mistakes shows our heart's intent. I don't see the stake president's mistakes as showing any pattern of egregious, malicious, or spiteful intent. I do struggle to find anything in Helfer's mistakes showing she sincerely wants to work with this church. Marriages can be hard to navigate. I've had friends go through awful times with their spouses. They get into this terrible area of wondering if they are being Christlike for forgiving and working with them, or being suckers because this fits the definition of an abusive relationship. I bet the stake president had similar thoughts. She was quite clearly treating this marriage in oppositional and adversarial tones, and checking numerous boxes that would indicate this relationship was falling apart. Fortunately the handbook gives guidance at which point a relationship has gone too far south, and the stake president made the call to cut off the marriage for at least the next year.
  13. Opposing? No no no no no. You fundamentally misrepresent the point of these meetings. If a husband and wife find their marriage struggling, and they go into a counseling session, is it right if the husband says "I don't want to find a solution with my opposing counsel!" "You mean your wife" "Yes! Her! My opposing counsel!" These meetings are supposed to be for all sides to find a solution. Jesus Christ describes membership in the church as a marriage, and He is the bridegroom. The hope is common ground, but the meeting may devolve into a member shouting and walking out the door without trying to find common ground (which Helfer did). And like a marriage, if one side spent the week prior sowing discord, rallying friends in opposition to the other, spread lies far and wide about the reason for the marital trouble, and then comes into meeting with the partner intent on fighting everything, sometimes that person makes a marriage incompatible. It's very sad when it occurs, I wish it doesn't, but sometimes it does, and it's not the other party's fault. Marriages are full of misunderstandings, mistakes, and miscommunications, but sometimes one side has an incompatible combativeness that makes the marriage impossible.
  14. Membership withdrawal can be done to protect the church's image and protect fellow members. But that doesn't fit here, because the church would need to publicly announce it, which they refrained from doing. Another reason is because a person is repeatedly publicly pushing views at a level which the handbook indicates would riggers a membership council. This fits her situation. She created and pushed the false narrative that she was being punished for statements made as part of her professional career. But as the stake president said "Natasha, many of the letters I received were supportive of your professional services and expressed gratitude for the help you have given, which I appreciate. However, this council had nothing to do with your practice as a therapist. Your professional activities played no part in the decision of the council. Rather, as stated in my prior letter to you, the sole purpose of this council was to consider your repeated, clear, and public opposition to and condemnation of the church, its doctrine, its policies, and its leaders" Again, compare that to what she said "The reasons I am being called to such a meeting all have to do with the fact that I am a mental health professional and a certified sex therapist in fact one of only a handful within my community and I am public and vocal about my stances supporting and educating about sexual health which it seems they do not see as in compliance with doctrine" We never had a statement from him that her professional career was a reason. That manipulation of the story was crafted entirely by her and spread like wildfire due to her efforts to slander the church via media outlets.
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