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Robert F. Smith

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  1. Partaking of the faux "fruit" is part of the ritual. Indeed, until that "fruit" is eaten, eve & adam do not know good from evil, which is absolutely essential to agency. That is the primary lesson of Lehi's Law of Opposition. Lehi is adamant about their complete innocence and sinless state in the Garden. How then could they sin? They have no agency at all. Instead, like all of us, they are only participants in a standard, eternal rite. The ordinance carries with it power, an endowment of power. Of course they are actual people, just as are you and I in an endowment room. And they are engaged in the very same ritual that we are, and for the same reason. Adam and eve are not their real names, as you should already know. What are they? "man" and "woman," as are all of us in that same rite of passage. The "fruit" and "rib" are both figurative, not real. They are symbolic parts of the ritual. When Anglican Bishop Tom Wright claims that the Garden is the temple of God, he understands that text -- even though the Anglican Church has no ritual like ours. How odd that an Anglican scholar understands the context while Mormons do not.
  2. The manual is written by a hired writer. It is not Scripture. As with the manuals written for Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, etc., these are the opinions of the writers, not of God. Perhaps if you read the relevant Scriptural passage over to yourself several times, it will begin to sink in: There was clearly no agency for them in the Garden, which means that any mistake they made could not be blamed on them. They were wholly innocent, like children before the age of accountability. Indeed, until they ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they could not possibly have known enough to sin. They were supposed to eat of the tree of knowledge. That was an essential part of the plan of salvation, which is why it is part of the endowment ritual. Everyone understood that in the Divine Council. Our purpose in coming to Earth was to live in a telestial world, and experience the school of hard knocks, without which salvation is not possible. Adam and eve were not intended to stay in the Garden, which would have been a disaster, just as 2 Ne 2:22 says.
  3. Official LDS Church policy is here: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/get-help/abuse/protecting-members-and-reporting-abuse?lang=eng (Protecting Members and Reporting Abuse)
  4. You need to reread the 2 Nephi 2 quotation I provided. That is the evidence. Ignoring it won't make it go away. Moreover, next time you sit in an endowment session, reflect on who you are (not your real name), and ask a few simple questions about what is taking place. There is no agency for archetypal adam & even before the Fall. There is agency in the Divine Council, and after the Fall, but no possibility of it in the Garden -- just as a child cannot be held responsible for anything before the age of accountability. Is that child tempted? Yes. Does that child make mistakes? Yes. Can he be held responsible for them? No.
  5. Hindsight is 20/20, so LDS and BSA now have strong two-deep policies (two adults with any lone kid). In the past, the LDS Church did not track known offenders, foolishly thinking that confession and repentance were enough. Instead of reporting sexual abuse to the police, some thought that a call to SLC or dealing with it in house would be adequate. Once again, the height of foolishness. Several millions in tithing later it became apparent that such policies just did not work. A learning curve gets even steeper with denial of the problem. Repentance and forgiveness are fine, as long as the predator goes to prison and is excommunicated.
  6. Sounds like rank speculation, in the absence of actual statements and documentation. The notion that the LDS "Church set the BSA up for failure" is a grave charge indeed. It needs to be backed up by solid evidence.
  7. There are plenty of cases, not all of them equally actionable in court. Many have long since been settled by the LDS Church, and I have a long list of such sex abuse suits. The problem in most cases was that the Church did not exercise due diligence to prevent such cases. Simply trusting someone because he is presumably such a good guy turned out to be a disastrous policy. Worse were the cases in which pedophiles were not tracked into future venues and were able to continue their predation -- same as in the Roman Catholic Church.
  8. The manual writer failed to read 2 Nephi 2:22-23, Adam & Eve knew no sin and had no agency before the Fall, thus leaving Eve and Adam innocent in eating the figurative forbidden fruit. Without opposition there is no agency. The Genesis Creation and Garden Story is a ritual story enacted in a temple, just as it is today. Adam & Even (not their real names) can be any of us performing that ritual and taking on oaths and making covenants. No scholar considers it a historical narrative or geological account, either of which is absurd. The manual writer does not understand the text of Genesis.
  9. That was simply my quick way to refer to the first and second companies, because that is the way historians group them (individual components in parentheses): I am not including the exploratory Vanguard Company led by Brigham, which set out in April of 1847. The Jewish Jubilee year goes from Sept 11, 1847 to Sept 28, 1848. Within which we also have the change of govt from Mexico to the USA in Feb 1848 (Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo). The Mormons are illegal immigrants to Mexico until Feb 1848. https://thirdhour.org/blog/faith/5-similarities-holy-land-utah/
  10. The dispensational sequence is a ritual sequence, not a historical sequence -- same as when we go to the Temple.
  11. 1828 Webster's Dictionary, http://www.webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/meridian Simplistic answers come from narrow definitions and a lack of careful reflection. An additional difficulty comes when we are blind to the ritual nature of the Fall in the midst of the Garden-Temple event participated in by adam & eve. We of all people ought to see the Creation and Garden Stories for what they are and are not. Moreover, the dispensational sequence is a ritual sequence.
  12. Exactly. Some of those are extraordinary, such as his receipt of the Gold Plates right on schedule, and the dedication of the Kirtland Temple at just the right time. And then the Mormon Exodus featuring companies 1 and 2 in a Jewish Jubilee Year, with the Miracle of the Seagulls in between. Add to that the exact fulfillment of the 600-year prophecy of Jesus' Birth (from the time Lehi left Jerusalem), and Jesus' exact length of life from then to his death, all recorded in the BofM. The NT has Jesus begin his ministry at the outset of a Sabbatical Year -- he even reads the very words in a synagogue on that occasion. These can all be seen in retrospect. Maybe not so easy to calculate them on into the future.
  13. That is difficult for living people, who are not displayed, even to the person herself (your Mum). She may want to discuss this with her ward or stake genealogical experts, or even send an inquiry to SLC -- to do that she needs to go to the upper right of her FamilySearch screen, just to the left of her name, click on the question-mark in a circle. That will give her several inquiry options.
  14. Perhaps so. However, there may be a set of pre-planned occasions laid out in advance according to the calendar of God. That we do not always understand it, does not mean that it is not precisely planned.
  15. We might want to think of the denouement, which precedes the climax (eschaton) of history, which includes the millennium of a thousand additional years. Someone might also want to count each dispensation, the dispensation of the fullness of times preceding that millennium. Could you chart that out for us? It's been done before, you know.
  16. What is truly odd is that John P. Pratt now declares that Maricio A. Berger is Joseph Smith returned. https://www.johnpratt.com/items/docs/2020/joseph_returns.html
  17. Yes, and Anglican Bishop N. T. Wright agrees that the Creation and Garden Story is "a temple story."
  18. It is true that the Samaritan Pentateuch in consonantal script is read by the Samaritan High Priest at Gen 1:1 barashet as though the first letter, the preposition b- "when, in" included the vowel of the definite article ha-. However, that doesn't make any difference in the translation, since Gen 1:1-2 is a series of dependent conditional clauses leading up the main clause at Gen 1:3. That was not understood by the KJV and prior translators, so that they invariably began with something like "In the beginning," when the proper translation should have been: That the plural translation "Gods" was originally intended is clear from Gen 1:26, where the Gods refer to themselves in the plural. The text has been deliberately changed through time to fit later theological demands. Joseph Smith understood that and so provided some key insights into that passage in his 1844 King Follett Funeral Oration, a feature which which we also see in the Book of Abraham.
  19. Several guys in my ward have never married, for whatever reason, and I do not inquire of them why. However, these are good guys. No major defects that I can suss out. There are also several very good women in my ward who have never married. This is becoming more common, not less. Perhaps the "cost" of marriage is simply too high. Both financial and mental. Add in children and it can be altogether too demanding. We may be underestimating the actual costs. It used to be quite common in America for gay men to marry and have children -- at least as recently as the 1950s around 80% of gay men married and kept their gay preference under wraps. Among LDS people this continued, with noteworthy examples being the late D. Michael Quinn and Gerald Pearson (husband of Carol Lynn Pearson). I know of one current example, and wish him and his wife well. I do not minimize the difficulties.
  20. Although it is true that both chimps and humans do create a tribal culture which anthropologists can define, and which varies from one group to another, the notion that everything is a social construction does have its limits. It is, for example, not just a social trend or fad that can explain why biological male humans worldwide have been showing such a vast decrease in testosterone levels. It should therefore be no surprise that fertility rates have likewise taken a deep dive. We have likewise never seen higher levels of anomie than today: People are not only eschewing marriage, but they are simply not getting together, living together. We now have the highest levels of people living alone than we have ever had. Is that a socially constructed trend? If so, why? Or is it a biological trend with biological cause(s)?
  21. Yup. A rainbow of visages and tongues, unless of course we all go back to our African roots. 😎
  22. “Khor Kharfout Archaeological Reserve famed for grazing trees, water resources,” Oman Daily Observer, Aug 23, 2021, online at https://www.omanobserver.om/article/1105834/oman/khor-kharfout-archaeological-reserve-famed-for-grazing-trees-water-resources , Khor Kharfot “Kharfot Inlet” (at the mouth of Wadi Sayq in Oman), Kherfut being a Mahri term meaning something like "abundance has come after the monsoon" (Warren Aston)[1]; Noel B. Reynolds supports this suggested site as most likely,[2] and Nigel Groom thought it possibly the site of ancient Moscha.[3] This often lush coastal area currently features large permanent fresh-water ponds, springs, wild honey, jumaise-sycamore fig trees, date palms, tamarind trees, acacia, frankincense and myrrh trees, iron ore at Jabal Al Akhdar, hyrax, fox, porcupine, snake, wild tahr-goat, and leopard, along with fish and lobster in the bay. One can still find oryx in the Asir Mountains of nearby Saudi Arabia.[4] Archeological excavation in South Arabia shows that the early period also featured teff, barley, broomcorn millet, oats, grapes, cumin, flax, garden sorrel, and corn cockle.[5] [1] Warren P. Aston, “Across Arabia with Lehi and Sariah: ‘Truth Shall Spring out of the Earth’,” JBMS 15/2 (2006):8–25, 110, online at https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/jbms/ ; Warren P. Aston and Michaela Aston, In the Footsteps of Lehi: New Evidence for Lehi's Journey across Arabia to Bountiful (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1994); Warren P. Aston, “Arabia’s Hidden Valley: A Unique Habitat in Dhofar Captures Arabia’s Past,” Wildlife Middle East News (WME), 6/4 (March 2013):2-4, online at http://www.wmenews.com/newsletters/1366812925wmenews _V6_I4_eng.pdf . [2] Reynolds, "Lehi's Arabian Journey Updated," in N. Reynolds, ed., Book of Mormon Authorship Revisited (Provo: FARMS, 1997), 379-389. [3] Groom, “The Periplus, Pliny, and Arabia,” Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy, 6 (1995):184-185. [4] See the entire issue of Wildlife Middle East News (WME), 6/4 (March 2013), online at http://www.wmenews.com/newsletters/1366812925wmenews _V6_I4_eng.pdf . [5] Gus W. Van Beek, Hajar Bin Humeid: Investigations at a PreIslamic Site in South Arabia. Publications of the American Foundation for the Study of Man, 5 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1969), reviewed by Gary Wright in American Anthropologist, 72 (1970):702-703.
  23. The elites who run the world do so out in the open, like the opioid billionaires of Purdue Pharma, who only get a slap on the wrist for murdering several hundred thousand Americans. They lose their company, but get to keep their billions. Not as good a deal as Chairman Mao in China for killing millions, but still pretty good. There is nothing secret about it.
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