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Posts posted by TAO

  1. Mmmm... just come in your best.  If you have the capability to get into what is considered typical, do it, otherwise, don't worry about it.  What we care most about is that you are here =).


    We apologize if someone makes a rude remark to you.  If I was there next to you, I'd probably have a little talking with the person who did it =p.


    All the same, thanks for coming =D.  The Lord wants to bless you, and coming to church really helps with that =).

  2. Inquiring, perhaps the vow was not to be with another woman... in other words... if he's covenanted not to be with another woman, and the Lord doesn't command him otherwise, and he goes and does it, he has committed adultery.  Dunno if that's the interpretation, but it's quite possible, nah?

  3. So, please do not interpret my questions as a lack of respect. I wonder why I never heard any of this as an Evangelical (Baptist, 4 Square, Assembly of God)?  I have run into some Jewish folk that say Christians have it wrong in many places. One of them that I remember, perhaps because it is more lurid is Deut 22:5. Evangelicals can get themselves into a genuine froth over that one. A Jewish acquaintance of mine, says that passage actually says for the men and women to stay out of each other's tents, according to him.


    Another issue is that if the Jews called God one thing, and Jesus the other, then does that mean they knew who Jesus in the OT was? Did the Jews know that there were two or more (Godlike) beings?  I am told that in Genesis 11:7 the use of "We" or "Us" did not mean more than one personage but was a rank signifier.  Hmmm


    Nah, questions are fine, don't you worry about it =).  You come off perfectly friendly =D.


    Mmm... I don't know why you didn't hear about any of it.  It probably is because they interpret the verse differently than we do, but not sure.


    They didn't know that Jesus was Jehovah... but we know he is through modern revelation, and perhaps, the Bible as well (you'd have to ask someone who's more knowledgeable on that one).


    The Jews knew that there were originally, but much like mainstream Christianity, switched to a more strictly monotheistic interpretation over time, as far as I know.  Again, it'd probably be better to ask someone who knows a bit more.


    No idea about Genesis 11:7, but it reads somewhat the same way as the first chapter of Genesis in text, so I'm guessing it may have been referring to more than one personage.  But not sure at all.  Better to ask someone who knows a bit more again XD.


    I don't think I helped too much =p.  Sorryz.

  4. Yes. I am progressing through it all, not looking for an excuse to leave the church or anything. It is a curse to be a questioner; not easily convinced. There was a meeting with the Missionaries, Relief Society President and her husband. It took some time and there is more reading to do. There is a Bruce R McConkie book called "Mormon Doctrine", that I need to read.


    Mmm... I'll explain it according to what I understand.  Basically, there are two names (and several sub-names) in the Hebrew version of the Bible which translate to God, both referring to two different beings.  One refers to God the Father (El Elyon or Eloheim), and the other refers to Jesus Christ (Jehovah).  The proper translation of the first verse of the Bible says, "The head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods"... the head one of the Gods is referring to God the Father.  However, the Old Testament mostly uses Jehovah - meaning Jesus Christ.  As they both are 'God' in one sense or the other, this can create some confusion in the English version, which doesn't show that it is referring to two different people.  But the Hebrew version shows it appropriately.

  5. Just throwing this out, and I'll not abide any barking or yelling at me. The Sunday school lessons are taking us into very strange and um weird land. Today, I got fed up and left. So now is the time for some of you born hero Mormons to straighten me out. Still a little angry about this and upset, but am studying the scriptures, and will


    Genesis 1 is clear. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. "


    John 1 says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing that was made."




    In Moses 1 Describes Moses as a Son of God, and with some thought, I can agree with that as Jesus Christ said that those who do his will are Friends, Brothers and Sisters. It is a leap to come to the place where it is clear that Jesus Christ is the God of the OT.


    I'm not finished with my research on this.


    And, I do not like feeling forced to buy into this doctrine


    Ellen, is the issue you are having trouble with the idea that Jehovah was the God of the Old Testament?

  6. That is great, Tao.

    My family (parents and a couple of siblings and kids) used to live in Fort Collins, beautiful area.

    Miss seeing you on the board though...

    Hehe, the mission actually includes parts of Wyoming and Nebraska as well as some of Colorado.  I've heard it's very much of a 'four season' place, which should be a bit different than Cali (one or two season climate).  I look forward to going though.  It's going to be wonderful!


    Hehe... I miss the people on the board a ton.  Not so much the disagreements that go on (who misses those?), but the people I miss, definitely =).


    Good for you, my son once asked do you not want to see me for two years. So I told him yes, with all the pieces of my broken heart and I will count the days until you return. Go with God and spend as much time as you can on your knees in prayer...and reap the joy of service to others, and as Paul taught "..."approach the throne of God boldly", for you will be on his mission!

    Thanks!  And yeah, as much as it hurts, it's the right thing to do.  And it's helped me grow a lot.  I know I have come back a better son and brother than I left, and will come back in 21 months to be even better than that.  In a sense, I think it's going to help our family grow closer, which is really wonderful.  And service really is the medicine for most spiritual ailments, it is truly great to be able to do so much of it!


    Wooo!! Congrats.


    Tanks! (no, not thanks, tanks)  ;-). 

    Congrats. :yahoo:

    Tanks again!


    I have never heard of trial missions. Is this new in the church? But of course there is case by case situations.

    Good job Tao, I'm looking forward to future conversations and hearing your missionary stories.

    Recently we were asked to feed the missionaries. The one missionary asked my husband and I what solidified our testimonies. I had to break down and tell them the truth, I'm struggling with belief. Now they want to visit me again soon to see how I'm doing. I told them I'd call them first and told them they were awesome, so hopefully didn't make them feel bad for asking. I guess they aren't allowed to tract and go by referrals only. Very nice young men. But never thought I'd be on the receiving end of proselytizing missionaries.


    Mmm... I don't know how old it is... but it does seem to be rather new.  I know other Aspie's who went who never went through trial, but I also have heard of serveral other cases from the Stake President.  But supposedly it is rather rare, as I had never heard about it before it was suggested.


    Haha, I have LOTS of stories.  LOTS and LOTS and LOTS.  I shall write some stories in a future post (it might be a bit later in the day though).  The Lord really does teach you a lot on your mission.  It's not easy, but it's sure worth it.


    Oh yes!  We love visiting members!  I have to say that was one of my favorite parts of the trial mission... members are awesome!  So it is wonderful that you are being able to meet with them.  Yeah, part of our duties as missionaries is to assist the members, and actually teach them lessons.  So don't worry about it... chances are they are very happy they found somebody they can visit.  I've heard that the referral only type missions are difficult, but it's slowly helping the work to move forward.  I know in our mission we still did door-to-dooring (with some success), but I have a feeling it will be changing sometime in the future.  I know they were getting Facebook and I-Pads (for planning and organization) sometime soon.  In any case, yeah, members are great.  Sometime this week I will tell you about one Sister who was my favorite person to visit on the mission (she was a Less-Active).


    Thanks everyone!

  7. I'm scared, this business of not knowing if I'm a believer or not is going to come to a head in ashort time, I'm in a predicament. My in laws celebrate their birthdays by going to the temple, fil's is right around the corner. My TR has expired as of last March. I don't want to hurt family, and who knows if I'd even get a recommend. Some say on this thread that I should be authentic. Just read on another forum where someone shared things that made them ex mormon with someone that was still a believer just not active. Turns out she is now a non believer. And that person that told her, imo, seems to be the bad guy. I don't want to be that bad guy, or lead someone to warts in our history. What do I do, be honest about why, which may lead some to check or keep mouth shut and lie? Which is the correct path? Now do some of you see, why New Order Mormonism exists? Also, I don't want in laws to think we aren't living our religion, be it WoW, paying tithing, inactive, whatever...



    Let me tell you something.  There was a time when I was a member of the church, but I couldn't partake of or pass the sacrament.  Don't ask me why, but it was so.  I thought it was going to be horrible.  But it worked out very very well.


    Occasionally, someone would come up, and ask me if I could pass.  I told them I couldn't.  I don't think they judged me further.  The people who know of the incident didn't judge me further.  They didn't come up and ask me why.  They simply let it be, trusting that I was working fine on my own journey back to where I needed to be.  They didn't know what my issue was, or why I was having it.  They simply let it be as it was.  And eventually, I made my way back to where I needed to be, and I was able to participate once more.


    I won't make a choice for you.  But as you said, I think it's a good idea to avoid showing warts to people.  If you don't get the recommend, then you don't get the recommend.  But you don't necessarily need to tell them why.  Even more than that, still attend the temple with them.  While I can't predict their reaction, I know many in my ward would not judge you if you were here.  We'd simply wish you well, hoping you'd get through your trials, and be at peace with that.


    I may have mentioned it before, but my Dad is not a member.  Whenever my family goes to the temple, he comes with us.  He sometimes stays outside, and sometimes goes into the first room where you don't need a TR.  I think it's been a blessing to him, and I'm happy that he came regardless of the fact that he isn't a member and doesn't have a TR.  While I can't guarantee your situation will be the same, I have found that the temple is a good place for TR holders and non-TR holders alike.  So visit anyways.  When you feel the spirit of God, things begin to go right again.  You gain strength when you go there.  So go there, regardless, I would suggest.  It may be hard; it's always hard to risk having people judge you.  But it's worth the blessings you will get for obeying the Lord.  So go.  And do.  =)


    I'm on a mission tomorrow, so I probably won't be able to respond, but I wish you the best of luck,


  8. Best of luck to you. I'm sure you'll do a great job.


    Thanks!  I hope so too!  Gotta work on some stuff before I go, but hey, who doesn't? =).




    Mormons I know are wonderful people, and it's clear to me that service to others through callings is part of what makes them who they are.


    Don't disclude yourself.  Service makes you who you are too =).




    I enjoyed the last calling I had, which was serving as a translator at a free medical clinic in Provo. It was great helping people who needed help and who could not otherwise communicate with the doctors. And as a bonus, I met Frederick G. Williams, a distant cousin, who put me in touch with our family organization. They haven't asked me to do anything here, so I'm not currently doing anything in the church.


    Ah man, that's cool!  I've had a lot of friends who have had very unusual instances where things happen to put them in contact with distant unknown family members.  It's pretty awesome.  In any case, if you don't have a calling, and you have the time, you might try serving at the Bishop's Storehouse.  I have found that the Bishop's storehouse is one of the coolest places you can serve.  And they love getting help, so don't be afraid to just 'drop in'.  =)

  9. Are you on your mission now Tao? This is good stuff you're sharing. :)



    Nope, not yet.  Monday.  I'm trying to get in the Spirit though.  And it's weird, because I know God is helping me do it.  There's things I used to enjoy which were somewhat a waste of time that I don't enjoy doing now.  God's really doing his best to get me ready. =D




    BTW, thanks for sharing your opinion on non believers or strugglers, attending church and that being ok! It bothers me that some on here say that that is being hypocritical. If I were asked if I believe everything in the church by someone in my ward, I would tell the truth, but no one has, and I venture to say it rarely happens. And my current calling in the ward is to help a special needs boy the entire time in Primary, which IMO, was inspired by members of my bishopric, who were probably aware of my testimony issues, that I shared with my previous bishop turned SP. If they hadn't asked if I could, no mention of it being a calling, help this incredible individual, I doubt I'd even go to the other meetings after Sacrament meeting. I even said this to the mother of this boy I help, I told her if it weren't for my helping her son, I'd be inactive, don't know how she took it. But think it's not out of the ordinary for some to complain about going to church.


    I think your right; I don't know anybody who knows everything quite yet.  We all still have things we are working on and working towards, and things we struggle with.  And we slowly hustle our ways towards our goal, sometimes getting sidetracked, sometimes not.  I don't want people to think the church is for perfect people; it isn't.  It's full of normal fallible humans who make mistakes and don't get things right.  And yet, for normal fallible humans, what a marvelous church it is.  I've met so many wonderful people in it.  It brings out the best that people have =).


    I'm glad though, that they gave you that calling and responsibility.  There's something special about getting one.  It really makes a difference in your life, and in the lives of others.  I know what you mean about having difficulties attending the meetings... part of the reason I go to Sunday School is because of the wonderful teachers I have.  Without them, I doubt I would have reactivated and stayed attending church.  There's something about being around other people who are wonderful that helps.  And serving them in the ways that you can helps even more.  =)  And yeah, it's very easy to complain about going to church.  I did it for a while.  And stopped attending for a while.  But I have to admit, once you get into it, it's totally worth it.  It may be hard to get up that early, and get dressed, and spend 3 hours of your day (or more) doing things.  It may be boring, listen to people speak about things that have already been spoken before.  It may even be hard when people say things you may disagree with.  But it is so totally worth it so you can feel that Spirit, and feel the joy of living the vision, and of being the person who lives the lifestyle which makes you happy.


    In any case, I'm very glad you are helping this boy.  You probably know I have Asperger's, and when I was young, I might have been that boy.  So thank you.  And thank you for attending church.  Regardless of your doubts, you make a wonderful person and member, contributing to your ward.  And perhaps the time will come, that through your service, things that may have bothered you will leave you, and you will have peace in your heart, and not worry.  I wish you the best of luck in life and the life to come =).



  10. I like that metaphor. I'll have to remember that.

    Earlier, I made the observation that I think the process of leaving the church has made me a better person. I didn't explain why, and some have interpreted what I was as me thinking I'm better than Mormons.

    I did not mean that at all. I'll try to explain: when I left the church, I was forced to dig deep down inside of myself to determine what I really believed. I think I'd gotten in the habit of just accepting what I was taught by the church without thinking about it much. That's not a slam on the church but rather a reflection of my own personality. Call it trust in the church or just laziness, or a combination of the two, but that's how my thought processes went.

    These days I don't have people or institutions that I trust to the level I trusted the church, so I have to work things out for myself. So, in a strange way, I think I'm a better, more moral person for having lost that trust.

    Does that mean I'm better than Mormons? No, it just means that I think I'm a better John than I was before. I'm still a work in progress, and if I ever say I'm a "good" person, that will just show how much I have to learn about humility.


    Haha, the funny thing is, I've had a similar experience, while growing closer to the church.  I've learned not to obey the authority that people always insist on when they believe they are right, and others are wrong, and instead listen to the Spirit.  Some people think that makes me kinda wierd, because ultimately it means I occasionally doubt a lot of things other people trust.  But ultimately I've figured out what I truly valued, and that is the accompaniment of the Spirit and the capability to participate in the wonderful vision for the future that I see that our God has.  I love that vision.  More than anything else that the World has to offer.  So in a sense, I'm willing to sacrifice other things that might be valuable for that vision.  For the ability to participate in it.  It's not always the easiest thing, but I know it will be worth it in the end.  And it makes me happier than I could be anywhere else.

  11. No worries. I choose to find it hilarious, not offensive.


    Haha, that's good.  One of the biggest lessons I've learned from God is that taking offense doesn't help situations, it just makes them worse, and makes you not as happy as you might have been had you just let it pass.  I've had too many experiences where I've wanted to get angry, but I have to remind myself, contention and revelation are not compatible (something my stake patriarch said once).  Ultimately, I've just found that happiness and argument don't fit together.  That doesn't mean you can't disagree with people, but to argue doesn't' really bring many blessings to you or to the lives of others.  So I'm glad you let those things go =).

  12. My hometown is pretty liberal. These days people know it as the place where the Kardashians live (or some of them, anyway).


    Haha, I don't follow the news much, so I don't really know which town it is, but I'll trust you on that description.




     Each person's approach to the church is different.


    Yep!  And a good thing too.




    That hasn't been my experience.


    Mmm... we have different experiences then.  Perhaps it just depends on the ward.




    Of course. I go to protect my wife, period. If someone thinks that's wrong, I don't much care.






    My bishop and high priests group leader know where I stand. I think I'd feel more of a hypocrite if I were pretending to believe. That said, I'm not in a situation in which I feel I have to pretend. Other people might. That's why I don't judge such things.


    I don't see where the problem is then, to be honest.  My Dad is a non-member, and he attends church with my mom.  I hope he'll join eventually, but he hasn't really shown a ton of interest.  I have no problem with him attending.  Similarly, I would have no problem with you attending either.  In fact, I'd prefer you attend because people's hearts change.  And there may be a day when you will wish to believe again.  Or maybe not.  But yeah, I can't see why people would not want you to attend =p.  Attending brings blessings, some physical, some spiritual.

  13. I used to get upset when people called me an apostate, as it connotes someone who hates the church and wishes it ill.


    I sure hope people haven't used that to describe you.  As you said, apostate implies bitter will.  I don't see bitterness in you.  So sorry if people have done that.

  14. Wait, I thought you live not far from where I grew up. I never felt particularly discriminated against as a Mormon, other than some schoolyard taunts of "Shouldn't they take the second 'm' out of Mormon?"


    It kinda depends.  SoCal isn't entirely Conservative.  Especially in some of the Hollywood/LA areas.


    Sounds like a great church you belong to: no doctrine, no hierarchy, just people following the spirit and wishing you well when you leave. I'm not sure I'm familiar with that one.


    There's some in the church who adhere to the approach, and others who don't.  It's not a universal action in the church, imho.


    In any case, I think mfb is right in the sense that there are not many people who go to church despite not believing in it.  Most of the time they fall into inactivity, at least in my experiences.  However, that doesn't mean cases don't exist (for example, yours).  And it's entirely your choice what you want to do.  If you want to stay for family reasons, that's your choice.  If you don't want to stay, that's your choice too.  Just be willing to live and be responsible for your own choice, that's the big thing I think.


    Ultimately you are the only person who can decide what you will do.  As I am the only one who can decide what I will do.  That leave us stuck in certain cases of communication, naturally.  But it also gives us a bit of freedom.

  15. Most people I know who consider themselves "new order" Mormons fit Duncan's description: for different reasons, they find value in their membership in the church, even if they don't really believe everything the church teaches. In fact, many NOMs I know don't believe in the church's teachings at all, regardless of allegory. But they stay because they believe they should.

    By that definition, I'm a NOM, but I don't find a lot of value in the church at this point in my life. I just go so my wife doesn't have to go by herself.


    Perhaps you are similar to a NOM by definition, but you aren't really one by association.  The idea of 'New Order' suggests an organization of people, and I don't think you really consider yourself part of a 'movement' of sorts (am I right?).  And so in a sense, I don't think you'd be a NOM... just a cultural Mormon.  That's my opinion though.

  16. What Bluebell said pretty much nailed it.  The love you can feel from God and the happiness you get from following him are defiantly worth it.  Sometimes life can be a pain, and we can get in big disagreements with people, and feel their resentment.  I have learned in those times we have to be patient with them.  And not hold it against them.  Perhaps they don't see the joy it brings us quite as clearly as we can see it.  And so we need to continue to treat the like friends, in a sense.


    In testimony meeting today, there was a great talk about how you should give, and when you get hurt, you keep on giving.  How you should appreciate others, and when your not appreciated, you keep appreciating them.  And God will take care of you.  Even if others don't, if others look away, God's kindness will not depart from you.  Ever.  That's important to remember, I have found, especially when I think nobody else is there who understand.


    I wish you best of luck in your situation.  It's a tough one to be in, but I believe you are making the right choice by trusting Heavenly Father.  I hope your life can be a happy one =).


    Best of Wishes,



    P.S.  Not sure if you like this type of music, but I love this sorta thing:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zq-KhxsUxNo

  17. I will try to stick with my point, which is that, when we say that all that matters is doing what works for us, we have no right to judge any other person's behavior. In my view, we are obligated to make judgments about what we and others do.


    What if we changed this to 'all that matters is believing what works for us'.  Would that be a bit better?  In other words, I'm not saying 'doing' is okay, but believing is something I think is okay.

  18. Well, perhaps those of us unable to maintain that lofty height should bow out.


    Nah, I'm pretty sure he was talking about how we are bouncing around ideas, even if slightly different, that fall in the somewhat same category.  In any case, you shouldn't feel inclined to bow out simply because you don't agree with us.  We are happy to have discussions with people who feel differently than we do =).

  19. And what if your feelings are wrong? The Laffertys thought God was communicating with them through the Holy Spirit. How do you know they weren't actually following God's will?


    EDIT:  This is a long post, so feel free to not respond to any of it you don't feel needs a response, or want to skip.


    Definitely possible.  But again, what do you have other than your own feelings?  Absolutely nothing.  What you feel is what you consider reality, because it's what you experience.  So we choose to trust some feelings on faith, and others we choose not to trust.




     Damn straight I am happy to take away someone else's "right" to kill another person just because they feel like it. I can't believe you think they should have that right. Yikes.


    Mmm... what I said in earlier posts never mentioned a right to kill someone else.  I said someone had a right to believe God told them to kill someone else.  Again, a dichotomy between thoughts and actions.  I leave them the right to believe.  I don't necessarily reserve for them the right to act upon those though.  There's a difference, in my opinion, between thought and action.




    We do not exist in a vacuum. What we do affects other people. That's why.


    I never questioned that what we do affects other people.  I never even said that it was justified not to stop other people.  What I said is they are justififed to belive what they want, if we want to believe what we want.  That's the basic idea of not being hypocritical, in essence.  In order to believe what we do (our senses, the spirit, anything), we have to realize others may not make the same assumptions we do.  This, again, does not stop us from preventing them from acting upon their beliefs, because it conflicts with ours.




    How is this different from "whatever God commands is right, no matter what it is"? The difference is that you're claiming God is a moral positivist.


    It is and it isn't.  I think God is the moral positivist because in my opinion, he is better than the rest of us.  But I don't think we can be authoritative moral positivists, except for ourselves.  What use is it to say to someone else 'This is right because it is so'.  They have no reason to believe you.  They have no reason to listen to you beyond their own curiosity.




    If I had to choose between what societies have decided is moral after thousands of years of social evolution and someone's arbitrary statement that "God wants you to do this" I'll take society's conclusion as being more grounded in morality.


    That's your choice, of course.  I leave you the right to choose.  Though I don't reserve your right to act, again, lol.


    But if there is anything I have learned from my early life, as a child who used to not understand body language, it is that society is not a good measure of what I think is right, or what I think should be done, or how I think people should act.  Much of the good in life comes from society, yes, but much of the bad does as well.  And someday, you will come to a point where society contradicts what you believe is right.  And you will realize you don't trust their opinion of morality completely after all.  After all, society is a changing thing, and what is moral one century flips the next.  And it may flip back.  It's not super consistent.  Even more than that though, society is fragmented.  Different parts say different things.  In lots of circumstances, different parts of society are against each other.  Yet, they make up the whole, conflict and all.  That's just the consequence of basing your morality off of society.  You may find that more preferable than the consequence of my view of morality.  Of course, as I don't base my morality on society, I find my consequence more preferable.  I hope you can understand our differing perspectives on which is better.




    I've said nothing about whether or not we should believe in anything. What I am trying to make sense of is mfbukowski's assertion that Mormonism promotes some ideal good, which seems incompatible with Mormonism's caveats about the definition of right and wrong.


    Well that's all that my system of morality is based upon.  Should, or should we not, believe in things.  I don't consider actions, for those, people are just going to have to fight it out.  But I believe there should be a certain respect of thoughts, even ones we think are wrong, because it allows us to believe what we think is right.


    I differ from mfb in the sense that I am less Kantian than he is.  So, I can't answer about his 'ideal good', truthfully.  It promotes that I see as good, and things, which I think I could reason to you are good, based on our common beliefs.


    Keep in mind, that what me and mfb are talking about, each, is not actually 'Mormonism'.  It's our philosophies about epistemology, which we mix with our religious perspectives.  In a sense, you are getting what two people's moral philosophies.  'Mormonism' in and of itself is a set of common beliefs, doctrines, and actions.  But generally, those things aren't being covered in this thread.  With one exception of course, and that is the Holy Ghost.  The idea of 'how we come to a knowledge that God exists and what he says' is proving to be a pretty commonly discussed idea in this thread I think.  Now this is a very important thing, but even then, not all Mormons agree upon it.  I've met Mormons who are quite positivistic - and I don't mean that as an insult.  But they are very confident in their certainty about things.  I'm on the opposite side of the scale, obviously, doubting things, and then doubting my doubts (double consistency is awesome)!  So yeah, not sure if that answered the question, but I thought you ought to know.




    If that's the only reason you can think of for the development of social mores, I don't think I can help.


    Well tell me than, why do social mores develop?  And what makes them 'right'?  You imply that there is a suitable answer for those two questions.  I don't think there is, at least from my perspective.  If you have time, I'd love it if you showed me why you believe you are correct.  If you can do that, perhaps we can get down to the base issue we are disagreeing upon.




    So, you don't believe the Light of Christ is a gift to humans from God to help them choose right from wrong? I thought I was the apostate.  :)


    I definitely believe it is God's gift to human to help them choose right from wrong, but it doesn't mean I can prove it.  I can't even provide undeniable evidence.  All evidence I provide is based off of assumptions I have made, like my senses, logic, and other things.  In order to communicate with other people, I have to make sure they also make these same assumptions, or else we can't really communicate well and run into an impasse.


    In fact, the way I am trying to convince you is even based off of any assumption - and that is the law of hypocriticality (aka, to do an action justifies similar actions).  I am guessing that you hold to this law.  Most people in the world do, it's probably one of the most universally accepted logic laws out there.  But it's still an assumption.  And I'm still taking a guess.


    But just because I'm taking a guess doesn't mean I cannot believe I am right.  It doesn't mean I cannot believe in those things.  That is my choice to make.




    Seriously, though, in my view, even if we take God out of the equation (which I generally don't), right and wrong are social constructs born of evolutionary processes. In short, they promote the survival of the species, so absent a good reason to ignore them, they're a pretty good standard.


    Well let me ask you this.  You says 'right and wrong are social constructs... [that] promote the survival of the species.  What makes the species surviving good?  I know that sounds ridiculous.  But just think about it for a second.  Say you were a hypothetical intelligent animal whose habitat was being decimated by human kind.  The survival of humans might be not such a good thing.  'Eradication' is good or bad based on perspective.  I don't know if you've ever read 'Ender's Game', but what it teaches is that when it comes to life and death, humans act in their own interests.  And I'd expect most other species to do the same.  Humans surviving is certainly good to us.  But is it good to others?  That depends.




    If we as humans can't agree that, absent a compelling reason not do so, we ought to do what we believe to be right (especially those things human history tells us are right), we're kind of screwed.


    The problem is, humans don't always believe the same things are right.  And I doubt that humans will all ever universally agree on something until the Lord returns again.  We disagree.  Society disagree.  Even history disagrees (there are things that work once, that don't work a second time).  I don't think basing morality solely on society or history is a good idea.  Then again, that is my opinion.  And you should do what you feel is right.

  20. Not really, no. According to Joseph Smith, what we "feel" is right is irrelevant; what is right is what God commands. In other words, actions aren't good because they are inherently good but because God commands them. Hence if something God (or the prophet) commands conflicts with our conscience (the way we feel about morality), we have to overcome our conscience and obey.


    Well, how do we know what God commands?  It's through is Holy Spirit - which communicates through feelings.  So, even still, it is what we 'feel' is right.  How do we know the prophet is a true prophet?  It's because God, through the Holy Spirit, communicates to us through our feelings that he is a true prophet.  We 'feel' he is, and so we believe it.  It's still feelings though.  Not necessarily the same type of feelings (that's a whole 'nother subject), but feelings nonetheless, I feel.



    It also means they (meaning folks like the Laffertys) can act against our interests if they believe what we are doing is wrong according to what God has revealed to them. That's exactly the rationale they used to kill Brenda Lafferty and her daughter. (And lest anyone mistake my intent, no, I am not suggesting that anyone would or could justify the Laffertys' crimes.)


    Yes, they can.  Would you take that right away from them?  Isn't that what free agency is all about.  Everybody is free to act on their own interests, provided they are willing to accept the temporal and eternal consequences of their actions.  I want them to be capable of acting against my interests if they so feel.  Just as I want to be capable of acting against their interests if I so feel.  I like the freedom to choose my path.



    If all we have to judge by is what we think God wants us to do, then we are in no position to judge anyone else's behavior, ever.


    Why not?  All we have is what we think.  Everything we know is what we think.  There is no independent 'object' perspective you can hold that is independent of thinking.  Your perspective influences everything.  Why are we not allowed to act on what we think, when that's the only thing we can prove we have?



    Exactly right: this is about ethics and morality. I'm not trying to attack anyone, but I find this notion that "whatever works for me is good" to have serious moral and ethical consequences.


    It definitely does.  But all other forms of ethics have worse consequences.  Consider moral positivism.  It arbitrarily picks what is right and wrong and then says everybody must live by it just because.  Consider true relativism, where right and wrong don't exist, and you can do whatever you want without consequence.  Every other moral system has consequences; this, in my opinion, is the least of them.  I'd rather justify other people than deal with the other consequences, which in my opinion, are worse.  So yes, you could call my position relativistic - but it isn't fully - because I believe in a sense of right and wrong, which is not determined arbitrarily or by social mores.



    I don't know about anyone else, but my sense of right and wrong comes from my conversation with humanity at large and with God.


    What makes humanity right?  Furthermore, how do  you communicate with God but by feelings, which are not accepted by the scientific community?  Then again, what makes the scientific community right?  How do we know that what we see is accurate?  The answer to all of these questions, I think, is that we can't tell for sure.  But that doesn't stop us from believing in things, nor should it =).



    I think it is wrong. If, for example, I think God has commanded me to start a Ponzi scheme, I would hope someone would tell me not to do it. And I hope I would listen. But if I did it anyway, it would not be good or moral just because I think God told me to do it.


    So tell me, what makes Ponzi Schemes immoral?  Is it because they cheat people?  What makes cheating people immoral?  Is it because it harms them?  What makes harming people immoral?  Eventually you will have to come to a basis which you are willing to say is the basis of all morality.  Eventually you have to say 'this is the standard'.  What's your standard line?



    It's pretty simple: I have a conscience. In the LDS church, that conscience is called the Light of Christ and is a gift from God. If you are correct, if something a prophet tells me to do conflicts with the Light of Christ, I should do what the prophet says and try to overcome the Light of Christ.


    And how do you know your conscience, or the Light of Christ is correct?  Because the way you know the church is correct is through that.  So you can't use the Church to justify it.  What makes your conscience correct, and know what is right?  The answer, in my opinion, is that we assume it is.  Because it makes life worth living, and brings us purpose and happiness.  And I don't think that's a wrong choice.



    I have to disagree. One's conscience, whether you consider it a gift from God or something evolved in humanity, is an excellent guide to our moral sense. In my view, the trouble begins when we think something out there trumps our own sense of right and wrong.          


    You say here that conscience is a guide (in other words, the basis of) our moral sense.  In other words, you say it is 'moral' to use it.  But what makes it moral to use it?  You can't say that your conscience tells you it is right to use your conscience.  So what makes it right to use it?  What makes using your conscience justified?


    But your beliefs rest on assertions of amorality: nothing is inherently moral or immoral. Surely you recognize that. "It works for me, so it's good" is the approach you've outlined over and over again.


    The problem is that all forms of morality are based on this.  Every single one of them comes down to this, when you get down to the nitty gritty of it.  It's all based off of what we 'feel' is right and wrong, correct?


    But your beliefs rest on assertions of amorality: nothing is inherently moral or immoral. Surely you recognize that. "It works for me, so it's good" is the approach you've outlined over and over again.


    But, you say, what is good is what God commands us to do.


    "That which is wrong under one circumstance, may be, and often is, right under another. God said, 'Thou shalt not kill.' At another time He said "Thou shalt utterly destroy.' This is the principle on which the government of heaven is conducted—by revelation adapted to the circumstances in which the children of the kingdom are placed. Whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is, although we may not see the reason thereof till long after the events transpire."


    In short, actions are moral when God commands them and immoral when God prohibits them. This is the morality behind Nephi's killing of Laban, but also of the murders of Brenda and Erica Lafferty. If you are going to say that reason and logic and evidence are irrelevant to determining religious truth (and that's what you've been saying), all you have left is whether something is of God or is not--and as you have rightly pointed out, that's entirely subjective. If we accept your approach, we cannot judge anyone else's religious beliefs because they "work" for them. By that logic, the Laffertys were only doing what God commanded, so therefore it was right; if we can't see that, it's because we don't understand God's ways yet.


    No, that's actually a bit further than we assert.  We assert you can't call them 'morons' for doing what they believed God said.  We can't see anything beyond what we have experienced though, so we are not bound to what they have experienced.  That means we can act against their interests if we believe what they are doing is wrong according to what God has revealed to us.  In other words, we can believe that their actions don't come from God, but we have to respect that they are allowed to believe that their actions come from God, even if we think they don't.


    It's really about that dichotomy between thoughts and actions.  We are getting into an ethics bit here.



    Of course yours is a utilitarian ethic, but the problem I have with it, again, is that you determine utility not according to any notions of good, long-term or short-term, but rather by what "works" for you and what you think God commands.


    That would kinda be circular logic.  Good is another word for moral.  We are trying to determine what 'good' is here.


    In any case, yes, we think you should do what you think God has commanded you to do, even if others disagree with you.  Is that wrong?  I don't think so.



    Again, if we go by your logic, there is nothing inherently wrong with robbing a bank. If God commands it, it's good and right.


    That's correct.  Why did Nephi kill Laban?  Because God commanded him.  I am getting an inclination that you do not like the idea that inherent morality doesn't exist beside God's morality.  Is that correct?  I can understand your reluctance.  But I don't think the other paths are any better than this one.  They have their consequences of their own, in a sense.

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