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About DonBradley

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    Individualist in the service of a community
  • Birthday October 24

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  1. Thanks so much, friends! ☺️ Don
  2. Ten years ago I was rebaptized after having left the church for five years. The welcoming embrace I received from the church and its members has been one of the most profoundly moving experiences of my life. When I was in the process of returning to the church, I reread the letter I had written to resign my membership, and cried. I had written that letter with the intention of using it to lock the door behind me so I could never go back. And when I re-read what I had written, I thought the church would never take me back. I called my bishop in a panic and he
  3. Chauncy Webb and Eliza Jane Churchill Webb, the husband and wife, Fanny Alger stayed with when she left the Smith home, each independently indicated she was pregnant at the time. I've laid all this out in a conference presentation and will lay it out more fully in published form, when I get to it! Don
  4. Despite what people may say about themselves, everyone does this to a great extent - chooses who they are going to trust, who they are going to rely on. Even secular humanists do. No one can master every branch of science for himself or herself and prove to their own satisfaction that the things scientists of specialties consider settled findings really are settled findings. As you say, life is busy--there's so much going on. I think it's perfectly reasonable to trust the church's leaders when it comes to finances--particularly when they have done much to earn that trust! It's also
  5. Oh, I don't agree with that at all. That assumes that morality is just a matter of abstract obligations and has nothing to do with consequences. I believe paying tithing is a good thing---that's not what I'm objecting to in what you say. I'm objecting to the moral logic you're appealing to--one in which actual consequences for human lives are inconsequential and all that matters is obediently keeping rules and honestly keeping promises. We see the ultimate fruits of that kind of logic in the story of Jephthah and his daughter in the Hebrew Bible, where keeping a promise was more important
  6. I see absolutely no harm in a whistleblower coming forward. Our society protects whistleblowers for good reason, and it's the right thing to do. The church's fund may not have flouted any tax regulations, and if so, it will all get worked out. Or the church's fund may have flouted tax regulations, in which case things will be done with greater exactness in the future, the problem will be solved, and the fund's managers will take greater care to ensure that its tithing-derived monies are put toward religious/non-profit uses. Thus, in the long run, no actual harm can come from a whistl
  7. The church also uses the Bible. There are revelations for which Oliver Cowdery was a co-revelator (e.g., D&C 20) and for which Sidney Rigdon was a co-revelator (e.g. D&C 76). The correctness of the Book of Mormon's translation was attested by the Three Witnesses, who heard the voice of God testify to them that it was translated correctly. And no member of the church is expected to believe the scriptures revealed through Joseph Smith based on his say-so, as most churches expect their members to believe what the Bible says simply because it says it. Rather, Latter-day Saints are asked to
  8. Everything I have ever seen and heard about the church's leadership leads me to trust that church leaders are sincere, committed, non-materialistic, and exercise careful stewardship of church resources. When I was an ex-Mormon regularly spending time at ex-Mormon social events, I routinely heard other ex-Mormons say church leaders were insincere in their faith and motivated by money. Having studied the church's history for decades prior to that, including having read private journals and letters of many of those leaders, this was impossible for me to believe even then. It is, in a word, p
  9. Instantly one of my favorite posts I've ever read. Thank you, Smac! Don
  10. I'm not sure exactly how "critic" and "anti" are being defined. I never saw myself as "anti-Mormon." That label was associated in my mind with Evangelical Christian antagonists who directly argued against core Latter-day Saint faith beliefs, caricatured church history, and did all this not as part of a larger research aiming at discovering truth, but, rather, because they had competing faith claims. Most of them (which occasional exceptions) never seriously considered that the church might be true, and their primary aim was to refute the Restoration as a religious faith rather than to use
  11. Somehow only just saw this. Gosh I was conflicted on this. There are ex-Mormons---I met plenty of them!--who claim to have had a horrible experience growing up in the church. My experience was so opposite to this that I found it near-incomprehensible. I can scarcely imagine a more perfect way to grow up than as a Latter-day Saint child. I had experienced such good in the church--both as a child and as an adult. So when I came to the conclusion, for a time, that my research demonstrated the falsity of my faith, I felt torn. I had wanted to make a contribution to the church, to my
  12. My perspective on and experience of Bill is probably different from that of most here because at one time I was a critic of the church and sometimes engaged in argument with Bill over apologetics and Latter-day Saint truth claims. I learned of his death tonight and was just reflecting over on another board, largely dominated by self-identified critics, on my experience with Bill. I used to have a pretty negative view of him, as I think critics mostly do. But a lot of experience changed that view. Here are the reflections on Bill I posted there. Over a decade ago, when I was very acti
  13. The suggestion was made above that Joseph could have just had Lucy Harris come over to his house to look at the manuscript. It may help to know that Lucy lived a four-day stagecoach ride away in a different state than Joseph, and that Martin was headed home anyway; so the idea of him taking the manuscript home with him would have made sense. There are various questions that arise about why people did what they did in this situation. Why, for instance, was Martin Harris so persistent, pestering God to let him take the manuscript? Fortunately, as I lay out in my chapter about the theft, whe
  14. Tacenda, I can understand where you're at and how you feel about all this. =) You don't need to start from definite knowledge, just that seed! Alma 32 is particularly rich in discussing this--and is a text I think we've just barely begun to mine the depths of. While this presentation is not my most organized one, because I switched tracks of what I wanted to present when I made new discoveries about the text while finalizing my talk, here are some thoughts on what Alma 32 means... Don
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