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  1. Not exactly, no. Who has authority over an individual life? Whose claims are entitled to one's time and energy? Joseph Smith is not entitled to my attention, nor is the church. And, From a scientific perspective, the claims are not relevant, as they're not making scientific claims. From an intellectual perspective, the lines are deeply blurred, because they rely heavily on emotions. From a moral and spiritual perspective, I can reasonably say this: the church's claims encroach upon moral and spiritual boundaries of peoples' lives. So I would say that the claimants have the moral responsibility to go back to the drawing board, dig much more deeply to build a morally-tenable proposition for other human beings. (FTR this goes to anyone who claims to speak for God to humankind.) A few weeks ago a person was asking me about my mother's cancer diagnosis. She then proceeded to give me instructions for my mother's treatment. She is not a doctor or medically qualified at all. It's not uncommon for people to say things like this to each other, but it does reveal something about them. It reveals a casual regard for the gravity of their proposal and its potential impact on the person they are telling. It also reveals a disproportionate confidence in the information they are sharing. It reveals disrespect for other people and a disrespect for the subject material. In short, my response here is a deeper explanation of why the premise of this thread is all backwards. It is like Fether is demanding my mom to tell him why she should not fast for three days and take the nutritional supplements he suggested. To that I do say "Shoo." There is an inherent lack of respect in making unprovable claims about how people should fundamentally live their lives.
  2. I've suggested a cohesive narrative already, for how the BOM is not as claime: all supernatural influence is the same as claimed, except that it is from Satan, not God. After all, look at the racism it relies on and perpetuates. Bad fruit. Not to mention other division and suffering, and deceiving Native Americans about their ancestry. Anyways... You're not asking due diligence questions, where the burden of proof falls upon the claimants. People can lie and hide forever how they made something or how something occurred. Don't be naive.
  3. Well as someone who grew up in the church I clearly saw it in men who had no relation to me asserting their supposed authority over my spirituality as a child. Perhaps it is easier to see from that perspective, but the church claiming spiritual authority over others is ubiquitous in its nature. Wiggling semantics do not change that.
  4. It wouldn't be the first time nor the last that men sincerely fancied themselves as more important than others and collectively worked to maintain such a fantasy through collaboration. Those who claim that the Book of Mormon is exceptional don't tend to do so because of its own merit, per se, but rather because of its unexceptional content combined with assumptions made about its production. It's very much like a magician's sleight of hand and not about true value of the work. We can see an extension of this in more modern times, when President Hinckley and others talk about the Book of Mormon being divine serving as a testament of the Restoration, doing this without an actual appeal to book's contents. The claim of the Book of Mormon's divinity is rarely accompanied by an assessment its net value, where the harm it has caused is acknowledged and weighed against any contributions it has made. Perhaps that is because the evaluation of the book tends to begin with existing presumptions about it. For instance, I've never heard anyone who claimed the Book of Mormon was produced supernaturally to tackle the problem of its production being potentially aided by the Devil.
  5. Sure, people make their own stories. But only very few claim and attempt the exercise of spiritual authority over others.
  6. Right. It is backwards. For instance, what is the comprehensive, cohesive narrative explaining how the Book of Mormon is what it and Joseph Smith claimed it to be?
  7. No, not everyone "survives" that. Ftr though, you're bringing up survival. I was speaking about spiritual health. External interference is inherent in the church's relationship with our worthiness and tea and coffee consumption. Worthiness contingent on tea and coffee consumption. On the one hand, one may question why the faithful would not give up something so trivial. On the other hand, one may question why a church would make worthiness contingent upon something so trivial.
  8. The little things *can* make a difference indeed. They can spark joy and be a part of positive moves which enhance life. Which is why external interference in them can be troublesome.
  9. For you, the "abstaining from coffee and certain teas hold meaning" related to your beliefs. Would you still abstain if the abstinence weren't a requirement of worthiness? For example, you might choose to abstain from dairy products for spiritual reasons also, but that abstinence has no impact on church worthiness. There's a difference between making such decisions based on personally-developed decisions versus church requirements.
  10. I'm sure that the common use of sugar and condensed milk in drinks including coffee and tea has nothing to do with that health challenge. I can't stand sweetened drinks, though.
  11. For many people in the world, tea and coffee *are* just liquids. People may or may not consume them, purely based on their own preferences and experience with them. A personal expression of devotion is one thing, an outward expression of worthiness is another. I don't think that the attachment of worthiness to something so relatively trivial (and sometimes possibly helpful) is good.
  12. It is good to return to first principles sometimes, even regularly, with the opportunity to re-evaluate. That might be one way to use "new bottles."
  13. It does help, even the ritual of sitting with a mug of hot liquid and sipping, alone or with someone else socialising, can be comforting and then energising in itself.
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