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  • Birthday 09/06/1973

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  1. Oh, you guys haven't seen anything yet. My scholars are going to rain down death blows on your scholars!
  2. Some things have changed. But church teaching regarding the need for endowed members to wear the garment outside the temple has been pretty consistent: 1915: "It is not right to leave off wearing the temple garment during the day because of hot weather; it should not be taken off at all excepting to be renewed by another, or for the purpose of bathing, or for work or other purposes requiring the baring of the body." (Joseph F. Smith, Anthon H. Lund, and Charles W. Penrose to Arthur C. Smith, March 10, 1915) 1923: "Garments should be worn all the time. When you understand the covenants, you will understand that you cannot take them off at night." (Zina Y. Card, "Garments," Temple Instructions, ca. 1923) 1938: "It must be made clear to [young people] that [the garment] is such an indispensable part of the Temple ceremony that if they do not make up their minds to always wear it, and respect it, they are not entitled to the endowments of the Temple." (Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark Jr., and David O. McKay, circular letter, July 20, 1938) 1950: "The covenants taken in the temple incident and attached to the wearing of garments contemplate that they will be worn at all times. No exception to these covenants is found anywhere in the ceremonies. These covenants run between the one making them and the Lord. These covenants so made take on the nature of commandments of the Lord. . . . The wearing of the garment is the subject of direct covenant between the Lord and the covenant maker, who must determine to what extent he will keep his covenants. To break our covenants is to lose the protection and blessings promised from obedience thereto." (George Albert Smith, J. Reuben Clark, Jr., and David O. McKay, circular letter, October 2, 1950) 1969: "The continuous calling of men into military service makes it desirable to reaffirm certain observations previously made by the First Presidency in the matter of wearing temple underclothing. Such apparel should be worn at all times unless very unusual circumstances prevent it. Under present-day conditions there are very few such occasions. When military underclothing is required, it should be worn with the understanding that the wearing of the temple underclothing shall be resumed at the earliest possible moment." (Priesthood Bulletin, March 1969) 2019: "The temple garment is a reminder of covenants made in the temple and, when worn properly throughout life, will serve as a protection against temptation and evil. The garment should be worn beneath the outer clothing. It should not be removed for activities that can reasonably be done while wearing the garment, and it should not be modified to accommodate different styles of clothing." (First Presidency Letter, October 6, 2019) (Pre-2019 quotes are from Devery S. Anderson, ed., The Development of LDS Temple Worship, 1846–2000: A Documentary History)
  3. I've never heard of this and have difficulty believing it was ever considered, as it would go against the whole purpose of wearing the garment. Anyway, I can confirm that this proposal isn't discussed in Mormonism in Transition (1st edition) or in The Development of LDS Temple Worship, 1846–2000: A Documentary History (2011).
  4. It doesn't matter what era you were raised in? Really? It doesn't matter that the priesthood ban had been in place for almost half a century when Mark E. Petersen was born? It doesn't matter that he was indoctrinated in a racist ideology from a young age? That prophets and apostles since the 1840s had taught that Black people belonged to a cursed lineage and were ineligible for priesthood blessings? That the scriptures equated dark skin with divine disfavor and declared that Ham's lineage "could not have the right of Priesthood"? It doesn't matter that the Sunday School manual in 1935 contained study questions like, “How do we know the negro is descended from Cain through Ham?” “Name any great leaders this race has produced” and “Discuss the truth of the statement in the text, p. 101, that Cain ‘became the father of an inferior race’”? It doesn't matter that the First Presidency issued a statement in 1949 declaring the priesthood restriction a "direct commandment from the Lord, on which is founded the doctrine of the Church from the days of its organization"? Petersen's comments in 1954 were absolutely mainstream in the Church. He was not some particularly bigoted outlier. As for abiding by "Love one another," what do you make of this? Is this the behavior of a hateful bigot? To meet with Black Latter-day Saints in their homes to listen to their concerns? And should Brent Metcalfe's positive assessment of Mark E. Petersen, based on his personal interactions with him, count for anything? Metcalfe met many General Authorities when he worked in the Church security department in the early 1980s and had also had many General Authorities visit his home due to his dad's position in the Church. Metcalfe states: "Mark E. Petersen was probably one of the most cordial, down-to-earth apostles I ever met" (Part 1, starting at 38:22; story starts at 35:55). The views Petersen expressed in 1954 had everything to do with the era he was raised in in the Church (and were shared by all Church presidents up to Spencer W. Kimball and nearly all of the apostles—Hugh B. Brown being the only exception that I know of).
  5. I've done a bit more reading about this, too, and it looks like there was quite a bit of consultation before the final decision was taken. Several apostles were invited to submit memos on the question in the weeks leading up to the announcement (Elders Packer, Monson, and McConkie). Neal A. Maxwell, who was not a member of the Q12 at the time, also seems to have prepared a brief. And David B. Haight related that "in the weeks prior to the June 1 meeting, Kimball had met individually with each apostle, and again with some small groups of apostles, to discuss the implications of changing the policy" (Gregory A. Prince, Leonard Arrington and the Writing of Mormon History [Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2016], 319, 324, 326). Bruce R. McConkie's memo was titled, "Doctrinal Basis for Conferring the Melchizedek Priesthood Upon the Negroes," and is briefly described in Matthew Harris's recent Dialogue article, "Joseph Fielding Smith's Evolving Views on Race: The Odyssey of a Mormon Apostle-President."
  6. My own experience with local Church leaders leads me to believe that there is a "mantle"—a "special connection" if you will. Perhaps not all leaders have this, but many do. And I am certain that many of them live more consecrated lives than I do. So I disagree. Leaders can be deceived and mistaken about things, but that doesn't mean that they receive no more inspiration or revelation than I do.
  7. I completely agree. But I do think it's important to extend grace (as you do to) to these former leaders. I think, for the most part, they were doing the best they could with the light they had. As Winston Churchill put it in his tribute to Neville Chamberlain, "In one phase men seem to have been right, in another they seem to have been wrong. Then again, a few years later, when the perspective of time has lengthened, all stands in a different setting. There is a new proportion. There is another scale of values. . . . The only guide to a man is his conscience; the only shield to his memory is the rectitude and sincerity of his actions." I think Delbert Stapley's letter to George Romney is quite revealing for what it says about the thought processes of some of the Q12 in the mid-20th century. It's an interesting time capsule. While I think Elder Stapley's views were misguided, they clearly weren't motivated by hatred. He believed his understanding was in harmony with Joseph Smith's teachings and God's will—and a hundred years of church teaching seemed to back that up. Now, however, "there is another scale of values." Could we summon the shade of Elder Stapley or Elder Petersen, like Samuel, I think they would likely express themselves differently now. But I agree that there are important lessons to learn here.
  8. Does it "matter" that some previous Church leaders used insensitive language or harbored less-than-admirable views of other groups or pursued policies that harmed others? Sin always matters, so to the degree that sin was involved, it matters. It shouldn't be minimized or ignored. But does it affect my salvation? Not that I can see. It's easy to condemn Mark E. Petersen's comments in 1954 from our vantage point in 2023 as "not OK." But to judge him fairly I would have to do a "Freaky Friday"-style body swap so that I had all of his experiences and knowledge and understanding up to 1954 and none of mine up to 2023. Since I can't do that, I leave him in the hands of the God he served devotedly his whole life.
  9. Welcome back, Mateochinese, MateoChina, MatteoManospherian, MatteoVietnam.
  10. It was a bit more than a quick Google search. I consulted two general histories of the Reformation, a dozen articles from two collections of recent Calvin scholarship, two other books, and two primary sources (one in French). But you're correct that I haven't done a deep dive into Servetus's thought. Any particular works, biographies, or commentary you recommend? I don't disagree that Servetus taught a form of modalism, but I'd prefer to see actual quotes for the specifics. So far you haven't provided any. A close comparison of Servetus's and Abinadi's teachings would be helpful. You'll forgive me if I don't simply take your word for it that they are "perfectly consistent." Good. I look forward to seeing a responsible, careful analysis. To be honest, I thought some of your historical claims in the first video were pretty questionable. E.g., "Calvin developed an intense personal hatred for [Servetus] . . . and vowed to kill him if he ever came to Geneva. . . . Calvin plotted his death . . . made good on his promise and burned Servetus at the stake." Calvin scholar Richard Gamble offers a very different historical assessment: Now Gamble himself is a Calvinist, and he is clearly wearing his apologist hat here, but these data points complicate your simple narrative. (Even Jerome Bolsec, who hated Calvin with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns, admitted that Servetus was a lot ("Ce Servet estoit à la verité arrogant & insolent.")
  11. Ouch. Sorry to the 1500+ transitioning Mormons who've shared their stories thus far! (John was never much of a wordsmith.)
  12. So I've read a bit of Bolsec now. My French is rusty, but I think I've picked up the main points. In the opening pages of his biography of Calvin, he describes him as the "enemy of God and of Christian unity" (i.e., a heretic) and as "ambitious, arrogant, cruel, malign, vindictive, and ignorant" (p. 5). Bolsec indicates that he was writing in reaction to the positive biography of Calvin by Theodore Beza, Calvin's disciple and successor. For example, against Beza's claim that "for at least ten years [Calvin] never dined, taking no food at all till supper" and "sometimes abstained from food for thirty-six hours in succession," Bolsec penned a chapter accusing Calvin of "frenzied gluttony" (see p. 56 and following). Bolsec's biography is the exact inverse of Beza's. His Calvin has no virtues whatsoever, only vices. But I still don't see much overlap with Mormon's portrayal of Noah. Bolsec's bombshell (false) claim regarding Calvin's morals is that he was convicted of sodomy as a young man and branded on his shoulder (p. 16). No such charge is made against Noah or his priests. Noah and his priests have multiple wives and concubines, but only the priests are said to consort with prostitutes (Mosiah 11:4, 14). Unlike Noah, Calvin is not criticized for expensive public building projects (Mosiah 11: 8–13) or for planting vineyards and making wine in abundance (Mosiah 11:15). Noah, for his part, is not accused of heresy (Calvin's chief crime in the eyes of his opponents). The parallels between Servetus and Abinadi aren't strong either. Servetus was executed for denying Christ's godhood, whereas Abinadi was executed for affirming Christ's godhood as the Father and the Son who would come down to earth and live among mortals (Mosiah 15:1–4; 17:7–8). And the ostensible parallels between Servetus's and Abinadi's manner of death (both burned at the stake for heresy) start to look a lot less impressive the more you look at the details.
  13. Sorry, I was making a lame joke (Noah can't be John Calvin because he's Isaac Hale / Joseph Smith Sr). But it's true that I don't find your theory convincing. King Noah is noted in the Book of Mormon for his many wives and concubines, riotous living, wine-bibbing, love of riches, idolatry, indolence, and oppressive taxation. John Calvin was a famously austere character, Noah's opposite in just about every way. So I don't see it.
  14. This point about stakes is somewhat undermined by the authors' admission in footnote 9 that it is "likely that Abinadi was bound to a structure or a 'stake.'" (After all, it's a big ask for a victim to stand perfectly still while lit firebrands are applied to their skin for hours at a time.) Regarding the topic of the thread, I'm with Ben. The notion that King Noah is a stand-in for John Calvin is demonstrably wrong. Dan Vogel has shown convincingly that King Noah is a composite character based on Isaac Hale and Joseph Smith Sr. (Vogel, Joseph Smith: The Making of a Prophet, 177)
  15. I have no special insight into this but can only offer what others have suggested. I suspect Elder McConkie was influenced by Elder Talmage's remarks in Jesus the Christ: Elder Talmage seems to link his thought about the agony of Gethsemane recurring with Jesus' cry of dereliction. Following Elder Talmage, the Givenses and Elder Holland have offered the following reflections:
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