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    Chihuahua, Mexico
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    I am very interested in the history of religious conflict, especially here in Mexico. I enjoy studying the history and doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its offshoots. I am here as neither an investigator nor a critic, but as one who is intellectually and spiritually curious. I want to learn and perhaps add to the discussion and dialogue. OK?

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  1. Interesting topic and one about which we know very little. Let me think about it.
  2. Would a goal of "building bridges" to the community that did not involve proselytizing be something that might be considered, especially where damaged relationships exist? If so, would that be a ward, stake or area task, one that might be coordinated from SLC?
  3. Ok. I know what you are saying. Just one more question. Is the place you go when you die or reach your ultimate exaltation, a place you have been to before? Where were you when you were spirit children? Is the place you are going upon death and then exaltation different from any place you have ever been before, but the commonality is that you will be "back home" with God?
  4. I worked in 13 different school districts in Florida - from Santa Rosa (my favorite) to Miami-Dade and everywhere in between. I got to see a lot of different ideologies in the public schools of the same state.
  5. I didn't omit it on purpose. I travel a lot. Whenever I think I am going home, that means I am going to wherever my wife is at that time. She is my center, my home. When I think of going to my spiritual home . . . it will be wherever Christ is - that is my center, my home spiritually. I was born in Indiana. We moved away when I was 1 year old. I have never been back there. I grew up in Pennsylvania. That is the closest thing to an earthly literal home I have. On the other hand after living here in Mexico full-time for seven years, here sounds like home. We lived in Florida for twenty two years. . . in San Diego for ten years. From whence have I come? I have decided that for me in this life, at this time - home is where my wife is. I hope that makes some kind of sense to you. I assume that going home when I die is to be where the center of my faith is - to Christ.
  6. I said that tongue-in-cheek. I was kidding! One of the challenges of monological communication. Maybe I should use an emoticon when I am being me - which is often trying to make a joke or kidding around!
  7. Didn't that happen in Genesis 2:7? God formed humans and then breathed life into them? The words hayyah and hayyim in Hebrew are used a lot in the Old Testament. It refers to life, living, living and flowing water, capturing people alive and then killing them, the living God, and on and on. Is it your belief that the spirit children of your faith had life? Or did life (hayyim) begin when they became human? Is Gen 2:7 some kind of a metaphor?
  8. That is exactly how I feel when someone tells me that Christ said "that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight."
  9. Great question. I wouldn't discount the idea that God desires fellowship, praise, communication, and interaction with His sentient creation. Without making Him dependent on us, I believe he grants us agency so we can please, disappoint and yes, surprise Him on occasion. Someone on this forum may see that as another nasty Greek incursion into my theology. So be it. I would repeat that I think His knowledge of what happens has no impact on our ability to change, mold, and make our own circumstances. God is not a puppet-master. He is one who knows how the book will end, but still is impacted by reading it. The reality is what you said, "for much of humanity" life is "pretty awful." I suppose some have and do reject God because of that. I suppose some have and do reject Mennonitism because it has been awful for them. I suppose some reject the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for the same reason. In a lesser way, same for being fans of the Phillies!
  10. I think we have a major challenge with the word "ordain" as used in the Bible. It comes from root words and semi-root words that had very different meanings. In the Bible we have root words in Hebrew, Greek, possibly Ugaritic (in the book of Amos for example), and Aramaic. We have semi-root words in Latin, Old English, and possibly others. When those diverse words (for "ordain" there were over 30) we have to figure out the original wording - what it meant, why a particular semi-root word was used and what it meant, and what the variations on the English word mean. That is why Biblical interpretation is so challenging and at the same time so much fun. It is not a matter of seeing the word "ordain' used, slapping your understanding of the word on it, and making a point of even more dangerous a doctrine. Or we often see the English word in one passage and then in a different passage and assume the same meaning. It is almost never that easy. We don't have root and semi-root words for the Book of Mormon to which we can refer. Folks only struggle with the meaning of English words here and then. The correct interpretation of a word in the Bible is much more complex and differences vary widely. One of the biggest errors in in Biblical interpretation is saying, Well, the word ordain is used in Titus, Matthew, and Acts, therefore each use means the same as the other. That is rarely the case!
  11. Is it not possible that God in some way created the universes ex nihilo and yet, created humans from pre-existent universal matter like dust? I create my books ex-nihilo. I create cupcakes from all the recipes and ingredients. Maybe there is no difference, but I see one.
  12. I am writing a book entitled "The Search for the Soul of Public Education: Dancing in the Mindfields." I have been writing it with lots of contemporary adaptations as events and issues have arisen. Before I ever put fingers to keyboard I prayed over the book. Before I ever had an outline for its construction, I asked God to bless it in the minds of the readers - that they would be open to whatever insights and interpretations it contains. The book existed in my mind before one chapter or one word was written. I guess that is my point about God and humans. Humans did not have to physically exist as spirits (how about that for thought-provoking?) in order for God to bless or ordain them as part of their future destiny. The distance between the foundation of the world and 1949, the year I was born in the mind of an eternal God is a mystery to me. I see no sense in even trying to fathom it.
  13. I think you may be confusing fore-knowledge with predestination. I do not believe they are one in the same. I am clearly not a Calvinist. I believe God knows what people will do and how they will respond. This is not because He makes them respond that way (predestination), but because as God, He knows how they will respond prior to responding, or frankly prior to even being. Foreknowledge has nothing to do with predestination in my mind. It is simply foreknowledge of event prior to their happening, not causing them to happen.
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