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esodije

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  1. It’s all political in the U.S., simply because half the country doesn’t trust the motives of the other half, especially regarding public-health measures that have huge economic implications, not to mention their impact on individual liberties and primary/secondary education. For the church to take any official position, effectively affirming what America’s execrable political class (including all the public-health apparatchiks) is trying to compel us to do, is bound to raise the hackles of more than a few church members. The First Presidency knows this, but they aren’t about to give anyone an excuse to believe that they’re bucking the orthodoxy or encouraging their members to do so.
  2. And what is my daughter supposed to do if her cardiologist won’t support her decision not to take the vaccine? Most doctors and practitioners nowadays continually follow the path of least perceived exposure to malpractice liability—they sure as heck aren’t following anything approximating the Spirit.
  3. My soon-to-be 40-year-old daughter, a labor-and-delivery nurse with 15 years of experience, has been granted an exemption from getting the COVID-19 vaccine, based on nominally religious grounds. She contracted the virus last December, when she was about 7 months pregnant with twins. She has had symptoms of pre-eclamptic diabetes with all three of her pregnancies, and in that context she became very ill with the virus. She had to deliver her babies five weeks early by emergency c-section, and all the anxiety she felt even caused her to suffer some congestive heart failure (“broken heart syndrome”). She and her babies survived, but the experience left her with the abiding feeling that she did not want the vaccine. What I fail to understand is why church leaders would not take into consideration individual circumstances and a person’s sincere belief that the Holy Ghost has communicated to her that the vaccine isn’t a good idea and that her natural immunity from having had a sh*tload of the virus is enough to protect her and those around her. Hasn’t COVID been politicized enough without becoming totally dogmatic about the vaccine?
  4. I’ve taken tours in the last decade or so of CofC-owned sites in Nauvoo (Smith family homes, cemetery, red-brick store, Mansion House) and Kirtland (temple). The tour guide in Nauvoo told us that belief in Joseph Smith as a prophet, in the Book of Mormon, or in the Restoration is completely optional for members of the CofC. The tour guide in Kirtland told us that the CofC believes in the three-in-one Trinity—that, to the extent that they believe the First Vision was a real event, they accept Joseph’s account(s) that don’t refer to the Father and the Son being distinct individuals.
  5. I figured that sooner or later the leadership would realize that four sessions of GC don’t provide sufficient slots for the expanded pool of soeakers.
  6. I remember being told by multiple BYU administrators when I was a freshman there (1977-78) that BYU would never have a medical school or very many government contracts for graduate-level research, simply because the church didn't want the feds dictating standards or policies concerning student/faculty conduct and holding funding over its head. I don't think too many people in that era considered it likely either (a) that the feds would have their hooks into all levels of higher education to such an extent that it could use basic accreditation as the ransom for compliance, or (b) that compliance would entail acceptance of what were then considered deviant traits (or, especially, behaviors) by society at large, to the utter disregard of traditional religious belief (or dogma, as you will). What option will the church have but to do what most other "church" schools have done (cf. the WCC or the Big 12) and all but abandon the idea of a faith-based education? I realize that the 9th Article of Faith states plainly that we believe that God will "yet reveal" many "great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God," but the recent emphasis on the Gospel's still being in the process of "restoration" seems to suggest that big changes are in the offing. Is Elder Holland, as a former BYU president, in some denial about the trajectory the school and church are on?
  7. A head-on collision in the Four Corners area doesn’t necessarily involve alcohol/intoxication, but it’s generally a safe bet. One of my half-sisters from my father’s first marriage was killed in 1999 by a drunk driver on US 491 (formerly US 666) while en route to Shiprock from Cortez.
  8. A generation ago, the SF Gay Men’s Chorus was singing, “Ask Me No More.” Now it’s “We’re Coming for Your Children”?
  9. I remember reading a translation of one of Osama bin Laden’s videotaped diatribes. He was bemoaning the “reconquista” of Andalusia by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492. I thought, “Five hundred years! Give it a rest!” Apparently, however, no land claim ever grows stale that’s asserted by the “right” people.
  10. “Evolving and malleable”—those words leap off the page. Like other “progressive” theories, CRT basically means whatever an academic/demagogue/media type needs it to mean at any given moment to condemn the prevailing norms of American government, society, and jurisprudence. Like Anthony Fauci, it’s just trying to stay at the head of the parade no matter how much the route swerves or doubles back on itself.
  11. If “hate the sin—love the sinner” is a mixed message, there are many more fundamental contradictions inherent in Gospel teachings. The largest of these is that the Atonement simultaneously can, and cannot, redeem us individually. The foundational principle is that we are saved (redeemed, sanctified, and worthy of exaltation, versus “merely” resurrected) by grace, but only “after all we can do.” Once that condition is interposed, the underlying calculus of salvation becomes so complicated that, in my view, we may as well ascribe to the Calvinist notion that God will save whom He will, and at His good pleasure, regardless of our individual works. I know I’ve more or less concluded that I’m Terrestrial Kingdom material, regardless, which—I know definitively—isn’t much motivation to do charitable acts of service for people outside my family. I agree that the church as we know it today can’t survive if it changes its policies concerning SSM and homosexuality in general. However, in my opinion, that isn’t even in the top 3-5 factors impacting the looming crisis of faith among church members.
  12. I’ve been thinking more about “Time only” temple weddings. While they’ve never served any real legal or doctrinal purpose (at least, that a courthouse wedding couldn’t have accomplished), I think the couples involved tended to attach their own significance to the temple locus. It was like they were re-affirming their commitment to their eternal spouses while relieving themselves of any guilty feelings about boinking someone else’s eternal spouse for the rest of mortality. I would give myself only about a 1-in-5 chance of outliving my wife, but, regardless, there would be virtually zero chance that I’d ever remarry, in or out of the temple. One, I’d never do that to my kids and grandkids; and, two, I’d never be able to assuage my sense of guilt over doing the deed with another woman.
  13. It may already have been said, but any history of divorce on either party’s part was an absolute bar to a time-only temple marriage. That excluded an awful lot of single members from the privilege, even those whose divorces happened long ago and/or through no fault of theirs. I sense that, rather than futz with the rules or give these members one more reason to see themselves as outsiders, the church leaders simply eliminated the practice. It really was pointless, anyway.
  14. The most interesting parts of the series, to me, are the excerpts from the post-plea interview(s) with Hofmann. They really reveal just how much of a sociopath he was. It’s a little chilling to think that, no matter how masterful he was at faking documents, it pales in comparison with his ability to have pretended to have a conscience. I read the “Roger Ebert” review of the show, and the reviewer obviously was disappointed that it didn’t body-slam the church. I believe such an attack would have been gratuitous and overstated. I don’t think even very many apostates truly believe that Hofmann was a natural product of LDS doctrine, culture, or fixation on early church history. I’ve known other church members who turned out to have sociopathic tendencies, but they number in the low single digits. Our naïveté as naturally trusting and empathic people may make a lot of us dupes in the making, but the perps are still the bad guys in the end.
  15. I was curious about any new articles on Truth & Transparency (fka MormonLeaks), and I found that the last thing posted was dated 3/7/2020. Could it be that there just isn’t a constant-enough stream of scandalous scuttle-butt about the COJCOLDS (+ the Jay-Dubs) to support the site? Or did the proprietors simply lose interest? I remember when I first heard of MormonLeaks, after it leaked the McKenna Denson/Robert L. Bishop recording online. At one point it was inviting people to make submissions via the “TOR” network, which I’m sure most of us know by its other name, “the Dark Web.” I thought briefly about a submitting a letter my wife found in her uncle’s effects after the latter died some years ago. It was sent by Apostle Spencer W. Kimball to my wife’s uncle sometime in the late 1940s. It was a discreet attempt on Elder Kimball’s part to ascertain whether my wife’s uncle had any serious romantic interest in a particular young lady on whose behalf Elder Kimball was writing. (Needless to say, I thought “Cupid’s helper” was a strange function for an apostle to serve, piddling though the topic was.) I was also struck one time by a Season 3 episode of Leah Remini’s A&E series on Scientology, called “Ideal Orgs.” Scientology had been investing big money in large-scale learning centers that were hardly being utilized and lay empty most of the time. Given that Scientology hadn’t been attracting new proselytes for some years, it had started trumpeting its growth in terms of the number of these “ideal orgs” that were coming online. It made me wonder whether the COJCOLDS isn’t doing much the same thing with all the temples being constructed and dedicated. Adjusting for COVID-19 shutdowns, how many of these new temples—at least those outside of Utah and Idaho—are operating g at anything close to full capacity? It seemed like a topic that T&T might want to investigate if it could find a source of information. (Please tell me why this is an inapt comparison!)
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