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MrShorty

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  1. Maybe? We are a couple of months from starting our study of the Old Testament, which means a potential round of discussion about creation (and Creationism vs. Evolutionism). I don't think it is too far fetched to say that the pro-Creationist viewpoint has long been privileged in our Sunday School classes. If a teacher decides to have the class read from Dr, Coffin's pamphlet published in a current OT Institute manual, would it be appropriate to counter the teacher's opinion with a contradictory opinion? Four years ago, in our SS class, it was the question of global/local flood that was briefly brought up, and I chose not to contradict the teacher's belief that the flood must be global. Is there room in our SS classes to take something that is not officially Church teaching (though these things often feel quasi-officially taught by the Church) and charitably offer counterpoint?
  2. @Navidad I don't know that answering the question requires a delve into politics, so I will venture my own misapprehensions for your consideration. I think most of my impressions of what constitutes "Evangelicalism" comes from my local Christian radio station, which seems to lean conservative and gets most of its programming from Moody. If I were looking for clarification on how accurate my picture of Evangelicalism is, I might start by asking if Moody Radio (and Moody Bible Institute and related) is an accurate and general representation of Evangelicalism, or is it only representing the conservative side of evangelicalism? Do more liberal churches (like the ELCA) also represent Evangelicalism, or do the conservative and liberal denominations not like to be lumped together under the same umbrella? (I know that there have been a few denominations divide into conservative and liberal offshoots. In such cases, do both offshoots represent Evangelicalism, or is it only the conservative offshoot that gets to call itself "Evangelical"?) This kind of fits into the question of Fundamentalism that we talked about a few weeks ago, but I notice that my local radio station likes to air spots from Answers in Genesis and other (Young Earth) Creationist groups and never seems to air anything by someone promoting theistic evolution or similar. Is Young Earth Creationism a central or fringe tenet of Evangelicalism? Is the debate over creationism/evolutionism as contentious among Evangelicals as it is among Latter-day Saints? This, I think, can also spill into other areas of "Biblical Literalism" (like global floods) about how literally to read and understand scripture. As a Latter-day Saint, I think the most frustratingly "extreme" position professed by some Evangelicals are those around what it means to be a Christian. Most interestingly to me are those who claim that Catholicism and similar are not truly Christian. I doubt that this is broadly believed by Evangelicals, but it does crop up from prominent pastors (some heading major mega-churches, but will remain unnamed here to avoid a descent into politics). I think that, as an outsider, my main question for understanding what constitutes "Evangelicalism" would be to understand if both conservative (like Moody) and liberal (like the ELCA) all get to comfortably call themselves Evangelical, or does Evangelical refer more to the conservative end of the spectrum?
  3. I agree that the necessary ordinances must be performed by the Church, whether by ourselves or by someone standing in as proxy. Interestingly, the turn of the conversation reminded me of a quip from J. Golden Kimball. Allegedly (because I don't have the inclination right now to verify that it is not apocryphal), when he was a bit frustrated with Southerners, he quipped that it would be easier to give up proselyting and just baptize for the dead. Is this how we really feel about LGBT people -- that it will be easier to let them find their own path through life, then perform any missed ordinances by proxy, and then God sorts everything out from there? I guess that I wonder -- if this is our thinking, would it be better to be more inclusive of LGBT people, let them receive the ordinances and encourage full fellowship (even if they decide to marry or transition), and let God sort it out in the end.
  4. I can agree with this, but I think it brings up the slippery slope of wondering just how strait and narrow is the path to salvation and exaltation. If there are paths that lead to salvation and exaltation that do not pass through the Church (or only pass temporarily through the Church), then is it possible that we are not the only true and living Church on the Earth? Or, perhaps to put it this way, as it might apply to the topic at hand: If there is a path to salvation and exaltation that passes through a committed, monogamous same sex marriage (or gender transitioning or whatever), why would we as a Church not embrace that path? Why would we send LGBT people and couples off to find and follow their path to salvation and exaltation outside of the Church?
  5. When I put forth the question on the Church's goals for its policies, this was one of the things that came to my mind -- the tension between having policies whose goals include encouraging LGBT people to come and worship with us and other policies whose goals include discouraging them from truly joining in full fellowship. It's quite a conundrum. One of my concerns is the amount of speculation that goes into defending the "discourage from full fellowship" part. IMO, the theological and revelatory foundation of the parts that discourage full fellowship seem pretty weak and sandy. It seems to me that, if some our policy goals include "discourage full fellowship", then the theological and revelatory foundations for those policies had better be pretty solid. Because the foundations for these policies seems weak to me, I am inclined towards something like @Peacefully suggested -- encourage full fellowship and let God sort it out later. For those who think that yielding on this foundationally weak issue sets us on a slide down the slippery slope to where we have no standards for full fellowship, I would note that many of the other sins where our policies also discourage full fellowship (adultery, murder, thievery, assault, abuse, etc.) have pretty solid theological and revelatory foundations.
  6. I will draw attention again to the mention of artificial gametes previously mentioned that seems to suggest that, with the right knowledge and technology, children can be born into this world through same-sex mechanisms. Maybe I didn't read it slowly enough, but I didn't see anything in there that suggests that our concept of God cannot be or encompass same sex couples. Verse 63 mostly just says that everything in the universe testifies of God in some fashion. It made me wonder, though -- however poorly we understand them, what do the genetic and epigenetic processes that are implicated in homosexuality and same sex attraction tell us about God?
  7. An excellent statement of the problems that come from prophetic fallibility. IMO, it emphasizes to me that we really haven't adequately addressed the issue, and I fear that the Church will stagnate at some level if we don't come to terms with it. I have mixed and jumbled feelings about this so I don't know if I can make this coherent. I think, in essence, what I see you saying here is that, whether or not our current beliefs and policies about LGBT people and issues are true, God cannot (as you said that @HappyJackWagon and @Analytics are claiming that sometimes God cannot reveal truth to the Church) reveal anything different to the Church even if He wanted to do. In the marriage help circles that I follow, sometimes the conversation will turn to divorce. In some of these discussions, it will be claimed that some cases fail to find resolution because the couple is unwilling to consider divorce. Something about "divorce is not an option" prevents the spouses from truly choosing to stay in the marriage. In these cases, when the couple decides that divorce is an option, something clicks in that the spouses can then legitimately choose whether or not they will stay together or separate. Is the same kind of thing at play here? We can't resolve the LGBT problem because God really has only one choice in revelations He can give the Church and keep the Church intact? On another hand, though, there ought to be a truth out there to be found. If God is constrained to one strongly contested revelation (the current one), how will we know that this is the true one? As @bOObOO says, we are supposed to be able to individually get truth from God, but, it seems that so many people are getting contradicting revelations from God. What is the final arbiter of truth? Coming back to the goals and purposes, part of it could be the Church's self-preservation. I don't know. It's all just so muddled and jumbled and unsatisfactory...
  8. It's also possible that the lines in the sand do exist, but people don't like them, so they obfuscate everything. I'd venture to say that this is the discernment problem in a nutshell. How do we know we are clearly seeing a bright line in the sand, or seeing a vague possible line in the sand, or intentionally obfuscating a bright line in the sand? I agree that this is a very unlikable prospect. The problem I see is that there have been issues historically where it seems that God did not accurately make His will known to His leaders. I've mentioned it before, but I think Ben Spackman captures the essence of the problem in his lesson materials for Philemon. "What model of scripture, revelation, and prophets allows “God’s word,” God’s prophets, and Jesus himself to do or allow something so… inhuman [speaking of slavery]?" If we don't like the possibilities that God is unwilling or incapable of making His will known, then what other explanations do we like better? It's a real problem, IMO.
  9. It might be an apples to oranges comparison, but this reminded me of the claims made by creationists like Joseph Fielding Smith that, if we accept evolution or anything less than a "literal" reading of the creation narratives, that the whole of Christianity falls apart (Creation and Fall could not happen under an evolutionary paradigm, so atonement and redemption cannot happen). I seem to recall that similar absolutist statements were made about polygamy. In the past, we have claimed to KNOW which doctrines/practices are among the lynchpins of the gospel, then later changed those beliefs. I guess I just find myself questioning any claim that ______ doctrine is a lynchpin of the gospel and without it the whole thing necessarily falls apart. I recognize that some people claim that "active homosexuality is incompatible with the plan of salvation" is one of those lynchpin doctrines, but I am not convinced that it really is. To bring this back to goals of policies, you might be saying that one of the Church's goals is to preserve the lynchpin.
  10. So you see the goal/purpose of the Church's policies are mostly PR goals? I think that we often assume the "active homosexuality is incompatible with the plan of salvation" is axiomatic. I think much of the controversy is challenging whether or not this is an eternally true axiom or not. In many ways, I agree with @bluebell that one of our goals is to welcome LGBT into our community, but there is a tension between the goal of welcoming and insisting on "homosexuality is incompatible with the plan of salvation". Sometimes it feels like we are torn between the two seemingly contrary positions. I sometimes wonder if some of the policy reversals and confusion are simply a reflection of incompatible goals.
  11. This may not be well received, I don't know, but as this thread reaches another lull, how about a different direction? When I first saw the title of this thread a month ago, my first thought was that the OP was going to be about what the Church's goals are for its LGBT policies (not so much about the critics'/progressives'/LGBT lobby's goals for the Church). If the group is interested, I will pose the question I thought the OP would be about -- what are the Church's goals behind its LGBT policies? At the risk of opening old wounds, decades ago, it seemed that the Church (like much of the rest of society) saw homosexuality as an illness to be cured, so its policies and practices were oriented towards curing a pathology. Later, around the turn of the century, it seemed that most of the emphasis was on resisting the legalization of same sex marriage. Here we are, 6 years after SCOTUS legalized same sex marriage in the US (some other nations had legalized it earlier, others have not yet legalized it). What are the goals now? At the most basic level, I expect it is rooted in Moses 1:39, but I think there must be something more to an answer here. If the ultimate purpose is salvation and exaltation, how do you think the Church's policies lead towards that ultimate end goal?
  12. Many years ago, I watched a documentary about deafness. One of the most memorable parts for me was the part describing the portions within the deaf community that believe so strongly that deafness is not a disability, is not a pathology, that they actively argue against implants and surgeries that significantly improve a person's ability to hear. The documentary did not delve into theology, but I have often wondered if these people believe they will be cured of their deafness in the resurrection, if they want to be cured of their deafness in the resurrection, and/or if they believe that there will be deaf people in the resurrection. In another direction, consistent with my user name, if you saw me you might "judge [me] to be about 5 foot 3 [but without the soft Texas drawl]" (from an old Marty Robbins western ballad). At 63 inches (160 cm for those on the metric system), I am in in the first percentile for stature. You could say that, while I'm considered "normal", I am definitely at the extreme end of the bell curve. I have sometimes wondered if I will pick up a few inches in the resurrection so that I am closer to average. Or, considering the hypothetical scenario where I accept the growth hormone treatment offered in my youth so that I am a few inches taller today, would I be resurrected at 63 inches, because that is the "perfect" height for me? I don't know the answers, and I don't know that I expect God to reveal any answers to that level of detail. It seems to me, though, that this is a significant part of the question -- what is considered "affliction that can/will/should be healed" and what is considered "normal variation that will not or should not be healed."
  13. In the 19th century, the Church accepted and condoned slavery. Granted, much of the US (including many Christians) also accepted and condoned slavery, so the LDS Church was not really that different from everyone else. If God allowed the Church to accept and condone something as immoral as slavery, is it also possible the Church of today is accepting and condoning other immoral things? What should we do with this? Is leaving the Church the only real option?
  14. If there's one thing I've learned through this journey, it's that relationships are often/usually/maybe always more complex than any one issue. So, I guess I would agree that a lot depends on what else is going on and that there is usually something else going on. There also seem to be very few universal truths, so, sometimes sex is the only problem in the marriage and it is judged sufficient to dissolve the union. So, I don't know. I don't want to pretend to know more than I really do about the experience of LGBTQ+ Mormons. I will say that my experience in a sexless marriage is a big part of the reason that I think the Church is wrong to claim that same sex marriage is sinful.
  15. I could agree with most everything else you said, but I don't think I can agree on this point. Having lived in a sexless marriage for years myself and spoken to many others in sexless marriages, sexual dissatisfaction is definitely sufficient grounds to end that commitment. I personally have chosen to stay and hope something changes in the future, but I would not begrudge anyone who decided they were unwilling to stay in a sexless marriage.
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