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Everything posted by MrShorty

  1. 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."
  2. 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?
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. This conversation has brought to mind several times this post by Ben Spackman: https://benspackman.com/2020/01/the-1950s-a-fundamentalist-shift/ Spackman suggests that, unlike the typical "Mormon fundamentalism" that is focused on polygamy, the mainstream LDS church experienced a similar fundamentalist shift as Evangelicalism seems to have experienced. Spackman's work mostly focuses on Creationism (young or old) vs. Evolutionism, but he also quotes LDS historian Leonard Arrington who identifies three main elements to this Mormon fundamentalism -- Biblical literalism, rejecting "higher criticism" of the Bible, and anti-evolutionism. I see all three of these mentioned in your list. I don't know if that adds much to the discussion, but it certainly seems that the LDS Church has experienced something similar.
  6. Several years ago, I got curious and put "Are Catholics Christian?" into my favorite search engine. The search engine naturally favored the Evangelical counter-cult ministries that consider Catholicism unChristian, and it seemed that most of the anti-Catholic sentiment was based on 2 of those 3 legs -- works-based and extra-biblical canon. Your comment makes me wonder if there is perhaps some interesting insights to be had by comparing anti-Catholic sentiments and anti-Mormon sentiments, since the main difference between the two seems to be that third Trinitarian leg.
  7. I think I understand the comparison to ADHD (something built in to you that you maybe cannot change but somehow need to cope with). For me, my own heterosexuality has still been the lens that I understand homosexuality through. As a higher desire spouse (HDS) in a sexless marriage, my sexual desires often feel more like a burden rather than a blessing. Hang around places discussing libido and desire issues very long, and you will encounter some HDS who is looking for advice on "overcoming their natural man's/woman's" sexual desires so they can be less frustrated in their marriage. Which, in Christian and LDS circles, will often trigger a discussion about whether or not one should even try to "turn off" their sexual desires like that. The usual conclusion is that God gave us these desires so we could somehow bless our spouses, He does not intend that we "overcome" our desires, so turning them off would be inappropriate (even if there were a cheap, easy way to turn them off). If God does not intend for me to turn off my sexual desires, then perhaps God does not intend for homosexuals to overcome their desires, either. In the long run, it really comes down to just how much we believe that sexuality and sexual desires are part of the natural man and how much they aren't.
  8. As I tried to hint, though, prayer and inspiration seem rather unreliable on this issue. There are a lot of people claiming that they have prayed about LGBT issues and felt inspired by God to believe/do something quite different from what our prophets and apostles are telling us. When I need to choose, should I choose to follow what I think God is trying to tell me, or should I choose to follow the prophets against my personal inspiration? I agree that the Church won't budge without direct revelation. One reaction I had to the "If, no" part of your comment looks like this. As starkly as a reversal on this issue would shine the spotlight on prophetic fallibility, is the Church even able to receive such a revelation? Whether SSM is a sin or not, maybe the Church CANNOT receive such a revelation because it doesn't have the stomach to deal with prophetic fallibility.
  9. I can't speak for others, but this seems to be the linchpin. And, as you say, if it is a sin, then it doesn't (shouldn't) matter what activists want. If it is not a sin, then we have some serious wrestling to do with the idea of prophetic fallibility (which is nothing new). Considering the multitude of different opinions -- many claiming some connection to God in coming to their opinion -- how do we conclude with absolute certainty that SSM is against the laws of God?
  10. The big thing that struck me was his recommendation to toss out The Miracle of Forgiveness while talking about embracing living prophets. For years, many of the circles I run in have been calling for Church members to stop using TMoF, so this Area Authority 70 is in agreement with many other voices I have heard. Does anyone have a good source for Pres. Kimball's regrets regarding that book?
  11. Possibly. If the prophet(s) and apostles don't tell us what they know, we can only speculate that they might know something we don't.
  12. I think this is true. One of the interesting things I recall reading in some of the links that @Analytics provided in a previous discussion is that these "experts" on church finances and rainy day funds warned churches against having a rainy day fund whose sole purpose or intent is to grow wealth. These people (and Analytics, and I might also add myself to the list) think that a fund whose sole purpose is to grow wealth is inappropriate for a church. Based on behavior rather than words, it appears that the Ensign Peak fund's sole purpose is accumulating value (at present it's current value appears to be between 10 and 20 times the Church's current total annual expenses including charitable giving). It's not being used to help pay Church expenses or to donate to charitable causes or anything (other than a couple of "bailouts"). I know we haven't actually answered the question, but how much is enough and how much is hoarding?
  13. I expect you are correct that sometimes critics overstate the importance of personal imperfections. I also expect that some apologists understate the importance of some personal imperfections. I can't speak for others as to how much to overinflate/underinflate the importance of different issues. Certainly there are some issues that seem to have little moral significance (like Christ being born on Apr 6). Other issues (like slavery or 19th century racial attitudes) seem very morally significant. I still think that Ben Spackman captures the real issue when he ask what sort of model of prophets and scripture and revelation allows a prophet to believe/teach something as morally reprehensible (to us) as slavery or racism. Maybe the real question for you is, how do you keep these issues in their proper perspective, neither overstating their importance nor understating their importance?
  14. Sorry that the PDF did not work. Try this one. He doesn't have full text of both letters, but he does quote the important parts relative to the discussion. https://latterday-marriage.blogspot.com/2016/08/whats-word-on-oral-sex.html?m=1
  15. @mfbukowski I got this file from an lds Facebook group. I'm fairly certain the original Jan '82 letter has been purged from official church archived. Not sure if this one has as well. Follow up of First Presidency letter regarding oral sex Oct-15-1982.pdf
  16. I'm not sure which specific issue you want to explore. In any case, how much does consistency matter in determining what is true? I think consistency means something, but I think it is possible to be consistently wrong.
  17. In those sexology circles I frequent, this topic is usually all about sin, but, you are correct, it is not prophets telling us to openly sin. It is almost always about prophets calling something sin that is not sin. It usually comes down to, "if a prophet can incorrectly or overzealously call oral sex or the use of birth control a sin, what other things (same sex marriage, for example) are they calling "sin" that is really not sin.
  18. Perhaps prophetic counsel that is wrong to that extreme is rare. However, I would also say that many of the alleged errors are not morally neutral, either. I don't know if anyone in the 21st century would consider slavery or racial segregation or similar morally neutral, yet we find ourselves sometimes wrestling with why prophets and apostles seemed to be so accepting of these practices. In the sexology circles I frequent, we frequently wrestle with various issues like Pres. Kimball's attitude towards oral sex or other symptoms of "good girl syndrome" where much of the discussion focuses on making our own moral judgements because we don't feel we can rely on the opinions of prophets and apostles. Perhaps prophetic mistakes will not bring us before Nuremberg like courts, but it still seems like these issues are morally significant.
  19. @Emily I have not thoroughly scoured the curriculum, but I think it is over stated to claim that "follow the prophet" has never been taught. As one counter example, I first thought of Elder and Sister Rasband's face to face from Sept 2020 when they fielded a question about disagreements with the prophets (about the 18th minute, if you are looking at the video of the full event). In responding to the question, the double down on the follow the prophet message. As I mentioned up thread, I think we are taught both to follow the prophet and seek our own witness. I think part of the problem is that we assume that the resulting witness will unfailingly affirm the prophet's teaching. We never adequately address scenarios where the promised testimony does not come or we feel God is telling us something different.
  20. @Kevin Christensen I finally read the Compton essay, thanks for sharing it. One statement stood out to me. In commenting on Paul and Peter's disagreements in the New Testament, Compton draws the conclusion that, "according to Paul, if we follow Church leaders who are not doing right, we are not absolved from wrongdoing; we share their guilt. And the conclusion is inescapable: sometimes obedience to Church leaders and obedience to God and moral justice are not the same thing" It is interesting how this seems to contradict the idea from the popular Fourteen Fundamentals talk that we are blessed when following the prophet, even when the prophet is wrong. Which version do we really believe? Or do we somehow believe both?
  21. This is another interesting expectation.it seems that some of the difficult issues involve difficulties judging what is "more" and what is "different." It seems that a big part of the splintering around The Manifesto was from judging that the shift to monogamy contradicted what had been said about polygamy, for just one example. Is it reasonable to expect that new revelation will never seem to contradict prior revelation?
  22. I think this is an interesting expectation. To @Kevin Christensen question, I wonder if this is a reasonable expectation. It seems like many of the hard questions around the Church include a "Why didn't God prick their conscience?" element. In another direction, can we expect that God will sometimes use laypeople to prick their conscience? I know we are very uncomfortable with anything that looks like bottom up revelation, but maybe it happens?
  23. @CV75 (and anyone else with thoughts on the subject): RE #3 and 9: Do we really believe in increasing light and knowledge, or is this just a straw we keep that progressives can grasp at? Seriously, though, for me it is interesting how the "increasing light and knowledge" (something reminiscent of Leo Winegar's restorative light model I mentioned earlier) interacts with and counters #9 -- our conservatism. How much easier would some of the needed changes come if we had a better history with more humility and less certainty. It sometimes feels like our certainty is what interferes with receiving greater light and knowledge. Do you think it is possible for a prophet's/apostle's certainty in what they believe or reluctance to accept new light and knowledge can interfere with receiving new light and knowledge? Re your response to #7: Sometimes when we focus on the authority to perform saving ordinances, I wonder about the need to stay in the Church, since I've already received all of the necessary ordinances (except maybe for the obscure ones like the 2nd anointing, whatever that is). I suppose it hits at what it means that prophets can bind and LOOSE on Earth and Heaven, whether I really believe that they can take away those ordinances. If I don't believe they can take those ordinances and covenants away from me, then I sometimes don't feel motivated to stick around just because they were the ones to administer those ordinances. At the same time, it seems like switching the focus to the authority to perform ordinances doesn't really answer the question about why God would let them make sincere mistakes? Is God unconcerned about false teachings that prophets and apostles might give? Sometimes these discussions feel like we are saying that God really doesn't care about doctrines that are taught.
  24. I will agree with this. Here are some of my expectations (some help me reconcile Elder McKonkie's teachings, others don't): 1) As an apostle/prophet -- a special witness of Christ -- I expect him to express a solid testimony of the Savior. In don't know that I expect to agree in every detail (such as Talmage's claim to Christ being born on 6 Apr.), but I do expect a testimony of the Savior. 2) I expect an apostle/prophet to have a solid testimony of the scriptures. Again, I expect to disagree in some interpretive details (which stories are "literal" and which are not). 3) I expect an apostle/prophet to express a testimony of prior prophets and apostles. I don't expect a later prophet/apostle to "correct" any errors of prior prophets apostles -- those kinds of things seem to be quite rare. I am not quite sure what to do with this expectation, because it suggests that apostles/prophets are more interested in loyalty to their "peers" than to finding truth. I do expect that they disagree amongst themselves (Joseph Fielding Smith, B H Roberts, and James Talmage showed how this might play out in public), but I also expect them to keep their disagreements private and internal. 4) I expect to sometimes disagree with what a prophet/apostle teaches. I think this is part of what we are discussing in this thread. 5) I expect that prophets/apostles sometimes claim something is revelation that is not. 6) I expect apostles/prophets to sometimes claim something is "foundational" (as @CV75 mentioned) that I do not believe is foundational (such as Elder McKonkie calling Evolution a deadly heresy). I expect to sometimes agree/sometimes disagree with apostles and prophets on what belongs in our truth cart. 7) I expect prophets/apostles to be sincere in their teachings/beliefs. They may be in error, but I believe they will be sincere. I'm still not sure what to make of this. To again paraphrase Ben Spackman -- what is our model of prophets that allows them to make sincere errors in determining what is right and wrong. 8 ) If I am too vocal in my disagreements, I expect to be "disciplined" by my correligionists or even by my priesthood leaders -- and it won't matter who is "right". 9) I expect prophets/apostles to be "conservative" -- meaning that, where there is uncertainty, they will defer to "tradition" rather than change. Therefore, change -- when needed -- will be slow -- maybe even "late" -- when compared to society at large. That's a good start to my list of expectations. What expectations should we have?
  25. I agree, that I have been long taught to get my own testimony of the Church and individual principles. The problem that I have encountered is that there seems to be a very strong assumption that, if I do seek my own testimony, I WILL get a testimony that whatever Elder McKonkie (or other Church leader the combined voice of the Church leaders) teaches is true. The thing that I think is missing from this discussion is exploring what to do when the expected testimony does not come, or, worse, when we feel like God is trying to tell us something contrary to what the Church or its leaders are teaching. Pres. Oaks talked about choosing to be loyal to the brethren in the absence of a testimony. Others talk about not needing confirmation of every teaching because they once received confirmation that Elder McKonkie (or other prophet/apostle) was legitimately called by God to be a prophet/apostle, so they do not feel any need to separately confirm every teaching by the prophet/apostle. Perhaps that is where some feel like the doubled down "follow the prophet" message comes from. I think the advice to put stuff like that on a metaphorical shelf can be good, but it also feels like a stalling or delaying tactic. It often seems that, at some point, someone has to deal with the issues on their shelf, or, because they get so many things on the shelf, it becomes overwhelming to deal with them all at once (the shelf breaks). In cases like that, would it be better to deal with issues of testimony one issue at a time rather than shelving them? Ever since that one investigator (while I was serving a mission) told us that she felt led by God to stop reading the BoM and meeting with the missionaries, I have wondered if the best answer is to recognize that God can lead people down paths that do not include the Church and its teachings. It kind of cuts into the "strait and narrow" or "one true church" ideas, but it sometimes feels like the best approach. Of course, that needs to go both ways so that those who leave the Church do not see those of us who stay as "deluded" or "blinded" and a willingness to accept that maybe God has His reasons for leading some of us to join and stay in the Church. A whole lot of all or nothing thinking may need to fall by the way side to accept this kind of approach. While I agree that we are encouraged to seek our own testimony, I don't think adequate air time has been given to exploring what should happen when the confirming witness or testimony does not come.
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