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  1. The interesting thing to me is that for some time we’ve been hearing rumors, purportedly originating from Well Placed People, that the Church is speedily working to duplicate various forms of infrastructure so that it can continue its operations even in the face of a hostile society that might to some degree deny the Church and/or its members access to otherwise-common forms of communication, transportation, commerce, etc. The Church discontinuing its in-house webcast capabilities suggests that either these rumors are untrue, or that the Church has made a strategic decision that it won’t be able to maintain a meaningful internet presence in a doodoo-hits-the-fan scenario—that a world in which it can’t access Zoom is a world in which it can’t count on being able to use the internet at all.
  2. Huh? I read the affidavit as Hyrum recalling a conversation between Joseph and Bennett in which Bennett frankly confessed that Joseph was not part of his (Bennett’s) shenanigans.
  3. Sure, but are you sure you’d want to? Eternity is a long time. Longer, if there is no real purpose or unattained goal that gives direction to your ongoing existence; and especially once your realize that your capacity and desire to be amused ultimately exceed the number of amusements that are available. What if the inevitable degeneration of human relationships into boredom and ennui and apathy is the rule, rather than the exception; and it’s only some qualitative aspect of exaltation and/or the sealing covenant that prevents that decay from happening?
  4. If they are continuing the tradition of weekly apostolic prayer circles, then they are holding hands and generally in *very* close contact quite frequently. Perhaps they see no reason to publicly pretend they are distancing in a way that they aren’t really doing when no one is watching?
  5. Let us clarify, what was removed was *state issued* weapons. The members were permitted to retain their personal firearms, which constituted the vast majority of the Nauvoo Legion’s Arsenal (and stands in contrast with Far West, where privately-owned guns were confiscated as part of the terms of surrender). And of course, at Nauvoo, they still had John Browning turning out new guns stamped with the legend “Holiness to the Lord”.
  6. It is perhaps worth noting that within Mormonism, the word “temple” in the 1830s denoted something very different than the meaning it took on once the Nauvoo Endowment was instituted. IIRC the original plat for the city of Zion contemplated twelve “temples”, and at that time “temple” was sort of a catch-all definition for a building that was owned by the Church and dedicated to the advancement of its work. Under that definition, all the buildings on Salt Lake City’s Temple Square are “temples”—the Tabernacle, the Assembly Hall, the COB, the CAB, the Relief Society Building, the Family History Library, the Church History Museum, the Church History Library, the Beehive and Lion Houses, visitors’ centers, the maintenance sheds and parking structure—to some degree they’re all “temples”, as Joseph Smith would have used and understood the word. So, too, the structures on Welfare Square; and the structures down south in Provo on the campuses of BYU and the MTC. My point to all this is that there are a lot of ways the Church could develop the Independence temple property in ways that might substantially satisfy Joseph Smith’s vision for the site but without accommodating any of the rituals we are used to describing as “temple work” and perhaps with much more public (ie non-Mormon) access to most of the structures on-site than we are used to associating with “temples”.
  7. Time will tell. I was in the Mount Timpanogos temple last week, and less than a quarter of the folks in our endowment session (and only one couple in the prayer circle) were masked—even though the email confirming my temple appointment specifically requested that patrons wear masks.
  8. FWIW, when I was in the Brazil MTC in 1999, we were told that when Elder Nelson had dedicated the structure he had planned to do the dedicatory prayer in English but called an audible at the last minute and delivered it in flawless Portuguese. Not sure if there’s any truth to that, or if it’s just another Mormon urban legend . . .
  9. My understanding is that certain victims’ attorneys, when they were negotiating with potential clients, were forecasting individual payouts in the range of $100K; which would require a reimbursement fund of $8.5 billion. AFAIK, no one in the BSA bankruptcy has those kinds of asset reserves—not BSA National, not the councils, not the insurers, not the chartering orgs—no one except the LDS Church itself. Most of them don’t have anywhere near it—I think the BSA and council assets combined are under $2 billion. And let’s remember that $100K is on the low end for a sex abuse claim. Kerry Lewis won $18.5 million from the BSA back in 2010. If the Church can be held jointly and severally liable with the BSA for a judgment of $100K, there’s little reason it couldn’t be on the hook for an award of up to $1 million or even $10 million, which puts our potential exposure at $80 billion or even $800 billion. Suddenly that “rainy day fund” we’ve got is looking a little on the small side—at least, if we want to hold on to our temples . . .
  10. Press release from one of the victims’ committees “Money” paragraph, if you’ll pardon the pun: The TCC calls attention to major flaws contained in the proposed settlements. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) is not paying reasonable compensation for the broad releases of the sexual abuse claims that occurred in local councils controlled by LDS. LDS had direct involvement in every aspect of the scouting program. If approved, the proposed settlement yields an average $3,000 payment for each claim. Instead, the TCC maintains that LDS is being handed a “get-out-of-jail card” in exchange for an unreasonably low sum. So basically, the claimants’ position is that the Church owes money to all 82,500 BSA abuse victims; not just the 2,400 victims who were members of Mormon units.
  11. I imagine there’s some jealousy involved too. While BSA was paying its local executives bloated compensation packages worth seven figures and otherwise wheeling, dealing, running up debt while looting the boys it purported to serve by selling them ridiculously overpriced merchandise and literature and shaking down LDS congregations through “Friends of Scouting” quotas, we built up our storied “rainy day fund” which—coincidentally or not—would now handily pay off their entire claims balance of roughly $100 billion. Between the claimants and the BSA themselves, it was perhaps inevitable that someone would be trying to get their hands in our pockets sooner or later; and as far as the former goes—it’s The Little Red Hen writ large, and I suspect that if the BSA leadership had been fundamentally decent and honest people the Church never would have seen a need to leave.
  12. Over the past year or so I have occasionally seen grumbling, at the Scouter.com forum, to the effect that (allegedly) there were those in BSA leadership who wanted to get much more aggressive much earlier on (like, 1970s) about implementing youth protection procedures and teaching Scouts to recognize sexual abuse; and supposedly the LDS Church was one of the major entities saying "no, the BSA should not be talking to its boys about sex at all". I have no idea whether this is true or not, but there seems to be some feeling on the part of some BSA long-timers to the effect that the Church set the BSA up for failure and has gotten off much more lightly than it should, financially speaking.
  13. Oh, I don’t think I’d say that it improved anyone’s understanding of the principles themselves—as they stand, they’re not exactly rocket science. But the change absolutely improved everyone’s understanding about which students and faculty members, given the chance, would slip into open warfare against those principles. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that we learned more in those two weeks, than we otherwise would have learned in five years. ”Hastening”, indeed . . .
  14. He’ll get off with a slap on the wrist. He was, after all, “punching up”, as they say . . .
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