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    My name is Spencer Macdonald

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  1. I said this because we apparently have nothing in the archives of the Church regarding its revelatory provenance. I am open to correction based on further data. But for now, yes, I think claims that the ban was revelatory were more likely borne of entrenched tradition and strained interpretation of a few scriptures than of any substantive appeal to the records of the Church for evidence of revelatory provenance. That said, I think the prophets and apostles are right on the money in their testifying of Jesus Christ and the Restored Gospel. I think if God truly loved His covenant people He would not have left them in bondage for 400 years in Egypt. And yet He did. Since God is perfect and omniscient, and since I am not, I do not find within myself the competency to judge and condemn Him for not meeting acting in accordance with my expectations. Or it could be that the ban entangled the Gospel with racialist sentiments originating in the 19th century, and that this hindered the Saints - perhaps even including some of in positions of leadership - in their ability and willingness to do what they ought to have done. As Edward Kimball put it: YMMV. I think you are overstating things a bit. Reasonable minds can disagree about such things. Thanks, -Smac
  2. I am not sure your point or what you are trying to get at by this line of repetition. Two purposes for this "line of repetition": 1) to save time, and 2) to emphasize the "when all is said and done" / "at the end of the day" consideration. As to this second item, and by way of analogy: There are all sorts of commonly-held assumptions, beliefs, etc. about how the American legal system works, and some of these are partly or wholly incorrect. Some examples: Police aren't allowed to lie to you You have the right to a phone call immediately upon arrest. If you're not read your Miranda rights, your arrest is invalid. You can't be charged with a crime if the victim doesn't want to press charges. Verbal agreements aren't legally binding. These sorts of misconceptions persist even today, when we have access to all sorts of information. We sometimes don't fully understand just how often we are relying on assumptions, traditions, false notions, and so on. These assumptions, false notions, traditions, etc., even when held by many people over long periods of time, do not "create" law. Instead, we have established alternative mechanisms for establishing laws: legislatures, courts (particularly appellate courts), administrative agencies, etc. And we have clear and obvious sources of information that can help us differentiate "the law" from subjective (and, sometimes, erroneous) assumptions about "the law." In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, some of us have assumptions, beliefs, etc. about doctrines, teachings, etc. Differentiating "doctrine" from assumptions and expectations and such is, I think, a bit more ambiguous than differentiating secular laws from assumptions/beliefs about those laws. We have (A) canonized scriptures, and also (B) non-canonized, but still ex officio, counsel from prophets and apostles, and also (C) formally-published policies and procedures (such as the Handbook). Pres. J. Reuben Clark said: See also these remarks from then-Elder Harold B. Lee (same link) : Consider these remarks by Kent Jackson: And these by then-Elder Harold B. Lee of the Twelve: And these remarks by President Lee: Moreover, the Church is operated and governed by councils and commandments, not an individual's fiat. We sometimes make mistakes in that governance. I think that is what happened with the ban. In my view, the primary evidence for the ban being an error is . . . "we apparently have nothing in the archives of the Church regarding its revelatory provenance." How would I do that? They're all dead. Meanwhile, the living "leaders of Mormonism" have, for many decades now, providing excellent counsel condemning racism, including explicit repudiations in the "Race and the Priesthood" essay. Yes. Good men who, nevertheless, are not perfect and can - and do - make mistakes. I've spent my life "follow{ing} the brethren," and have benefitted enormously from doing so. I have a friend with whom I recently had a very heart-felt discussion (my wife was also present). He has been going through some real struggles. He's younger than me, but he's known me and my family a long time. He said he hopes someday to have a wife and children, and to give them the same sort of life he experienced growing up and which he now sees in my family. My friend, like you, grew up in the Church, but has distanced himself from it and presently holds it in very low regard. I respectfully submit that the Latter-day Saints who well and truly strive to live according to the teachings of the Church generally end up as decent, sometimes even very decent, people. I further submit that this generalized state of affairs exists and arises because these Latter-day Saints are attempting to do what you deride and hold in contempt. If the Latter-day Saints are good, it is not despite of their "follow{ing} the Brethren," but because they are doing so. If the Brethren start dissuading us from having faith in Jesus Christ and accepting Him as our Savior and Redeemer, and from repenting, and from serving others, and from loving our fellow man, and from obeying the Lord's commandments, and so on, then I will give some consideration to your suggestion that we may "have a problem with a leadership that was in apostasy or really are not prophets, seers and revelators." As it is, however, the Brethren are doing all of these things. A lot. I don't "spin" errors "in their favor." Rather, I seek to apply Mormon 9:31. A lot. The Brethren aren't perfect, but I don't need them to be. Apostles are supposed to testify of Jesus Christ. The Brethren, both dead and alive, have cumulatively done an excellent job at this, their primary purpose. They have elsewhere made mistakes, including some substantial ones. The priesthood ban is, I think, the gravest. There have been many others, though. Thanks, -Smac
  3. Well, we'll see. I think Edward Kimball's essay addresses this issue fairly well. Thanks, -Smac
  4. Fair enough. And I am trying to do the same to explain my position and why I find this one of the more problematic items and fairly fatal the the truth claims of the church. At least as far as it being led by prophets that God directs. The scriptures have all sorts of examples of "believers" materially screwing up after having experienced or accepted as true miraculous events and teachings. The children of Israel were committing great wrongs while Moses was up in the mount. Their misconduct does not negate the reality that Moses was communing with God. Laman and Lemuel started grumbling right after an angel stopped them from continuing to beat up Nephi. Their grumbling does not negate the reality of the angelic visitation. The "truth claims of the church" center mostly on Joseph Smith's theophanies, ministrations, priesthood restoration, revelations, and the bringing forth of The Book of Mormon. If the ban was not revelatory, that is truly a great error and tragedy, and its negative repercussions continue to this day. But such errors do not retroactively negate what happened to, and what came through, Joseph Smith. For me, if The Book of Mormon is what it claims to be, then it and the other "truth claims" come together to form a pretty sturdy basis for belief, even in the face of great controversies like the ban. Thanks, -Smac
  5. Alas, vestiges of past errors can persist amongst us. All the more reason to continue to listen to prophets and apostles, and to privilege their counsel over multiple hearsay statements from 'some missionaries ... from Utah ... explaining [] how things really work." Dunno. I didn't listen to all of it. I think there can be plenty of overlap between a thought I hold as a matter of opinion/belief and a thought I hold as a "conclusion." Thanks, -Smac
  6. Kinda. And yet, we apparently have nothing in the archives of the Church regarding its revelatory provenance. As I noted previously: I think there is some difference between "private correspondence" and public statements. This next one is more interesting: And yet, we apparently have nothing in the archives of the Church regarding its revelatory provenance. And yet, we apparently have nothing in the archives of the Church regarding its revelatory provenance. "Church records offer no clear insights into the origins..." It is? How do you know that? I think the priesthood ban lacks revelatory provenance. And yet, we apparently have nothing in the archives of the Church regarding its revelatory provenance. A statement that was "private correspondence." That is not doctrines are established. "FP statement" meaning private correspondence? As an evidentiary basis for revelatory provenance? Not really. OD-2 carries authoritative weight. So too does the Church's "Race and the Priesthood" essay. The ban appears to lack known or established revelatory provenance. The successors to Brigham Young did not originate the ban, they inherited it. I think Edward Kimball's essay makes some astute points about this: See also here (under the heading "Origins of the Policy") : I assume you don't dispute any of this. Your reasoning seems to be that either the Brethren are inspired in everything they do and say, or else they "have no greater, and sometimes even less, insight on things that are correct and moral then the rest of us." Respectfully, I reject this reasoning as a false dichotomy. Thanks, -Smac
  7. Apparently not. That sounds like "a reasoned deduction or inference," that is, a "conclusion." Same here. I think justifications for the ban being revelatory are more circuitous, extrapolated, conjectural etc. Good points. I think the Latter-day Saints had to overcome the engrained societal prejudices which were in place throughout most of the United States. I also think that a big part of how and why the Latter-day Saints are able to overcome such things is the Church's missionary program. Prejudice is a sin of ignorance. It is difficult for a young Latter-day Saint to go to some other social milieu, often involving substantial differences in culture, language, skin color, etc., and serve the people there fore a substantial period of time, and then return home with previously-held prejudices, whether latent or patent, still intact. It is possible, though. There was a young man with whom I served in Taiwan. I liked him a lot, but he struggled quite a bit with both the language and culture. Although we missionaries sometimes cracked jokes and such about the local culture, it was an "all in good fun," even affectionate teasing, kind of way. This elder, though, sometimes made comments that were a bit too barbed. After a few months, he was transferred to another mission. Thanks, -Smac
  8. Of course. This is another more recent innovation that simply allows apologist to sweep away problematic issues like the topic of this thread. If the Church is what it claims to be, then my comments seem pretty plausible. I am not denying or ignoring or "sweep{ing} away problematic issues like the topic of this thread" (you will note that I started this thread). I am, instead, trying to use reasoned analysis, evidence, logic, and so on to address and contextualize these issues. Thanks, -Smac
  9. I always found this line of thought intriguing. The members were not prepared for the change? Not in the 1950s or 1960s? But it was quite fine to shove polygamy down their throats and that is now coined as an Abrahamic test. Culturally plural marriage was far outside the norm and an abomination to the culture Joseph introduced it to. And allegedly it was so important that an angel with a flaming sword was sent to force Joseph to do it. Brigham said he preferred death over taking another wife at least initially. Clearly he later enthusiastically embraced it. So this was something that members were not ready to accept yet it was forced upon them. Yet the lifting the priesthood ban was to much for them at the time of President McKay. I am not buying this not one whit. Okay. Here's another interesting bit: This uncharacteristic outburst in the presence of an astonished church architect highlights the contrast between two strands in McKay's thought that are, by today's standard, inseparably joined: civil rights for blacks and priesthood ordination for black men. The blurring, combined with McKay's own reticence, means that this difference has not been understood until now. The Lord let the Hebrews stew in Egyptian slavery for generations. Conversely, the Lord was, it seems, occasionally relatively prompt and specific in responding to inquiries Joseph Smith. Consider the preface to D&C 6: ... D&C 11: ... D&C 12: ... And more. I'm sure there is both rhyme and reason to the Lord's timing, but I think we are generally not situated to discern such things. It's our job to ask and wait. Thanks, -Smac
  10. I think we as Latter-day Saints need to become more comfortable with the idea that the Restored Gospel was not given to its earliest members and leaders in a completed and "turnkey" form. I commented on this back in 2018: For me, I have been curious about this portion of the First Presidency's 1949 statement (emphasis added) : A few thoughts: 1. Per this website, a church historian has stated: I think there is some difference between "private correspondence" and public statements. 2. Edward L. Kimball has also commented on the 1949 statement here: This seems like a fair assessment. 3. Bro. Kimball has also provided this valuable note (same link) : Ours is a record-keeping church. I find it noteworthy that we are still, in 2024, unable to articulate any particular revelatory origin for the ban, or point to contemporary and competent evidence in the records and history of the Church regarding the ban's supposed revelatory origins. 4. Doctrine & Covenants Central has compiled an excellent timeline relating to the ban: Apparently they have only created a timeline for "Phase 1." Hopefully more will follow. 5. FAIR's summary is apt: Thanks, -Smac
  11. From the Tribune: Revelation or racism? How members view the past priesthood/temple ban. I count myself in the first cohort. I don't think we have much evidence in the way to suggest that the ban had revelatory provenance. That seems like a reasonable conclusion based on the extant evidence. I am very happy to see this. Thoughts? Do you think Reeve's assessment is accurate? Or do Latter-day Saints have a factual/evidentiary/doctrinal basis for concluding that the ban was "revelatory"? Thanks, -Smac
  12. I am curious as to how you can be so certain they were false reports. And how most were found guilty and jailed even though there are a low percentage of rape accusations that get convicted. Not saying it didn’t happen, just sounds quite unusual. Sorting out the prevalence of false rape claims is a complex, difficult and sensitive matter. Per this article, assessment of this issue is poor because, inter alia, "{t}he term 'rate of false rape allegations' is highly ambiguous; it has no agreed definition," and that "{r}eliable quantification of the rate of false rape allegations, even given a specific definition, remains elusive." This article posits that false reporting is 2-8%: Per The National Sexual Violence Resource Center, "{a} review of research finds that the prevalence of false reporting is between 2 percent and 10 percent." Per this article, "{t}he FBI has put the number of 'unfounded' rapes - those determined to be false after investigation - at 8%." This 2018 CNN article makes some good points: Thanks, -Smac
  13. Deseret News: Latter-day Saint missionary from California arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting woman I hope critics take notice of this. The Church really is paying attention to misconduct of this sort, and really does take what corrective/remedial measures as are available. This contravenes the common narrative that the Church is indifferent to, or even complicit in, such misconduct. Ah, I was right about the affidavit (here, the "booking affidavit"). It was from the police, not from Hernandez. "{T}heir friends." I wonder if this includes the missionary's companion. I would think that if the companion were present, the police would have noted it. Also, the wording of the affidavit here is a bit odd: “Shortly after their friends came in the garage and told them to stop." Perhaps the "friends" were under the impression that the contact was a consensual thing. I would not be surprised if Hernandez's defense attorney scrutinizes this, as the " I have not been able to locate the court docket for this case. Not sure why. Thanks, -Smac
  14. Please explain how this could be his affidavit and not hers. Perhaps this is an error in reporting. The "affidavit" is likely a "probable cause" affidavit executed by the police, not by Hernandez. Thanks, -Smac
  15. LDS missionary serving in Utah County faces rape charge More here: Pretty troubling stuff. If he is guilty, he deserves to be punished under the law. The same goes if he is guilty of lesser offenses. If he is not guilty of criminal offenses, he apparently still seriously violated missionary guidelines ("together alone in a garage setting when they began what the female later described as consensual kissing"). I wonder where his companion was. Thanks, -Smac
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