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Everything posted by smac97

  1. I appreciate that you said generally. Civil disobedience does have its place. It gave India her independence and helped end Jim Crowe. I agree. I think it is helpful to hold in one's heart and mind a presumption that we should obey the law, with the understanding that circumstances may arise wherein wickedness, corruption, injustice, etc. may compel the individual to, in good conscience, disobey the law (or else justify such disobedience). Thanks, -Smac
  2. What a great story: I think this is very good. I have spent many years watching people criticize and bash my faith, often for what it fails to do, or fails to do sufficiently. These are fairly subjective, eye-of-the-beholder type criticisms. Some raise fair points, but I think most are unfair, overblown, presumptuous, etc. Of course the Church can and should improve in how it functions in and contributes to society. It is in something of a unique situation to contribute by amassing and freely distributing genealogical records, and I am glad to see the Church doing this. Again, very cool. Thanks, -Smac
  3. "A few" as in . . . two? The OP pertained to a bishop in Idaho. I also cited a news item about a separate bishop in Utah who is charged with the girls camp allegation. Have there been other news items? Thanks, -Smac
  4. I suspect that the prosecutor applied to the court for an arrest warrant, using information provided by law enforcement. I further think that the judge found the provided information was not sufficient to justify an arrest warrant, but was sufficient to justify a summons. I don't work in criminal law, so I don't have a good feel for the nuances and subtleties. Thanks, -Smac
  5. I think Pres. Oaks was being fairly specific. He was saying that the Restoration needed to happen, but it needed to arise in a sociopolitical milieu that had some measure of religious liberty and tolerance. In the early 19th century, I don't think the Restoration could have happened anywhere else except for the United States, hence Pres. Oaks speaking of America as "the host nation for the Restoration of the gospel"). And even then there was tremendous difficulty. By the way, we talked a bit about this talk by Pres. Oaks back in April. Laws are usually codified. Written down. Policies pertain more to how laws are enforced/applied. And I'm not sure "excluded from the article of faith" is apt. That something is not specifically mentioned in a text does not mean it is "excluded" from the text. Meth is not mentioned in the Word of Wisdom, but nobody would say that meth is "excluded" from the WoW. There are all sorts of laws we can "obey" and yet oppose. But I think that opposition generally comes in the form of lawful means. Repeal the law, rather than flagrantly disobey it. Thanks, -Smac
  6. So it appears to be a poorly worded statement. Huh. So it did come from the Church (the spokesman, anyway). I stand corrected. Perhaps it was intended to mitigate against any assumption or inference that the Church is presuming him guilty of the charges. That is, the Church released him not because he is presumptively guilty, but because he can't function as a bishop while preparing to defend himself against serious criminal charges. This may be corroborated by last bit of the statement, that the Church "is awaiting the outcome of this case in the legal system before commenting any further." The Church does not want to be seen as throwing him under the bus, but nor does it want to be seen as being cavalier or indifferent to the seriousness of the charges. From the article: Here's a law firm's website that describes the difference between a warrant and a summons in a criminal context: Thanks, -Smac
  7. I was using the text-to-speech feature on my phone, and in a rush. Any time I don't use my normal signoff ("Thanks, -Smac") you can bet I am in a rush or else speaking into my phone. That said, I generally have a surprising (to me) number of typos. Most of my posts are fairly hurried, and are written in a stream-of-consciousness way, and without review for errors. Thanks, -Smac
  8. The federal district courts are the ones that get a first crack at the legal and factual issues. The circuit courts are then supposed to review the legal (but usually not the factual) decisions of the district courts, and either "affirm" or "reverse" those decisions. SCOTUS then reviews whether the circuit court's review was correct. It looks like your A/B thing is intended to be something like this: 1. "A -> A -> A" means the (the District Court) reaches a legal conclusion (the first "A"), which both the Circuit Court SCOTUS uphold and affirm as correct (the second and third "As", respectively). 2. "A -> A -> B" means the District Court reaches a legal conclusion (the first "A"), which the the Circuit Court affirms (the second "A"), but then SCOTUS reverses and tells the Circuit Court and the District Court that they got the law wrong ("B"). 3. "A-> B -> A" means that the District Court reaches a legal conclusion (the first "A"), which the Circuit Court reverses ("B"), but then SCOTUS reverses that reversal and tells the Circuit Court that it got the law wrong (the second "A"). 4. "A -> B -> B" means that the District Court reaches a legal conclusion (the first "A"), which the Circuit Court reverses (the first "B"), and then SCOTUS affirms the Circuit Court's affirms/upholds the Circuit Court's reversal (the second "B"). In other words, (1) and (4) are instances where the Circuit Court was more likely to have done its job correctly (since their decisions are affirmed in (1) and (4)), and (2) and (3) are instances where the Circuit Court was more likely to have screwed up (since its decisions are reversed in (2) and (3)). I think (2) and (3) (SCOTUS reversing the Circuit Court decision) happen far more than they should in the Ninth Circuit. Again from this article: That's a diplomatic way of saying that the Ninth Circuit is pretty bad at its job. Nevertheless, you raise an interesting question as to (1) and (4). (1) has the District Court getting the law right and SCOTUS ultimately affirming that. (4) has the District Court getting the law wrong the SCOTUS affirming the Circuit Court's reversal. Thanks, -Smac
  9. I suspect that this comment was was a bit of editorializing by the reporter, rather than a statement from the church. The church the church does a pretty good job of of distancing itself from rendering a judgment for or against or against an accused person in these circumstances. Yeah circumstances. Either way yesterday's weather whether he is innocent or guilty of the charges, it is not appropriate or feasible for him to function as a Bishop during the period under which he is facing legal scrutiny.
  10. It's a succinct statement, not a "system of morality." I could say "keep the commandments" and still be easily understood. The "commandments" are, in my view, kind of like the "Common Law" in Anglo-American jurisprudence. That is, a body of principles that are broadly, but not perfectly, well-defined and easy to understand. I reject the premise, namely, that "morality" is distinguishable from obeying God. Joseph Smith put it: Regarding Abraham's ostensible sacrifice, I think this article does a good job of summing things up. “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” (AoF 1:12.) I concede that there are theoretical, extreme situations in which deliberately disobeying the law can be morally just (the classic "Jews in the Attic" conundrum being a good example). However, the vast majority of the time obeying secular law is the way to go. I think this situation is substantially compounded relative to obedience to God. I think very few of us will ever need to grapple with a genuine moral condundrum, such as Abraham's test, Nephi's slaying of Laban, and so on. I think you are trying to argue from the margins. You are invoking an extreme and unlikely "what if" application of the rule as an argument to negate the entirety of the rule. I don't think that works. No. I'm saying that the passage ought to be read in context. I'm saying that the master's absence was part of the deal. I'm saying that the servants had the choice. And so on. No, I don't think we deny that bad things happen. Rather, we believe that "through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel." (AoF 1:3.) See also my previous Hugh Nibley quote. No, I'm not saying that. Or anything like it. You are attempting to foist a substantial mischaracterization of our beliefs onto us. And yet here I am, having a discussion about implications and such. Thanks, -Smac
  11. I don't think the bishop should be in the business of "educating" or "teaching" youth about sex, particularly when the youth is female. That is not the point or purpose of bishop interviews. Let the parents do it, or a trusted family member, or a doctor or nurse. Thanks, -Smac
  12. Except I’m not convinced that you actually reciprocate these basic principles or represent those standards very well yourself. I don't think I have ever slandered God on this board. I don't think I go out of my way to speak insultingly and provocatively and disparagingly about matters that are sacred to other people. Not really. To disagree is not to dismiss. And I have lost count of the number of times I have said "Reasonable minds can disagree about all sorts of things, including important things." Google has a few dozen instances recorded, but I think there are a lot more than that. I don't know what this means. I have seen many, many instances of inspiration, revelation, discernment, and so on. I have personally experienced these things. I'm not particularly interested in measuring these things as compared to "other religions." I don't know what sort of metrics you have in mind, or how you would test those metrics. And given your ongoing hostility to the Church, I'm not sure you would be dispassionate and fair in your assessment of us versus "other religions." Given what you say below, it looks like you aren't "ok" with that. I don't know what this means. See, the "he couldn't be bothered" stuff is pretty offputting. Do you even see that? Why did God let the Hebrews suffer in Egypt? Why did God let the Holocaust happen? Why did God let millions die in Stalinist and Maoist purges? Why does God let millions suffer due to natural disaster, famine, disease, warfare, and on and on. You just said "I’m ok with a deity that sometimes intervenes and sometimes doesn’t." But are you? As regarding the Priesthood Ban, have you given this matter any study or thought? For example, I've previously noted this: Prince also provides this fascinating account (p. 104): 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. By Prince's accounting, Pres. McKay wanted to rescind the ban, but was told by the Lord to "not bring the subject up with the Lord again; that the time will come, but it will not be my time, and to leave the subject alone." You seem to be suggesting that the Civil Rights Movement was a major precipitating cause of the 1978 revelation, and you cite Prince as your source. But Prince's citations about McKay's efforts to rescind the ban have it starting around 1954 (if not earlier), when the Civil Rights Movement was in its infancy. Meanwhile, the revelation came in 1978, fourteen years after the Civil Rights Movement was at its apex (1964). And more to the point, Prince characterizes Pres. McKay as having "built the foundation upon which the revelation to Spencer W. Kimball rests," and this foundation was built by repeatedly seeking revelatory guidance. Prince seems to have very little to say about Pres. McKay (the president of the Church during the entirety of the Civil Rights Era) being influenced by the "pretty big spectacle" of "activism for blacks receiving the priesthood." Furthermore, Edward Kimball traces efforts to address the ban back to 1948 (pp. 18-19). It looks like rectifying the Priesthood Bad was a process, not an event. And it was a process that was rolling out on the Lord's timetable. Again, you previously said "I’m ok with a deity that sometimes intervenes and sometimes doesn’t." It seems like you are not. I don't understand what you are referencing here. Yes. And I think we err in complaining overmuch about how and when He uses that power. Four scriptures come immediately to mind: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord." (Isaiah 55:8.) "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly..." (1 Cor. 13:11-12.) "Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend." (Mosiah 4:9.) "Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works." (Jacob 4:10.) We can second-guess and faultfind all day long. We can rise up in judgment and condemn God for not doing what we, in our blinkered and immature and finite state and circumstances, expect him to do. Or we can exercise faith and humility and patience. And we can repent and forgive. And we can keep the commandments. And we can love and serve our fellow man. And we can work to strengthen our families, communities and nations. I'm not sure what you mean here. I understand. I don't know what you are referencing here. "The fact?" Are you sure? Thanks, -Smac
  13. Boy, it sure would be nice to have a genuine and sincere and respectful discussion about these things. 👀 Slandering God, disparaging Him to our face, is not a good way to enter into a sincere, respectful, good faith discussion about matters that - though not sacred to HJW or to you - are obviously and plainly sacred to us. By way of example, would you start a conversation with a Catholic person this way: "Hey, I have a question about that ritualistic cannibalism thing that you papists are so into..." I doubt it. I hope not, at least. Basic civility and decorum and respect. They sure can go a long way. Thanks, -Smac
  14. On what basis? If there was some sort of problem with bishops systemically using bishop interviews to exploit or abuse or otherwise misbehave with children, I think you would have a stronger point. As it is, I think alluding to a moral panic doesn't quite do much. Thanks, -Smac
  15. And now your not accurately stating my position, either. The point is to obey God. Consider the Parable of the Talents. And by "consider" I mean "put aside faultfinding cynicism, stop mischaracterizing and distorting, and give a fair hearing to what the scriptures have to say." Now, a person who is bound and determined to wrest this passage, to distort and misconstrue it, might say something like "Well, the master sure is a hypocritical jerk. Instead of investing the talents himself, he gave them to his servants 'according to {their} several ability,' and then he just took off. What a horrible person that master was. Where did he get off, expecting his servants to take the 'goods' he had 'delivered unto them' and use them to improve the state of things?" Conversely, I think a person who is open to studying and understanding these things in the vein in which they are given can come away with a radically different set of conclusions and lessons learned. I think 2 Nephi 2 is one of the most important scriptural treatments/meditations on these issues. Lehi expounds on the Plan of Salvation, the Atonement, and the gift of Agency. A good question. Just not, I think, a sincere one. So do I. And it's one that is utterly foreign to Latter-day Saint belief. It's deeply weird that you would try to foist it on us. Thanks, -Smac
  16. No, it doesn't. But then, I'm accustomed to faultfinders standing in ill-conceived and poorly-reasoned judgment over everyone and everything else. Including even God. How we characterize a thing, how we choose to make it "sound," can have a pretty substantial impact on how we view the thing. Agency and the Atonement are key to understanding the Plan of Salvation, including the implicated "Problem of Evil." For those who are interested in understanding the Latter-day Saint perspective on this, I recommend the first four chapters of the Gospel Principles manual: Chapter 1: Our Heavenly Father Chapter 2: Our Heavenly Family Chapter 3: Jesus Christ, Our Chosen Leader and Savior Chapter 4: Freedom to Choose I will emphasize here that these concepts require an open, inquisitive mind. And also some genuine humility. And also a willingness to reconsider and set aside previously-held assumptions and expectations, and to work within a new framework/paradigm. Someone who is relentessly cynical and skeptical will not likely get much out of these materials. The scriptures caution us against this mindset: They have ears, but they hear not, Ps. 115:6 (135:17; Jer. 5:21; Ezek. 12:2). He that hath ears to hear, let him hear, Matt. 11:15 (13:9, 43; Mark 4:9, 23; Luke 8:8; 14:35; Rev. 2:7, 11, 17; 3:6, 13, 22). Their ears are dull of hearing, Matt. 13:15 (Acts 28:27; Moses 6:27). Boy, it sure would be nice to have a genuine and sincere and respectful discussion about these things. With respect, I disagree. A lot. The "why" does matter. It is vital. It is key. Whether it will be "unsatisfying" is an eye-of-the-beholder sort of thing. You are only proving my previous point: "Yep, along with the to-be-expected series of 'all or nothing' requirements. Either every leader in the Church is utterly and completely guided by revelation and 'discernment' in everything they do, or else none of them is guided by such things in anything they do." In your worldview, God must specifically and obviously and necessarily intervene in everything, in every event and interaction in this existence, or else in he must never intervene ever (as you postulated: "{He} doesn't intervene at all"). That is your paradigm, not ours. That is a flaw in your reasoning, it's not a part of ours. I think you are substantially misconstruing "respecter of persons." For resources as to the meaning of that phrase in Latter-day Saint thought, see here, here, here. Thanks, -Smac
  17. I am troubled by the free agency argument in your second point. Imagine your daughter was just abducted and dragged to a dark alley. Something unspeakable is about to happen to her. Imagine that at that very moment, I'm walking by. In this fantasy, I'm 6'5" and 225 pounds of solid muscle. I'm an 8th degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and have been in the Special Forces for 20 years. And, of course, my loaded Sig Sauer P226 is close at hand. I could easily save your daughter. There would be no risk to me. It wouldn't even be inconvenient. If your daughter cried to me for help, would I be justified in saying the following? "What's happening to you breaks my heart. It really does. But if I were to help you, that would be interfering with your abductor's free agency. God could help you even more easily than I could, but He respects your abductor's free agency just as much as I do." I really don't think Bluebell is saying anything close to what you are. Yours is one of a countless number of "Problem of Evil" what-if scenarios. The abductor has agency, as does your 225-pounds-of-solid-muscle self. The abductor has made his choice, and will be held to account for it. Your 225-pounds-of-solid-muscle self also has a choice. To act or not to act. To help or not to help. The morally correct answer to your hypothetical is obvious and beyond dispute. "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." (James 4:17.) Bluebell's point was about our agency. I think this statement by Hugh Nibley aptly summarizes things: "It is man's strength that is being tested -- not God's." Yep. Thanks, -Smac
  18. "Discernment ... between right and wrong" is not exactly equivalent to being able to discern misconduct or deception in others at all times. Sounds like a skill or attribute (or gift?) that takes real effort to develop. Being able to avoid being deceived by 'the sophistries of the world" is not exactly equivalent to being able to discern misconduct or deception in others at all times. Not being led astray in this way is not exactly equivalent to being able to discern misconduct or deception in others at all times. Recognizing false teachings is not exactly equivalent to being able to discern misconduct or deception in others at all times. And note how he says "in a measure at least." Is it not reasonable to hold people to account for the standard that they teach? Well, discernment "helps us detect hidden error and evil in others." Yes, I believe that can and does happen. And there are other manifestations of "discernment," including that "it helps us detect hidden errors and evil in ourselves," that "it helps us find and bring forth the good that may be concealed in others," and that "it helps us find and bring forth the good that may be concealed in us." I don't know wha tyou mean by "hold people to account." What does that mean? Are you saying that the Brethren have held themselves out as adhering to a standard of infallible discernment of all things at all times? That every stake president, every bishop, etc. are likewise immutably plugged into, and are therefore supposed to be held to this "standard?" Thanks, -Smac
  19. For me, the issue is whether God exists, whether Jesus Christ is His Son, and whether the foundational events of the Restoration happened. If these things are so, then I'm throwing my lot in with the Church, and along with that comes dealing with errors, omissions, weaknesses, etc. from leaders and members. In other words, if the Church is what it claims to be, then it deserves my allegiance, devotion and affection. I believe the Church is what is claims to be. It is good. Very good, even. It's certainly not perfect, but I don't need it to be. I need it to be "true" in terms of its foundational claims as to its origins, authority, continuing revelation, and so on. As I believe it is, I'm happy to give it my loyalty and support. Thanks, -Smac
  20. Yep. This injury, borne of hypocrisy (a member of the Church acting contrary to commandments and principles taught by the Church) can be quite acute and difficult to overcome. There can be some percevied damage done to the message of the Restored Gospel by the hypocrisy of the messenger. Consider Alma's words to his son Corianton (who, while serving as a missionary, engaged in serious misconduct) : "O my son, how great iniquity ye brought upon the Zoramites; for when they saw your conduct they would not believe in my words." How many blessings were lost because of what Corianton did? How many people missed the opportunity to accept the Gospel because of what Corianton did? The Atonement will take care of such things in the end, I believe. But Corianton's sin added to the Savior's burden, as do all of our sins and misdeeds. We don't really have clear answers to this. I think avoiding an all-or-nothing posture is helpful. As you note, there are instances when revelation and discernment are apparent. And times when discernment is lacking. Thanks, -Smac
  21. Yep, along with the to-be-expected series of "all or nothing" requirements. Either every leader in the Church is utterly and completely guided by revelation and "discernment" in everything they do, or else none of them is guided by such things in anything they do. This sort of all-or-nothing, black-or-white absolutism doesn't really work well. Thanks, -Smac
  22. I really love the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Though far from perfect, it houses some things I find to be of great worth. Restored truths. Priesthood authority. Continuing revelation. A real sense of community. A substantial commitment of time, money and effort. Good and decent leaders. Missionary work. Temple work. Family history work. Humanitarian work. Educational endeavors. At the center of this constellation of attributes is the Atonement of Jesus Christ, from which radiates love and hope and encouragement and guidance. And not just in the abstract, but with the expectation that we taken the message of the Restored Gospel and apply it where we can in the real world. To wit, see here: I wonder if this app can be used in other contexts. Studying languages, for example. Or mathematics. Or law. And they've made it available for free. Very cool. Anyway, read on: Very cool. This sentiment, this desire to "help others," with no particular thought of reward or ROI, to be one of the more beautiful manifestations of the Restored Gospel. So good job, my brothers! Thanks, -Smac
  23. I've said stuff like this quite a few times on this board (emphasis added) : I think the Church should be held to the same behavioral / ethical / legal standards as any other similarly-situated organization. No worries. Thanks, -Smac
  24. Terrible as in ??? I was referring to the abuse victims. I thought that would be understood. Thanks, -Smac
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