Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

Posts posted by smac97

  1. 46 minutes ago, Teancum said:

    One thing to consider is the scripture says the natural man is an enemy to God, it doesn't say that God is an enemy to the natural man

    What is the difference? 

    One of my sons, during his years as a toddler, was quiet a firebrand.  He had quite a temper, even to the point of hitting me when he was angry.  This arose because I had put him in time-out, and he refused to stay in his room (the doors had no locks, so we couldn't keep him in there).  So I would take him into his room, close the door, and sit down with a book and read.  He would cry and yell and rant, and I would more or less ignore him.  He sometimes came up to me and tried to hit me in the face.  I was a bit more stern with him about that, but mostly I just let him vent his spleen, then let him out when he started to behave.

    Was I his enemy during these torture sessions?  Yep.  Was he my enemy?  Of course not.

    46 minutes ago, Teancum said:

    If I am an enemy to someone they view me as their enemy.  It says I am God's enemy not that he is mine.

    Actually, no.  Let's look at it:


    For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

    "Natural man" seems to be a reference to a posture, an attitude.  Something that the individual can "put off."

    During my teen years I found I had quite a temper.  Now I don't.  I changed myself.  I was a sour-tempered person, now I am not.  

    So it is, I think, with the "natural man" designator.



  2. On 10/15/2021 at 9:11 AM, Kenngo1969 said:

    Here's the thing, though: She signed these documents.   It doesn't matter who drafted 'em.  She signed 'em.   

    Yes, that's true.  I'm not denying the legal effect of her signature.  I'm just trying to understand how such a poorly-drafted document ended up getting filed in federal court, particularly given the moderate notoriety and media coverage this lawsuit has garnered.



  3. 10 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

    The priesthood ban lacked scriptural/revelatory provenance.

    This is not true.

    Yes, I think it is true.

    10 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

    Brigham Young claimed revelatory provenance for the ban.

    CFR, please.

    I'm quite open to being wrong on this point.  Please point to the revelation that you are referencing here.  Edward Kimball's research does not seem to support your view.  Also consider these remarks by Marcus Martins:


    As a researcher I may have read everything official or semi-official statement available to the public about the priesthood ban.
    In my mind the priesthood ban was never part of the everlasting gospel, and I have found peace in the idea that the Lord allowed the ban to remain in his Church in order to fulfill his inscrutable purposes whatever they are. That belief leads me to conclude that the ban never jeopardized my eternal salvation. There were a few significant privileges of membership in the Church that I could not enjoy before June of 1978; a few very significant things, but not very many. I was able to receive the ordinance of baptism, I received the Holy Ghost, I could pay my tithing, I could read the scriptures, I could pray, I could partake of the sacrament, I could hold many callings as my parents and I did all those years between 1972-78, and also keep the commandments of the Lord and be blessed for doing so. None of these privileges of membership was denied me. I simply could not officiate in priesthood ordinances like my peers, nor enter a temple and receive my own endowment, nor be sealed to my parents, but other than that all other privileges of membership were available to me.
    In my mind, the priesthood ban and its associated rationales were never part of the restored gospel. I would argue that they constituted educated responses to the social environment in which the Church existed in the late 19th and most of the 20th century. Let me try to expand this insight by resorting to a typology of laws that I conceived a few years ago.
    Considering our lack of additional information on the origins of the priesthood ban, I have used my typology to categorize the ban as a mortal law, or in other words, a rule or regulation established as an educated response to the social environment in which the Church existed in the late 19th and most of the 20th century. This would have been what those Church leaders of 150-or-so years ago felt was the best approach at the time, and they used the keys of the priesthood in their possession to enforce it. And because of his inscrutable purposes, the Lord remained silent about the issue until June 1, 1978. This categorization and hypothesis will be sufficient to me personally until evidence is presented of the existence of a revelation dated in the 19th century establishing the ban.

    (Emphases added.)  I encourage you to read the whole thing.

    If you have more information about this topic that Bro. Martins, I'm all ears.

    10 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

    And there are way more scriptures justifying the ban

    Not really.

    10 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

    than there are justifying discrimination against LGBTQ people.

    I'm not sure what "discrimination" you are referencing here.  

    10 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

    The Book of Mormon establishes that God uses skin color as a mark of a curse.

    I'm not sure about that.  See, e.g., here.

    Also, the Bible establishes that God can mandate lineage as a component of holding the priesthood.

    I encourage you to read Edward Kimball's treatment of this subject (particularly pp. 15-19 of the PDF).

    10 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

    The Book of Abraham establishes the doctrine that certain lineages are banned from the priesthood.

    Lineages?  Plural?  Are you sure?

    10 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

    The Book of Moses establishes that the descendants of Cain were cursed with a black skin and that Adam’s other descendants did not intermarry with them.

    Well, no, it does not.  See, e.g., here:


    Some contend that even though the doctrinal impact of pre-1978 statements have been greatly diminished, the LDS scriptures still retain the passages which were used for proof-texts for the ban and hence cannot be easily dismissed. A parallel can be drawn between Protestant denominations that have historically reversed their scriptural interpretations supporting slavery and a modified LDS understanding of their own scriptures that relate to the priesthood ban. Through more careful scripture reading and attention to scientific studies, many Protestants have come to differ with previous interpretations of Bible passages. A similar rethinking of passages unique to the LDS scriptures, such as Abraham 1:26-27, can be made if one starts by discarding erroneous preconceptions. Sociologist Armand Mauss critiqued former interpretations in a recent address:

    [W]e see that the Book of Abraham says nothing about lineages set aside in the pre-existence, but only about distinguished individuals. The Book of Abraham is the only place, furthermore, that any scriptures speak of the priesthood being withheld from any lineage, but even then it is only the specific lineage of the pharaohs of Egypt, and there is no explanation as to why that lineage could not have the priesthood, or whether the proscription was temporary or permanent, or which other lineages, if any, especially in the modern world, would be covered by that proscription. At the same time, the passages in Genesis and Moses, for their part, do not refer to any priesthood proscription, and no color change occurs in either Cain or Ham, or even in Ham's son Canaan, who, for some unexplained reason, was the one actually cursed! There is no description of the mark on Cain, except that the mark was supposed to protect him from vengeance. It's true that in the seventh chapter of Moses, we learn that descendants of Cain became black, but not until the time of Enoch, six generations after Cain, and even then only in a vision of Enoch about an unspecified future time. There is no explanation for this blackness; it is not even clear that we are to take it literally.[1]

    Richard L. Bushman, LDS author of a biography of Joseph Smith, writes:

    ...[T]he fact that [the Lamanites] are Israel, the chosen of God, adds a level of complexity to the Book of Mormon that simple racism does not explain. Incongruously, the book champions the Indians' place in world history, assigning them to a more glorious future than modern American whites.... Lamanite degradation is not ingrained in their natures, ineluctably bonded to their dark skins. Their wickedness is wholly cultural and frequently reversed. During one period, "they began to be a very industrious people; yea, and they were friendly with the Nephites; therefore, they did open a correspondence with them, and the curse of God did no more follow them." (Alma 23:18) In the end, the Lamanites triumph. The white Nephites perish, and the dark Lamanites remain.[2]

    One faithful black member, Marcus Martins—also chair of the department of religious education at BYU-Hawaii—has said:

    The [priesthood] ban itself was not racist, but, unfortunately, it gave cover to people who were.[3]

    A more detailed treatment of all the relevant scriptures from the Latter-day Saint canon can be found at this link.

    Interesting stuff.

    10 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

    The intermarriage theme is further supported by the Book of Mormon narrative where Lamanites skin color s was designed to not be enticing for the Nephites. 

    Further there is statement after statement in talk after talk by general authorities expounding on this doctrine. The idea that the ban lacked a scriptural basis is revisionist history at its finest. 

    Well, I really don't think so.  Edward Kimball.  Marcus Martins.  Armand Mauss.  Richard L. Bushman.  There are scholars out there who have spent far more time on this than I have.

    Also, I'd encourage you to not equivocate.  There are certainly post hoc rationalizations for the ban that involve citing scripture.  That is not what I am saying.  I am saying that the priesthood ban appears to lack revelatory provenance.  If you can point me to a revelation in the archives of the Church that proves me incorrect on this point, I will appreciate it and will happily stand corrected.



  4. 17 hours ago, MiserereNobis said:

    I don't think the LDS view solves the problem of evil. It is an attempted answer, sure, and it can cover some instances, yes, but it cannot account satisfactorily for all instances of evil (bad things happening). I say this as someone who has spent some time academically studying this (I have a bachelor's degree in philosophy).

    The first and biggest flaw is natural evil. How do you account for Matthew, a bus boy at a restaurant I used to be a regular at, being killed by a lightning strike his very first evening in Missouri where he had moved to go to college? All he did was step out to get something out of his truck. He was 17 years old.

    Hmm.  I would not characterize this tragedy as "evil."  

    17 hours ago, MiserereNobis said:

    Your answer to Matthew's death seems to be that those that knew him needed to go through the difficulty of his passing in order to grow.

    Well, that's a reasonable post hoc rationalization/explanation.  But it's also necessarily speculative.  

    I think a big part of grappling with the Problem of Evil is acknowledging the constraints in which that problem is addressed.  We don't have all the data, nor do we necessarily have a perfect grasp and conception of the data we do have.  We also may lack the wisdom and patience and perspective to adjudicate the causes and purposes of tragedies such as Matthew dying by lightning strike.

    17 hours ago, MiserereNobis said:

    In other words, it wasn't actually bad that he died, but a good thing for everyone else that he did. If this is your view, I kindly point you to Voltaire's satire Candide and the idea of "the best of all possible worlds."

    "Bad" covers a broad gamut, and is not necessarily congruent with "evil" where it ("bad") lacks a moral component.  

    Last year I had a dear friend die from pancreatic cancer.  It was "bad."  He was in a lot of pain.  It cut his life short.  It deprived his friends and loved ones of his company and association.  But I can't say the cancer was evil.  There was no moral dimension to him contracting it.  The cancer that killed my friend had no sentience, no agency, no motive.

    Also, I can't get on board with the central conceit of "the best of all possible worlds," at least as I understand the concept:


    Best of all possible worlds, in the philosophy of the early modern philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646–1716), the thesis that the existing world is the best world that God could have created.

    Leibniz’s argument for the doctrine of the best of all possible worlds, now commonly called Leibnizian optimism, is presented in its fullest form in his work Théodicée (1710; Theodicy), which was devoted to defending the justness of God (see theodicy). The argument thus constitutes Leibniz’s solution to the problem of evil, or the apparent contradiction between the assumption that God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent (perfectly good) and the evident fact of evil (including sin and unmerited suffering) in the world. In rough outline, the argument proceeds as follows:

    1. God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent;

    2. God created the existing world;

    3. God could have created a different world or none at all (i.e., there are other possible worlds);

    4. Because God is omnipotent and omniscient, he knew which possible world was the best and was able to create it, and, because he is omnibenevolent, he chose to create that world;

    5. Therefore, the existing world, the one that God created, is the best of all possible worlds.

    That does not seem to fit within the Latter-day Saint paradigm.  We believe this world is "fallen."  That it is in a telestial state.  That it will someday "be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory."  (AoF 1:10.)

    The earth, like us, has the capacity to be better than it is now.  

    17 hours ago, MiserereNobis said:

    The free-will theodicy that you also espouse (evil in the hands of each individual) also doesn't address natural evil. It also has it's major problems, too. It is a fairly common theodicy, so it has been deeply analyzed and criticized.

    I think such discussions, being philosophical, will never be fully answered to everyone's satisfaction.  De gustibus non est disputandum and all that.

    I think the answer to the problem the individual reaches will be heavily based on assumptions he brings with him to the discussion.

    17 hours ago, MiserereNobis said:

    You also claimed that there must be a balance, that we must know wickedness to know righteousness.

    We must experience both, to discern them from each other.  

    17 hours ago, MiserereNobis said:

    But do we really need to have so much wickedness?

    I don't understand the question.  Wickedness is a choice.  

    17 hours ago, MiserereNobis said:

    Couldn't there be one less instance of wickedness?

    Certainly.  Each individual has agency, the ability to choose to act wickedly or righteously.

    17 hours ago, MiserereNobis said:

    I mean, imagine if Mao had only murdered 44 million people instead of 45 million.  Did we really need that extra million killed to have balance between good and evil?

    I don't understand what you are saying here.  I don't think anyone is calling for or expecting parity between good and evil in the world.

    17 hours ago, MiserereNobis said:

    If so, then I point you again to Voltaire and that this theodicy is simply saying there really isn't evil.

    But in the Latter-day Saint paradigm, there really is evil.

    17 hours ago, MiserereNobis said:

    I am a faithful believer in God. I do not have an answer to the problem of evil. I am wary of those who do, because every theodicy I have studied has obvious flaws. I understand people losing faith over it. I thank God that it has not hurt my faith.

    This is a fair point.  I think Lehi in the Book of Mormon had a similar sentiment in mind when he spoke to his son, Jacob, about the concept of agency in 2 Nephi 2:


    17 And I, Lehi, according to the things which I have read, must needs suppose that an angel of God, according to that which is written, had fallen from heaven; wherefore, he became a devil, having sought that which was evil before God.

    18 And because he had fallen from heaven, and had become miserable forever, he sought also the misery of all mankind. Wherefore, he said unto Eve, yea, even that old serpent, who is the devil, who is the father of all lies, wherefore he said: Partake of the forbidden fruit, and ye shall not die, but ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.

    19 And after Adam and Eve had partaken of the forbidden fruit they were driven out of the garden of Eden, to till the earth.

    20 And they have brought forth children; yea, even the family of all the earth.

    21 And the days of the children of men were prolonged, according to the will of God, that they might repent while in the flesh; wherefore, their state became a state of probation, and their time was lengthened, according to the commandments which the Lord God gave unto the children of men. For he gave commandment that all men must repent; for he showed unto all men that they were lost, because of the transgression of their parents.

    22 And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.

    23 And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.

    And in the very next verse, Lehi seems to acknowledge that this stuff is difficult to fully grasp and comprehend:


    24 But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.

    And in the verse after that, he steps back and summarizes, well, the endgoal of the whole plan:


    25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.

    26 And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.

    27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.

    Like you, I am a faithful believer in God.  And while I think the Problem of Evil is ultimately addressed in the Restored Gospel, I admit that - like you - I do not have a complete and perfect answer to it.  I am presently content to fill in the gaps and flaws of my understanding with Lehi's statement that "all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things," and with Nephi's humble statement that he knows that God "loveth his children," but that he (Nephi) "{nevertheless does} not know the meaning of all things."  (1 Nephi 11:17.)

    Thank you for your thoughts.  I sure enjoy your presence and perspective.


  5. 1 hour ago, CA Steve said:

    I believe  the substance of Ty's opinion piece would of been substantially similar if it would have been made by a faithful member pre 1978 who was being denied the priesthood due to ancestry.

    With respect, I disagree.  The priesthood ban lacked scriptural/revelatory provenance.  The Law of Chastity, the meaning and significance of marriage, etc. have substantial provenance.



  6. 2 hours ago, california boy said:

    So your solution you offer my son is to tell him he is not being a good enough disciple?  

    Since your son is not withing our stewardship, no.

    2 hours ago, california boy said:

    Isn't this the exact problem that is being talked about.  Shaming people for having a disagreement with the amount of wealth the Church's stock portfolio when he wants to focus his tithing more on helping the less fortunate?  

    Encouraging members of the Church to keep the commandments is not "shaming" them.

    2 hours ago, california boy said:

    yeah I can see why he is struggling with this issue.

    So can I.  It's a reasonable concern to have.  But I think it's been way overblown by the critics of the Church.  See, e.g., here:


    So the Trib has an interesting article today: Records reveal how money from Utah and U.S. Mormons props up LDS operations overseas

    Some excerpts:


    Among the distinctions the LDS Church is known for are its missionaries in white shirts, its towering temples and saying next to nothing about its money.

    After all, the Utah-based faith doesn’t have to reveal much about its wealth in the United States and many other locales around the globe.

    But, in a few countries, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints must make public at least some basic information about the revenue it collects, the money it spends and the assets it owns.


    For his new book, “The Mormon Hierarchy: Wealth & Corporate Power,” noted historian D. Michael Quinn obtained the LDS Church’s financial disclosures for 2010 in six countries that require churches or charities to make such filings: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the Philippines, Tonga and the U.K.


    The combined assets in those six countries added to $1.8 billion in 2010. They include cash, investments and real estate like a stake center (regional meetinghouse) in view of Australia’s Gold Coast, the Mormon temple south of London and hundreds of chapels across the six countries.


    The historian, who was excommunicated from the LDS Church in 1993 for his writings about early Mormon polygamy, says he was most struck by the money church leaders in Utah directed overseas. Of the six countries, only Australia did not report a supplement from headquarters in 2010.

    The church in Canada received $166,728, while the Philippines got $63.8 million — 85 percent of its revenue.

    Even in a developed country like the United Kingdom — home to almost as many Mormons as in Canada — headquarters sent $1.8 million in 2010, indicating that the church infrastructure exceeds what the locals can support. That and the other subsidies lead Quinn to assume the U.S.-born church is subsidizing its work and wards in Africa and Latin America, too.

    Based on some general statements Mormon apostles have made through the decades about the church’s income from profit-making corporations and members’ tithing, Quinn says, the source of those subsidies must be offerings from Americans and the businesses the faith owns.

    "{T}he U.S.-born church is subsidizing its work {in other countries}."'

    "Quinn says {that} the source of those subsidies must be offerings from Americans and the businesses the faith owns."

    I am emphasizing this not to toot the horn of the American Saints, but to gently rebut the rather frequent criticism of the Church's ownership of business interests.  Those business interests seem to be revenue generators.  That is, they are making more money than they are taking in.  And those profits are, as we all know, being used to prop up the opulent and profligate "jetset" lifestyle of the General Authorities, what with all of their mansions, beachfront condos, private jets, wild n' crazy parties, and so on.

    Oh, wait.  That's not it.  The profits are being used to subsidize the Church's efforts in places like Africa and Latin America.


    Every time a meatpacker buys cattle from a church-owned ranch in, say, Florida, a retailer leases space at downtown Salt Lake City’s City Creek Center, or a Mormon purchases a novel at Deseret Book, Quinn explains, they are helping the nearly 16 million-member faith expand overseas.

    “My conclusion,” he adds, “is the international church could not exist to the extent that it does with buildings and services were it not for the commercial investments and for-profit businesses of the LDS Church.”

    I think the Church's successful for-profit businesses are a very good thing, particularly given the modest lifestyle exhibited by the General Authorities.

    My sister's father-in-law is a GA, so I have had some opportunity to observe him and his wife in an informal setting.  My assessment is that they . . . are very, very normal.  


    “Even not many church members in the U.K. know about these reports,” says Chris Mace, who for about 10 years has monitored Mormon finances from his home in Huddersfield, England.


    Mace agrees with Quinn’s conclusion. In the U.K., he says, the church is trying to support between 1,000 and 2,000 missionaries and a slew of meetinghouses in one of the most expensive countries in the world.

    Mace notes the church recently bought a site for a chapel near the Tower of London. The land alone cost about $15 million in today’s U.S. dollars.

    “If they want a chapel in prime real estate,” Mace says, “they’re going to have to pay for it, and U.K. members aren’t paying enough tithing to pay for that.”


    While the reports offer far more detail than what the LDS Church shares about its U.S. finances, they still leave some Mormons wanting.


    Quinn understands the desire for more transparency, but he cautions Mormons against criticizing the LDS Church’s commercial ventures. Apostles long have preached that making profits builds the overall church, Quinn says, and the foreign filings appear to support that.

    “Theologically,” he says, “the business of Mormonism has always been business.”

    I appreciate Quinn's remarks here, though I would quibble a bit about that last bit.  "Mormonism has always been business?"  As a matter of theology?  Sorry, no.  The Church's business interests are a means, not an end unto themselves.  The Church maintain business endeavors to make money, but not for the sake of making money.  The Church uses these funds to support not-yet-self-supporting areas of the Church.  Church buildings, and temples, and missionary work, and so and and so forth.  These are the theological "ends" of Mormonism.  Pointing the children of men toward God.  The Church's existence and efforts, including its business efforts, are designed to facilitate that objective.  And I am glad that it seems to be working well.

    And here:


    I agree that most people trust the church to use funds wisely. The disconnect sometimes comes in what qualifies as "use". People expect expenses for missional purposes, facilities, etc. But "using" donations to create a $100 billion investment fund doesn't always translate to the average person as a wise "use".

    I get that.  The way forward, then, is to give the matter some thought and study, rather then reflexively and ignorantly denounce what we have only just recently encountered.

    As D. Michael Quinn put it:


    Some Mormons — and plenty of others — were appalled to witness their church build a $1.5 billion mall in downtown Salt Lake City and hear their prophet proclaim, “Let’s go shopping.”

    Isn’t religion, they argued, supposed to be about feeding the hungry and clothing the poor? How is selling Tiffany jewelry, Nordstrom cocktail dresses and luxury condos any part of a Christian faith?

    Such critics, though, fail to understand Mormonism, says historian D. Michael Quinn. The American-born movement has always seen its mission as serving both the spiritual and physical needs of its people. It doesn’t distinguish between the two.

    “It’s as spiritual [for Latter-day Saints] to give alms to the poor,” Quinn told Bloomberg Businessweek in 2012, “... as it is to make a million dollars.”


    On that last score, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been wildly successful, says Quinn, author of the newly published “Mormon Hierarchy: Wealth & Corporate Power.”

    The church, launched in 1830 in upstate New York with six members, counts nearly 16 million members worldwide — and untold billions in assets.
    Quinn estimates — and estimating is about the best even a top-notch researcher can do — the church took in about $33 billion in tithing in 2010, based on a model of projected growth rates that followed a consistent pattern starting in the 1950s. It earns another $15 billion annually, he says, in returns on its profit-making investments. (The Bloomberg Businessweek piece from five years ago cited an investigation pegging the LDS Church’s worth at $40 billion.)

    No matter the precise bottom line, these figures represent an astonishing accomplishment, Quinn says.

    “It is an American success story without parallel,” the longtime historian says in an interview. “No institution, no church, no business, no nonprofit organization in America has had this kind of history.”

    Yet LDS general authorities — from the most senior apostle to the lowest-ranking Seventy — all receive the same yearly “living allowance”: $120,000. Though the church has enormous wealth, he {Quinn} says, none of the leaders is getting rich off it.
    {Quinn} says the LDS Church’s financial trajectory, as well as the self-sacrificing actions of its hierarchy, is “an enormously faith-promoting story.”

    If everyday Mormons could grasp “the larger picture,” he says, they would “breathe a sigh of relief and see the church is not a profit-making business.”

    See, I think it matters a lot that the Brethren are not enriching themselves.  I also think it matters a lot that nobody is accusing the Church of profligate or wasteful or unwise spending.

    The complaint - and it seems to be coming mostly from people who are not contributing to the Church - is that the Church is not spending enough on charitable efforts.


    The primary use of funds seems to be to create more funds to save for uses on a rainy day.

    "Seems to be" being the operative phrase there.

    And noticeably absent from you statement is any indication of enrichment of the Brethren.  I keep coming back to that because I think Analytics' comparison of the Church to a hedge fund is absurd to the point of dishonesty.  If the purpose of the Church's investments was to enrich investors - and the people in control of the Church's - then I could understand the venom and outrage.  If the Church was going skint on missionary work, physical facilities, schools, humanitarian/charitable work, etc., then I could understand the venom and outrage.

    But those things aren't happening.  The Church is spending huge amounts of money on good and proper things.  The Church is also growing in areas that are nowhere near being self-sustaining.  The Church's management of its funds is plainly within the bounds of the law, as even folks like Analytics seem to be conceding.  So all the hooplah is less about what the Church is doing, and more about what critics and opponents think the Church should be doing.

    Well, fine.  Free Speech and all that.  But then let's stop pretending that Hunstman's lawsuit is anything but a pretext.  It's not about "fraud."  It's about Huntsman wanting to vent his spleen and tell the Church what to do.


    I think it's impossible to know how much invested money is spent advancing the missions of the church.

    I'm pretty okay with that.  The Church has all sorts of committees and checks and balances and safeguards in place, and by every indication those seem to be functioning quite well.

    If we had evidence of the Brethren enriching themselves, or of unwise or wasteful spending, then I would be more concerned.  As it is, however, I see no evidence of misconduct, and plenty of evidence that the Church is doing what it is supposed to do.

    I get that critics are endlessly looking for dirt on the Church, but I think it's inappropriate to file vexatious lawsuits (as Huntsman, Gaddy and others have done), or to encourage Church employees to steal from the Church and secretively send it to critics (as Ryan McKnight has done), or to protest on sacred ground during a sacred convocation (as Kate Kelly has done), or to malign the bishops of the Church has latent perverts and child molesters (as Sam Young has done).

    I think a reasoned and fairminded inquiry into the Church's finances would yield some findings, such as:

    We can see that the Brethren are not enriching themselves. 

    We can see that the Brethren are not living lavishly. 

    We can see that nobody is getting rich of the Church's funds.

    We can see that the Church's funds are being spent on missionary work, temple and family history work, construction and maintenance of facilities, educational endeavors, charitable/humanitarian/philanthropic work, and on and on and on.

    We can see that Bishops spend 100% of fast offerings on helping people in need.

    We can see missionaries and members volunteering millions of man-hours of time and labor to serve others.

    We can see all this and more.  But none of this matters to the critics.  No credit is given for what we do "right."  Instead, the search will continue for what they think we've done wrong.  And if something that we've done "right" comes into view, they'll just move the goalposts and demand more.  Because the objective is not to find information, but to find fault



  7. 21 hours ago, california boy said:

    If your beliefs in the teachings and examples that Christ taught are in conflict with what the church is doing and teaching, then the Church becomes a roadblock in their relationship with Christ.  

    That's a mighty big "if."

    I suspect you have in mind a laissez-faire approach to sexual ethics.  That is, the Church does not have such an approach, and instead teaches a set of ethics that - by modern standards - are stringent and exacting.

    I submit that the real "roadblock" to a meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ is the laissez-faire approach.  If and when we impose restraints on what we allow Jesus to say about how we live our lives, we distance ourselves from Him.  Hence we get the mealy-mouthed "I'm spiritual, but not religious" stuff.  If the Gospel of Jesus Christ is to have meaning and effect in our lives, there must be obedience to the precepts He taught.  "If ye love me, keep my commandments."  (John 14:15.)  "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."  (Matthew 7:21.)

    We each of us must overcome our own roadblocks.  For some, the roadblock is the Lord's constraints on our sexual behavior.  For others, it is the pursuit of wealth, or the use of harmful substances, or the refusal to forgive, or the failure to repent, or laziness, and so on.  

    21 hours ago, california boy said:

    Do you follow the Church teachings which are suppose to be the will of Christ?  

    I'm trying to, yes.

    21 hours ago, california boy said:

    Or do you follow what you believe is the true message Christ taught and take the consequences that those actions may have on your membership.  

    I don't know what this means.  

    sure would like to be free to disavow polygamy.  I sure would like to be indifferent to same-sex marriage.  I sure would like to not having to endure the endless disparagements and vitriol that so many folks these days send our way.  But here's the thing: I believe the Lord has, at times, ordained and commanded polygamy.  I also believe the Lord expects and requires us to obey the Law of Chastity.  I also believe the Lord expects us to not bend to prevailing social winds as regarding the radical re-definition of marriage.  

    Because I believe these things, and because I believe these are part of "the true message Christ taught," then I guess yes, I am willing to "take the consequences may have on {my} membership."  Those consequences are . . . that I carry to obligation to stand up for and defend the Church of Jesus Christ against those who endlessly speak and act against it.

    I reject the notion that "the true message Christ taught" includes laissez-faire sexual ethics.  I find that notion wholly incompatible with both scripture and modern prophetic counsel.

    21 hours ago, california boy said:

    I will give you an example of what I am talking about.  I was talking with my son about some of the issues he has with the Church.  One of his big issues is the staggering amount of wealth the Church is holding.  He is feeling like he doesn't want to pay his tithing to the Church, but would rather give 10% to a local charity that spends all of their donations on caring for others.  To him, this seems more like the message the Savior taught.  But if he doesn't pay his tithing to the Church, what are the consequences.  Will he still get a temple recommend?  

    I doubt it.  Because he's choosing to disobey a commandment.  Deliberately.  He doesn't get to re-define the commandments to suit his personal tastes and preferences.

    I'm reminded of this anecdote about Abraham Lincoln:


    There are strong reasons for saying that he doubted his right to emancipate under the war power, and he doubtless meant what he said when he compared an Executive order to that effect to “the Pope’s Bull against the comet.” In discussing the question, he used to liken the case to that of the boy who, when asked how many legs his calf would have if he called its tail a leg, replied, ” Five,” to which the prompt response was made that calling the tail a leg would not make it a leg.

    The individual is, of course, at liberty to tithe or not tithe.  But just as we can't re-characterize a calf's tail and say it has five legs, we also cannot re-define "tithing" and then pretend that this constitutes obedience to the Lord.  It ain't.

    My membership in the Lord's Church is an important part of the covenants I have made with Him.  I'll not play politics with it, nor will I impose capricious conditions on it. 



  8. 2 hours ago, california boy said:

    To a great extent, I agree with you.  In the discussion I had with my daughter, she basically said that for now, she liked going to church and even though she had issues with the Church, it was still a good place for her to be.  

    I'm glad to hear it.  No organization or society or community can long withstand the corrosive effects of A) fetishizing and glorifying "victim"-ness, B) endlessly self-indulgent and capricious individualism, C) glass-jawed crybullying.

    If the Church is what is claims to be, then we need to buck up and be devoted to and appreciative of its merits and virtues, while also being resilient and patient as to its flaws and shortcomings.  I find it hugely ironic that our critics endlessly fault us (often unfairly) for our supposed pursuit of "perfectionism," and then turn around and rail against us for not being perfect.  For having flaws and making mistakes.

    2 hours ago, california boy said:

    I agreed with her and support her in her decision to stay involved..  There is a lot about the Church and the community that surrounds the Church that is enriching and praiseworthy.  I do think church members are good people in general.

    That is appreciated.  I too think the members are good people in generaly, and that goodness principally flows from adopting the doctrines of the Church into our daily lives.

    2 hours ago, california boy said:

    A lot of times, my comments on this board is meant to present my perspective, a different perspective.  A perspective that shows why the actions the Church can cause real harm to others that don't fit well into their very closely defined idea of what the Church expects its members to look like and to think.  At some point, all those flaws and cracks may reach the point where some might not feel safe attending that Church.  

    "Safe."  Rather a strange word to use in this context.  

    2 hours ago, california boy said:

    Shouldn't those cracks and flaws be pointed out, addressed and fixed before things get so bad that a person no long feels safe in attending?  

    Not really.  I think this notion of "safety" is infinitely malleable, and facially unsound.  Worse, it's a subtle manipulation.  "I won't come to church until and unless I feel 'safe.'  And I won't feel 'safe' until everyone around me hops to and capitulates to my personal preferences and choices."

    Again, no organization or society or community can long withstand the corrosive effects of this sort of thing, which I think relates back to what I said above about fetishizing "victim"-ness (note the scare quotes), capricious individualism (I can't think of a better example than "I don't feel 'safe' because...") and crybullying.

    There is nothing unsafe about reasonable guidelines regarding dress and grooming.

    There is nothing unsafe about doctrine-based constraints on tattoosparticularly as pertaining to youth.

    I think you raise a reasonable point about unkind (and likely unsolicited) generalized remarks about "the gay community."  I have never heard such disparagements in any church setting during my adult life, but I won't altogether discount individualzed anecdotes.  That said, I think the Church is trying very hard to maintain its doctrines and policies regarding the Law of Chastity and same-sex marriage while still being compassionate and kind and respectful toward those who have divergent viewpoints.   

    2 hours ago, california boy said:

    Shouldn't the Church receive pushback from a community that feels like the Church's actions are taking away their own rights and the way they want to live their lives?  

    I don't know what this means.  Also, "pushback" seems cover a broad spectrum of behavior, some of which is quite appropriate (reasoned and reasonable disagreements in the Marketplace of Ideas),  and some of which are not (endless disparagements, unfair characterizations, evil-speaking, intentional efforts to alienate and terrify LGBT youth, etc.).

    2 hours ago, california boy said:

    Some Church members see no reason why so many people are leaving the Church, because those flaws don't affect them.

    I think we would have some substantial disagreements about what can or ought to be categorized as "flaws" in the Church.  

    2 hours ago, california boy said:

    They don't even see them. Instead they just accept them.

    Could you provide some examples?



  9. 1 hour ago, Canadiandude said:

    I’m sorry but how does your case relate to the comment/issue you are responding to?

    I thought the application would be self-evident.

    I guess I had in mind the (fictitious) quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln in Disney's Pollyanna:


    Reverend Paul Ford: [reading Pollyanna’s locket] When you look for the bad in mankind, expecting to find it, you surely will. – Abraham Lincoln.
    Pollyanna: He was the President.
    Reverend Paul Ford: Yes, yes I know … but I never heard that before.
    Pollyanna:  Neither had my father. Anyway, he said it started him thinking and from then on, he was gonna look for the good in people. 

    Res ipsa loquitur.

    1 hour ago, Canadiandude said:

    Are you really suggesting that the consequences of the small imperfections you mention re: your reno/church building are akin to the serious issues and problems experienced by marginalized people in the church??

    No, I am suggesting that what you call "serious issues and problems" are, in the main, not "serious."

    White shirts?  Injunctions against tattoos and multiple ear piercings?  These are, in your view, "serious issues and problems?"

    1 hour ago, Canadiandude said:

    I have a theory:

    Maybe you don’t really notice these problems because they don’t really affect you all that much,

    Well, that's probably part of it.  But the other part is that I am not looking for "these problems."  I am not seizing on a few minor quibbles about the Church, or even one or two more-than-minor grievances, and using them to condemn the entirety of the Church.

    1 hour ago, Canadiandude said:

    as nobody who’s affected by the problems that California Boy describes has to look all that hard to notice them.

    But that's my point.  I didn't have to "look all that hard to notice" the flaws in my ward's church building.  They where there, but I didn't notice them until I went looking for them.

    One of the worst things about faultfinding is just how easy it is to become an expert at it.  

    1 hour ago, Canadiandude said:

    They are an impactful part of their reality as a Latter-Day Saint.

    Should they be, though?  I think . . . not.

    I'm reminded of Matthew 23:


    23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

    24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

    To be sure, "the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith" matter much more.  We ought to be kind and patient and loving with each other.  But there are also things that matter not as much, but are still not for us to "leave . . . undone."

    When I was a soldier, I was required to shave every day.  This was an annoyance.  But it was a requirement (and, broadly speaking, a good and reasonable one).  It seemed like a rule for the sake of itself (it wasn't).  It was a fairly minor daily routine, but some chose to make it more than "minor."  

    So it is, I think, with things like wearing a white shirt (which even California Boy leaves as a theoretical grievance), or abiding by prophetic counsel regarding tattoos and earrings.  These are the less-then-weightier matters that are nevertheless not to be left "undone."  The very fact that people like CB point to these as valid grounds for estrangement from the Church only proves my point.  I think we ought not to be in the habit of faultfinding.  Of looking for things about which we can take offense, and then proceeding to publish - even by proxy - such grievances.

    1 hour ago, Canadiandude said:

    It’s about *privilege* plain ‘n simple. 

    What "privilege" are you referencing here?



  10. 40 minutes ago, Teancum said:

    What do you mean by "the nature God put in us?"

    God sent us to a fallen world

    Yes, I agree with that part.

    40 minutes ago, Teancum said:

    where by our nature we would sin and become God's enemy.

    I don't understand this part (the "by our nature" bit).  Could you elaborate?

    You seem to be imputing some form of Calvinism onto us.  This June 1992 Ensign article by Robert Millet touches on this issue:


    King Benjamin’s teachings on the Fall and the Atonement were part of the profound discourse he delivered at the temple to his people, whom he described as a “diligent people in keeping the commandments of the Lord.” (Mosiah 1:11.) This timely treatise was not for slothful servants, but a dispensing of the “mysteries of God” (Mosiah 2:9) to the Saints, to enable them to receive “a name that never shall be blotted out, except it be through transgression.” (Mosiah 1:12.)

    This prophet-king sets forth the particulars of that which had been revealed by the angel—that “the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam.” (Mosiah 3:19.) What is it that King Benjamin is saying about mankind? What is the natural man, and how may he or she be characterized? To answer these questions, we must first understand the ramifications of Adam’s fall.

    Yep.  Let's go back to the beginning.


    The plan of salvation is designed, according to President Brigham Young, for “the redemption of fallen beings.” This is a hard doctrine, and too often we attempt to soften it. That there is a plan of deliverance indicates there must be something from which we need redemption. The Fall is a companion doctrine to the Atonement, and there are no serious treatments of the Atonement in the Book of Mormon that are not somehow connected with the Fall.

    We know that when Adam and Eve transgressed, they were cast from the Garden of Eden. At that point, their contact with God changed dramatically. They were cut off from His presence, so much so that the estrangement has been referred to as death. Elder Bruce R. McConkie summarized the effects of the Fall:

    “Adam broke the law of God, became mortal, and was thus subject to sin and disease and all the ills of mortality. We know that the effects of his fall passed upon all his posterity; all inherited a fallen state, a state of mortality, a state in which temporal and spiritual death prevail. In this state all men sin. All are lost.”

    "All inherited a fallen states . . . a state in which temporal and spiritual death prevail."

    I think that is distinguishable from saying that we are, by our nature, "enemies" to God.


    Fortunately, the Savior’s redemption was foreordained to atone for these estrangements, first of all Adam’s. As the Lord consoled Adam: “I have forgiven thee thy transgression in the Garden of Eden.” (Moses 6:53.) This declaration must, however, be understood in context. Because “the Son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children” (Moses 6:54), we must not conclude that we are unaffected by the Fall. Jehovah explained to Adam: “Inasmuch as thy children are conceived in sin, even so when they begin to grow up, sin conceiveth in their hearts, and they taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good.” (Moses 6:55.)

    "Sin conceiveth" in our "hearts" because we are in a fallen state.  I think that is distinguishable from saying we are, by our nature, "enemies" to God.  Millett hits on this point directly:


    No, we do not believe, with Calvin, in the moral depravity of men and women. No, we do not believe, with Luther, that man does not even have the power to choose good over evil. And we do not believe that children inherit the so-called sin of Adam through either sexual union or by birth. Rather, children are born into a world of sin; conception is simply the vehicle by which the effects of the Fall (not original guilt) are transmitted to Adam’s posterity. Lehi taught Jacob that in the beginning God “gave commandment that all men must repent; for he showed unto all men that they were lost, because of the transgression of their parents.” (2 Ne. 2:21.)

    As people sin, they die spiritually—”They die as pertaining to the things of the Spirit; they die as pertaining to the things of righteousness; they are cast out of the presence of God. It is of such men that the scriptures speak when they say that the natural man is an enemy to God,” said Elder McConkie.

    I think Millett's entire article is worth a read.

    Here's another point worth considering that may be  rejoinder to the notion that we are "naturally" depraved or wicked or some such.  Consider Moroni 8:


    9 And after this manner did the Holy Ghost manifest the word of God unto me; wherefore, my beloved son, I know that it is solemn mockery before God, that ye should baptize little children.

    10 Behold I say unto you that this thing shall ye teach—repentance and baptism unto those who are accountable and capable of committing sin; yea, teach parents that they must repent and be baptized, and humble themselves as their little children, and they shall all be saved with their little children.

    11 And their little children need no repentance, neither baptism. Behold, baptism is unto repentance to the fulfilling the commandments unto the remission of sins.

    12 But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world; if not so, God is a partial God, and also a changeable God, and a respecter to persons; for how many little children have died without baptism!

    See also D&C 137:10:


    10 And I also beheld that all children who die before they arrive at the years of accountability are saved in the celestial kingdom of heaven.

    If we were, by our "nature," evil / wicked / depraved / "enemies to God," then why do little children not need baptism?



  11. 1 hour ago, california boy said:

    I don't think we are talking about how many smile and shake a person's hand.  I think we are talking about a single mom feeling unwelcome because she doesn't have that ideal eternal family that is presented as the "correct" path to God.  Or a gay person hearing how evil the gay community is and we must do all we can to stop it. (this happened to me the last time I attended a church meeting.}  Or the best friend of my daughter who got a CTR tattoo on her ankle and then was told that she was not following the prophet.  Or my daughter who has two earrings in one ear.  Even a person wearing a colored dress shirt may feel uncomfortable because the accepted clone is white shirts.  No amount of handshakes are going to make those kinds of situation help the person feel welcome in a religion that is so judgmental for things that should not matter AT ALL when it comes to worshiping the Savior.  

    I've been attending the same ward in the same building for nearly sixteen years.  I have been in the building many hundreds of times, for cumulatively some thousands of hours.

    The last few weeks I have been working on a project at home.  I am converting my carport into a garage.  I hired a guy to pour the cement footings, frame the walls and install a window and a door.  I am doing the tyvek wrap, flashing, trim, siding, sealing, painting, etc.  It's taking me a while, as I'm doing it in my (limited) spare time, and I've never done it before, and I'm not very good with my hands.  However, I have been taking pains to install these things in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations and in line with YouTube tutorials I've watched.  In the process I've become, well, pretty critical of the work.  I cut some of the siding too short (these are 4 by 8 foot panels, trimmed to fit).  Some of the gaps are too wide.  Some of the cuts aren't perfectly straight.  Not all of the screws have been into the studs.  Also, the carport is about 60 years old, so its angles are not perfect.  The concrete on one corner has settled a little.  

    Last Saturday morning I and my family went to the church building because it is our ward's turn to clean.  Few people showed up, so we ended up being there a while (1.5 hours, instead of the typical 20-30 minutes).  While there I found myself noticing . . . all sorts of flaws in the building.  A small crack running several inches in the masonry above the door to the library.  A small gap in the trim in one of the foyers.  A "rise" in the carpet outside the bishop's office (the subfloor is buckling up about 1/2 an inch). I had previously been aware of some odd design/construction things with the building.  For example, the "funeral door" leading out of the chapel has about a 1.5 inch concrete lip on the outside, which makes getting a casket into the chapel through that door very difficult.  Also, the Primary Room was, I've been told, added on years after the construction of the building.  It's ceiling is plenty high in the middle of the room, but it slops downward and at each end is very low (under six feet).  The fire alarm goes off fairly often, often for no apparent reason.  The heating and cooling systems don't seem to reach the classroom in the northeast corner of the building, where the young women meet.  They are often hot in the summary and sold in the winter while meeting there.

    Anyway, last Saturday I began pointing these things out to my wife.  We both remarked how we had been coming to this building for years and had never noticed them.  I told her that I think I had noticed these flaws because of the work I had been doing with our carport/garage.  My wife then remarked that she had likewise not noticed the flaws in my work on the siding and such until I had specifically pointed them out to her.  Prior to that she had thought I had been doing a really good job.  She said that even after I pointed out the flaws, the overall work still looked quite good, even though she was now more cognizant of my mistakes.  She then said something like "I guess it's the same with these flaws in the church building.  They are certainly there, but you don't really notice them unless you go looking for them."



  12. Here:


    SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — Officials with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints issued a statement following a fire that sparked at a historic building in Salt Lake City.

    The fire happened at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building on Wednesday at approximately 7 p.m.

    Church officials said the fire started on the second-floor roof.

    In the statement, they noted that "the most likely cause of the fire is from combustible construction materials that ignited on their own."

    Emergency crews were able to respond quickly and extinguish the flames.

    Nobody was injured in the fire and property damage was kept to a minimum, according to the Church's statement.

    The building has reopened and is operating as normal.

    I'm glad nobody was hurt, and that the fire was accidental.



  13. Here:


    When Temple Chai’s Rabbi Bonnie Koppell received an invitation to tour Arizona’s oldest temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, she didn’t think twice before accepting.

    “I felt like the LDS community was reaching out with a hand of friendship, and that’s an important thing to accept -- someone’s offer of friendship,” she said.

    About 20 Jewish community leaders have toured or visited the temple ahead of its rededication on Dec. 12.
    “The physical spaces are very, very different from what we might expect as a worship space,” Koppel said. “They’re elegantly and beautifully furnished, and there’s a grandeur about them.”

    Stanton Curry, who personally invited many of the Jewish leaders who attended, said it is important to build and strengthen relationships with people of different faiths.

    “There are a lot of needs to be served in our community. We’re good at some things; we’re not good at other things, and working in a partnership, we can all get a lot more done,” he said. “We have that kind of relationship with a number of religious groups, including the Jewish leadership in the Valley.”

    It’s also nice to invite people over to your house, he said. “People are curious, and there are beautiful things to see in there.”

    I am very happy to hear anecdotes like this.  The temple being a means whereby interfaith relationships are strengthened.

    Rabbi Koppell was one of the first female rabbis in the United States.


    Sheryl Bronkesh, president of the Phoenix Holocaust Association, attended a tour and brought two local Holocaust survivors with her. They all felt extremely welcomed.

    When they toured the room containing the baptismal font, the tour guide brought up the past controversy surrounding the church’s former practice of posthumously baptizing Holocaust victims.

    “I don’t know if they always talk about it, or they talked about it because they knew that we had Holocaust survivors there, but they addressed it proactively,” Bronkesh said. “I thought that was really good of them.”

    In 2010, the church made an agreement with Jewish leaders to stop the practice, acknowledging it had “unintentionally caused pain.”

    Tim Eckstein, the board chair of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Phoenix, said there’s “still some lingering hurt” over the practice in the Jewish community, but it’s “important for us to try to move past differences we’ve had in the past.”

    I'm glad to hear this was addressed, and that both sides are moving past these differences.


    Eckstein also toured the temple, and was glad to go on both a personal level and on behalf of JCRC.

    “These are incredibly sincere people who are opening their doors and asking the world to come in and see what they’re about,” he said. “Anyone who’s willing to do that, I’m open to accepting that invitation, and I think we all should be-- whether we’re community leaders or not.”

    Building understanding and strengthening relationships with people across different faiths is essential in building the sort of civil society “that we all want to live in,” he said.

    Marty Haberer, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix, said it is very important for the Jewish community to graciously accept any invitation to participate outside of the Jewish world. “The definition of tikkun olam, which means improve the world, doesn’t mean improve only the Jewish world,” he said. It’s also important that the Jewish community shows that it is a great partner and neighbor, he said.

    Touring the Mesa Arizona Temple reminded him of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. “That was a time when the physical temple was where we believed that God’s shechina, his spirit, was housed. And that’s kind of how they treat their temples.”

    He was impressed by the “dignity and perfection” of the building, and said it was refreshing to see that kind of care poured into a physical facility.

    I think few people are as well situated as our Jewish brothers and sisters to appreciate the meaning and significance of the temple.


    Rabbi Michael Beyo, CEO of the East Valley Jewish Community Center, began a friendship with the LDS community about five years ago and was eager to accept an invitation from a friend to tour his temple.

    Religion can be used to denigrate somebody else and create outcasts, he said. “We, as Jews, have been a recipient of that for the last 2,000 years,” he said. Alternatively, religion can be used to create common ground and create a better society with bonds of friendship, “and that is what I would like religion to be,” he said.

    Koppell said Jewish people “can’t have too many friends,” and it is always nice to learn about other faiths. She, too, has had longstanding ties to the LDS community, but had never been inside a temple before. The celestial room resonated most with her. It’s a kind of prayer and meditation space that she described as a mix of a living room and a palace. “It always boggles my mind that in that space there’s no talking or eating. It’s the exact opposite of a synagogue,” she joked.

    We do plenty of "talking" and "eating" in the church gyms.


    The visitation period that began Saturday, Oct. 16, will run through Nov. 20, and advanced reservations are encouraged.

    About 2,500 people toured the temple the week of Oct. 11, about 85% of whom were not members of the Mormon faith, Curry said.

    85% is very cool.



  14. 16 hours ago, Teancum said:

    Mosiah 3:19:

    19 For the anatural bman is an cenemy to God, and has been from the dfall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he eyields to the enticings of the fHoly Spirit, and gputteth off the hnatural man and becometh a isaint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a jchild, ksubmissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

    Why would God create creatures that are his enemy?

    I was writing a response when I scrolled up and saw Hamba's.  So "ditto" to that.

    16 hours ago, Teancum said:

    In Christian thought there are varying ideas on the purpose of creation amongst Christian sects and Mormonism certainly has a unique view. 

    I agree.

    16 hours ago, Teancum said:

    And then there are the philosophies of the Omni's and some LDS thinkers have some interesting ideas on this though LDS scripture seem to tilt towards the more general understanding. I think the  omnis play into this. More on this later.

    I don't think we'll ever have a perfect understanding of the Plan of Salvation.  

    16 hours ago, Teancum said:

    But one thought.  In LDS thought humans were supposed to fall from grace. 

    By choice, yes, we left the presence of God to sojourn for a while in this telestial state.

    16 hours ago, Teancum said:

    Adam and Eve had to fall.

    They chose to fall.

    16 hours ago, Teancum said:

    Sin had to be introduced into the world. 

    That seems to be part of the plan, yes.  Opposition in all things.

    16 hours ago, Teancum said:

    We would all sin so we were destined to become God's enemy. It was planned.

    It was anticipated.  Hence need for a savior and the atonement.  The Book of Mormon has some very good meditations on this concept, such as 2 Nephi 2 and Mosiah chapters 3-4.

    16 hours ago, Teancum said:

    This to me some like an insidious plan to create us to have to start as God's enemy. 

    "Start as God's enemy?"  What do you mean by that?

    Also, do you think the entire Plan of Salvation is "insidious?"

    Also, what are your thoughts about D&C 76 and the eschatology of the children of God?  The salvific destiny of virtually all of us is, will be, beyond our ability to comprehend.  Consider the description of the Telestial Kingdom as found in D&C 76:89-90: "And thus we saw, in the heavenly vision, the glory of the telestial, which surpasses all understanding; And no man knows it except him to whom God has revealed it."

    We can and do know the "glory" of this fallen "telestial" world because we live in it.  In contrast, the Telestial Kingdom has a glory to it "which surpasses all understanding."  So we cannot conflate these two things.

    If the Plan was to have us all, regardless of what we do and regardless of our choices and desires, live for eternity in hellish damnation, then I could see "insidious" as an apt descriptor.  But that's nothing like the eschatology espoused by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

    We are, instead, taught that even the most wicked and evil that humanity has ever seen (excepting Sons of Perdition) will inherit the Telestial Kingdom, the glory of which "surpasses all understanding" (D&C 76:89).

    We are told that the travails and adversities of this life are "but a small moment," and that if we "endure it well, God shall exalt {us} on high."  (D&C 7-8.) 

    We are told that "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."  (1 Cor. 2:9.) 

    We are taught that "the Spirit Himself giveth testimony to our spirit, that we are the sons of God. And if sons, heirs also; heirs indeed of God, and joint heirs with Christ: yet so, if we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him." (Rom. 8:16-17.)

    We are taught that "if we be dead with {Christ}, we shall live also with him. If we suffer, we shall also reign with him." (2 Tim. 2:11-12.)

    We are taught that "the God of all grace, who hath called us into his eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little, will himself perfect you, and confirm you, and establish you." (1 Pet. 5:10.)

    And so on.  So I don't quite understand your characterization of the Plan of Salvation as "insidious."  

    16 hours ago, Teancum said:

    So let's talk about it.

    Yes, let's.



  15. Daniel Peterson has posted some thoughts on this article: Two studies of LDS, LGBTQ Youth, and Suicide

    Some excerpts:


    There are relatively few genuinely new arguments against the Restoration and against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

    I have really found this to be true.  For the past several years I have found myself more and more responding to arguments presented here by cutting and pasting something I have said previously, often many times over.


    But some do exist that have been formulated in recent years.  One of the more innovative arguments, popular among some critics of the Church, is that Latter-day Saint standards and doctrine make miserable the lives of adolescents who are attracted to people of their own sex.  These critics hope to deploy youth suicides as a weapon against the claims of the Restored Church.

    We've seen this a lot on this board.  Here's a sampleAnd another.

    Back to DCP's post:


    Two recent studies seem to cast at least a little bit of doubt on this effort:

    W. Justin Dyer, Michael A. Goodman, and David S. Wood, “Religion and Sexual Orientation as Predictors of Utah Youth Suicidality.”  Accepted for Publication on July 27, 2021 at BYU Studies Quarterly Prepublication Manuscript

    In a sample of 86,346 youth in Utah (grades 6,8,10, and 12) the relationship between religion and suicidality and depression was examined. Previous research suggests religion is protective, though whether it is also protective for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and questioning individuals (LGBQ) is debated. In line with previous research, we hypothesized that those belonging to the dominant religion in Utah (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) would have lower suicidality than other religious groups due to greater family connections, lower substance use, and more community connections (i.e., less bullying for sexual orientation or religion and feeling safer at school). Whether this held for LGBQ individuals was also examined. Overall, results found Latter-day Saints were lower in suicidality and depression; differences were almost entirely explained by family connections and substance use (less so by community connections). Similarly, regarding suicidality and depression, LGBQ Latter-day Saints were significantly lower than or equal to LGBQ individuals of other religions and no religion. Again, differences between LBGQ Latter-day Saints and others were almost entirely explained by family connections and substance use. Community connections explained little of the difference between Latter-day Saints and others, though community connections had a strong main effect on suicidality and depression.

    Some might scoff at this first study because two of its three authors are on the faculty of Religious Education at Brigham Young University.  What kind of qualifications would they have for addressing a topic such as this?  Well, Michael A. Goodman, who is a member of the Religious Education faculty, has a Ph.D. in in marriage, family, and human development from Brigham Young University.  W. Justin Dyer, also a member of the faculty of Religious Education at BYU, earned a Ph.D. in  human and community development from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  And David S. Wood, who earned his doctorate in counseling psychology from Arizona State University, teaches in BYU’s School of Social Work.

    Which is to say that the study will need to be evaluated on its merits or its lack of merits rather than dismissed with an easy ad hominem.

    Yeah, I think we can see the ad hominem responses a mile off.

    The next part is where DCP cites the Bowling Green study referenced in the OP:


    And then there’s this:

    Utah ranks fifth in the nation for suicide and has experienced a rapid increase in youth deaths by suicide over the last decade. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) youth in Utah may be at heightened risk, given the major presence and stances of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regarding LGBTQ identities and relationships. However, no research has yet examined the differences in or predictors of suicidal thoughts and behaviors (STBs; i.e., suicidal thoughts, plans, and attempts) among LGBTQ youth in Utah. Using a large representative sample of Utah middle and high schoolers (n = 73,982), we found that Latter-day Saint (LDS) and non-LDS LGBTQ groups reported greater levels of STBs than heterosexual/cisgender youth, with non-LDS LGBTQ youth reporting the highest levels of STBs, followed by LDS LGBTQ youth. Path-analyses demonstrated that LGBTQ participants’ reports of higher family conflict and lower parental closeness were tied to higher depression, self-harm, and substance misuse, and these three factors were, in turn, associated with higher levels of STBs for LGBTQ youth in Utah. This path model did not differ significantly due to LDS versus non-LDS religious affiliation. Findings suggest that LGBTQ youth in Utah would be well served if clinicians and advocacy groups pay attention to the ways that religious affiliation and family dynamics might indirectly lead to STBs among adolescents. Public Significance Statement: This study found that both Latter-day Saint and non-Latter-day Saint LGBTQ youth are at higher risk for experiencing suicidal thoughts and behaviors than their heterosexual or cisgender peers. Additionally, for LGBTQ youth, higher levels of family conflict and lower levels of parental closeness were related to more depression, substance misuse, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and suicide attempts. These findings demonstrate the potential familial and religious risks that LGBTQ youth may experience in Utah. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

    For whatever it’s worth, I also looked up the co-authors of this second study:  James S. McGraw is a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, where J. Chinn too is a graduate student.  Meagan Docherty teaches in Bowling Green’s Department of Psychology, and Annette Mahoney is a Professor of Clinical Psychology there.

    Please do not misinterpret what I’m saying here by my sharing the titles, abstracts, and links of these two studies.  I’m not minimizing the gravity of suicide or downplaying what seems to be a growing problem.  Even a single suicide — whatever the sexuality of the person involved may be — is an inestimable tragedy and, very plainly, one suicide too many.




  16. 5 hours ago, JustAnAustralian said:

    Several years ago when the church dissolved several Samoan speaking wards here, members of the wards sued the church http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/cth/FCAFC/2014/26.html?


    From paragraph 7:


    In 2007 and 2008, the Church discontinued the Samoan-speaking wards. Until these wards were discontinued, the appellants were able to worship publicly as a group in their native Samoan language at services conducted by the Church in the Samoan-speaking wards. Following the discontinuance of the wards, the Church announced that the appellants were no longer allowed to use any language other than English in public worship and, in consequence, the appellants could no longer use the Samoan language publicly to pray, sing or testify in services of public worship conducted by the Church.

    I was sort of skeptical that "the Church announced that the appellants were no longer allowed to use any language other than English in public worship."  The court made further findings in paragraphs 21-25:


    21. Prior to the decision the applicants had the benefit of being able to publicly worship as a group in their native Samoan language at services conducted by the respondent in the wards operated by the respondent. Following the decision to cease the Samoan language wards, however the ability to continue to worship as a group in the Samoan language was removed in each ward. Announcements were made that the applicants were no longer allowed to use any language other than English, and could no longer use the Samoan language to pray, sing or testify.

    22. Some of the applicants gave evidence about the announcements:

    (a) Tareta Hakula Siakisini (BRG017/09) gave evidence that he was told at a Sunday service on the Sunday following the decisions that they were no longer allowed to use the Samoan language, and were not allowed to sing hymns or to testify in the Samoan language.

    (b) Ann Siakisini gave evidence that she was told by Bishop Willoughby that they were no longer allowed to use the Samoan language in church services. She also gave evidence that she had been present when a member of the church was told not to do their testimonial in the Samoan language. Bishop Willoughby said that testimonials had to be given in English.

    (c) Sisi Polelie (BRG019/09) gave evidence that she had been told she was not allowed to pray publicly in her own language by President Muillo.

    (d) Pelepesite Ah See gave evidence that, two Sundays after the decision, it was announced that no-one was allowed to talk, or say prayers, at sacrament meetings in the Samoan language. In oral evidence, he said that Bishop Willoughby announced that they were not allowed to use the Samoan language in prayer, testimonials or hymns, and they must now use English.

    (e) Marlene Ah See gave evidence that, when she last attended the Woodridge Ward, Mr Willoughby announced they could no longer use the Samoan language.

    (f) Mr Laurensen gave evidence it was publicly announced after the decisions that no-one was allowed to talk or say prayers at sacrament meetings in the Samoan language.

    23. Mr Willoughby, a bishop of the Church expressly accepted that he told his congregation that the Samoan language was no longer allowed to be used in services, and that all services were to be conducted in English. Mr Willoughby also accepted that the ward was to be English speaking and any Samoan conducting a service should use English or have the Samoan language translated into English. As he said in his affidavit, those who were challenged in using the English language would use their own language, but were to be invited “to give talks in sacrament meeting with the assistance of a translator”.

    24. The respondent provided translation equipment to assist non-English speaking churchgoers to follow the services. I accept that was consistent with the claims of some of the applicants that the move away from the Samoan language affected the quality of their experience. Mr Smibert accepted the effect of the decisions was that all Church services had to be conducted in English.

    25. It was clear from the cross-examination, however that the applicants (who were cross-examined) were still able to worship in their native Samoan language, although I accept that the worship there being referred to was private worship, as part of the public service conducted in English.

    And paragraph 36:


    36. In any event, the {Church} argued that the appellants’ right to freedom of religion (in article 5(d)(vii) of CERD) had not been nullified or impaired because:

    (a) The [appellants’] freedom to freely practise their religion has not been the subject of any interference;

    (b) The appellants are not prevented from attending any service offered by the Church;

    (c) In reality, the applicants remain at liberty to manifest their beliefs:
    (i) Many of the appellants are able to understand the English language;

    (ii) Not all of the Church services are conducted in the English language;

    (iii) Private prayer can be in the [appellants’] native Samoan language;

    (iv) Singing can be in the Samoan language;

    (v) The Church’s written materials and videos are largely available in the Samoan language;

    (vi) Facilities to translate the Church services from the English language into the Samoan language when the Samoan language is not used are available for the use of those who prefer to hear the particular Church service in the Samoan language.

    Paragraph 18 describes the Church's administrative processes that were used to discontinue the Samoan and Tongan units.  The process was to - surprise! - create a committee.  Here's what the committee recommended:


    (iv) the sub-committee recommended that the Samoan language designation attaching to the above-referenced wards should be discontinued because, inter alia:

    (i) the restructuring of the existing stakes and the creation of the eighth stake within the greater Brisbane Region would be easier to accomplish; and

    (ii) many of the Samoan youth who attended these wards were unable to speak the Samoan language.

    Overall an interesting read (though the formatting is off a bit - some of the paragraphs are out of order).



  17. 3 hours ago, JustAnAustralian said:

    5 pages of corrections have been submitted. I would have thought they would have the material down pat by now since they just keep recycling the same stuff.

    Hoo, boy.  Gaddy's attorney seems to be . . . struggling.

    By way of context:

    On March 31, 2020 the court dismissed the entirety of Gaddy's original Complaint.  A link to the court's "Memorandum Decision" of that date is here.

    On July 28, 2021 the court entered a "Memorandum Decision" (document "100" in the docket) dismissing most of the claims in the {First} Amended Complaint (link here), but allowed one claim (for Civil RICO) to survive.  The court also gave her 30 days to file a motion for permission to file a Second Amended Complaint.

    On August 23, 2021, Gaddy filed a motion asking for an extension of time to file a motion for permission to file a Second Amended Complaint.  The court granted it the next day (the Church did not oppose it).  The new deadline for this motion was September 27.

    On September 27, 2021, Gaddy filed a "MOTION for Extension of Time to Amend 100 Order on Motion for Leave to File, Order on Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim, Memorandum Decision and Memorandum in Support of Mtn. for Leave to File 2AC, MOTION to Enforce Judgment and Memorandum in Support."  Here is a link to this document.  In this document Gaddy is asking the court for permission to file a Second Amended Complaint (a copy of which is attached as an exhibit to this document, see here).  The last part of the document's title, "MOTION to Enforce Judgment and Memorandum in Support," is confusing.  What "judgment" is it that Gaddy is asking the judge to "enforce"?  Also, this document is document "105" in the docket (relevant to the next bit, below).

    On October 5, 2021, Gaddy filed a "MOTION to Amend/Correct 105 MOTION for Extension of Time to Amend 100 Order on Motion for Leave to File, Order on Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim, Memorandum Decision and Memorandum in Support of Mtn. for Leave to File 2AC MOTION to Enforce Judgment and Memorandum in Support Motion and Memorandum in Support."  Again, I don't want to spend the money to download this document, but I think this document is intended to amend the September 27 document.

    On October 12, 2021, the Church filed a "RESPONSE to Motion re 105 MOTION for Extension of Time to Amend 100 Order on Motion for Leave to File."  That is, the Church filed a response to Gaddy's September 27 filing.

    On October 13, the following docket item was entered (apparently by the court): 


    Motions No Longer Referred: 105 MOTION for Extension of Time to Amend 100 Order on Motion for Leave to File, Order on Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim, Memorandum Decision and Memorandum in Support of Mtn. for Leave to File 2AC MOTION to Enforce Judgment and Memorandum in Support Motion106 MOTION to Amend/Correct 105 MOTION for Extension of Time to Amend 100 Order on Motion for Leave to File, Order on Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim, Memorandum Decision and Memorandum in Support of Mtn. for Leave to File 2A (mjm) (Entered: 10/13/2021)

    I think this is a heads-up from the court to the parties that Gaddy's request for permission to file the Second Amended Complaint will be heard by the Article III judge assigned to the case, rather than the magistrate judge.

    For the non-lawyers reading this: Typically when we think of a "federal" judge, we are thinking of a judge appointed to the federal bench by the President under Article III of the U.S. Constitution.  This is the lifetime appointment kind of judge.  The one assigned to Gaddy's case is Judge Robert Shelby.  However, there are only five federal judges in Utah, so they are pretty busy.  Federal judges will therefore often "refer" (assign) non-dispositive motions (that is, motions that address some part of the lawsuit, but do not reach a final decision about the entirety of the suit) to a magistrate judge, the decisions of which are subject to review by the Article III judge.  In the Gaddy matter, the assigned magistrate judge is Dustin Pead.

    While Judge Shelby authored the July 28 "Memorandum Decision," Gaddy's August 23, September 27 and October 5 motions had perviously been referred to Judge Pead.  However, I think the docket entry dated October 13 is an indication to the parties that Judge Shelby, rather than Judge Pead, is going to hear all of these motions.  I suspect that Judge Shelby is taking over these motions because, well, Gaddy's attorney is making a big fat mess of the court's docket.

    The more I read Kay Burningham's stuff, I am beginning to suspect that she's not writing this stuff.  She was admitted to the bar in 1985.  It's hard to imagine someone with 36 years of litigation experience could be writing such dreck.  I can certainly understand a few errors and typos here and there, but the Second Amended Complaint is a trainwreck.  Way too long.  Meandering.  Stultifying.  And it compounds the errors of the previous versions of Gaddy's complaint.  I don't think she (Burningham) wrote it.  I think she has some over-enthusiastic law student intern or paralegal doing the drafting.  Note that it was filed on September 27, the last possible day to do so.  And this is after the judge gave her an extension of the filing deadline.



  18. 1 hour ago, Danzo said:

    A few years ago, the spanish unit was dissolved in our stake.   Many of marginally inactive people in the branch went less active.  The more active members of the spanish units seem to have become more active than they were in the spanish unit (stake callings, melchedezic priesthood ordinations, missions, etc).  

    Now that a spanish unit was reorganized about six months ago its interesting that many of the more active spanish language members don't want to go back to the spanish unit.  One family expressed privately that really don't want to go back to having the whole unit being placed on their shoulders and love the support of the members in their unit.  This was a fairly young family.

    On the other hand, there are people that were less active that are returning to activity in the new spanish unit.  Many of the older spanish people, the sisters especially were having a hard time integrating with the regular wards.   Its a battle for both sides, Its hard for someone who doesn't speak the language to seek out friends with the regular ward members and its hard for the regular members to know how to aproach someone different than them.

    When the spanish unit originally disolved, I was called as a kind of spanish liason to the hispanic members in our area.  I was invited to ward counsel and had regual meetings with the bishop to discuss the needs of the spanish members of the ward. I think there was a lot of success in that approach.  I was able to explain some of the cultural and legal difficulties of the spanish ward members (Some of them didn't have drivers licenses so they should be asked to give rides to temple trips as an example).  The spanish members had someone they could talk to and communicate the needs to the bishop.  One of the families was basically living in a garage and the ward worked together to provide heaters, and supplies to help this family. Many members were shocked that people in the US live in those conditions and they would have been oblivious still if our ward didn't have the experiance of serving them.   One family member developed cataracts and since they weren't legal he couldn't get any medicaid help.  The ward found an eye surgeon that was able to do remove the cataracts without any charge.  Members of the family were asked to give talks and they gave them with a translator to translate them to english. The family eventually went to the temple together and got sealed. Even though the adults didn't speak very much english they woudl come to church and everyone would give them hugs and they felt very welcome. They would even visit our ward often after they moved because they had such a good experience. 

    Integrating different cultures and languages certianly is hard and doesn't always succeed, but when it does, everyone is blessed by the effort and by the outcome. 

    Very interesting.  Thank you for sharing.



  19. 29 minutes ago, Danzo said:

    I have been a member of several different spanish language units (currently attending one right now).

    In my opinion, its usually a cultural thing.  Many members already speak english well, they just don't feel comfortable with the culture of the regular wards for one reason or another.  In the current stake their are also  families who don't speak english very well (one of them is in the high council) but are comfortable with the culture of the regular ward and prefer to stay in the regular wards.

    So do you think there is a mix?  That the "language" wards are to accommodate cultural discomfort as much as linguistic?

    29 minutes ago, Danzo said:

    In my opinion this segregration brings problems, in that the regular wards don't get the opportunity to minister and experience to people who are culturaly and linguistically differnet from them and the members of the spanish units don't get the benifit of the stronger church members and church program in general available in the regular wards.  

    Yes, I can see that.  The "segregation" is self-imposed and self-selected, and so is distinguishable from the invidious de jure and de facto segregation of yesteryear.  But this sort of segregation does seem to bring some problems with it.  But then, I think dissolving the language units would bring another set of problems, likely a lower activity rate.

    29 minutes ago, Danzo said:

    As a general rule the stronger church members are more comfortable in the regular wards and tend to stay their regardless of linguistic ability. 

    Yes, it would seem assimilation into the local culture is usually the best way to go.  But I wonder if the Polynesian wards in Utah County are an exception to that rule.



  20. 8 minutes ago, ksfisher said:

    This is an interesting observation because I've been told a couple of times that one thing we (the white people) don't understand about the Spanish speaking branch in our stake is how many different cultures they come from.  Apparently these different cultural backgrounds cause some ruffled feathers from time to time.

    Yep.  Shared language is hardly the same thing as shared culture.  I wonder if there may be some hackles raised in the Church's Mandarin-speaking wards as between members from China and members from, say, Taiwan.  Same language, often the same ethnicity too (Han), but very different cultural backgrounds.



  • Create New...