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  1. A somewhat variant topic: pandemic influence on church attendance https://www.deseret.com/faith/2023/3/28/23659997/pew-survey-church-attendance-pandemic
  2. Clint Goodman does a lot of statistics on this. https://www.heraldextra.com/news/faith/2023/mar/27/saratoga-springs-man-uses-analytics-to-see-trends-in-general-conference-talks/ https://cgood92.github.io/general-conference-stats/ I suspect some here will find this interesting. PS: He also apparently notes that the Church's growth isn't dropping (just increasing less quickly).
  3. Agreed. And it was a terrible piece about another terrible article. Sanderson's fan came to his defense but Sanderson was like, meh, don't bother, all good (I am boring).
  4. I actually find his writing quite nice and when I saw him by accident at a book signing, he was very courteous. This author's opinion is not so generous (and it seems, perhaps to partly stem from Sanderson's faith). https://kotaku.com/brandon-sanderson-wired-wheel-of-time-mistborn-1850262249
  5. Lo, a mostly positive Stack article. https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2023/03/25/lds-missionaries-mental-health/
  6. It was completely wrong and it's unfortunate that it was. Though, apparently chatGPT 4 has a access the live web plugin. We'll see if that does better.
  7. He doesn't have anything to do with it. I asked Google's bard who the most prolific poster on this website was, it's first response was John Dehlin. Later when posed the same question it was David Bokovoy with 219 posts. It's most recent response is "I apologize for the error in my previous response. There is no prolific poster on the website mormondialogue.org as it has been inactive since 2019." 10%?. Bah. The Church asks (potentially) everything which we own. Heck, I think the same standard should be applied to the Church as a whole and its businesses. A full 100% should go towards its causes.
  8. You are welcome to do that, of course. Nothing I can do to stop you. In general, I don't make it a habit of criticizing other individuals or institutions for their supposed lack of humanitarian effort. Except John Dehlin. With his huge income he should be donating some 10% 20% 50% of his income to helping the poor. The stingy jerk.
  9. It's never ever enough for those that would be critical of the Church. The Church may have $180 billion in assets but certainly not all of that are liquid assets -- things that can easily be transferred to cash and donated to others. Though, there is at least one example of the Church transferring non-liquid (pun intended) assets. https://www.sltrib.com/news/environment/2023/03/17/we-realize-this-is-just-start
  10. More on the poll. https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2023/03/24/andy-larsen-theres-more-pew-poll/
  11. I can respect the symbolic position. I personally suspect some aspects of something we don't fully grasp are literal and what we are left with is a greatly simplified story. But, that's irrelevant. For me the “version” story that speaks of logical coherency and of a kind, rational God carries more spiritual value then one that creates paradox and presents a rather irrational story. Yet, life is messy and often seemingly irrational and so I can see where that can hold value. This said not with sarcasm but genuine recognition. After all, the Adam and Eve story if presented as seemingly paradoxical, would scarcely be the only place in the gospel that occurs. Nevertheless, for this story I take a different approach and adopt telling a version that is rational, not paradoxical. But again, I give space to those who choorse otherwise.
  12. Yes. He wanted to make everybody choose the good and so "saved". But the only way to do that was remove our ability to freely choose. I agree with don't have to try and psychoanalyze his motivations. His plan is probably presented fairly simplistically (the winners write history after all). He persuaded a good chunk of our siblings despite the Plan of Salvation being successfully implemented on other worlds and the scriptural account doesn't seem that persuasive (though, all of us here sided against him, so maybe we're biased). Nonetheless, I don't think it "psychoanalysis" to say that Lucifer was upset at his plan being rejected and it is by no means a far stretch to think that he'd want to sabotage the plan. It is, however, a pretty nonsensical stretch to say that he was upset that his plan got rejected and therefore he choose to be the very implement that got Adam and Eve to partake of the fruit just like they were supposed to. Why? Why in the heck would he further the plan that he opposed? And why would he be punished for doing so? So very much makes absolutely no sense in the basic Catholic and Protestant versions of the story that many Latter-day Saints adopt and riff off of. But, in my not-so-humble-opinion, they have it basically wrong and we need feel no obligation to bend our reason into contortions to make that explanation work. The simple and straight forward explanation is that Adam and Eve were instructed not to partake initially. They were to be given some time to adjust to their new bodies and learn some things and get further instruction. After that further instruction and they were better prepared for being outside the Garden, then, then God would say, "You two are ready to leave the Garden; eat the Fruit. I won't make you, but it's time. Again, still, it's your choice. Eat the fruit." Satan knew this. He'd seen it done on countless worlds before. And so, he got them kicked out of the Garden prematurely with the intent of just generally messing things up (like kicking your kids out of the house when they are 12 and not after they have finished all of their schooling). For this deliberate act of sabotage, an act contrary to what God intended (and what happened on other worlds) God punished Satan and his followers by revoking their travel privileges (eat the dust of this earth) lest he go and try his shenanigans elsewhere. Nonetheless, God knew that Satan would try to sabotage things and prepared for it (ie Christ). Anyway that's my take. Fits all the pieces quite nicely. Temple. Check. Scripture. Check. Simplicity. Check. Logic and reason. Check. Protestant/Catholic tradition. Oops, not check. Darn.
  13. I see it. I do not believe it a better explanation than mine: "Do not partake (because you aren't ready, later you'll be ready and we'll rescind the commandment and leave it to you to choose)." This explains why Satan did what he did (he wanted to mess things up). Yours does not. It also works very well with temple verbiage. Nonetheless, I can see how one holds this rather traditional perspective and don't begrudge it.
  14. Why have a commandment to not partake at all? In the scenario you describe there doesn't seem to be any reason. Let's just give a commandment that is by-inherent-design is to be broken. Seems pretty silly, like making a building with the sole intent that it should collapse. But that's a poor analogy--I can think of a reason that might be (e.g. earthquake design) but it makes much less sense to me that a perfect, omniscient, all-loving being would give a commandment whose soul purpose is to be disobeyed. Silliness. Everything you describe could be better explained by Adam and Eve enter the Garden knowing from pre-mortality that they would voluntarily choose to leave with no commandment to stay needed.
  15. A position that I have long advocated on this board. God fully wanted them to partake of the fruit, but after they had received further instruction and preparation. Lucifer, now Satan, upset that his approach was rejected sought to disrupt the plan that had worked so very well on other worlds with other Adams and other Eves by prematurely getting them kicked out of the garden before they were properly prepared to do so. That is, his hope was to start this world out on the wrong foot and hope and help all go to crap from then on (and it appears he has been successful to some extent if Enoch's description of us is accurate). This position necessitates that our earth's experience is in at least one crucial aspect the exception and not the rule.
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