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rchorse

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Everything posted by rchorse

  1. It's hard for the Church to fulfill its mission when it doesn't exist. Yes, but accusations are as far as it went. I suspect had the church been fully integrated with blacks as full equals, it would have been more than accusations. There's a big difference between supporting abolition of slavery and being ok with full racial integration, which is what the ban was about. Were blacks treated equally to whites in the free states back then? What was the level of integration in free states prior to the civil rights movement? The same could be said of plural marriage and yet look at how that turned out a few decades later. Maybe I'm wrong, and it was just racist leaders. Maybe the church would have survived, thrived and grown even more than it has without the ban. But I think that view has its own problems, as many have pointed out already on the thread. I'm not going to say any more. You all can have the last word. I just wanted to present another way to look at it. Edit to add: In case it's not clear, I'm not a fan of the priesthood ban or the past and current racism in the church and in society.
  2. My position is that the ban and its removal were both inspired, but not for the reasons most give. I think it was initially implemented because society at the time was so racist that full acceptance of blacks would have threatened the survival of the church, similar to how polygamy almost caused the end of the church because society couldn't handle it. Having said that, I don't know that church leaders thought they were implementing it for that reason, and they may have had fully racist intentions. But I think God allowed or even inspired the ban for that reason, even if the leaders went with it for other reasons. Regarding the end of the ban, although society was ready prior to 1978, I don't think the church was. I think most members had bought into all the racist teachings and explanations of the ban that had been used in the late 1800s and early 1900s to the point that ending the ban prior to that would also have threatened the church. That, in combination with some top leaders of the church not really wanting to end the ban led to it continuing longer than it needed to. That's all opinion and conjecture on my part, and I'm open to changing my opinion based on new information. But based on my own study and prayer, that's the conclusion I've arrived at. I'm sure many disagree, but I'm just putting it out there as my perspective, not to debate the point.
  3. Is there any evidence of correlation between perceived attractiveness and likelihood of being raped? Even better is there such evidence independent of what was being worn? I doubt rape has much, if anything, to do with the attractiveness of the woman. It's all about power, sadism, and how easy a target the woman is. Also, how likely the man is to get caught or not. In other words, it's all about the man doing the raping and his selfish and sick desires.
  4. Luckily it's not my problem. But if I pray about it and get personal revelation that he's off the rails, I'll stop doing what he says. Anything else is out of my hands. I don't think it's my place to convince others of a fallen prophet.
  5. I'm pretty sure a managing director is a paid administrative position, and not an ecclesiastical one. It would not be a calling, but rather something in the same realm as a programmer who keeps the church website up and running.
  6. Not my call, but there are some big mistakes by prophets in the scriptures. Each person has to determine for him- or herself what is over the line. As others have said, I imagine it has something to do with whether the prophet is doing more harm than good in accomplishing the work of exaltation.
  7. Teaching any doctrine is, by definition, indoctrination. It just sounds scary and bad because the word is normally only used in a negative and pejorative way. Sending your child to school, any school, is sending them off to be indoctrinated. Teaching your child anything at home is indoctrination. Letting your children watch TV, read books, or play video games is exposing them to indoctrination.
  8. The attitude that God/Christ wouldn't call a racist as prophet is interesting, considering that Peter (selected by Jesus himself) had to receive a vision before he was willing to preach to the Gentiles. And then all the other apostles (most also selected by Jesus himself) were mad at him for having done it. These are racist ideologies. So why couldn't Jesus have picked people who weren't so racist? Then we have the Old Testament prophets. Moses killed a guy, Noah liked his alcohol, and Elisha watched a bear kill a bunch of children without intervening because they made fun of his baldness. Prophets have flaws and make mistakes. The oft-quoted comment from Wilford Woodruff (could that be an oversimplification by a prophet? Impossible!) notwithstanding, the church puts much more emphasis on personal revelation than it does on following the prophet. "Follow the prophet, but be careful he might get it wrong once in a while" is nearly impossible to communicate without undermining all confidence in any church leadership. What organization on the planet teaches regularly and emphasizes the fallibility of its leadership? It seems a sure way to weaken and even potentially destroy an organization.
  9. It took me a while to learn that inspiration is not an all or nothing thing. If a prophet says or does something that isn't inspired, it does not mean that everything else he's done or said was uninspired. Similarly, just because some (or most, as has been my experience) of what was said/done was inspired, it doesn't mean all of it was. Mistakes happen, but that doesn't then mean by extension that everything is a mistake or wrong. What it does mean, though, is that I need to get my own inspiration about how to respond to things the prophets say and/or do, especially when they don't sit quite right with me.
  10. I think that's exactly the problem that the new handbook language is trying to correct. Utah culture (or the lack thereof) has dominated the worldwide church for too long. Rather than forcing everyone to adapt to the Utah way, I think the church is trying to get people in Utah, and to a lesser extent, the rest of the U.S. to be more flexible and adapt to other cultures. As an example, my wife was recently called as the ward music director. She sent a survey out to the ward members asking for feedback on what could be improved. The most common response by far has been that we should avoid singing new hymns and just stick with the familiar ones that everyone knows. I really wonder how these members are going to handle the new hymn book, especially if it includes "culturally diverse music styles." Utah and American members of the church are too stuck in our ways and we need to get over it. As another example, when we moved to Germany from Utah, I was shocked to hear everyone calling the branch president by his first name. I was even more shocked when we went to stake conference and everyone called the stake president by his first name. In Utah, that would be a big sign of disrespect, but that was how they did it there. Apparently, given the German propensity to almost idolize titles (Herr Doktor Professor Schmidt, for example), a visiting authority had at one point advised them to not be so rigid about it. They took the counsel, and that was the result. After getting over my initial culture shock, I found that I much preferred that way. I think we too often mistake stodginess and tradition for respect and reverence.
  11. My experience was very similar. It was brutally difficult, but I'm very grateful for what it did for my life.
  12. As rongo mentioned above, it's precisely because we (mostly) all agree about Christ, his divinity, and other fundamental principles that they're not discussed much. Honestly, I've almost never heard the most common discussion topics from this board discussed at church or even in casual conversations with member friends. The only people I ever get into most of these topics with in real life are my wife and my brother and his wife. The vast majority of my real-life church experience and study does focus on Christ and what I would consider the fundamentals of the gospel.
  13. “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it” - Joseph Smith
  14. In my mission, they made it a rule that you had to baptize someone every week. If you didn't do it, you were breaking the rules and needed to repent. As someone who struggles with scrupulosity, this was devastating for me and led to severe depression for the first time in my life. At 19/20, I hadn't had experience with bad church leadership yet, and I thought I was the one in the wrong. It actually turned out to be a good thing for my spiritual development, though, as I was forced to reconcile my "disobedience" with God. The revelation that I clearly received was that all I needed to worry about was doing my best, and that if I did that, God was pleased with me. It didn't matter what others thought. I still struggle with feeling like I'm good enough or doing enough, but I've had enough experience now that I'm usually able to remind myself that no one is perfect, and I'm doing ok. But, yeah, I'm not sure if that idiotic "rule" came from the mission president or the area presidency. Either way, it was ridiculously stupid and did not accomplish anything worthwhile. Edit: We also had a bunch of zone leaders and stuff who would try to get us to "sacrifice" something important to us so that we could earn additional blessings (baptisms). A lot of missionaries started giving up food, sleep, etc. I was at least smart enough to see that going without water while walking 15 plus miles in 115 degree heat was not a sacrifice that would bring blessings. It was just stupid.
  15. For me, it starts to feel worse the more time I spend online. The tone of almost every doctrinal discussion I've read online is one of debate and having to prove things. With the exception of a few sites, religion and belief are typically mocked and dismissed. The extreme viewpoints are always the most vocal, and they have a platform bigger than ever in the internet. Making it worse, I feel like there are some coordinated propaganda campaigns going on by parties on all sides that are aimed at causing division and conflict. Russia, for example, is very active in using social media to foster political and cultural division. I have no doubt that people with certain religious viewpoints are working toward the same goal with regards to religion. I find that when I step away from online commentary and just focus on family, the scriptures, and church meetings and responsibilities, things come back into balance. There are so many good people out there both in and out of the church doing so many good things. Spending time with those good people, even when we disagree politically or religiously, really buoys me up.
  16. Our memories are extremely malleable. Every time we access a memory, our brains rewrite the memory. It's very common years later to remember something completely differently than it happened. I think it's especially important to record spiritual experiences for exactly this reason. It's very easy to later explain away or misinterpret remembered spiritual experiences that were clear at the time, simply because we have changed and the lens we view things through is different. A record of it helps keep things clear. This is of course true with all sorts of memories, but I think is especially important with spiritual experiences.
  17. People know when they're only being visited out of obligation or duty. Such visits don't accomplish much. By removing the social pressure and handholding, the visits and other actions that do occur are more likely to be done out of love and genuine concern. In other words, when it happens, it becomes true ministering rather than checking a box. So which is better? Less frequent, but genuine, loving ministering or more frequent going through the motions out of obligation. I know which one I prefer.
  18. Like I said, I'm sure it happens, and I have seen it happen. I'm not doubting your experience. But it's not universal like critics make it seem, and in my experience, it's not even the majority. And without both sides of the story, I'm going to withhold judgment on either side.
  19. While I agree with you on many of these issues, I think no one is commenting on them because they aren't the topic of the thread. Not to mention that they are highly politically charged and politics are not allowed on the board.
  20. I've heard many of the same stories from people who have left the church. I have a hard time taking them at face value anymore because I know the enormous outreach most of them received and how many people tried to reach out and have a discussion. Simply put, the outreach was rejected and then they claimed it never happened. I'm sure there are cases where it really went that way. I'm familiar with some. But far more, in my experience didn't go at all the way it was claimed when you know both sides of the story. Too bad there's no way to get the other side of the story in most cases.
  21. Translation considerations are not all that's going on, but I think you're underestimating the challenges posed by translation into over 100 languages and how quickly things need to be turned around. My wife is currently getting started doing some German interpreting/translating for the church, and from what they're telling her, they're constantly short staffed and having trouble finding qualified people. I think translation is a major consideration for general conference addresses, as well as a lot (clearly not all) of the changes to the temple ceremony over the last few years.
  22. The homeless people I met with as bishop were typically not interested in improving themselves or in doing anything to earn what they received. Most preferred begging because it was easier and had no strings attached. Given all the resources available for the homeless, I think giving money or food directly usually does more harm than good.
  23. I have a temperament very averse to confrontation. My time as a bishop was definitely a time of growth and stretching. 😄 Luckily, I had a stake president who always backed me up. But I sure had a lot of members who thought I was off base and went over my head several times. As with most things, it would be helpful to have both sides of the story and know all the details to really understand what was going on these incidents. That said, I've seen members, bishops, stake presidents, and general authorities all do and say some things that I thought were in poor taste or worse. In general, I think church leaders are great people who do their best. There are exceptions, as in every human-based enterprise.
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