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8 Year Olds, Free Will, and Baptism


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5 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

It is true that Gandhi-Ji was never a Mormon, but he was clearly one of God's noble and great ones -- for whom the temple endowment by proxy is only a pro-forma exercise for one whose apotheosis is well assured.  

Doubt it. The propaganda machine that got a carefully edited history of Gandhi almost universally accepted are some of the greatest marketing geniuses that ever lived.

I wouldn't want that weird pervert living in my neighborhood and would not want him around any of the young girls in my family.

Edited by The Nehor
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50 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

I already explained that.  One could very well grow exacerbated by another's choice because the one doesn't understand what went into the decision.  It's quite likely the chooser doesn't understand all that went into the decision. 

 

That misses the point. Under determinism, it doesn't matter if one doesn't understand what went into a decision (whatever "understand" means in a world where concepts are nothing but constellations of molecules.) If determinism is true, then all "decisions" are really just inevitable events. A faithful determinist never has grounds to be exasperated at all, or gratified at all, for all choices are of equal quality, for none are choices at all. 

1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

Determinism doesn't mean there's no cause and effect nor no consequence.

It does in practice. We're just spectators in all this, according to determinism. What consequences could possibly have meaning when they were just fated to happen anyway? 

1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

As it is it's already been shown decisions can be known before the decider is aware of the decision.

I'll trust that you're aware of the controversy surrounding those studies. This Wikipedia page has links to relevant papers and seems to be a good summary in it's own right. 

1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

If or perhaps when there comes a time when we can better appreciate each other and perhaps find a cure for the evil that is found in some, we may see tremendous progress.

The same knowledge will then be used to manipulate and control, since it involves behavior modification at a physical level. Determinism offers a little shop of horrors. 

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8 hours ago, stemelbow said:

A choice determined by god already knowing what you are going to do isn't free will, it seems to me.  You are determined to do what God has already conceived of.  The choice you make does not originate in you, on your explanation.  It originates in God's conception.  

You don't know what you might do in a week.  But God does, apparently.  If so, then your doing is completely already determined by what resides squarely in God's conception.  

We are taught that God has all things before Him. That means He can watch our acts when we do them, and He can also see, in His real time (not ours) acts we do in the future.  How this controls our choices will have to remain a mystery to me. 

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2 hours ago, stemelbow said:

The BoM is not very useful in many ways. 

Oh, I rather think it is.  As just one example, its record of what happens among its people prior to the Savior's first advent is a type of what will happen prior to the Savior's second advent here on earth.  Perceptive readers can see some of those things happening already.

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Still your choice in response is preset in you. 

Oh, baloney! :P

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You only think you are in control, but it has been shown your choice was made before you were conscious of it.

Nice use of the passive voice, there, Pilgrim!  "It has been shown"?  How?  By whom?

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The choice is not yours quite like you think.  Your choice is,though, dependent upon all that has made you, interacting together at any given moment. 

One always has a choice.  It may be a choice between alternatives that one views as only undesirable alternatives (if that is so, I'll do my best to choose the least undesirable alternative), but one always has a choice.  That is one of the major, major themes of the Book of Mormon: It appears in some way and in some form on practically every page.  I'm not sure if the sort of deterministic fatalism you're peddling here is one of Elder Bruce R. McConkie's Seven Deadly Heresies, but, if not, perhaps we can make it the eighth! :D

Edited by Kenngo1969
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1 hour ago, OGHoosier said:
 

That misses the point. Under determinism, it doesn't matter if one doesn't understand what went into a decision (whatever "understand" means in a world where concepts are nothing but constellations of molecules.)

Why do you assume that?  As I see it, it completely matters.  

1 hour ago, OGHoosier said:

If determinism is true, then all "decisions" are really just inevitable events. A faithful determinist never has grounds to be exasperated at all, or gratified at all, for all choices are of equal quality, for none are choices at all. 

I disagree, as per the explanation I've offered and.  The one no one responded to. 

1 hour ago, OGHoosier said:

It does in practice. We're just spectators in all this, according to determinism. What consequences could possibly have meaning when they were just fated to happen anyway? 

It doesn't feel you have a good grasp of determinism.  Determinism requires consequences are meaningful, it's part of the input given us, filling our future fateful choices.  Its precisely why we attempt to teach and guide our kids.  They learn based on what's put in front of them.  

1 hour ago, OGHoosier said:

I'll trust that you're aware of the controversy surrounding those studies. This Wikipedia page has links to relevant papers and seems to be a good summary in it's own right. 

It's ok.  The arguments certainly hold up anyway.  

1 hour ago, OGHoosier said:

The same knowledge will then be used to manipulate and control, since it involves behavior modification at a physical level. Determinism offers a little shop of horrors. 

I disagree.  Learning and growing is our grand design.  It is determined as our fate.  We must accept what's before us and build on it.  

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1 hour ago, mrmarklin said:

We are taught that God has all things before Him. That means He can watch our acts when we do them, and He can also see, in His real time (not ours) acts we do in the future.  How this controls our choices will have to remain a mystery to me. 

No need to remain a mystery, I just explained it.  

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7 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Well, the real question is which version of the Gospel is true?  Is it the one backed by rumor and folklore, or the one backed by the Holy Canon of Scripture?  It is merely another instance of the pathetic fallacy to depict the Church as having a POV.  People have points of view, not churches.  Holy Writ defines the Church as the Body of Christ and Kingdom of God on Earth, but it is composed of people of faith.

It is true that Gandhi-Ji was never a Mormon, but he was clearly one of God's noble and great ones -- for whom the temple endowment by proxy is only a pro-forma exercise for one whose apotheosis is well assured.  Joseph Smith was not exclusionary, and he willingly accepted goodness and truth from whatever source it might come -- including other religions.

No, the real question here is what happens at baptism. The real question is the experience offered by the church today. That is the topic and while you have theorised about what the gospel is, you have not actually addressed that.

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5 hours ago, bluebell said:

If LDS baptism is of God, how could accepting it preclude other righteous godly paths?

Because membership in the church has requirements which preclude other righteous life choices. I've explained it in detail already if you follow the quote chain.

And that "if" is very important too, of course

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1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

No, the real question here is what happens at baptism. The real question is the experience offered by the church today. That is the topic and while you have theorised about what the gospel is, you have not actually addressed that.

 

1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

Because membership in the church has requirements which preclude other righteous life choices. I've explained it in detail already if you follow the quote chain.

And that "if" is very important too, of course

So how are you going to address the vast bulk of humanity not having any chance at membership in the LDS Church in this life?  Do you reject the Pauline distinction for "they who have not the Law"?  Do you also reject his claim (Rom 12) that the Jews yet retain their eternal promise?  Do you set a sunday school manual over against Holy Writ?

Jesus and Holy Writ make so much of judgment being based on works, why would we depend solely upon baptism and endowment by proxy for our eternal salvation?  Does that even make sense?  Especially in light of Rom 2:12-16.  Most of the world out there has never had anything to do with the LDS POV, and never will -- in this life.  By what means does God judge them?  According to Paul, God judges them based on their own tradition and culture.  How can that be when we find so much being made of LDS baptism?  Is LDS tradition blind to some aspects of God's plan?  Should that be true of necessity?

The exception which breaks the traditional LDS concept is Jewish independence.  Jews have their own forever priesthood as part of explicit promise from God.  Joseph Smith even recognized their independence in his active blessing of the Holy Land for the final gathering of the Jews and the building of their temple (through Orson Hyde in 1841 in Palestine).  Joseph (God) also recognizes their Aaronic priesthood in the D&C.  How can this be, if the LDS Church is the only game in town?  Jews simply do not look to the LDS Church for self-justification.  Based on Holy Writ, God doesn't expect them to.

Mormons certainly have a job to do, but it might be well to reimagine that job just a bit to be more inclusive and respectful of other traditions.  Might even help us in our efforts to preach the Gospel.

 

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33 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

 

So how are you going to address the vast bulk of humanity not having any chance at membership in the LDS Church in this life?  Do you reject the Pauline distinction for "they who have not the Law"?  Do you also reject his claim (Rom 12) that the Jews yet retain their eternal promise?  Do you set a sunday school manual over against Holy Writ?

Jesus and Holy Writ make so much of judgment being based on works, why would we depend solely upon baptism and endowment by proxy for our eternal salvation?  Does that even make sense?  Especially in light of Rom 2:12-16.  Most of the world out there has never had anything to do with the LDS POV, and never will -- in this life.  By what means does God judge them?  According to Paul, God judges them based on their own tradition and culture.  How can that be when we find so much being made of LDS baptism?  Is LDS tradition blind to some aspects of God's plan?  Should that be true of necessity?

The exception which breaks the traditional LDS concept is Jewish independence.  Jews have their own forever priesthood as part of explicit promise from God.  Joseph Smith even recognized their independence in his active blessing of the Holy Land for the final gathering of the Jews and the building of their temple (through Orson Hyde in 1841 in Palestine).  Joseph (God) also recognizes their Aaronic priesthood in the D&C.  How can this be, if the LDS Church is the only game in town?  Jews simply do not look to the LDS Church for self-justification.  Based on Holy Writ, God doesn't expect them to.

Mormons certainly have a job to do, but it might be well to reimagine that job just a bit to be more inclusive and respectful of other traditions.  Might even help us in our efforts to preach the Gospel.

 

We're talking about LDS baptism because the OP started a thread about it. It exists because the LDS church introduced it into the world and continues it to this day.

I'm talking about its as specific ramifications.

As your questions and theorising imply, LDS baptism creates conundrums. I think those can be better resolved by more intellectual and spiritual humility. If you insist and promise that you have a key that opens the mysteries of the universe, those who believe you will be passing by many doors while they follow you around.

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9 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

Because membership in the church has requirements which preclude other righteous life choices. I've explained it in detail already if you follow the quote chain.

And that "if" is very important too, of course

I realize the "if" is very important and I used it specifically because it asks you to look at the issue from the perspective of a believing member.  I know you've explained in detail your beliefs on the subject, but like you said, we are talking about "LDS baptism" and therefore your perspective isn't the only relevant one (or even, the most relevant, given the topic).

IF baptism into the church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints is of God, then how can something of God preclude other righteous life choices?

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Just now, bluebell said:

I realize the "if" is very important and I used it specifically because it asks you to look at the issue from the perspective of a believing member.  I know you've explained in detail your beliefs on the subject, but your perspective isn't relevant when talking about baptism from a believer's point of view.

IF baptism into the church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints is of God, then how can something of God preclude other righteous life choices?

The "if" part isn't part of my answer, just a note. The first part is my answer to your question.

But both possibilities need to be taken seriously be one a believer or not. Remember that real lives are changed by these decisions, not just beliefs.

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7 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

We're talking about LDS baptism because the OP started a thread about it. It exists because the LDS church introduced it into the world and continues it to this day.

I'm talking about its as specific ramifications.

As your questions and theorising imply, LDS baptism creates conundrums. I think those can be better resolved by more intellectual and spiritual humility. If you insist and promise that you have a key that opens the mysteries of the universe, those who believe you will be passing by many doors while they follow you around.

I recall accompanying a Christian friend or two to the Chief Rabbinate in Jerusalem in which they were going before a three rabbi court to be questioned about their decision to convert to Judaism.  That was followed by immersion baptism (a mikveh).  And in the case of a male convert, circumcision by a mohel.  I did not attempt to dissuade such converts, but instead wished them well.  I know of several Christian scholars who have followed that conversion path, sometimes because of marriage to a Jew.  In SLC, I know of some cases of LDS men who have converted to Judaism.  There are other cases in which Jews have converted to Christianity. We need to be very respectful of such decisions.

These folks were not following me at all.  However, on a forum such as this, I am not going to feed pablum to anyone.  I assume we are all able here to deal with some stark facts which we may not have considered before.  Not necessarily appropriate for ordinary sunday school class.

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13 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

The "if" part isn't part of my answer, just a note. The first part is my answer to your question.

But both possibilities need to be taken seriously be one a believer or not. Remember that real lives are changed by these decisions, not just beliefs.

But the first part didn't actually answer my question.  If God says 'yes, this is what I want you to do, these covenants, these teachings are from me and they are what is best for you' then how can that preclude other godly things?

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40 minutes ago, bluebell said:

But the first part didn't actually answer my question.  If God says 'yes, this is what I want you to do, these covenants, these teachings are from me and they are what is best for you' then how can that preclude other godly things?

I think it did. My perspective was LDS-neutral, taking neither position of the church being "true" or "false."

Just my opinion, but I think every LDS person should maintain atleast a minimum amount of skepticism, even if only about what they think they know. Because they are banking alot (and not just their own life paths) on their beliefs.

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59 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

I recall accompanying a Christian friend or two to the Chief Rabbinate in Jerusalem in which they were going before a three rabbi court to be questioned about their decision to convert to Judaism.  That was followed by immersion baptism (a mikveh).  And in the case of a male convert, circumcision by a mohel.  I did not attempt to dissuade such converts, but instead wished them well.  I know of several Christian scholars who have followed that conversion path, sometimes because of marriage to a Jew.  In SLC, I know of some cases of LDS men who have converted to Judaism.  There are other cases in which Jews have converted to Christianity. We need to be very respectful of such decisions.

These folks were not following me at all.  However, on a forum such as this, I am not going to feed pablum to anyone.  I assume we are all able here to deal with some stark facts which we may not have considered before.  Not necessarily appropriate for ordinary sunday school class.

So now consider an eight-year-old who does trust you who is guided by you. Are you willing to consider that baptism at age eight might not be the best choice or the only good choice for their lives?

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13 hours ago, OGHoosier said:
 

That misses the point. Under determinism, it doesn't matter if one doesn't understand what went into a decision (whatever "understand" means in a world where concepts are nothing but constellations of molecules.) If determinism is true, then all "decisions" are really just inevitable events. A faithful determinist never has grounds to be exasperated at all, or gratified at all, for all choices are of equal quality, for none are choices at all. 

It does in practice. We're just spectators in all this, according to determinism. What consequences could possibly have meaning when they were just fated to happen anyway? 

I'll trust that you're aware of the controversy surrounding those studies. This Wikipedia page has links to relevant papers and seems to be a good summary in it's own right. 

The same knowledge will then be used to manipulate and control, since it involves behavior modification at a physical level. Determinism offers a little shop of horrors. 

It really becomes a tautology.

We are determined to do what is determined, with no explanation given.   It is back to Cartesian dualism because you have created out of nothing a realm stating that this world is an illusion- ie: free choice is an illusion -with no way to show HOW it is determined---except physicalism, which doesn't work with mental events because you can never show logically that descriptions of molecular states are logically equivalent to descriptions of subjective experience. 

"Bukowski sees a red car" cannot be made logically equivalent to "Electro-chemical reaction ABC is occurring in Bukowski's brain at location XYZ."

They are statements made using two different contexts (paradigms/categories) at once, and mixing metaphors, if you will.

Determinism takes us back to fairies and magic amulets as causes- in short, it's bunk.  It certainly does not come from science- what evidence do we have that this is "all a simulation" for example??

Yet when you talk about determinism, it is a philosophy - a thought out of the head of an individual or many individuals who believe in its precepts.  Where did this IDEA of determinism come from?   The very thought that "we are programmed culturally by the world in which we live" is itself a thought WITHIN the culture!

It is ultimately a circular argument because such ideas had to come from somewhere- and only humans think!

So the whole idea of determinism came from someone who was "undetermined" and came up with an "original" idea.

To presume that the idea was itself "determined" would be accepted strictly on faith  ;)

This is pretty much the guy who came up with the idea's most modern iteration (Foucault)  :  All in French with subtitles, but only 8 minutes:

https://www.facebook.com/PhilosophyOverdoseYoutube/videos/the-disappearance-of-man-michel-foucault-1966/782376622275835/

 

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

These folks were not following me at all.  However, on a forum such as this, I am not going to feed pablum to anyone.  I assume we are all able here to deal with some stark facts which we may not have considered before.  Not necessarily appropriate for ordinary sunday school class.

I wish more were ready for meat! 

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22 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

This Wikipedia page has links to relevant papers and seems to be a good summary in it's own right. 

This is a perfect display- from the above page- of why neuroscience really has nothing to say about "free will"

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Relevance of scientific research[edit]

Some thinkers like neuroscientist and philosopher Adina Roskies think that these studies can still only show, unsurprisingly, that physical factors in the brain are involved before decision making. In contrast, Haggard believes that "We feel we choose, but we don't".[13] Researcher John-Dylan Haynes adds: "How can I call a will 'mine' if I don't even know when it occurred and what it has decided to do?".[13] Philosophers Walter Glannon and Alfred Mele think that some scientists are getting the science right, but misrepresenting modern philosophers. This is mainly because "free will" can mean many things: it is unclear what someone means when they say "free will does not exist". Mele and Glannon say that the available research is more evidence against any dualistic notions of free will – but that is an "easy target for neuroscientists to knock down".[13] Mele says that most discussions of free will are now had in materialistic terms. In these cases, "free will" means something more like "not coerced" or that "the person could have done otherwise at the last moment". The existence of these types of free will is debatable. Mele agrees, however, that science will continue to reveal critical details about what goes on in the brain during decision making.[13]

 

Underlining mine.

Revealing what goes on in the brain while decision making is irrelevant- to what "free will" means.

In the long run it is all back to Wittgenstein- all this stuff is based in confused semantics, mixing metaphors of hard science with vague terms like "reality" etc.  What is important is our personal, direct , lived experience in describing our realities.

The rest is "words" and ideas made up by someBODY.  ;)

 

Edited by mfbukowski
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21 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

 

"Bukowski sees a red car" cannot be made logically equivalent to "Electro-chemical reaction ABC is occurring in Bukowski's brain at location XYZ."

Reading Thomas Nagel's paper on that was a paradigm-shifter for me. Nagel explicitly said that he didn't want to destroy physicalism, but his paper put a pretty big dent in it nonetheless. 

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On 8/20/2020 at 12:16 PM, Meadowchik said:

Consider the thought experiment of a baseball-loving family where everybody loves baseball, watches it on TV, goes to weekly games, joins childhood teams and plays it as adults; a good life is defined as a life of baseball and life without baseball will always be inferior to life with baseball.  Does an eight year old child in this family have a real choice to live a life without baseball?

I’m not sure what this means. Many parents I know try to expose their kids to a variety of good things while others have strong preferences for activities, etc. Very few could provide a neutral  influence-free upbringing. By this criteria, the village should raise the child. Is that what you mean? 

In our case, some of our kids used to cry themselves to sleep at night because our family was musical and artsy, not athletic. Most have found a good balance in their adult lives, but they in turn have established family traditions and emphases with their mates.  Some have rejected the Church, but have retained the artsyfartsy stuff. We have no regrets teaching them the gospel when they were young. They walk to their own beat. It’s the way things go, IMO. 

Edited by Bernard Gui
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2 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

I think it did. My perspective was LDS-neutral, taking neither position of the church being "true" or "false."

Just my opinion, but I think every LDS person should maintain atleast a minimum amount of skepticism, even if only about what they think they know. Because they are banking alot (and not just their own life paths) on their beliefs.

My question wasn’t neutral though, it was hypothetical. So if you answered a neutral question, it wasn’t the question that was asked. 

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1 hour ago, OGHoosier said:

Reading Thomas Nagel's paper on that was a paradigm-shifter for me. Nagel explicitly said that he didn't want to destroy physicalism, but his paper put a pretty big dent in it nonetheless. 

Yep- glad you are working your way through it

Another point is that the a statement about "what I see" or what anyone sees for that matter- a statement about he raw experience itself- cannot be made logically equivalent to any third party statements about observations.

So again "I see a red car" cannot be made equivalent to "Bukowski's brain shows electrochemical activity of type ABC at location XYZ" simply because each of those comes from a different point of view logically.   One is a first person statement and the other is a third person statement.  What I see is not what the other person sees.  They are looking at an array of instruments and I am looking at what I call "a red car".

I see what I have learned in kindergarten was called "red" and so we may have learned the language by being coached to call that sensation "red" but there is no way to know that the other person's raw experience is- she might be seeing what I would call "green" but still learned the name of that sensation was "red" because that is what is accepted in the language

So any statement about how "the world is" is ultimately more about how we learn language than anything else.

The more we learn about what is "out there" the more we learn about how we PERCEIVE and invent the world we assume is "out there".

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 " To say that the world is out there, that it is not our creation, is to say, with common sense, that most things in space and time are the effects of causes which do not include human mental states.  To say that truth is not out there is simply to say that where there are no sentences, there is no truth, that sentences are elements of human languages, and that human languages are human creations.

     Truth cannot be out there- cannot exist independently of the human mind- because sentences cannot so exist, or be out there.  The world is out there, but descriptions of the world are not.  Only descriptions of the world can be true or false.  The world on its own- unaided by the describing activities of human beings- cannot."   

 

Statements about what we call electrochemical brain reactions are statements allegedly about "what is out there" but the statement itself, for it to be true,  is MADE by an electrochemical reaction in someone's brain.

You just cannot escape it.  All we can experience is .... what we can experience and then describe it by distorting it from raw experience into a sentence made of 26 symbolic squiggles which allegedly capture every nuance of human experience

I ain't buying it!  ;)

 

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1 hour ago, bluebell said:

My question wasn’t neutral though, it was hypothetical. So if you answered a neutral question, it wasn’t the question that was asked. 

Then I'll answer as I remember thinking about it as a believing member who tried to reconcile the different life paths of people I loved with my understanding of the gospel:

There are things that a person might need to learn that can only learn outside the church, ultimately good lessons. 

 

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17 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

Oh, I rather think it is.  As just one example, its record of what happens among its people prior to the Savior's first advent is a type of what will happen prior to the Savior's second advent here on earth.  Perceptive readers can see some of those things happening already.

Oh, baloney! :P

Nice use of the passive voice, there, Pilgrim!  "It has been shown"?  How?  By whom?

One always has a choice.  It may be a choice between alternatives that one views as only undesirable alternatives (if that is so, I'll do my best to choose the least undesirable alternative), but one always has a choice.  That is one of the major, major themes of the Book of Mormon: It appears in some way and in some form on practically every page.  I'm not sure if the sort of deterministic fatalism you're peddling here is one of Elder Bruce R. McConkie's Seven Deadly Heresies, but, if not, perhaps we can make it the eighth! :D

Doesn't appear anyone is serious with thei ideas on this matter--its strawman after strawman.  Fine by me.  I enjoy the topic but I suppose it's more interesting either those who wish to engage rather than attempt to knock down strawmen.  Have a good one Ken.  

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