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Idaho Bishop Released, Charged with Abuse


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4 hours ago, smac97 said:

Yep, along with the to-be-expected series of "all or nothing" requirements.  Either every leader in the Church is utterly and completely guided by revelation and "discernment" in everything they do, or else none of them is guided by such things in anything they do.

This sort of all-or-nothing, black-or-white absolutism doesn't really work well.  

Thanks,

-Smac

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For instance, it takes faith to believe that the resurrected Lord is watching over the daily details of His kingdom. It takes faith to believe that He calls imperfect people into positions of trust. It takes faith to believe that He knows the people He calls perfectly, both their capacities and their potential, and so makes no mistakes in His calls.

From President Eyring and this from Elder Bednar:

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President Stephen L Richards (1879–1959), who served as a counselor to President David O. McKay, has provided additional instruction about the nature and blessings of discernment:

 

“First, I mention the gift of discernment, embodying the power to discriminate … between right and wrong. I believe that this gift when highly developed arises largely out of an acute sensitivity to impressions—spiritual impressions, if you will—to read under the surface as it were, to detect hidden evil, and more importantly to find the good that may be concealed. The highest type of discernment is that which perceives in others and uncovers for them their better natures, the good inherent within them. …

“… Every member in the restored Church of Christ could have this gift if he willed to do so. He could not be deceived with the sophistries of the world. He could not be led astray by pseudo-prophets and subversive cults. Even the inexperienced would recognize false teachings, in a measure at least. … We ought to be grateful every day of our lives for this sense which keeps alive a conscience which constantly alerts us to the dangers inherent in wrongdoers and sin.”2

 

As we integrate the teachings of Presidents Cannon and Richards, we learn that the gift of discernment operates basically in four major ways.

 

First, as we “read under the surface,” discernment helps us detect hidden error and evil in others.

 

https://www.lds.org/ensign/2006/12/quick-to-observe?lang=eng

Is it not reasonable to hold people to account for the standard that they teach?

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31 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

From President Eyring and this from Elder Bednar:

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President Stephen L Richards (1879–1959), who served as a counselor to President David O. McKay, has provided additional instruction about the nature and blessings of discernment:

“First, I mention the gift of discernment, embodying the power to discriminate … between right and wrong.

"Discernment ... between right and wrong" is not exactly equivalent to being able to discern misconduct or deception in others at all times.

31 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:
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I believe that this gift when highly developed arises largely out of an acute sensitivity to impressions—spiritual impressions, if you will—to read under the surface as it were, to detect hidden evil, and more importantly to find the good that may be concealed. The highest type of discernment is that which perceives in others and uncovers for them their better natures, the good inherent within them. …

Sounds like a skill or attribute (or gift?) that takes real effort to develop.

31 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:
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“… Every member in the restored Church of Christ could have this gift if he willed to do so. He could not be deceived with the sophistries of the world.

Being able to avoid being deceived by 'the sophistries of the world" is not exactly equivalent to being able to discern misconduct or deception in others at all times.

31 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:
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He could not be led astray by pseudo-prophets and subversive cults.

Not being led astray in this way is not exactly equivalent to being able to discern misconduct or deception in others at all times.

31 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:
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Even the inexperienced would recognize false teachings, in a measure at least. …

Recognizing false teachings is not exactly equivalent to being able to discern misconduct or deception in others at all times.

And note how he says "in a measure at least."

31 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:
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We ought to be grateful every day of our lives for this sense which keeps alive a conscience which constantly alerts us to the dangers inherent in wrongdoers and sin.”2

As we integrate the teachings of Presidents Cannon and Richards, we learn that the gift of discernment operates basically in four major ways.

First, as we “read under the surface,” discernment helps us detect hidden error and evil in others.

Is it not reasonable to hold people to account for the standard that they teach?

Well, discernment "helps us detect hidden error and evil in others."  Yes, I believe that can and does happen.  And there are other manifestations of "discernment," including that "it helps us detect hidden errors and evil in ourselves," that "it helps us find and bring forth the good that may be concealed in others," and that "it helps us find and bring forth the good that may be concealed in us."

I don't know wha tyou mean by "hold people to account."  What does that mean?  Are you saying that the Brethren have held themselves out as adhering to a standard of infallible discernment of all things at all times?  That every stake president, every bishop, etc. are likewise immutably plugged into, and are therefore supposed to be held to this "standard?"

Thanks,

-Smac

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There just doesn’t seem anything comparatively special in the judgement of those that have the priesthood, and the keys to a special authority in the church; and those that make competing or equivalent claims regarding the specialness of their own spiritual sense of discernment and authority.

*shrug*

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6 hours ago, The Nehor said:

Okay, I have to ask. Are there really hordes of people who are testifying about God helping them find their car keys?

I have heard a story like that once that I can remember and it was a legitimate crisis due to a woman going into labor and they couldn’t find the car keys to get her to the hospital and they lived pretty far out and no one nearby could reasonably assist in time.

I mean, maybe it the equivalent of the crazy person I knew in one ward who would bear her testimony about things like angels rearranging her bathroom mirrors and how she baptized her pet bird and would occasionally break out into song at which point the woman she lived with would stand up in front of the pulpit and apologize and say that she is crazy.

I miss that ward sometimes…….

Omigosh, I probably shouldn’t have laughed but after a long day at work I needed it, so thank you! And yes, I had a friend at church who talked quite a bit about the spirit helping her find car keys and such. It’s a thing:)

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10 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

deistic approach to God, meaning that God exists but rarely (if ever) intervenes.

I have long found this to be the answer for me.  It helps me make sense of everything and not have to question God. 
I still pray to find my keys though, because what else can you do? :) I gotta get where I need to be. 

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14 hours ago, bluebell said:

I think that we have to remember that it's not like God isn't stopping abuse because He's helping someone find their keys.  He can do both at the same time if He chooses.  It's not a division of His resources in any way so He never has to choose one or the other.

And second, agency is important.  If someone chooses to abuse another, then God is likely to allow them to make that choice, even though it's horrible for the one that is hurt.  That's why agency is such a huge issue though.  Evil exists because people have agency to choose to do evil if they want.  

Keys though (and other such problems) have no agency.  God doesn't have to stop someone's agency to answer those kinds of prayers.  

Finally, I prefer a God who does what He can to make life easier sometimes, rather than one who says "because I cannot always intervene in people's choices when the stakes are high, I won't ever intervene when the stakes are low, just so no one gets the wrong impression."

I am troubled by the free agency argument in your second point.

Imagine your daughter was just abducted and dragged to a dark alley. Something unspeakable is about to happen to her. 

Imagine that at that very moment, I'm walking by. In this fantasy, I'm 6'5" and 225 pounds of solid muscle. I'm an 8th degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and have been in the Special Forces for 20 years. And, of course, my loaded Sig Sauer P226 is close at hand. I could easily save your daughter. There would be no risk to me. It wouldn't even be inconvenient. 

If your daughter cried to me for help, would I be justified in saying the following? "What's happening to you breaks my heart. It really does. But if I were to help you, that would be interfering with your abductor's free agency. God could help you even more easily than I could, but He respects your abductor's free agency just as much as I do."

 

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10 minutes ago, Analytics said:
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I think that we have to remember that it's not like God isn't stopping abuse because He's helping someone find their keys.  He can do both at the same time if He chooses.  It's not a division of His resources in any way so He never has to choose one or the other.

And second, agency is important.  If someone chooses to abuse another, then God is likely to allow them to make that choice, even though it's horrible for the one that is hurt.  That's why agency is such a huge issue though.  Evil exists because people have agency to choose to do evil if they want.  

I am troubled by the free agency argument in your second point.

Imagine your daughter was just abducted and dragged to a dark alley. Something unspeakable is about to happen to her. 

Imagine that at that very moment, I'm walking by. In this fantasy, I'm 6'5" and 225 pounds of solid muscle. I'm an 8th degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and have been in the Special Forces for 20 years. And, of course, my loaded Sig Sauer P226 is close at hand. I could easily save your daughter. There would be no risk to me. It wouldn't even be inconvenient. 

If your daughter cried to me for help, would I be justified in saying the following? "What's happening to you breaks my heart. It really does. But if I were to help you, that would be interfering with your abductor's free agency. God could help you even more easily than I could, but He respects your abductor's free agency just as much as I do."

I really don't think Bluebell is saying anything close to what you are.

Yours is one of a countless number of "Problem of Evil" what-if scenarios.  The abductor has agency, as does your 225-pounds-of-solid-muscle self.  

The abductor has made his choice, and will be held to account for it.  

Your 225-pounds-of-solid-muscle self also has a choice.  To act or not to act.  To help or not to help.  The morally correct answer to your hypothetical is obvious and beyond dispute.  "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin."  (James 4:17.)

Bluebell's point was about our agency.  I think this statement by Hugh Nibley aptly summarizes things:

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God does not fight Satan: a word from him and Satan is silenced and banished. There is no contest there; in fact we are expressly told that all the power which Satan enjoys here on earth is granted him by God. 'We will allow Satan, our common enemy, to try man and to tempt him.' It is man’s strength that is being tested—not God’s”. — Hugh Nibley, “Beyond Politics,” 288

"It is man's strength that is being tested -- not God's."  Yep.

Thanks,

-Smac

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Another story:

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DUCHESNE — An arrest warrant has been issued for a former Latter-day Saint bishop accused of inappropriately touching a teenage girl during a girls camp.

James Douglas Robinson, 63, was charged Thursday in Duchesne County's 8th District Court with forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony.

The alleged incident happened in June at Reid Ranch Resort in Hanna, Duchesne County. A 15-year-old girl said she was alone in a kitchen area when Robinson, her church bishop at the time, approached her from behind, "pinning her to a kitchen counter," and inappropriately touched her over her clothing, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

"After a few minutes, she was able to turn around and face him," the affidavit states. "At this time he backed up and left the area."

"The church reported these allegations to law enforcement as soon as they were brought to the attention of local leaders and the individual was immediately released from his leadership position to allow him to focus on his legal defense," church spokesman Sam Penrod said in a statement. "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has zero tolerance for abuse of any kind and is awaiting the outcome of this case in the legal system before commenting any further."

Police were notified about the allegation in July and the girl was interviewed in August. "During the course of this investigation, I learned that Mr. James Robinson was released as bishop and that he left the state" and moved to Idaho, according to the warrant.

"I contacted Mr. Jim Robinson by telephone. I informed him that I needed to meet with him to discuss the allegations regarding this incident. Jim told me that he thinks he has and needs a lawyer," the Duchesne County sheriff's sergeant wrote.

Oi.

Thanks,

-Smac

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26 minutes ago, Analytics said:

I am troubled by the free agency argument in your second point.

Imagine your daughter was just abducted and dragged to a dark alley. Something unspeakable is about to happen to her. 

Imagine that at that very moment, I'm walking by. In this fantasy, I'm 6'5" and 225 pounds of solid muscle. I'm an 8th degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and have been in the Special Forces for 20 years. And, of course, my loaded Sig Sauer P226 is close at hand. I could easily save your daughter. There would be no risk to me. It wouldn't even be inconvenient. 

If your daughter cried to me for help, would I be justified in saying the following? "What's happening to you breaks my heart. It really does. But if I were to help you, that would be interfering with your abductor's free agency. God could help you even more easily than I could, but He respects your abductor's free agency just as much as I do."

 

Doesn't sound much like God deserving of trust or worship, does it?

The agency argument is just another attempt to explain and understand, if we believe in a loving, caring God who intervenes in our lives, Why can't he be relied upon when I need him most? Is he too busy respecting the agency of the abuser? Is he busy clipping his nails? The why doesn't really matter because it will ALWAYS be an unsatisfying answer. Unless, perhaps, God as creator has set his plan in motion but doesn't intervene at all (either as a policy or a limitation of his power). God is either a respecter of persons or he isn't. 

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10 hours ago, MustardSeed said:
20 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

deistic approach to God, meaning that God exists but rarely (if ever) intervenes.

I have long found this to be the answer for me.  It helps me make sense of everything and not have to question God. 
I still pray to find my keys though, because what else can you do? :) I gotta get where I need to be. 

Agree with this. However I think that praying to God to intervene (but acknowledging his will be done) at least causes us to concentrate and analyze the issue more carefully and perhaps come up with a solution on our own, using the light of Christ and/or the gift of the Holy Ghost we all have, to understand what to do or how to cope with it.

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16 hours ago, Canadiandude said:

There just doesn’t seem anything comparatively special in the judgement of those that have the priesthood, and the keys to a special authority in the church; and those that make competing or equivalent claims regarding the specialness of their own spiritual sense of discernment and authority.

*shrug*

Based on what data?

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55 minutes ago, Analytics said:

I am troubled by the free agency argument in your second point.

Imagine your daughter was just abducted and dragged to a dark alley. Something unspeakable is about to happen to her. 

Imagine that at that very moment, I'm walking by. In this fantasy, I'm 6'5" and 225 pounds of solid muscle. I'm an 8th degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and have been in the Special Forces for 20 years. And, of course, my loaded Sig Sauer P226 is close at hand. I could easily save your daughter. There would be no risk to me. It wouldn't even be inconvenient. 

If your daughter cried to me for help, would I be justified in saying the following? "What's happening to you breaks my heart. It really does. But if I were to help you, that would be interfering with your abductor's free agency. God could help you even more easily than I could, but He respects your abductor's free agency just as much as I do."

 

Your scenario speaks to my issue with the message - if you pray fervently and with a sincere heart, your Heavenly Father will protect you. For the longest time I have come to believe this should not be the message or, at least, not the message to the exclusion of other extremely important messages. My belief is that He will intervene when He sees fit (with our without fervent prayer) and He won't intervene many times when we would argue He should. That's the deal. The primary purpose of prayer should not be to insure safety & happiness but rather an effort to understand our God's will in all things. This is indeed a bitter pill to take though a pill we must.

My issue with your argument, however, is one of magnitude. Though we would all agree the horrors of sexual & physical crimes against children at the hands of those who we trust are at the top of the list, they are certainly not the only horrific examples of abuse and pain. Where do we stop with the expectation that God should intervene? What about disease and hunger in our children? What about emotional abuse? What about disease and hunger in adults? And on and on the list goes... Before we know it, we've flipped the entire plan of Salvation on its head and created something wholly different.

Edited by Vanguard
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17 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I really don't think Bluebell is saying anything close to what you are.

Yours is one of a countless number of "Problem of Evil" what-if scenarios.  The abductor has agency, as does your 225-pounds-of-solid-muscle self.  

The abductor has made his choice, and will be held to account for it.  

Your 225-pounds-of-solid-muscle self also has a choice.  To act or not to act.  To help or not to help.  The morally correct answer to your hypothetical is obvious and beyond dispute.  "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin."  (James 4:17.)

Bluebell's point was about our agency.  I think this statement by Hugh Nibley aptly summarizes things:

"It is man's strength that is being tested -- not God's."  Yep.

Thanks,

-Smac

So the secret of passing the test is to follow humanist morality and intervene as a force for good whenever possible. The point is not to do what God Himself actually does (i.e. passively watch people exercise their agency). 

And what is the reward for intervening as a force for good whenever possible? Apparently your reward is to become a test proctor. You get to sit back and watch people make good and bad choices with their agency. But you stop being a force for good in your own right.

I find this viewpoint deeply unsatisfying. 

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Someone close to me experienced sexual abuse as a child, and experienced being ignored or blamed by various good LDS folk in her life, including a bishop.  She has a testimony, simply put, but containing great depth: "I trust God to act like God, and man to act like man."

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1 hour ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Doesn't sound much like God deserving of trust or worship, does it?

No, it doesn't.

But then, I'm accustomed to faultfinders standing in ill-conceived and poorly-reasoned judgment over everyone and everything else.  Including even God.

How we characterize a thing, how we choose to make it "sound," can have a pretty substantial impact on how we view the thing.  

1 hour ago, HappyJackWagon said:

The agency argument is just another attempt to explain and understand, if we believe in a loving, caring God who intervenes in our lives, Why can't he be relied upon when I need him most?

Agency and the Atonement are key to understanding the Plan of Salvation, including the implicated "Problem of Evil."

For those who are interested in understanding the Latter-day Saint perspective on this, I recommend the first four chapters of the Gospel Principles manual:

I will emphasize here that these concepts require an open, inquisitive mind.  And also some genuine humility.  And also a willingness to reconsider and set aside previously-held assumptions and expectations, and to work within a new framework/paradigm.

Someone who is relentessly cynical and skeptical will not likely get much out of these materials.  The scriptures caution us against this mindset:

1 hour ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Is he too busy respecting the agency of the abuser?  Is he busy clipping his nails?

Boy, it sure would be nice to have a genuine and sincere and respectful discussion about these things.  

1 hour ago, HappyJackWagon said:

The why doesn't really matter because it will ALWAYS be an unsatisfying answer.

With respect, I disagree.  A lot.  The "why" does matter.  It is vital.  It is key.  Whether it will be "unsatisfying" is an eye-of-the-beholder sort of thing.

1 hour ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Unless, perhaps, God as creator has set his plan in motion but doesn't intervene at all (either as a policy or a limitation of his power).

You are only proving my previous point: "Yep, along with the to-be-expected series of 'all or nothing' requirements.  Either every leader in the Church is utterly and completely guided by revelation and 'discernment' in everything they do, or else none of them is guided by such things in anything they do."

In your worldview, God must specifically and obviously and necessarily intervene in everything, in every event and interaction in this existence, or else in he must never intervene ever (as you postulated: "{He} doesn't intervene at all").  That is your paradigm, not ours.  That is a flaw in your reasoning, it's not a part of ours.

1 hour ago, HappyJackWagon said:

God is either a respecter of persons or he isn't. 

I think you are substantially misconstruing "respecter of persons."  For resources as to the meaning of that phrase in Latter-day Saint thought, see here, here, here.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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7 minutes ago, smac97 said:

But then, I'm accustomed to faultfinders standing in judgment over everyone and everything else.  Including even God.

 

 

8 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Boy, it sure would be nice to have a genuine and sincere and respectful discussion about these things. 

👀

 

9 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Thanks,

-Smac

 

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