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Idaho Bishop Released, Charged with Abuse


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54 minutes ago, Analytics said:

So the secret of passing the test is to follow humanist morality and intervene as a force for good whenever possible.

And now your not accurately stating my position, either.

54 minutes ago, Analytics said:

The point is not to do what God Himself actually does (i.e. passively watch people exercise their agency).

The point is to obey God.

Consider the Parable of the Talents.  And by "consider" I mean "put aside faultfinding cynicism, stop mischaracterizing and distorting, and give a fair hearing to what the scriptures have to say."

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14 ¶ For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.
19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord...

Now, a person who is bound and determined to wrest this passage, to distort and misconstrue it, might say something like "Well, the master sure is a hypocritical jerk.  Instead of investing the talents himself, he gave them to his servants 'according to {their} several ability,' and then he just took off.  What a horrible person that master was.  Where did he get off, expecting his servants to take the 'goods' he had 'delivered unto them' and use them to improve the state of things?"

Conversely, I think a person who is open to studying and understanding these things in the vein in which they are given can come away with a radically different set of conclusions and lessons learned.

I think 2 Nephi 2 is one of the most important scriptural treatments/meditations on these issues.  Lehi expounds on the Plan of Salvation, the Atonement, and the gift of Agency.

54 minutes ago, Analytics said:

And what is the reward for intervening as a force for good whenever possible?

A good question.  Just not, I think, a sincere one.

54 minutes ago, Analytics said:

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. 

So do I.  And it's one that is utterly foreign to Latter-day Saint belief.  It's deeply weird that you would try to foist it on us.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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6 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

Anyone change their minds on one on one youth interviews?

On what basis?

6 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

I think it would be fine if a youth asked for one but not so much the other way around.

If there was some sort of problem with bishops systemically using bishop interviews to exploit or abuse or otherwise misbehave with children, I think you would have a stronger point.  As it is, I think alluding to a moral panic doesn't quite do much.

Thanks,

-Smac

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13 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

Anyone change their minds on one on one youth interviews? I think it would be fine if a youth asked for one but not so much the other way around.

I wasn’t bothered by them as a kid but I never had any bad experiences with em unlike some people, but I also didn’t know how bad people could be or question much the ethics of the church at the time.

Were I a parent in the church now I’d imagine I’d feel differently but so long as the child feels comfortable and prepared with the questions about to be raised and there’s another adult (of their preference) in the room with em then I’d be fine with it. 

Edited by Canadiandude
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8 minutes ago, Canadiandude said:
Quote
Quote

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. 

👀

Slandering God, disparaging Him to our face, is not a good way to enter into a sincere, respectful, good faith discussion about matters that - though not sacred to HJW or to you - are obviously and plainly sacred to us.

By way of example, would you start a conversation with a Catholic person this way: "Hey, I have a question about that ritualistic cannibalism thing that you papists are so into..."  I doubt it.  I hope not, at least.

Basic civility and decorum and respect.  They sure can go a long way.

Thanks,

-Smac

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5 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Excellent comments.

But that's part of the problem. I may truly believe God unmistakably intervened by saving me from a ticket or the accident or the lack of snow cones, but when I share that story with others and they wonder why God didn't save their mother from the drunk driver, or their infant from cancer, I have to think my testimony of unmistakable intervention will either A- not be believed and actually damage faith because it doesn't match other people's experience where God didn't intervene even though the pleaded with him to intervene  B- make God look like a capricious jerk or  C- make them question their worthiness or God's love for them.

Personally, I find the non-helicopter-God model to be much easier to reconcile

strangely, I think working with people on the other end of tragedy has shaped in someways my views. 
Pain comes in two forms for me. Stuff that’s just part of a mortal life and stuff that we implement on each other…often it’s a mix of both. Neither I good or absolutely necessary. Some of it, like the things you mentioned with abuse are a sign to me of rotting branches or long term problems that need to be addressed. The absolute necessity is in finding God during/after the struggle. I also believe more in a relational god  instead of a purely interventionist orientation or deist format. It’s kinda like the authoritarian v permissive parenting style but with God. Both of those to me put us as objects to God IMHO as opposed to individuals and communities of children who need space to grow and decide what we want to become as well as reminders, guidance, and love to get us to a better place when we choose a better path. They both deeply care about and want to see us overcome and become. Relational experiences of the Divine to me often will therefore be complicated and even contradictory at times because of that balance and where we are at in the process of becoming or falling. Not just as individuals but as communities and families. I’ve moved to such a relational viewpoint of God that I also believe that part of the reason we don’t know when Christ comes again is because that coming is in part a covenant with us, and therefore we have an active role in preparing for that. In essence when we are prepared, God will come. 
 

One of the clearest examples i witnessed was with a roommate. She was struggling to come to a better place in her life in just about every aspect you could think of: direction, family, her abusive relationship, self esteem, religiously…they were all in some form of disarray. She knew it and was actively trying to make her life better, though often uncertain what that even meant. Because I was her roommate it gave me a fairly good view of how events unfurled for her. Yes, there was a lot of events that were painful and not really her fault or making. It was not an easy row. But there were obvious signs of God in many of her experiences, powerful answers, and many many people that were in her life at a crucial time. I can’t deny that God was there in droves and I also can’t deny that what she was struggling with was inherently unfair. 
 

Personally at least it better answers the  biggest concerns with both views. 
 

with luv, 

BD

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1 hour ago, smac97 said:

Slandering God, disparaging Him to our face, is not a good way to enter into a sincere, respectful, good faith discussion about matters that - though not sacred to HJW or to you - are obviously and plainly sacred to us.

By way of example, would you start a conversation with a Catholic person this way: "Hey, I have a question about that ritualistic cannibalism thing that you papists are so into..."  I doubt it.  I hope not, at least.

Basic civility and decorum and respect.  They sure can go a long way.

Except I’m not convinced that you actually reciprocate these basic principles or represent those standards very well yourself.

Your language is pretty dismissive of the people that disagree with you and you’ve actually started entire threads problematizing other people’s behaviour such as those belonging to sexual and gender minorities. 
 

I too (like a few others here) was also taught a pretty black & white, exceptionalist view of the church in comparison to the world, particularly regarding our membership having the priesthood and authoritively-given gift of the Holy Ghost.

Yet there doesn’t seem anything particularly exceptional about this sense of discernment, within the church, as opposed to what is also claimed in other religions. 
 

I’m ok with a deity that sometimes intervenes and sometimes doesn’t but if we take some of the statements of the Brethren to be true, then the priorities and/or methods of that deity appear to be greatly wonked.
 

God will send an angel with a sword to ensure polygamy is institutionalized, but he couldn’t be bothered to do likewise in correcting the church’s course on Race, the saving ordinances, & priesthood?

He can send visions of warning and comfort to prophets and apostles but sends no warning to local leadership to not call a perpetrator to a leadership position, on account of what they are doing or will do in futurity?

I understand that agency is a thing, I understand the argument that perhaps these warnings were missed, yet God has indeed successfully ensured his message wouldn’t be taken lightly or confused in cases of the past. Why not now?
 

With Angels commanding brothers to stay their own violence, or visions sent en route on ‘roads to Damascus’, God apparently has the power to intervene.

I understand faith, but I’m not expecting deity to intervene on my faithless behalf, but on behalf of those innocent/believing victims of abuse, suffering at the hands of wolves within God’s very, so-called church.

Yes. I use ‘so-called’. It’s a rhetorical phrase used by the church to marginalize people and ideas they disagree with. I use it now similarly, in repayment in kind.

 

 

We’re just tired of the special pleading. Of the weakening of arguments without any acknowledgment that that is what’s going on in some of these apologetics. We can change the meaning of ‘translation’, ‘revelation’, ‘discernment’, but we still have to reconcile the fact that these  (often) new interpretations of these spiritual processes, don’t seem to be especially more effective than many other, supposedly mortal methodologies, sometimes even less so.


Edit: you speak of slandering God, yet you have continued to support and defend actions taken by the church that slander & deny basic rights and human decency to those that believe & practice differently than you.

That Valedictorian for example didn’t deserve a call out for his statement of his homosexuality.

 

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

Thanks,

-Smac

 

Edited by Canadiandude
Grammar. Still poor but better.
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15 minutes ago, BlueDreams said:

strangely, I think working with people on the other end of tragedy has shaped in someways my views. 
Pain comes in two forms for me. Stuff that’s just part of a mortal life and stuff that we implement on each other…often it’s a mix of both. Neither I good or absolutely necessary. Some of it, like the things you mentioned with abuse are a sign to me of rotting branches or long term problems that need to be addressed. The absolute necessity is in finding God during/after the struggle. I also believe more in a relational god  instead of a purely interventionist orientation or deist format. It’s kinda like the authoritarian v permissive parenting style but with God. Both of those to me put us as objects to God IMHO as opposed to individuals and communities of children who need space to grow and decide what we want to become as well as reminders, guidance, and love to get us to a better place when we choose a better path. They both deeply care about and want to see us overcome and become. Relational experiences of the Divine to me often will therefore be complicated and even contradictory at times because of that balance and where we are at in the process of becoming or falling. Not just as individuals but as communities and families. I’ve moved to such a relational viewpoint of God that I also believe that part of the reason we don’t know when Christ comes again is because that coming is in part a covenant with us, and therefore we have an active role in preparing for that. In essence when we are prepared, God will come. 
 

One of the clearest examples i witnessed was with a roommate. She was struggling to come to a better place in her life in just about every aspect you could think of: direction, family, her abusive relationship, self esteem, religiously…they were all in some form of disarray. She knew it and was actively trying to make her life better, though often uncertain what that even meant. Because I was her roommate it gave me a fairly good view of how events unfurled for her. Yes, there was a lot of events that were painful and not really her fault or making. It was not an easy row. But there were obvious signs of God in many of her experiences, powerful answers, and many many people that were in her life at a crucial time. I can’t deny that God was there in droves and I also can’t deny that what she was struggling with was inherently unfair. 
 

Personally at least it better answers the  biggest concerns with both views. 
 

with luv, 

BD

Thanks for sharing.

I struggle with the "parent" model of God because I've never encountered someone I would consider to be a good parent, who acts (or doesn't act) in the ways I perceive God to act.

 

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1 hour ago, Canadiandude said:

I wasn’t bothered by them as a kid but I never had any bad experiences with em unlike some people, but I also didn’t know how bad people could be or question much the ethics of the church at the time.

Were I a parent in the church now I’d imagine I’d feel differently but so long as the child feels comfortable and prepared with the questions about to be raised and there’s another adult (of their preference) in the room with em then I’d be fine with it. 

I had one bad experience where one of the counselors took me to an empty classroom for an interview when I was a Beehive. We sat down side by side on the classroom chairs with almost our knees touching and I felt very uncomfortable. But didn't have many interviews after that, I did ask for an interview as a young adult to get things off my plate to feel good enough to move forward and onto marriage in the temple. Nothing too serious but remember what a great single's ward bishop he was. 

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Just now, Canadiandude said:
Quote

Slandering God, disparaging Him to our face, is not a good way to enter into a sincere, respectful, good faith discussion about matters that - though not sacred to HJW or to you - are obviously and plainly sacred to us.

Except I’m not convinced that you actually reciprocate these basic principles or represent those standards very well yourself.

I don't think I have ever slandered God on this board.  I don't think I go out of my way to speak insultingly and provocatively and disparagingly about matters that are sacred to other people.

Just now, Canadiandude said:

Your language is pretty dismissive of the people that disagree with you

Not really.  To disagree is not to dismiss.  And I have lost count of the number of times I have said "Reasonable minds can disagree about all sorts of things, including important things."  Google has a few dozen instances recorded, but I think there are a lot more than that.

Just now, Canadiandude said:

and you’ve actually started entire threads problematizing other people’s behaviour such as sexual and gender minorities.

I don't know what this means.

Just now, Canadiandude said:

I too (like a few others here) was also taught a pretty black & white, exceptionalist understanding of the church in comparison to the world, particularly regarding our membership having the priesthood and authoritively-given gift of the Holy Ghost.

Yet there doesn’t seem anything particularly exceptional about this sense of discernment, within the church, as opposed to what is also claimed in other religions. 

I have seen many, many instances of inspiration, revelation, discernment, and so on.  I have personally experienced these things.

I'm not particularly interested in measuring these things as compared to "other religions."  I don't know what sort of metrics you have in mind, or how you would test those metrics.  And given your ongoing hostility to the Church, I'm not sure you would be dispassionate and fair in your assessment of us versus "other religions."

Just now, Canadiandude said:

I’m ok with a deity that sometimes intervenes and sometimes doesn’t

Given what you say below, it looks like you aren't "ok" with that.

Just now, Canadiandude said:

but if we take some of the statements of the Brethren to be true, then the priorities and/or methods of that deity appear to be greatly wonked.

I don't know what this means.

Just now, Canadiandude said:

God will send an angel with a sword to ensure polygamy is institutionalized, but he couldn’t be bothered to do likewise in correcting the church’s course of Race, saving ordinances, & priesthood?

See, the "he couldn't be bothered" stuff is pretty offputting.  Do you even see that?

Why did God let the Hebrews suffer in Egypt?

Why did God let the Holocaust happen?

Why did God let millions die in Stalinist and Maoist purges?

Why does God let millions suffer due to natural disaster, famine, disease, warfare, and on and on.

You just said "I’m ok with a deity that sometimes intervenes and sometimes doesn’t."  But are you?

As regarding the Priesthood Ban, have you given this matter any study or thought?  For example, I've previously noted this:

Quote

According to Prince's book, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism, Pres. McKay was evaluating the issue extensively as early as 1954 (p. 103), and continued to grapple with it for many years afterward.  Prince also states that Pres. McKay "made a conscious decision not to enter the fray of the emerging  civil rights  movement that came of age during his presidency," (p. 104), and yet you here seem to be positioning the Civil Rights movement as a key motivating factor for the 1978 revelation ("I am guessing you missed the period of activism for blacks receiving the priesthood, it was pretty big public spectacle").

Prince goes on to say that "{o}n several occasions ... [Pres. McKay] had opportunities to reverse the church's long-standing legacy of racial discrimination.  Yet each time he chose to turn away" (p. 104).  He also states that Pres. McKay "softened the ban around the edges, intervening to extend priesthood blessings to individuals where he could, and repeatedly pleading with the Lord for a complete reversal ... On uncounted occasions, he sought unsuccessfully to call down the revelation that would have changed the ban, a revelation that came to one of his successors eight years after his death.  This largely undocumented and almost wholly unknown struggle means that it is no stretch to assert that David O. McKay built the foundation upon which the revelation to Spencer W. Kimball rests" (p. 106).

This is also quite illuminating (p. 103):

Quote

His earliest inquiry, as far as we have record ... occurredin 1954 ... Other inquiries followed, though generally the dates are not known.  On one occasion his daughter-in-law, Mildred Calderwood McKay, who served on the general board of the Primary ... expressed her anguish that black male children, who commingled with white children during their Primary years (through age twelve), were excluded from the Aaronic Priesthood when they turned twelve.  "Can't they be ordained also?"  She asked.  He replied sadly, "No."  "Then I think it is time for a new revelation."  He answered, "So do I."

Marian D. Hanks ... related an incident from a [] trip to Vietname, in which he had comforted a woulded black LDS soldier.  As he told the story, McKay began to weep.  Referring to the priesthood ban, McKay said, "I have prayed and prayed and prayed, but there has been no answer."

Prince also provides this fascinating account (p. 104):

Quote

But the most remarkable account came from Richard Jackson, an architect who served in the Church Building Department from 1968 to McKay's death in 1970:

Quote

I remember one day that President McKay came into the office.  We could see that he was very much distressed.  He said, "I've had it!  I'm not going to do it again!"  Somebody said, "What?" He said, "Well, I'm badgered constantly about giving the priesthood to the Negro.  I've inquired of the Lord repeatedly.  The last time I did it was late last night.  I was told, with no discussion, not to bring the subject up with the Lord again; that the time will come, but it will not be my time, and to leave the subject alone."
...

This uncharacteristic outburst in the presence of an astonished church architect highlights the contrast between two strands in McKay's thought that are, by today's standard, inseparably joined: civil rights for blacks and priesthood ordination for black men.  The blurring, combined with McKay's own reticence, means that this difference has not been understood until now.

By Prince's accounting, Pres. McKay wanted to rescind the ban, but was told by the Lord to "not bring the subject up with the Lord again; that the time will come, but it will not be my time, and to leave the subject alone."

You seem to be suggesting that the Civil Rights Movement was a major precipitating cause of the 1978 revelation, and you cite Prince as your source.  But Prince's citations about McKay's efforts to rescind the ban have it starting around 1954 (if not earlier), when the Civil Rights Movement was in its infancy.  Meanwhile, the revelation came in 1978, fourteen years after the Civil Rights Movement was at its apex (1964).  And more to the point, Prince characterizes Pres. McKay as having "built the foundation upon which the revelation to Spencer W. Kimball rests," and this foundation was built by repeatedly seeking revelatory guidance.  Prince seems to have very little to say about Pres. McKay (the president of the Church during the entirety of the Civil Rights Era) being influenced by the "pretty big spectacle" of "activism for blacks receiving the priesthood."

Furthermore, Edward Kimball traces efforts to address the ban back to 1948 (pp. 18-19).

It looks like rectifying the Priesthood Bad was a process, not an event.  And it was a process that was rolling out on the Lord's timetable.

Just now, Canadiandude said:

He can send visions of warning and comfort to prophets and apostles but sent nothing warning the local leadership not to call the perpetrators on account of what they are doing or will do?

Again, you previously said "I’m ok with a deity that sometimes intervenes and sometimes doesn’t."  It seems like you are not.

Just now, Canadiandude said:

I understand that agency is a thing, I understand the argument that perhaps these warnings were missed, yet God has indeed successfully ensured his message weren’t taken lightly or confused in the past. Why not now?

I don't understand what you are referencing here.

Just now, Canadiandude said:

With Angels commanding brothers to stay their own violence, or visions sent en route on our own ‘roads to Damascus’, God apparently has the power.

Yes.  And I think we err in complaining overmuch about how and when He uses that power.  Four scriptures come immediately to mind:

  • "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord."  (Isaiah 55:8.)
  • "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  For now we see through a glass, darkly..."  (1 Cor. 13:11-12.)
  • "Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend."  (Mosiah 4:9.)
  • "Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works."  (Jacob 4:10.)

We can second-guess and faultfind all day long.  We can rise up in judgment and condemn God for not doing what we, in our blinkered and immature and finite state and circumstances, expect him to do.

Or we can exercise faith and humility and patience.  And we can repent and forgive.  And we can keep the commandments.  And we can love and serve our fellow man.  And we can work to strengthen our families, communities and nations.

Just now, Canadiandude said:

I understand faith, but I’m not expecting deity to intervene on my faithless behalf, but on behalf of those innocent/believing victims of abuse, suffering at the hands of wolves within God’s very, so-called church.

I'm not sure what you mean here.

Just now, Canadiandude said:

Yes. I use ‘so-called’. It’s a rhetorical phrase used by the church to marginalize people and ideas they disagree with. I use it now similarly, in repayment in kind.

I understand.

Just now, Canadiandude said:

We’re just tired of the special pleading. Of the weakening of arguments without any acknowledgment that that is what’s going on in some of these apologetics.

I don't know what you are referencing here.

Just now, Canadiandude said:

We can change the meaning of ‘translation’, ‘revelation’, ‘discernment’, but we still have to reconcile the fact that these (often) new understandings of these processes don’t seem especially more effective than many other, supposedly mortal processes, sometimes even much less so.

"The fact?"  Are you sure?

Thanks,

-Smac

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9 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

I had one bad experience where one of the counselors took me to an empty classroom for an interview when I was a Beehive. We sat down side by side on the classroom chairs with almost our knees touching and I felt very uncomfortable. But didn't have many interviews after that, I did ask for an interview as a young adult to get things off my plate to feel good enough to move forward and onto marriage in the temple. Nothing too serious but remember what a great single's ward bishop he was. 

I’m so sorry to hear that re: your first experience.

Yeah, it’s amazing the difference one’s local leadership can make in creating a good church environment.

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2 hours ago, Tacenda said:

Anyone change their minds on one on one youth interviews? I think it would be fine if a youth asked for one but not so much the other way around.

Unless requested by the youth, I think the default should be for a parent to be there. My 17 year old was asked to explain the law of chastity in her last interview. My husband was there. I don’t know of any adult women who has ever been asked to do that in an interview. Bishops need to understand how embarrassing and uncomfortable this makes a teen girl or adult women feel. They need to understand personal space and boundaries. Their friendly overtures are not necessarily comfortable for a teen girl. Sexual topics  in a one on one situation are not comfortable. 

Edited by bsjkki
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1 hour ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Thanks for sharing.

I struggle with the "parent" model of God because I've never encountered someone I would consider to be a good parent, who acts (or doesn't act) in the ways I perceive God to act.

 

I don't think it's a perfect analogy, just sometimes the closest we have, at least when spoken from a more broad perspective. I've seen individual "good parents" act and parent in a fairly wide range. 

 

With luv,

BD

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1 hour ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Thanks for sharing.

I struggle with the "parent" model of God because I've never encountered someone I would consider to be a good parent, who acts (or doesn't act) in the ways I perceive God to act.

 

Having volunteered as a CASA I can say that God would probably have His parental rights terminated due to negligence by the standards of those courts.

I am not saying that sums up all of God or is an absolute indictment against God’s goodness. I am saying that it is a factor that has to be taken into account.

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21 minutes ago, bsjkki said:

Sexual topics  in a one on one situation are not comfortable. 

Sexual topics with your parents present are still uncomfortable - sometimes more so.  I am not against the idea of having parents there unless the child request to see the bishop alone.  I just think it is important to acknowledge that while it is really important to try and make them as comfortable as possible, I can se why it would be appropriate to assess the understanding of youth on certain topics.  Even with some adults, there is some apparent confusion as to what is or is not permissible outside of marriage, including necking, petting, oral sex, etc.   Some young adults from BYU have even been known to get married in a Vegas drive-through for a wild weekend then divorce afterward.    They thought this was a permissible loophole to premarital sex. 

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16 minutes ago, pogi said:

Sexual topics with your parents present are still uncomfortable - sometimes more so.  I am not against the idea of having parents there unless the child request to see the bishop alone.  I just think it is important to acknowledge that while it is really important to try and make them as comfortable as possible, I can se why it would be appropriate to assess the understanding of youth on certain topics.  Even with some adults, there is some apparent confusion as to what is or is not permissible outside of marriage, including necking, petting, oral sex, etc.   Some young adults from BYU have even been known to get married in a Vegas drive-through for a wild weekend then divorce afterward.    They thought this was a permissible loophole to premarital sex. 

I can tell you in this ‘educational ’ process, Bishops are offending young women. Teach them at home, in classes, in group settings, in firesides then stick to the temple questions. My husband was counseled to let people answer the questions. Even when he knew there was a question of honesty and of whether interpretations were accurate. 

Edited by bsjkki
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Just now, bsjkki said:

I can tell you in this ‘educational ’ process, Bishops are offending young women. Teach them at home, in classes, in group settings, in firesides then stick to the temple questions. My husband was counseled to let people answer the questions. Even when he knew there was a question if honesty and of whether interpretations were accurate. 

I sent the temple questions home with parents to prepare their child for their first interviews. An 11 year old does not need an in depth discussion from an adult male.

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4 hours 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."

God sometimes does interfere with others' agency (cf. many stories), but then He often doesn't when we want Him to, so the question centers around, as it always does, why does He intervene in XYZ case but not in ABC case. 

3 hours 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? 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. 

The only answer that satisfies me is that the pre-existence is the key to almost everything. We know very little about the pre-existence, and it's clear to me that the unfairness and injustice we experience on earth throughout history has to be able to be explained in terms of either a) what we lack and need to gain on earth, b) what we accomplished there and don't need here (e.g., people who are not accountable on earth and are heirs of the celestial kingdom from birth), or c) in some cases people who have enough "celestial capital," for lack of a better term, being sacrificed in order to provide necessary testing or opportunities for a). I think the atrocity examples fit under this. I fully admit that if one of my children had something horrific happen to them because of others' agency and God didn't intervene, that wouldn't be as easy to accept as it is as a hypothetical. At all. But, the answer would be the same. 

The "test proctor," deist, or Analytics' Special Forces God scenarios aren't satisfying or reasonable to me. 

---

As a slight sidetrack to this, the modern Church has tried/is trying to decouple itself from the preexistence only when it comes to race (for PR and PC reasons), but never with the other factors in life (e.g., era, geography, family assignment, circumstances, opportunities, BIC, etc.). I see the preexistence as heavily affecting absolutely everything --- without it, it is very hard to make any sense of the "problem of evil" type questions. I think we all (all 85 billion or however many people who have lived) have a tailored "my turn on earth," and suffering and God selectively intervening or not intervening with atrocities is part of His active role to ensure that we all have exactly what we need. Certain people might need to be able to "fill the measure" of their agency so that they can't claim in judgment that they weren't able to exercise it. Others, as stories teach, are able to have their agency thwarted. In moving His chess pieces, God may look to certain people He can use in the overall picture, and to us they are horrific victims. In the eternal view, though, their trials are a very small section of their eternal existence and experience. Doesn't make it any easier on any of us when we are in mortality. 

In a crude analogy, military leaders sometimes need to knowingly sacrifice soldiers/manpower to achieve a larger objective. In those cases where God chooses not to intervene, knowing everything and all factors, He may choose to allow great suffering and horrible injustice in part because the victims' progression won't be thwarted by it (He can turn to them for that role). 

---

A less macabre side of the coin are the interventions that save or reform wayward people (e.g., Alma the Younger and the sons of Helaman). Many parents have prayed and pleaded for God's intervention with their wayward children, but God doesn't send angels or intervene dramatically for everyone. To the parents, their children are just as important as Alma the Younger, so it can be hard when some people seem to "get the golden ticket" and others don't. There are myriads of factors at play: some we can guess at (potential to respond well to the intervention, etc.), and others we can't even fathom. Non-universal intervention can be just as hard to accept in these cases as it can for atrocity scenarios. 

 

 

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8 minutes ago, bsjkki said:

I can tell you in this ‘educational ’ process, Bishops are offending young women. Teach them at home, in classes, in group settings, in firesides then stick to the temple questions. My husband was counseled to let people answer the questions. Even when he knew there was a question of honesty and of whether interpretations were accurate. 

That's good.

My experience was different. I was taught 1- worthiness interviews are a time to teach  2- we must protect the sanctity of the temple/priesthood etc.   So if there was any question about honesty or understanding we were instructed to take the time to review, teach, and hold accountable.

My Stake Presidency would schedule 30 minutes for all of their temple recommend interviews. Sure, there was a little chit-chat but the majority of the time was used to teach correct principles.

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4 minutes ago, bsjkki said:

I can tell you in this ‘educational ’ process, Bishops are offending young women. Teach them at home, in classes, in group settings, in firesides then stick to the temple questions. My husband was counseled to let people answer the questions. Even when he knew there was a question if honesty and of whether interpretations were accurate. 

I don't think the bishop should be in the business of "educating" or "teaching" youth about sex, particularly when the youth is female.  That is not the point or purpose of bishop interviews.  Let the parents do it, or a trusted family member, or a doctor or nurse.  

Thanks,

-Smac

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46 minutes ago, bsjkki said:

I can tell you in this ‘educational ’ process, Bishops are offending young women. Teach them at home, in classes, in group settings, in firesides then stick to the temple questions. My husband was counseled to let people answer the questions. Even when he knew there was a question of honesty and of whether interpretations were accurate. 

I agree with that approach. 

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17 minutes ago, rongo said:

God sometimes does interfere with others' agency (cf. many stories), but then He often doesn't when we want Him to, so the question centers around, as it always does, why does He intervene in XYZ case but not in ABC case. 

The only answer that satisfies me is that the pre-existence is the key to almost everything. We know very little about the pre-existence, and it's clear to me that the unfairness and injustice we experience on earth throughout history has to be able to be explained in terms of either a) what we lack and need to gain on earth, b) what we accomplished there and don't need here (e.g., people who are not accountable on earth and are heirs of the celestial kingdom from birth), or c) in some cases people who have enough "celestial capital," for lack of a better term, being sacrificed in order to provide necessary testing or opportunities for a). I think the atrocity examples fit under this. I fully admit that if one of my children had something horrific happen to them because of others' agency and God didn't intervene, that wouldn't be as easy to accept as it is as a hypothetical. At all. But, the answer would be the same. 

The "test proctor," deist, or Analytics' Special Forces God scenarios aren't satisfying or reasonable to me. 

---

As a slight sidetrack to this, the modern Church has tried/is trying to decouple itself from the preexistence only when it comes to race (for PR and PC reasons), but never with the other factors in life (e.g., era, geography, family assignment, circumstances, opportunities, BIC, etc.). I see the preexistence as heavily affecting absolutely everything --- without it, it is very hard to make any sense of the "problem of evil" type questions. I think we all (all 85 billion or however many people who have lived) have a tailored "my turn on earth," and suffering and God selectively intervening or not intervening with atrocities is part of His active role to ensure that we all have exactly what we need. Certain people might need to be able to "fill the measure" of their agency so that they can't claim in judgment that they weren't able to exercise it. Others, as stories teach, are able to have their agency thwarted. In moving His chess pieces, God may look to certain people He can use in the overall picture, and to us they are horrific victims. In the eternal view, though, their trials are a very small section of their eternal existence and experience. Doesn't make it any easier on any of us when we are in mortality. 

In a crude analogy, military leaders sometimes need to knowingly sacrifice soldiers/manpower to achieve a larger objective. In those cases where God chooses not to intervene, knowing everything and all factors, He may choose to allow great suffering and horrible injustice in part because the victims' progression won't be thwarted by it (He can turn to them for that role)

---

A less macabre side of the coin are the interventions that save or reform wayward people (e.g., Alma the Younger and the sons of Helaman). Many parents have prayed and pleaded for God's intervention with their wayward children, but God doesn't send angels or intervene dramatically for everyone. To the parents, their children are just as important as Alma the Younger, so it can be hard when some people seem to "get the golden ticket" and others don't. There are myriads of factors at play: some we can guess at (potential to respond well to the intervention, etc.), and others we can't even fathom. Non-universal intervention can be just as hard to accept in these cases as it can for atrocity scenarios. 

 

 

I appreciate your efforts to explain your POV.

I've heard it suggested before, slightly differently than what you're saying, that God lets atrocities happen so that those individuals will receive proper judgement. But for a God who "knows the heart" of each person, I don't know why he would need to let an atrocity happen to hold someone accountable. If they have a black heart, they have a black heart, whether or not they were thwarted. Do some people need to commit an atrocity so that they hit rock bottom and can then repent. Maybe...I guess. But I'd expect their are other ways people could be humbled without their jackassery being allowed to thwart someone else's agency.

I find your analogy of acceptable collateral damage extremely sad. I think it, and many of the worldly experiences we try to superimpose on God as a way of understanding him better (the parent model as another possibility) are often our own constructions in a desperate attempt to understand.

So the question for me would be, why would God make it so challenging to understand him. If so much relies on the pre-existence, yet we know very little about that, why doesn't he intervene and explain? It could be done very clearly. But it's not. Why? To test loyalty and faith? We see through a glass darkly because it's dark by design. I don't know any parent who would interact with a child that way. I don't know any parent who would continually require tests of loyalty, even when the information and/or messenger are deeply flawed. 

 

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2 hours ago, smac97 said:

And now your not accurately stating my position, either.

The point is to obey God.

"Obey God" is an extremely unsatisfactory system of morality. If God commanded you to literally sacrifice one of your children on an alter would you do it? I wouldn't--I'd rather be moral than obey God.

2 hours ago, smac97 said:

Consider the Parable of the Talents.  And by "consider" I mean "put aside faultfinding cynicism, stop mischaracterizing and distorting, and give a fair hearing to what the scriptures have to say."

Now, a person who is bound and determined to wrest this passage, to distort and misconstrue it, might say something like "Well, the master sure is a hypocritical jerk.  Instead of investing the talents himself, he gave them to his servants 'according to {their} several ability,' and then he just took off.  What a horrible person that master was.  Where did he get off, expecting his servants to take the 'goods' he had 'delivered unto them' and use them to improve the state of things?"

Personally, I could care less whether a master entrusts some of his investment portfolio to a money manager who has an investment style that is too conservative for the master. If the master doesn't make as much on his diversified portfolio as he wanted to, then so what? I'm not going to call him a hypocritical jerk.

It sounds like the way you interpret this passage is that the individual talents of money represent actual human beings. The money not being invested wisely represents actual human beings being subjected to evil and harm.

As an analogy of your analogy, say a parent properly does her due diligence in choosing a babysitter, and drops off his kids there. Without the parent knowing, the babysitter betrays the master's trust and hurts the kids.

If that happened I'd be mad at the babysitter, but I wouldn't consider the parent liable. On the other hand, if the parent knew something terrible was going to happen and had the power to stop it, you are dang right I'd consider the parent a hypocritical jerk. And worse.  

2 hours ago, smac97 said:

So do I.  And it's one that is utterly foreign to Latter-day Saint belief.  It's deeply weird that you would try to foist it on us.

Previously, I was suggesting that the way Mormons get out of the Problem of Evil is to say that God not intervening is for the greater good--from a higher perspective, bad things happening in this realm aren't really bad--it's all just part of the test.

Based on your interpretation of the Parable of the Talents, it sounds like you get out of the Problem of Evil by saying God isn't omnipotent and isn't omniscient--God trusts people "according to their several ability", and if they let Him down, he doesn't have the power to intervene. 

In any event, I'm not foisting any beliefs on you. Rather, I'm articulating an uncomfortable implication of Mormon belief that most latter-day saints choose to ignore.

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57 minutes ago, BlueDreams said:

I don't think it's a perfect analogy, just sometimes the closest we have, at least when spoken from a more broad perspective. I've seen individual "good parents" act and parent in a fairly wide range. 

I agree that the parent analogy is actually a pretty good one.

I certainly don't want my children to experience any pain or suffering, but what if it isn't possible for them to experience some other good / wonderful thing without the possibility of them experiencing some amount of pain and suffering as well?

I mean, I could lock my daughter up in her room to prevent her from ever being in a bicycle accident, but doing so would then deprive her of the opportunity to ever experience the joy of riding a bike.

It simply isn't possible to prevent all bad things from happening without simultaneously preventing some other, greater good(s) from being attained.

I think our heavenly parents are faced with this same reality. How would it be possible for us to freely enter into an authentic relationship with them and then grow to our maximum potential without the free will necessary to do so? Sure, God could (theoretically) remove our agency, follow us around like some kind of divine helicopter parent, and ensure that no evil is ever perpetuated here in mortality. But he couldn't do so without sacrificing our agency - agency that he knows is necessary for us to learn how to exercise in order for us to become like him.

 

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1 minute ago, Amulek said:

I agree that the parent analogy is actually a pretty good one.

I certainly don't want my children to experience any pain or suffering, but what if it isn't possible for them to experience some other good / wonderful thing without the possibility of them experiencing some amount of pain and suffering as well?

I mean, I could lock my daughter up in her room to prevent her from ever being in a bicycle accident, but doing so would then deprive her of the opportunity to ever experience the joy of riding a bike.

It simply isn't possible to prevent all bad things from happening without simultaneously preventing some other, greater good(s) from being attained.

I think our heavenly parents are faced with this same reality. How would it be possible for us to freely enter into an authentic relationship with them and then grow to our maximum potential without the free will necessary to do so? Sure, God could (theoretically) remove our agency, follow us around like some kind of divine helicopter parent, and ensure that no evil is ever perpetuated here in mortality. But he couldn't do so without sacrificing our agency - agency that he knows is necessary for us to learn how to exercise in order for us to become like him.

I think a better analogy would be your daughter getting sick. She needs help. Take her to the doctor, help her be healed. Day after day she pleads with you. In response you say nothing. You do nothing. She dies. 

When you say it isn't possible to prevent all bad things without simultaneously preventing other, greater goods from being attained, are you meaning that God is limited in power to be incapable of preventing all bad things? Perhaps you ignoring your daughter and refusing to take her to the doctor allowed the doctor to meet with another patient, perhaps a father with many children he was responsible for, who also needed her help. By helping the father instead of your daughter, more lives were blessed, therefore you were justified in ignoring your daughter. I'm scratching my head on this one.

I'm curious if this "authentic relationship" looks and/or feels similar to any other authentic relationship you've ever had. It seems like an "authentic relationship" may just be a nice thing we tell ourselves to feel closer to a distant God. I can't think of any positive, authentic relationship I've ever had where the other party requires absolute obedience, consistently tests my loyalty, doesn't respond when spoken to, and even plays favorites 

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34 minutes ago, Analytics said:

"Obey God" is an extremely unsatisfactory system of morality. If God commanded you to literally sacrifice one of your children on an alter would you do it? I wouldn't--I'd rather be moral than obey God.

If we are accepting with this analogy that God really does exist and that He truly is "good" - then God's morality trumps yours.  He decides what is satisfactory and what is good.  Obedience to him puts you in-line with a higher morality, one which lead God to intervene and save Abraham's son.  

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