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Author Topic: The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act
Rakeesh
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Heh, swbarnes, you just can't do it, can you? Have an honest conversation, that is. No, I don't mean just a technically honest conversation. I doubt there isn't a person here who's aware you're being quite technically honest-though sprinkled with a few dishonesties here and there (yes, you're quite interested in learning about the perspectives of theists, that just rings through clearly, heh).

Given that and how tedious it is to speak to you, I'll just answer your last question: yes. It's possible-and not necessarily because of any prayer, either. Sometimes people just get better for unknown reasons-perhaps those reasons would be known someday with better tools to observe, but not now.

Now please, in your pursuit of knowledge, continue attempting to learn about my perspective. Heh.

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swbarnes2
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Swbarnes, in my opinion, for prayer to have medically helped Kara, it would have needed to start generations ago.[/]quote]

Is this your roundabout way of saying that you believe that had you prayed for her to be healed as she lay dying, she still would have died?

[quote]Perhaps prayer for insight into the causes of diabetes, prayer for the dedication of scientist and doctors

Prayer for insight? Has prayer ever turned up a novel drug target? Do Christians find more drug targets than atheists? Are Catholic universities finding more drug targets than Merck?

quote:
prayer for the understanding of how prayer works so that her parents weren't so misguided
Of course. You understand how prayer works, and they don't. They are ignorant, but you know better. They choose to believe, just like you did, but they should choose something else.

The Neumanns surely have received exactly as much confirmation of the accuracy of their beliefs through prayer as every theist here has. How can you expect them to turn away from what they believe God has confirmed in them? Would you?

quote:
prayer for a world that is more devoted to helping sick children and preventing disease.
How will praying achieve this?

People have been praying for children to recover from illness for thousands of years, and for thousands of years, they died. Even people who prayed the way you think they should (the ones who will accept help from motorboats and helicopters) still watched their children die because science hadn't learned enough to save them. How many more millennia must pass before you can conclude that prayer isn't saving lives?

The Neumanns sincerely believed they were helping their sick child. More devotion would not have changed Kara's fate.

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Geoffrey Card
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I don't think any reasonable person believes that prayer is meant to be a reliable process that mechanically produces measurable results, and that "more devotion in" always == "more miracles out". (People do believe this, but I don't consider them to be reasonable.)

Prayer is something that religious people do because they feel they have a relationship with God, and in times of need, how could they NOT ask for His help? Those with a measure of realism and humility accept that under normal conditions, it takes a lot more than prayer to solve a serious problem. But prayer can help individuals find the answers they need, even if the question they end up getting an answer to is along the lines of, "How do I deal with this unabated tragedy?"

People who refuse treatment in favor of prayer alone are wrong, in both my opinion and yours. We can definitely agree about that, right? At the same time, I believe in God, so I think prayer still has value, despite it not-doing things that I never expected it to do.

Do you believe that people should only do things that are guaranteed to have a measurable impact on the problem they wish to solve? Or is it okay if, alongside other strategies, people also try things that are unlikely to have an impact, but which express their hope and commitment, and which help them to work through the stresses with a trusted friend who in some very rare cases might actually produce a solution?

When I'm stressed out by unsolvable problems at work, I often discuss my problems with my immediate superior. In most cases, I come into the conversation with no expectation that I'll walk out with the problem resolved. But the conversation itself defrays tension and helps to move me in the right direction, and every now and then, my superior has an idea for something he can do to offer a small amount of relief. Talking to him doesn't make my problems magically go away, and I wouldn't want them to — the problems are my job, not his, and I want to demonstrate that I can handle them myself. But I'm not going to STOP talking to him because that's "all" I get out of the exercise.

[ February 16, 2011, 01:42 PM: Message edited by: Geoffrey Card ]

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King of Men
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quote:
But prayer can help individuals find the answers they need, even if the question they end up getting an answer to is along the lines of, "How do I deal with this unabated tragedy?"
Are Christians noted for more rarely committing suicide than those who do not pray? Do they deal better with tragedy? Do they have less depression, make fewer bad decisions, recover from bad events faster? If not, what exactly does it mean to "deal with tragedy"?
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0Megabyte
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In all honesty, KoM, there is something comforting in prayer. It can make people feel better, or at least more at ease. I've seen it happen, and I've felt it happen myself when I was religious.

Do I think it's something magical? No. Do I believe it's actually even talking to a god? No. And do I have any statistics? Not on me.

But the action can have an effect. Focusing your thoughts on what you want, or hope will happen, etc, is not a useless endeavor. Asking, even in your mind, for help from a higher authority has a mental effect which is real. I've felt it.

But just like positive thinking is helpful in many specific situations even though The Secret's law of attraction is bogus, the actions involved in prayer can be helpful, even if the act isn't communication with anyone but the self.

Seriously, challenging this particular thing isn't the most helpful part.

Of course swbarnes is right about it having no demonstrated effect on the greater world. But it has an effect on the person, mentally anyway, and that kind of focus can be good. Certainly when it causes someone to go and take actions.

(Don't imagine I think sitting and praying instead of doing anything is useful. But I am not talking about people who'd pray for their child and put it in God's hands instead of going to a doctor. I'm talking about the normal people I meet in everyday life.)

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MrSquicky
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quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
quote:
But prayer can help individuals find the answers they need, even if the question they end up getting an answer to is along the lines of, "How do I deal with this unabated tragedy?"
Are Christians noted for more rarely committing suicide than those who do not pray? Do they deal better with tragedy? Do they have less depression, make fewer bad decisions, recover from bad events faster? If not, what exactly does it mean to "deal with tragedy"?
You know, those are answerable questions. In this case, the research says yes. Members of religious groups self-report as happier, are less likely to commit suicide, and are less likely to suffer from depression than people unaffiliated with a religion, and these differences are significant.
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King of Men
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Edit: This was in response to 0mega, not Squicky.

How does this differ from taking two Valium, or for that matter from resolving to deal with the problem and get on with your life? The question is not whether humans are capable of dealing with tragic events; of course we are. When people say "I don't know how I'd deal with X", they are ignoring the fact that ultimately they have exactly two options: Deal, or commit suicide.

The question is, does prayer actually help, compared to other methods of processing grief/anger/whatever? And further, if it's just a technique for such processing, then it should be presented as such and evaluated as such, without the nonsense about gods. In a similar vein, if acupuncture genuinely helps, fine, do a proper study of its effects; don't waffle on about the lines of chi spiralling around the chakras, or whatever. But the theists here want to have it both ways: They want prayer to be just a method of dealing with bad stuff, and evidence for the existence of their god. Well, either you have evidence of an outside effect, or you've just found a meditation technique; make up your minds which it is, and argue from there.

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Mucus
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(I've come across the religion makes people happier thing on gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/116449/Religion-Provides-Emotional-Boost-World-Poor.aspx

However, it only really seems to work in poor countries where religiosity is more common in general. In richer countries where it is less common, the relationship was reversed where the difference was more than 2%)

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MrSquicky
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Mucus,
A fair bit of the scientific research I'm aware of focused on America, specifically and showed significant differences.

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Tresopax
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quote:
But the theists here want to have it both ways: They want prayer to be just a method of dealing with bad stuff, and evidence for the existence of their god.
I don't think many theists care whether prayer is evidence for the existence of God.

Actually, I don't think many theists are all that concerned about whether or not there's evidence for the existence of God, if by evidence you mean hard proof. That sort of misses the point of religion.

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Mucus
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MrSquicky: Thats not really contradictory when you consider that the religiosity of the US is somewhat of an outlier among richer countries.
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Xavier
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You must not have read much of the "Jewish thing" thread Tresopax [Smile] .

And a fairly large number of people here have cited prayer and its results as evidence considered for why they believe, even if they don't submit it as solid evidence for others.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Xavier:
You must not have read much of the "Jewish thing" thread Tresopax [Smile] .

That assumes the theists participating in that thread are typical of the general theist population.

I think that's clearly "no".

Speaking for myself, I don't care whether y'all believe there is hard proof or not.

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MattP
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quote:
I don't think many theists care whether prayer is evidence for the existence of God.
It's the primary means by which Mormons are instructed to verify the truth of their church and, by extension, the existence of God.
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Xavier
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I think adding "if by evidence you mean hard proof" just confuses the sentiment. KoM clearly didn't mean evidence as "hard proof", he meant "measurable in an objective way", which is hardly the same thing.

Because of this, I can't seem to make a satisfactory reply to your post rivka.

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rivka
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*shrug* Call it what you like. I have evidence that satisfies me; I care not one whit whether it satisfies you, KoM, Tom, etc.


MattP, to themselves. Not to others. No?

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Geoffrey Card
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
quote:
I don't think many theists care whether prayer is evidence for the existence of God.
It's the primary means by which Mormons are instructed to verify the truth of their church and, by extension, the existence of God.
To themselves. This is meant to be individual, subjective evidence. Not verifiable laboratory evidence.

EDIT: Missed Rivka's post [Smile] What she said.

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rivka
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Hiya, Geoff. [Smile]
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
quote:
I don't think many theists care whether prayer is evidence for the existence of God.
It's the primary means by which Mormons are instructed to verify the truth of their church and, by extension, the existence of God.
Not exactly. The entire process is usually shrunk down to the phrase, "Search, Ponder, and Pray."

You can't just walk around praying for verification of things. One must first study them, and consider for themselves what their own opinions are on the matter, and then present those opinions in prayer.

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MattP
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BB, I'm talking about *the* test - Moroni's challenge. It's a pretty straightforward "ask and it will be answered" thing.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
BB, I'm talking about *the* test - Moroni's challenge. It's a pretty straightforward "ask and it will be answered" thing.

Yes, and you will note Moroni's challenge does not come until virtually the end of the entire book. The reason the BOM is pushed vigorously as a good thing to pray about is because a prophet of God said it's worth praying about, and if it is true, then it stands to reason many other important principles found in Mormonism and indeed Christianity itself are then also true.

When I was young I read the entire Book of Mormon, and prayed about it right then and there; I got no answer. I did it again when I was much older, and again I got no answer. I did ask God for guidance as to what was amiss or if perhaps the book was not true, and I felt inspired with the instructions, to stop trying to force an answer, to think about things for myself. After doing so, I concluded that I felt the evidence pointed towards the book being true, and the confirmation I was seeking came then.

If I had been reading the Book of Mormon and come across some undeniable evidence that the Book was not real, or if the Book taught principles that I felt were incorrect, I wouldn't have bothered praying.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
When I was young I read the entire Book of Mormon, and prayed about it right then and there; I got no answer. I did it again when I was much older, and again I got no answer. I did ask God for guidance as to what was amiss or if perhaps the book was not true, and I felt inspired with the instructions, to stop trying to force an answer, to think about things for myself. After doing so, I concluded that I felt the evidence pointed towards the book being true, and the confirmation I was seeking came then.
Um....
*shuffles feet*

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Tresopax
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quote:
I think adding "if by evidence you mean hard proof" just confuses the sentiment. KoM clearly didn't mean evidence as "hard proof", he meant "measurable in an objective way", which is hardly the same thing.
Well yes, that is probably a more accurate way to word it. I don't think most theists are all that concerned with having proof that's measurable in an objective way. They do care about the question of why we should believe in God, but I don't think many are expecting the answer to that question to be something objectively measurable.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
When I was young I read the entire Book of Mormon, and prayed about it right then and there; I got no answer. I did it again when I was much older, and again I got no answer. I did ask God for guidance as to what was amiss or if perhaps the book was not true, and I felt inspired with the instructions, to stop trying to force an answer, to think about things for myself. After doing so, I concluded that I felt the evidence pointed towards the book being true, and the confirmation I was seeking came then.
Um....
*shuffles feet*

Are we dancing? I love the shuffle!
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:

When I was young I read the entire Book of Mormon, and prayed about it right then and there; I got no answer. I did it again when I was much older, and again I got no answer. I did ask God for guidance as to what was amiss or if perhaps the book was not true, and I felt inspired with the instructions, to stop trying to force an answer, to think about things for myself. After doing so, I concluded that I felt the evidence pointed towards the book being true, and the confirmation I was seeking came then.

o__o
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TomDavidson
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You: Is the BoM "true?"
God: <no answer>
You: Is the BoM "true?"
God: <no answer>
You: What's wrong? Why don't you answer me?
God: Think about things for yourself.
You: Okay, I'm convinced by other evidence of some sort. The BoM is clearly true.
God: Yeah, it is.

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BlackBlade
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Tom: My point was I was not really pondering or considering the matter. I just read the text for what it was, and prayed.

Look it was a mistake to even go into my own personal experience on the matter. I was only trying to point out for Mormons, it's not a matter of, "Oh hey I wonder if the BOM is true, I'll just pray real hard!" The fact is when I was praying really hard it didn't work for me.

I'd rather not discuss my experience anymore if that's OK with you.

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TomDavidson
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Yeah, I didn't really expect you to be comfortable with any comments, which is why I "shuffled;" I interpreted the "are we dancing" as an invitation to comment, though.
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MattP
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quote:
I was only trying to point out for Mormons, it's not a matter of, "Oh hey I wonder if the BOM is true, I'll just pray real hard!"
The church really needs to update their missionary training then because I've never spoken to a missionary that hasn't basically said "just pray about it!". (And I've spoken to a *lot* of missionaries - curse of being a non-member that's married to a Mormon.)

[ February 17, 2011, 01:59 AM: Message edited by: MattP ]

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Scott R
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
BB, I'm talking about *the* test - Moroni's challenge. It's a pretty straightforward "ask and it will be answered" thing.

Hmm. That's not how it was taught to me. Here's the verse:

quote:
3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.

4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

There are qualifiers, not the least of which is asking the question with a sincere heart and real intent. Also, faith in Christ, recognition of the mercies of God, and some sort of meditation/pondering agenda.

I'm reminded of the problem Oliver Cowdery had when he tried to translate the Book of Mormon: he'd asked God for the ability to translate but wasn't capable of making sense of the writing on the plates. God's response was to tell him that the gifts he was looking for aren't free for the asking; you have to put in the work of study.

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Scott R
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quote:
The church really needs to update their missionary training then because I've never spoken to a missionary that hasn't basically said "just pray about it!". (And I've spoken to a *lot* of missionaries - curse of being a non-member that's married to a Mormon.)
I'd settle for missionaries that didn't drop by unannounced at 3p on a Saturday and stay for two hours without having any sort of message or use to their visit.

My priorities may be a bit different from yours...

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Tresopax
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quote:
Look it was a mistake to even go into my own personal experience on the matter. I was only trying to point out for Mormons, it's not a matter of, "Oh hey I wonder if the BOM is true, I'll just pray real hard!" The fact is when I was praying really hard it didn't work for me.
I think your experience makes a helpful point about prayer even to us non-Mormons.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
The church really needs to update their missionary training then because I've never spoken to a missionary that hasn't basically said "just pray about it!". (And I've spoken to a *lot* of missionaries - curse of being a non-member that's married to a Mormon.)
I'd settle for missionaries that didn't drop by unannounced at 3p on a Saturday and stay for two hours without having any sort of message or use to their visit.

My priorities may be a bit different from yours...

They are quite similar to mine. I can sympathize with missionaries wanting a friendly face to talk to after a rough day or week, but man I have no patience for that sort of time wasting.
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advice for robots
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quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
quote:
Look it was a mistake to even go into my own personal experience on the matter. I was only trying to point out for Mormons, it's not a matter of, "Oh hey I wonder if the BOM is true, I'll just pray real hard!" The fact is when I was praying really hard it didn't work for me.
I think your experience makes a helpful point about prayer even to us non-Mormons.
It's a good lesson about prayer and faith.
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advice for robots
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
The church really needs to update their missionary training then because I've never spoken to a missionary that hasn't basically said "just pray about it!". (And I've spoken to a *lot* of missionaries - curse of being a non-member that's married to a Mormon.)
I'd settle for missionaries that didn't drop by unannounced at 3p on a Saturday and stay for two hours without having any sort of message or use to their visit.


My priorities may be a bit different from yours...

They are quite similar to mine. I can sympathize with missionaries wanting a friendly face to talk to after a rough day or week, but man I have no patience for that sort of time wasting.
In my mission we called it "bucketing." It was essentially like treading water when you were tired of swimming.
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Geraine
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We used to have a few missionaries that would drop by my parent's house every Sunday when we would have a family dinner. For some reason their Sunday dinner appointments would always get cancelled. My mother always made extra just in case they dropped by, but they started taking advantage of it. After a while they would come over at 5 PM on Sunday and stay until 8 PM or later playing LDS based card games with my family. My dad finally told them that they couldn't come over any more on Sunday because they should be doing missionary work, not playing games.
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katharina
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My whole mission, we never dropped by any member's house without an appointment. I can't think of why - I don't remember instructions not to. It simply didn't occur to us to. Have an appointment, have a purpose, never stay longer than an hour, excepting dinner apointments where you can't always control the time, but try.

I only wish our missionaries would ask for rides/splits more than the night before. I'd love to go, but I am always, always busy when asked at the last second. I need at least 72 hours notice. But they asked once for the next morning and I was busy, and I haven't heard from them again. I love you, Sisters! Call me!*

*72 hours in advance

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Stephan
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Even though it passed the state senate, it didn't even get voted on in the house.

The blame is on the minority churches in heavy democrat areas mobilizing and inundating thier representatives with complaints about the law.

And they say it bears no resemblance to the civil rights movement in the south....

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