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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Scott Adams blog on sex scandals (Page 4)

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Author Topic: Scott Adams blog on sex scandals
kmbboots
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In the case of the Catholic Church, which has been making unquestionable pronouncements on the life, death, and salvation of much of humanity for the past 2000 years, admitting fallibility would mean they had a lot of explaining to do as well as giving up a good portion of power.

I think it is crucial that we do it.

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TomDavidson
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Hobbes, how is this statement below, quoted above, not "releasing a position?"

"I was shocked to have you raise the question about ‘oral lovemaking in the genital area among married couples.' Heaven forbid any such degrading activities which would be abhorrent in the sight of the Lord. For any Latter-day Saint, and particularly those who have been taught in the sacred ordinances of the temple, to engage in any kind of perversions of this sacred God-given gift of procreation, would be sure to bring down the condemnation of the Lord whom we would offend were we to engage in any such practice."

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CT
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Admitting error is a vulnerable place to be in, or at least that is how it often feels. I think it's a brittle strength to hold onto, though, and it makes less of us when we cling to it despite the appropriateness of admission and/or offering apology.

kmboots, I think you point to a theme or trend in the Catholic Church which underlies what makes the practice of many members so different from what is preached. I don't know where that is going, and I don't know how much of it is strength and how much is brittleness. It is the church of my childhood, and at this point almost all I do is stand on the sidelines and watch.

I hope things turn out well, whatever that may mean.

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Hobbes
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If I said that, or you quoted me saying that, would you consider it the LDS Church releasing a position? Here's a helpful guide (and it's only two pages) that talks about what is and is not doctrine. Basically the statement you quoted above is exactly the kind of thing I was referring to as a leader making a comment in public. It's not at all the same as an official position and the two problems I listed both occur if it is reacted to by the Church officially.

Hobbes [Smile]

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
It would be much less feasible for LDS to quietly drop the whole 'no masturbation' thing because of the way that church leaders have consistently and openly taught and counseled against masturbation over the last few decades. This was never the case for those other things you brought up.

Doesn't matter. I see all the mechanisms by which it could be done easily over time, especially with the changing of the guard. The ability to dismiss something as a 'product of the times,' the reminder that we can't really use X, Y, Z as gospel, the tacit let's-just-move-on attitude to the fallibility of past officials, even prophets, it's all there. And masturbation is easy to let go because such a huge quantity of people do it even when taught that it is religiously unacceptable, and that provides its own encouragement for change ...

This is all so fascinating. Really!

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EarlNMeyer-Flask
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There is an interesting book about this topic called,
"A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion" by Thornhill and Palmer.

The review at http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/403659
by Mindy Hung summarizes their theory and says in part,

"According to Thornhill and Palmer, sociobiologists and feminists are wrong in identifying culture as a principal influence over human sexual behavior. Men are by nature more aggressive and, despite society's influence, driven to mate as often and widely as possible. Rape is therefore an evolutionary adaptation, one of many strategies that men use in order to ensure their genetic survival.

The authors further argue that by extension, the pain women experience as a result of rape is also a product of nature. Psychological suffering ensures that women will avoid the conditions that lead to sexual violation so that they will not be wasting resources on offspring of questionable genetic quality."

[ June 17, 2011, 05:23 PM: Message edited by: EarlNMeyer-Flask ]

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CT
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That's her summary of what is argued in the book, but I don't think it's really the "review" part. The review itself is critical of the text, no?

This is the paragraph preceding the above summary:

quote:
Authors Craig T. Palmer, an anthropologist at the University of Colorado, and Randy Thornhill, a biologist at the University of New Mexico, claim to eschew the politics of academia in their attempt to rescue the study of rape from the hands of evolutionary psychologists, sociobiologists, and feminists. But the authors effectively short-circuit their own argument by devoting more energy to attacking their opponents than attempting to prove their theories. Indeed, it is ironic that a book purporting such devotion to science should have so little in it.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by CT:

I hope things turn out well, whatever that may mean.

I believe they will - but not for a while yet.
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EarlNMeyer-Flask
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Facetious or not, Scott Adam's argument can't be invalidated on that ground since there could still be some truth and good reason to it.
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BlackBlade
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Tom:
quote:
1) It clearly communicates that the position of the church is not "X," rather than leaving it ambiguous.

If the position of the church was never "officially X" the church does not need to "officially change to Y". The fact many people believe, "If the prophet believes X, then it's a safe bet it's what God thinks." is a belief that church has repeatedly discouraged. It does encourage members to pray about positions the leadership of the church say ought to be observed and where God confirms it, that's the end of the matter.

Even if the prophet says, "I would like the members of the church to do X." That does not mean God is commanding it. But it might mean that. Since the prophet is asking the members of the church he presides over to do something, we obey it as members of the church.

quote:
2) It communicates this immediately, rather than relying on new generations of people to not be taught the incorrect belief.

But the new position being espoused might be hardly more right than the previous one, and so it is unwise for the church to take a firm position on the matter at all. They are big fans of letting further light and knowledge illuminate the way. It generally does not take a firm stance on things unless many people are genuinely confused about it, it is important people have an answer, and the scriptures do not discuss it.

quote:
3) It serves as a reminder of the fallibility of church leadership. This reminder isn't necessary for everyone, but there's never any downside to providing such a reminder.
Members of the church are well aware of the fallibility of church leadership. Nearly the entire upper echelons of this dispensation left within just a few decades of Joseph Smith restoring it. Jesus was betrayed by one of his apostles. I'm sure if you asked Judas to tell you about Jesus towards the end of his ministry he'd give you an ear full, but none of it would be God's truth.

-----
Samp: As I indicated to Tom, the leadership of the church has officially indicated that masturbation is not OK, and a member doing it should not go to the temple. As far as I am concerned that means two things.

1: The prophet is instructing members of the church not to masturbate.

2: God has not seen fit to directly tell the church to do anything contrary to these instructions.

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CT
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quote:
Originally posted by EarlNMeyer-Flask:
... Scott Adam's argument can't be invalidated on that ground since ...

I am not following you. On what ground? [Confused]
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TomDavidson
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quote:
They are big fans of letting further light and knowledge illuminate the way.
Seems like, in situations like these, they could JUST ASK GOD. Since the ability to ask God is really the only reason that they're church leaders and not random dudes.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
They are big fans of letting further light and knowledge illuminate the way.
Seems like, in situations like these, they could JUST ASK GOD. Since the ability to ask God is really the only reason that they're church leaders and not random dudes.
Or they could investigate the matter themselves, that seems to work for so many questions. You have it backwards btw. They are not church leaders because they can ask God. They are church leaders because God has called them to be in those positions, either directly or by agreeing with the choice another leader made to call them.

Anybody in the world can *ask* God questions and get answers.

edit: On this particular issue, I have, and have.

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Stone_Wolf_
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How did God answer you BB?
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
How did God answer you BB?

What method did God use, or what was the actual answer?

I don't really wish to discuss the former, as to the later, I'll give you the basic answer. No, it makes you a worse person.

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SenojRetep
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
How did God answer you BB?

What method did God use, or what was the actual answer?

I don't really wish to discuss the former, as to the later, I'll give you the basic answer. No, it makes you a worse person.

More correctly, it makes YOU a worse person. Personal revelation is given for the person, not universally. That is the significant difference between prophetic revelation and individual revelation.

FWIW, I've come to similar conclusions (for myself) based on the same approach.

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BlackBlade
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Senoj: There is no need to correct my statement, I meant it (specifically the 'you') exactly the way you wrote in your post.

I asked about it, and got an answer for me. I would never use it to instruct others.

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Stone_Wolf_
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While I disagree with general thought that tweaking the twizzle stick is bad, I acknowledge that it can be bad, and for those who it is bad for, I honor them for doing what is right, for them.

I agree quite a bit with Marlozhan that sex and masturbation need to be discussed with children, and that they are a big part of our make up as humans.

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SenojRetep
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Sorry BB, I just read your statement as being directed to SW, as if you were saying it makes him a worse person. I knew what you meant, I just didn't want SW to misunderstand.
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Stone_Wolf_
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I'm all good SR...I did ask him what God told him.
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BlackBlade
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Senoj: NP, I wasn't annoyed. I don't look down on anybody in this discussion who masturbates.
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Yozhik
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quote:
heard a rumor that the brethren tried to come out against anal and oral sex in the 70s-80s, then immediately backed off (presumably due to married couples refusing to go along with it) but that's neither here nor there.
The context for this was, I think, the idea on the part of the leadership that no women in their right minds would be "into" such a practice and that therefore their husbands must be compelling them to agree to such practices, which would clearly be a case of unrighteous dominion on the part of the husband. Evidently they got letters from women saying, hey, we're just fine with it, and therefore the policy quietly went away. Having the policy quietly go away, rather than publicly renouncing it, has two beneficial effects for women:

(1) Women who do want to engage in oral/anal can point to the fact that there is no current church teaching on the subject.

(2) Women who don't want to ibid, who are totally disgusted and turned off by it, but are being really pressured into it by jerk husbands, can point to the earlier statement as a way of shutting up the jerks. [Razz]

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EarlNMeyer-Flask
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His argument cannot be invalidated on the ground that it is facetious.
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CT
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quote:
Originally posted by EarlNMeyer-Flask:
His argument cannot be invalidated on the ground that it is facetious.

"His" being "Scott Adams'" I take it. (I was thinking you meant the review, and I wasn't sure how they were supposed to fit in that context.)

Thanks for clearing it up for me.

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
The context for this was, I think, the idea on the part of the leadership that no women in their right minds would be "into" such a practice and that therefore their husbands must be compelling them to agree to such practices, which would clearly be a case of unrighteous dominion on the part of the husband. Evidently they got letters from women saying, hey, we're just fine with it, and therefore the policy quietly went away.
That makes so much sense.
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Parkour
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So before if you asked church leadership if oral sex is unacceptable, they would give you the response that it is absolutely unacceptable and god says no.

And now they are quietly trying to abandon it and have changed their minds and positions to 'it is left up to the individuals involved'.

Sounds about right.

This is how it will work for masturbation too, fyi.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
As I indicated to Tom, the leadership of the church has officially indicated that masturbation is not OK, and a member doing it should not go to the temple.

So? The leadership of the church had officially indicated that oral sex is not ok and that a member doing that should not go into the temples. And that changed, pretty classically, between the phases of how a church goes from saying something is wrong to saying that it is not wrong. Which is why the question I asked is so important and gives me a sense of the timeframes involved.
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SenojRetep
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Parkour-

I disagree that had Harold B. Lee or Spencer W. Kimball been asked about oral sex either would have said "god says no." Had any of the writings on the subject been phrased that way, I feel it would have been more difficult to change the policy, and would have required something different than simply sending out a follow-up letter rescinding the former statement.

Sam-

I think you're misunderstanding the degree to which masturbation (vice oral sex) has been taught as being wrong within the church. Teaching that masturbation is wrong has been found in manuals, church magazines, conference talks, and other publications. Teachings on oral sex seem to be limited to a few personal correspondences and a letter to Bishops and Stake Presidents. This makes a significant difference.

That said, I fully believe it could change (although I don't believe it will). Doctrines which have been taught significantly more forcefully (polygamy and restriction of Priesthood by ethnicity come to mind) have been changed in the past.

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Chris Bridges
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This is a pretty radical view, and after reading it I intuitively thought that there must be logical fallacies in his argument, but I'm having trouble trying to pinpoint what exactly he is wrong about. What do you think about this?

The fallacies are fairly obvious, and have been touched on already. Men are driven to have sex, but that does not mean all men are predisposed to rape (something Adams mentions briefly later on in the entry, but almost as an afterthought). Nor does it mean all men feel the same intensity for those desires. Men also may have natural desires to protect women.

Also, he broadly paints all male urges as dangerous and in need of control, and all female urges as good and beneficial (or at least socially accepted). What about the female urge to attract men they see as superior mates, even if (sometimes especially if) those men are already in a relationship? Also an evolutionary urge, also in need of control.

He's picked a one-sided, straw-man position to fire up controversy. There's no depth to it, or reason. "Men like to hit things, why is assault even a crime?" He's trolling for outrage.

In other thread news: m_p_h answered the question a few pages back. Masturbation is against his religion. Why is anyone still asking about this? He clearly doesn't want to argue about it or defend it. If you really want to know about the Mormon position on the topic, go Google it.

Not to say it can't still be discussed, but I don't see the point in making him today's LDS defense attorney.

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Emreecheek
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I do have a question, that MPH, BB, and others may of course refrain from answering. I really do promise that I do not mean any direspect at all and am asking from a nice place.

How would/does the church respond to LDS members that decide that what a church leader has said is incorrect? In the case that it's not a church proscription, but a private exchange or letter?

Because I've been asked this many times by a friend of mine that has appointed me the LDS defense attorney. I don't merit this title. I'm not LDS. I just have the distinction of not thinking the doctrine inherintly crazy or scary.

He's under the impression that there can be no disagreement or variety of stances on any issue between various members of the LDS church. I'm also relatively certain that he would have very much trouble distinguishing between church doctrine, and what church leaders may say privately. In any case, he also believes that such disagreement is punished by revoking the right to come to temple and such.

I have no idea how to respond, other than "I'm pretty sure you're wrong, or if not wrong, grossly oversimplifying the issue," and have repeatedly recommended that he ask actual mormons about it, or do more than a cursory google search that serves no purpose but to comfirm his beliefs. But, upon further reflection, I fear that he's too crass to engage in actual conversation with people that he believes are "scary."

In any case, in the instance that this comes up in conversation, I would very much like to dispel incorrect assumptions. Because though I don't believe there's any persuading this particular person, he's got a bit of a following of underclassman, and I'd rather that they not be unduly convinced by him.

In any case, I'm terribly sorry if I've been presumptuous. And, also, if this seems like a small blip, and not something or somebody worth engaging, I'll understand if you don't wish to engage this particular topic.

I also understand if you're wary of speaking more of LDS beliefs in this particular thread.

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mr_porteiro_head
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As far as going to the temple, you have to be able to say that yes, you sustain the current top leadership of the church as prophets. If you disagree in such a way that you're still able to honestly say "yes" to the question, it shouldn't keep you out of the temple.

There have been cases of people being excommunicated for teaching or publicly speaking out in opposition to the church leadership or their counsel/teachings, but all I know about those situations is hearsay. It's virtually impossible to learn about any of the specifics, as the church never comments on disciplinary actions against members, and those excommunicated naturally tend to have a bone to pick afterward at least.

So, while we put a lot of emphasis on following the [current] prophet, there's a lot of room for disagreement without any official repercussions. As to how "kosher" different disagreements are, well, you'll find a lot of disagreement on that as well. [Smile]

I happen to disagree with some of the decisions that the church leadership has made in how some of the church programs are run. When the topic comes up, I haven't been shy in stating my opinion. But even though I disagree with the decision made, I still abide by it. After all, it wasn't my decision to make.

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Emreecheek
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So, context of statements from top prophets are *really* important, I assume.

Alright. Cool. Makes sense. [Smile] Thank you.

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BlackBlade
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From the church's first days after Joseph Smith established it, people have been perplexed by the supposed dichotomy of a prophet saying things that are not from God.

There are stories of people leaving the church after seeing Joseph Smith wrestle (as a competative sport, not the other way) with men, or because he cussed, or because he was outspoken about his political views, and they thought that meant God wanted to free the slaves (one of his views). Many people want/wanted a radio to God in Joseph Smith, and in all subsequent prophets. That sort of approach has always been dicey at best, as no scriptures preport to be every word any prophet said.

edit: Further, prophets are certainly a method God uses to reveal his opinions on things, but to be honest, with how much prophetic councel we already have, and with the basic tenets of the gospel already layed out, I think many of the gaps that still need to be filled in can be filled in by the individual as he goes about his/her life.

double edit: This isn't to say all that will be said has been said, but rather I should expect that if God does have an announcement for the entire church, it would be very unsual and significant in nature, not something along the lines of, "Vote this way" or "I don't like illegal immigration".

[ June 20, 2011, 06:20 PM: Message edited by: BlackBlade ]

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Hobbes
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I'm going to re-reference (is that re-redundant?) my link from above: a good little guide on what actually counts as doctrine. It might read a little evasive but the truth is that new doctrine or Church positions aren't really that common, so a format for revealing truly new information isn't fully formed. On the practical side of tings, when the Church wants to make an official change there are two main ways which normally work in tandem.

Maybe best with an example. On the very small end, a few years ago the Church asked that speakers in Sacrament not tell the audience to follow along with them in the scripture (presumably due to the extra distraction). A letter was sent to all the wards (to the Bishops of each congregation) and they read it to the congregation. This was obviously a very small bit of new information, and regarded only practice rather than a revelation. Thus the letter read in sacrament meeting was the long and short of it. I'm not aware of a method by which you can find any of these announcements online. Some of these letters are appended to the end of the The Church Handbook of Instructions which is given to every Bishop (and anyone 'above' a Bishop ecclesiastically) but that's not available for public consumption and is hardly complete anyways.

When it was announced that Black members of the Church could hold the Priesthood a letter was sent to each ward as described above. Then when the next General Conference was held (a meeting held in Salt Lake City that is broadcast to Churches across the world every six months) that same letter was read to the Church as a whole and then 'sustained' by the body of the Church. This was on the complete other end of the spectrum in importance from my first example. Here the entire Church was made aware of it, and it was made an official part of LDS doctrine, even added into the scriptures.

Though that second process is hardly used, these are pretty well established. What gets confusing is when things are of indeterminate importance and get partial exposure. Having information or instruction placed in The Church Handbook of Instruction, placed in manuals available to the Church as a whole, given in talks in General Conference, etc... Other than, perhaps, the first none of these really makes it official, but it does make it current Church policy. How official that makes it is up to personal interpretation. In general when the Church is unclear on a position it's a matter of lesser importance. Not the issue itself but the moral or doctrinal implications. Though that's opinion.

As Porter mentioned, the key when it comes to moral issues is really the Temple Recommend interview, if that can be 'passed' (if the result says one is worthy to attend the Temple) then the rest is not unimportant, but the Church is likely to have little to say about it. The questions are, for the most part, vague and open to personal interpretation. Which allows the members to determine their own worthiness. Certain acts (such as adultery) have clear pronouncements, but something like oral sex does not. It is left up to the individual to decide what it means. This has been true long before the referenced comments above were made as well as after. Occasionally a question may be added to the Temple Recommend questions for a specific region. The only example I'm personally aware of was a region that was infamous for their anti-government stance: a question was added to make sure they paid their income tax (if not, no Temple). It's pretty rare.

Hobbes [Smile]

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TomDavidson
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Hm. That's interesting. If you were in armed rebellion against your government, could you still hold a recommend?
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Hobbes
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Not if your government is the United States. In general the Church supports its members following the rules of the government they're under, which included members behind the iron curtain back in the day. However, I don't know how they handle things like legitimate rebellions. If you're referring to insurrections that amount to 20 families in a compound with machine guns and a lot of canned goods then no.

Hobbes [Smile]

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Hobbes
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I should note in this vein that if you're convicted of a felony and currently under penalty for it (i.e. in jail or on probation/parole) you're also not a current TR holder. You should be in good standing with your secular leaders basically, which is why the question of a true rebellion is interesting, I'd love to hear from anyone that knows the answer.

Hobbes [Smile]

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