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Comment Re:Questions to Hillary's fans (Score 1) 68

1) It's controversial because of how and when he said it. Specifically, one of his campaign managers fired a woman for being pregnant, and Trump was excusing this inexcusable behavior.

2) The birther lie was rascist. (Also if you FOLLoWED that link you posted, it has snopes saying Hillary did NOT bring it up first).

That Hillary Clinton supporters circulated such an e-mail isn't in question, but the claim that that's the moment the birther theory "first emerged" simply isn't true. The likeliest point of origin we've been able to find was a post on conservative message board FreeRepublic.com dated 1 March 2008 (which, according to a report in The Telegraph, was at least a month before Clinton supporters got on the e-mail bandwagon).
Snopes (emphasis mine)

Read that first sentence. The point is that Hillary and / or her supporters were birthers during the 2008 campaign. I personally doubt the birth certificate which has been released, but it is a moot point. Under the current interpretation of natural born citizen, as long as either parent is a US citizen at the time of the child's birth, the child is a natural born citizen.

Comment Re:Tax (Score 1) 539

Our tithing does not make its way into leaders' pockets.

Then who pays their salaries?

We have a lay clergy. Local leaders have careers outside the Church to earn money to care for their families. Leadership positions do not require studies at a seminary. Only General Authorities (such as the Prophet and the Twelve Apostles) receive a living allowance, as these are full-time responsibilities. All worthy men are eligible for the Priesthood.

I should like to add, parenthetically for your information, that the living allowances given the General Authorities, which are very modest in comparison with executive compensation in industry and the professions, come from this business income and not from the tithing of the people.

Gordon B. Hinckley, October 1985

Comment Re:Tax (Score 1) 539

During my mission, those from the US paid $350 / month while Brazilians paid R$100 / month. There is a general missionary fund available for those unable to pay.

But the point is that, since the LDS church has billions of tax-free dollars stashed away, it's ridiculous that missionaries have to pay anything.

Wikipedia's article on the finances of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offers some insight. Most of the Church's estimated 25 billion dollar worth is tied up in temples, chapels, stake centers, mission homes, etc, which do not produce income. Another chunk of the estimated 5 billion dollar annual revenue is used for maintenance. Remember that the for-profit entities (such as Hawaii Reserves Inc) do pay taxes. The Church does pay Social Security for its employees.

Comment Re:Tax (Score 1) 539

There is a standard amount for each missionary based on home country. During my mission, those from the US paid $350 / month while Brazilians paid R$100 / month. There is a general missionary fund available for those unable to pay. All money is pooled together and missionaries get an allowance based on mission. I received about R$100 / month (rent and utilities were paid before I received my allowance). As your dad left the Church at 17, I guess that shows your bias.

It may have changed since then, (in fact, brief googling suggest 1990) but at the time, (early 70's) it was a fact, you HAD to pay for your own mission, unless your parents paid for it.

I had two brothers serve missions in the 70s. At the time the older one served, the amount the missionary paid was based on the mission field. The second one paid based on where the missionary was from. I don't know when the general missionary fund and individual ward (congregation) mission funds became available.

Anyways, my bias probably comes from the Book of Abraham, and maybe the fact that Joseph Smith would divine for water by putting a rock in a hat and stare into it, and his father commented that it never worked. But somehow, miraculously, it worked for translating scriptures that nobody ever saw, and the one that other people besides himself did actually see and read was found to be nowhere close to being what he supposedly "translated" it to. In fact it had nothing at all to do with Abraham or any other biblical figures whatsoever.

It is hard to unweave the fact from fiction which you've heard. Joseph used seer stones to translate the Book of Mormon from "reformed Egyptian" to English. Eleven other men say and handled these plates and published their testimonies to the world. None of these eleven ever denied the Book of Mormon. The papyrus from which the Book of Abraham was translated is lost. The mummy contained multiple papyrus writings, some of which have been found. Joseph did not claim the ability to find water sources, though he tried a few times.

Comment Re:Tax (Score 1) 539

life-size oxen made out of what appeared to be gold

Uh weird, I seem to remember there being a rule about that somewhere.

Check out a New Era article from 1976. Baptismal fonts in the temple do indeed rest on the back of 12 oxen representing the 12 tribes of Israel and mirrors the temple of Solomon. The material used varies from temple to temple. None of the fonts is pure gold. Some are bronze, others are stone, a few are wood.

Comment Re:Tax (Score 1) 539

I think a lot of that, for the religious orgs, goes into building massive churches. LDS is insanely wealthy and spares practically no expense in making huge, ornate temples. When they're about to re-dedicate one, us "impure" commonfolk can go inside, and I did that one time and saw some life-size oxen made out of what appeared to be gold surrounding a big ornate pool presumably used for baptisms, and then some expensive looking theaters (practically a multiplex) used for displaying religious propaganda to the public, and practically all of the floors and walls adorned with either granite or marble in pretty much the entire temple, with each room (and there are many rooms) being about two stories in height with really big chandeliers. I guess another way of describing it would be something four times as big, expensive, and decorated as the whitehouse. And in spite of the massive size of this thing, very few people even go inside, and they have about 170 of them throughout the entire US.

I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We have chapels and temples. You're off on some of your description of our temples. There are 151 temples throughout the world, not 170 in the US. We pay cash for our temples so we do studies to find how to lower costs without lowering quality and workmanship. The White House is approximately 55,000 square feet; approximately 25 temples are at least that large. The largest temple is in Salt Lake City (253,000 square feet); our smallest temple (Colonia Juárez Chihuahua Mexico) has 6,800 square feet. Only a few rooms in each temple have those huge chandeliers and 20+ foot ceilings. Building materials vary. The Provo City Center temple has mostly wood walls, for example.

And for some reason they see fit to ask that their members pay all of the expenses for their own missionary work, even though people of that age typically don't make much at all and it takes them years to save up for that. (My dad was required to save up for it by his parents for about 5 years, and then when he turned 17 he moved away from home and spent it on college and pretty much just ignored the church for the rest of his life.)

There is a standard amount for each missionary based on home country. During my mission, those from the US paid $350 / month while Brazilians paid R$100 / month. There is a general missionary fund available for those unable to pay. All money is pooled together and missionaries get an allowance based on mission. I received about R$100 / month (rent and utilities were paid before I received my allowance). As your dad left the Church at 17, I guess that shows your bias.

Comment Re: Tax (Score 1) 539

How about religious group Hobby Lobby, who wants to allow their employees to have health insurance, with the string attached that the health insurance not cover birth control pills?

Why should Hobby Lobby be forced to pay for something which goes against its beliefs? Employees can get supplemental insurance for birth control.

How about religious group Salvation Army, who wants to allow their employees to have spousal benefits, with the string attached that those employees not be gay?

Why is it wrong that a religious organization get to dictate such standards? I doubt a religion would want to pay someone for breaking their commandments.

How about religious schools such as InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, who employ people with the string attached that they not get divorced (but only if they're women)?

My sect has several schools. It is right and just that religions get to dictate conditions of employment. If someone doesn't wish to abide by these conditions, they can obtain employment elsewhere.

These few examples are but a drop in the bucket. True, they're not "religions", they're only organizations run by religious people. But they all claim to be exempt from the law because of religion. Also, you can find as many and more examples of religions doing the same. Religions attach strings to their money because they feel it is their moral duty (in the most generous interpretation). Do not pretend that they're just helping people; they're helping the deserving people, and they get to decide which ones are deserving. Also, do not read this as a defense of government as the highest good; there are plenty of problems there, as well.

If you don't like an organization, then don't support it.

Comment Re:Tax (Score 1) 539

Interesting thought; I'm genuinely curious: Who contributes more to doling out welfare: private funded charities (including religions) or the government?

I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This sect does have for-profit divisions which pay appropriate taxes. Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and all that. We open our chapels for temporary housing following disasters. Our fast offerings go to help the needy regardless of religious affiliation. Our "Helping Hands" groups are often the first ones on the scene to clean up after disasters. Our tithing does not make its way into leaders' pockets.

Comment Re:Day to day (Score 1) 220

I know there are words that others find vulgar or offensive, but I don't care about words, I care about ideas. And how the hell do you filter out ideas? For an example, I don't care about any of these words: "I can't wait to shred your daughter's vagina", but when put in that order, I do. Another example: "Black lives matter".

What gets me is that most swears have legitimate uses, but I don't want to be bombarded by gratuitous vulgarities. I doubt a computer would ever be smart enough to block what I find offensive without a ton of false positives. Sometimes someone is so emotionally charged that only a vulgarity conveys all that emotion, but I dislike vulgarity to compensate for a small vocabulary.

Or are other people's lives so simple that they merely excluding certain words makes the pain go away? I'm interested to know which words people find, under all circumstances, offensive.

I find the F-bomb offensive, but if I mentally filter it out if it's not used with abandon. I've walked out of movies for hearing the F-bomb 10 times in the first 5 minutes. Even more offensive to me is to hear people profane the name of Deity, but computers will never be smart enough to parse context.

Comment Re:PLEASE do NOT open one here in My STATE... (Score 1) 167

I hope they do NOT open an Amazon store in my state.

If they do, then I'll have to pay fucking 9%+ sales tax on my amazon orders, and well......why would I really wanna buy from them as much then?

That savings and free shipping is what makes them so desirable right now, but add in that 9%-10% sales tax, and well, I don't see that much a reason to get everything from amazon anymore.

See if your state has a "use tax" in addition to sales tax. Technically, I'm supposed to pay a use tax on everything I buy out of state (including online) for use in state. The use tax in my state is equal to the sales tax. If I don't pay the use tax, I am technically committing tax fraud and open myself up to an audit.

Comment Re:I'd consider it (Score 2) 367

You would have to think about it??? Why wouldn't you do it, assuming no side effects?

The rub is this "assuming no side effects". We don't have any "junk" DNA, just DNA whose function we haven't yet determined. We don't know how different sections of DNA play together. We simply can't fathom the side effects until it's done.

Comment Re: Mormon: one too many Ms? (Score 1) 116

I'm sorry that this appeared to be a reply to (and maybe an attack on) you personally or your religion specifically; I meant it as a more general point about how we all take things on trust because we have to. The younger we are, the more easily we are influenced and the more deeply we are conditioned; these influences may become deeply-held beliefs which have no testable basis in fact or reality and can remain untouched by exposure to opposing evidence, no matter how carefully explained, proven and presented. Nothing you've said has refuted that. Members of the Church of LDS have adapted to the modern world and rationality and reason in many ways (and promote ideas of community and charity which are lost to many outsiders) but they still retain their core belief in the supernatural and the truths their 19th century founders revealed to them, as do you. I'm guessing that you believe what you do because you grew up around Salt Lake City and your parents taught you their beliefs; your truth is very regional.

When are the worthy females going to get a go?

Religious organizations face a tough situation: they cannot disavow what previous leaders have said without declaring those leaders mistaken (or worse), but they must adjust for the modern world. Mormonism addresses this by sustaining the President of the Church as a Prophet who is able to receive revelation for the whole world (he is considered God's mouthpiece and all people are God's children) and to change Church doctrine and policies. Mormonism got its beginning in 1820 through Joseph's First Vision, though he didn't publish the Book of Mormon and formally establish the Church of Christ until 1830 (he later renamed it to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to distinguish it from unrelated Church of Christ organizations). In his lifetime he saw membership grow from 6 men (as required by New York law) to thousands of believers. During the rapid growth period new quorums were created (such as the Seventy, dividing members into "wards" with bishops, etc) and doctrines were established (temple ceremonies, tithing vs Law of Consecration, etc). Today we have seven quorums of Seventy to support millions of members, and got rid of the Quorum of the Fifty. For over a hundred years we've been commanded to strengthen the stakes of Zion where we live instead of congregating to Church Headquarters. Things do change, but at a much slower pace because we've been around for so long.

LDS culture is regional, but doctrine is universal. The Prophet, Apostles, and other General Authorities travel the world to make sure we have unity in faith. The same thing is taught in Hawaii, Utah, California, Brazil, England, and everywhere else in the world. We may wear different clothing (lavalava is common in Hawaii, but virtually unseen in Utah). We may have different customs (in Hawaii, 90% of talks in Hawaii start with Aloha with the congregation replying in kind). In Utah people are usually baptized in the chapel while many baptisms in Hawaii are performed at the beach. Utahns eat a ton of Jell-O (I don't know if this is limited to Utah Mormons), whereas members of the Church in Hawaii eat long rice and huli-huli chicken at pot luck dinners.

You mention that faith isn't testable. Read Hebrews chapter 11 for a good discourse on faith. It is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. You don't hear God crying out in a loud voice that this Church or that has the truth. What I consider evidence (eg. my experiences) might not be sufficient for you. Everyone must find their own path. Since faith isn't scientifically testable, we must respect the beliefs of others.

You are somewhat wrong with regards to my background. My chosen handle and posts on /. should indicate I grew up in Hawaii, where only 4% of the population is LDS. My ancestors joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the 1830s, 1840s, and 1850s. One ancestor was an original member of the Twelve Apostles of the Church. My ancestors crossed the plains after the hostilities back east. I served a 2-year mission for the Church in Brazil. After I graduated from university, I moved to Utah to find work. My office is in SLC - I can see the SLC temple from my desk. I don't know what my life would be like if my parents had not raised me LDS, because this has influenced so much of my life. Over 50 people I taught in Brazil chose to be baptized, so I've seen conversions in others. Being in a minority forced me to defend that my faith is legitimate and deserves respect, even if none of my friends chose to be baptized.

You asked when females would have a go. I have to assume you meant to ask when women would be allowed the Priesthood, since everything else is already open to them. In biblical times the Priesthood was limited to males of certain lineages (most notably the descendants of Levi). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints allows all worthy males (of a certain age or older) to receive the Priesthood; this change required a revelation received by the Prophet. When / if women are allowed to hold the Priesthood, it would require a revelation received by the Prophet. The Church will not bow down to social pressure, nor is doctrine dictated in a democratic fashion. As an example, the LDS Church continued to practice polygamy until 1890 despite new laws against it and practitioners being imprisoned and the federal government desestablishing the Church and confiscating all Church assets. A revelation in 1978 allows all worthy males to hold the Priesthood, despite decades of social activism.

Comment Re: Mormon: one too many Ms? (Score 1) 116

When you're told something is true by your parents from the first day you can comprehend, when all your friends, relatives and teachers believe the same thing and it's repeated over and over whilst you're growing up, to be told that this thing is not true can be so psychologically damaging that the mind will go to any lengths, however absurd, to retain that belief.

But I don't live in a bubble. My high school was only 25% LDS; the city where I currently live is 40% LDS; the office where I work is about 30% LDS; 75% of the cousins I know on my side of the family are LDS; only half of my wife's family is LDS (and she converted while a teenager). I am LDS, not FLDS.

It's very difficult to undo childhood conditioning, no matter which God or flag you were told to worship.

This is why outsiders and new ideas are so dangerous.

Outsiders dangerous? Is that why we have approximately 80k full-time proselytizing missionaries? President Hinkley told new converts and people considering joining the Church to bring all their knowledge and good attributes with them. The LDS Church does not have a monopoly on good works, and truths can be found in just about every religious organization. New ideas aren't considered dangerous. We sustain the President of the Church, his counselors, and the Twelve as Prophets, Seers, and Revelators. Our General Authorities address us in world-wide conferences twice a year. Gordon B. Hinkley had new ideas about a perpetual education fund, and for smaller temples. We fully embrace technology, including putting our scriptures and teaching material online for anyone to access. BYU is undergoing a review on how to protect victims of sexual assault (which is rare on campus) while still upholding the honor code. The LDS Church now accepts tithing online (using checking accounts). Apostles have had doctorate degrees in hard sciences (geology, biology, chemistry). One Apostle was a heart surgeon. The LDS Church opened the Priesthood to all worthy males in 1978.

Comment Re:Mormon: one too many Ms? (Score 1) 116

A bunch of gullible rubes believing what some jack-off "read" off of some sketchy tablets. Same bunch of gullible rubes still believing it when, after a skeptic asks him to reread them presuming it would result in a verbatim repetition that could potentially suggest some truth, he says he's "not allowed to" and will "read" from a new set of tablets that say generally the same thing but not verbatim. You've had over 150 years to decode that scam and you still haven't. How do you look yourself in the mirror and NOT see an absolute moron?

Ad hominems galore! Are you capable of debating without resorting to name calling?

I believe you are referring to the lost 116 pages known as the Book of Lehi? As Joseph dictated the translation, Oliver Cowdery only made a single copy. Oliver convinced Joseph to let him show his wife and others. Those pages got stolen, so no known unaltered edition was in neutral hands. If Joseph wree to retranslate the same section of plates, it would have been a trap. If he produced a verbattim copy, the enemies of the Church would have altered Oliver's first copy. If Joseph made a single change (such as using a synonym), his enemies would have counted it as proof that he wasn't a prophet. Since Moroni collected the plates in 1830 we cannot attempt a new translation from the original source. Later editions standardized spelling, punctuation, and grammar (spelling and grammar were in flux in the 1800s, and Joseph didn't dictate punctuation).

Nephi was the son of Lehi, so he saw many of the same things as his father.

It's the same trap the Jews attempted on Jesus when a woman was caught in the very act of adultery. If Jesus said to stone the woman, as dictated by Jewish law, he would have been in violation of Roman law. If Jesus said to let the woman be, he would be in violation of Jewish law.

Being a god of your own fucking planet if you're good enough on this one. Fucking PLEASE. Pious virtue, my ass. That kind of goal is pure ME ME ME on an even more insane level than 72 virgins or endless happiness in the clouds watching your descendants masturbate.

Oh, I see you also have to resort to copious amounts of gratuitous profanity. Profanity generally shows a limited vocabulary.

Don't Jews and mainstream Christianity also call God with the title "Father"? Jesus addressed the Almighty with "Our Father, which art in heaven". Don't children have capability of becoming like their parents? Why call out Mormonism for believing what the Old Testament prophets, Jesus, and the apostles taught? If anything, it makes us more Christian than mainstream Christianity.

It was a crazy science fiction cult then and it's a crazy science fiction cult now, just like scientology. I don't know or care what your thoughts are on those nutjobs but given the seemingly universal loathing of them by everyone, I'd assume you think they're wackos too. The thing is, the only difference between them and you is time. In 150 years, if people still haven't smartened the fuck up, scientology will be viewed as just as valid as your bullshit. Pretty fucking sorry company. Think about that next time you have your little "I'm gonna be a god if I always smile and act friendly" orgasm.

Mormonism has produced some good science fiction writers (Orson Scott Card being the most famous), but I don't see Mormonism per se as science fiction anything. The word cult has lost all meaning except an organization with whose doctrine / ideology I disagree. If you're so blind as to not see the differences between Mormonism and Scientology you are beyond my help. Research is validating things in the Book of Mormon which would not have been known to Joseph Smith in 1830. If you are interested in the truth instead of a shouting match we can take this offline.

It's not ad hominem when it's your STORY I'm ripping apart, but that doesn't stop me from calling you a fucking imbecile for living in the land of make believe as an adult who should otherwise know better, so feel free to retreat to the safe space in which your story isn't bullshit and you still look smart and cool to a bunch of other sorry excuses for sapiens, for whatever that's worth. Pffft. You should all be ashamed of yourselves.

Ad hominem is Latin meaning "to the man". It means you are attacking traits of the messenger or originator instead of addressing the message. Calling believers "rubes", calling Joseph a "jack off", etc.

I only wish, as a non-smoker, that I had the mindfulness to keep a lighter on me anyway so I could ignite it and extend it forward when one of you people tries to hand me a flyer. Nobody wants your shit. If we aren't walking into your buildings and asking for consultations, take a hint.

Jesus said to take the Gospel to the whole world, preaching to every creature. Our full time missionaries (who pay their own way!) invite others to learn the truth regarding Mormonism. They keep an area book, where they mark who is interested and who has asked not to be visited. Politely tell them you're not interested and they should leave you alone.

What other group asks potential converts (whom we call investigators) to pray to God to know if the message is true? Thousands take this challenge each year and are baptized.

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