General Conference Thoughts

The place for religious discussions -- doctrinal or cultural, Mormon or otherwise.

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Momma Snider
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Postby Momma Snider » Wed 17 Oct, 2007 03:45 pm

White is symbolic. We wear white to be baptized, we use a white cloth on the sacrament table. I personally find emerald green to be more beautiful, but that's not the symbolic color.

And again, it's not that a boy wearing a blue shirt would not be worthy to pass the sacrament, but a boy who refuses to wear one because it's not the bishop's right to tell him to would appear to have some issues.

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Karenins_SuperSon
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Postby Karenins_SuperSon » Wed 17 Oct, 2007 03:45 pm

To me, it boils down to the committment that I made to sustain my Bishop. By doing so, I didn't give him my blind allegiance, but I did say that I would strive to follow his counsel, in as much as it was in line with Church Doctrine.

I guess that I don't see a Bishop asking his Deacons to wear white shirts as the equivalent of making up his own doctrine, as some are equating.

And, for the record, our Bishop did not prevent the young Priest from blessing the Sacrament. It was just that this young man wore the colored shirt the Sunday after the Bishop gave a lesson on the Sacrament in Priests Quorum and asked each young man to please wear a white shirt.

The Bishop before him DID in fact ban some of the Teachers from preparing the sacrament when they pulled stunts messing with it. (They put food coloring in the water).

Now, it was still water, so the Sacrament prayer would've still been appropriate. And, as actual water, it still represented the Savior's blood, right? So, technically, all you nit-pickers, what would be distracting or detracting from the sacredness of the Sacrament by having colored water? Didn't it still represent all the same things that clear water does? What is it about the color that would detract?

Plain and simple, the association that Jim mentions between white and purity or sanctity is real. They are representing the Savior, as Jim said. As such, they should strive to look their best, not get away with the bare minimum.

This carries over to their adult life, unfortunately, thus necessitating the Apostles and General Authorities to issues statements and talks regarding "Sunday Best" when they attend the temple and the sad fact that they actually have to address what is and is not appropriate to wear to the temple.

Edited: I gave Jim his real name.
Last edited by Karenins_SuperSon on Wed 17 Oct, 2007 04:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Her lips were saying "no," but her eyes were saying, "read my lips."---Dr. Niles Crane

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Postby Ryan Reeder » Wed 17 Oct, 2007 04:03 pm

Matt wrote:A fair number of people (myself included) have difficulty with complying with policy that doesn't have practical benefit. There is a lot of eloquent talk about why one should wear a white shirt and tie and what it represents, but in a completely practical sense the white shirt and tie have absolutely no relation to the ordinance itself.


Well, for that matter, what "practical benefit" does the ordinance of the sacrament have, or any ordinance, for that matter, "in a completely practical sense"?

There's a renewing of a covenant, yes, and a serious application of the promises made (take his name upon us, always remember him, and keep his commandments) has a benefit (always having the spirit to be with us). (Even those aspects have strong symbolic significance). Everything connected with the ordinance has as a purpose to draw the participant's mind to Christ. This is done through symbolism. From a purely practical standpoint, what does being taken under water, or ingesting small bits of water and bread, or kneeling at an altar do? But they all have symbolism meant to lead people to Christ. A white shirt and tie can add to that symbolism, though it might not be practical in certain circumstances. In certain circumstances, it might not be practical to participate in temple ordinances in a temple--and in the past, they have been administered in red brick stores, mountaintops, and temporary endowment houses. That doesn't mean that they shouldn't be done in a Temple, and if it's possible, even at great cost, to perform them in a temple, they should always be done in a temple.

The white shirt and tie rule isn't as rigid, but I think it also falls in the category of things that should or ought to be done a certain way, without necessarily having to. I'm sure Elder Holland didn't just make up the suggestion.

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Postby jds88 » Wed 17 Oct, 2007 04:43 pm

I personally find emerald green to be more beautiful, but that's not the symbolic color.


Actually, green can symbolize life, and I believe that's why it appears in some ordinances. Indulging in speculation for a moment, green could also represent an olive and thus could be interpreted as having much the same symbolic meaning as does consecrated oil.

Which could lead into some really interesting theological discussions about why deacons are encouraged to wear white shirts as opposed to green.

--Jim

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Momma Snider
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Postby Momma Snider » Wed 17 Oct, 2007 05:16 pm

Well, olive green isn't really that beautiful, though. :) :)

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Postby deepdish » Thu 18 Oct, 2007 09:03 am

Hey all, I'm calling UNCLE.

I suppose the most charitable thing to do now is agree to disagree.
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Postby Lowdoggy Dogg » Thu 18 Oct, 2007 09:30 am

Yeah.

I liked this talk too:

Good, Better, Best by Elder Oaks.

I've always been a fan of the way he structures his talks. You can see his lawyerly background. Incidentally, a long transcript of his interview for The Mormons is available here, and might be of interest to non-members as well, as he answers questions directly and thoughtfully.

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WiseNLucky
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Postby WiseNLucky » Fri 23 Nov, 2007 07:48 am

Sara without the H wrote:Sister Beck's talk has led to some angst in the online Mormon community. Here are a few posts, and one lolcat:

Image

I found the talk a little refreshing--but I'm the personality type that needs a kick in the rear once in a while. It might be different if my personality were different. I certainly don't do all the things that she counsels in the talk, but I'd like to. Keeping house doesn't come naturally to me, but talks like this confirm to me that the struggle is worth the effort.


Update: Have you all seen this? I haven't read the whole signee list yet, but quickly noticed that one of my missionary companions is on the men's list.
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Momma Snider
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Postby Momma Snider » Fri 23 Nov, 2007 11:16 am

It made me feel bad for Sister Beck. I don't understand the conflict. If I feel good about my role as a woman and how I fulfill that role, why would I get offended that someone has a different interpretation?

Of course it makes it easier that I actually agreed with what she said, but even if I didn't, I don't see any reason for petitions to "straighten her out." Her talk was approved by the First Presidency.

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Lady Celtic
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Postby Lady Celtic » Fri 23 Nov, 2007 04:10 pm

I didn't read the link, but I'm surprised at that kind of a reaction. As I said before, Sister Beck's talk was definitely in the "afflict the comfortable" category for me, as it seems to have been for a lot of people. So I did what we're all encouraged to do when we question something that has come from our church leaders--I got on my knees and prayed about it. Then I read the talk over and over again until I understood it and how I could apply it in my life. I found the answers I was looking forward to and I know that I can support Sister Beck in her calling.


I went back and read the link. The proclamations there made me uncomfortable. I don't even know what else to say, so I'll end it there.
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WiseNLucky
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Postby WiseNLucky » Sat 24 Nov, 2007 08:18 am

Lady Celtic wrote:The proclamations there made me uncomfortable. I don't even know what else to say, so I'll end it there.


The overall letter made me uncomfortable too. It made my wife furious, and she is a bend-the-rules-to-suit-you kind of girl in a lot of ways. I wonder how those people feel now that their names are showing up in print attached. I could see it affecting them for the rest of their lives, especially if they change their minds later.
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KareNin
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Postby KareNin » Sat 24 Nov, 2007 09:00 pm

I'm trying to figure out what makes anyone "uncomfortable" about any of those views in that link.

I'll read them again later, but the first time through, I didn't find any statements that I had a problem with.

Sometimes I think our ethnocentric blinders we keep glued to our heads do us more of a spiritual disservice than we like to admit.
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Momma Snider
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Postby Momma Snider » Sat 24 Nov, 2007 10:00 pm

Here's one that made me uncomfortable: the one about the 2000 stripling warriors. No mother wants her children to go to war, but it's well established in the Book of Mormon that these guys were going to defend their families and their country; they were not the aggressors. What better to arm our children with than the faith that they will be protected? To say that this is not a success story because they went to war seems very one-dimensional to me.

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Postby EricDSnider » Sat 24 Nov, 2007 10:23 pm

Yeah... If you're going to take the view that war is *always* wrong, no matter what, then you'll have to disregard most of the Book of Mormon, not to mention quite a bit of the rest of human history.

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Postby WiseNLucky » Sun 25 Nov, 2007 07:31 am

KareNin wrote:I'm trying to figure out what makes anyone "uncomfortable" about any of those views in that link.


It was the overall letter that made me uncomfortable, that those people felt the need to go on record in a form of rebuttal to a conference talk delivered by the General RS President and approved by the first presidency. I'm all for discussing the talks but to attempt to "correct the record" afterward? I don't know, it bothered me.

I totally understand that there are different kinds of families and that some mothers need to work, and have very valid reasons for doing so, to support their families. We have some of those mothers on this forum.

My wife put me through college and worked for years afterward because it was something she needed from a personal perspective. It turned out lucky for us that she did because she had to become the primary wage earner again when I got sick and couldn't work for two years. If we had had children, I like to think that she would have been a stay-at-home mom, but I can't be certain of that, and my illness would have caused our family serious problems. My wife seemed to have the same problem with the letter that I did, that anyone felt the need to go on record with a rebuttal or clarification.
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Postby Sara without the H » Sun 25 Nov, 2007 09:51 am

KareNin wrote:Sometimes I think our ethnocentric blinders we keep glued to our heads do us more of a spiritual disservice than we like to admit.


I'm not sure what you mean by that. A lot of the criticism of Sister Beck's talk has said things about how cleanliness is not really reachable goal by those who live in poor areas of the world. But I thought the people sending their girls to church with "hair combed to perfection" lived in "some of the poorest areas on the earth" where they had to walk for miles on dusty streets to get to church. I have a feeling Sister Beck is less ethnocentric than the rest of us because of the experience she's had in her calling.

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Postby RenLass » Sun 25 Nov, 2007 08:37 pm

What Women Know

Fathers as well as mothers, men as well as women, are called to nurture.
she didn't say they weren't. Sister Beck just said it was a primary calling for women - as stated in the proclamation on the family. To argue against Sister Beck here is a thinly veiled argument against the first Presidency of the Church who we sustain as prophets of God.


Cleanliness depends upon access to resources
The only "resource" I can think of that would assist in cleanliness is water, but it is more a matter of being neat and orderly - something you can do even without water.
and has more to do with priorities than purity of heart.
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Postby Lowdoggy Dogg » Mon 26 Nov, 2007 01:03 am

I've been on vacation for a while and just read the link. What the H?!?

I think the men's side is composed partly of guys who thought "If I ever want to get any action ever again, I'd better send my 'affirmation.'"

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KareNin
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Postby KareNin » Mon 26 Nov, 2007 10:00 am

Sara without the H wrote:
KareNin wrote:Sometimes I think our ethnocentric blinders we keep glued to our heads do us more of a spiritual disservice than we like to admit.


I'm not sure what you mean by that. A lot of the criticism of Sister Beck's talk has said things about how cleanliness is not really reachable goal by those who live in poor areas of the world. But I thought the people sending their girls to church with "hair combed to perfection" lived in "some of the poorest areas on the earth" where they had to walk for miles on dusty streets to get to church. I have a feeling Sister Beck is less ethnocentric than the rest of us because of the experience she's had in her calling.

Unless Sister Beck's visit to this area was completely unannounced and the members didn't have any advance notice that she would be visiting, I think it's fair to assume that extra effort was made to look especially clean and neat for the RS General President, even at great personal sacrifice. That's fine; I know we do the same whenever a "special visitor" is coming. I don't think I have a problem with anything Sister Beck said in her talk, as much as I have a problem with people in general who appear to value outward appearance more than what's in a person's heart. Or who unconsciously value a person a little less if they don't yet fit neatly into the little molds of The Ideal we are given to emulate.
Maybe writing up a formal "rebuttal" and having people sign it was an overreaction, but if you're already feeling marginalized and subtly excluded because of circumstances beyond your control, I can see how Sister Beck's talk may have pushed some people over the edge into feeling attacked; feeling like they were being judged as not quite measuring up to how Heavenly Father wants them to appear, or to live their lives.
RenLass wrote: This just makes me sad, that these sisters apparently live in a world where leadership equates to dominance and their partners don't give them equal decision making power. That may be the world's way but that is not what the gospel teaches, nor what honorable priesthood holders like my husband act like.

Yeah, it makes me sad too. Because to some extent, we all are guilty of assuming that our own personal situation is the norm. Unfortunately, the reality is that not all men who hold the priesthood ARE honorable, or act like your husband. (And there are a lot of ways to dishonor the priesthood besides beating up on your wife and kids.)
I think it's very revealing that so many women in the church, and so many men, also, reacted to Sister Beck's talk by (my interpretation) feeling like they'd been punched in the stomach. It seems to me that the letter and "proclamations" that resulted, with people signing their names in support, should not be seen as a rebellion against gospel teachings by general authorities, as much as it should be viewed as a sign that a deeper understanding and love and tolerance is needed for those of our brothers and sisters who love the Lord and are trying to live the commandments, but are FEELING as if they are being excluded and judged as not quite measuring up... not only by other members, but even by their leaders. Unless you've been in their shoes, though, I suppose it's difficult to separate the pain from the anger, and it all looks like Not Supporting The General Authorities.

Fortunately for me, I will never be a bishop who has to counsel any of these folks. I have enough problems of my own without taking on anyone else's.

Lowdoggy, I hope you were joking. I have more respect for men than to believe that.
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Karenins_SuperSon
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Postby Karenins_SuperSon » Mon 26 Nov, 2007 10:46 am

This is one of the main scriptures about it, emphasis mine:
For as I had ever called them my sons (for they were all of them very young) even so they said unto me: Father, behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth; we would not slay our brethren if they would let us alone; therefore let us go, lest they should overpower the army of Antipus.

Yeah, it sounds like they were going out as warmongers. Like Eric said, war is not always a bad thing. It should be avoided and not sought after, but, it sounds like they are making NO allowance for the possibility of that necessity.

I'm sure these women also teach their kids to never stick up for themselves either?

I, too, am saddened by the "letter". I am assuming that this is some sort of call to repentance for Sis. Beck or the First Presidency? What do they want? A printed/verbalized retraction of her talk based on their misconceptions and misunderstandings?

I would like them to formulate a talk to address millions of people around the world and make sure that it is 100% applicable to each and every person and that no part of said talk isn't applicable to any of those people. Also, stay away from generics or generalizations.
Her lips were saying "no," but her eyes were saying, "read my lips."---Dr. Niles Crane


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