Sunday, November 05, 2006

Apology

From Plato’s “Apology”; Socrates Speaking:

“If you say to me, Socrates, this time we will not mind Anytus, [the man who was calling for Socrates execution.] and you shall be let off, but upon one condition, that you are not to enquire and speculate in this way any more, and that if you are caught doing so again you shall die; - if this was the condition on which you let me go, I should reply: Men of Athens, I honor and love you; but I shall never cease [to question]. . .

For know that this is the command of God; and I believe that no greater good has ever happened in the state than my service to the God. For I do nothing but go about persuading you all, old and young alike, not to take thought for your persons or your properties, but first and chiefly to care about the greatest improvement of the soul. . .

Athenians, I am not going to argue for my own sake, as you may think, but for yours, that you may not sin against the God by condemning me, who am his gift to you. For if you kill me you will not easily find a successor to me, who, if I may use such a ludicrous figure of speech, am a sort of gadfly, given to the state by God; and the state is a great and noble steed who is tardy in his motions owing to his very size, and requires to be stirred into life. I am the gadfly which God has attached to the state, and all day long and in all places am always fastening upon you, arousing and persuading and reproaching you. You will not easily find another like me and therefore I would advise you to spare me.”

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I can see how it went. The “camp friend” visited his troop just as he had been trained. He made small talk with the leaders and boys. One leader said he knew me.

“Oh yah,” says my guy.

“Yah,” replies the scout leader, “I used to go to church with him; he is a loud mouthed trouble maker.”

The camp staffer was feeling “bad” when he told me. He didn’t know how I’d take it; I’m such a pleaser at camp. But I am a Loud Mouth Trouble Maker, most of the time. I explained that to him. He’ll be Okay when he gets older.

I used to go to Sunday school; I used to teach the class. On a day a wise old bishop asked me into his office; on another day a young bishop would do the same. They both wondered why I always had to ask so many questions in Sunday school; did I have a testimony? I answered them both the same. I suggested that a testimony that can hold through a flood of questions is a better thing to have than one kept safe in ignorance.

I can honestly say that after each and every Sunday school “discussion” I have stirred up, some class members have thank me for making them think. But I am sure more of them have been angry at me for forcing them out of the usual, “pray, go to church, read the scripture”, formula for righteousness. They have had all the answers down since Primary, why arouse them? So I quit going.

I can imagine some of my friends and foes alike asking: But why, Lysis, can’t you just shut up? Why can’t you go to class and sit there like everyone else and recite the mantra? You have known it (pray, go to church, study the scripture) since you were a child. If Prophets and Seminary Teachers have agreed, why do you question?

A young friend, visiting from California, talked me into attending Sunday school one last time this past spring. I made the teacher cry. Now don’t be so hard on me. She was teaching the “Samuel ragging on Saul” lesson; you know the one were Saul is thrown out as king for disobedience. Why hadn’t he killed all those wicked goats and sheep!!? Don’t worry, I won’t go back.

In his “Apology” before the five hundred and one Athenian judges Socrates replied:

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“Some will say: And are you not ashamed, Socrates, of a course of life which is likely to bring you to an untimely end? To him I may fairly answer: There you are mistaken: a man who is good for anything ought not to calculate the chance of living or dying; he ought only to consider whether in doing anything he is doing right or wrong – acting the part of a good man or of a bad. Whereas, upon your view, the heroes who fell at Troy were not good for much, and the son of Thetis [Achilles] above all, who altogether despised danger in comparison with disgrace; and when he was so eager to slay Hector, his goddess mother said to him, that if he avenged his companion Patroclus, and slew Hector, he would die himself – ‘Fate,’ she said, in these or the like words, ‘waits for you next after Hector’; he, receiving this warning, utterly despised danger and death, and instead of fearing them, feared rather to live in dishonour and not to avenge his friend. ‘Let me die forthwith,’ he replies, ‘and be avenged of my enemy, rather than abide here by the beaked ships, a laughing-stock and a burden of the earth.’ Had Achilles any thought of death and danger? For wherever a man’s place is, whether the place which he has chosen or that in which he has been placed by a commander, there he ought to remain in the hour of danger; he should not think of death or of anything but of disgrace. And this, O men of Athens, is a true saying.

Strange, indeed, would be my conduct, O men of Athens, if I who, when I was ordered by the generals whom you chose to command me at Potidaea and Amphipolis and Delium, remained where they placed me, like any other man, facing death – if now, when, as I conceive and imagine, God orders me to fulfill the philosopher’s mission of searching into myself and other men, I were to desert my post through fear of death, or any other fear; that would indeed be strange, and I might justly be arraigned in court for denying the existence of the gods, if I disobeyed the oracle because I was afraid of death, fancying that I was wise when I was not wise."

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For years I have attended Larae Larkin’s History Seminar at WSU. I have learned a lot and found the presenters, for the most part, to be informed and interesting, and with few exceptions capable of handling questions. Many actually conducted seminars rather than “Sunday School” lessons. I have great respect for Professor Larkin and the program she has crafted at the University – but . . .

On October 25, 2006 – the seminar leader was Omar Cater. (I am sorry, I have tried to check the spelling of his name, but for all his fame and influence I cannot find anything. My bad I’m sure.) Larae’s glowing introduction promised a man of deep experience and ability. There were a good number of his fans; interns from his business I suppose, in the room. Who would have guessed he had brought along a cheering section?

His own comments about his various activities and accomplishments soon left Larae’s praise of him in the dust. Discussions, held in the last week or two, with four-star-generals and kings sounded very impressive. But then he turned to the course for the night. He wrote the number 650,000 on the board and announced that that was the number of civilian deaths in Iraq since the “American Invasion”.

“That’s a bogus number!” I said.

He rushed across the room and roared in my face, “That’s bullshit!” There was some applause from my fellow class members. Many of them have no doubt wanted to swear at me for a long time. I’m sure Omar expected me to be cowed by his anger and the fact that he had just talked with generals. But I have attended too many Sunday school classes to be so easily scared into submissive acquiescence.

“I know how they came up with those numbers, and they aren’t legitimate.” I explained.

“They are!” He was almost screaming at me. I have noticed that when neo-libs get cornered, their defense mechanism is often to scream, use vulgarity, or if they are writing, to spread out the exclamation points (!!!!!!!!!)

“The numbers are from the “Lancet” I said and the method of coming to those numbers is not legitimate. They may as well make them up out of the air.”

Coming right up into my face, he yelled I didn’t know what I was talking about and returning to the board, he informed the class that the war was killing more people than Saddam. I thought that would be the end of the clash. Omar went on to show slides of the numbers of people killed in the twentieth century. Having established that the Communists killed the most, he suddenly turned back to me.

Looking back, I can see now that Cater was already off track in his “lecture”. He had intended to point out that the “methods” of dealing with killing used in the 20th century had not worked and then lead the class haply down the “UN is the answer” trail. But now he was distracted. He was still thinking of his dust up with me; his mind wandering off course. At this point he demanded I explain what was wrong with the numbers provided by the “Lancet”. I am fairly certain he was confident I would not know. Thanks to our adventures here in the Agora I was ready. I explained the BOGUS methods employed, of sampling small and uncontrolled neighborhoods, where killings were frequent, and where people could fabricate at will, and casualties be counted again and again by different reporters. Then these numbers are presented as representative of distinct and factual victims. Those numbers are then multiplied by the total number of people in Iraq and a fantastic BOGUS number concocted. Cater even gave an example of how it could work. If a family of nine had been killed in a neighborhood, and five persons were polled; asked if they knew anyone who had been killed, and answered nine each, “Lancet” would then report 45 killings in the neighborhood.

“Yes,” I said, “and multiply that number by the number of people in Iraq to get a fantastic number that bares no resemblance to reality.”

Let me explain how the Agora might conduct a similar study. Killer X is a Democrat, he has killed 10 women. We then take the number of people who voted for John Kerry in the 2004 election, roughly 59,000,000 and come up with the number of people murdered by democrats in the US to be around 590 million people. The fact that there are barely 300 million Americans would not matter, because as Mr. Cater explained – ‘they have a methodology based on real numbers!!!!!’

Mr. Cater asked me what number I would accept. I said that the number of Iraqis killed counted by the Iraqi government is around 45,000 – “Iraqi Body Count” puts the number at around 47,000. He was indignant. He admitted that the 650,000 was not necessarily accurate, but that people believed it to be, caused the US great harm.

I pointed out that it is the enemies of the United States that use such a BOGUS number like a club to beat the war effort with; that those who know the truth should challenge such false “statistics”.

He replied that it didn’t matter how many had been killed – even one killed by American troops made us enemies all over the world.” He then erased the 650,000 number from the board.

By this time Cater had lost control of the room. He tried to bring the discussion back to the United Nations; but was now challenged by several of my colleagues. His analysis of the Christian Right’s support of Israel was questioned by a teacher from the local Christian academy. His attempt to push the UN as a solution to all wars was questioned by several with references to the “Oil for Food” scandal, and failures in Iraq and with North Korea.

I asked him to give one example of a success of the UN in negotiating peace. He tried to go back to Camp David.

When I asked him why Arafat had rejected the peace agreement offered by Israel, Cater insisted that there had never been any written offer to the Palestinians by Israel and that the “Peace Talks”; which he hinted that he had been involved in; failed because Arafat was not a good negotiator. That Arafat was in essence “tricked” by the Israelis.

Having failed to establish any creditability for his “negotiations through the UN will solve all” theme, Omar spent the majority of the rest of our two and one-half hours insisting that he had nothing against President Bush but that Bush was taken in by bad advisors. This mantra, right out of the neo-lib talking points for the week, did not impress me. He attacked Rumsfeld and Cheney as though saying their names would anger the mob; and at last, as the minutes of the “seminar” ran out, said:

“You saw this week, didn’t you, that Bush says he never said stay the course?”

“That’s not what he said,” I said.

Once more “mad” Omar was in my face. “I was a Bush lover,” he screamed. There was some more applause from the class. “I had a right to my opinion, but I couldn’t lie.”

Interestingly enough this was exactly what I was pointing out about his presentation.

“Have you ever read the article; did you listen to the Stephanopoulos interview?”

“You just love Bush, but you can’t lie.” He snarled.

“It doesn’t matter if I love President Bush or not, I love the truth!” I replied.

“What did he say?” Omar demanded. He didn’t think I knew, but battles in the Agora had prepared me.

“President Bush said, ‘we’ve never been stay the course, George. We have been – we will complete the mission, we will do our job and help achieve the goal, but were constantly adjusting our tactics, constantly.’ That’s what he said. He never said ‘I never said stay the course’.”

“News papers don’t lie!” Omar yelled, bending into my face. By this time the class was leaving; herding themselves out the doors. He stepped back to say goodbye to the few “seminar” attendees still in their seats and received some polite applause.

I gathered my papers and left.

When brought before the Athenian court, Socrates attempted to explain to his judges why so many disliked him. He recounted the visit of his friend, Chaerephon, to Delphi where Chaerephon was told that ‘no man was wiser’ than Socrates. Socrates, accepting that the God could not lie, still set out to find a man wiser than himself to see if he could refute Apollo. Here is how he recounts his search and the anger it stirred against him:

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“I should say to him [Apollo], ‘Here is a man who is wiser than I am; but you said that I was the wisest.’ Accordingly I went to one who had the reputation of wisdom, and observed him – his name I need not mention [perhaps it was Omar]; he was a politician whom I selected for examination – and the result was as follows: When I began to talk with him, I could not help thinking that he was not really wise, although he was thought wise by many, and still wiser by himself; and thereupon I tried to explain to him that he thought himself wise, but was not really wise, and the consequence was that he hated me, and his enmity was shared by several who were present and heard me. So I left him, saying to myself, as I went away: Well, although I do not suppose that either of us knows anything really beautiful and good, I am better off than he is, -- for he knows nothing, and thinks that he knows; I neither know nor think that I know. In this latter particular, then, I seem to have slightly the advantage of him. Then I went to another who had still higher pretension to wisdom, and my conclusion was exactly the same. Whereupon I made another enemy of him, and many others besides him.

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A week passed and I was rushing to the classroom at the college. My play practice duties and a quick stop at my favorite restaurant – Maverick – had made me almost late. As I rushed, panting, to the door I was met by Professor Larkin.

She said we needed to talk. What happened “last week” was unacceptable. Omar was a famous man who talked to kings and it wasn’t right to ambush him. She said she had had phone calls and the blow up was all over campus. Omar had brought some of his friends and interns to hear the presentation and they were angry. She pointed out that many in the class were new teachers. She had been told by someone that they came to hear two and a half hours of Cater, not half an hour of some crank.

I explained that I didn’t care if Omar was a king, that it was impossible for me to sit there and let him lie to the class. I love truth and learning it. Hard to do when the teacher is telling unchallenged lies. He had every opportunity to answer my questions and validate his points.

Dr. Larkin explained that there had been swearing and shouting. I reminded the Professor that I had neither sworn nor shouted; it was Omar that had done that.

Well, we can’t have you challenging the professors any more. These are new teachers and they are here to get the information the presenters bring for them.

I fear her greatest concern was that some of the folks in the class said they would not attend if I were there disrupting. I must admit that the possibility that her efforts might suffer through acts of mine was painful to me.

She said some nice things about me, complemented my intellect, and said she had often appreciated my questions, but…

She asked if I would agree to sit in the back of the class and save my questions and comments for the breaks or for after the lectures. I felt like I was back in the bishop’s office; maybe in front of the Five Hundred and One

I explained I could not do that. I told her how much I appreciated the classes and how much I had learned over the years, but that I could not sit back and listen to disinformation.

It seems odd to me that she would choose controversial subjects and book controversial speakers and then want to avoid controversy.

I was reminded of when BYU brought in the “Kiss” by Rodin and then allowed the prudish hypocrites in the student body to have the work removed because it titillated their dying passions.

Now we had a bunch of “teachers” demanding my silence because my questions tweaked their dying minds.

Such judgment of them may be rather a conceit from me. Perhaps they are just tired of my stupidity, my arrogance, my nasty disrespectful harangue. It is hard to judge ones’ own statements. We are often like the makeup covered fools who only see themselves as the perfectly sculptured image presented in their morning mirrors. They carry that image of themselves about in their minds all day while the grease and powder slump and slide into a grotesque.

Anyway, I told Professor Larkin that I would not attend under the conditions she had set down. That I did not need the class, nor did I want to listen to unchallenged lies pushed by agenda driven presenters. I love folks with agendas, but only if they can be challenged. “You won’t come in and sit down?” she asked.

“No. Don’t flunk me.” I said.

“I won’t,” she promised, looking quite relieved. She had no doubt been expecting some nastiness. Such is my reputation. "If you ever want me back, you know were to find me.” I said, and I left the University.

As gadfly or crank, I have made my share of enemies. I can see how my disruptions in Sunday school could draw the ire of those who seek only the conformation of their Faith, but I had thought that in a University class; filled with teachers non-the-less; I would be tolerated. At least I could provide a path to truth, a way for those I challenged to let the brilliance of their ideas show as they shot down my questions to their claims. I was wrong.

Did I feel like Socrates holding the cup? Well, maybe a little.

Socrates ends his “Apology” like this:

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“But I see clearly that the time had arrived when it was better for me to die and be released from trouble; wherefore the oracle gave no sign. For which reason, also, I am not angry with my condemners, or with my accusers; they have done me no harm, although they did not mean to do me any good; and for this I may gently blame them. . .

The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways – I to die, and you to live. Which is better God only knows.”

101 comments:

Rumpole said...

Lysis,

After reading your masterpiece, forgive me for being a little self-indulgent.

I am reminded of an experience I had with my former employer. The president of the company came to our small corner of the universe to offer his views on the marketplace. He encouraged us to ask question as he charged forwarded.

The discussion centered on acquisitions. My former employer grew market share by obtaining other businesses similar to its own. The president’s comment was that “X” (my former employer) searched for organizations that were distressed, then purchased them with the intent of making them whole.

As the discussion progressed, it moved to talk of a computer system. “X” didn’t use computers until the mid-90’s; managers were questioning why. The President commented that acquisitions had given the “X” the opportunity to peel back the layers of companies and see why they were struggling.

In a great majority of instances, the president had determined that the company’s failure had been due to a costly and ineffective computer system; this led the president to draw the conclusion that based on all the computer systems “X” had seen, no effective computer system was available. He offered that “X” was in the process of trying to create one.

I was young and stupid. When the president had encouraged questions, I thought that he really meant that he wanted question. I began with a comment, “You suggest that you purchase companies that are in distress with the intention of making them whole.” His response was, “Yes”.

I continued, “You then offer to us that virtually always the company is in distress because of its computer system.”

“Yes”, was again his reply.

“Have you had opportunity to peer into the system of any organizations that are successful, and are not being sold so as to ‘make them whole?”

“No”, was his candid response. Then, in all my stupidity, I thrust the dagger in.

“Then how can you suggest that no effective computer system is available? All you have looked at are systems that aren’t working. Doesn’t the possibility exist that a system is out there with a successful organization that works?”

The president knew I was right and immediately got defensive. Unfortunately, I do not have the same backbone of steel that Lysis has. I did not recant, but I ended my participation in that discussion.

Lunch was difficult. As we gathered together to discuss the events of the day, those who I thought were my friends went to great pains to distance themselves from me. I had never been treated that way before for asking a legitimate question.

Lysis, and all at the Agora, here are some genuine and sincere questions for discussion. Is it better to be right, or to be silent? Does being right always come with a cost? Are there times when we should make the truth known, verses times when the truth is better left unspoken?

And what of the president (i.e. Professor Larkin)? What is it that defines a great leader? Is a great leader one who molds his organization his way, independent of the cost? There have been many great leaders who have done so. Was the president wise for stifling debate? Was Professor Larkin?

I acknowledge that these are questions that I have thought about often, and I certainly have drawn my own conclusions. But I am certainly interested in your views.

Anonymous said...

Vegimatic Here,

Lysis,

His Name is Omar Kader. His son was a missionary in my mission.

If memory serves he left BYU in a huff and I think the Church as well.

His son was a great Kid, trying to get out from underneath the shadow of his father.

This story has made me smile, it shows just how free academic freedom is not.

I had a similar situation to rumpole's, only mine was while working for the Church.

After two years of asking questions, saving money, increasing customer satisfaction and quality, I was told by my executive director that "my management style was not Christ Like enough" and "I needed to start doing things or they would help me find a job somewhere else."

I was gone in 3 weeks. But I am still in the Church, asking questions.

Fear of the truth get's in the way of the perception of truth that is conventional wisdom.

Newspapers do lie, famous people are prima donna's sometimes.

You need to brush yourself off and return to the class. Without that action you will leave the impression that you were wrong.

What do the rest of you think?

Rumpole said...

Vegimatic,

I’m not usually up this early, it’s just a sleepless night. I have them from time to time.

I really appreciated your post. It is heartening to know that others have faced similar challenges and have come out better because of them.

When I lost my job with my former employer, “X” (it actually wasn’t due to the experience I posted. It was somewhat church-related and very similar to what I posted, though I am still angry enough about it that I won’t discuss it), I had a good friend tell me that you aren’t a real man until you’ve been fired at least once.

I don’t know if that is the measure of manhood, but I do know that being right does sometimes come at a cost, and it was a cost I was willing to pay.

It seems to me, however, that there are times that aren’t as important. For example, Lysis’ decreased Sunday School attendance really only affects Lysis. Unfortunately, opinions generally are not changed during a 40 minute weekly block. The church is generally an organization that seeks for all to move in lock-step. Only those who wish to learn can be taught. I hesitate saying that not because it is not true, but because I am most often guilty of not wanting to learn. But I digress.

I do think Lysis’ university experience is different than the church experience. Having his views silenced in an open forum verses being tossed and getting the “F” is a difficult choice. I would agree that Lysis ought to return. Perhaps, then, opportunity for real discussion could result.

MindMechanic said...

My experience with university professors has varied greatly.
I think some are honest, honorable and sincere in their desire to educate. Some are comfortable in their environment, satisfied with presenting the material and grading based on the answers.
Some challenge their students intellectually and spoil for a fight, hoping the their students will defend their positions. The responses do not have to agree with their own, but have to be well thought out and defended.

And some...some wrap themselves int he safe caccoon of tenure and use their position as a place to hold forth. They see themselves as a modern day Socrates, but they dont do justice to the name or the position. Their position and authority is gifted from on high, a bi-product of their position and status. And woe be unto anyone who dares to disagree.

With the last group, you can't win. Your choice is cede to their wishes for the grade or lose. There is very little hope of administrative support...an affront to one is an affront to all, and who do you suppose they will defend?

I imagine that if there is no requirment for a positive grade outcome, then a logical debate presented rationally with factual responses would benefit the other students more than anything else to give a correct yin to the corrupt yang. But if it is a one on one battle and a declaration of victory? Not possible. Or at least, not bloody likely.

Anonymous said...

Still waiting for a DEFINITION of terrorism -- what I found are two VERY LONG REFUSALS TO DEFINE.(Lysis make his living on people not knowing the difference)

One definition began with, "Terrorism is MANY things" . . . and the other was an account of how Blitzkrieg and Terrorism are SIMILAR strategies, and how "Blitzkrieg" was "defeated" in WW2 -- how does one defeat a strategy or a word?

Lysis claims that no country or individual could use Blitzkrieg NOW (even though it is similar to terrrorism) because the Nazis were defeated 60 years ago in the battle of the bulge!?

Well, I find VERY FEW if ANY winning battles that TERRORISM can claim -- THAT, however, doesn't seem to stop those who use it as a STRATEGY!

Lysis characterizes his "performances" at Weber State and Sunday School as "heroic" Socratic probity.

However, I find his charade to be something closer to a cross between Cody Judy and Frank Burns -- "he's just never learned to work and play well with others." -Mash

and

-"Hey, this is ALL ABOUT ME and MY questions, so sit down and shut up, LIAR!!!!"

It is difficult for Dr. Larkin, et al, to suffer the presence of a "bomb thrower" in such an honest and open Academic context.

Cameron said...

Anon,

Fighting and defeating terror hinges upon not doing what the terrorists want you to do. They wanted the US to leave Beirut so they used terror. We left, they won, and they have continued to use terror because it often works. They are using terror in Iraq because they think we will leave again. Time will tell if they are right.

Silver Lining said...

I guess we are all speaking from our own experiences here. I am no different. I don't think you should have left the class Lysis, and I don't think Professor Larkin should have been so ready to let you. How terrible that a teacher of teachers would be so willing to let a "difficult student" go. Would she prescribe the same behavior to you or another teacher in a similar situation.

Anyhow, when at the University of Utah (I will accept your bias here Lysis but ask you to keep an open mind that good things can happen there as well as in Logan.) I took a class on the history of modern social movements. I took it for the history credit and because the Professor was one of those listed by many as a must take before you graduate. Though I don't always agree with him, I admire him, have learned a great deal from him and still consider him a friend. This class started to count for the diversity requirement when said requirement came into being. So, there were all kinds of students in the classroom not only history majors. Every time this professor taught this class, he invited in approximately 4 guest speakers toward the end of the quarter/semester from various groups in the area. We had constitutionalist militia types and a member of N.O.W. to give examples. The viewpoints were intentionally varied. Therefore, it went without saying that we weren't going to be supportive of everything our guests had to say. This professor told us the ground rules before we ever had a guest. We were to treat them like guests in our living room was his analogy (now this wold require more detail, because I would honestly say that Lysis dealt with Mr. Kader as he would a guest in his living room). This basically meant that we had to listen to the guest's presentation respectfully. After the presentation was complete we were welcome to ask questions. There were no limits placed on our questions save that we remained polite. The reason was not to coddle to the guests but to ensure that guests would continue to attend these classes willingly. There were a couple of times that individuals in the class hounded the guests a bit, but it was o.k.

I think Professor Larkin is so much at fault here. If she expected something different in her classroom, she needed to lay down those rules or expectations before hand. It is sad that she didn't, frustrating that she was all too willing to lay the controversy and trouble fully in Lysis' lap, and a shame as someone said earlier that there is becoming less and less room for questioning in an academic environment, the environment in which freedom of ideas and questioning should prevail. It is the purpose of such institutions, but it is far too often no longer what is occuring.

On the note of Rumpole's question and Lysis' trouble with Sunday School. That is ultimately Lysis' choice. I think there is a very small part of him that likes the feeling of being singular, of being a gadfly, and that is fine. I would only point out from experience in the primary that questions are fine and welcome. However, we have to realize that not everyone there (be it primary or Sunday School) has the same level of experience with the scriptures, or the same knowledge base. Lysis shouldn't feel like he can't question, but he should realize that those teaching and those in charge (the Bishops etc) are attempting to impart information to people on all kinds of levels. Hopefully anyone in attendence will take that information and question and study on their own. That is really the only way we progress is individually. Lysis, you note that some thank you. Can I note that you are possibly selling far too many people short in your assessment of their not wanting to leave their comfortable Primary answers? There are some that don't like what you do. I would guess that there are far more that just look at it and say, well, that is "Lysis" and continue to go on their way progressing in the best way they know how. It is nice that you want to help everyone be truth seekers. We should all be so eager to discover the truth. However, the lack of observable passion comparable to your own does not mean they aren't themselves searching for the truth. Take this as you will from someone who spends a lot of time teaching the primary answers, because you have to start from a base. You may like some lyrics from the song "All This Time" by Sting. In in, he notes, "They go crazy in congregations. They only get better one by one."

Lysis said...

Rumpole;

It was interesting, though not unexpected, to find close-mindedness in the world of industry and commerce as well as in the halls of Academia. What interests me, in your situation, is that accepting and acting on your “criticism” would have brought profit and success, along with a working computer system, to the business which employed you for their gain. How odd of Mr. X to throw away the very profit that should motivate his every action in order to salve his own ego. It seems that college lecturers are not the only ones whose self supporting agendas outweigh their purported goals.

Vegimatic;

Thanks for the spelling info on Kader’s name. I was considering the (d) spelling as I was walking into school this morning. Thanks for setting me strait. I might go back and edit my error out of politeness.

I don’t believe the academic freedom is “alive and well” in this country. If you ask questions that challenge professors you are often belittled and mocked, if not by the professors then by those who don’t want to think but just get through the material.

People are afraid that challenging the instructor will get them in trouble or show them as foolish. Therefore they sit quietly rather than seeking out in order to get knowledge and find the truth.

I view any student who will question and challenge as sincere and heroic. There are those who choose to ridicule them as trouble makers, even “bomb throwers”.

As for your, “not being Christ like”, my experience with you says otherwise. Judging one by one’s fruits not one’s style is the sign of a great leader. Unfortunately most organizations do not have great leaders.

I will go back to Professor Larkin’s class when she invites me back under my terms. As I am paying for the class, with both my time and money, I feel I at least have a customer’s right to buy what I want of go else where for the product.

Flaccid;

Knowing that it will give you something to rip out of context and beat me over the head with, I will admit that the word “Terrorism” refers to a concept, a strategy, and a way of life. That it is a tactic; not invented in the modern age but no doubt dating back to the times when our first ancestors fought the Neanderthals for possession of the caves. This does not mean that we can not wage war against it. Nationhood is a concept, race is a human construct, – crafted in the mind and imposed on the conversation. But this does not change the fact that we waged war on the nation of Germany, and Hitler waged war on the Jewish race.
Again I am grieved that you cannot get past the word games to discuss the issues. But that is the way of your neo-lib debate trainers. Please consider the factual nature of Cameron’s comment above.

I may well be the egocentric bomb thrower you characterize me as, but it seems to me that a University Lecturer could deal with such a petty troublemaker by defusing my bombs rather than by swearing, shouting, and going off to cry to the seminar director.

Since you have no more witnessed my “heroic” battles in Sunday school or at the University than you have read the *Iliad*, you are scarcely qualified to judge me. It is obvious that you spend too much time watching *Mash*; an odd source for acquiring one’s philosophy.

Silver Lining;

Your “heroic” challenge to my “question” is much appreciated. I agree with you that we should be polite, although I often find that definitions of politeness vary. I am careful not to place too much blame on Professor Larkin. She has to deal with a very touchy group who has already long lost their zest for discussion. On the other hand, some “ground rules” that did not exclude me or limit the truth would be a more successful way of dealing with cranks and disinformers than the “shut up or go way” approach.

You are right; I did treat Omar in the classroom exactly as I would have treated him in my home. I often find myself arguing with those I love the most. That my children and many of my friends are better at arguing than I am is in some small part due to my constantly “stinging” them in our discussions.

As for Sunday school acquiescence. You observation is telling. Indeed I did not withdraw from Sunday school simple to give myself time to wonder the bookstore; that it spares the delicate from my nasty bombs is also a plus.

But shouldn’t we someday get to a place, perhaps in a University graduate credit class where we can go “no holds barded”? Many of the seminar lecturers have done quite well in pulling my fuse, to my benefit and their credit. Your wise professor of diversity might have one just solution, but I am looking for somewhere more like my living room.

truth to power said...

Hey, don't knock the philosophy of M*A*S*H; there's much more there than meets the eye!

Anonymous said...

I don't think you should ever go back to class Lysis. University is not the place for you. You are above standard learning. Your education and intellect are far beyond what anyone could ever tell you about anything. Don't waste your time or theirs. Let the lesser people muck along in the darkness and try to find their ways without you.

Lysis said...

Truth to Power;

I used to be a *Mash* fan, back in the 70’s. My mother liked it. I didn’t really start watching it till after Blake died – although I have seen it all in reruns. In fact, when I moved to Jackson Wyo. in 1982; we got a new thing called “Cable T.V.” and Mash was on three times a night. I hate Radar and B.J. but Winchester has his redeeming points. Over the years I have grown tired of the “mantra” of MASH – that there is no reason for war; that Korea was all about Truman and Macarthur’s ego, that all American soldiers are evil killers bent on destroying defenseless countries with no reason ever presented. Of course there are the few wise ones that worked at the Mobil Field Hospitals and an occasional wounded kid who caught Hawkeye’s sympathy to show us how soldiers should really act. You know; mess around having sex and planning to go home some day to faithful wives.

The movie was even worse than the T.V. series. It doesn’t seem legitimate to make a running joke out of the lives and deaths of the people who bought our freedom by their suffering. Realize that if the MASH premise had prevailed in Korea, all of the peninsula would now be the private murder park of Kim Il.

That the evils of Communism are never mentioned in however many seasons MASH ran bothers me. My uncle served as a Marine in Korea. This was after spending time in a Japanese prison camp. Odd, isn’t it, how a real hero could be tortured by the Japanese one year and then risk his life for their freedom the next. None of that was ever mentioned in MASH.

I used to watch McKayll’s Navy too. It had the advantage that no one ever got killed, and I liked Captain Bingemton, but I would hardly call either of these jokes a place to turn to for the truth.

Lysis said...

Flaccid;

For once I am tempted to agree with you. Thank you for your support.

Anonymous said...

Vegimatic From OKC

Rumpole,

I am here in Oklahoma City in the hotel I stayed in during the bombing, I mention that because life goes on. I drove past the memorial on the way here and realized once again that life goes on.

In the grand scheme of things getting fired really means nothing. How you deal with getting fired does.

Lysis is an old and trusted friend. One that I feel comfortable with telling him to get his butt back to that class.

He also has his agency, which I respect greatly. His leaving doesn't mean a thing, how he resolves it does.

You need to let the anger pass and look to the future. Who knows, you may be lucky enough to get fired again. :)

You probably are angry because you feel injustice.....you get to choose how you handle that injustice.

I got angry, really angry. At the end of the day it's not worth it.

I saw one of the "good brothers" that set me up to be fired from the Church at a Jazz game last year. I said hello and was actually happy to see him. My anger had long since passed. His hadn't. The person with me didn't know of my history and said, "what's wrong with that guy?"

After 15 years he was still angry and he "won".

So please rumpole, I don't know you but I can feel great pain in your writing. Just let it go.

Life is too good to spend it as a victim of anger.

Who knows, we may have 2 years of anger to deal with after tomorrow's election.

Anonymous said...

I have "eyewitnessed" enough to know, and the rest comes from personal confrontations here.

I wonder if Omar Kader or Dr. Larkin would describe THEIR experiences as a "livingroom encounter". or a "bomb throwing" takeover -- I am SURE of THAT answer too.

I could very easily inquire Dr. Larkin out on the matter, but HER manner is civil and professional and she probably would defer.

I detect some residual bitterness and embarrassment over the *Illiad* conflagration and Lysis' being "taken to school" in his own PSEUDO expertise. Why would he think I had never read the Illiad? -- I think he means that he WISHES I had never read the *Illiad* or the *Odyssey*!

Lysis NEVER responded to "Divine Jupiter" "direct quotes" that I referred comparing Hector and Achilles.

For at least the third time . . .

"Then said Jove, Juno, be not so bitter. Their (Hecor and Achilles) honour shall NOT be EQUAL, but of all that dwell in Ilius, Hector was DEAREST to the gods, and also to MYSELF, for his offerings never failed me."

NOW if Lysis would like to argue that "divine jupiter" LATER changed his mind about Hector and/or Achilles, I think THAT argues against Lysis' GODfather Soprano Jupiter and his "not so divine" feet of clay.

Does the embodiment of Divine TRUTH change its/his mind???? TRUTH changes????

Evidently, when THAT TRUTH was found to be nothing more than expediency and opportunism, the Greeks, and the world over, abandoned its WILLFUL mythology.

Maybe, Jupiter changed his mind back when Homer wasn't there????

Can something half man and half god be heroic? To me, that means that Achilles was NEITHER man NOR god.

Hector was ALL man and fulfilled ALL requirements of the GREEK code of hero -- principally his UNSURPASSED Arete.

Lysis has Greek heroes confused with Christian martyrs -- that's apples and oranges!!!!

a quiet listener said...

I think I agree with Vegimatic here Lysis, although I'll have to hear it from you in person sometime soon.

Who wins with you leaving? You? Nope. The other students and teachers who are either too scared or too lazy to question what's being fed to them? Certainly not.

It's easy to feel sorry for yourself and "feel like like Socrates holding the cup" but it does no good.

Does Dr. Larkin benefit from you not coming? Do you really think her program suffered because a few people got involved and voiced their opinion for or against you? I certainly don't know. I don't even go to the same school. But I'd hope that she would still be able to conjure up her "test tube controversies," there seems to be plenty of people who are radically against everything. (whether they offer solutions or not is something else all together)

Reach Upward said...

Lysis, I am grateful for discussions that make me think and expand my understanding, but I don't always enjoy them. You will know that I have always been a bit of a pleaser, sometimes preferring peaceful relations to bluntness in putting forward my understanding of truth. This approach has its advantages, but also drawbacks.

Interestingly, I substituted in Sunday School a couple of months ago when the Samuel-Saul lesson to which you refer was the topic. I'm afraid I left some of the class members a little unsettled, but only a little. I voiced my concerns about the slaughter and cutting Agag to ribbons, etc. in a way that I hope engendered some actual thought, but I demurred from making it a central discussion.

Some class members subsequently discussed it with me in private. I felt enlightened, but due to the private nature of the discussion, other class members were sheilded from this enlightenment. I don't feel badly, because I feel that the 40 minutes of class time was still well used. It was an issue of judging what to present of the material that would be most useful within the limited time provided.

I preserved calm in class, but at what cost?

Lysis said...

Vegimatic;

Great comments to Rumpole. Your combined experience is impressive. I am also interested in the latent anger held by the “good brother” that fired you. It seems that at least he has a conscience.

On the other hand, I find it exciting that you are doing business in Oklahoma City. Seems your horizons have expanded by your experience.

As for getting my butt back into class; believe me, my butt is in class all day long. I learned long ago that attending lectures at WSU cannot be the sum, or even the apex of my study. Life long learning has life after school – as your continued growth has amply indicated.

Flaccid;

It is obvious to anyone who has read the Iliad that either you have not, or that you didn’t pay attention. Your quote for example:

"Then said Jove, Juno, be not so bitter. Their (Hecor and Achilles) honour shall NOT be EQUAL, but of all that dwell in Ilius, Hector was DEAREST to the gods, and also to MYSELF, for his offerings never failed me."

Anyone who has read the *Iliad*; not just Kitto quotes from Pirsig about the *Iliad*, would know that Ilius is Troy. Hence Zeus is saying that of all Trojans, Hector is his favorite. Hector is Jupiter’s favorite Trojan! Well guess what Flaccid; Hector is my favorite Trojan too. That does not mean that Zeus preferred Hector to Achilles, or Heracles, or Pursues, let alone Ganymedes.

To hang your entire argument on a quote you can’t even understand is pathetic; it is more that flaccid, it’s flat.

Now wasn’t that fun – you argued, you lost, and you learned. I call that education!

Lysis said...

Reach Upward;

Thank you for you insight. I believe I was about where you are when I was your age. That’s frightening isn’t it? Look what a nasty old bomb thrower I have become. I

I am glad you are wise enough to continue to provide valuable instruction and support to your students. As Silver Lining has pointed out, and as my decision to forgo Sunday school classes attests, there are milk drinkers in the world who should not be force fed the red meat. My hope is that in sometime and in someplace there ought to be a conclave for carnivores.

Lysis said...

Mostly Just Listening;

Let’s talk.

MindMechanic said...

Anon...you arent waiting...I gave you three.

Dont be so cocky...you have yet to give an answer on how you or any lib for that matter would deal with (notice, I didnt say fight because we know now you dont believe you CAN fight terrorism). terrorism. I'm sure its forthcoming...its only been 6-7 months...

Silver Lining said...

Don't misinterpret me Lysis. Those "milk drinkers" as you call them should not be force fed NOR should they be belittled because they don't have a taste for it. You don't know that they are ignorant or sheep like or anything else. I hope that in my earlier point I got that across as well. I do think, contrary to others here that your decision whether or not to attend Sunday School is entirely your own. I understand that you would like it to be something else and that you would like to be of service to others in your bomb throwing. As you have pointed out in the past, you can't force anyone to accept your service nor, in my opinion, can you force others to sacrifice to a cause successfully that they don't see as worthy regardless of how clearly worthy it is to you.

My point is that Sunday School classes are of benefit to many the way they are. We choose to take from them and add to them what we will. Given that we are all human, we will disagree and dislike each other from time to time. That is the way of it. All I am saying is that your refraining from Sunday School classes to spare the delicate as you say is all well and good I suppose, but do you think you are better than they are because you are willing to partake of the red meat as you call it? I hope not. I don't believe so.

Finally, you say, "But shouldn’t we someday get to a place, perhaps in a University graduate credit class where we can go “no holds barded”? Many of the seminar lecturers have done quite well in pulling my fuse, to my benefit and their credit. Your wise professor of diversity might have one just solution, but I am looking for somewhere more like my living room."

I get it. I would copy Reach Upward's statement, "Some class members subsequently discussed it with me in private. I felt enlightened, but due to the private nature of the discussion, other class members were sheilded from this enlightenment. I don't feel badly, because I feel that the 40 minutes of class time was still well used. It was an issue of judging what to present of the material that would be most useful within the limited time provided.

I preserved calm in class, but at what cost? "

and add that it would be nice especially in a graduate level class to find something like your living room. I disagree with Anonymous I am afraid and even you. Professor Larkin is largely responsible for her decision to deal with you as "a difficult student" in this way. However, I would point out as referenced above that in Sunday School, in High School history classes, and even in graduate level classes, there is a certain amount of specific material that ought to be covered. The professor/teacher always has to choose when diverting discussions can continue and when they may need to be curtailed if for no other reason than fulfilling the obligation to the student of covering a certain amount of expected material. In my opinion, there is far too little room for opinion in your graduate level class, but to have a place like your living room, I am afraid you will have to look mainly to places like your living room. You don't recognize, I think, the unique situation that is.

Rumpole said...

Vegimatic,

Your words in response to my post are very wise. I acknowledge that I am still angry about my experience. Unfortunately, I possess a very long memory; it may be regarded as both a character flaw and a character strength.

You are intuitively correct when you suggest that the most troubling aspect of my experience was its injustice. What I have not clearly articulated is the level of that injustice.

That being said, I still believe you are wise when you suggest “I got angry, really angry. At the end of the day it's not worth it.” I would also add that developing the maturity to deal with such injustice would render the level of that injustice irrelevant.

Each day I work to rid myself of that anger. I have also not articulated well where I am now with the “injustice”, verses where I was. I’m not over it, but the trend is in the right direction. Space and time are my greatest allies. I am almost to the point where I can laugh about it.

I must also apologize to you, for I have you at somewhat of a disadvantage. You post “I don’t know you”. Through your postings at the Agora, I know who you are. You do know me. I prefer my anonymity at the Agora, but Lysis can shed some light as to who I am.

Then, for better or worse, we can laugh about it along with the election results from tomorrow, no matter how they turn out.

Strategos said...

Lysis: I do not like controversy still I consider myself a seeker and lover of truth. I often sit in the back and listen quietly to my professors, still I do not consider myself week or afraid. I like to listen.

I often disagree but do not say anything, am I a coward? When I hear something I that is against what I believe I question myself first.

I admire you’re courage, I think you did a good think in challenging your professor.

I don’t think it’s noble to reduce a poor Sunday school teacher to tears because she preaches simple or basic principles. I can’t see why you need to defend the members of your class against the evil teachers who have the audacity to teach “going to church and reading your scriptures.” I think you’re lying to yourself and the members of the agora if you claim you went to Sunday school and “just asked tough questions.”

I think it incredible that you claim to be a proponent of discussion and then can claim you won an argument just because you sent some woman crying out of the room. Upsetting people is not the same as convincing them. I agree with you that the members of your immediate family have benefited from your stings. From my interactions with them they are all capable of calm intelligent discussion about challenging topics. Still it is interesting that none of them will take part in your living room discussions, and I’m the only one left who will read your blog. Maybe were all just cowards, or stupid, or milk drinkers, or whatever.

I think most people go to Sunday school to see what they can gain from it. I learn a lot from sitting in the back of the room and listening. In fact I think I learn better when I’m listening rather than talking. I think you don’t go to Sunday school because you think you have nothing left to learn and that the people there are to stupid to understand what you want to teach. I’ve seen these classes with my own eyes, the confrontation was not caused by you challenging ideas but because you were not listening. I’ve seen you badger and harass gray haired ladies who were actually agreeing with you until they were so frustrated they got upset. You then claimed you won the argument. There was no argument and no one won. Then when they ask you to be polite you claim you have to be a jerk in order to defend the truth.

What’s wrong with teaching, “go to church, read your scriptures,” I’ve seen these principles completely change people’s lives. They are principles, which you haven’t seemed to master. I would say that these principles have a lot to do with salvation, perhaps more than discussing whether or not Brigham Young was a racist. Still I’m sure the truth thanks you for defending it against the evil-minded truth destroying members of the Layton central ward. So you can be prepared I think they are planning a ward Christmas party and I hope you’ll be there to interrupt sister Jones in the middle of her musical number to point out that Brigham Young committed crimes against the U.S. government.

MindMechanic said...

As a Sunday School president for many years I can tell you how much I wish there was an allowance for a class labelled "Advanced Gospel Doctrine Principles" for the people that were committed to the in-depth discussions and analysis of the Gospel. I understand however why it is not allowed.

There are in fact those that have reached an age and stage in theri life that would not enjoy being placed in a combat zone. There are others whose faith and understanding in the Gospel is still immature and developing. And there are others that live for combat. Its not hard to imagine the battles that would occur, is it?

Perhaps in their wisdom the brethren have percieved this in advance and decided that the church should be a place for worship and reverence and not free fire zone.

I have the luxury of two outstanding Gospel Doctrine teachers. They do like to go deeper than the lesson allows and that has been encouraged provided they dont allow the discussion to veer so far off the path that arguements ensue. I have been actually quite pleased with the results. There are numerous side conversations AFTER class often resulting in people being late to priesthood and relief society, but hey...thats a GOOD thing IMO. I have engaged on several occasions myself. (why let the relief society sisters have all the fun?)

I have taught the youth classes for about 25 years now. I encourage them to think and to make their faith their own through study and reasoned questioning. I discourage the "Sunday School Answer" because I want them to dig deeper than the same responses they have hard every day since primary. BUT...I also modeate the discussion through me (AND their parents or seminary teachers) and not with each other. Why? A LITTLE bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. I have heard hallway discussions that bordered on the outright foolish based on immature understanding levels. Sadly...some youth take the words of the loudmouth outspoken and often misinformed 15 year old as coming from the mouths of the prophets of old.

I think there is a world of difference between the house of worship and the University. The University SHOULD represent an arena of free thought and in depth discussion. The moderators should allow for that free thought. My best professors are the ones that have challenged my thinking and positions if only to see my defense of those positions.

It SHOULD NOT be a place where the elite are enshrined with power and glory due to their status and allowed to hold forth.

Dan Simpson said...

Rumpole: I understand you desire for anonimity, however, I have often wondered about the identities of many here. Many things shared have made me wonder if I knew most of the people who post here. I have figured out, or have been told some identities. I am glad through this blog I can somewhat stay in touch with Silver Lining, and a quiet listener.

I have heard Omar Kader talk, and he is pompous.

I have taken several classes from Dr. Larkin, and she is bar none, my favorite history professor at Weber. I nearly did my senior paper on Peter the Great because of the interest she sparked in me through her amazing lectures. Great lady.

As far as Sunday School goes. I, as I do often, agree with SL's take on it. I also see much truth in the words that Strategos writes.
I have had my share of scriptural, and religious arguments with Lysis. We always seem to come down to the same foundational disagreement. Lysis believes (at least this is what I have gotten out of all of our arguements) that if it cannot be reasoned down to an provable argument, then it cannot be true. I believe, however, that not everything can be cut down to that. I believe that circumvents faith and ignores the limitations on our own minds in relationship to Gods.

That being said, I also think the phrase 'straining at a gnat, and swallowing a camel' is usually applicable to many who want to discuss the 'deeper' things of the gospel rather than 'sunday school' answers.

Why do you think the Lord did not go into lengthy diatribes or deeply involved discussions of various tangential gospel themes? What is the greatest commandment, love. Who will inherit the earth, the meek.

Simplicity is the hallmark, and the joy of the gospel.

While it may be interesting to discuss historical intricacies of various church leaders, these discussions lead to nothing, and usually are filled with someone wholeheartedly believing one historical perspective (the one that gives a nice juicy, salacious look at leaders such as Brigham young), and decries the other as biased or cleaned up by a dirty church historian.

Either way, there is a time and place for such tangential discussion. Sunday school, no. University class, yes.

Reach Upward said...

We like to think of universities as havens of free thought, but we deceive ourselves in applying this lauditory title. Today's universities are no more havens of free thought than were the monasteries and convents of the Dark Ages.

In fact, today's universities bear a striking resemblance to these ancient cloisters. Each has its daily rituals and homilies, conforming apparel for acolytes, closure to outside thought and influence, persecution of thought that deviates from the beliefs of the institution's elders, etc.

I'm not implying that neither the modern nor ancient institutions are/were of service; I am simply saying that they are much less bastians of free thought than we (and especially those within the university system) like to think.

Anonymous said...

As long as Universities are beholding to legislatures and other "various" funding sources THEY will continue to slavishly, serve THOSE quisi Religio/POLITACAL ends.

Bastions of Free Thought? Hardly!!!!

Lysis said...

Silver Lining;

I will do my best not to misinterpret you. If I do, you can surely set me straight. I did not intend to belittle milk drinkers, I would only warn them that they may well choke on the meat – and so ought to avoid it. If they are capable of meat, but choose to stay with milk” that is their choice – I hold no contempt for them. On the other hand, it has always bothered me that “milk drinkers” are praised for their childlike faith” while those who prefer meat are often criticized as bomb throwers.

As for Sunday School classes being of benefit “the way they are”. They may well be – but they do not tempt my pallet nor fill my hungry soul. I do not think myself better than any milk drinker, but I am leery of milk drinkers who would drowned me in their faith while distaining my skepticism.

As for the specific information to be covered in a college class – I am amenable for anyone to present the curriculum as they see fit as long as they do not employ misinformation to do it. As Dan has pointed out below, I am rather attached to the search for truth, and this cannot be facilitated by promulgating provable lies as doctrinal truth. I agree with you that there is too little room for opinion in graduate classes, and am troubled that that constriction is often placed on the minds of participants by the fears, prejudices, and agendas of the class members.


Strategos:

You say you do not like controversy but still are a lover of truth. I say I do like controversy but still I am a lover of truth. There is room for both of us in the class – but when those who challenge falsehoods are excluded in the name or concord I feel the back of the room listeners are disadvantages by being miss taught if not misled.

I believe there is a danger in Mr. Kader’s teaching thirty plus teachers who may well teach hundreds of students, that the U.S. is responsible for the murder of more innocents that Saddam. That is a flat lie, it should not go unchallenged. I am glad you approve of the courage, however little, it took to do so.

I do not see the need to defend my fellow Morons from the teachings of their Sunday School teachers, nor do I consider teachers who never get beyond the pray, go, read, mantra to be evil. I was never asked to leave Sunday school – I chose to because I wanted to leave the milk drinker in peace.

You call me a liar for claims I did not make. I never claimed that I went to Sunday school an just asked tough questions. I said that the teache was giving the “Saul was kicked out for disobedience” lesson and I made the teacher cry. I never claimed I won any argument, either by making someone cry or by providing great insights. I simply said I said things that made the teacher cry. I did not want to do that and to avoid doing it again I will not attend her class. She can continue, in peace, to teach her students that it is Gods Will to murder chi8ldren and butcher prisoners if she chooses. That is her choice to poor, their choice to drink. If I am sitting in such a class I am forced by reason to object. Since I no longer find that Sunday School is the place to search for truth I choose not to go. She can poor the milk, I will seek the Meat else where.

Once more, I no where claimed that making the teacher in Sunday School cry or the Professor in the University swear was a victory. That I stood up for truth and reason was my own victory.

You seem well suited for Sunday school, where sitting back and listening to what ever the milk the lesson book proscribes for the day and building the confidence of the gray-haired ladies can be a acceptable goal. But don’t come to me and say that your “Sunday sit” brought you any closer to truth if, in your heart at least, you did not question the unreasonable or dishonest things presented.

Having gray hair does not entitle a lady to be unreasonable any more that talking to generals entitles a graduate lecturer to present false statistics. I would venture to point out to you that some of my fans in Sunday school have been gray haired old ladies.

You ask – What is wrong with teaching go to church and read the scriptures. I remind you that the Scribes and Pharisees that murdered Christ attended Church regularly and had their scriptures down pat. The problem is allowing people to think that church attendance and scripture reading is righteousness. These may be means to that end, but to make them the sum of ones religion is damnable. Ask the Sanhedrin that condemned Christ!

I don’t intend to attend the ward Christmas party, but sister Jones is welcome to my opinions on Brigham Young any time she wants, and I am confident she is more than capable of handling them however or where ever I present the truth. That is if you haven’t drowned her in a pond of warm milk.

Mindmechanic:

I think that Church leader discourage “combat zones” in Sunday school because they don’t know how to handle them. They are concerned that the lay ministry of the Church will be intimidated by and unprepared for dealing with questions not handled in the Primary manuals. It is much easier to mass print warm and fuzzy stories about hospital visits and missionary testimony meeting than it is to explain Mountain Meadows or deal with Abortion; and besides there are always the infinite applications of the Will Hand Cart Company to examine. Encouraging the class to sit quietly and listen inoculates the teachers from ever having to think on their own or apply the truth to the challenges that it can handle but they cannot.

Dan;

I imagine a camel could produce pretty tasty meat, if properly prepared. On often strains at gnats because they tend to fly down ones’ throat while sitting in class “listening”. I think we should train the whole lot in camel consumption. Properly diced and prepared camel meat might well “wash down” choke down the gnats.

In the end, I agree with you on two things. First: Sunday School, no. University class, yes. Thus I hold no animosity against the Sunday school teachers or presidents that fill the milk glasses each week, and every contempt for the college instructors that push their lies by silencing those who ask for truth.

Secondly: Professor Larkin is also the best History Professor I have had at WSU.

MindMechanic said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
MindMechanic said...

Lysis...

Is there a different between war zones and thought provoking instructions?

You have in Sunday School approx 30 minutes if you are lucky to conduct a lesson covering the study of the Gospel. It is extremely helpful if the class has read the lesson, but lets not be naive...that doesnt happen always. There IS room for in depth discussion and even disagreement. That can and does occur. I'd invite you to our Gospel Doctrine class...I'm sure it might surprise you the depth of conversation that DOES occur.

But 30 minutes is hardly enough time for resolution of complex battles. And if those discussions go the way many of the exchanges go here...well...think about that for just a second...

I think your personal combative nature is wonderful in the right environment. However you often come across as expressing contempt for anyone that disagrees with you-even those that agree in principle but not line and note (thats an observation, not an accusation). I dont think that would have much of a tendency to promote spiritual growth.

So again...all things in their place.

Silver Lining said...

"As for Sunday School classes being of benefit “the way they are”. They may well be – but they do not tempt my pallet nor fill my hungry soul. I do not think myself better than any milk drinker, but I am leery of milk drinkers who would drowned me in their faith while distaining my skepticism."

And so you should be leery. Furthermore, this is why I think you choose whether or not to attend Sunday School and will not judge you for your choice, but I think I was pretty clear on that before.

I wasn't misinterpreted at all. I simply wanted to point out that confrontational and controversial are not the only ways of pondering or searching for the truth and that judging someone who instead chose to listen ask a question or two and then research and think on his or her own should not be thought less of for the use of a less aggressive method of truth searching. While I agree that should be leary of those trying to drown you in their faith or judge you because you enjoy questioning and debate, I would suggest an equal amount of feeling leary toward those who provoke for no other reason than to say they are controversial. Both can be bad, and both can be benign.

I am sure Professor Larkin is a fine professor. I still think she made a mistake.

Reach Upward said...

Anon, as all colleges and universities require outside funding, whomever holds the purse strings will always hold some sway over thought in those institutions, despite any virtuous claims of promotion of free thinking. And it's not just legislatures either. I have attended private and for-profit institutions that have their power (thought) brokers as well.

I was impressed by my experience with one for-profit institution, where students (and their individual benefactors -- usually businesses) have a somewhat higher degree of influence than at government-sponsored institutions. Most students seemed quite open to thinking outside the box, but they absolutely detested incompetence. They rarely wielded their influence to force thought conformance, but they regularly exercised it to combat incompetence.

--------------

As far as Sunday School goes, I find that many of my fellow class members are open to thought provoking concepts. People are sometimes surprised to have some element of the Old Testament related to life today, but many in my class seem to appreciate the gesture. I'm sure that some of that has to do with presentation methodology. It certainly seems to frequently lead to interesting, and appropriate class discussions about how to relate these things to our lives today.

Dan Simpson said...

This, I think, goes to the heart of our disagreement on these things.

"But don’t come to me and say that your “Sunday sit” brought you any closer to truth if, in your heart at least, you did not question the unreasonable or dishonest things presented."

Because you do not understand, or you disagree, you proclaim that the doctrines taught are dishonest.

I have worked with some who thought your rules were unreasonable. It was amazing to hear them rail about how unreasonable you were as a Director. Usually these individuals didn't understand the need for, or the good that would come from, doing the things you asked, or demanded.

Experience, a broader view, flat out more knowledge and intelligence. All of these can lead to requests, or commands that those without the experience et. al. do not understand.

To proclaim these things dishonest is as immature and shortsighted as the first year staffers who could not grasp the bigger picture of camp.

Anonymous said...

What IS clear about Jove's assertion that ". . .Hector was dearest to the gods, as also to myself . . ." is that Jove is responding to a previous comment COMPARING ACHILLES and HECTOR and not ANYTHING about INHABITANTS OF TROY and HECTOR, who had not been mentioned in the text AT ANY TIME!!!!

What is more, the point of Jove's REBUKE AND CRITICISM here is ALL focused upon ACHILLES and Jove's desire to MAKE Achilles give up HECTOR'S body -- a terrible sin in the eyes of Jove.

"Such care have the blessed gods taken of your brave son, FOR HE WAS DEAR TO THEM BEYOND ALL MEASURE."

Such was the tribute offered to Hector's father and the AWFUL chastisement of Achilles' impardonable sin!!!!

Rumpole said...

Dan,

You post: “Because you do not understand, or you disagree, you proclaim that the doctrines taught are dishonest.”

Your point is excellent, and certainly seems to lie at the heart of the disagreement. Is it fair to believe that a difference of opinion is rooted in dishonesty? I would agree that it is not.

My difficulty, however, is that once the disagreement is initially voiced by the “bomb thrower”, if you will, too often it is assumed that he is the one with the ulterior motive, and he is summarily dismissed. It is seldom that a skilled instructor will face the disagreement, for typically the instructor believes that the suggested “doctrines taught are dishonest.”

Lysis and All,

Based then, on my comments above, may I attempt to go another direction, and may I ask some questions?

In both of examples of the current discussion, why does it seem that we defend the position of those who are devoid of possible information that may persuade a change of opinion? Is the protection of someone’s feelings paramount to the truth?

By Lysis’ account, Professor Larkin has defended the feelings of those who may be offended by the truth. If we accept Lysis’ version of events as accurate, Kader knew that his figure was not accurate when he posted it, and yet Larkin tacitly accepts that information by silencing dissent.

It has been my experience that there is an inverse relationship between the presentation of fact and the attempt to prove the information as fact. The harder and more vocally one attempts to proclaim his truth, the more likely it is that the information is not true. I would go so far as to suggest that Kader knew the information he had presented was not accurate. Why defend him?

I would suggest that Sunday School might be a different forum. Do we try to protect those who do not possess truth so that we can spare their feelings? When we protect those feelings, are we not tacitly acknowledging that everyone’s motive for Sunday School attendance might not actually be to seek truth? I intend no sarcasm when I suggest that Sunday School is probably not the best forum for a frank discussion.

Herein, as a reforming “bomb thrower”, lies my struggle. When is it appropriate to light that fuse? When the fuse is lit, are we willing to pay the price of the explosion? Should we only light the fuse when we can be assured that feelings will be spared?

I am interested in your view.

Lysis said...

Dan;

You amaze me. You can not only predict what issues might be discussed in any given Sunday school class I might attend, but you can divine how I might react and by some mystical power or inspiration discern what I will not be able to understand or with what I will disagree. Perhaps it might be more reasonable for you to present some point of discussion and let me state my beliefs before you state your accusations against me.

As for my disgruntled employees – I have dealt with them for three decades now – no doubt I have failed some, and perhaps my camps, but I have always sought to love and serve the people who worked with and for me. I don’t believe I ever lied to them, however, if I did, I am eager to be set strait. If you have some viable suggestions either of your own or from past confidants which you feel might improve my leadership be kind enough to let me consider them.

As for my proclamations; I can think of no “commandment” or “request” of God that I have called dishonest. If your powers of divination reveal one, please challenge me openly and let me explain my position, before you shoot me down. Please show me how refusing to accept the notion that a reasonable god condones genocide, commands murder, or teaches racism puts me out of the Big Picture.

Rumpole;

Since you are in such agreement with Dan, perhaps you might join in him in providing actual examples of my bombs before you recommend I not light the fuses.

As for your effort to reform you actions in Sunday school, good luck; enjoy the milk.

I agree with you entirely on Kader. He knew he was not telling the truth, he didn’t intend to get caught, and when he did, he blew up, he became the bomb, all I did was light the fuse.

As for my solution to Sunday school feelings, I choose not to go. In that way I will neither destroy testimonies nor burse egos. Will folks be left in the dark; I guess there is a danger of that as long as there is an aversion to lighting the lamp of knowledge for fear of igniting a fuse.

Anonymous said...

Vegimatic Here

My hat is off to the anonymi. They and the Democratic party have won a great victory. Now they have to produce results or they will end up like this year's republicans...out of work.

In the end, we as a people may give one or the other side a chance to govern, but our patience is growing short.

I hope that we will see true improvement in our government from these result and not the I hate Bush whine.

Good Luck and God Bless.

Rumpole said...

Lysis,

I have said nothing about your bombs and the lighting of their fuses. Nowhere have I “recommend(ed) that (you) not light the fuse.” Let us be clear on what I have said.

Dan posts: “Because you do not understand, or you disagree, you proclaim that the doctrines taught are dishonest.”

I commented: “Your point is excellent, and certainly seems to lie at the heart of the disagreement. Is it fair to believe that a difference of opinion is rooted in dishonesty? I would agree that it is not.

My difficulty, however, is that once the disagreement is initially voiced by the “bomb thrower”, if you will, too often it is assumed that he is the one with the ulterior motive, and he is summarily dismissed. It is seldom that a skilled instructor will face the disagreement, for typically the instructor believes that the suggested “doctrines taught are dishonest.”

Your words to Strategos: “You seem well suited for Sunday school, where sitting back and listening to what ever the milk the lesson book proscribes for the day and building the confidence of the gray-haired ladies can be an acceptable goal. But don’t come to me and say that your “Sunday sit” brought you any closer to truth if, in your heart at least, you did not question the unreasonable or dishonest things presented.”

As to my position with Dan, I pose to you these questions. Have you ever been wrong? When you were wrong, were you dishonest? Assuming that your views on church doctrine are correct, your implication to Strategos is that when one is wrong (or in disagreement with you) he is also dishonest.

I do not agree. It is certainly possible to be wrong and dishonest, but it is just as possible to simply be wrong. The problem lies, as Dan has suggested, in your assumption that because you disagree, you proclaim “dishonest (the) things presented.”

I have also suggested that quite often Sunday School teachers are guilty of the same incorrect assumptions. Is it not possible that I believe this to be true when you have legitimately disagreed with your instructor? Why have you inferred that I believe you are guilty of this error rather than your Sunday School teacher? Can you show me where I took the position of your guilt, rather than the guilt of your teacher?

Rather that attempting to change the subject to “bombs and their fuses”, can you explain to me where I have misinterpreted or misrepresented what you have promoted? I am eager to be corrected!

Anonymous said...

Lysis you are an ass and an arrogant one at that. You are either dishonest or dillusional. I am not sure which. You say to Silver Lining that you don't intend to belittle the milk drinkers as you call them. That is precisely what you do. Look at your response to Dan and to Rumpole. It is so saturated with indignation that it is dripping. You throw the comment enjoy the milk at Rumpole as an insinuation that he is drinking the kool aid. You talk of those that attend your Sunday School and their disdain for you. You clearly understand the feeling well as disdain is the only thing I see in your description of said milk drinkers. It is like deja vu for me, because it is so like John Kerry's belittling the intelligence of the U.S. fighting forces and then claiming he did not.

You know Silver Lining, you said you didn't think Lysis was belittling the milk drinkers. Are you really dumb enough to buy that or are you too much a coward to tell him the truth? Perhaps that is why he put the word heroic in quotation marks in his response.

Lysis, you put yourself up on some high seat as a Socratic model of passionate truth seeking and yet you are ready to judge and hurl insults at any who would not agree with you on any point or share your "truth seeking" method. You claim to refrain from your Sunday School to save the feelings and fragile testimonies of others. If you don't like it when the bishops at your church question your testimony because of your questioning, how do you find it so easy to question the strength or existence of the testimonies of others? Do you have some amazing ability to see into their psyche? Can you predict how they will react to your questions like Dan predicts yours? If these others were what you really cared about, what you really loved, you would not keep your truth seeking gift from them even if it wasn't what they wanted to hear would you? Perhaps you would.

Seriously Lysis, you can't save them. The one who can has already done his part. Why don't you look in the mirror next time you feel the need to look down on the pathetic people in your Sunday School who so willingly drink the milk and think about why you really don't join in.

Dan Simpson said...

Lysis:

Let us go back to the arguments I posted, and try to ignore the arguments you made up to defeat.

I made two points, and tied them together.

First, YOU posted

"But don’t come to me and say that your “Sunday sit” brought you any closer to truth if, in your heart at least, you did not question the unreasonable or dishonest things presented."

You proclaimed the dishonesty, not me. I did not label you with it, you proclaimed it proudly in your post.

I said just because you don't understand or disagree, does not make the teaching dishonest.

Second, I pointed out that there were those who did not understand the reasons for some of your rules.

You then go of on this wierd tangent about 'you tried' 'you did your best' 'if I made mistakes, please tell me'. Where the crap does that come from? Did you read what I said? I said these individuals because of their lack of view, because of their lack of experience, or knowledge were unable to grasp the GOOD that would come from these things they did not understand.

If you don't understand the love and loyalty that I hold for you and Camp, than shame on you.

I do not guess at any response you would give a particular subject. I know your response on the ones we have discussed. Nowhere in my post did I assign responses to you, nor did I assign you any stances.

I rebuked you for charging others with dishonesty wrongly, with no proof or backing. I charged you with being as immature with your accusations as those who could not see the bigger picture that was camp.

I may have a lingering resentment that you gave the job you offered me, my fourth year, to the son of your good friend, who had never worked at camp before, but I never have, nor could I ever, accuse you of not working your hardest to do the best for camp that you could. And that means the best that anyone could do, as I have said to any who would hear that you are the best there is.

Lysis said...

Vegimatic;

I too hope that what is best for the country will follow. It is disappointing to see this shift, and yet America has proven very strong in the past and there is a chance it will survive even this.

Rumple;

I agree with you, that there is a presumption of “guilt” levied against any questioner. Whether in a University class, or Sunday school, it is the same. Often the teacher demands the unquestioning acquiescence of the students. It is an increasingly rare teacher who will invite challenge. While I would give the originator of an idea or lesson the presumption of rectitude; the questioner must at least be presumed sincere and not simply silenced or dismayed. The best way to deal with a question is an honest answer.

Flaccid;

Boy, have you got your knickers in a knot. I always enjoy your comments.

You tell me I am an ass, arrogant, dishonest or delusional, that I belittle others, drip indignation; insinuate and disdain. You say I attack Silver Lining, call me a dumb coward who is pathetic to boot, and end up suggesting I resent my bishops questions while despising the faith of others.

And you say I’m the one belittling others? Well, the truth will tell.

As for the “milk drinking” references. They are from the *New Testament*, (I Corinthians 3:2; I Peter 2:2; Hebrews 5:13). Another book you seem not to have read or understood. Well, the truth will out.

Lysis said...

Dan,

I understand. I meant to say to Srtategos that if he remained silent when dishonest things were said he it would be odd for him to sit back. If no dishonest things are said, you are right, there is no need to throw bombs.

As for your loyalty at camp – it was never questioned. The wonderful thing about camp is that it is the product of a host of good deeds, most going unnoticed by any, but accomplished by all who work there. If I suggested that camp was “my success” and not the achievement of all who work and serve there; I did not intend to. Had I said that I would indeed be wrong.

Silver Lining said...

Good morning. I am always a little late to the game given the time difference. Actually, Lysis, Anonymous was refering to me as the dumb one and the coward.

Anonymous, I am not dumb nor a coward. I know Lysis. Don't know if you do. I posted that I hoped he wasn't belittling others for their chosen method of personal progression. I also noted that I didn't believe he was. He understood my point. As to being a coward. I admit that I don't generally care for conflict. Lysis enjoys it, and it is his blog. It is something to expect around here. I have no problem with getting into it over what I think is right just like anyone else here. I simply didn't see a need here. Furthermore, and you really wont like this, I am very rarely equipped to take on Lysis. I am afraid that like many in Sunday School and at University, I am far more likely to listen and then do my own research answering questions internally than I am to go the other route.

Reach Upward said...

Of course our nation will survive the shift of control of the national legislature. It must.

I just finished (re)studying the Civil War and its causes. That is what happens when somebody takes their ball and leaves the game when the election doesn't go their way.

We learned from that (I hope). So, except for some notable exceptions, we graciously accept the people's voice on elections and move ahead trying to better our nation together.

Anonymous said...

Well, there seems to be multiple "flacidii", along with the many "anonymi" . . . However *I* have a bemused loyalty to the agnomen and wish Lysis would not "cheepen" OUR anomosity by using the term so indiscriminantly and wontonly upon others!!!!

Next:
For Lysis the world is comprised of "meat eaters" and TRUTH tellers versus
the "milk drinking" liars and/or gullible victims of lies.

The "meat eaters" are ruthless in their persuit of the TRUTH. Beware any soul who does not share in the blood sport of belligerent intimidation and conquest and the joy of DEVOURING the facile and dull-witted; with blood dripping from jowles and plenty of TEARS as their hard won badges of honor.

It is guerrilla warfare; ATTACK when least expected . . . when comraderie, conversation, and FAITHFUL co-mingling with good feeling SHOULD prevail, but is sabotaged by shamefully willful purposes.

Lysis should really take an opportunity to "hunt" with the "meat-eaters." . . .
the Philosophy department at the U of U is hosting an open forum discussion on Civic Responsibilty TODAY!!!! I challenge Lysis to take his belligerence into THAT forum -- I would love to watch them hand him his head.

I know -- won't happen. Lysis, doesn't like the U of U -- not a bit like Sunday School is it!!!!

Lysis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lysis said...

Flaccid;

If you will not give me a name by which to identify you; I am forced to label you by your presentation.

Next:

You seem eager to provide not only my definitions by my perspectives. Carefully crafting the definitions of the words and setting down preconditions for debate might be the way they hand you your head in the U’s Sunday school. Seems to me that asking questions about all positions would be a more effective way to find the truth.

I would delight in providing you and afternoon of blood sport – but my schedule, not my opinion of the U of U, keeps me away. Perhaps you would have the courage to go yourself and challenge those Philosophical Heroes in “open forum discussion”. But then they have already handed you your head and everything in it.

Let me know when another chance to question comes. I would really like to meet anyone at the U interested in Civil Responsibility or the truth of anything else.

truth to power said...

Anonymous, why don't you pick a consistent nickname? It's so easy to do. It can really be confusing when "anonymous" argues with itself. Besides, Lysis would stop calling you Flaccid and use whatever name you choose.

And Lysis, I'm hoping not to get too far into your religion here, but I really don't get your opinion of Sunday School. What, really, is the sort of "meat" you want to spend your time on, instead of the "milky" exhortations to faith in Christ and righteous living that you find so unsatisfying? Are you bothered that your fellow Mormons assume Samuel, Nephi, and Brigham Young were perfect men of God, and yearn to shatter their naive images? Do you think that worship services should be devoted to the sort of controversial discussion calculated to offend those whose faith is weak? If so, I'm sure Dan hit the nail on the head with his reference to "straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel". Are you familiar with this parable?

I would also recommend Chapter 8 of 1st Corinthians.

Anonymous said...

I have a few certificates with various University names inscribed -- The University of Utah is NOT one.

I heard the announcement of "The Forum" on NPR again this morning on my way to work -- and thought of your predilictions.

Evidently, this is a once a month activity for the PUBLIC, and VARIOUS pre-published topics are provided each month so there is less chance of anyone being blind-sided or ambushed. I don't think that there is a speaker to question -- it's not like Sean Hannity at the mike holding a mute button down and shouting over people -- it is, potentially, the Colliseum with Gladiators in charge.

I was joking about your head -- from the tenor of things here at the Agora, there's not much left to take down to the U anyway!!!!

Anonymous said...

TTP:
I DO personalize EVERY posting -- you're just not very observant, or much too rigid about what you THINK a cognomen must be!!!!

Anonymous said...

Whoa! I was at the Webster's site. I looked up "Hubris" and it brought me to this post, "Apology." A better example there could not be. Thanks for the lesson by example Letsus.

Oh, and don't go back to class or ever apologize for anything, in the modern sense. It would destroy the perfect example you have so carefully created of your life over the years.

Anonymous said...

TTP:(continued)

I LIKE the Flaccid moniker when Lysis uses it -- it reveals so much about him and nothing about me -- it's even better than ANONYMOUS!!!!

-Anonymous and communal; live long and prosper.

Anonymous said...

Rumsfeld Resigns!
Rumsfeld Resigns!
Rumsfeld Resigns!

I just heard the President making his "Apology" this afternoon.

Two weeks before the election he is spitting into the wind, conceding NOTHING will change, and saying "Stay the course with Iraq".

NOW he says he wants to work with the Congress to achieve what is GOOD for America.

Two weeks ago he listened to NO ONE but Rove -- NOW he is conciliatory?

I hope NEITHER Democratic houses will pursue legalistic maneuverings and impeachment hearings to "punish" the Administration, like Republicans did during Clinton's second term.

Lysis said...

Flaccid;

How limp of you – when you have no argument or evidence you dribble out labels. I might well be a perfect example of Hubris; you are a perfect example of empty.

Please defend Mr. Kader:

1. Give evidence to support the 650,000 civilians killed in Iraq Number he alleged.

2. Give some evidence of the U.N. as a successful negotiator of peace – Here is a hint, try Cambodia, now come up with one of your own, Kader never did.

3. Tell us what President Bush really said about “stay the course”.

I guess there are several definitions of Hubris available. One is assigned those how have the temerity to ask questions of the powerful, another is telling lies and then launching personal attacks on those who challenge them. Here we have examples of both. You pick you path, I have already chosen mine.

Truth to Power;

I cannot find a Sunday school class I would like to attend. I had one once, it wsa taugh by William Lye when I was a student at USU. I enjoyed him in class at the university and in the class at the church. He never shied away from a question nor attacked the asker.

As for accepting flaws while choking on little ones – as did the ancients who would not give fellowship to those who did not number their steps on the sabath while accepting those who committed genocide. This is the very sort of question I seek to ask. Should we strain at the gnats of “word of wisdom” and “pornography” while swallowing the camel of genocide and racism? Let’s talk about it.

Because I do not want to offend I choose not to attend.

Lysis said...

Rumsfeld Resigns! The twin towers fall! The Democrats gain majority in congress! Lincoln is dead! It seems the enemies of Freedom can always find something to celebrate.

Anonymous said...

You say you choose not to attend because you do not wish to offend. I continue to say what I said before. If you really loved these people or the truth, you would not spare the rod so to speak. As it is, you sit on your high seat thinking to yourself and saying to others that you choose not to offend all the while looking down at the stupid small people that are too short sighted to partake of your "truth" finding.

You answer none of my charges. You simply find fault because I called you a name. You use the term Flaccid and say it is because you call it as you see it. I use the terms arrogance and ass, because I think they fit.

By the way, you can continue to give me Bible references, but it doesn't change the fact that milk drinker was hurled at Rumpole in an insulting context. No amount of proclaiming his statement a joke made you or your cronies believe John Kerry, and no amount of New Testament references change the context in which you used the term milk drinker and exposed your own bias.

Reach Upward said...

I do think we ought to discuss the morality of accepting genocide and motivations for following proscriptive rules. In fact, that reminds me of a meeting I attended a few years ago where a Mormon apostle spoke. He said that he was sure that those that loved their neighbors but had problems following the word of wisdom would be far better off in the next life than those who held a temple recommend but did not love their neighbors.

Some people I know really got their knickers in a twist about that. When I challenged one of my upset friends about what was wrong with the statement, he had to admit that he could detect nothing that was doctrinally incorrect, but that it went against some of what had been ingrained in him culturally. It was a good discovery moment for both of us.

On another occasion I heard this same apostle warn against ravenous wolves among the church membership. He warned that he was going to say things that would probably get him into trouble. He then spoke of those on one end of the spectrum that think education alone will save us, and those on the other end that think that barricading ourselves from the world will save us. He said that the church had long taught about having a year's supply of food, clothing, and where possible fuel. But he said that some take this too far to mean that it's good to have two year's supply of these commodities as well as "an eight-year supply of shotgun shells." He emphatically said, "That's not the Lord's way."

Many people in the audience chuckled, but I later spoke with some that were worried. They had bought into some of these false theories and were backing it up with faithful action. One friend wondered what to do with the fully-stocked self-contained and well-armed shelter in his backyard.

A couple of weeks ago, the gospel doctrine teacher was talking about a faith promoting story he had heard, but being unable to recall the details, he asked if anyone knew the story. I raised my hand and attempted to explain in a way that was as unoffensive as possible that the story to which he was referring had been debunked as Mormon folklore. Fortunately, he was not offended.

Unless we are willing to discuss falsehoods, they can easily be promulgated and can even cause people to make decisions and take actions based on incorrect information. Perhaps the level of offense generated by these discussions has to do with the manner of presentation as well as the level of psychological investment one has in the false idea.

Lysis said...

Flaccid;

I am sorry I didn’t notice any challenges, please use you cut and paste skills and line them up here for me and I will gladly answer them. I gave you some above. Here I’ll cut and paste for you:

Please defend Mr. Kader:

1. Give evidence to support the 650,000 civilians killed in Iraq Number he alleged.

2. Give some evidence of the U.N. as a successful negotiator of peace – Here is a hint, try Cambodia, now come up with one of your own, Kader never did.

3. Tell us what President Bush really said about “stay the course”.

I await your answers, as always.

Now to your seeming over anxious desire to put meaning into my statements that are really in your mind:

1. I did not use milk drinker as a pejorative. Like Silver Lining I believe that the innocent who can only drink milk should not be choked with meet. If I were to attend their feeding session I would only give them grief, not my desire at all.


2. I began calling you Flaccid when you presented arguments that reminded me of a balloon that spatters out its air and falls facial and spent to the ground having accomplished absolutely nothing. That is all I have ever intended to imply. I give you endless examples of how spent, flat and petered out your positions are; you never give any direct challenges to my arguments. Name calling without reason is impotent.

I gave Bible references to explain the meaning of my use of “milk drinker” to some one (you) who I had supposed understood them but did not. My explanation is relevant and honest. Kerry pretended to be attacking Bush for his performance in school, when surely Kerry knew the truth, that President Bush had degrees from Yale and Harvard, degrees which the mindless minions at Pasadena City College would never match, and grades at Yale that Kerry didn’t match. So Kerry was lying, I am telling the truth. That is a telling difference, and an argument that stands up!

Lysis said...

Reach Upward

My Sunday school experience is that The Word of Wisdom is the most often taught commandment. Violators are so easily spotted and dismissed, and those who keep it, so comfortable in their “sacrifice”. It is as the book says - the easiest of commandments to obay.

Many of you remember the Explorer Presidents Association. I once had a young man go back to a national EPA meeting and come home very conflicted to find “good” men that smoked. I explained to him that to those who had not made an oath to the contrary, smoking was stupid but not sinful. That your class members would get their knickers knotted over an Apostle of Jesus claiming that love was the greatest commandment seems to indicate the danger of serving milk too long to those who can handle something a little meatier.

If we are willing to challenge all comers equally in the world of learning and religion, then false education and false doctrine stand equal chance of being exposed.

Good hunting!

Anonymous said...

When I was eighteen I was physically "thrown" out of the Ninth Ward Stake House by the Bishop who had me under one arm and the second counselor who had me by the other.

The previous two Sundays ago, I had asked some questions (I have forgotten what) in my class and the teacher, about 35 and a nice enough fellow, told me that he didn't know the answer but would get back with me -- fair enough.

The NEXT Sunday the class started late because the teacher had not arrived, but when he DID he also brought the Bishop, both counselors and two recently returned missionaries.

I know, it seems unbelievable, but my deportment in EVERY class has ALWAYS been respectful and mannerly and when this happened I had two reactions -- panic and arrogance.

It frightened me that a few questions could cause such an "over-reaction" by people who I thought were my friends.
and
Arrogance because I QUICKLY started to think my questions were somehow "supercharged" with an HONESTY and TRUTH only I could appreciate, and that everyone else was a complicit conforming dolt.

The Bishop "suggested" that I take myself and my questions down to his office and that the missionaries there would soon set me straight and my Sunday School Class could continue without ME.

However, the more I felt verbally "assaulted" for being belligerent and heretical the MORE obnoxious I became, until I was evicted from the premises in the way I described above.

I never spoke to the Bishop again, but peppered his mailbox with scathing insults every anniversary of the incident for many years until his death.

Yes, there was much he did wrong in reaction to such a young arrogant ass who had no inkling about the proprieties of situation and place.

But, I know NOW that he was a GOOD MAN -- a respected farmer, not schooled in eloquence or debate, but a VERY GOOD MAN who had as much access to TRUTH through his determined FAITH as I had through my syllogisms!

I apologize!!!!

a quiet listener said...

I really appreciate that comment anonymous.

Rumpole said...

Anonymous,

I appreciate your comments. You have articulated my point better than I ever could have. At the risk of being redundant, I wish to add that there is nothing wrong with spirited debate, in fact I quite enjoy it; however, it does have its time and place.

I believe Professor Larkin was wrong. Her academic setting is the appropriate time and place for such lively discussion; conversely (as I have already said), Sunday School is probably not the setting for the same debate.

Lysis knows me well enough to know the hypocrisy of my words. I have already acknowledged that I am a reforming Sunday School bomb thrower, the –ing- being the most operative part of the word. I work on it in the present tense.

I believe you were correct when you suggested Lysis’ motives were less than pure when he called me a “milk drinker”. I purposely did not take the bait as I prefer to try to stay with the subject at hand. In this forum tossing a little fuel on the fire is perfectly acceptable, especially if the opposition is willing to get burned.

For me, outside of the Agora, it has become a matter of learning “where” and “when” tossing in the “Molotov cocktail” is appropriate. If that makes me a “milk drinker” in Lysis’ view, it’s a label I can live with.

MindMechanic said...

Anon...

"I hope NEITHER Democratic houses will pursue legalistic maneuverings and impeachment hearings to "punish" the Administration, like Republicans did during Clinton's second term."

I HOPE that we see the democrats finally engage on the problems we face as a country. I think its a shame and a tragedy that to this point they have not. I think it is a further shame that their constituency doesnt demand restitution for them stealing their paychecks for the last 14 years. I HOPE that we finally can see something resembling a solution on what Bill Clinton called the "impending social security crises" back in 1998. I hope we see the democrat alternative to "no child left behind." I hope we see the democrats engage foreign policy discussions. I hope we see the democrats tackle terrorism. I HOPE we have some sort of realistic response to illegal immigration.

AS I have said since my first day here in the Agora...I hope both the republicans AND the democrats in congress for once DO THEIR JOB.

Hate to be cynical...but I am not holding my breath...

MindMechanic said...

Lysis...

"If I were to attend their feeding session I would only give them grief, not my desire at all."

I will say up front that perhaps the answer to this question is yes...

Are you so well schooled that you have no value in reading and discussing gospel doctrine? And if you are that well schooled...what quality is it that will have you deny others the benefit of your experience?

OR...

Are you just always on the lookout for a good fight?

I think the contemptuous use of the term Milk Drinker applied in such a bigoted and judgemental manner speaks of arrogance. But thats just me.

BUT...at the end of the day...you choose. And you are obviously happy with your choice. And that choice is yours, well earned, and should be respected.

Maybe others object to it precisely BECAUSE of the judgement you pronounce in making your decision.

Lysis said...

To the anonymous, youthful Sunday school disrupter. I too thank you for your confession. It makes me more than ever comfortable in the wisdom of staying home.

I wish you could remember the questions that so stirred you and your ward leaders. I can’t help but think that they have answers. All questions do.

When I was a boy of eighteen, and well into my twenties, the question was “why is the Church of Jesus Christ segregated along racial lines?” I also had an old farmer for a Bishop, we discussed this question for years, and he was always looking for the answer. We argued it right through my mission interview and for years after my return. I tried all the answers he and “the brethren” gave. The best was, ‘I don’t know’. I told these “answers” to my investigators and non Mormon friends and to my colleagues in the botany labs at USU. We were never satisfied. They never answered the question. It was continually to be asked, not just be me but by all who carried for justice. In the end the Prophet asked the same questions and the answer, so long obvious to so many, became obvious to him

I was working in the woods the day the answer to the question of Mormon racism came. In my twenties, I was not in charge of the work projects at camp that spring. Jed Stringham had us totting logs to the campfire bowl on the Redman side of Camp Bartlett. He had sent the Camp Director to Montpelier on an errand. Mohonri and I stayed with Jed. When the Camp Director got out of his truck he was viably shaken. He told us that President Kimball had just “given blacks the priesthood”. I am proud to say all three of us cheered.

I am grateful that I had a bishop wise enough not to bring the bully boy, but rather his best effort at answers to a persistent question asker; I am grateful that enough people, in and out of Sunday schools asked that important question again and again; I am grateful that Spencer Kimball asked the question and had the courage to give the answer; I am grateful that, to that question, we were never satisfied with less than the truth.

Mindmechanic;

I share your hopes regarding the Democrats in power. I hope they will find the truth we seek to answer all our nations’ questions. Why do I feel that it is more likely we are in for a session with the bully boys?

Lysis said...

Rumpole;

You are the one who sees motive in my words. Is it my motive or your conscience that questions your Sunday “reformation”?

Be that as it may, what ever you choose to drink in Sunday school, I am glad to see you are still up to a good chaw of “red meat” here at the Agora.

Dan Simpson said...

I have been asked to post this by RFB, who is not in a position where he can post on Blogs for a while.

"
Lysis, do as you are commanded. Even if that means bearing some evil. Was it just that Christ bore the pains that he did when he was without fault? As Christ bore evil in his example you should follow. If you consider it evil to remain in Sunday School quite and in the back, then do so because your Lord asked you to. If you seek edification, then use that time to contemplate with a broken heart the meaning of each word. To teach from Christ is not to teach to know truth, it is to teach to act in love. So Lysis humble yourself before God who knows more than you and loves more than you and obey."
-RFB

Anonymous said...

If every question has a ready answer, then truly what WE need is much better questions!!!!

Answers, very quickly, need to evolve UP to questions, for too soon complacent stagnation, like the "rat grey fur" on a summer's afternoon in the super-market, will form on strawberries once delectable that morning. !!!!

Lysis said...

Dan;

Please share with RFB my eternal gratitude for his sacrifice and example, not to mention for the very real protection he provides for us all. Then remind him that there is no Commandment to attend Sunday school. I’m not even sure he can show me where Jesus ever asked me to do that. Also remind him that what the Lord did ask us to do was “know the truth.” That is what will truly make us free; free from the manipulation of evil and of lies, free from the hate and fear the ignorance brings. Free to love as god does, for we cannot truly love anyone of anything we do not know. We can be enamored of a lie, we can fight for it and die, but RFB will know that it is only the GOOD that we can truly love, and the GOOD is never a lie.

Tell RFB that I am more than willing to humble myself before God, and I will show my humility by keeping His command to find the truth, to question all until my knowledge can be made perfect, and I can become like Him. I know that is a Commandment.

Anonymous:

You go on looking for questions without answers; I’ll put my strawberries in the cooler.

MindMechanic said...

I dont believe there are questions without answers...just questions we lack the experience to understand.

When discussing the MMM...of course there are answers. But since we cant query the individuals we CAN NOT know the answers and what we are left with is speculation followed by (or perhaps guided by) judgement.

I know many that have faced personal loss and they too struggle with 'why.' Not necessarily (though sometimes) why as in relation to "why did this have to happen" or "why did it happen to me, her, or him." No...the greater question of why comes from "why do we have this vague answer from God regarding the eternal plan and it's complexities." The answer..."we wont know til we get there" holds little comfort and in fact instigates anger and resentment.

But how can we know?

Ive pretty much honed my faith to the one unanswerable question...we have discussed it before. "Where did God come from?" Since I can no more answer that question then I can "where did all the unorganized matter come from to create the cosmos," I am left with faith and pondering.And thats OK.

truth to power said...

"Where did God come from?" is far from being the only unanswerable question. There's a whole lot of them, and they're unanswerable because they're wrong. The classic example is, "When did you stop beating your wife?".

Unless you think that "Mu" is the right answer.

Dan Simpson said...

I'll let RFB read his own stuff.

Dan Simpson said...

Because I was reading back through posts, and because I don't mind an argument either, I came across this phrase that I have to take issue with.

Rumpole said, "The church is generally an organization that seeks for all to move in lock-step."

I may have misunderstood, but 'lock-step' always seems pejorative to me. I have heard the argument many times that the church is full of conformists. It has never really made sense. Because a large group believe similar things doesn't equate to conformity, or forced conformity, which is what lock step seems to imply.

As an organization, the church encourages questions, and personal search. As a church, which claims to be led by a prophet recieving revelation from God, it is by very nature not a democracy. So, while all are invited to find the truth of the doctrines, the doctrines are not swayed by the questioner.

There are definitely individuals within the organization that are not as open to question and honest search (honest being an important prerequisite). My prime example will always be the member of the Bishopric in a small Idaho town that almost drove RFB away from the church forever.

The flaws of the individual do not mean the organization is flawed.

My two cents on the issue.

MindMechanic said...

TTP...

"Where did God come from?" is far from being the only unanswerable question. There's a whole lot of them, and they're unanswerable because they're wrong. The classic example is, "When did you stop beating your wife?".

Regarding my faith, "Where did God come from" is in fact the only unanswerable question. And its not a question i struggle with as I have no reasonable expectation that it will be answered anytime soon. I also recognize that agonizing over it would be worthless.

As for the second question...you assume the beatings have stopped...

OK...seriously...

Thats not an unanswerable question, it is an incorrectly phrased or staged question, only appropriately asked if in fact it is first confirmed beatings began.

Anonymous said...

For the consideration of the Agora.

"And they were called the church
of God, or the church of Christ, from that time forward. And it came to pass that whosoever was baptized by the power and authority of God was added to his church."

"And it came to pass that Alma, having authority from God, ordained priests; even one priest to every fifty of their number did he ordain to preach unto them, and to teach them concerning the things pertaining to the kingdom of God."

"And he commanded them that they should teach nothing save it were the things which he had taught, and which had been spoken by the mouth of the holy prophets."

"Yea, even he commanded them that they should preach nothing save it were repentance and faith on the Lord, who had redeemed his people."

"And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another."

"And thus he commanded them to preach. And thus they became the children of God."

truth to power said...

And when you ask, "Where did God come from?", you assume He "came from somewhere". Just as wrong as, "When did you stop beating your wife?".

MindMechanic said...

Anon....errrr....I mean...TTP

"And when you ask, "Where did God come from?", you assume He "came from somewhere". Just as wrong as, "When did you stop beating your wife?"."

This is word play. I accept on faith based on my experiences, study, and yes, feelings that God exists. I also accept that since something exists it had an origin. I am not silly enough to allow my life to get bunged up trying to answer that question. I know others that do.

Hence...I have Faith. I Do NOT have the perfect knowledge that accompanies 1+1=2.

truth to power said...

Holy crap! Now I've been mistaken for an atheist!

Yes, God exists. That's not the only way in which the idea that He "came from somewhere" can be wrong.

I guess I'll just have to spell it out. "Where did God come from?" is an unanswerable question because He didn't "come from" anywhere.

YHWH, "I am that I am", "the self-existent One". God has been, is, and shall be God. To use a geometric metaphor, His existence is neither a segment nor a ray, but a line--infinite in both directions.

You see, I do not "accept that since something exists it had an origin."

MindMechanic said...

And that obviously works for you.

Anonymous said...

And don't forget to tell RFB that he is a moron. If he needs a morale booster - something I sincerely doubt because you need higher brain functions to deomonstrate self awareness - then tell him tought titty. Enure it. Do so because his Lord asked him to. If he's so happy to recomment other suffering then I hope he suffers the most. Then we can have some kind of metric on what it counts to be down his world, except, of course, he was complaining for Jesus: the boy god. How can anyone suffer what he did - the sins for all humanity? - the knowledge that he could stop it all but was forbidden from acting? I guess we cannot. But don't let that stop you from you trying. Keep suffering - all ye believes. And whatever happens to you, RFB, others, make sure to be humble when it does happen.

Rumpole said...

Lysis,

You post: “Is it my motive or your conscience that questions your Sunday “reformation”?

Unless I am mistaken, I have never declared belief as to what your "motive" is. How then, could such an unknown drive me to question a personal reformation?

Additionally, do you actually believe that my “conscience” questions my Sunday School reformation? Is it not possible that my “conscience” spurs my reformation? Have I not clearly written my own motives for my reformation? So I can be consistent, I’ll post them again:

“I would suggest that Sunday School might be a different forum. Do we try to protect those who do not possess truth so that we can spare their feelings? When we protect those feelings, are we not tacitly acknowledging that everyone’s motive for Sunday School attendance might not actually be to seek truth? I intend no sarcasm when I suggest that Sunday School is probably not the best forum for a frank discussion.”

There are those who attend Sunday School who seek truth. There are those who attend Sunday School for fellowship. There are those who attend Sunday School for reinforcement. Two of these three motives are not conducive to open, frank discussion. In fact, let me go out on a limb and suggest that those two motives can become mutually exclusive with search for truth when lively debate ensues in Sunday School.

I do not wish to destroy the opportunity for fellowship and reinforcement that others seek in that forum, and nor do you as you have posted. I avoid that destruction by listening and looking for an occasional pearl. I feel that, though I may often have a difference of opinion, the “old farmer of a bishop” who may be in attendance may occasionally have something to offer me. Does my approach seem unwise to you?

As for the meat at the Agora, you are the great provider. Thank you for continually delivering the “chaw.” Certainly, because of you I now far more enjoy the sweet rare cut rather than the old dried boot of my youth.

Dan,

In order that I might better understand your position, could you please explain exactly what the "organization" of the church is?

Dan Simpson said...

Prophets, apostles, doctrine coming down from those who speak for God. The inspired doctrine and programs of the church. The revealed order in which the church is supposed to function (though in times it must be admitted that it does not, refer to my previous comment about the faults of individuals.)

Anonymous said...

Vegimatic back in Utah

The funny part of this discussion is that I teach Sunday School.

You are criticising a voluenteer (sp) organization. You get joe shome average person and expect them to be good at teaching the curriculum, let alone be a gospel scholor.

(Sorry I really can't spell today. Too much time in Oklahoma :))

I spend an average of 2 to 3 hours a week preping for the lesson. Dude right now it's the Old Testiment, you have to read the assigned chapters 3 and 4 times just to try to get what they are saying.

So what I tell my students is that if your assignment is to come back next week with the answer so that we all will know.

Sometimes they actually do it!

So getting your knickers in a twist over an unanswered question is 1: inmature and 2: an excuse.

I believe that when we get to the other side you are not going to be given "indulgences" because you had a poor sunday school teacher.

Your salvation is based on your choices and the atonement. Not my choices and reactions to your questions.

My salvation is based on that.....

Have a great Friday!!!!

Lysis said...

Anonymous who bids us only teach repentance;

1. That might be a good job for Priests, as the passage says. It might even be an assignment for a priest – but that is not what we are all restricted to. Or do you really believe that Jesus is restricting all of human learning to Repentance and Faith.

2. What is meant by teaching Repentance – could it not easily mean – teach people to find the truth so they will know right from wrong and can thus forsake the wrong and do the right. Therefore to teach repentance is to teach the search for truth. Do you really think that God would confine study to the five steps you learned in Sunday school while sitting between the Bishop and his bully boys?

Truth to Power;

Why does God have to have a beginning? Why can’t he be what he says He is, ‘without beginning of days or end of years’? - The manifestation of both beginning and end without having either. St. Augustine taught that you can not go back to a time where God didn’t exist. Boethius explained that God simultaneously exists in all times and places, aware of every thing – while liner time is a restriction only on man’s perception. Cicero pointed out that the truth and the mind of Jupiter are coeternal; having always existed, and without end. Even your own theology explains that, in the Beginning the intelligences already existed, and one of them was already God.

I agree with you;

"YHWH, "I am that I am", "the self-existent One". God has been, is, and shall be God. To use a geometric metaphor, His existence is neither a segment nor a ray, but a line--infinite in both directions."

To the Anonymous who attacks RFB;

I’m not quite sure what you are ranting about, but remember Jesus has already told us that we can suffer even as he has suffered. One infinite suffering must equal any other. But your point is silly. If RFB or any one else gives his all for another, it is the same as if Christ gave his all for all. Jesus himself taught the parable of the widow’s mite. But there I go again assuming you have read the books you talk about.

Rumpole;

You post:

I believe you [meaning our repentant Sunday school disrupter, I assume] were correct when you suggested Lysis’ motives were less than pure when he called me a “milk drinker”. I purposely did not take the bait as I prefer to try to stay with the subject at hand. In this forum tossing a little fuel on the fire is perfectly acceptable, especially if the opposition is willing to get burned.

You, Rumpole, have surly accepted someone’s position on my motives. Whether you originated or copied this attack on my motives – the position is yours now.

As for two different reasons for Sundy school; I am inclined to seek fellowship with people who are seeking the truth.

Mindmechanic;

I am not looking for a fight; I am looking for the truth. I am forced to wonder if there is ever an acceptable time or place to accept lies.

Dan;

Moroni 7, 16-18; (I quote 16 here – all three verses reinforce the same idea)

"For behold, the Sprit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power of the gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God."

Surely this is a description of reason and faith. Prophets, apostles, doctrines, programs, organizations . . . all must submit themselves to examination by the light given to every man. And we, as men, must judge. I am sure you would not approve of judgment without asking the proper questions.

Vegimatic;

Lay instructors who listen to and prepare to answer questions are very different that Lay instructors who bring in the brute squad to swat the gadflies.

My salvation is totally up to the atonement of Jesus, my search for the truth He has left to me.

Moon Knight said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Moon Knight said...

Lysis-
How can you teach repentence? Can you really teach it or can you just inspire us? Like Socrates once said " You cannot teach someone..." I have thought about this for a long time and I have came to the conclusion that you cannot teach someone, you can ONLY INSPIRE THEM. Jesus did not teach us to repent, he questioned our beliefs and ideas. So therefore he inspired us, and did not teach us. I have read the GREAT BOOKS (scriptures) and where did it teach us? My personal answer, nowhere, it has only questioned us, and have only inspired us.

Lysis said...

Moon Knight;

Amen!!!

a quiet listener said...

I was in institute this morning and something the instructor said caught my interest. she was quoting from henry eyring's: to draw closer to god. forgive me that i can't give you the exact page numbers yet (i will soon, my mom has that book i think)
anyways it was talking about how those who attend church meetings be they institute, sunday school, sacrament meeting etc will all benefit and perceive new insights to the eternal truths even if the speaker, teacher or whatever doesn't say them. don't we believe that the spirit teaches anyways? don't we learn by the spirit? i think says much against your argument. While it may be that you don't get the red meat you so desire from an elocuent erudite instructor, you will certainly learn new insights if you humble yourself listen to the "basics" taught and strive to learn from the spirit.

that's my take on it anyway.

Anonymous said...

Questions that don't have answers? --

Answers without questions?

"What is the sound of one hand clapping?"

Questions and Answers are the Yin and Yang interaction of all there is to be.

Static "hermetically sealed" (cooled) TRUTHS that have been dis-associated from the infinite and evolving 'play' between QUESTIONS and ANSWERS are miscarriages of a past that has become irrelevant, stagnant and dead.

"Of the dialogue" is the dialectic INTERPLAY between questions AND answers that EVOLVE TRUTHS -- better questions engender better answers and better answers create better questions!!!!

It is WRONG to believe that the dialectic should be USED to DISCOVER TRUTHS in some abusive SEARCH in which one 'wrings' CONFESSIONS from one's neighbors.

I believe that Socrates knew the difference between a conversation, a dialogue and a "hostile" cross-examination take-down self-righteously described as a SEARCH for TRUTH!!!!

Lysis said...

A Quiet Listener;

How does the Spirit teach? How do we learn, but by questioning?

If we were to go to church and sit quietly in “Buddhist” like meditation for three hours a week, would we be taught? If any old lesson, anything said at all, has the same impact on us no matter what, why have scriptures and classes in the first place? Why not just sit around and chant, or spin prayer wheels, or have a good go at “vain repetitions”.

If all God expects us to do is tune in to inspiration; why did he give us the power to think and questions? Was it to tempt us into rebellion? Doesn’t He have the answers? Waiting around for what ever the “spirit” shoves in sounds like someone else’s plan to me.

I am concerned that your Institute instructor is interested in getting you into class and acquiescent. I grow tired of being told that if I don’t tingle at any thing pushed my way it’s because I have no the Spirit. Hearing the truth makes me tingle, having a reasonable answer to my questions burns my bosom!

It is the easiest of dodges, do nothing, prepare nothing, know nothing, and then - when your students complain – tell them it’s because they have chosen not to learn. This “instructor” says nothing against my argument, she says everything in support of poorly prepared Sunday school lessons, mindless automaton programming Institute classes, and Bishops who can bully but will not seek.

I’m sorry Quiet Listener, but it frustrates me to hear you say that knowledge of truth will be transplanted automatically into the head of the acquiescent. Why have a Church? Why have Jesus words and actions preserved in Holy Scripture? Why do we have his example? As I recall he went to the temple to ask and answer questions, not sit around waiting for tingles!!!! Why have minds of our own? Why did Joseph Smith question the “teachings” of his time? Why did James go to the trouble to tell us to ASK God? Why did Mormon give us all that “ponder it in your heart” advice? Isn’t pondering related to questioning? If there is nothing to ponder, no truth to consider, what can we ask about, and what can the light of Christ teach us about?

I believe that the “if you question instead of rely on the spirit you are an arrogant, evil person” idea is one crafted by people who don’t have the answers to the questions. They can’t answer the questions; they don’t know the truth; so they tell the people who ask for it that to question is evil. By saying that questioners are proud and out of touch with God they protect their ignorance by a preemptive strike against those who could revel their ignorance. It’s like the, “if you ask for a sign – you’re an adulterer” dodge. A clever trick to make those who ask for signs into the bad guys while those who claim to have the power, but can’t produce, are protected in their lies.

Lysis said...

Anonymous;


“What is the sound of one hand clapping?”

Ask Bart Simpson.


As for evolving truth - Truths exist, coeternal with the mind of God, the only thing that can evolve is an opinion.

The dialectic is not an abusive ringing of confessions; it is a synergistic discovery of what all involved are seeking, the truth.

Neither Socrates nor the truth fear hostile questions. Only those with evolved opinions condemn the search for truth. Only the weak, who have no truth to add to the exchange, seek to excuse their fear of exposure by condemning the process. It is their “don’t ask for a sign” cause I can’t give one” escape.

a quiet listener said...

I think you misunderstand me.

On your mission I'm sure you had the inactive member who didn't go to church because he claimed he already knew everything they were teaching. He wasn't learning anything new. If you didn't, I did anyways. It was a ridiculous "reason" to only go to sacrament and not the rest of the meetings.

You misinterpreted me and what I had to say. It's not that we can't question out loud. Can we ask questions that will elevate and inspire others to expand the gospel and eternal truth? of course. I never claimed once in my post that we can't. Do we during sacrament? no. Can we still learn by asking ourselves questions as the speaker delivers thier message which hopefully they prepared by the spirit. That's why we learn to ponder the things we hear. We write them down, we discuss them with friends and family. We waste time we should be using to study for this accursed GRE to debate how we should learn them. I never once said it was a keep quiet and do nothing way to teach.

Those were your words that claim that my argument about "learning by the spirit" is only an excuse for lack or preparation in lessons. It's the exact opposite.

Let me ask this question. Is every listener ready for the same information? Obviously not, we've already beat the milk and meat thing to death. So by that reasoning should apostles, prophets, seventies, lysis' just stop going to sunday school where their wealth of information can't be shared. What a pompous thought. That's ridiculous. Will you still learn. Absolutely. Do you have to make little grandma's cry? no. You can humbly correct mistaken doctrine. I mean it's not like the gray haired old sunday school teacher has an "agenda" that they're trying to impose on you by teaching some impertinent flawfull doctrine.

As for the lack of preparation jab. I would argue just the opposite. How do you teach to a group of people that are at all levels of education? I taught spanish to kids in the SLC county school district for a year. It was miserably hard. Due to high costs for tutors, lack of funds subsidizing foreign language costs and other reasons I got all the students together. K-6. Those who spoke rather well and those who didn't know hola. Trying to teach that varied group of kids was incredibly difficult. I didn't get to prepare mindless lessons and let the "spirit" teach them. When a person prepares a lesson for church they must do so by the spirit so that all in the congregation can learn and be inspired. I never claimed that you didn't have the spirit and that's why you apparently can't learn by the spirit.

One president of the church, I think it was David O McKay, said at the ripe old age of 94 or something that he was finally beginning to understand the endowment. 94. As the prophet he'd probably sat through that a few times. Did he reach the point where he didn't need to attend the temple anymore? Did he reach the point where he had to interrupt the presentation to ask his questions just becuase God had given him the ability to reason and question?! How foolish to think that you have nothing more to learn there. How arrogant. I wish I could instill the same sense of shame in you as you did when I pathetically proclaimed that there was NO WAY to get a rainfly to stay up on weather rock. But alas, I'm suffer from the same tragedy as many other engineers. I might know plenty of neat things but have the greatest difficulty you can imagine putting them into understandble terms.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rumpole said...

Lysis,

You post: “You, Rumpole, have surly accepted someone’s position on my motives. Whether you originated or copied this attack on my motives – the position is yours now.”

Let us be clear on what I have posted: “I believe you were correct when you suggested Lysis’ motives were less than pure when he called me a “milk drinker”.

Additionally, I have also posted: “Unless I am mistaken, I have never declared belief as to what your "motive" is.”

Do you suggest that I have assumed a position on the “purity” of your motives, or that I have assumed a position as to what your motives actually are? I acknowledge to you that I have taken the position that I think your motives are less than pure. I do not accept that 1) I know (and have written) what your motives are, 2) that what I perceive your motives to be are the same as what Dan perceives them to be and 3) that I have taken Dan’s position as to what your motives are.

As I said before, I have not declared belief as to what your motives are, only that they are less than pure. Can I illustrate the dilemma that you seem to have with another example?

You post: “I began calling you Flaccid when you presented arguments that reminded me of a balloon that spatters out its air and falls facial and spent to the ground having accomplished absolutely nothing. That is all I have ever intended to imply. I give you endless examples of how spent, flat and petered out your positions are; you never give any direct challenges to my arguments. Name calling without reason is impotent.”

You claim that your only implication in the use of the term “Flaccid” is to describe a balloon devoid of air. In the same paragraph you use the terms “petered out” and “impotent”. Do I claim to know why you really use the term “Flaccid”? Absolutely not. But it is clear that your assertion as to why you use the term is in conflict with its actual use.

Do I know what your motives are? No, I only know that they are less than pure.

Dan,

I’m not ignoring your. I’ve been busy at work. I look forward to our discussion.

Lysis said...

I removed the post above because it was an add.

A Quiet Listener;

1. I never claimed to already know everything. In fact my problem is that I often want to know more than some think I should want to.

2. I am not an inactive member. I attend my “required meetings”. Sunday school is an option I choose not to exercise because it is my nature is to ask questions that frustrate my fellows. Sunday school does not seem like the place to frustrate the fellows. I do that in High Priests Group. Now there’s a pack of meat eaters!

3. Sometimes questions must be used to point to misconceptions. It is contrary to my faith to be silent while there are “things” being presented that challenge the gospel of Jesus.

You ask and answer: “Can we ask questions that will elevate and inspire others to expand the gospel and eternal truth? of course.”

But questions often present themselves on their own, and the propensity of the “others” to be inspired or elevated is not under my control. The types of questions that present themselves to me sometimes make others frustrated – and when I try to delve into the reasons for their frustrations, they get mad and lose their spiritual experience. So why would I want to do that? You don’t seem to understand, that it isn’t possible for me to sit there and not ask these questions. Since I can’t, not ask the questions; the only solution is to not sit there.

I don’t ask questions in Sacrament meeting because the purpose of Sacrament meeting is different than that of a class. The ceremony is the thing, the link back to the death of the Sacred King, the reminder of the death that brought perfection of love and overcame suffering. Again, the ceremony is the purpose for the meeting. Once it is over, there is plenty of time to grade papers.

4. As for Apostles ect:

a. It isn’t that I or they know too much to need to go; it’s what response would either of us spur by questioning? What if an Apostle attended a class where it was taught that black men were inferior to white ones because of some “transgression” committed in a pre-mortal existence? Should that Apostle sit their and contemplate the wonderful things he already knows, or should he inject himself into the lesson? Of course, if an Apostle set out to set them strait the class would probably be more amenable to correction. When I set out to correct them they get mad. Since I do not enjoy making people mad in Sunday school I decided to give up the class.

To reiterate; I did not mean to imply that I think I already know everything. I avoid Sunday school because I can’t quit asking questions about things I don’t know.


Unfortunately there are questions presented by the teaching of even gray-haired Sunday school teachers that must be asked. (By the way – my experience is that gray-haired teachers are far less likely that young teachers to be intimidated by questions.) I’m not quite sure what you mean by humbly correcting. All I want is answers to the questions.

You can see from our own discussion how my humble suggestion that, “some teachers tell their students that the students can’t learn because they lack the spirit as a dodge to get around their lack of preparation,” has stirred you up. You seem to take umbrage at the idea that any teacher could come unprepared. Your reasoning – that there is always someone dumb enough that they can benefit when nothing is taught is rather startling.

As for temple attendance; once again, the endowment is a ceremony. One does not ask questions along the “Fellowship Trail”, symbols teach and stimulate emotions and questions in ones head, discussion comes later. That sort of worship by participation is totally different that attending a class where ideas are presented and questions asked. By the way, were the church to start presenting questionable ideas in the temple, I hope I would have the courage to ask those questions.

You call me arrogant and foolish for choosing not to attend Sunday school, that is because you think I am claiming that I don’t think I can learn anything there. That is not the reason, in fact it is my eagerness to learn the things I don’t know that gets me into trouble, and it is that trouble that I seek to avoid.

Are you claiming that the only place I can learn is in Sunday school class? You are welcome to continue to think I am foolish, arrogant, shortsighted, or wrong for not attending Sunday school, however I don’ think it is right for you to claim that I don’t go to Sunday school because I think I know everything. If I knew everything, I’d be like those Apostles and Prophets your on about and not have any questions.

Lysis said...

Rumpole;

Please consider these quotes from you post:

First you write:

“As I said before, I have not declared belief as to what your motives are, only that they are less than pure.”

So do you now declare you believe they are less than pure, or do you know that they are less than pure and therefore have no deed to believe in it? If the former you are surely proclaim you belief; if the latter you surely have a position on my motives, do you not?

Secondly you write:

“Do I claim to know why you really use the term “Flaccid”? Absolutely not. But it is clear that your assertion as to why you use the term is in conflict with its actual use.”

Explain to me first what the difference between “know why you really use the term . . .” and “it is clear that your assertion as to why you use the term . . .” How can you make such a claim of clarity without claiming to know something? You surely do claim something that is not true in this case, but you would not claim it with such clearly if you didn’t think you knew.

Thirdly you write:

“Do I know what your motives are? No, I only know that they are less than pure.”

Did you really mean to say that? Read it slowly to yourself and see if it doesn’t strike you as self-contradictory.

Let me read it to you:

***Do I know what you motive are? - NO!

I know that you motives are. - LESS THAN PURE!***

As for the use of “Flaccid” to describe our anonymous friend – I can’t fathom what you are talking about. I do see a connection between the words flaccid, petered out, and impotent, they all describe our Anonymous friend’s positions. Anything beyond that connection is “clearly” in your mind.

I gave you my reasons for naming Flaccid, Flaccid. I am not conflicted at all! I guess that “conflict” must be in your mind.

Rumpole said...

Lysis,

Answers to your questions, in no particular order:

You post: “Explain to me first what the difference between “know why you really use the term . . .” and “it is clear that your assertion as to why you use the term . . .” How can you make such a claim of clarity without claiming to know something? You surely do claim something that is not true in this case, but you would not claim it with such clearly if you didn’t think you knew.”

Such a claim of clarity without knowing your intention is easily made. As I have already posted, you have been very descriptive with your writing surrounding the use of your term “Flaccid”. Those descriptions belie all of your definitions of the term. No where else in any of your postings have you been so “descriptive.”

As I have posted, your writing clearly speaks that what you suggest “Flaccid” means verses what you intend it to mean are not the same. Beyond that, I make no claim. I have no crystal ball. You are certainly far wiser than I am, and I would not pretend to know what your intentions are. I am, however, more than willing to point out inconsistency.

As to your “milk drinker” motives, you post: “So do you now declare you believe they are less than pure, or do you know that they are less than pure and therefore have no deed to believe in it? If the former you are surely proclaim you belief; if the latter you surely have a position on my motives, do you not?”

My claims as to your motives per your use of “milk drinker” have never varied, and they have always been clear. I said from the beginning that I believed your motives to be less than pure. But I do not claim to know what your motives are. I only suggest that it appears you intend more than you have addressed when you use the term “milk drinker”, and the intention is not pure.

As to what those motives are, I have no idea. You are certainly far wiser than I am. Please, enlighten me.

I did mean to write exactly what I have written as to your motives. In effect, you attempt to connect direction (motives aren’t pure), if you will, to destination (knowledge of those motives). Certainly I can see that you are headed south. Does that mean that I know you are going to Provo? Are not Albuquerque, Phoenix, or Los Angeles just as possible?

Finally, if I have made a connection to another denotation of Flaccid that you never intended, I certainly apologize. I must have stretched far beyond your intentions when I read your descriptive terms as to “Flaccid’s” positions. It is strange, though, that those terms appear no where else in your writing. Oh well, my mistake!

MindMechanic said...

I will be glad when this thread is over. Talk about no meat! ;-) I dont think there is much reception to conversation on this thread.

I am fine with people choosing to not attend Sunday School. I wish more would then would attend and distract others with their Soduku puzzles. I do (as a Sunday School president) get a LITTLE bugged when I have parents of teens that hang out in the halls and then wonder why their own little angels dont attend Sunday School. But only a little. Its not my choice. It has zero impact on my happiness, quality of life, or eternal salvation.

I think their probably would not be much of a conversation here were it not for the labels.

Lysis...I believe whether you intend it or not, your use of the label "milk drinkers" applied to all who attend Sunday School is at least taken by others as an attack...one they in turn feel the need to defend. Which again...isnt YOUR problem or fault...they (we) have to decide to take it personally or internalize it.

I do think your position is just a teensy bit unrealistic. You yourself say that there is a correct environment for the dispension and gnawing of meat in your high pries group. Outstanding...every thing to its place.

Gospel Doctrine class is a place...well...to discuss Gospel Doctrine. There is plenty of room to discuss the lessons within the confines of lesson. Surely as a teacher, you know how difficult it is to teach lessons when class members want to take your class on a journey not meant at the time to be travelled.

I loved Cal Harris. As an AP History teacher he built into his weekly class schedule times for discussion that were departures from the lessons. It encouraged great opportunites for evaluating the different sides of historical events.

My recollection is that you have attended several classes and lectures that DO preovide for you the opportunity to study and discuss church history. Seems to me the right place, and the right time.

I agree with you, Lysis. If you can't see a value in attending Gospel Doctrine classes and discussing the meat of the scriptures, you absolutely should not attend.

MindMechanic said...

I will be glad when this thread is over. Talk about no meat! ;-) I dont think there is much reception to conversation on this thread.

I am fine with people choosing to not attend Sunday School. I wish more would then would attend and distract others with their Soduku puzzles. I do (as a Sunday School president) get a LITTLE bugged when I have parents of teens that hang out in the halls and then wonder why their own little angels dont attend Sunday School. But only a little. Its not my choice. It has zero impact on my happiness, quality of life, or eternal salvation.

I think their probably would not be much of a conversation here were it not for the labels.

Lysis...I believe whether you intend it or not, your use of the label "milk drinkers" applied to all who attend Sunday School is at least taken by others as an attack...one they in turn feel the need to defend. Which again...isnt YOUR problem or fault...they (we) have to decide to take it personally or internalize it.

I do think your position is just a teensy bit unrealistic. You yourself say that there is a correct environment for the dispension and gnawing of meat in your high pries group. Outstanding...every thing to its place.

Gospel Doctrine class is a place...well...to discuss Gospel Doctrine. There is plenty of room to discuss the lessons within the confines of lesson. Surely as a teacher, you know how difficult it is to teach lessons when class members want to take your class on a journey not meant at the time to be travelled.

I loved Cal Harris. As an AP History teacher he built into his weekly class schedule times for discussion that were departures from the lessons. It encouraged great opportunites for evaluating the different sides of historical events.

My recollection is that you have attended several classes and lectures that DO preovide for you the opportunity to study and discuss church history. Seems to me the right place, and the right time.

I agree with you, Lysis. If you can't see a value in attending Gospel Doctrine classes and discussing the meat of the scriptures, you absolutely should not attend.

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