Episode 195: April 2012 General Conference Sunday Sessions

18 comments on “Episode 195: April 2012 General Conference Sunday Sessions”

  1. jackrodwell Reply

    couple things
    julie becks hair wasnt “brushed to perfection”

    but mormons did not shy away from the doctrine when the world spotlight is white hot on them.  they said , whatever people think be damned, we are not just gonna try and fit in with mainstream christianity we are gonna talk about elohim, the pre existance, jehova , forever families , becoming a god “returning to the presence of our heavenly father blah bllah “and all other strange doctrine that makes us unique.  

    praise to the man!

    • Chaste_and_Benevolent Reply

      I can’t critique Sister Beck’s hair, but I don’t think that all the speakers upheld Mormon doctrine. Russell M. Nelson came pretty darn close to repudiating it.

      He suggested that the human body’s complexity indicates that God designed it. Maybe this was intended as a shot at evolution. Maybe it wasn’t. But hasn’t Mormonism always explicitly rejected this argument?   

      By my understanding of Mormonism, God frames human bodies according to the design of his own body, which he received from his own heavenly parents. And so on back into infinity. The human body was never designed. Its form is one of the many things — such as matter, energy, time, intelligence, and at least some natural and moral laws — that has always existed.

      Kinda surprising to hear the intelligent design argument at General Conference.

      • Hermes Reply

        Nice point.  I understood the gospel this way too, back in the day.  The eternity of godhood (and its attributes) in the general means that no specific instance of it is original.  (Our god is one of many: there is no god of all the gods, only a godhood which they all share the way ancient Platonists all shared the Forms.)

  2. Heather_ME Reply

    John, I disagree with what you said about psychologists…. if it were a serious comment.

    • johnmormonexpression Reply

       It is half joking half serious. Mostly aimed at talk therapists. I generally believe that people will take the choice that gives them the greatest financial reward. 🙂

      When you have a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail.

      • Jean Bodie Reply

        Therapists and counselors have their own biases and no matter how hard they might try, that bias definitely shows. My son is getting his masters in psychology and he still cannot have a conversation with me about my disbelief because it challenges his own.

        I’m only commenting once; not going to comment on each segment but these are some of the things I noted.

        Sing songy voices are not limited to women. Listen to
        Russell Nelson’s talk from Sunday – OMG! I really felt like I was in primary, and his ridiculous analogy gets a major fail.I think that the GA’s ARE faking when they turn on those crocodile tears and I find it terribly manipulative; particularly Eyring and Holland.

        There are plenty of atheists who are organizing to help the needy but many of them do not have the financial backing that the churches enjoy.

        It takes $5 billion to build a mall. Put that into the hands of a caring group of people, no matter what their religious beliefs are, and so much good could be done. There are atheist NGO’s who are working their butts off to help the poor and needy; doctors and dentists in organizations like, Doctors Without Borders etc. who do wonderful work. I am insulted as a human being that the speakers in conference would imply that secularism is an enemy to goodness and altruism – it is not!

        A good summary of the proceedings of conference guys; I’d rather listen to you than them, but I did listen to some of their talks – yawn vs. angry.

        • Heather_ME Reply

           I agree with you Jean.  However, the organizations you mentioned do not do their work under the banner of atheism…. which is what I wish I’d see more of.  (And, it’s possible I’ve just overlooked them.)  Here is an example of what I was talking about:

          I listen to a lot of talk radio & podcasts at work.  Some of what I listen to is Evangelical Christian talk.  At Christmas time a local Evangelical group was supporting a program where you fill a shoebox full of goodies/gifts and donate it to an organization that gives the shoeboxes to destitute children all over the world.  It’s supposedly the only Christmas gift these kids get.  They go to places like Russia, South America, etc etc.  Anyway, if you participate in this program, you are also supposed to write your “testimony” in a letter to the child.  The Evangelicals aren’t just sending nice Christmas gifts.  Their main purpose is to attempt to convert these kids to Christianity.  That’s why you’re supposed to write the letter.  They were very adamant that… while the gifts were nice… it was really the attempt to “win someone to Christ” that was motivating the program.  I looked all over the internet for something similar being done by atheists.  I found nothing.  Are there secular ways of giving?  Yes.  Of course.  But I couldn’t find one single Christmas charity program run specifically under the auspices of atheism.

          I’ve decided that I’m going to participate in the Evangelical shoe box program next Christmas.  And I’m going to include a letter.  In it I will tell the child that I sent the gifts because I wanted to share in the joy of human celebration, rather than having an ulterior motive to convince the child to believe in something that isn’t true.  I’ll say that there are good people all over the world that care about them and wants them to have happy successful lives.  I’ll write in the letter that one need not be a believer to be a good person and that I hope the child grows up looking for peace and respect with everyone, rather than drawing distinctions about who is a good person and who is a bad person based on whether or not they believe in a creator.

          Something tells me that my letter won’t make it to that child.  Also, something is telling me that I should get off my ass and start an atheist charity drive of my own, instead of bitching about the fact that I can’t find one.  haha.

          • Luis Serna

            Wow, Evangelical Christian talk.  I guess if it gets the blood boiling, then it can turn into action. 

            I can understand the desire to change the image of athiests (i.e., humanists are humanitarians).  While not exclusively secular, I think most international aid organizations (e.g., Oxfam, ActionAid, CARE, UNICEF) consider themselves secular.  Also, if you don’t know about KIVA (very cool), they have an an Athiest group that makes direct international microfinance loans. http://www.kiva.org/team/atheists

          • Christopher Allman

            Heather, as always, I enjoy your comments on the show and online. 
            However, I disagree  with your desire for atheists to help the poor and needy….well, maybe disagree isn’t exactly the right word…I believe that religion gives life meaning in a way Atheism does not.  With a few notable exceptions,   most Atheists do not look to their lack of belief as a source of meaning, identity or a place to direct their passions anymore so than our disbelief in Krishna or Santa Clause serves a rallying cry for you or me.In addition, the intellectual free spiritedness that often leads to one becoming an Atheist generally makes one disinterested in rallying under any sort of banner, be it patriotism, school pride or otherwise.But even those who do have a desire to rally under banners and/or have a strong passion to help the poor and needy have no need to do it under the banner of Atheism, they will just do it under its own banner.  If they want to help the poor and needy they will join a group that is solely dedicated to that cause, such as the NGOs mentioned by Jean. Often, to bring in their Atheism to their activism or charity would be irrelevant to the issue and needlessly alienating.Generally, those Atheists who do like to gather and commune with other Atheists generally do so for social and intellectual reasons. So even if they were all charitable people, their charity would be in a different realm of their lives, in the same way the philosophy club I am part of doesn’t go and do charity under the banner of philosophy. I think the closest thing to the sort of organization you seek would be the Peace Corp or Americorp. While they don’t necessarily operate under the banner of Atheism, as arms of the Government they do operate under a sort of banner of secularism. 

          • Christopher Allman

            @Heather_ME:disqus Although, I do think I agree with you in one aspect. I would imagine that a significant motivation for religions to do charity work is for their image, as a way to prosylite. I know it has an impact on me when I see a religious organization doing good. While I don’t believe image/proselytizing is the sole motivation for religious Charity, I suspect it is significant. 
            In that regard, I can see how it would be good for Atheists to do more charitable work, to show the world that Atheists are good people who care, with the hope of opening their eyes up to the value of Atheism…
            But then again, I don’t think most Atheists feel that same missionary zeal about atheism that the religious do. While I do enjoy hearing friends have become disbelievers so we can relate better, I have no desire to go promote my Atheism. I love religion and I often miss my believe in the divine, so while I would like to help bolster the image of Atheists, I (and I suspect many like me)  simply don’t have enough passion about Atheism to devote hours of labor as a way to proselyte and advance an image. Although I do have enough passion to dedicate hours of hard work to help people,  I feel that making it  about Atheism, or any agenda cheapens it in a sense. I want the charity to be more pure. So….while I began this comment as a point of agreement, I ended up talking myself out of it by the end and it is now another point of disagreement! But I still think you are great! Definitely one of my favorite panelists!

        • Hermes Reply

          Jean, you were listening to Primary.  That is pretty much the only program the new church has retained (since it decided that its history and doctrine cannot bear scrutiny by rational adults).

          • Hermes

            I kept waiting for Nelson to interrupt his talk to offer us cereal cups or a bathroom break.

      • Chaste_and_Benevolent Reply

        I agree that “when you have a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail.” Of course, some of those things really ARE nails. And some of those people with hammers want to accomplish something worthwhile by driving the nails where they belong, and not simply to get paid for endlessly swinging the hammers.

        I also agree that people will generally choose the course of action that gives them the greatest financial reward. After all, financial rewards meant to be incentives. But they don’t work very well in isolation from other incentives, which might include things like achieving personal fulfillment, satisfying a desire to help others, having fun, and — in some cases — staying out of jail. That’s the difference between Steve Jobs and Bernie Madoff.

  3. Marissa Paolacci Reply

    In regards to Ballard’s second session talk: If strong commitment to family and “family values” leads to wealth and stability, it is odd that Europe, which seems to lead the world in disregarding traditional family values,  continues to prosper in a variety of ways (the current,  financial  not withstanding  ) while much of South America with a commitment to traditional family values that rivals or exceeds that of the Church continues to struggle in a variety of ways.

  4. Christopher Allman Reply

    In regards to Ballard’s second session talk: If strong commitment to family and “family values” leads to wealth and stability, it is odd that Europe, which seems to lead the world in disregarding traditional family values,  continues to prosper in a variety of ways (the current,  financial  not withstanding  ) while much of South America with a commitment to traditional family values that rivals or exceeds that of the Church continues to struggle in a variety of ways.

  5. MDKMW Reply

    Thank you for saying something, Heather. Although I’m not sure John was serious, as a therapist and counselor by trade, I feel the need to stand up for my profession. Yes it is true that there are plenty of people who create problems that they alone can fix. That goes for counselors as well as a significant chunk of the self-help professions. And your red flags should always be raised when you see that. 
    But there are tons of counselors out there that are client-centered. Which means they are trained to work with a client from the client’s perspective. Although I am no longer a believer, I could easily work with a believer and support them in their world view. Bias exists for all of us. It’s the awareness of their personal bias that makes a really good counselor. 

    I’m loving these conference reviews. Thank you for helping me to know what was said without actually having to listen to it.

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