Welcome to the first blog edition of Rob’s Take. Rob’s Take first started when as a college student and still living at home, I shared a bedroom with my younger brother and would stay up late providing my opinion on various subjects like BYU football, Ross Perot, what girls like, who would in fight anaconda vs crocodile, things like this. These takes were neither super informed or super welcomed, but I had a captive audience and an opinion, just like I do now.

I liked this recent blog post from Rosalynde Welch on LDS patriarchy and the state of female equality in the Church. I like the style of working from within as a faithful LDS, appreciating the good, but also pointing out areas that need change.

I’ve been critical of Tad Callister’s Book of Mormon apologetics recently, but I liked this video and discussed this in a facebook post here. I would like to see a shift in BOM apologetics to move away from focus on historicity and instead a focus on the complexity, doctrinal profundity, and spiritual power of the text.

Elder Ballard, speaking to future mission presidents in the MTC, talked about the problems that are caused by baptizing investigators too early and said.

Church leaders don’t know where these practices began, but “it was never our intention to invite people to be baptized before they had learned something about the gospel, felt the Holy Ghost, and had been properly prepared to accept a lifelong commitment to follow Jesus Christ,”

Some Exmormons on social media are feeling gaslighted over this. Gaslighting is the newest pop psychology term coined from the movie with same title where someone is intentionally made to feel crazy by another who talks and acts in a way that makes them question reality.

This is not gaslighting, in any shape or form. Ballard is 1) not talking to Exmormons, he’s talking to future mission presidents 2) he is not denying that the Church is responsible for the practice, he’s simply stating he doesn’t know where it began, likely to create an ease for his audience that it’s OK to change this policy without a revelation or other formal action. 3) even if he were, it would require a little bit higher threshold to accuse him of gaslighting. Come on, people. No one is trying to make you crazy.

It’s tough for the church to make progress. Any time we change anything, the first question is “why didn’t you have it right earlier? does that mean revelation can’t be trusted?” So, the church has an extremely hard time making any change. These announcements are unfortunately going to be awkward and likely have some elements that feel manipulative. I think it’s important for progressive, faithful members to try to adopt a positive outlook on these not a negative outlook. We want to encourage more change like this, not make it impossible by slamming on the church with claims of gaslighting and manipulation every time they try to change something.

There was an interesting survey on BCC on BOM historicity. Is it theologically necessary for the Book of Mormon to describe actual, objective history for it to be divine in origin? With 696 votes currently, votes for No won 59% to 41%. I would vote yes if by “divine origin” you equate that to traditional views of Joseph as the prophet of God’s one, true church restored from the original. I would vote no if by “divine origin” you can allow that it is a human production but that during the creative process, the author intersected and was influenced by the divine. That describes how I view it.

This blog post from Jeff Lindsay was interesting. Here, he criticizes Robin Jensen and Brian Hauglid for taking too liberal of an approach with Book of Abraham translation apologetics, conceding too much ground to critics. This is a part of a larger dynamic of discussion between conservative LDS scholars who would take a fundamentalistic, literal view and more moderate LDS scholars who take a more modern approach. What I find most interesting and promising for the church’s future, is that 30 years ago the conservatives were fully aligned with the church and the moderates were being labeled apostate and facing excommunication. Things have changed. The moderates here now are representing the Church in official capacity. The conservatives are frustrated with their positions being pushed out into the fringe and with the Church adopting the position of the moderates.

Listened to a lot of the Jared Lusk podcast series with John Dehlin on Mormon Stories. Another great family that left the church. Jared was facing excommunication for some things he’s been posting on facebook. The outcome was that he was disfellowshipped. That’s a new one. Usually these have ended with excommunication or no action. I wish there were no courts and no punishments, but this is a better outcome. The Church gets to mark someone as someone that doesn’t represent the church and the individual is not excommunicated. I saw a rumor that there has been recent leadership training from Salt Lake to stake presidents that that is an intentional direction.

My wife was released after four years as Gospel Doctrine teacher. That was really fun for us.

I’ve now been “out” attaching my real name to my facebook profile for a few months with still no crossover between real life and internet life. I’ve been promising/threatening a podcast for more than six months now. It’s in the works but not ready for prime time yet. I will start out with 10-12 episodes that will be kind of like an audio book of the entire churchistrue paradigm.

I was going for Lebron when he joined the Lakers, hoping he could create a super team that could knock off the evil Warriors. But now with the Warriors falling apart and especially if they create their own super team with Kawhi, the Lakers will be back in the villian role where they belong. I’m excited to see how the Jazz will look with all these changes.

I’ve been opting for Audible books instead of Mormon podcasts lately. I’ve always felt lacking in not having read the classics, so I’ve been doing some of those. I loved Steinbeck’s East of Eden last year and just finished Cannery Row. Loved it. I tried Faulkner. That was torture. I might try Hemingway next. Loved Anna Karenina. Loved Dostoyevsky’s Brothers Karamazov and Crime and Punishment. Trying The Idiot now and it’s been hard to get started. Any suggestions?

Women’s world cup has been fun to watch. Let’s go beat Netherlands.