Minimalistic

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I made a comment over at another blog regarding President Hinckley’s challenge. Someone got ruffled by it and stated the following. Since there have been 45 comments since mine and it’s been nearly a day, I thought I’d post my response here instead of threadjacking.

…your determination to popularize the view that President Hinckley has not asked us to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year rests on an extremely minimalistic and legalistic reading of his words.

After two and a half years, it seems my real-life reputation for semantics has finally caught up to my Bloggernacle reputation. It sure is nice to be recognised, even if it is with such an obvious statement. I think my new motto should be: superfluousness is for the birds.

Oh, and for the record, I am not sure I’d go so far as to say that commenting a month apart on two different blogs on this topic qualifies as determination. Okay. I concede. It may have been three blogs. I haven’t been keeping track. It wouldn’t be the first topic I’ve commented two or three times about. Perhaps this one must be unique.

14 thoughts on “Minimalistic

  1. Kim, seriously when are you going to get it through your head that it doesn’t matter what the prophet says

    …it’s what the members hear.

    How many other times have you gotten into a discussion (on let’s say the consumption of Coke for instance) where what the prophets have said and what the members do, are two completely different things.

    The problem here is that you have listened to what the prophet said, but most people are just running with the pack and going along with an assumption some – probably the majority of – people have made.

  2. Actually, Kim, I was following that thread and was wondering what your response would be. The letter from the First Presidency seemed pretty unambiguous to me. You’re still not convinced?

  3. The letter stated that the August Ensign stated that we were challenged to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year. I still do not see where in the first presidency message in August where it states that President Hinckley is challenging us to read by the end of the year. The closest I saw was right after the challenge where he said if we read 1.5 chapters per day, we could finish it by the end of the year.

    But, all President Hinckley says is from God (D&C 1:38), and is scripture (D7C 68:4). Since the first presidency interprets scripture for us, perhaps I’ll just go along for the ride.

  4. While I agree that the Ensign message does not explicitly challenge us to finish it by the end of the year, the letter from the First Presidency says that it does.

    To me, that means there are two possibilities: (1) Pres. Hinckley (or the editor/ghostwriter) made a mistake in the original Ensign article or (2) most people interpreted it as a challenge so eventually the First Presidency went along with it.

    Either way, the point is that the First Presidency has challenged us via their letter, which clarifies and changes our previous interpretation of the Ensign article. I understand that you don’t want to sacrifice your previously planned personal study, so don’t. A challenge is just a challenge. It’s not a sin to not read the BOM before the end of the year.

    It doesn’t matter much to me, anyway, as I have many, many other things in my reading queue.

  5. Hmmm, this reminds me of the whole earring and tattoo uproar. The word the Prophet chose to use was that the first presidency “discourages” multiple piercings and tattoos. I don’t see them “discouraging” drugs and alchohol or adultry….so I would say it’s not technically a commandment.

    The Coke issue is also a good example of a misinterpretation and misguided fanaticism. Unfortunately those people who grasp so tenaciously on to these insignificant issues are the same ones doing far more grievous offenses to mankind whilst obnoxiously preaching about the evils of Coke or tattos or not reading the Book of Mormon by the end of the year. Unfortunately, many members have a heart attack when they see someone with an additional ear piercing, probably the same type of people who like to freak out about facial hair etc. It’s these kinds of people that give religious obedience a bad name. Very unfortunate indeed.

  6. Two questions:

    1) Does your “reputation for semantics” help or hurt your ability to be a good Elder’s quorum leader?

    2) Since most important communication, such as President Henckley’s Book of Mormon challenge, involves humans, and hence is and always will be imperfect, is it effective or ineffective to always focus on the letter of the law [message] rather than the spirit of the law [message]?

    And, it has been my observation that your obsession with precise syntax has resulted in the need for your wife to frequently provide defensive explanations on your behalf. Perhaps this is an image you may want to change, but then again maybe not.

  7. Well, actually, Anonymous (what do people have against using their names??) I don’t “need” to come to Kim’s defense. And I don’t defend him. I explain him since there are some people who insist on misunderstanding him. And I don’t do it that often.

    This is because some people are looking for some hidden message in what he says, honestly, I do NOT know why, and persist in thinking he means something completely different (or they just can’t read properly).

  8. “some people are looking for some hidden message in what he says, honestly, I do NOT know why”

    Because they’re too focused on the spirit of the law.

  9. Wait, don’t get side-tracked with Anonymous. Do you have a response to my comment? Even if GBH didn’t originally mean it to be for this year, the letter certainly now says it is for this year.

  10. After rereading my anonymous post I realize it was stated it terms much harsher that intended. For that, please accept my sincere apology. I also apologize for making use of the “easy to click” anonymous posting button. I should not be so lazy.

    The questions however still remain without substantive answers. From your point-of-view, the answers of “neither” may, at this time, be very accurate, but I would ask that you consider that those with whom you interact are the only sources available to provide accurate, realistic assessments to such questions. Would they answer “neither?” Without inquiring beyond the scope of your own perception the answers to these questions are only self-image illusions. At times it is useful to move one’s perspective beyond such a self-image. Might I be so bold as to propose that as you grow in age and in wisdom you will probably find the current point-of-view, which you so quickly and simplistically profess, will no longer prove accurate; e.g., communication with teen aged children using that approach will be completely ineffective.

    When working with silicon based communication such “precise syntax” analysis is extremely useful. However, when working with carbon based communication, such precise analysis of the messages others are trying to communicate is almost always a disaster and a deterrent to the effective exchange of ideas. It will, without qualification, be a disaster when trying to communicate with teen age children. And it is, almost always, a problem when trying to communicate with others humans, but unlike teen ages children, adults will generally not give you useful face-to-face feedback on such short comings.

    Thanks for letting me participate in the discussion.

    Best wishes and regards,
    Jon Lasser, rlasser14969@onenet.com

  11. “Might I be so bold as to propose that as you grow in age and in wisdom you will probably find the current point-of-view, which you so quickly and simplistically profess, will no longer prove accurate…”

    Holy Condescension, Batman!

    If this is the kind of advice you get on the other blogs where you post Kim, it’s no wonder that you choose to respond on your own.

    To Jon:
    “Since most important communication, such as President Henckley’s Book of Mormon challenge, involves humans, and hence is and always will be imperfect…”

    Imperfect is one thing, but just plain vague is another completely.

    I think that the statement by Pres. Hinckley was plenty vague and had lots of wiggle room. Kim is totally justified in questioning the intent.

  12. “If this is the kind of advice you get on the other blogs where you post Kim, it’s no wonder that you choose to respond on your own.”

    This is the kind of advice I’ve been getting all my adult life. It was particularly prevalent when I was running for city council. I just let it roll off my back and let people think they know more than I do.

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