The Priesthood Ban – A Response to Jettboy and TT

This is a post I wrote back on March of 2012 and was originally titled “The M* Post I’ll Probably Never Post – The Priesthood Ban.” In light of the Church’s recent statement on the ban, Jettboy’s article on it, and TT’s response to M* in reaction to Jettboy’s article, I have decided to post it after all. I then added an afterward directly as a response to Jettboy’s and TT’s posts.

I was in an online conversation with a numbers of Mormon friends. The question of the priesthood ban came up. Immediately (as is to be expected) there was an eruption of competing explanations offered. I wanted to give my two cents on these explanations and explain why none of them work for me.

First, let’s remember that the LDS Church’s official teachings (as comes from the Church leaders) is that we do not know why the priesthood ban existed. So anything I say is pure speculation and should be taken that way. Indeed, in my opinion everyone that insists on publicly speculating – including myself – should be publically flogged. Continue reading

The “Open Letter” to the Prophet of the Mormon Church

LetterAndrew Ainsworth on his Facebook page had a link to something called “An open letter to President Thomas S. Monson: Prophet of the Mormon Church.” Andrew adds, “Hoping this will lead to positive results.”

If what Andrew is hoping for is further dialogue on the subjects the letter brings up, then I’m about to give him some (small) positive results. However, I’m going to make the case that this letter is more destructive then constructive and that Andrew is wrong to support it.

I am not going to link to the letter because, frankly, I don’t want to raise its Google ranking. But it’s easy enough to find if you’re curious. I am going to analyze this letter and ask some question and encourage comments. I am going to make the case that this letter is being specifically written from (and can only be read as) a non-believing view point and that it is primarily a stunt at anti-Mormon publicity rather than a serious attempt to resolve the problems it outlines. I will do this by outlinging the specific claims the letter makes and making brief comments. Possible extended future points for discussion will be mentioned.

Who Is Writing this Letter?

The letter claims it represents “We are a part of a community of thousands of current and former members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Continue reading

Introduction to Computational Theory: Areas of Research

A Turing MachineIn my last post I started explaining the theory of computation, starting with its central principle: The Church-Turing Thesis. In this post, I’m going to explain several areas of research in computational theory that, as per the Church-Turing Thesis, are based on the realization that all (full featured) computers are equivalent.

Turing Machines as Simplified Computers

Since Turing Machines are known to be equivalent in expressive power to modern computers, it turns out this means that Turing Machines can serve as a very simplified version of a modern computer — or any conceivable computer!

This makes Turing Machines quite useful for exploration of the Theory of Computation. Mathematicians have been able to come up with ‘programs’ written for Turing machines and then – because Turing Machines are so simple – come up with consistent ways of how to measure how fast the program runs given any number of inputs. Continue reading

An Introduction to the Theory of Computation: The Church-Turing Thesis

A Turing MachineOne scientific/philosophical point that all three of my favourite authors loved to delve into was Computational Theory and, in particular, something called “The Church-Turing Thesis” and it’s related thesis: The Turing Principle [1]

I remember, back when I was working on my computer science degree, studying about Turing machines and the Church-Turing Thesis in my Intro to Computational Theory class. Back then I thought it was a big waste of time. I just wanted to program computers and I could care less about this long dead Turing-guy (or this Church-guy) nor his stupid theoretical machines.

Now that I understand the philosophical ramifications of the Church-Turing Thesis, I wish I had paid attention in class!  Because the Church-Turing Thesis, if true, has some profound philosophical ramifications and it might also tell us something about the deep — and special — nature of reality.

In a series of posts I will attempt to do a short summary of Computational Theory. This serves as the basis for many other topics to come, so it will be nice to have a series of posts I can easily reference back to. (I’ll also do a summary at the end if I get that far.) I’ll do my best to make it as easy as possible and as interesting as possible. But if this just isn’t your cup of tea, you may need to move on or just skim it for general ideas or wait for the quick summary. [2] Continue reading

Morally Demanding of Others That Which We Will Not Give

I wrote a post once encouraging people to think carefully before they use deception as a way of dealing with the potential problems that arise from having reinterpreted one’s faith in the LDS Church. I gave several examples of the types of deceptions that I’ve seen. I, myself, have been personally hurt by such deceptions. For example:

  • Technically, they believe the Book of Mormon is “inspired” because “inspired” means something more nuanced than what most believers mean [e.g. “inspired just means it teaches good things.”]
  • Technically they believe Joseph Smith is a prophet, because a prophet is something more broad than most believers understand [e.g. “prophet” is what we call the leader of our Church. Or maybe a “prophet” is someone that teaches at least some good moral principles..]
  • Technically they believe the church is “true” in the sense that… [e.g. The church is “true” because all religions that teach good ethics are “true” because religion is really just about teaching ethics. There isn’t really a God.] Continue reading