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1
General Discussion / Re: Current Events - US Politics Edition
« Last post by pnr on Today at 10:56:23 am »
NEW question:

In July 2019 "Will Hunter Biden Jeopardize His Father’s Campaign" became a political topic.   See https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/07/08/will-hunter-biden-jeopardize-his-fathers-campaign   Apparently the gist is that Mr. Biden sat on the board of directors of a Ukrainian gas company possibly run by Russians from 2014 when corruption in Ukraine was a big issue.  Details below if you care to read it. 

 My question is whether there would be something wrong with a President asking a new Ukrainian leader who was bent on fixing corruption to take another look at something that had, to that point, not apparently been fully vetted?   Assuming for the purpose of this discussion that the President had something to gain from the investigation, do we quit investigating things that deserve investigation because of that?   Isn't one of the main complaints in US Politics at the moment that there is bias in investigations such that one party always gets a pass at doing the same things they want to kill the other party for doing?


Quote
On April 18, 2014, Burisma Holdings announced Biden's appointment to its board of directors in a press release.[17] Burisma is the largest non-governmental gas producer in Ukraine; it was incorporated in 2006 and is based in Limassol, Cyprus – a European tax haven.[18][19] ... Hunter Biden stepped down from the board when his term expired in April 2019.[26]

Hunter Biden's father, Vice-President Joe Biden, traveled to Kiev on April 22, 2014, and urged the Ukraine government "... to reduce its dependence on Russia for supplies of natural gas."[27] And he discussed how the United States could help provide technical expertise for expanding domestic production of natural gas.[28] A major theme of this diplomatic mission was to reduce corruption by reducing Russian influence.[29] Some critics[who?] accuse the United States of maneuvering the Ukraine situation so that Western oil companies have unfettered access to Ukraine's shale gas reserves. With the revelation that Hunter Biden was serving on the board of the Ukrainian company Burisma, many[who?] raised concerns about Hunter Biden's interests conflicting with official US government positions. The White House dismissed nepotism accusations against Biden's son.[30][31] But the director of the US-Ukraine Business Council, Morgan Williams, pointed to an "American tradition that frowns on close family members of government working for organizations with business links to active politics". Williams stated Biden appeared to have violated this unwritten principle: "... when you're trying to keep the political sector separate from the business sector, and reduce corruption, then it's not just about holding down corruption, it's also the appearance."[32] Despite any specific evidence to indicate malfeasance, the father/son relationship was used by opponents of Biden to undermine his anti-corruption message at the time.[29]

Viktor Shokin was the Ukrainian Prosecutor General at the time of the visit. He had been suspected of ties to Russian and of abusing his position by not prosecuting corruption in Ukraine. Joe Biden threatened to withhold $1 billion of loan guarantees if President Petro Poroshenko did not fire the Prosecutor General Shokin. Biden later bragged about the success of this tactic at a January, 2018, speaking event.[33] In an interview with the Ukrainian website Strana.ua, Shokin said that at the time in 2014 he had an active case to prosecute corruption in Burisma Holdings.[34] However, Vitaliy Kasko, who had been Shokin’s deputy overseeing international cooperation before resigning in February 2016 citing corruption in the office, provided documents to Bloomberg News indicating that under Shokin, the investigation into Burisma had been dormant.[35] Ukraine's parliament voted to remove Shokin from office on March 29, 2016.[36][37][38][39]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunter_Biden
2
General Discussion / Re: Current Events - US Politics Edition
« Last post by pnr on Today at 10:42:27 am »
Quote
I'm struggling with the experience of seeing people working in the temple who engage in illegal and predatory business practices which bilk taxpayers out of millions of dollars. I'm struggling with the knowledge that a stake president hires undocumented workers so he can pay them half of minimum wage, knowing that they won't make a fuss for fear of being deported.

I think that members are responsible to do the following things when they see the above:  1) Pray for the person, and those impacted.  Pray to know what to do.  2) Go to the person and express their concern about what is happening and invite them to quit it.  (I wouldn't threaten them.  It would be more like, this appears to violate basic commandments and wrong morally anyway.   It isn't what a Saint does, and every one of your victims is having a harder time believing in Jesus Christ because of the bad example.  Please stop it.")  Tell them they need to pay their workers minimum wages whether they are in a position or not to complain, etc.  Follow that up with a written confirmation of what you discussed.  3)  Go to your bishop or to their bishop and tell them whatever you know first hand (including your own written, even notarized, list of the facts.  4)  Report the activity to the legal authorities and/or help the victims.  (That might including meeting with those who are being paid substandard wages what their rights are and how to keep good records so they can get the state dept of labor to enforce full payment.  And that a prosecutor can prevent witnesses from being deported in situations where their testimony is needed --- maybe you could even meet with local prosecutors  or advocates to learn how that process works so you can share it all with them).   

It is true that even when you feel like you are inspired to do any or all of these things, bishops can refuse or members can attack or any number of other things.   But part of that is because so few members will do anything about it except talk about it behind closed doors.  It is important to confront evil.
3
General Discussion / Re: Current Events - US Politics Edition
« Last post by Roper on Today at 03:24:45 am »
I shouldn't be so negative. The brothers and sisters here in my largely "country" ward are among the most humble, welcoming, and serving saints I have ever known. In the two years we've been here, our lives have been richly blessed by the members here. Wheat and tares, I suppose...
4
Doctrines & Scholarship / Re: Gathering
« Last post by Taalcon on September 20, 2019, 12:03:07 pm »
Andrew, thank you. That ... means a great deal to me.

Our own personalities and perspectives and drives lead us to the insights (and the people) we need. This is how I express -and even fight for- my own faith. And that includes listening to and learning from your perspectives and insights, too.
5
Doctrines & Scholarship / Re: Gathering
« Last post by AndrewR on September 20, 2019, 10:58:56 am »
Taalcon,

You never cease to amaze me. I have been a member almost my entire life. With the benefit of parents who studied, learned, and then taught me. I have read quite a bit, and pondered too.

However, the level to which you consider things like this are truly inspiring. I should do half of what you do, and if I did would be a better person for it. But I guess there is a complacency in my religiousness that leaves me happy to not worry - and I am not sure that is a good thing.

Thanks for giving me the chance to think about things I would not have even realised needed thinking about.
6
General Discussion / Re: Current Events - US Politics Edition
« Last post by dyany on September 20, 2019, 10:48:12 am »
Roper, I have to agree with you.  I noticed the same thing when I moved from Oklahoma--where I had attended multiple wards--to Idaho. I think part of the reason is that out there, especially in the Bible belt, you get a LOT of opposition (can't tell you how many times through high school and even college where I and other LDS members were told we were going to hell for being Mormon).  We were a minority and had to travel and sacrifice to attend church activities, and interactions with other members outside of church activities were rare. ZERO reasons outside of actual belief and faith to profess the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints faith.  But up here, even the singles only had to travel a few blocks to attend church, they had not only their own WARDS, but an entire STAKE, and huge dances every single week.  There are TONS of reasons OUTSIDE of faith to profess being LDS--tradition, social inclusion, even financial and political clout in some circles. So the weaker members were absolutely not 'weeded out' and in fact learned how to be even more hypocritical to get the social/financial/political benefits of being LDS while not remotely believing.
You don't have that in the 'mission field.'  It doesn't exist because it CAN'T.  The less active numbers in the 'mission field' are undoubtedly higher, but for good reason.  In the jello belt, for those struggling with faith, the external reasons to go may be enough to help them over the hurdles and rekindle the flame.  But for those who already have a testimony but have other needs that only real, faithful members can meet, the hypocrisy and unChristlike behavior can be a terrible storm to weather.
7
Doctrines & Scholarship / Re: Gathering
« Last post by Taalcon on September 20, 2019, 10:40:16 am »
So I started (yet another!) re-read of The Book of Mormon, and something hit me following reading through 1 Nephi 15.

In the 19th Century, while many had theories of Native Americans being descendants of Lost Israelite Tribes, and others viewed them as being simply Unreachable Pagans, the Book of Mormon suggested a different nuanced approach:

No, they're not one of the Lost Tribes, but! They do have an ancestral connection to the Sacred Ancient Divine Covenant, and suggested they were also gifted with the Gospel. They aren't an artifact, they were and are part of your people. And the mission isn't to discard them, or to bring them something Completely New, but to awaken their ancestral memory, and to fulfill the covenant that was given. Restore to them what was is rightfully there, and make them once again part of "us".

It was a unique moment in U.S. history that gave that perspective traction, and a physical symbol of the idea that I think was a type of the general principle that was the ultimate intent, and would only come to be revealed later as additional theological understanding folded out:

Every human on earth, no matter what society, culture, or tradition they have been a part of, ultimately are individuals who had a primordial covenant with God that we seek to rekindle. The Book of Mormon talks about a branch cut off from Israel, who went on to get more. Those are stories and symbols very much on the mind of the generally religious minded, and easy to grasp, and follow geographically through a story. Certain passages in the Book of Mormon even raised the question (without answering in specifics) what other specific cultures in the past rose with a legitimate connection to God's Covenant that needed to be discovered and rekindled? What are other nations thought of as being "others" but are really part of the same "family" as you, but just don't know it yet?

But the ultimate truth, perhaps, would be to guide minds to accept that all of us began as part of God's Covenant Eternal Family. That nobody is of a line or lineage that was completely separate from the full covenants and needed to be brought in out of nowhere, or are just inherently lost, or inherently 'pagan' or 'other'.

No matter what the line the human cultures took, even if there is absolutely zero way to trace any actual connection with Ancient Israel or Christianity at any point in their development, because they are human, the perspective is that all should be seen as part of the covenant people who just need to be 'reconnected' and made aware of their connection to the Eternal Family.

We're all Covenant Children of God. And the gathering is ultimately of that divine family. Ancient Israel and Nephites are helpful framework stories to help us get the general concept. But in the scheme of things, they are just that - a smaller framework to help us understand and grasp something far wider.

The gathering of Israel is the story we tell to help lead us to the gathering of humanity. The Book of Mormon participates in helping  us made the connection for seemingly otherwise disparate nations and communities to see them as part of the story. It elevates our perspective, and helps us be more receptive to seeing the Bigger Picture.

All are alike unto God. It's the gathering of humanity as one family.

This perspective helps me understand the role of the Book of Mormon a little better in terms of its role in "gathering Israel" - it is an important step along the way in expanding our view of humanity, and being open to see potential covenant people of God EVERYWHERE.

This is taught in general by Paul, but the Book of Mormon was for Christians who, millennia later, still didn't get it, and kept wanting to establish boundaries and 'others'.

Unfortunately, even many who HAD the Book of Mormon eventually used it to perpetuate this idea rather than to see its ultimate message that clearly taught against it.

Steps forward, steps backward, steps forward, etc. Line upon line.
8
General Discussion / Re: Current Events - US Politics Edition
« Last post by Roper on September 20, 2019, 09:19:10 am »
What you say is accurate but true everywhere - not just ‘happy valley’.
Perhaps I didn't notice it as much when we lived in Texas because we lived in a small branch for most of the time. The brothers and sisters there seemed to conduct themselves in harmony with their professed convictions. Maybe the hypocrisy is more noticeable here because almost everyone is a member.
9
General Discussion / Re: Current Events - US Politics Edition
« Last post by JLM on September 20, 2019, 12:22:06 am »
Given all the affinity fraud in the church, I'm more wary of business offers from other members than non-members. But if anything is an excommunicable offence, AF shoud be.
10
General Discussion / Re: Current Events - US Politics Edition
« Last post by Palmon on September 19, 2019, 11:48:23 pm »
What you say is accurate but true everywhere - not just ‘happy valley’. The first time I came across saints not behaving saintly wasn’t in Utah but was just as shocking.  I read somewhere saints are just ordinary people unless they are truly converted and then they are amazing. I’d extend that to saints who don’t belong to our church, too.

And that is probably what it will take to change the world - a true conversion.
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Re: Current Events - US Politics Edition by pnr
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Re: Gathering by AndrewR
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