Stephen Beecroft wrote:

> -Marc-
> > I believe that in general prophecies tend to be broader than just
> > one issue, and it's we members who narrow them down (all of us, or
> > most of us).
> I tend to agree with this. Interesting, then, that you wrote:
> > and Elder Nelson's words were, as far as I'm concerned, very clear
> > and unamibiguous.
> Generality of application implies some ambiguity, at least to me. I'm
> curious what you thought was the specific application of Elder Nelson's
> "clear and unambiguous" words.

Then let me clarify what I mean by the two words. "General" to me doesn't mean
vague, but rather refers to scope, either time-related, geography-related,
whatever. "Not limited to time, place or person," let's say. "Ambiguous" to me
refers to the clarity of meaning. So one can have an unambiguous but general
statement. They're not easy to craft, but I believe that's how prophets prefer to
express themselves.

> > It's my personal belief that his words can be considered a
> > criticism of US foreign policy,
> His words can be considered any number of things -- a criticism of US
> foreign policy, an endorsement of expedient and necessary political
> actions, a recipe for walnut fudge. The more important question, I
> think, is what Elder Nelson actually meant. Perhaps you believe he
> intended to criticize US actions. I doubt it, but it's possible. But I'm
> still wondering what you meant when you wrote that the Saints "still
> [do] 'not get it'" after hearing his talk. I personally don't know any
> Saints, in the flesh or in cyberspace, who believe that war is generally
> a good thing; so what is it that you think the Saints don't get?

That not only war, but militarism, are not healthy options. Militarism is the
consideration of military actions before they ought to be considered, according
to the scriptures, as I read it. I think I said something similar in another
response, so I'll let it go at that.

> -Marc-
> > So, if the Economist article used emotional words, then I can take
> > what you just wrote and say, because you used an emotional word
> > like "tremendous" that you're biased,
> My charge of bias was not based on a single occurrence of a term, but
> rather on the whole tenor of the article and the slant they gave it.

But you didnt' say that. But thanks for clarifying your, er, general statement

> > and I don't have to listen to you?
> Naturally you don't. And if you do wish to listen to me, I am quite sure
> you formulate in your mind's eye a vision of what you believe my
> viewpoint (or bias) to be, in order to better understand what I write.

I happily (if admittedly, at times, somewhat impatiently) listen to you because
there's something in it for me -- you help me hone my words and craft my
arguments better, if nothing else.

> > And fwiw, I think you're giving yourself too much credit.
> The curse of the responsible. If not me, who?
> > But wait a minute. You claim to have already critiqued the
> > article. Why do you need a URL to it again?
> To review it and see if my criticisms were justified. I don't remember
> it being only a week ago, and my memory of the particulars is hazy.

It should be on the archives. If you really want me to, I'll repost it, but
because it was premium material, I have to do more than post a URL (which I don't
mind; a minor sin -- just in case y'all were labouring under the understandable
but false assumption that I'm perfect) ;-)

> -Stephen-
> > I notice you never bothered responding to my dismantling of your
> > extraordinary claim that Latter-day Saints are necessarily
> > pacifists.
> -Marc-
> > In several senses of the definition you gave. Not all of them.
> We both know that the generally-accepted and understood meaning of the
> term "pacifist" is one who rejects warfare under all circumstances.

Well, all it takes to demolish a general argument is one exception. You carefully
avoided that kind of argument, but, no, I did not have the "Quaker's" definition
in mind; I actually had in mind the definition given in D&C (134 iirc; I'd have
to look it up). "to renounce war" is definitely a pacific approach, I think we're
now just arguing over connotations. After all, Elder Nelson didn't call for a
jihad (or its English equivalent, a crusade).

> I am
> pretty sure you realized this when you wrote what you did. If you had
> another, narrower definition of "pacifist" in mind, it was incumbent
> upon you to define your terms. As I demonstrated, none of the dictionary
> definitions reasonably applied to Latter-day Saints.

I disagree. I pointed out that in your first dictionary definition, it gave 3
meanings, and I said "renounce war" was in keeping with the first 2, but not
necessarily the 3rd definition. And we can play dictionary games if you want. I
have a few I could turn to, too. But to what end? If one doesn't understand what
another says, the best approach is to ask, not throw a dictionary at him.

> > I don't mean to imply that LDS have to be conscientious objectors,
> > but we are members of a church whose official policy is to
> > proclaim peace and renounce war. That can certainly be said to be
> > a pacifist point of view.
> Not according to the dictionary.

Alright, if you insist.

My Oxford's has one definitiion:
Pacifism: the belief that war and violence are morally unjustified and that all
disputes should be settled by peaceful means.

So to renounce war would imply that we find it reprehensible, or "morally
unjustified." The only problem with this definition, I'll admit, is it's a bit
too universal by saying that "all" disputes should be settled by peaceful means.
We do know of rare exceptions as LDS.

My Houghton-Mifflin gives a set of 3 definitions very similar to the 3 your first
dictionary quote gave:

1.  The belief that  disputes between nations should and can be settled
2a. Opposition to war or violence as a means of resolving disputes
2b. Such opposition demonstrated by refusal to participate in military action.

I believe the first 2 definitions, as with your first 2, are clearly what is
meant by the admonition to "renounce war," and 2b *could* be if it's applied to
states and not individuals (I believe Elder Nelson ruled out 2b if it refers
solely to individuals).

> > As I've said several times, I dismissed his source as careless and
> > therefore biased.
> I had not yet noticed that your dismissal of his source as "biased" was
> based on its "carelessness", though I know you mentioned that from the
> beginning. Carelessness and bias are two separate and unrelated things;
> if you consider his article biased because of carelessness, then that's
> even less defensible.

You're conflating different parts of the thread. We're talking about two
different sources. Go back and read the thread about, oh, two weeks ago, when he
first posted his article wherein the author allegedly quoted Israeli
intelligence. That was the quote I was referring to, as I said previoiusly. His
second quote was not biased, but I don't believe it said what Dan thinks it did.

> > So what am I supposed to think about an article that uses vague
> > and 2nd hand sources? At least the Economist cites its sources.
> Perhaps that they're dishonest, or perhaps that they're careless. If the
> former, then they're certainly biased; if the latter, then perhaps not.
> (Okay, we both know a truly "unbiased" viewpoint is unachievable; but
> there's a big difference between citing a true but unverifiable source
> and making something up out of whole cloth.)

What if they have a "wilful neglect of proper care"? That falls in between your
two alternatives. I don't think the author in the first article was dishonest,
and I don't think he was deliberately vague or careless, but probably careless
because he was using the "ready, fire, aim" approach to an article. Come up with
a conclusion and then garner facts to back it up. That is a form of bias. Using
emotional language *can* be a form of bias -- it's hard to make a universal
judgement in thsi case, in my experience.

> -Stephen-
> > I've demonstrated in some detail how I believe you're twisting
> > Elder Nelson's words. Please return the courtesy.
> -Marc-
> > Well, if you insist. I've demonstrated in some detail how I
> > believe your're twisting Elder Nelson's and my words.
> Where? Not in this post, nor any other I've read. You have explained how
> I have mistaken your meaning (which I maintain was more due to
> authorship than to reader error), but you haven't even touched on how
> I'm supposedly twisting Elder Nelson's words.

I was being sarcastic. Read your sentence again, carefully. I was just yanking
your chain.

> Stephen

Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland

"The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and
falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark."
--Michelangelo Buonarroti

Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the author
solely; its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the authorís employer,
nor those of any organization with which the author may be associated.

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