Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Blinded by the Light

On May 22, I posted about the Tooele Utah Temple, and how the Brethren were wanting to develop a residential community to surround the temple. I questioned the church's motives, which was for the 446 homes to "protect" the 70,000 square foot temple. 

"I've never heard of real estate being an effective protection for temples. I think most would expect that to be God's job," I opined. [1]

Well, today, I must give credit where credit is due. After significant public opposition (development opponents had gathered enough signatures to put a referendum on the ballot to reverse the rezoning), the church rescinded its development plans. [2]  I can say this: the church is pretty diligent in maintaining its reputation. It's rare to see it back down from a planned real estate development (I believe the last back-down was when neighbors complained about a proposed 9-story, above-ground Provo MTC).

Even though the development is history, plans to build the Tooele Utah Temple are still alive. [2]

Question: If Clark Griswold would travel hours and hours to see the largest ball of twine, how far would he go to look through the world’s largest amateur telescope?
Answer: A long way.

Sometime when you get a minute, Google this phrase: "the largest amateur telescope in the world."

Actually, I'll spare you the Googling time. The top of the Google search results shows one item: "Stansbury Park Observatory" (Complex), or the SPOC.

The SPOC is operated by the Salt Lake Astronomical Society for use by amateurs. It has four fixed telescopes: an 8" refractor, 16" and 32" reflectors, and a 70" reflector. When there isn't a pandemic happening, patrons hold Star Parties there, to which members and others bring their own telescopes. Anyone can attend those events and look through the telescopes. In other words, SPOC is a superb educational institution. It has also been the site of the discovery of several supernovae and at least one asteroid.

The SPOC is also located very, very close to another soon-to-be-famous location: the afore-mentioned Tooele Utah temple.

This has raised some concerns among the neighbors, who say the temple will add significant light pollution to the area and render the SPOC essentially useless.

My wife and I love to go where nighttime light pollution isn't a problem, and gaze at the stars at night. For us, it's an opportunity to gaze at God's works. 

Unfortunately, the good patrons of the SPOC may soon see their view of God's natural creations obscured and overridden by man-made, artificial light.


Based on the aforementioned facts, I have the following questions:

  • Who (or what) will be protecting the temple now that the residential development isn't a consideration?
  • Area residents organized to stop the church's development as well as the proposed Provo MTC building. Would SPOC patrons need to organize as well to ask the church to choose a different site for its temple?
  • Just why is the church in the business of real estate development in the first place?


Sunday, July 12, 2020

"Judge Not"? Naaa...go ahead and judge!

The antithesis of this -- in other words, those who choose not to wear face coverings when in public -- are therefore not good citizens.

According to the CDC, anyone who has trouble breathing (including asthmatics) should not wear face coverings. Yet according to the church, they -- and anyone chooses not to wear a mask or who has trouble breathing -- are automatically bad citizens.

I can guarantee that this will lead more members to judge non-mask wearing members as bad. 

And they aren't good members, either, because their choosing not to wear a mask means they aren't sustaining their local church leaders. Therefore, they are ineligible for a temple recommend and all that goes along with it.


Based on the aforementioned facts, I have the following questions:
  • Is it good to pre-position members to pre-judge others? 
  • Is shame and fear a heavenly-endorsed strategy to catalyze change in another?
  • Is that what Christ would do?
  • Why wasn't this masking invitation announced in February/March, before things got really bad?
  • Whatever happened to the healing power of the priesthood?
  • Why hasn't the church endorsed online or outdoor meetings, where COVID-19 has minimal or no effect and members can still participate?
  • Why isn't the Utah Area Presidency asking members to act on other public health initiatives with a higher death rate?
  • By the way, how are those worldwide fasts coming, and how do the results of those fasts square with "by their fruits ye shall know them"? Are the Brethren planning a third one anytime soon?