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    1. Yes – that man is a nightmare. Even if I tried to interpret his actions as being well-intended, he is a terrible person.

  1. I served a mission in Bolivia from 1983-1985. Nobody wants details but let’s just say that my intestinal tract has not been the same since. That’s a LONG TIME.

    Yes, this happens and it is not rare.

    Looking forward to the episode!

  2. Andy McConnell was a well-respected, student at Huntsville High School. His father was the head of the Texas Dept. of Corrections. The town of Huntsville mourned greatly for the loss of this young man. John I thought he graduated from there. However, you said he graduated from Katy.

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      1. Sorry for the name mix-up, but the point is he graduated from Huntsville High and was known for being a stellar student and a kind and generous young man.

  3. My thanks to Lauren for the very interesting and informative interview. She impressed me as a very nice young lady. She has suffered and still is suffering as a result of trying to do her best during her mission experience in Chile. My sympathy to her for the loss of her health during her time of mission and for the difficulties and pain the process of transitioning out of the Church creates.

    While I enjoyed listening to Lauren, there was something she said that really surprised me. At about the 5:10 mark of part two she said the following. ” I had never doubted God’s existence but in those moments I was like, I remember thinking . . . as I was pushing my baby out of me . . . that there is no God . . . there is no God . . . he doesn’t exist.

    What surprised me about the comment is that I had just the opposite experience. The birth of my two daughters was a miraculous experience for me. Of course, anyone can say the birth of a baby is a miraculous event based on the emotion at the time. What I would like to provide is just a tiny insight into why I think the birth of a child is truly a miracle of God.

    I understand that those who were formerly Latter-day Saints don’t want answers based on emotion. For that reason I would like to provide a little scientific insight into why I think the birth of a baby is best accounted for by the existence of God. Before I proceed with my thoughts on the birth of a child, I would like to preface my comments by writing that the God I am referencing is not the god who is taught by the Latter-day Saint Church. I am in agreement with Lauren in that respect. I don’t think that god exists either.

    I have commented previously in that regard. You can find my comment about why I don’t believe in the god taught by the Latter-day Saint church by scrolling down to about the sixth comment under the Janna Spangler Mormon Stories interview (https://www.mormonstories.org/podcast/contemplative-mormonism-jana-spangler/). The God I am referencing is the God of the Bible as He is understood by mainstream Christians.

    I also noted that Lauren did mention some problems with her god that I think she would also be concerned about with the God of mainstream Christianity. For that reason, I would like to strongly suggest a book called Surviving Religion 101 by Michael Kruger. It is a series of letters written to his daughter as she entered college recently. Dr. Kruger has written letters to his daughter about the types of objections to God she might experience in a secular university and his answers to those objections and put it in book form. Each chapter of the book is a letter about a different topic or objection. The book is written in a very loving manner from a father to his daughter. It is an easy read but it has a tremendous amount of practical information.

    Moving on, I will now try to provide a little scientific evidence for why I think the birth of a child suggests to me that God exists. I will do that by looking at only one part of human embryonic development . . . the human brain. Everyone knows human life starts with two cells, the sperm and the egg. From those two initial cells, a human brain with approximately 100 billion neurons and as many or more support cells, called glial cells, has to eventually develop. If we assume an average gestation period of 280 days (It is actually probably closer to an average of 268 days from ovulation to birth but I will use a common figure found in the literature), the developing embryo has to account for the creation of an average of approximately 30 million brain cells per hour during pregnancy(the number would be higher if we used 268 days). Given that recent research suggests only about 86 billion neurons in the adult human brain, lets round that number down to 25 million brain cells per hour produced in the developing baby during an average pregnancy.

    The real problem for the developing baby is not just producing numbers of cells, the difficulty is that all those cells have to be differentiated into the appropriate types of brain cells and located properly in the developing brain. In addition, the portion of cells that are neurons (approximately 12.5 million cells per hour) have to be connected or “wired” properly. The embryonic human brain is developing into a complex, functional, information processing system. When mature, the brain will have 10, 000 or more connections, called synapses, to some of those individual brain cells called neurons.

    To keep it simple, I won’t get into the complexity of each individual neuron but I will note that the complexity within neurons gets into numbers that are astronomically large when discussing only all the possible or potential protein-protein interactions within each individual neuron. That is a topic for another day. For now, I’ll just stick with the “simple” problem of wiring all those neurons. There is no complex, functional, information processing system I know about that develops or builds itself. In all instances I know about, some higher intelligence is responsible for the system. In my opinion, suggesting that the human brain “wires” itself is ludicrous. The human brain is the most complex information processing system on the planet. Even the simplest of complex, functional, information processing systems don’t assemble or wire themselves.

    As I noted earlier, I am trying to keep things fairly simple. The brain is only one part of human embryonic development and I have only provided very basic information about that system. It is my opinion that some form of superior external intelligence is required for human brain development. I think the God of mainstream Christianity is the source of that intelligence. That is why Lauren’s comment surprised me. I can’t imagine how something as complex as the human brain could develop or be maintained from two initial cells in a developing baby without any external intelligent guidance.

    For anyone who still doubts the complexity of brain wiring and function, I can provide much more detailed information about the connectome and synaptome of the brain as well as the interactome of a neuron if you request that information.

  4. THIS IS NOT A PRO-MORMON COMMENT:
    You’ll notice by researching, and by the obvious, that all of her symptoms are common vaccine injuries. You will also notice the suspicious timing of when she said she became sick – shortly after being vaccinated for her mission. Don’t mention that to John Dehlin, or probably Lauren either, because they won’t have it. Somehow a broad consensus among the scientific elite equates to truth in John’s and other’s minds I guess they forgot about Tobacco science, or any other number of monetarily influenced, or “controlled” studies that exist for nearly everything. Their “appeal to authority” is astonishing sometimes. What I’ve learned about John Dehlin, Bill Reel, and RFM, is that despite their goodness, they aren’t actually Truth Seekers, they simply don’t like the LDS Church. The sheer amount of logical fallacies, contradictions, biases, double standards, etc. employed by these three is astonishing, even sometimes with Church related issues. For example, they dismiss government conspiracies, flat earth, big foot, traditional gender roles, vaccine injury, benefits of religion, etc. not based on the evidence, but on the consensus of the majority as perceived by watching the mainstream media . What about Ignaz Semmelweis, the doctor mocked by his collegues for suggesting washing hands, as though a doctors hands could be impure? What about countless other “impossibles” that turn out to be true? Do your research. These three do the same thing they condemn Mormons for, which is hardly noticing the evidence against one’s own position and letting it fly on past; and if something is bothering, they just say it must be anti and false and just forget about it. In other words they don’t let evidence against their position affect them, much less spend one second looking into it, because they have already made up their minds without any valid reason that anything against their position must be false. Or they assume it is absurd because certain people have told them that it is so. I love John Dehlin, Bill Reel, and RFM. I want to give them a big hug, but to be completely blunt, these people are not true Truth Seekers. If they are then they are just babies on their life journey.
    I don’t expect them to question everything at once, that would be difficult. For example we need some things to make our point, such as “Flying spaghetti monster” without doing a full investigation. Anyone could challenege any example. However, these people are literally in a state which they think there is no god and evolution is how they came to be, there can be no government conspiracies, NASA is completely accurate, there can be no UFOs, etc. These people are literally under the belief that anything metaphysical is not true.
    I don’t know what to say, if you’re going to be a Truth Seeker, Seek Truth. That can mean Mormonstories.org, Scripture, Prayer, Meditation, Books, Metaphysical, Empirical, and so on. There is no limit.

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