Distinguishing between The Witness of the Spirit and Emotion.

Distinguishing between the Spirit and Emotion

Lets use a food analogy or Metaphor here because I’m a chef a frankly they come easy for me. And because I think this one is particularly on point

We will use two things that are actually quite different from each other and those who know them both can easily distinguish, but they often get mislabeled for each other and conflated by the inexperienced.

Yams and Sweet Potatoes

Yams and Sweet Potatoes share a few qualities and characteristics and to the inexperienced can be confused for each other especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

When you’re first learning to identify and distinguish both (the Spirit and various tubers) it will take more than a surface look, you might have to actually examine each and note the details of the experience.

With time and frequent familiarity you’ll be able to know readily the difference and distinguish on sight what you’re dealing with.

You’ll be aware of the shared traits, but you’ll also know that those shares traits are superficial and you’ll simply bypass those and focus on the differentiating features and you’ll be able identify which product is in front of you in that moment.

How can you tell the difference between the Spirit/Sweet Potato and Emotion/Yams well it is easy if you know what you’re looking at


Glossary of Terms version 1.0

So as I look to continue my series covering the various creeds and councils of Christianity and looking at them from a Latter-day Saint (Mormon) perspective, as well as from a Traditional Christian view (as best I can) and looking at what these Creeds were trying to declare, why or why not those declarations might be problematic to particular theologies, and what particularly Mormons can and can’t accept, and any caveats that attend that acceptance, I have compiled a starting list of Terms that it will be helpful for the reader to be familiar with as we begin to explore the Creeds with the goal of working towards better understanding of differing theological positions so that we can avoid talking past each other and presenting caricatures and straw-men of what the other side believes.

SO without further delay I present the…

Glossary of Terms

It is worth noting at the outset that these definitions are rather generalized working definitions, and not official concrete expiation of the concepts in question.  I will submit though that they are sufficiently detailed and accurate enough for the purpose of understanding the concept and thereby limiting the amount of talking past each other and Straw-manning that too frequently occur in interfaith dialogue


Adiaphora- matters not regarded as essential to faith, but nevertheless as permissible for Christians or allowed in church. What is specifically considered adiaphora depends on the specific theology in view.

Anathema- Formally to declare something accursed. For our purposes and largely in Christian context (Mormonism included) something that is anathema is something that make you worthy of excommunication.

Atonement- (Properly the Atonement of Jesus Christ) The Atonement is the supernal act of reconciliation between God and Man made by Jesus Christ. Through the shedding of His blood and giving of His life Christ bridged the divide created by sin that separates God and Man.  The Atonement of Christ makes possible the forgiveness of sins, the cleansing and sanctification of the human soul (spirit and body together) brings rebirth by the Spirit, and brings to pass the Resurrection of the Dead. According to the New Testament the Atonement is accessed and delivered to us via Charis (see definition of Charis for further details) as a covenant gift, it is not something one earns but rather something one accepts, and then lives according to that acceptance as a new creature and disciple to Christ

Being- In Creedal Christian parlance “Being” is most often described as what something is at its core, the essential elements that make it what it is, or a distinction of class.  Being is therefore not to be confused with individuality or personhood as we would use the term modernly. But Being here and in the creeds should be thought of as in regard to God as divinity or deity or as it was written in Greek: Theos.  

Charis/Grace- The most misunderstood concept in the New Testament (hereafter  NT.) Literally means gift or favor; however, Charis in the Ancient Near East was also a custom, consisting of reciprocal giving and receiving between client and patron.  Essentially Someone of a higher station bestowed a gift or favor upon someone of a lower station, in turn the receiver (who it should be noted received this gift voluntarily) was then obligate to emulate and reciprocate (back to the master, and to others) the Charis or favor that they received (that is if they wanted to maintain the relationship) this was done in an effort to improve the quality and character of the client, until he became what his master was. (Sounds an awful lot like the LDS theosis concept 😜) This concept is illustrated in the Gospels, when Christ gives the Parable of the ungrateful servant who was forgiven of a large debt (receipt of charis) who then did not reciprocate that same charis to others and failed to forgive a debt, you’ll recall the initial forgiveness or charis he had received was revoked and the relationship severed by the failure of the receiver to reciprocate to others what he had received.   I’ll refer here to a quality illustration provided by Ben Spackman

“Paul did not invent the concepts or terminology of grace in a vacuum. Grace was the term for the actions that patrons took on behalf of their clients. You have a problem, so you enter into a mutually beneficial relationship, in which you owe loyalty and obedience to a powerful patron (i.e. “faithfulness”) who takes care of the problem you can’t (i.e. “grace.”)


<<In the New Testament, for example, the word charis means “grace.” Pistis means “faith.” What we didn’t know until recently—what went without being said in Paul’s day—was that those two words together described the relationship between a patron and his or her client.

In the Roman world of the New Testament, business was conducted through an elaborate system of patrons and clients. When we watch the movie The Godfather, we are seeing the modern remains of the ancient Roman patronage system. Like Marlon Brando who played the godfather in the movie, the ancient patron was a wealthy and powerful individual (male or female) who looked after his or her “friends” (clients). The complex world of Roman governmental bureaucracy, the far-reaching tentacles of the banking system (usually temples) and the pervasive and powerful grasp of the trade guilds made it impossible for ordinary craftspeople or farmers to conduct business on their own. They were entirely dependent upon their patrons. Like most unwritten cultural rules, everyone knew what was expected of a patron and a client, even though expectations weren’t engraved on a wall. Everyone knew a patron’s role was to solve problems for his or her clients, whether it was trouble with the local trade guilds, refinancing a loan or smoothing over tensions with city leaders. When Paul was staying in Thessalonica, it was reasonable to expect Jason to handle the “Paul problem,” which he did by asking Paul to leave town (Acts 17).

In that world, an ordinary craftsman or farmer didn’t have the social skills or connections or wealth to negotiate with the various powerbrokers of a city. He would seek out an individual, a patron, to help. Marlon Brando captures the sentiment well. The local merchant wants help. The godfather says, “So you want me to do you this favor?” Both sides understand the agreement: the godfather solves the problem, and the merchant now must be loyal to the godfather and be ready to help if he is ever summoned. In the Roman system, likewise, the client couldn’t earn the “favor”; the patron showed “kindness” to help. Seneca, a philosopher from Paul’s time, said the patron and the client had a relationship, a form of friendship. The client was now a “friend” of the patron, but not a peer. The client was expected to reciprocate with loyalty, public praise, readiness to help the patron (as much as he could) and, most importantly, gratitude.7 This kind gift had strings attached. (All gifts in antiquity had strings attached.) Seneca called it “a sacred bond.”9 The recipient of the gift was obligated to reciprocate. Paul introduced Lydia to Christianity (Acts 16). She reciprocated by hosting Paul and his team at her estate.

The language of patronage permeated everyday life. We know well the Christian terms grace and faith, but these were common before Paul used them. They were part of the language of patronage. When the patron gave unmerited gifts of assistance, these were commonly called charis, meaning “grace/gift.” The client responded with faithfulness to the patron, called pistis, or “faith.” We see that when Paul explained our new relationship with God, he used something everyone understood: the ancient system of patronage.Taken together, this vocabulary—so central to the Christian faith—means something different than the sum of its parts.>>- “

It is should be noted as well in the Scriptures Christ presents himself as the Perfect Patron. Declaring He will handle and address the problems and issues that we will do not have the ability to confront or deal with (sin and death) He says that He will be our advocate with the Father, and plead our cause, and remove our obstacles and burdens. This patron client relationship is exactly what Scripture describes regarding what Christ has and will do for us.

Essence – See Being

Faith/Pistis- Faith is the trust and reliance upon someone or something, it is the evidence of inward convictions, it is not simply mental assent or belief in something.  It is the actions that show that a man truly believes something. In a NT testament Context I’ll again refer to something written by Ben Spackman

Moreover, “faith” does not mean “mental agreement to a list of doctrinal propositions.” It’s related to faith-fulness, and in Greek means more “loyalty, trust, allegiance.”

Gehenna- The ultimate destination of the wicked after the Resurrection and Judgment, essentially the antithesis of Heaven commonly referred to as the Lake of Fire and Brimstone. In modern language this is what should come to mind when we think of Hell, and it should not in any way connected with Hades

God- 1. The Person of the Father

  1. The collective united ruling triumvirate of the Universe consisting of: The Father, the Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit)
  2.       The quality of being Theos, or divine

Gospel-  Literally means “Good News” The Gospel is the good news that we have an escape from sin and death made possible by the Atonement of Christ

Hades/Sheol- Hades or Sheol was the abode of the dead, righteous and wicked alike, it was essentially divided into two parts and was thought to be “under the earth” in Jewish Cosmology and the Early Christian Cosmology that grew out of it.  The first division was Paradise, or Abraham’s bosom, which should not be confused with Heaven (the dwelling of God and the destination of the righteous POST Resurrection and Judgement) Paradise was to be as it sounds a place of rest and reprieve.  The other division was simply Hades itself, but bordered near Gehenna or the Lake of Fire (ultimate destination of the wicked Post Resurrection and Judgement) But Hades was the abode of the dead, for all dead to await the resurrection it was not and is not to be confused with the modern usage of hell which would be akin to Gehenna. Hades was essentially the same idea and concept of the LDS Spirit World, where the righteous and the wicked both dwell awaiting the Resurrection of the Dead.  

Heaven- The dwelling place of God, and the ultimate destination of the Righteous after Resurrection and Judgment. It should not be confused or thought of as Paradise or Abraham’s bosom where the righteous await the resurrection

Hell- See Gehenna

Homoousia- Literally Same Substance, in creedal tradition refers to the Father and the Son having the same being, far too often confused with a modalist conception of God, this confusion occurs by Mormons and Christians alike.  


Homoousia ought to view in this manner: Consider these 3 candles


Consider the candle in the foreground is the Father, eternally existent and eternally lit.  The other two candles consider as the Son and the Holy Ghost (also eternally existent and of the same quality as the first) respectively. Consider that their flames were lit from the candle of the Father, consider the flame as the Being or Substance or divinity or theos of the candles.  Of course the flame of the second (and third) does not differ from the flame of the first in its Character or Nature, it isn’t made of something different or possess different qualitative properties or attributes, and though they are yet two distinct flames the nature and character of said flames does not differ one to another.  When the Creeds of Christianity and its Sacred Texts speak of One God it should be thought of as one THEOS, not one person. This is homoousia just as the flames of the candles are of the same nature essence or substance so too is the way the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are the same substance or being.  You’ll notice never have I conflated the personhood (represented by each individual candle) with the substance or being they are and should be considered separate and different things. Further in LDS terms this is how theosis works, consider that we too are also candles, and that our wick will be lit off the flame of Christ, and we will become theos, or of the same substance as the Father and Christ, yet we will still remain separate and distinct and subordinate to them. Yet while there be many theos persons, it isn’t a case many different theos, there is but ONE THEOS or ONE GOD

Paradise/Abraham’s Bosom- A division of Hades, thought of as the place where the souls of the righteous rested in awaiting Resurrection not to be confused with heaven

Person- Person is the individual consciousness or personality of someone, but should not be confused with the modern usage of the word being.  For example the Trinity consists of 3 persons but not 3 beings. This confusion is honestly one of the greatest areas in which Mormons and other Christians end up talking past each other, and is totally avoidable

Physical Death- The separation of the body from the spirit, brought about by Adam and Eve

Partaking of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden, after they were cast out this effect (mortality) has been passed to their posterity.  Since death results as an effect of something that we have not done, it is unconditionally overcome for all by the Atonement of Christ, that is to say all who pass through mortality will one day live again through the Resurrection

Resurrection- The eternal and incorruptible reunion of the body and spirit never again to be separated. The physical body (including the mind) is restored to a pristine and perfect condition as well

Spiritual Death- 1. Being cut off from the presence of God

  1. One destined to eternal consignment in Ghenna, is said to be spiritually dead
  2. A state of being resulting from sin

Overcome by the Atonement of Christ

Substance- see Being


Theos- Divinity or Deity, a qualitative descriptor that speaks to the attributes and character of a person or collection of persons, often rendered in English as god, not to be confused or automatically conflated with…

Theosis/Deification –  1. In Mormon Theology and Soteriology theosis is: To be made by & through Charis (Grace) and Faith what Christ is by nature, namely Theos.  This is made possible through reliance upon the cleansing and sanctifying and transformative power of The Atonement of Jesus Christ. This is most frequently referenced by them as Exaltation.  (It should be noted that though we are made theos or as Christ is and inherit equally with Him, we remain subordinate to Him just as HE remains subordinate to the Father, Exaltation does not make us equal with God, though it does make us of the same character and essence or substance as God2 . (This will be further explored when we cover Homoousia below) It also should be noted the subordination of the Son to the Father is not an ontological subordination, or a subordination of divinity, where the Son is somehow less divine than the Father, but rather it is a subordination of authority and will,) {editorial note, this will no doubt be further explored as we get into the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds}

  1. In most other branches of Christianity theosis is to enjoy complete sanctification, and to partake in the Divine Nature of Christ by sharing in Sinless perfection and incorruptibility but not divinity.

Works- In the Pauline writings works refers to the requisite deeds and actions of the Mosaic Law, when works are condemned by Paul it is the works of the Mosaic Law that are spoken against, most frequently against requiring gentiles to be circumcised, it does not include the actions taken by a disciple of Christ to emulate and reciprocate what Christ has done for us, this would be a complete contradiction of his appeals to Charis btw. It should be noted the NT text also does not include covenant making/renewing ordinances such as Baptism or The Lord’s Supper (Communion or Sacrament) under the heading of “works”.  This is another area of talking past each other that is totally avoidable if people would seek clarity and understanding so much strife and confusion would be eliminated

Theology Series

The Creeds and Common Misconception (Intro)

Theology has always been a passion and hobby of mine, and I quickly learned that too often people simply don’t grasp or understand what the “other side” believes and as a result they simply erect strawman arguments that don’t actually address what is believed but rather tear down a caricature of it instead.

In an effort to help explain certain topics and provide insight into my own personal thoughts, and give information regarding the position my own personal faith tradition (LDS) takes on some of these subjects I felt it would be a worthy endeavor to cover some of these things.

One of the first things that ought to be tackled is the nature of God and the basics about who and what God is.

Now this can get tricky especially since the term God isn’t monolithic and depending on usage can have multiple meanings and interpretations within the very same sentence or paragraph. For my part I will do my best to specify what exactly I am referencing when utilizing multi-valent terms such as God.

Most religions formulate their basic beliefs into statements of faith known as creeds, now the experienced student of LDS history will also know is that one of the things that the Lord (Jesus Christ) told Joseph Smith in his First Vision was that the various creeds were an abomination in His eyes, and the fear of God (respect and worshipful awe) was taught through the learning of men rather than by the Spirit as a result of those creeds.

Throughout the remainder of his life Joseph appears to be opposed to creeds because they produce walls and barriers and restrictions to belief, rather than allowing one to be free and open to any and all truths that might be revealed from God on these various subjects. Now don’t get me wrong, there needs to be at some point barriers and beliefs and views which we can and should categorize as “outside the norm” or unorthodox and potentially anathema. But those boundaries should be established by revelation and direction from God Himself, and not by debate and appeals to philosophical argumentation and characterization.

In short where we do not have revelation on something moving beyond that ought to be seen for the speculative and inconclusive and therefore non binding exercise that it is, but we should be free to explore and examine those boundaries.

In Joseph’s own words:

“I cannot believe in any of the creeds of the different denominations, because they all have some things in them I cannot subscribe to, though all of them have some truth. I want to come up into the presence of God, and learn all things: but the creeds set up stakes, and say, ‘Hitherto shalt thou come, and no further’; which I cannot subscribe to.” 

Creeds in my and Joseph’s view place belief in a box and say it can extend no further. For me they seem to want to Take something dynamic and living (faith) and distill it down to something static and unchanging.

Now this isn’t to say all creeds are bad or unhelpful. I think as with all things if used as a tool to help aid our understanding and learning they can be useful, if used as a border and boundary by which to govern and police faith they can become very problematic indeed.

You’ll also notice that Joseph didn’t say the various Christian Creeds were wholly wrong or useless, he acknowledged that there is truth to be had in all of them, and with that in mind we will take a look at them in an effort to:

  • Understand what it is they are trying to say
  • Examine them from a Latter-day Saint perspective and make note of what we can and can’t accept from the various creeds and why
  • Examine the valid criticisms that are to be had so as to avoid the perpetuation of Strawmen and caricature

With these goals in mind I will be moving forward from here examining the various creeds and confessions of Christendom and hoping to do so in a way that builds understanding and bridges the differences and common confusion that arise between “Orthodox” or Traditional Christians, and Latter-day Saints.

No doubt there will be some insurmountable barriers for each side, and things we can’t accept from each other’s perspective, at the same time I think that we will find that much of what we disagree on comes down to working from different Cultural Lexicons and not taking the time to define what we mean and what we are saying and there is less differences between the nuts and bolts of our respective views than we think.

Though as I said what difference don’t boil down to semantics are still significant differences and that shouldn’t be ignored or minimized and I will make no effort to do so, rather I hope to provide perspective and insight (hopefully for both sides) and perhaps spur us on to better more productive and sincere dialogue.

We can do better

If you had a child that was acting out and being unruly or dare I say violent, how woud you handle it?

Would you simply throw more rules and restrictions at them?

Would you say “now isn’t the time to talk about how to prevent the outbursts”

Would you sit down and talk with them?

Ask them what was going on in their life, what they were looking to accomplish with the outburst, and ultimately what they wanted out of their life?

Would you assume their behavior was fueled by easy access to weapons? Or would you look deeper than that.

This is your kid after all. And you want to help them, and help them long term, and help them move on to something bigger and successful, and understand how to manage and utilize the tools in their life and to navigate the trials and frustrations of life.

I’ve been thinking about this for a couple days especially since I was bullied and I work in a school.

If I had the power I would gather legislators and say “ladies and gentlemen” we aren’t leaving this room until, we have a solid solution to this problem, the only two ideas that are off the table are

1. Taking away more guns
2. Arming the educators themselves

I would also say that legislation couldn’t be discussed until at least 5 potential root causes were identified, and legislation must be centered on those causes.

The next thing I would do is get the input of students themselves I would ask those who had ever had a thought of being violent, why, what they thought it would accomplish, and what they felt the consequences of those actions would be.

I would inquire as to the personal situations of these kids, I would ask them what their goals and aspirations would be, and I would ask them what their stressors are, what causes them pain and hurt and to feel helpless.

My biggest gripe with this is we have a bunch of people crazily disconnected from the situations and experiences of the people who have these thoughts, and we never actually consult and seek to know why they feel this way, what causes them

Because for every kid or adult that foes act out violently, there is at least and hundred more than have had the thought but hadn’t reached the end of their rope, and we never seek their advice.

We don’t have a weapons problem in this country, we have a cultural problem, and a communication problem, and a problem of priorities and expectations.

And most sadly we have a problem with identifying root causes and seeking to solve root causes. The root cause of violence isn’t how conveniently handy a weapon might be.

It is time to stop looking at this from the lens of ideology, and politics, and time to start looking at it through the lens of a parent.

The same way you’d look deep and in a multi-faceted way to help your kid if they were acting out is the same way we need to look at people and society that is acting out.

There won’t be a one size fits all solution, let’s stop acting like such a thing actually exists for this problem

Morning Musings

I was thinking about somethings, and in particular about how my faith has evolved over the past 4-5 years. 

And as I reflected on the way I’ve come to realize that reality and history are much deeper and more complex, and human interaction much more messy than I wanted to believe growing up, I was reminded of something that always used to bother me in mathematics but something that I’ve readily accepted in my everyday interactions with people and history. 

And that is that sometimes in Math there simply isn’t enough data to solve for X or Y or whatever and the simplest terms that you can express things in still incorporate and require unknown variables and expressions. 

This doesn’t make the principles of math errant or false it means we don’t have sufficient data to solve for the variable. 

And yet that is viewed as the acceptable correct thing to do, to say this is the best way to express that equation. 

But we don’t say that doing such is putting that equation on a shelf, or that the equation and the incorporation of the unknown into the simplest terms is mental gymnastics or done to avoid dissonance. We recognize that not every data set provides enough information to solve for each variable. 

I’m really not great at math, but if I’m honest with myself religion is a compilation of various data sets that will one day form a complex and comprehensive proof, but at present there exists in nearly each data set some unknown variable that at present cannot be solved for and thus the proof cannot be completed. 

But we can look for and seek out existing data that will test our theory or hypothesis, and if it is a sound hypothesis or theory then data will come back to us demonstrates our hypothesis to be correct and our theory can be shown to be sound. 

And if we are lucky the data that comes back helps to solve for some of those unknowns, but often it can introduce new variables that we will have to account for and rewrite some equations from time to time. 

I know Christ to be the Son of God as surely and definitively as anyone can based on subjective confirmation methods. And yet that knowledge, is as sound and real and outside myself as is the understanding of 4+4=8. I wouldn’t be more convinced that Christ was the Savior and Son of God if He stood before me than I am now. 

I can no more deny that knowledge of my Savior than I can deny 4+4=8 

The same goes for the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, living Prophets, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints being God’s kingdom upon the earth. 

And I would make myself just as much a liar to say that 4+4=9 as I would to say that any of the above aren’t what they claim to be.

Lessons from the Exodus

One of my favorite stories from the OT due to its applicability to today is the story of the Spies sent to scout the promised land. 
In the record found in Numbers 13 & 14 The Israelites are encamped just south of Caanan and are poised to enter the promised land. 12 spies (one from each tribe) are sent to gather intel on the region and what the land and people are like.

Caleb and Joshua return and tell if a land of milk and honey, and that they should enter the land straightaway, and that though there are mighty people there The LORD is with them and they will overcome.

However the 10 other scouts while seeing the milk and honey are only able to focus on the perceived obstacles and the size of the task ahead of them and they bemoan their situation complaint against Moses & Aaron, and say but it would have been better for them to perish in the wilderness or to stay as slaves in Egypt, and they say that they should choose a new leader and travel back to Egypt, and they should stone Moses and Aaron, and Caleb and Joshua.

It is at this point that the Lord appears, and asks Moses, how much longer He should be patient with the children of Israel. The Lord says He will destroy them and raise up through Moses, a new and greater nation (essentially here He is saying He will reestablish the promise made to Abraham but rather it will be established through Moses.)

Moses intercedes and the wrath of God in destroying Israel is assuaged, but the Lord makes a decree that none of the current camp of Israel who had seen the miracles and wonders of Egypt and the glory of God at Sinai aged 20 and older shall inherit the promised land, with the exception of Caleb and Joshua, and that their children shall inherit the land, but first they shall suffer wandering in the wilderness 40 years, and then they shall possess the land. That because of their complaints and rebellion and insistence on focusing on the problems and complaints they will NT inherit what was promised to them.

And this then begins the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, the trial and suffering all because they lacked the faith and trust to stay true to The Lord and His leaders and plan, because they became obsessed with the challenges before them and d focused on the shortcomings they knew rather than in the Power of the Lord to overcome those shortfalls.

Now this event has great applicability both for us personally and collectively as a church.

I think in many ways the modern church stands at this cross roads at the precipice of truly inheriting what was promised, and kept from it by those who desire to return to by gone days and who focus on the shortfalls and challenges rather than the goodness and strength of God that can overcome, and make it possible for us to prevail.

I think it should be recognized that Caleb and Joshua saw the same challenges and those who rebelled also saw the milk and honey, but the difference was Caleb and Joshua trusted the Lord would see them through, and the other railed against Moses, said he wasn’t fit to lead and they needed knew leadership to lead them back to where they had been.

And as a result they were kept.from what they were promised from what they truly had supposed they wanted, and the blessings were put off to the next generation.

We must look beyond the challenges and realize and understand the Lord is with us, and if we want the land of milk and honey, then we must trust the Lord, and His chosen leaders, and give a good report one that recognizes the challenges but also that we have on our side the ability and power to overcome those challenges.

And how we give voice and express our recognition of the mighty host (problem) before us matters, and shapes the response from the Lord in helping us overcome. 

Public Violence is a Symptom

I’ve said it before and will say it again public violence is a symptom. Guns are merely a tool used in perpetrating the violence. 
Public violence is a multi faceted problem, one that can’t be pinned down to anyone source. Nor should we attempt to.

That being said looking to solve public violence by further restricting a single tool, is like someone having bacterial menegitis and all we want to do is give Tylenol to address the fever. 
We have to look comprehensively at solutions to each cause all along the way, and yes ultimately if that means more regulations of guns so be it. 
But we shouldn’t look to curb freedom as the first resort, it should be the last resort hail mary after all other avenues are exhausted utterly and completely. 
You’re welcome to disagree in fact I encourage you to disagree. But do so rationally and objectively, and not emotionally. 

We need to address social services, mental health, culture, media portrayal and messages, and access. Not just access. 

My heart goes out to the victims, I hope we can look at ourselves seriously and each side be willing to give and sacrifice for the common good. 

Let us find ways to beat our sword into plowshares and Spears into pruning hooks