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Old 11-30-2006, 03:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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In some other discussions lately there has been confusion about the meaning of rituals or symbols from various faiths. Some reported feeling disturbed or nervous witnessing rituals that seemed ornate and bizarre to them. Since we fear what is unfamiliar to us, it seems to me that having an open discussion about things that puzzle us regarding the traditions of others would be a good way to promote peace and tolerance.

So, here's a forum...there are women from so many different faiths here. I'm sure that for almost any question someone could ask there is someone who will have an answer or know where to look it up! There's no such thing as a stupid question and it's better to ask and learn than to remain confused and perhaps fearful of the way the "others" are carrying on.

My question: what is the significance of dreadlocks, for those who have them as part of your spiritual tradition?
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Old 11-30-2006, 09:08 PM
 
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My answer: if you ever wondered why some Jewish people mumble when praying, instead of just staying quiet like is traditional for many Protestant sects, it's because it is actually mandated in religious law that you say certain prayers at certain volumes. It's also mandated to stand during some prayers and bow at certain phrases, and to walk forward several steps. There's a whole "prayer choreography" that I or someone more knowledgeable could go into at length if anyone was more curious about it. Quite a contrast from what people raised to think of prayer as a time for being absolutely silent and sitting completely still would be used to.
That is interesting. Im a convert to the Eastern Orthodox Church..from Protestantism. The thing that was really surprising to me were the prayers...they are prayed aloud...we bow...with certain prayers we prostrate ourselves. With the bow it is more like a squat with a sweeping of the hand on the floor...(still confuses me a bit...I feel like a baby learning to walk!)
We have so many hymns...and they are chanted...its really neat.
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Old 12-01-2006, 01:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I visited a Russian Orthodox service once and of all the Christian sects I have visited (not too many) it reminded me the most of the way the Jewish prayer service is structured. Interesting, eh?
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Old 12-04-2006, 12:39 AM
 
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I have one: why have I seen Jewish people cover their eyes with their hands while praying/saying a blessing?
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Old 12-04-2006, 04:44 AM
 
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One of the central prayers of Judaism is called the Shema. The first line is "Shema Yisroel Hashem Elokainu Hashem Ehud", said with a name of G-d instead of "Hashem" (which means "the Name"). It means "Listen O Israel, Hashem is our G-d and Hashem is One". This line is supposed to be said with intense concentration its meaning(s). We cover our eyes to keep from being distracted by what is going on around us.
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Old 12-04-2006, 03:54 PM
 
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Old 12-05-2006, 12:14 AM
 
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Thank you, BinahYeteirah, that is beautiful.
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Old 12-05-2006, 12:30 AM
 
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My UU church, the oldest still functioning church in the US, has pews that are like little cages, you actually open up a little door to get in, then close it behind you, and there are railings up the back of the pew to about head height. Some of them are like little squares, where I guess a whole family could fit.

I can't figure out why there are the little doors and railings. Was it to keep the kids inside? Was it for warmth, since you could pile all your blankets in and keep the drafts out?

Anyone know? I haven't asked anyone at the church yet.
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Old 12-05-2006, 03:03 AM
 
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The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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Old 12-05-2006, 06:07 AM
 
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My UU church, the oldest still functioning church in the US, has pews that are like little cages, you actually open up a little door to get in, then close it behind you, and there are railings up the back of the pew to about head height. Some of them are like little squares, where I guess a whole family could fit.

I can't figure out why there are the little doors and railings. Was it to keep the kids inside? Was it for warmth, since you could pile all your blankets in and keep the drafts out?

Anyone know? I haven't asked anyone at the church yet.
I don't know the whole story, but an Episcopal priest told me that some churches (of all denominations) used to have assigned pews, and the "best" ones were for families who donated a lot of money to the church. These churches were the ones with doors on the pews. It is supposedly more common in the northeast than in other parts of the US.
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Old 12-05-2006, 12:37 PM
 
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okay my total ignorance is going to come out but why do Catholics not eat meat (is is it just like red meat?) on fridays (or is it just Good Friday?). as you can tell i'm not too informed on this.

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Old 12-05-2006, 02:05 PM
 
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I'm not Catholic but I asked this one before and a Catholic friend answered it-- it's a form of mourning because Jesus was crucified on a Friday. I think it's all meat and poultry except fish, but since Vatican II in the 1960s it only applies to Fridays in Lent.
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Old 12-05-2006, 02:23 PM
 
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It's a form of penance to not eat meat on Fridays, an inconvenience. Also an easier form of fasting. Same idea behind it. During Lent you're getting ready for Easter basically.

For me growing up, I loved Fridays in Lent. We'd go to fish frys and I could eat the shrimp basket. And to this day I love what my mother would call Friday Dinner - Kraft Dinner and a garden salad with tuna added and a dressing of mayo and lemon juice.
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Old 12-05-2006, 03:35 PM
 
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I don't know the whole story, but an Episcopal priest told me that some churches (of all denominations) used to have assigned pews, and the "best" ones were for families who donated a lot of money to the church. These churches were the ones with doors on the pews. It is supposedly more common in the northeast than in other parts of the US.
Yep. We have a very old 'listed' Anglican church in the Uk that has the very same pews. They have doors and are structured in the same way described above and I was also told they were reserved for those families who gave the most money. The po' folks had to sit in the balcony.
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Old 12-05-2006, 08:09 PM
 
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Yep. We have a very old 'listed' Anglican church in the Uk that has the very same pews. They have doors and are structured in the same way described above and I was also told they were reserved for those families who gave the most money. The po' folks had to sit in the balcony.
Ah, that explains it. One I sat in a few Sunday's ago had a little jump seat built into the door. I guess the family was too big to all fit on the pews, so a little one had to use that seat.
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Old 12-05-2006, 08:11 PM
 
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http://www.annunciationgoc.com/worship03a.htm
That is the fasting "rule" for Eastern Orthodox. We fast on Wednesdays and Fridays..and consume no animal product, oil or wine.
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Old 12-06-2006, 01:39 AM
 
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I have one: why have I seen Jewish people cover their eyes with their hands while praying/saying a blessing?
While some Jews cover their eyes while saying Shema, you're probably thinking of the bracha (blessing) over shabbos candles; a woman lights the candles, does a kind of light-gathering thing with her hands, and then covers her eyes while she says the bracha over the candles. Then she opens her eyes. I've heard lots of midrashim/stories about this; the one most often repeated is that you cover your eyes while saying the blessing so that it's as though the light appears afterwards. You're not allowed to light the candles after the bracha, because shabbos officially begins after the bracha and you can't light candles on shabbos.

My question: I understand saying a prayer before you eat, but does anyone know why my inlaws call it "returning thanks?" I ran into this phrase again in the Left Behind books, and it still doesn't make any sense to me.

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Old 12-06-2006, 01:50 AM
 
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I'm LDS (Mormon) if anyone has any questions.

I have kind of silly Jewish question. Is there is significance to the shape of challah bread?
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Old 12-06-2006, 02:01 AM
 
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I have kind of silly Jewish question. Is there is significance to the shape of challah bread?
Yes! I can think of lots of different reasons, though, and I'm not sure which is/are correct (or if all of them are). One of the other Jewish mammas should be able to help you out.

An LDS question: What's up with the lack of caffeine? Alcohol I understand, but what's wrong with the occasional Pepsi?

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Old 12-06-2006, 02:07 AM
 
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An LDS question: What's up with the lack of caffeine? Alcohol I understand, but what's wrong with the occasional Pepsi?
(Answers while drinking a Coke)

It's not specifically forbidden, but we have a code of health that asks us to avoid things that can be addictive or harmful. Incidentally, my DH drinks AT LEAST one caffeinated soda drink a day! We're still working on some of our eating/drinking habits.

ETA: DH said he doesn't drink it "Every" day. It's true, and I'm just as bad!
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Old 12-06-2006, 04:05 AM
 
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I'm LDS (Mormon) if anyone has any questions.
Me too ... so fire away and DW and I will see what we can do to answer...

ETA: The Church has two main websites: www.lds.org (which is the official website of the Church) and www.mormon.org (which is a website designed for nonmembers with basic questions on worship and doctrinal beliefs).

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Old 12-06-2006, 04:42 AM
 
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Pagan Mama (Roman Reconstructionist) here. I love talking to people about our faith. I'll start, no I am NOT Wiccan .

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Old 12-06-2006, 04:51 AM
 
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Two questions: LDS mamas, can you tell me about the "garment" that I've been told Mormons wear? Does everyone wear one, and where do you buy them?

Wife to a wonderful dh and mom to four beautiful kiddos, dd (3/04):, ds1 (1/06), ds2 (10/08), and ds3 (7/10)
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Old 12-06-2006, 05:08 AM
 
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Two questions: LDS mamas, can you tell me about the "garment" that I've been told Mormons wear? Does everyone wear one, and where do you buy them?
It is a sacred undergarment. Not everyone wears one ... it is only members that have been through a temple and it is a symbol of the covenants that we make in the temple. There are "distribution centers" throughout the world where things such as scriptures, teaching materials, Church videos/DVDs, etc., including garments can be bought.

There is an article on lds.org entitled "The Temple Garment: An Outward Expression of an Inward Committment" by a member of the Quorum of the Seventy (which is kind of like a Catholic cardinal in terms of Church hierarchy) which explains - much better than I have - what the garment is and what it represents.

There is also this from the preparatory class the members take as they prepare to enter a temple:
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"The garment provides a constant reminder of the covenants you have made in the temple. You should treat it with respect at all times. You should not expose it to the view of those who do not understand its significance, and you should not adjust it to accommodate different styles of clothing. When you wear it properly, it provides protection against temptation and evil. Wearing the garment is an outward expression of an inward commitment to follow the Savior."
Hope this answers your question.

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Old 12-06-2006, 06:53 AM
 
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A couple other Mormon questions:

Why do only men have the "priesthood"? Do you think that it will be revealed (thought a new doctrine given by the prophet, I guess) that women may receive the priesthood in the future that way people of color were allowed to receive it in the '70s? BTW, I am not trying to bait you or criticize the LDS church, just curious about your thoughts.

Why do LDS people collect nativity sets? I read about that here, so I really know nothing about that one.

Why does BYU, for example, have such high modesty standards (I have heard that women there must wear skirts below the knee, etc.), but it does not seem like many women/girls keep to these standards in many wards? I am just going off my very limited experience here, so if I'm totally off about other LDS women's modesty just let me know. I guess I am just wondering if these standards are supposed to be for all women, but not everyone is up to it (which is understandable), of if people are just supposed to do this for "purity" or some such during college life.

Do women go on missions when they are single? I always seem to only see male missionaries.

I hope none of this was offensive or pushy. I am just curious about some things I've seen or heard through some LDS friends when I was younger.
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Old 12-06-2006, 07:27 AM
 
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A couple other Mormon questions:

Why do only men have the "priesthood"? Do you think that it will be revealed (thought a new doctrine given by the prophet, I guess) that women may receive the priesthood in the future that way people of color were allowed to receive it in the '70s? BTW, I am not trying to bait you or criticize the LDC church, just curious about your thoughts.
The best and simplest answer I can give you for the first part of your question ("Why do only men have the "priesthood"?") is that that is what G-d revealed to Joseph Smith (according to our belief). I know that that sounds like a cop out, but that's pretty much it. As for the second part ... you never know. It's possible. That - in my opinion - is one of the greatest things about belonging to a religion that believes in modern revelation from G-d and not just relying on revelation that is 1000s or 100s of years old or even a decade old: you recieve "up-to-date" (for lack of a better term) and "current" guidance about what is going on in the world and what is the best way to act in accordance with that. This is not to say that we don't think for ourselves, but having some guide posts along the path of life that are constantly updated is certainly nice!

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Why do LDS people collect nativity sets? I read about that here, so I really know nothing about that one.
I don't know that that one is LDS-specific, per se. My mom and grandmother only have one each ... but then again, I grew up outside of Utah and my family are "California Mormons" and not "Utah Mormons" and there is actually a very distinct LDS-cultural difference there ... I don't mean to say that there are doctrinal differences between the two states, but there are definite everyday cultural differences, much like a New York Irish Catholic is different from a Boston Irish Catholic (to use a tired stereotype )

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Why does BYU, for example, have such high modesty standards (I have heard that women there must wear skirts below the knee, etc.), but it does not seem like many women/girls keep to these standards in many wards? I am just going off my very limited experience here, so if I'm totally off about other LDS women's modesty just let me know. I guess I am just wondering if these standards are supposed to be for all women, but not everyone is up to it (which is understandable), of if people are just supposed to do this for "purity" or some such during college life.
As a private institution of the Church, BYU tries to uphold standards of modesty that are espoused by the Church. Thus they have the "Honor Code." Which is - when you get down to it - not much different than similar dress and honor codes in private schools across the nation. (BTW, women don't have to wear skirts all the time on campus, jeans, shorts and pants are fine ... just as long as they conform to the Dress Code.) As for why these standards seem to be abandoned in various wards... I think your assessment is fairly accurate. "I guess I am just wondering if these standards are supposed to be for all women, but not everyone is up to it" seems to be the best way to put it. (As a side bar: DW and I are currently in Provo, Utah for school, though I am not at BYU - for a variety of reasons (cost being one of them) but also because one part of the Honor Code reads as follows:

Quote:
If worn, moustaches should be neatly trimmed and may not extend beyond or below the corners of the mouth. Men are expected to be clean shaven; beards are not acceptable.
This is something I don't agree with (small wonder why ) and so I go to UVSC in Orem.)

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Do women go on missions when they are single? I always seem to only see male missionaries.
Yes. DW served a mission in Southern France (the Marseille/Carcassonne/Nice/Antibes region). They can go when they turn 21 (for males it is 19-26), however it is not required. For males, formal, full-time missionary work is seen as a "responsibility of the priesthood" and so between the ages of 19 and 26 a male will recieve a formal invitation to serve a mission. So, long answer to a short question, that's why you see more male missionaries than female ... but they are out there.

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I hope none of this was offensive or pushy. I am just curious about some things I've seen or heard through some LDS friends when I was younger.
No, not offensive at all. That's what this thread is for, opening dialogues between members of different religions that are curious about the "oddities" in others' modes of worship so no offense taken and feel free to ask whatever you want and - I for one - will try to answer any and all questions to the best of my ability, and (as I tell my seventh graders) if I can't answer your question immediately, I'll do some research and give you an answer as soon as I can find one. But no ... you're questions are great. Its nice to be able to have an environment like this to clear up misunderstandings and misinformation (of which there is a lot, and not just for the LDS faith) and answer questions, don't you think?

"A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge." - Tyrion Lannister

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Old 12-06-2006, 07:34 AM
 
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Why do only men have the "priesthood"?
This is actually NCDaddy's DW - we women will never receive the priesthood because we don't need it. It's a compensatory power that puts men under obligation to do things that women already do naturally - serve others, act intuitively and lead. This is coming from a very feminist woman, mind you. I do not need the priesthood, not even to give blessings. Women in the early church placed their hands on people's heads and blessed them all the time. I don't know why they don't do it more often, but we can, with our faith alone.

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Old 12-06-2006, 02:33 PM
 
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This is actually NCDaddy's DW - we women will never receive the priesthood because we don't need it. It's a compensatory power that puts men under obligation to do things that women already do naturally - serve others, act intuitively and lead. This is coming from a very feminist woman, mind you. I do not need the priesthood, not even to give blessings. Women in the early church placed their hands on people's heads and blessed them all the time. I don't know why they don't do it more often, but we can, with our faith alone.
BEAUTIFULY said, Alicia. thanks!

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Old 12-06-2006, 02:34 PM
 
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Hope this answers your question.
Yes, thank you!

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Old 12-06-2006, 05:36 PM
 
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Still wondering about challah bread!
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