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Showing posts from October, 2011

Do unto others II

I wanted to offer some further clarification concerning my post from a couple weeks ago entitled "Do unto others" and expound a bit on that topic.  In that post, I gave several examples of the way people had treated me during my transition out of Mormonism.  I wanted to make clear the reason for having done this, since the feedback I've received has made me think perhaps I didn't express it as well as I originally thought.  In listing all of those things that happened, I did not mean to incite negative feelings toward any of the people mentioned, nor did I wish to elicit sympathy due to the fact that I had undergone any undesirableness.  Nor did I wish to imply that any of those particular things were causes for me leaving the LDS faith.  The sole purpose for sharing those events was to help those who are faithful, believing Mormons see ways in which their actions--as well-intending as they may be--can sometimes hurt people's feelings.

Sometimes, and I know this…

Think for yourself

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So, there may be those who think it's irrational or inappropriate to compare interracial marriage with same-sex marriage.  However, if you go back to the time when this was a hot topic in America, you'll find that the things that opponents of same-sex marriage are saying now are exactly the same kinds of arguments that were given in opposition of legalizing interracial marriage back then.  Some people believed that children of interracial couples would be infertile and therefore interracial marriage is immoral, just as today people teach that gay marriages are immoral because gay couples are infertile.  The parallels really are staggering, and I would invite any who have not yet done so to go back and read/watch all of the arguments given against interracial marriage.  It also behooves me at this time to point out that the LDS church and many of its leaders were among those who were most vocal in opposition of interracial marriage, just as they are now in opposition to gay ma…

Survival instincts

I just ran across this article that was written in 2000 by a psychologist at University of St. Thomas.  It was definitely an eye-opening read, and I recommend it to all--religious or otherwise.  I'll paraphrase its content here, in very brief summary.  Basically, the brain has two ways of perceiving the world--through sensory data and through beliefs (about things which cannot be perceived).  Both of these work together as survival instincts in the brain.  Therefore, when one is challenged (eg, one's belief system) then that person switches into survival mode, viscously defending what their brain perceives as an attack on its survival.

Survival instincts are very strong.  In fact, just the other day I watched an episode of Doctor Who where one of the major points in the plot is that survival instincts in humans are too strong for them to commit suicide under hypnosis.  When the brain perceives a threat to survival, there are many defense mechanisms that it engages.  Sometimes…

Peer Pressure

I was always taught about the evils of peer pressure--that I should steel myself against times in my life when the peers I surrounded myself with would invariably attempt to entice me to do something that was immoral.  I was taught that I should surround myself with good friends and that I should make strong resolutions well in advance so that when the time came when my less-than righteous friends tried to get me to do something bad, I'd have the strength and resolve to say no.  This is taught in church all the time, especially to the youth.

I always had a problem with the "don't be friends with bad people" teaching.  I'm pretty sure the Jesus described in the New Testament hung out with prostitutes, dishonest tax collectors, and all sorts of other kinds of "sinners".  As he said, the whole need no physician, but it is the sick who need a physician.  Anyway, setting that aside, I want to focus merely on the topic of peer pressure.

In my own life, I have…

I too must give

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This is something that I've thought about every year around Christmas time for the last few years.  I have refrained from saying anything because I don't want to come across as a spoil-sport, a wet blanket, self-righteous, insincere, ungrateful, or anything like that.  I love Christmas. I love being with family (although, we may not be able to be with family this year--sad day).  I love present exchange time.  But every year since about 2005, I have felt a strange guilt with the opening of every present addressed to me, and that guilt has grown steadily more intense each year.

I have everything that I need.  I have a wonderful family.  I have a loving fiancĂ©.  I have all of the comforts of life--food, shelter, entertainment, clothing, etc.  I can go to the store any day that I want and buy any food that I have a craving for.  I can drive up to a building and, without ever leaving my car, order any meal on the menu that I like.  I am so blessed.  I have such an abundance of lov…

Double double standard standard

This post was inspired by a conversation that I overheard at school today.  These two guys were chatting with each other (no women were present) and one remarked that he enjoyed walking up a staircase behind a woman with an attractive tail end (I'm paraphrasing to keep the post at least PG).  The other guy voiced his assent.  The conversation varied through many topics completely unrelated to women and their attractiveness, but multiple times throughout the one man would make interjections concerning his obsession with viewing attractive females.

This is not the first time I have witnessed/been involved in such a conversation.  It really is what straight men think about for a great portion of their time.  It's not even just the "vulgar", "profane", or "ungodly" men either.  When I was in the MTC, the 7 other missionaries in my district (that I was with nearly every waking hour of the day every day) also frequently discussed the topic as well.  Th…

Don't teach my children

So, another one of the main arguments I've heard in opposition of gay marriage/homosexuality in general is "I don't want you to teach my children that that's ok." or something along those lines.  I've had many people in my own family express this sentiment to me, and others that have expressed it, but not to me personally.  I honestly have no problem complying with that request.  It is your responsibility to teach your own children.  But, that having been said, I have a request for you: please don't teach my children (or other people's children--especially children of gay couples) that homosexuality is wrong.

Is this an unfair request?  I ask no more of you than what you ask of me.  You don't want me to teach in your public schools that it's ok, so don't teach in my public schools that it's wrong.  Teach it in your church, that's a private organization and I don't need to send my children there.

I've had people tell me th…

Memories

I have photographs all over my house.  I think most people do.  As I was looking at them, I started thinking about why we have photographs.  We say things such as "a picture says a thousand words", and it's so true.  For me, I think the main reason why I like pictures is because of all of the memories that they cause me to recall when I look at them.  In a way, it's even as if the memories are stored in the picture and viewing the picture brings them all flooding back.  I look at the wedding picture I have on my wall and I recall the day that I married Karen.  Such a happy day, so many mixed emotions.  I was scared, I was elated, I was angry (at really minor things, to be quite honest), I felt so many things.  I even remember feeling as though everything were surreal "Am I really married now?  I really do have a wife?"

I look at photos of Karen playing with her nieces and nephews, of the whole family altogether, of many different things, and I have all the…

I love you, but

This isn't directed at anyone, nor is it a complaint.  Take it as food for thought.  I don't know how many times in the last several months I've heard the phrase "I love you, but...".  In my post "What's a Mormon?" a few months ago, I briefly mentioned what I thought about this phrase.  Here I'll expound a bit more.

Of course, the most common situation where someone uses this phraseology is when they're talking to someone who's gay.  "I love you, but I just don't agree with your lifestyle choices." or "I love you, but I don't like the decisions you're making."  Yes, it happens in all sorts of scenarios, usually when someone doesn't live up to someone else's expectations (including the case of a friend or parent expecting a child to be straight and being disappointed when this is not the case).

So, first I want to ask the question, why is this necessary?  Is the need to express your disapproval of …

Santa Claus

Santa Claus is a cute little fairy tale for children to believe in.  It's a good way for parents to persuade their children to behave, at least around Christmas time (although, I have to admit I've pulled the Santa card on some kids even in June and it worked).  I have some siblings who do the whole Santa thing and their kids get so much into it, it's adorable to watch.  I have some other siblings who believe in being honest with their children, so they tell them that Santa is just a symbol of kindness and selfless giving, but doesn't really exist.  They also tell their children that some children do believe in Santa and that they shouldn't try to persuade them otherwise--that it should be up to their parents to break the news to them.

My sister tells a story about one of her friends still believing in Santa in middle school.  It was a rather embarrassing situation.  The girl got angry and said "my dad wouldn't lie to me" and refused to believe the t…

Mormons aren't Christian?

I have to be honest, all of this hubbub about Mormons not being Christian makes me think people can be awfully silly sometimes.  I mean, yes, I had heard many times before that other Christian sects don't accept Mormons as Christian, and I've even heard the silly reasons for this claim.  But, what does it all boil down to?  "They're not Christian because they disagree with us."  It seems that all so often religious people are over-zealously concerned with making sure that everyone else believes exactly the same thing they do.

Why do so many churches send missionaries all over the world?  (It was, I believe, much more common a few centuries ago than it is now.)  Why do people of different sects Bible bash each other?  Why do sermons on Sunday often include "such-and-such church is wrong because they believe..."  I'm just imagining a playground full of children all arguing things like "My dad's faster than yours."  "Well, my dad…

Do unto others

This post is directed at my Mormon reader base.  But first, a disclaimer.  This post is meant first as an exposition on my personal experiences, secondly as a commentary on my observations, and third as constructive criticism for any who wish to receive it.  It is not meant to blame anyone nor condemn any act.  It isn't meant to justify or absolve guilt of any of my own actions.  It also isn't meant as a pity party for myself.  I only want to communicate the way in which certain actions have caused me to become disaffected with the church and other actions have helped me to continue to love the church, and by so doing encourage actions of the latter category.

My immediate family (counting Karen's and Conrad's, all of whom I consider to be family) has reacted as best as can be expected to the events that have unfolded over the course of this year.  There are those whose behavior has been so exemplary that I only wish I could ever be as understanding and compassionate as…

Spirit children of God

As one of the (many) reasons that gay marriage should not be sanctioned, I have heard the following argument.  "There are many of our Heavenly Father's spirit children waiting to come down to this Earth to receive a body.  I want to help them in this wonderful plan that God has made for us.  I can do that by providing bodies for them (ie, having children of my own).  Gay couples cannot reproduce, so they cannot contribute to this wonderful part of God's plan of bringing spirit children down here to Earth to get a physical body."  This post is my reply to that argument.
First, I ask a question to one who would propose this argument.  I ask, what is your motivation in providing physical bodies for these spirit children?  Is it greed, because you expect to receive some reward from God for doing His will?  As far as I can tell, the answer most would give to this question is "no".  Then, is it out of a sense of duty?  (You feel that you owe it to God to do what …

Coming out day

So, since 1988 October 11th has been National Coming Out Day.  This is a day to celebrate who you are by being honest about it.  It is a day to become more authentically you, a day to show off the beauty that God created in you.

What is "coming out"?  To me, it means much more than just announcing a non-heterosexual orientation. There have been many things in my life that I have kept hidden from the people around me out of fear.  And, no, I'm not talking about just simple secrets.  I'm talking about characteristics of yourself that you cannot or do not want to change.  I used to pretend that I was straight because that is what my church wanted me to do, and what I believed my God, my family, and my friends wanted as well.  While many LGBT people have expressed that this feels quite repressive, for me it wasn't.  It was more like eating American ramen noodles my whole life and then finally going to Japan and having a bowl of real Japanese ramen noodle soup.  I en…

Love and acceptance

Social interaction is very important to humans.  We form social clubs, fraternities, sororities, organizations, churches, and special interest groups.  We want to connect with other people in meaningful ways.  We want to know that there are others "like us" out there somewhere.  What is so dreadful about the thought of loneliness?  What is so fearful about the idea that perhaps one is alone in the world.  "Am I the only one that feels this way?", "No one knows what I'm going through.", "How could anyone be as ______ as me?", "What if I'm just different?" are some of the questions that float through people's minds--perhaps subconsciously.

What is the purpose of blogging--more specifically, of this blog?  Why do I share my feelings?  Because I want to know that someone out there hears what I'm saying, understands it, and can express that empathy to me.  I want to know that I'm not alone in my thoughts and feelings.  …