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Showing posts from September, 2012

Giving a hoot

I wrote a while back my feelings about why I seem to not be able to let things go.  I've been thinking about that a bit over the last couple months since then.  I just came across this picture on Facebook, and it stuck out to me.  Why do I let myself get so upset about things?  The reason why it struck a cord with me is that I just barely had a heated argument last night about politics and gay marriage.  (When I first came out, I was continually arguing with people, so that wouldn't have been significant, but over the last few months, the arguments have died down significantly.)

I didn't "finish" the argument last night.  Something happened.  I was angry, but that had happened before.  I think what I realized was that I had had the exact same conversation so many times before, and it had never come of anything good, that I decided it wasn't worth it.  I blocked the two guys who were arguing with me.  (One of them wasn't even a Facebook friend, just a fri…

Offend not the little ones

The Bible says that it is better for a man to have a millstone hung around his neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea than to abuse children.  Perhaps the punishment is a bit harsh, but I think this is one concept taught in the Bible that is correct.  (Of course, in another place, it advocates child abuse--"spare the rod, spoil the child" but that wouldn't be the only contradiction in there.)

I came across this picture the other day and posted it on my wall.  I was quite affronted when I had someone actually defend calling boys "girly" and "whiny" when they cry, so I wanted to share more of my feelings on the matter.

Several years ago, I was watching a play with a family that I know.  One of their boys (maybe 5 or so at the time, I don't recall) was sitting on my lap and fell asleep.  After a while, I felt warmth spread around my lap.  This was unprecedented.  I really didn't know what to do.  I leaned over to my wife and informed her o…

A+

A short while back I heard about this new thing called "Atheism+".  I thought about writing about it, but kept putting it off.  Then I found this video and figured that's a good enough description for me.  I basically agree with everything this guy says throughout the whole video, and I think he puts it very well.  (Embedding is disabled for that video, so you need to click the link and watch it on YouTube.  I strongly recommend watching it.)  I also like what the Friendly Atheist had to say on the matter.

Atheism+ is, as Matt points out, basically secular humanism with the emphasis on atheism rather than on the social issues.  At least, that's how he sees it and how I see it.  So, it is atheism plus equal rights; atheism plus opposition to homophobia, racism, sexism, and any other kind of bigotry; atheism plus feminism; atheism plus skepticism.  As Matt says, if we see a problem, let's fix it.  That's how I see atheism+.  And I'm on board with that.  I&#…

No prayer for you

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, as I understand it, works toward making America more secular--removing the Ten Commandments from courthouses and things like that.  I can't say I'm altogether familiar with this particular organization, but I can say that I've read about some things that anti-theists have pushed for and many of them I'm rather disappointed in, such as destroying memorial sites by removing any reference to religion.

This particular story starts somewhere around May.  A student wrote to FFRF to complain about the fact that University of Tennessee--Chattanooga had a tradition of reciting a Christian prayer before their football games (and perhaps other events, I'm not sure).  FFRF then sent a letter to UTC informing them that this tradition is in fact illegal and they should discontinue.  I'm not a legal mind.  I'm not a law student, but upon reading this letter and investigating the legal precedent cited, I believe that FFRF has a sound …

Moral Dilemma

One of the Facebook groups that I'm in had a service project yesterday.  We were going to a nature center to volunteer.  That's really all I knew about the project.  When we got there, the director explained to us that we would be helping a boy work on his Eagle project.  This was actually a difficult thing for me.  My first impulse was just to leave and refuse to help out because it was a BSA thing.  I had a momentary internal struggle over it.

The Boy Scouts of America has a policy of discrimination.  They do not allow gay people to be in their troops nor to be leaders in any capacity in their organization.  I will not support or encourage discrimination in any form.  In fact, I will discourage it and fight against it in any way that I can.  I will not donate any money to the BSA, nor will I do anything that will directly support them.  And I call on everyone who believes in equality to do the same.  Do not support a discriminatory organization.  This was the reason for my i…

Companionship Inventory

LDS missionaries are advised to hold a companionship inventory once per week.  This is a session wherein the two missionaries will talk about any issues that may exist in their relationship.  Many elders will take this opportunity to tell their companion things that they dislike--maybe things that he does that bother him or frustrate him or annoy him.  Most of the companionship inventories that I did with my companions on my mission were relatively balanced.  We discussed things that we were doing well and liked and other things that we could improve upon.  With one particular companion, our inventories were almost always all positive, where we were simply telling each other things that we admired in the other person.

Any couple has companionship inventory.  It is inevitable--whether it is planned and routine, like it is for LDS missionaries--or whether it just happens whenever someone has been holding something in and then finally the steam blows the lid off the pot and a torrent of …

The holes in my heart

Thirty one years ago today, my late wife was born.  A little over three years ago, she passed away.  Many things in my life have bored holes in my heart, but only one has been a bigger hole that this event.  That is the hole made in my heart when Mormonism died.  I've spent some time wondering why this is the case, and here are some of my thoughts.

Karen was an amazing woman.  Everyone who knew her had only positive things to say about her.  The children she taught at school all loved her and were always excited when it was music time.  The teachers she worked with all complimented her, and her principal would have done absolutely anything for her.  I was continually amazed at her strength--her ability to keep pushing on, even when she was tired or sick or had just been treated with chemotherapy.

During the three years that we were married, we grew very close together.  I got to see every aspect of her personality, and she mine.  We had our spats.  We had our fun. We remodeled ou…

Why I blog

This may not be the main reason why I blog, but it makes blogging all the more rewarding and wonderful when it happens.  I don't have a huge following on here.  My top-viewed post ever was when I came out of the closet, which has reached nearly 800 hits now.  Most of my posts get less than 100.  I am actually quite impressed with how many people read what I have to say, considering that it literally is just my thoughts and feelings written down in electronic form.  So, I don't expect much feedback from people, since I don't have a huge reader base.  Some of the feedback has been negative. Most of it is simply people sharing their own thoughts--stating they agree with me, or stating in which ways they disagree.  This is all welcome and appreciated.  But every once in a while, I get a private message from someone who has read my posts and thanks me for it.  This is why I blog.

I have had a few ex-Mormons write to me and thank me for sharing my thoughts.  They enjoy having so…

A day that will live in infamy

I had just gone for my morning run.  I was lying on my bed, resting for a bit before I had to shower and go to school.  It was my first year of college.  My roommate walks in "Keith, someone just attacked the twin towers".  It didn't register.  To me, something like this doesn't happen in real life "Both of them?" I reply.  "Yes".

I remember the reaction.  It was both expected and empowering to witness.  President Bush (whom I admired and supported at the time) called for a national day of mourning, asking each religion to hold its own service.  As I recall, the attack was on a Tuesday and the day of mourning was set for that Friday.  What could be better than joining together in faith to mourn for the loss of our fellow Americans.  So, we did.  The Mormon Tabernacle choir sang and the leaders of the church spoke about the tragedy.  We all affirmed our faith, in whichever denomination we put it.

At the time, nothing could seem more natural than to…

Absolution of truth

(Yes, I do know that "absolution" isn't just the noun form of "absolute".  Its usage is intentional.)

A year and a half ago, I published an article about "absolute truth".  In it, I stated that I believe that there is such a thing as absolute truth, and I gave a fairly rigorous definition for what I meant by that.  I wanted to take a moment to comment on that post.  I still do believe in absolute truth.  I think that any question does have a precise answer (for example, "Does God exist?" or "Does the universe have a beginning?  If so, when was it and how did it come into being?", etc).  What has changed is that I have lost a great deal of confidence that any absolute truth can really be known with any certainty.

In fact, this post is meant to be a personal introspection.  I want to mend my ways.  I argue so passionately about things with people because I personally feel that it is absolute truth.  I did this when I was a believing …

Sacred secrets

I was a Mormon for 27 years.  I know how Mormons feel about the temple.  I know how I felt when I first learned that the entire transcript of the temple ceremony was available online for people to read.  I couldn't possibly fathom what would make someone want to do something so horrible.

That's why I want to share a bit about why I made my earlier post about the temple, and why I'm making this one.  I thought about this for a long time.  It wasn't an easy decision, and it wasn't a hasty decision.  Knowing the pain it could cause to people that I love dearly was the main deterrent in me discussing the temple.  I am not sharing this information because I want to hurt those who hold sacred the things that they do in the Mormon temples.  I do not want to offend them, nor do I want to ridicule something that is so special to them.  Why, then, would I share it?  What possible reason could I have other than to hurt or to mock?

When deciding what to write or say, a good …

Riding the Bus

I grew up in Utah, which is almost exclusively populated by caucasians.  In the elementary school I attended, there was 1 black student out of the 700 enrolled.  I remember on one occasion one of my teachers asked the class how we thought she felt, being the only one in the school.  I don't know about the other students, but I didn't know what to think.  I didn't even really know how to process the question.  It never even occurred to me that being the only black student in the school would affect how she felt.

Fast forward twenty years.  When I went to Atlanta for Dragon Con, I got a hotel a few miles away from the heart of town because it was one third the price of nearby hotels.  I was surprised when I got on the bus to go to the convention and I was the only white person on the bus.  We made several stops over the 15-20 minute ride, and at every stop the people who got on where of other races.  For (probably) the first time in my life, I was the minority.  In fact, I …

Ebb and flow of friendship

When I first came out, I anticipated people no longer wanting to be friends with me--either in the real sense of the word, or in the Facebook sense (or both).  At that time, I stated "I will not harbor any ill feelings against you and if you ever decide to change your mind and befriend me again, I will welcome your friendship with open arms and a happy heart."  And that is still how I feel.

Over the last year and a half, I have had many people unfriend me.  In fact, I'd estimate around 100.  But, also during that time (especially over the last month or so), I have had several people re-friend me. I imagine some people were simply upset at something I said--perhaps something anti-religious or anti-Mormon--and unfriended me in anger, but then later calmed down and decided to forgive me.  I'm grateful for the forgiveness of others.  And I never mean to offend people, even when I say something that I know many will interpret as offensive.  I imagine other people unfriend…

The Convention of the Dragon

This was my first experience ever at any kind of nerd convention.  (Yes, I've been to several math conventions, but it is quite apparent to me that those aren't nerdy enough.)  Dragon*Con was this weekend, and it was a blast.  I loved it.  I'm just going to share a few of the thousands of thoughts I had while experiencing all of the splendor and geekiness that is Dragoncon.

My first thought was about the costumes.  At Dragoncon, not everyone dresses up (in fact, I'd say it was a minority--most people were in street clothes) but there are a good number of people wearing anything from just elf ears to a complete storm trooper costume.  And, of course, there were also some people who mixed up costumes a bit.  For example, I saw one storm trooper whose mask was actually Animal from the Muppets rather than a storm trooper mask.  I thought many of the costumes were rather creative and impressive.

While I was admiring all of these costumes, I started wondering why it isn…

Privilege

I've had two major reasons to think about the topic of privilege during the last couple days.  The first was when one of my friends posted a Facebook status about Mormons being Christian.  He had a good point--Christianity had been defined for a couple thousand years by the time Mormonism came along.  Then Mormons come along and make quite a few changes--that God and Jesus are two separate beings being one of the most notable ones.  Christians would rightly feel affronted by this and want to distance themselves from the emerging religion.

This is an example of a privileged class feeling their privilege being taken away.  That is, they've defined what Christianity meant for so long that they feel they are entitled to do so.  Then, when someone else comes along and wants to do the same thing--that is, to put themselves on a level playing ground--the privileged group feels attacked because they shouldn't be equal than others, they should be better.

The second, and much more p…