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Why Mormons will accept gays

It has for some time now been my opinion that the day will come when the LDS church will accept homosexual people in full fellowship into its ranks.  And I don't mean in the second-class citizen way that they currently accept gay people.  At the moment, gay people are welcome to be members of the church, but are asked to either remain single and celibate or to marry someone of the opposite sex, despite their orientation.  I mean to say that I believe that the day will come when the LDS church will allow gay people to marry (someone of the same sex) within the church, and be equal in every other way to heterosexual members.  
Why do I believe that?  Because of the way that leaders and members of the LDS church spoke about black people and interracial marriages prior to the "revelation" in 1978 that black people should be allowed to have the priesthood.   The following is a quote from a letter written by the First Presidency of the LDS church on July 17, 1947.  At the tim…

Some other beginning's end

It's one of those things that always happens to "someone else".  It'll never happen to me.  And yet, it did.  It happened.  It sounds like something you'd read in a tabloid or something you'd watch on a hyperbolic sitcom.  But it happened to us.  The house burned down and the dogs died.

I was young and ambitious when I bought the house.  More specifically, my wife was ambitious and her ambition rubbed off on me.  We bought the house with grand ideas of flipping it.  We knew there were things wrong with it.  The deck needed to be replaced and the windows needed to be replaced.  We wanted to refinish the hardwood floors and renovate the bathroom and kitchen.

It was fun.  We chased away opossums.  We renovated the bathroom and the kitchen.  It was great.  But then we started noticing other problems.  The basement leaked.  The roof leaked.  The water heater broke.  The air conditioner broke.  The water heater broke again.  After Karen passed away, I lost much of…

In dogma we trust

I've been thinking a lot lately about faith.  Many anti-theists talk about how faith is such a bad thing.  I think that I would like to make a distinction between faith and dogma.  For the purpose of this post, I will stick to rather simple definitions.  I'm sure many theists and atheists alike will disagree on the definition, but these are those that I'm using.  "Faith" will mean "belief in something without evidence".  "Dogma" will mean "a principle which is accepted as incontrovertibly true".

To me, faith is not in itself a dangerous thing.  It may often be silly.  However, it is often times relatively harmless.  It is harmful when it leads to dogma, or dogmatic thinking.  But just believing in something without knowing proof of it really isn't that harmful.  In the loosest interpretation of the word, I have faith in many things.  I have faith in medicine.  I have not taken the time to put in my due diligence to learn about t…

Type II

There are a lot of misconceptions about diabetes, and a lot of ignorance and misinformation.  Some people are unaware that there are two types of diabetes.  Some people are unaware of what the differences are between the two types.

Type I diabetes is when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to lower glucose levels in the blood.  This is typically a condition that a person is born with that is triggered by some illness or event.  It is an auto-immune illness.  Anyone who has this condition cannot be blamed for it.  Nothing that they did caused them to have it.  It is purely genetics.

Type II diabetes is when the pancreas produces insulin but the muscle and fat cells in the body have become resistant to it, so that the insulin no longer does the job that it is supposed to do in the body.  This is also genetic, but not purely genetic.  Certain people are predisposed to getting this type of diabetes because of their genes.  However, it is triggered when the fat cells on a person…

Detoxing

It's been a long and difficult process, but I think that at this point, I've weeded out most of the toxic people in my life, or they've weeded themselves out.  I've lost a lot of friends during the last three years.  And it has hurt a lot.  I hate saying goodbye to friends.  There are many people that I was rather attached to that are no longer a part of my life.  Some walked out of my life, and some I shut out of my life.  Just as treating a wound can be painful, so too can be the process of eliminating unpleasant people from one's life.

But the thing is, I am much happier now.  I don't have the angst and conflict that I had when I first came out.  I don't have the constant arguments, trying to get people to understand that I'm still the same person.  I don't have to explain how being gay is different from contracting HIV.  The people who are in my life now accept me and love me, and I love and accept them.  I have many many new friends over the la…

Boundaries

I think I'm a very amicable person and I like having fun with friends.  I'll sometimes do things that I don't personally enjoy just because I'm with friends who enjoy it.  For example, when I went to gay pride for the first time back in 2011, I met some friends there and they wanted to go to the bar for the after party.  I didn't want to go, but I wanted to be with them, so I went.  I think that it's important to have some degree of acquiescence when socializing with others.  If you're overly rigid with the types of activities that you will or won't do, it may be hard to find friends to hang out with.

But, I've come to realize that sometimes I am too acquiescent and do things that I simply don't enjoy, or that even feel completely disingenuous to me, just because I want to spend time with certain people who enjoy doing those things.

So, now I'll stop being vague and get to what I'm talking about.  Last night I went to two different club…

Listening

So, a while back I blogged about escalation, and how one of the causes of escalation is often that each party in a disagreement feels that the other is not listening or does not understand.  Recent events in my life have helped me understand more about the power of listening.

There are certain hymns that have always been very dear to me, and have struck a chord with my heart.  I will quote them here.
I would be my brother's keeper,
I would learn the healer's art.
To the wounded and the weary
I would show a gentle heart
(from "Lord I Would Follow Thee") Fill my mind with understanding;
Tune my voice to echo thine.
Touch my hand with gentle friendship;
Warm my heart with love divine.
(from "Help Me Teach with Inspiration")  I have a healer's heart.  I love seeing people make up, become friends, overcome obstacles, heal from wounds.  I love taking care of people while they are convalescing.  I hate being around when people fight.  I hate fighting with people. …

The social paradox

I noticed this today while I was eating lunch.  I've been eating at the student cafeteria.  But the faculty cafeteria just re-opened after some sort of break, so I went there to try it (surprisingly, they're the same cost).  It was so much fancier.  I really felt out of place.  But, the main point is that I was the only person in the whole room.  I ate nearly my entire meal in solitude.

While I was sitting there, I was on my phone.  Checking facebook, and other social networking apps and things that I have to chat with other people long distance.  What stuck out to me was when I considered the prospect of someone else coming into the dining hall, sitting at my table, and commencing a conversation with me.  It was a terrifying thought.

So, I spent the rest of my meal thinking about how odd it is.  In person, I believe I experience at least some degree of social anxiety.  Yet, online I do not.  I am the most extroverted and outgoing person I know while online.  I comment on ever…

We are not Homeless

I went to the ghetto food court in the ghetto mall near where I work.  It was ghetto.  While I was sitting there, eating my food, a man came up to me and said he was homeless and that he hadn't eaten anything today and begged me to buy him a lunch.

I didn't know what to do.  I sort of froze.  I could have bought him a lunch.  Perhaps I should have.  One memory that almost instantly popped into my head was a similar time when Conrad and I first met, and a guy asked him to buy his lunch.  Conrad gladly did so.  Apparently this man often begged for lunches near this establishment, and the workers knew him.  They were upset at the guy for doing it, and they told Conrad he didn't have to buy the guy lunch.  Conrad said he didn't mind.

So, one of the thoughts that came into my head was that the owner of the establishment probably didn't like guys begging for meals inside his own restaurant.  I didn't want to encourage that sort of behavior, so I felt that I shouldn…

Question authority

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I posted this on my wall about a week ago.  Something I've been thinking about is how many of my friends do this.  In fact, I would say that most of the people I know are critical of the government, and of politicians.  Sadly, some of them are only critical of the "other" party, rather than of all politicians, but at least that's a start, I suppose.

But I really don't know too many people who say things like "We should trust the government absolutely" or "There's no need to be critical" or things like that.  Every once in a while, I encounter a statist of this type, but not that frequently.  It may be just because I'm a libertarian and tend to associate with other libertarians, but I find that many of my friends are entirely disenchanted with government and want to see a vast overhaul, or even a complete removal of government altogether.

At any rate, what I've been thinking about so much is how people apply this concept to gover…

Disagreeability

A friend that I hadn't seen in a while came through town the other day, and I went to dinner with him.  He's a Christian.  He believes in God.  He believes the Bible.  He's one of the Christian friends I have who hasn't defriended me on Facebook for being a vocal atheist (and even anti-theist on many occasions).  One thing he said to me was that it's good to be able to disagree with people.

His attitude toward me and my irreligiosity was unusual and even a bit disarming.  I'm very accustomed to one of two different responses from people: either a bitter fight or and end of communication altogether (in many cases, both responses happen, in the order listed).  But he (and, admittedly, many other of my Christian friends) did not react this way.  The conversation we had was very good for me.  Rather than viewing religious people as opponents, which on occasion I do, I can view them as providing a different perspective in life.

He said that he actually enjoys my p…

Song of the righteous

I like music.  My dad was the ward choir director when I was a child, and I enjoyed going to choir practice with him.  He even owned his own music shop for a while, and I loved going to work with him, playing with the organs and pianos, and looking around at all of the goods.  I loved my music class in elementary school, and I enjoyed playing the french horn in high school.  It was lots of fun.

I love church music.  I remember one time when I was a teenager at choir practice (my dad was no longer the choir director), we were singing a hymn, and for some reason (I think because I was bragging), the director asked me what the first word of the next verse of the song was.  I was embarrassed because I knew the next verse, but I was having a brain fart and could not think of what the first word was on the spot like that.  But that embarrassment became motivation for me to memorize dozens of the hymns in the LDS hymnal.  I would stay awake late at night with the hymnbook in front of me, me…

Appearances

The strangest things give me ideas to blog about.  Today, I was going to my fridge (as I do over 556 times per day) and noticed a refrigerator magnet.  It was a campaign magnet from Ron Paul's 2008 campaign.  What came to my attention (and it has bothered me many times before) was that the picture they used was from roughly 20 years ago.  I have seen people try to slam Ron Paul, and they invariably use current pictures, showing his true age, and with a ridiculous look on his face too.  Of course, this isn't unique to Ron Paul.  Nearly everyone famous does this--they use "good" pictures for themselves and their opponents use "bad" pictures of them.

First of all, the fact that something this shallow actually works the way it is intended to bothers me, but that's another discussion.  The truth is I don't think there's anything wrong with someone trying to look "good", to present emself well.  What bothers me is the fact that we, as a soci…

The path of the righteous

He knows his way in the dark
Mine is the way of the Lord
And those who follow the path of the righteous
Shall have their reward This is an excerpt from the song "Stars" from the musical Les Misérables.   It is the inspector Javert singing about Jean Valjean, whom he has been chasing ever since he broke his parole.  Valjean robbed a house, and due to a series of attempted escapes, ended serving nearly 20 years in prison before he was offered parole.  He broke parole and became a very successful businessman and mayor of a town.

Each man felt that what he was doing was good.  Javert felt that his duty to the law was righteous, and that anyone who broke the law was wicked.  Valjean felt that he was doing the right thing by providing food for his starving family, even if that meant steal from someone else.  He also felt he was doing the right thing by being a benevolent and respected mayor.

While this is fictional, it teaches many lessons about life.  One that I would like to point…

My dog is more moral than your god

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Owning a dog has been very educational for me.  I have learned a lot about myself and about dogs simply by observing the dog that we own.  I have shared some of these thoughts before, and now I shall share some more.

One of the many things I have thought about is the morals that our dog seems to exhibit.  Many people will say that animals act on instinct or that they do not have a moral code.  I strongly disagree.  Observing Konan, and all of the animals in the YouTube videos that Conrad watches, I know that animals are intelligent and that they feel empathy just the same as we do, and that their conduct is dictated in large part by their empathies.

To illustrate what I mean by this, let me give some examples.  Konan bites us.  But when he does, they are play bites.  He is not biting with his full strength.  He would easily break our skin if he did, and possibly even break some bones as well.  But he does not.  He has only broken skin on a couple of instances, when he was overly ex…

Sexual liberation

I happened across this article today.  I do recommend reading it.  It is a gay man's experience in coming to terms with his sexuality--saving himself from the brink of suicide--and finding love.  The title says it is part 4 of 8.  I have not read any of the others in the series, but I just might.

What I wish to address in particular about his article are his comments about sex itself.  He mentions that he has always believed in abstinence until lifelong monogamy.  Then he mentions that when he has voiced this opinion to other people in the LGBT community, he has made enemies doing so.  This is the thing that I wish to speak about.

I have talked before about sex, and I shall probably talk of it often in the future.  I think that it needs to be discussed more openly and frankly in our society.  I think that the shame that is often associated with even mentioning sex is very harmful, particularly to young people just coming to terms with new and heightened sexual feelings.

The fir…

If math class were like church

Dear students, I want to share with you how much math has blessed my life.  There was a time when I was lost, my car broke down, and I was miles away from any kind of civilization.  I didn't have a cell phone.  I wasn't sure what I would do or how I would get out of such an awful situation.  But then I remembered something my math teacher taught me when I was in elementary school.  She said that with math, all things are possible.  So, I got out my straight edge and compass and I performed calculation after calculation.  After a while, my car started working again and I found my way back home.

I know that math is true.  I know that Pythagoras was a true mathematician.  I know that Carl Friedrich Gauss died for my mathematical errors.  I know that the sum of the squares of the legs of a right triangle is equal to the square of the hypotenuse.  And this knowledge has brought me such comfort in life.  I am truly blessed to know these things.  I have never been happier.  With the…

Big blow to bigotry

Yesterday is a day that will go down in history.  It will be a very famous day in the story of the gay rights movement.  The Supreme Court handed down two opinions on two high-profile cases.  One was about the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law which defined marriage as heterosexual-only even in cases where individual states recognized gay marriages.  The other was about Proposition 8, which was an amendment to the California State Constitution which also defined marriage as heterosexual-only.  Both decisions from the Court were favorable to marriage equality.

The decision on the Prop 8 case was, honestly, a non-decision.  The Court said that it did not have jurisdiction to decide the case because the people defending the proposition didn't have the right to do so.  So, they did not give a ruling on whether Prop 8 was constitutional or not.  However, their ruling did have the effect of overturning Prop 8 because it meant that the original decision by Judge Walker is now the st…

Prideful volunteering

The Bible says that you shouldn't sound a trumpet when you do good deeds--that you shouldn't brag about the good things that you do.  I agree that there is wisdom in not coming across as condescending when performing good deeds.  I think it can be annoying when people continually boast of how good they are and the wonderful things that they do with their lives.  But I think it is foolish to try to do all charity in secret.

I often talk about the things that I do to help out other people.  I have blogged about charities that I feel good about donating to.  I post about volunteering my time and donating my money to charitable institutions.  I don't mean to brag in doing this.  I mean to raise awareness.  I think that people do not think about it nearly as much as they should, and that donations to charity are far more sparse than they should be.  I hope that in speaking of the acts that I do, I can help motivate other people to give more liberally and more frequently to sim…

There were never such devoted sisters

It's been a while since I've listened to church dogma.  Almost two years.  Yes, I've had a few family members email me things like "We're praying for you" and stuff like that, but nothing really all that intense.  Nothing like a Sunday School lesson.

The sister missionaries in my ward have been coming over lately.  They dropped by around the time Conrad had his name removed from the church's records and have come over multiple times since we had a (female) roommate move in with us.

The last time they came, which was a few days ago, and today when they came, I couldn't help but realize how much my attitude toward religious teachings has changed.  At this point in time, it seems no more to me than utter and complete nonsense.  And it leaves me baffled.  I look at these two women, and they are intelligent and respectable women.  They are clearly sane and are well-adjusted to society. And yet the things that come out of their mouths are so utterly ridic…

Sensitivity

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One of the atheist pages I follow posted this image on the right.  I started participating in the discussion in the comments.  One woman, who claimed to be an atheist, was defending Christianity and saying how this statement is insensitive.

Many of the things I have said on my blog and on my Facebook wall I have been told are insensitive.  And many of the things I say really are insensitive.  However, if you think that this particular type of thing is insensitive, then you do not understand the motivation behind saying it.

I value life.  I value human life very highly.  I value independence and freedom very highly.  I value individuality and individual expression.  So, when I see an institutionalized attack on life and on individuality, I am offended.  I am incensed. I am infuriated.  I consider it an insult to humanity.  I consider it an attack on morality.  And such an institutionalized attack has occurred and is still in the process of occurring.  And the guilty party is religio…

Crybabies

After seeing this article pop up in my news feed, I couldn't help myself.  I simply have to write my own satirical Onion News Network-style article in response.

SALT LAKE CITY -- As the war on civil rights is posed to take one more step toward equality for all humans, bigots have resulted to whining.

"It's just not fair" says Elder Lance B. Wickman, member of the Quorum of Seventy of the LDS Church, "We used to be able to dictate how everyone should live their lives, but now it looks like we're going to have to confine ourselves to telling just the members of our own church that they can't marry someone of the same sex."

Boyd Kenneth Pack, President of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles offered his opinion as well, even though no reporter ever questioned him.  Fortunately, he has some close relatives who can translate from the language of Reformed Bigotyptian into modern English.  So, we have his translated message.  "Back in my day, we treated que…

Day of Memories

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I am a pacifist, in the strictest sense.  I think that killing is immoral.  I think that war is a sign of poor communication skills and immaturity.  I do not feel good about praising people who are murderers.  I think that life is valuable and should be respected.  I think that people should be peaceful.

We are not a great country.  We are not peacekeepers.  We are not kind, compassionate people.  We are a bloodthirsty and warmongering people.  We invade countries on false claims and lay waste to them.  We slaughter millions of innocent people, and thousands of our own troops.  We destroy whole cities with our weapons.

We are hypocrites.  The reason given for invading Iraq was their possession of weapons of mass destruction and yet we own countless of our own weapons of mass destruction.  We have missiles and nuclear bombs.  We have fighter jets and bombers.  We have tanks and aircraft carriers.  We spend more on our military than the rest of the industrialized world put together. …