Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Thoughts on Being Mormon: The One Thing I Can Give God

Thoughts on Being Mormon: The One Thing I Can Give God

Mosiah 4:22 says “And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.”

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Thinking Through Trans-Gender Stuff

I know you don't care what I think, and that's okay, but I have some thoughts on the trans-gender issue that I want to write out.

One thing I keep thinking is: where are the feminists on this topic? They've been pretty quiet, as far as I can see. 

I'm a woman. I've paid dues to be a woman. I'm not a woman because of my feelings. I'm a woman because of my biology. I've dealt with female hormones and periods and obvious puberty and such. But even if I hadn't, even if I were the very rare woman who didn't get a period, I would still be a woman. I have the correct genetics for it. So where are the feminists saying to the Bruce/Caitlyn Jenners of the world, "Wait a minute. You don't get to just join the club because you feel like it. You haven't got the required biological punch-card to get into this club." They're silent. Because they are afraid. 

Why is everyone SO afraid? 

I think it's because the liberal media and the outspoken "pioneers" of the LGBTQ?WHATEVERYOUWANTISOKAY team will call anyone who isn't on the train with them a "bigot" or "hateful" or "misogynist" or whatever other slanderous or hateful term they can think of in their quest to take down any dissension. 

Well. That's open-minded and loving of them.

So here's the thing. How do you define what it feels like to be a woman or a man? You can't. Because men and women are similar. We both have feelings. We both have emotions. There are differences, of course-- vast difference. For one thing, men are genetically predisposed to having more upper body strength. Women are genetically predisposed to be more nurturing, as a rule. Neither of these things are guaranteed, though, because we are all a mixed scoop of genes and some men are skinny and effeminate and some women are less nurturing than their counterparts. 

My parents are an interesting example. My mom was an abusive, horrible mother who chose her selfish desires over her children and husband and left him to raise us. My dad, on the other hand, was gentle, loving and nurturing. Not in the same way that a mother has the potential to be, but in a Dad way. And it worked. And I never once thought that he was really a mom trapped in a dad body, just because he was good for a hug and a kiss and a comforting word when I needed it.  

I think it's ridiculous to assume that because a girl likes to wear "boy" clothes and play sports that she is really a boy in the wrong body. Why not teach her to love herself as she is, inside and out? That her body is beautiful and perfect and that it's totally okay to put on those clothes and get as dirty as she wants and that when she is looking in the mirror that what she sees is perfection? The whole package is wonderful-- the body, the soul, the mind, all of it. 

I'm really worried about the popularity of enabling mental delusions in our society. 

My mother had 7 kids. But she wanted to be free of the responsibility of motherhood, so she left. Had she (in today's culture) claimed that she felt she was really a 17-year old girl and wanted to live as such, so she had to leave to be her "true, authentic self," would she have been applauded for her choice to leave her children and husband? Does selfishness and self-delusion really make anything and everything you want okay? 

It's going to be an interesting century. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Thoughts on Being Mormon: 2 Nephi and Consecration

These thoughts are a little disorganized, but I know what I'm thinking:
I noticed several uses of the word “consecrate” in this week’s reading of 2 Nephi, chapters 1-8. Here are the ways it is used:
“The Lord hath consecrated this land for…thy seed”
“He shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain.”
Nephi “did consecrate Jacob and Joseph…[as] priests and teachers”
Jacob speaks of “having been consecrated”
“This land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring”
“May the Lord consecrate also unto thee this land”

Because it jumped out at me, I looked up the definition in the dictionary.
  1. make or declare (something, typically a church) sacred; dedicate formally to a religious or divine purpose.
"the present Holy Trinity church was consecrated in 1845"
    • (in Christian belief) make (bread or wine) into the body or blood of Christ.
"they received the host but not the consecrated wine"
    • ordain (someone) to a sacred office, typically that of bishop.
"in 1969 he was consecrated bishop of Northern Uganda"

sanctify, bless, make holy, make sacred;

     So when the scriptures speak of the land being consecrated, I take that to mean that it is dedicated as sacred, for a divine purpose. And when a person is described as being consecrated, it means he has been set apart, blessed, and made sacred through ordination. The consecration of the American continent for divine purpose is an important historical event. Many current residents of the United States know that it is a special place, but feel that white European-descended Americans ought to feel guilty because of the scourging of the Native American people who were “here before us.” While I sympathize with what those people went through, and I do feel that they were discriminated against, and abused, murdered, and their lands were plundered, it’s equally important to recognize God’s hand in what happened. In order for the Gospel to be restored, Europeans had to settle this land. And in order for that to happen, the native peoples had to either share, or be destroyed. In reading the prophesies of the Book of Mormon, we learn that it was inevitable that they would be moved (or killed), to make room for the “white man” to settle. This is because they had turned away from God, from Jesus Christ, and had fulfilled the prophesies given to Lehi and Nephi so early on in the Book of Mormon. Tragic though it was, it had to happen.

        Likewise, in order for the Children of Israel to return home, someone will have to be moved out of Israel, I imagine. More and more, I’ve been thinking about how we are in the end days, and this has yet to happen. The ten tribes are still “lost”, but I think it will be fascinating to learn just where some of our ancient European forbears came from. If some of them started out in Northern Israel, and were carried away and eventually scattered, my Irish ancestors could have descended from ancient Israelites. Maybe. We just don’t know. But I find it intriguing to think about.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Notes on Being Mormon: Charity,The Pure Love of Christ

I've spent some time pondering and studying charity, and I've reached a few conclusions that I hope you agree are worth consideration. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Notes on Being Mormon: What I've Learned From Joseph in Egypt

I've spent much of my life intimately acquainted with the story of Joseph and the multi-colored coat and his being sold by his brothers and eventually ending up as 1st assistant to the Pharoah of Egypt. When I was a teenager, my dad gave me the soundtrack to the musical "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat", which is surprisingly true to the scriptural account, and I was hooked. I was even able to perform in the show twice- once in High School, and again in community theater. So, I know the story pretty well. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Notes on Being Mormon: Studying the Scriptures

source: saltandlighttv.org
I'm not a young duckling anymore, and I probably should have mastered the skills required to truly study the scriptures years ago, but... I haven't. Much of my scripture reading is just that: reading. I push through my fatigue, my busy-ness, my anxiety to get to the next thing, and I read some stuff. Then I get on with my day. 

This is not enough, though. I need more, and that means I need to DO more.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Anxiety Adventures: Social Anxiety is a THING

Many people don't understand social anxiety. Non-affected folks seem to think we uber-introverted, socially phobic people ought to just "get over it" or "not let it bother" us, or worst of all they say "it's not that big of a deal". We know. It's irrational. That's what makes it anxiety/phobia.

Here's the situation we're discussing this week. Our Home Teacher (for non-Mormons, this is a fellow church member who has an assignment to check in with our family each month and share a gospel message and check to see if we are in need of anything) sent my husband an email the other day. Instead of the normal "can we come visit you on such-and-such day", it said, "We've decided that December 3 will be the day for home teaching next month. We're going to meet at Jim's (restaurant) with two other couples at 6:00 for dinner, I'll pick you and your wife up." (I'm paraphrasing). 

My husband, Kriss, doesn't get off work until 7:00 p.m., at the earliest. This time of year, his quitting time varies greatly. So he told the HT this. The HT, not the least bit discouraged, said, "We'll meet at 7:00, then. Tell your wife that so-and-so will pick her up and you can just meet us there when you get off work." I'm trying not to freak out.

This is how my husband views the situation: 

  • mildly uncomfortable
  • can't get out of it
  • it won't kill us

This is how I view it:
  • I haven't been given a choice
  • I won't have a car-- no escape route
  • Kriss might not even make it until 8 or later, if the store is extra busy that night
  • I'm not even friends with these couples-- I like them, we're friendly, but not hang-out-together friends. 
  • Just over a year ago... or was it 2 years? My nephew got married, and at the dinner, a few different conditions conspired to severely trigger my anxiety: I was very high-strung about being on time, but the time got changed and Kriss made me go shopping because he thought we had all this time, but we didn't; when we arrived, dinner had already begun (we were the last to arrive-- the opposite of my normal life); my siblings were all sitting together laughing and hadn't saved my husband and me seats; I had to sit with strangers. I sat down and had the strangest panic attack- my heart was pounding, and my eyes started crying, and I couldn't stop them. Then I was embarrassed to be sitting at this table full of strangers, holding my breath, trying not to cry. I couldn't taste the food. Kriss asked what was wrong, and I thought I would melt into a puddle and die. I told him just to ignore me, please, I'll be okay, and he socialized and ate and picked up the slack for me. My point in sharing this is that the memory of this occurrence makes me think that something similar is likely to happen at the home teaching dinner thing and Kriss won't be there to save me and I'll have to just die alone.
  • I don't think there's enough Xanax in the world to make me enjoy such a dinner.
So what do we do? We don't know. We haven't figured it out yet. I think I'll just tell them not to come get me, that I'll just come with Kriss when he gets off work. 

Kriss thinks I'm being ridiculous. (He's nice, so he doesn't say this, but he does say other things that indicate it!) So this is how I explained social anxiety to him:
  1. Imagine you have to sing a solo in front of a group of professional musicians (this only works if you aren't a professional musician).
  2. The song you have to sing is difficult, and though you've worked hard on it, you still squeak on the high notes and miss the low notes. 
  3. You can't catch your breath.
  4. Stage fright beyond your ability to control grips your whole body-- squeezing your heart and pressing on your lungs.
  5. Did I mention you're naked in this scenario?
That's about how it feels. 

So, extroverted, outgoing, friendly and (frankly) pushy people-- have patience with those of us who aren't like you. It's not that I don't like people-- I do! It's not that I don't like to socialize-- I do, in situations I feel safe in. And it's not that I can't "control" my anxiety. I've spent most of my life pushing it down and suffering through situations that made me uncomfortable. However, as I've gotten older, my anxiety has gotten a lot worse. I never had a panic attack before the last 5 years. That being the case, I think a little leeway would be nice, here. 

So. Tell me what you think? How should I handle this situation?