Wednesday, June 30, 2010

To my moving neighbors, WTF?

I have been in a state of shock today. My beautiful wife Blondie posted some very disturbing news on her blog last night. Our neighbors that live across the street from us have children that are the same age as our children. They have decided to move and the reason that we initially thought is not the real reason at all. We initially heard that they had grown out of their house and needed a larger one. After reading Blondie’s blog post, we have now discovered that they are moving because of us. Since we have left the church, started drinking casually, and got tattoos, I guess we are now the worst neighbors to have and our children are a bad influence on their children.

Is this really what Mormons do? I guess I have lived my entire life as a member of the church and never caught onto this idea. Do Utah Mormons think that they can live in a bubble of holiness and protection from the real world? I guess Blondie and I are just extra dangerous since we used to believe and now we don’t. We are not one of those unsuspecting non-members that do not know anything about the church. We know all about the church, every aspect about how it operates and what is expected. I went through the temple with the old ceremony before the changes in 1990. Yes, I did the death penalties in the temple. There is no pulling the wool over our eyes about what happens or has happened in the church.

So my question for our neighbors that have decided that we are longer good enough to live by is what happens when you move to another neighborhood and find neighbors that are not up to your standards? What if another family has children of similar age that no longer go to church? What if your neighbor is a sexual predator or criminal of some sort? Is that better than good upstanding neighbors that no longer go to church or share your belief system? Do you move again?

I guess I am taking this a little personally because my parents just did the same thing. They moved to Arizona for my dad’s health. They have been very diligent in reporting to us about how much better they are doing health wise since they moved there. The interesting thing is that they did not even think of moving until after we told them that we no longer believed in the church. Now our neighbors who have lived across from us for about 10 years have decided to do the same thing. I guess telling people that you no longer believe in the church is one of the worst things you can do.

Anyone want to move in across the street from some non-believers? I promise we are nice people. We have good hygiene and shower every day.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Who is God and what is He (or She) like?

Okay, time to get rhetorical. I have been thinking of some aspects about God that just seem weird to me. Have you ever heard the term “God fearing”? Here is an example, “I respect Bro. Johnson because he is a God fearing man.” “The United States is great because it is a God fearing country.”

So here is my question. Why is it good to fear God? I can certainly see why some people do fear God when various stories in the Bible show God as a jealous or vengeful God. Fearing God is even in the Ten Commandments with “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” So right from the get-go we have a fear of God instilled into us, but why? Why does God want us to fear him? Is respect or love not good enough?

Joseph Smith’s version of God even gets personal. God, in the words of Joseph Smith, personally threatens Emma Smith with destruction if she does not follow Joseph Smith and his teachings of polygamy. Even though the practice of polygamy is repulsive to everyone, Joseph Smith’s God will not accept any other way. Why would we want to follow a God like that?

I am currently in Leesville, LA and as I drove here from the airport, I drove by so many churches that I could not count them all. They were mostly Pentecostal and Southern Baptist churches. Of course, they all have their various signs out front to get your attention. One in particular caught my eye, it said, “We were created to glorify God.” Is God really so egotistical that he created us for the sole reason that we could turn around and worship him? What’s the point? Does He get some sort of satisfaction from having an entire world full of people worshiping Him, hoping that He will bless them?

The more that I think about the Mormon Church’s Plan of Salvation, the more that I think it is a setup for failure. Here is how the plan goes. God created all of us as spirit children and decided that we needed to gain bodies and experience. He created an earth and gave us the opportunity to choose if we wanted to go there. Well of course, once we come to earth, we become sinful and need redemption from our sins if we want to live with God the Father and Jesus Christ again. So, God sent his Son, Jesus Christ to atone for our sins. Here’s the catch though. According to the Mormon Church, Christ’s atonement is not good enough to return to live with God and Christ. We have to choose the “correct” gospel and church to make it to the Celestial Kingdom. So if we do not choose that, then we are screwed. Basically, God is telling us that since we did not choose correctly, He does not want anything to do with us again. That does not seem very loving or understanding to me.

If my son or daughter make wrong decisions or choose a life differently than I would prefer, will I turn them away and never see them again? The answer is a resounding NO! How is it that I can have more love for my children than the Christian God can for His children? Is God really that willing to turn away his children just because they did not listen to His “prophet”? The idea of prophets really bothers me. I prefer to make my own decisions in my life instead of having them dictated to me.

So I will end with this. Who is God and what is He (or She) like? The Christian idea of God just does not sound right to me. What do you think about God?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Father's Day call

Calling my parents on Father’s Day was not quite the same for me as it probably was for others. I’m calling wanting to be the good son and show my parents that I am the son they can be proud of. When I talk to them, they are friendly and cheerful. Our conversation seems so trivial. “How’s the weather?” “Did you get the Father’s Day package I sent to you?” “How are the kids?” The whole time I am hoping that nothing uncomfortable comes up. What do they think of me? Do they look on me with disappointment? Why can’t I get these thoughts and feelings to go away? I can tell that the conversation is starting to become strained in trying to find additional trivial topics to talk about. I tell them that we are getting ready for dinner and end our phone call. Well, I’m glad that is over. Our conversation went well, completely on the surface, but in the end, it felt lacking. I can’t talk to my parents about anything in depth anymore. My relationship with them feels so unresolved. I want to talk to them about why I have chosen my life and turned away from their church, but what would it accomplish? They really don’t want to hear any of my reasons about why. I keep thinking that maybe I could obtain some sort of acknowledgement from them that would justify my reasons. They are so defensive now about their church that I don’t think that anything I can say would ever register with them. Everything I say now is tainted with the fact that I have left their church. I hesitate to have my name removed from their church hoping to prevent hurting them even more. Would it make a difference if I did? I feel like the only way to make things better is to come to them and tell them I was wrong and will come back to their church. If I never do that, I feel like our lives will never be reconciled. Everything is so different with them now. There is always the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about anymore. I wake up every morning and am faced with the thought of my parents and their church again and again. Blondie says that it will get better with time. When will that be? Other people that have left seem to be facing these issues for many years. My issues have only started; I have many years to go. My parents want us to come visit them this winter. It could be fun, but I’m sure it will be wrecked with various disappointments. I can’t wait to see what their reaction to my tattoo will be. What will they say when I tell them that I want more?

Yes, I know, one big paragraph. I wanted it to be that way. Kind of like spilling out all of my thoughts and feelings into one big pile.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Possible Proposition 8 overturn. Beautiful

Right now final arguments have been made in San Francisco concerning the possible overturning of Proposition 8. Read the story here. Here’s to hoping that the judge will overturn this horrible and hurtful proposition.

As always, I am a big fan of music and lyrics. I personally find Christina Aguilera’s music very enjoyable. Here is her song Beautiful along with the lyrics. The video is very meaningful with the portrayal of various rejects of society. These are my kind of people.

(mmhm hmmm)
(ohh yeah)
(mmaa ahhh)

Everyday is so wonderful, then suddenly,its hard to breath
Now and then I get insecure, from all the pain
I'm so ashamed

I am beautiful no matter what they say
Words can't bring me down
I am beautiful in every single way
Yes words can't bring me down (ohhh nooo)
So don't you bring me down today

(mmmhmm mmm)

To all your friends you're delirious
So consumed in all your doom.... (oohh mmm)
Trying hard to fill that emptiness,
The pieces gone,left the puzzle undone,
Aint that the way it is?

You are beautiful no matter what they say
Words can't bring you down (ohhh noo)
you are beautiful in every single way
Yes words can't bring you down (ohhh noo)
So don't you bring me down today

No matter what we do (No matter what we do)
No matter what we say (No matter what we say)
We're the song inside the tune (yeah yeah oh yeaaahhh)
Full of beautiful mistakes
And everywhere we go (And everywhere we go)
the sun will always shine (the sun will always always shine....)
And tomorrow we might awake
on the other side

'Cause we are beautiful no matter what they say
Yes words won't bring us down (ohhh noo)
we are beautiful in every single way
Yes words can't bring us down (ohhh noo)
So don't you bring me down today

Yeaah eeeeeeee yeaahh eah Dont you bring me down mmmm, today

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Watch out, the gays are coming!

I have had a little difficulty putting up posts lately, Blondie and I have been very busy with cleaning house and getting new flooring done. I had an interesting, yet very minor, conversation with one of my coworkers today that was kind of funny.

This past weekend was Gay Pride 2010 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Gay people from all around come to have a celebration with a parade and other various festivities. I was chatting with one of my coworkers and made a joke about him participating in the parade. He is very much Mormon, so I was curious about what his reactions would be. He said, “Oh, those poor people!” I asked, “Why are they poor?” He answered, “They can do their own thing, but don’t push it on me! I don’t want anything to do with them.” I responded, “Well, make sure you return the favor and don’t push your views on them.” He basically did not have a response for that. One of the other guys listening in piped up, “That’s a good idea.”

This little exchange just brings up doubts and questions about Christians, religious people, and gays. Why do Christians, especially Mormons, have such a problem with gay people? This was the issue that sparked it all for me; the church’s involvement in passing Proposition 8. I am troubled by the idea that a church teaches its members to dislike gay people so much. Maybe it is not a direct doctrine or teaching, but I sure can see the results of how Mormons react to gay people. Can’t we all just get along without religions having to push their anti-gay teachings on us?