22 April 2011

On LDS womanhood

Another crossover from the current version of S.P.A.M, with some minor edits. This was originally two posts, which I later combined.

A lot of what triggered this was a conversation I had with a Twitter/Blogger friend. She had mentioned on her blog the passing of author Helen Andelin, probably best known for her book "Fascinating Womanhood". I read this book ten years or more ago, and still get queasy over some of the advice.

Mrs. Andelin's basic premise was that a wife should adopt a "childlike" attitude toward her husband. Aside from having had a pedophile father (now deceased), which makes it very difficult for me to not be nauseated or fearful at the idea of behaving in a "childlike" manner toward a man with whom I am sexually intimate, I found that concept as explained in this book insulting to both sexes. To me, Mrs. Andelin's advice came across as dishonest and manipulative on the part of the wife, and suggested that she did not believe men were capable of valuing a competent adult as a partner. I apparently was not the only person responding to my friend's post on Mrs. Andelin's passing by expressing qualms about her writings, which led to my friend getting upset (apparently, she got some really hateful and foully worded commentary, much worse than anything I said) and accusing those who disliked FW of being feminists. After some e-mail back and forth, she did post a followup addressing my statement in e-mail that she was painting those of us who did dislike FW with too broad a brush (she did agree she had), and my comment on that second post is pasted below (with minor social chitchat excised):

"I do find being accused of being a feminist highly insulting. Aside from a few days a month of pain and mess, I like being female and am quite satisfied to trust God's wisdom in giving men and women different, equally necessary roles to play. When someone tries to label me a feminist, what I hear is that I'm in rebellion against God's plan for His children, and that is about the last thing I ever want to be.

I do not believe that those different roles automatically place women in an inferior role to men and am disgusted by the anger toward men and toward God displayed by current feminism.
[snip paragraph not really relevant to this post]
As an LDS woman who grew up with a "Ms."-reading mother and converted in adulthood, I am quite satisfied with the present order of things in the Church. I don't WANT the priesthood! Why should I? I get all the blessings of having the priesthood on the earth, I don't have the obligations associated with holding it, and I get my own quite wonderful role in life (granted, I'm not a bio mother, but do affectionate aunt/teacher to the best of my ability). Seems to me that we LDS women get the best of the deal. :)"

As a daughter of my Heavenly Father, I know He granted me intellect and judgement to be used to handle my sphere as homemaker and mother (I don't have children of my own, but gladly help with others'), and to be counselor, partner, companion, and helpmeet to my husband, standing as his equal while deferring to his priesthood authority when it's needful. I was also granted those gifts to be used to serve in the Church and my community and to help build the Kingdom. I find it difficult to believe that a righteous, intelligent man would wish for his wife to behave in a "childlike" manner, becoming a helpless dependent, rather than functioning as a competent adult, capable of raising children, meeting crises, and supporting her husband in his role. I firmly believe that a healthy marriage is between equals, based on honesty rather than manipulation.

My husband has told me repeatedly that he very much agrees with my take on this matter, and assures me he needs and values that equal, capable partner. Believe me, I do not feel oppressed in my marriage or in the Church.

As stated above, I do not feel any need to have the priesthood. I do not wish to have that extra burden, since it wouldn't gain me anything. I have everything I need as a result of the priesthood having been restored on the earth, plus having my own blessings and role. I'll let the men have the priesthood, I think I have the better part. :)

(Note: later edit added a link to a blog post referenced in my remarks)

(Note: the following was originally posted separately, I decided to edit and merge.)

This subject just keeps coming up, doesn't it? :)

Another Web forum with one rather vocal poster (stating herself to be active LDS) doing the standard "different roles are automatically unequal" routine, and claiming that either God loves His daughters less than His sons by giving men the priesthood and women motherhood or the leaders of the Church (male, of course) don't want to share authority with women because they think we're lesser than they are.


One basic question I think someone that agitated by the structure of the Church needs to ask herself is whether she honestly believes that this is the true Church of Jesus Christ and that the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve are prophets, seers, and revelators or not. If not, don't know what to say (except to maybe ask why one identifies with a church one doesn't believe some very fundamental parts of). If she does, does she believe that these men are going to run the Lord's Church in accordance with His will? If not, well, see previous such answer. If she does, then how does one claim to be a believing Church member while holding mortal "wisdom" and the philosophies of the world to be of higher value and more binding on the Church than the Lord's infinite knowledge and wisdom of the structure of eternity and what our capacity is at this point?

Another thing that occurs to me is, if women do obtain the priesthood, doesn't that leave men rather unneeded (except to supply sperm, to be blunt)? As it stands now, women have motherhood, men have priesthood to care for their families. Each sex is needed for a healthy family configuration. If women take on both roles, what's left for men?

23 March 2011

Holding to the Iron Rod

(Note: this is crossed over from S.P.A.M.'s current incarnation to make life easier for readers who do not wish to go through the signup. A large part of this was my response to discussions I'd seen elsewhere on the Net.)

As I've mentioned in comments or forums or both (else-site), I was not blessed with knowledge of the Gospel until I was 24, having grown up in a family whose attitude on religious faith ranged from apathy to rage. At least not in mortality.

While I was researching the Church on my own, then taking the discussions, I had an experience that I understand is not all that uncommon: the information I was receiving during my investigation was not new to me. I had the very strong feeling that I had once known and managed to forget what was being presented to me now in my second estate. This is, of course, explained by the teaching that a veil is drawn over our memories of our first estate, or pre-mortal existence, when we come to the second estate of mortality. This is done so that we will act on faith.

I entered the waters of baptism, and later the holy Temple, knowing that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God's true church on the earth and is led by His chosen prophets, from Joseph Smith forward to Thomas Monson (as of this writing). This will be the Lord's Kingdom on earth, when He returns to bring in the Millennium. Even in my very non-religious childhood, I had an instinctive awareness of God, but could not have explained that awareness in any useful terms, even to myself. I know I am blessed to have had the opportunity to learn the Gospel and to join the Church, and to have found many friends who share my faith and can help me learn more of the Gospel (especially the very knowledgeable people here).

So my reader understands me better in the future, I should make myself very plain on my position on doctrinal or Church policy issues: I am very orthodox, clinging tightly to the Iron Rod. It is my conviction that the leaders of the Church are prophets of God and are guided and led by Him in running His church. I do recognize that they are human, don't mistake my meaning. I do not consider any individual member of the First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve, etc., to be perfect and infallible. I suspect if they were, they'd have been translated. :-)

However, I am firmly convinced that as a body, the General Authorities run the Church as the Lord wishes it to be run, and that if He deems a policy change necessary, He will make that known in His due time, when we, the Saints, are ready for that change, and through His ordained spokesmen. When I read discussions along the lines of "the Church needs to let women have the priesthood and be equal to men" (I do not consider those equivalent, BTW) or "the Temple garment needs to be altered to fit our tastes better, such as no cap sleeves on womens' tops or more choice of color", I see apostasy in the making. When we claim that our "wisdom" (such as our taste in clothing or the social views our society pushes on us) exceeds the Lord's and that we know better than His anointed servants who lead us do just how His church is to be run, that feels like very dangerous ground to me, and I don't want to be on such a shaky foundation. I prefer to stand on the Rock of faithful adherence to what we have. When we're given more, through proper channels, I will of course embrace that greater light and knowledge, and if I disagree with new revelation given to the Church, then it's up to me to conform my thinking to the Lord's, not the other way around. I do not have the knowledge, wisdom, experience, or eternal view needed to be able to second-guess God, and don't care to try.

16 November 2010

Studying Scripture Study :)

I know, it's been much too long since I posted. Sorry.

I intend to spend the next two weeks working my way through the
Institute manual for Religion 115, titled "Scripture Study - The Power
of the Word". It's only 15 chapters, should be doable at a chapter a
:) I figure some basic study is a good idea, since I've fallen out
of the habit of Gospel study and need to get back into gear.

If anyone cares to take a look, this manual can be found online, along
with lots of other useful study manuals, at
http://institute.lds.org/eng/ (as a PDF), or at
http://institute.lds.org/manuals/scripture-study-principles-the-power-of-the-word-teacher-manual/, in online ASP format.

My notes on Chapter 1, What Is Scripture?:

The Lord's definition of Scripture is that which is spoken by
inspiration from the Holy Ghost to the designated leaders of His Church.
The canon of Scripture is not closed, since we have living prophets
authorized to give new revelations from the Lord and refine previous
revelations. Nowhere in the Bible is it stated that the Lord has
revealed all there is to be given us, while latter-day revelation
clearly states that there is more yet to be revealed (see Articles of
Faith 1:9), for example the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon, the
Scriptures given to the Lost Tribes of Israel, and probably other things
we don't even yet know exist. The Standard Works are those Scriptures
which have been given to the Church so far, as revelations from the
Lord, binding on us in matters of faith and doctrine. They can be and
have been added to by revelation to the living prophet (the only one
authorized to go beyond the Standard Works when teaching doctrine) and
are used to measure the truth of what we are taught.

On a more speculative side note, am I the only one who considers it
likely that the Proclamation on the Family will at some point be canonized?

08 March 2010

Yes, I'm still alive :)

Yes, I am still among the living. :)

It'll surprise anyone who knows me in person to hear this, but I just haven't had a lot to say about anything anyone else would find worth reading. We've been through the mill on car problems and I've been having my usual struggles with depression (which really slams my motivation to do much of anything). We're getting into spring now, so hopefully the problems I'm having with arthritis pain will calm down. Once I'm feeling better, I'm sure I'll have more to say.

Whether that would be a good thing or not is up to the reader. :)

26 November 2009


Truly sad commentary on our priorities as a society, seen on the local news.

Story about people spending time with God and/or family on the holiday? Nope, this news story was about people so consumed by greed for material goodies that they skipped their holiday altogether and have been camped out in store parking lots for a day or two to get those Black Friday sale items.

Of course, shouldn't be a big surprise that greed is so important. After all, last year, "shoppers" trampled and killed a WalMart employee on Black Friday and completely failed to notice having done so, so fixated were they on those toys, TVs, etc.

04 August 2009

Is It Really THAT Awful?

It's probably just as well for me I wasn't participating much in LDS online communities back in 1994 and 1995, before I went to the Temple. Especially over on LDS.net, I keep seeing threads crying and moaning about how horrible it is to have to wear the Temple garment. Frankly, if I'd read some of this stuff before I was endowed, that make garments sound like deliberate torture devices, I very likely would not have gone to the Temple, since I would have been scared away by the prospect of a lifetime of misery.

Let's review some of the common gripes:
"Waaah, I just can't handle that extra layer in summer!" - Gee, I wonder how pioneer women endured hiking across the plains in summer, dragging all their worldly goods, in corsets, petticoats, long sleeves, high necks, multiple long skirts, etc., frequently bearing (and sadly, not uncommonly burying) babies along the way. They certainly didn't have light modern synthetics or air conditioning, not to mention modern laundry equipment, and womens' underclothing in that time was much more awkward than anything we wear in this century. I'm just not seeing where we pampered modern types really have so much more to complain about than our faithful forebears who rejoiced in the privilege and blessing that we're crying about being inconvenienced by.

"Waaah, I can't wear the latest fashions!" - Considering that current fashion is to reveal as much flesh as possible, that would seem to be the point! If you have enough respect for God to follow His standards of dress, no, you won't be wearing stuff that prostitutes used to find a bit tacky, that presents you as an object for nothing more than physical lust. You'll be wearing stuff that makes you look more dignified and presents you as having the self-respect you should have as the offspring and heir of God. Is worldly fashion really more important than honoring your Divine heritage?

"Waaah, the waistband hits my ribs uncomfortably!/Waaah, the elastic binds me up!" - Try buying your correct size and wear them as designed! If you buy too small so the legs will be shorter and you can wear shorter skirts/shorts, then yeah, the elastic that's meant to go around someone smaller IS going to be uncomfortable! If you're hiking the bottom up as far as it'll go, again to be able to wear shorter skirts/shorts, then yeah, the elastic that's meant to be AT your waist WILL be annoying your ribs. The staff at the Distribution Center are trained to help you find the size that will be comfortable when worn correctly, so make use of that resource instead of looking for excuses to get out of wearing garments. Again, is looking "hot" really the most important thing in your world, or do God's standards get in there somewhere?

"Waaah, I wanna be naked all night!" - Sorry, but when you took on yourself that sacred obligation, you covenanted to wear the garment night and day to cover your nakedness. Is physical sensation really more important than honoring your covenants and obeying God? Do you plan to lie on future recommend interviews and claim that you're wearing your garments correctly if you're not, and bring on yourself God's judgment for mocking him?

All things considered, I just don't see how wearing garments is such an unreasonable demand on us. We do, after all, as Church members, make covenants of obedience to God and sacrifice. When you look at all those who gave up homes, lives, and loved ones for the Gospel, and especially when you look at the infinite suffering Christ endured to atone for our sins, how can something so minor as clothing really be too much to ask of us, as so many I see seem to claim by finding excuses to not do something so simple as wearing the garment properly?

03 August 2009

Of What Do We Testify?

I've spent at least fourteen years feeling seriously spiritually deficient, no matter how diligent I am about prayer, Scripture reading, etc.

The problem? It is very rare for me to get anything out of Fast & Testimony meeting (F&T). Listening to blubbering autobiographies, reports on vacations, thankimonies for all the goodies in the speaker's life, and so forth, for several minutes a speaker, with MAYBE, if the audience is lucky, a sentence or two of testifying of the Gospel tacked on as an afterthought, really doesn't inspire me, and in fact leaves me feeling like a spiritual failure because I don't find this uplifting and transcendently inspirational as I understand we're required to find F&T meeting to be truly LDS.

I actually took notes on yesterday's F&T (fair warning: I happened to be tired, hormonal, and not feeling well at the time. No, I am not pregnant). Please note that the meeting actually started at least 5 minutes late (my best guess: the bishopric was running on Mormon Standard Time). Here's the results:

1. Bishop's counselor rambled about the "fall backward for others to catch you" trust exercise, I think at some youth activity (I lost track of the rambling). To his credit, he did manage to eventually make some link back to Christ.

2. An adult sister gave a rambling thankimony about the awe-inspiring wonder that is Girls' Camp (automatically excluding all males, girls too young to go, girls who can't afford to go, and women who converted as adults from being able to share this). I'm not sure I heard anything relating to doctrine or anything really spiritual.

3. A brother rambled about various parenting books he's read, did talk a little about agency and seeing Christ in all people (or things?), apologized to anyone in the congregation who might have ever been offended by him, and did manage to express gratitude for the Gospel. This one was nearly the length a Sacrament talk usually runs.

4. A sister talked a lot about her mother, thanked prior speakers and other members, gave a fair amount of autobiography about self-worth, and did manage to actually bear a testimony of Christ and the Restored Gospel.

5. A brother rambled for a while about personal revelation, did actually give a testimony of the Gospel.

6. A sister spent several minutes doing a crying thankimony for priesthood holders and active members in her family.

7. Another sister talked about loving the Gospel and did a thankimony about her family and her Church membership. She closed by angrily demanding more missionary work among her hearers, in a rather aggressive tone of voice that frankly scared me a bit.

8. A brother talked about the priesthood, did bear testimony of Christ.

9. We have one sister in my ward whom I'm sure is a nice person, but I can't help cringing every time she gives a testimony or participates in class, since she takes every possible opportunity to go on and on and on about her deceased son, to the point that I can count the number of times I've heard her talk in seven months and not mention this topic on one hand and have fingers left. This F&T meeting was pretty typical for her: long patriotic ramble, much about her late son (and her late brother, who was killed in Vietnam), rambling about heroes and the Atonement, looped back to her son (she does have living children, about whom we hardly ever hear), looped back to patriotic rambling, and did eventually mention the Restoration in passing. She talked for at least five minutes, probably closer to ten.

10. A brother told a long, meandering story about gaining his testimony, but did actually bear one.

This is a pretty typical F&T meeting in every ward I've been in in my fifteen years as a member. It is a noteworthy rarity to hear anyone focus on the actual Gospel of Jesus Christ or the truth of the Restoration or modern revelation. Yes, I've tried to do my bit with concise statements of my knowledge of the truths of what we are taught in the Church, but it doesn't seem to help. Coming in fasting and praying doesn't help either. My physical difficulties added to the frustration level, but I can come in very well rested, feeling great, and not at a cranky point hormonally, and still have the same difficulty.

F&T is probably the least spiritually nourishing meeting of the month for me, and I feel like a complete failure as a Saint and a human being because of this.

However, I do know beyond any doubt that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, and that He restored the true Gospel to the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith, and that He leads and directs His Church to this day by modern prophets, currently Thomas S. Monson.

30 June 2009

Can't Resist a Challenge

Not a lot's going on in my life currently. Hiding out indoors a lot due to hot weather.

The next 40 days are going to be intense, but enjoyable and hopefully educational. I'm part of a challenge to read the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price in 40 days. This can be done, but will involve about 11 chapters of reading total per day (6 for the Book of Mormon, 3-ish for the Doctrine and Covenants, and 2 for the Pearl of Great Price). The Pearl of Great Price repeats five times during this.

If you'd like to join in, there are two places to go: the LDS.net forums or the Watchmen on the Tower social network on Ning.

After that comes the New Testament in 40 days. This will be a little lighter, averaging 6.5 chapters/day (I don't stop mid-chapter, so the amount per day varies a little).

Looking at the amount per day for the first challenge, I'm thinking the Old Testament in 80 days (about 11-ish chapters/day) might actually be doable. We shall see, after the other two are done.

I'm looking forward to this Scriptural feast.

10 June 2009

Omnibus Response

Well, well, well. The anti-Mormon and anti-theist crowd are going around bombing blogs with comments again. Over half the current wave got rejected for anonymity or personal attack. Nearly all of those were also very poorly spelled or ungrammatical. I'm starting to think literate people in that crowd are a minority. I'm also noticing an apparent belief that even following conventions of spelling and grammar in English or complying with a blog's stated comment policy is just not something these "special" types should have to bother with.

I'm also noticing a strong pack mentality. I can just picture it: "Oh no, I can't go near that awful Mormon's blog by myself, if I quit whipping myself into a frenzy of hate, I might actually start thinking there's a human being with a valid point of view here. Quick, I need herdmates!!!"

I did actually get some literate and intelligent atheists writing in, but none of them are persuasive to me. Simply put, I have personally experienced events in my life that clearly show a purpose and plan above my own intelligence, and the presence of a caring higher being. I have also received guidance and direction from a source that was very clearly more than human. There is no way I can look at various events of my life and believe there is no God without lying to myself and wishing away contrary evidence.

I grew up in a family ranging from apathetic about religion to rabid hatred of any faith in God. As I think I've mentioned here before, it dawned on me recently that in my family, those with the most anger toward belief are also the ones with the worst addiction or psychiatric issues. I can't help thinking there's a correlation.

Answering various points:
The harm coming to marriage from allowing gays to redefine that word to take in their alliances is that as a society, we cannot redefine that which God has defined, established, and declared sacred without incurring His judgement. Those of us who have promised to follow God and stand for His laws cannot accept this. Marriage is a sacred relationship ordained of God. He has made it very clear that marriage is between man and woman, and that He will not accept man and man or woman and woman as being such. Answering one commenter who thinks that to be consistent, I should favor a ban on divorce: in her haste to "score a point", she completely missed the fact that as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I believe that marriage is meant to be for eternity, rather than the built-in divorce at death that comes from marrying "till death do us part". I would very much favor a return to much stricter divorce laws (adultery, abandonment by one spouse, or abuse being the only acceptable grounds), but our "it's all about my freedom, I shouldn't have to be bound by commitments or obligations I'm tired of" society won't go for that. I'm quite confident that when God's law is again obeyed, divorce will be basically unheard of (since people obeying those laws would not commit offenses against their spouses that justify divorce).

Several people claim one can have a moral code without religion. Uh, where did you think those codes originated again? Yep, religion. If you insist on rejecting sexual morality based on the source being religion, to be intellectually consistent, you also have to reject moral codes regarding murder (and other violence), theft, etc., as also coming from religion, thus we have the "free for all" state referenced in "Just Some Stuff Stuck In My Head", which is where the blizzard of comments can be found (coming from readers of an anti-Mormon site who've chosen to periodically form a pack and bombard me with commentary). Without an absolute standard (ie God), everyone can (and does) say "well,
I don't think there's anything wrong with this" and can only be constrained from harming those around them by force of law, and that's not working well, either (the whole "criminals getting more rights than their victims" thing is a whole different post I'll probably do sometime).

We supposedly live in a "post-religious" world, where belief in the supernatural is obsolete. Instead, we worship the science lab and our own intellect. Considering how changeable science is, strikes me as a shaky at best foundation to base your life on. Alternately, we can have the "can't believe in anything" mentality, which I've directly observed and even experienced. This leads to a very depressing view of life as pointless and ourselves as animals with no self-control (or need for self-control). Looking at the jump in crime, mental illness, etc., since God supposedly became obsolete and irrelevant (which will bring some harsh judgements on our society, I firmly believe), I really don't think that's working terribly well. See this post by InTheDoghouse for a good commentary on the "secular humanist" mindset.

Every instinct I've had since my childhood proclaims God's existence. This was confirmed to me during my investigation of the Church, in a very clear and unmistakable way. Not all of reality is measurable in a lab. Random chance does not yield the world we live in, or the complexity of the body. It's very clear to anyone not locked into "human intellect is the best we have" that there is a God organizing and guiding.

[Later edit: I came across an article about the misuse of science to deny God here and would challenge any atheist claiming to be "open-minded" to read that article.]

A good point made elsewhere is this: how arrogant do you have to be to dogmatically state that God does not exist, when you can't prove it?

I've seen and experienced the fruits of being too sure of human intellect and reasoning to be willing to humble oneself and admit to a higher Being, with greater knowledge and perspective than we mortal humans. That fruit may look desirable (such as not having to bother with morality), but the taste (in results) is very bitter indeed.

04 June 2009

Must Have Hit A Nerve

Apparently, a lot of atheists read Society for the Prevention of Anti-Mormonism (a site I personally strongly recommend). I made reference in a comment I posted over there to the paragraph in this post on my blog dealing with how atheists present themselves IMO (see paragraph 2). I'm pretty sure this was the source of the reaction I got, since I think only about ten people normally read this blog, and that's the only place I've called attention to that paragraph.

This had about the same net effect as stirring an anthill with a stick. I have yet to post any of the comments I received, since all of them fell into at least one of these three categories (many were two or more):
1. foul language - self-explanatory. Language WILL be kept PG or cleaner. If you can't say it on network TV, you can't say it here (and there are phrases used on network TV I deem inappropriate).
2. ad hominem personal insult against me specifically or against theists in general - as you will see in the comment form, I refuse to post comments including such
3. anonymous - I quickly came to the conclusion that most of the commenters were apparently afraid to stand behind their remarks, choosing to hide behind anonymity. I refuse to reward such cowardice with publication.

[Later edit: I have, since original writing, received civilized commentary, which has been duly published.]

I don't edit comments I receive, even to correct spelling or typing. Either a comment meets my standards (not that difficult, since they're listed above and on the comment form) or it doesn't get published. Yes, I will publish a comment if it doesn't agree with me (while reserving the right to rebut in a follow-up comment), if you meet my simple criteria. Those criteria exist to keep this blog civilized. I'm quite happy to discuss, but I won't allow vandalism by foul language, aggressive hostility, or hiding behind anonymity.

My blog, my rules. Anyone who isn't willing to abide by those rules is welcome to post elsewhere. I think it took me roughly five minutes to set up my account here on Blogspot. I spent a lot more time tweaking layout, but that's me.

Administrative matters aside, this was mildly entertaining, foul language, very poor literacy, and all. Certainly didn't do a lot to raise my opinion of anti-theists (the more rabid division of atheism). When you respond to someone commenting that a group you belong to generally seems quite angry by spewing insults and venom, that doesn't exactly help your case, gang. ;-)

My opinion of anti-theists in large part stems from my reading on the JREF Forum, which purports to generally be of the "skeptic" mindset about psychics, Bigfoot, extra-terrestrial visits to Earth, and just about anything else you'd find on "The X-Files". What the prevailing orthodoxy on that site amounts to is the worship of science as the source of all knowledge (reminding anyone that science has a way of changing its orthodoxy periodically in response to going outside the "current knowledge has everything" mindset is not well received), and an attitude toward belief in anything outside/greater than our world that is condescending at best and frenzied rage at worst. A lot of the posters over there really hate the idea of God or anything else that can't be measured in a lab.

That's their problem, really. I do respect true science, which does not close off possibility and will admit there are limits to what is known or knowable by lab research. I do not respect "scientism", which basically states that science defines reality and that anything not measurable in a lab is not real. The fact that this would eliminate things like consciousness, love, conscience, beauty, and quite a few other very nice things that are not reducible to test tubes and graphs gets glossed over at best.

I consider my own personal experience as real as what a lab could tell me, subject to verification (I do realize that my own perception can be in error). I have had experiences in life that really do not have a natural, lab-reproducible explanation, and can only be explained by accepting the existence of God. I'm not good at wishing away my own experience to conform to the gospel of scientism, and don't care to try. I'll stick with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which works a lot better in the real world than the "it's all random chance, there's no purpose to any of it" philosophy. I grew up in a family that ranged from indifferent to faith to active hatred for same (the ones most hostile toward God were also the most generally messed up as far as emotional problems and addictions. Interesting that I just now really realized that), so I'm familiar with the man-made philosophies that purport to replace or disprove God, and they really don't work for very long, not unless you're willing to deny or rationalize away what doesn't fit that. I much prefer to adjust my beliefs to fit experience and common sense.

26 May 2009

Standing at the Top of the Slope

Much to my relief, Proposition 8 stands, and California's constitution defines marriage as between a man and a woman. So far, the attacks on LDS facilities I feared (based on the misconduct of gay "marriage" advocates back when 8 passed) have not materialized, but it's only been six hours as I type this. We shall see.

The excellent blog "Thinking in a Marrow Bone" has an article that I think makes some very valid points regarding what comes next if gay "marriage" becomes legal. I agree completely with the writer, and in fact am surprised that gay "marriage" advocates aren't also advocating polygamy, incestuous marriage, or pedophilia as "oppressed sexual minorities". They're only interested in getting what they want, like most immature types who can't bear the existence of rules against their wishes.

Please read carefully: I do NOT claim that homosexuals are pedophiles (with the exception of those creeps at NAMBLA and like-minded organizations that actively advocate adult/child sex). Pedophiles, however, claim they're an oppressed and persecuted sexual minority who were "born that way" (sound familiar?). I'm quite sure they'll start claiming that legal protection for gay adults that doesn't include them is in itself discriminatory, and in logical terms, they'd be right. To be consistent, gay "marriage" advocates would have to also want protection for other "alternative lifestyles".

Pardon me while I get my stomach under control.

Contrary to the claims of the gay crowd, I (a Temple-married LDS woman) do not hate them as people. I have a gay uncle with a partner who's been consistently in the picture for nearly my entire life (said partner is great, and I accord him honorary uncle status). I have gay neighbors I'm friendly with. Disagreeing with your lifestyle choices does not mean I hate you as a human being. It simply means I disagree with your decisions. I don't agree with any lifestyle choices outside God's laws of chastity and virtue. God's law on sexuality is simple: complete chastity before lawful marriage, complete fidelity during same. I understand that this can be a struggle, especially in an over-sexualized society (I am human), but God's not going to change His eternal laws to accord with mortal whim, and yes, you CAN control your sexual urges and channel them in morally appropriate ways.

I do hate some philosophies, such as the "no right and wrong, my feelings decide morality" that is so common in modern society. Simply put, whether you like it or not, God has given us moral laws for our benefit. You can certainly choose to disregard those laws, but you can't force everyone else to do so. Nor do you get to claim the sacred relation of marriage without living to be worthy of that eternal blessing. God will never decide that the sacred relation of marriage can exist between two men or two women, not when the family is the fundamental building block of our eternal destiny (not to mention our earthly society). See the Proclamation on the Family for the way it is, whether human "wisdom" concurs or not.

Assuming California is not destroyed by the riots that will probably result from Proposition 8 standing, one can hope other states will follow our lead and stand for the family and for God's laws.

[minor edit to correct a grammatical error about half an hour after original posting]

13 May 2009

Probably Going To Be Another Fifteen Years

As I posted last Wednesday evening, I was heading from Sacramento to the Oregon coast following my grandfather's death. DH was able to arrange to take his week of paid vacation on very short notice to come with me (otherwise, would have taken Amtrak). I was also able to arrange to have next-door neighbor pet-sit.

Well, after a 500-mile drive, turned out there was no service or memorial of any description for my grandfather (which I had not been told would be the case) and my mother found going shopping with someone she knows locally rather higher on the priority list than spending any time with a daughter she hadn't seen in person in fifteen years (in not quite 48 hours, about three hours of contact and I was apparently the only one capable of picking up a phone to find out if we were going to see each other at all), so on Saturday evening (after having arrived on Thursday evening), DH and I headed off to see an uncle of mine about an hour away. We were both getting bad cabin fever and I really resented how low I was on the priority list. Yes, I understand my mother works nights and that she does need to sleep. I do not understand her apparent inability to reschedule outings with local acquaintances or her apparent inability to pick up a phone (or drop e-mail, since I had my laptop along and she knew it) to advise me of her schedule.

Overnighted with uncle and his wife (lovely people, they're great), went to church Sunday morning, ran laundry at uncle & aunt's house, headed home. Arrived 1am-ish on Monday (this is not an outrageous time for a household that includes a swing-shift worker to be up at). After a day or two of recovery, including DH marathoning all six Star Wars movies, we got some errands run and he's back at work tomorrow.

Today was nice, except for a heat wave brewing. DH and I got in a Temple trip, remembered to replace his very beaten-up slippers, and are relaxing at home. I'm looking forward to getting back into my life's normal pattern.

Frankly, it may well be another fifteen years (if then) before I head north again, given how this trip went. By contrast, the last couple of times we've visited DH's family in Santa Barbara, we got a bit more family attention than I felt entirely comfortable with. Would be nice to be able to average the mothers together.

DMIL was evacuated for a few days, and is now back at her place, with the latest wildfire under control. Her gift was delayed until Monday, but I can't fault FedEx for that, since the evacuation got in the way. Pictures of the tote bag will be posted sometime soon.

06 May 2009

Glenn Orville Gardner, 19 June 1914 - 6 May 2009

My grandfather passed away this evening, at about 8:30pm Pacific time. He had been ill for some time, and had developed both congestive heart failure and end-stage renal failure.

The last time I saw him in person was in 1995, during my honeymoon. I hadn't been able to travel to see him since, and his health did not permit him to make the trip.

I'll write up a more detailed bio for him later. Right now, I'm trying to deal with travel arrangements. I'm not as bad off emotionally as my mother for several reasons: she lived near him so had more of a relationship to him, she was there when he died, and I have the comfort of the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation, and that this is only a temporary separation until I pass through the veil. She doesn't have that faith, so is having a harder time.

On top of this problem, DMIL is dealing with a wildfire in the Santa Barbara area. It's not TOO near her house - yet. Also, landlady is having to have the locks changed after she lost a keyring with keys to apartments. Think we could maybe spread the crises out next time?

04 May 2009

More Unrelated Stuff

This may be fairly normal around here, posts that include two or more topics that are on my mind at that time. :-)

1. So far, my "worry? me?" husband seems to be right that the swine/H1N1 flu outbreak has been rather exaggerated by the media and causing undue anxiety. At least at this stage. I happened across an article on CNN's site that suggests we're going to have a lot more cause to worry in a few months.

2. Can anyone explain to me how "hate crime" legislation is not:
a) creating a category of "crimethink", in which one receives criminal penalties for one's thoughts/motivations?
b) declaring some citizens more valuable than others, by imposing greater penalties for crimes against members of "protected" groups?
Just try to ask any PC type that question and brace yourself for venomous ranting about how even asking such questions "proves" you've been brainwashed by the "religious right". (Interesting phrase that. Does it mean that the religious ARE right? I certainly think so (grin).) Seems to me that George Orwell definitely saw this coming, with a) covered by 1984, and b) covered by Animal Farm ("some are more equal than others").
To my thinking, the same crime should be given the same punishment, regardless of the victim's race, sex, religion, age, choice of lifestyle, etc. Wouldn't that be actual justice, to treat all citizens as equally valued, thus the same crime yields the same punishment for the offender? As for adding to the punishment because the offender's motive is deemed "prejudiced", "bigoted", etc., for one thing, how do you prove what someone is thinking? Also, doesn't the Constitution protect freedom of thought, no matter how repugnant your thoughts might be to society as a whole?

30 April 2009

Laying In and Laying Low

OK, maybe not the most grammatically correct title, but it works for me. :-)

Here in Sacramento, swine flu has been reported, so I'm doing my best to minimize exposure for both myself and DH. I just completed a grocery run that should hopefully, when combined with stuff we had already, hold us for two weeks (by then, this should be winding down or over, right?). I went early enough that stores were lightly populated and did not take DH. He's the one with a job right now, so it would be a bigger problem if he were to miss work and lose income. Better that I be the one exposed to the general population, since it would be inconvenient but not a major problem for me to be ill.

Long's (in my area, in the process of becoming CVS) was setting up a display of cold/flu stuff, hand sanitizer, gloves, and masks. WalMart did not have such a display, but did have hand sanitizer readily available on entry (I did employ some on my shopping cart handle as well as my hands. You never know).

The grocery run went fine, but I'm still bewildered about the bagger at Trader Joe's who thought putting a 1/2 gallon container of soy milk on top of a loaf of bread was a good idea.

At this point, the only exposure we're likely to have is DH going to work and our church attendance. Usually on Saturday, we go out for lunch, but I think this week we're getting something delivered. Must remember that it's Fast Sunday this week.

Big project for the next few days: finishing DMIL's Mother's Day gift, which is a plastic canvas needlepoint tote bag she requested (this is the second one, she's used the first one to death). I'll probably wind up having to ship it express, which is my own fault for not finishing the project sooner.

Traffic was pretty light (in Sacramento, this is always a good thing) and the general intelligence level of that traffic seemed higher than normal for here. Sacramento drivers are crazy.

29 April 2009

Just Some Stuff Stuck In My Head

Various stuff just churning around in my head today:

1. The Miss California pageant is not something I normally have any interest in, but I do take strong exception to their admonishing Carrie Prejean that exercising her right to hold and state beliefs that are not completely politically correct somehow does not "represent" California. I'm sorry, which way did the majority of voting Californians vote on gay "marriage"? As I recall, being someone who voted in favor of making sure California was using God's definition of marriage (man and woman, not two of the same sex), the gay activists LOST that round. That would strongly suggest that the majority of Californians were represented by Miss Prejean's defense of the true definition of marriage. I happened across a rather interesting article on the subject here.

2. I've been seeing a lot of strident anti-religion discussion online lately. Leaving aside that a lot of those remarks are borderline literate at best (News10's comments section offers the best examples of those), I've come to the conclusion that atheism has two source causes:
a) the arrogance of thinking that we humans are just so brilliant, special, etc., there can't possibly be anything greater than we are.
b) simple rebelliousness such as we see in any teen who doesn't want to deal with behavioral rules. Refusing to acknowledge a greater power that has the wisdom and authority to set rules for us allows the "I can do whatever I want" mindset. Well, take a look at society as a whole and see how well we're doing with that idea. Think the "no right and wrong, just do what you feel like doing" is working out well? OK, so it's now fashionable to reject faith as not scientific enough. Last I knew, truth is not determined by fashions that change constantly, but by reality.

3. I'm sure we've all heard about the Mayan calendar ending at the end of 2012, and all the apocalyptic things that are alleged to take place at that point. I think "The X-Files" has even addressed this (not that I get my science, history, etc., from Hollywood, please note (smile)). Myself, I subscribe to the calmer theory that what's going to happen when the Long Count calendar runs out is going to be very comparable to the transition from 1999 to 2000 or an odometer rollover in your car. However, if along about June, I get word of two special witnesses of Christ preaching in Jerusalem, as discussed in Revelation 11, I reserve the right to rethink that position. If those two witnesses show up about June, the prophesied 42 months of their preaching will end in December 2012. We shall see.

27 April 2009

Starting Out

Well, here I am entering the wonderful world of blogging. At this point, I don't have a lot to say that I can think of.

Basic bio: I'm 39 (as of this writing), female, married. Felix and Ava are my cat and dove (respectively). We live with my husband Bob in Sacramento, CA. Bob and I are active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Bob was born and raised in the Church, I converted in 1994 at age 24. Bob and I were married in 1995 in the Los Angeles Temple.

Felix joined the family a month after the wedding. We agreed we needed a cat, so off I went to the shelter (Bob had to work that day), where the cat they were calling "Soldier" made it clear he was claiming me. When I got him home, he got the point across that the name the shelter had given him was not his name and I needed to find the correct name. After a few days of getting to know him, I started trying out names on him, and "Felix" was the one he reacted the most strongly to, so that's his name now. No, I had not heard of the "Felix the Cat" cartoon when I named him, I was thinking of the Odd Couple character.

Ava adopted us near the end of 2002. I had opened the door to go take a walk one very cold evening and caught movement out of the corner of my eye. Turned out to be an injured ringneck dove. We took the bird in, not sure it would survive its injuries. A "found" ad in the local paper failed to turn up the bird's original owner, so a new family member was added. We initially named the bird "Avery", thinking we had a male. When we moved to Sacramento in 2004, a neighbor who was a vet tech and familiar with doves, was also sure we had a male, based on amount and volume of cooing. So "he" surprised us one morning when we found the wreckage of an egg in the cage. As best we can figure, she unloaded the egg while on a perch. She was duly renamed. :-)

My major interests are reading, needlework and crafts, and Sudoku.

I doubt I'll update all that frequently, basically when something's on my mind.