Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Mawwiage. Mawwiage is What Teaws Us Apat.

This gay marriage controversy is driving me NUTS!  Especially among Latter Day Saints.

Since you're here, I'm going to tell you why:

Politics and political parties aren't going to save us or our religion or build the kingdom of God.

They may have an influence, but it isn't what we are to put our faith in.  They aren't the solution to the problems in the US or the world, and that's what too many church members are seemingly placing their trust in.

Going further.

It's fine and great that members understand the laws and the constitution and all that.  Great!  That's fine.  But seeings how none of my friends are in any political position of power to do ANYTHING about the law, other than get arrested for not following it, that's really not the point.

Our government is corrupt.  We know that.  The constitution has been and is being trampled and shredded.


We know that too.

But the question is, as church members, what are we to do about these issues with the power we do have?

I disagree with the Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis' actions in denying licenses to same sex couples even though ordered to - but not because I support gay marriage.  I don't.

Let's say that was a bishop or a stake president or one of the 70 who did that.  What kind of fallout would that have in the church, on membership, on missionary work?  It would be like banging on a beehive with a broomstick.  You might as well shoot yourself in the foot as far as the work goes.  You'd have just justified civil disobedience - or opposition to the law or even perceived law - and then put the church in the way of being sued or who-knows-what when people claim "President Monson made me do it."  Smart.  Real smart. (satire font).  Imagine the media fallout.

Not only that - the woman doesn't have any eternal power whatsoever!  Those marriages?? Till death, which will part them.

And they will never be sealed by genealogy work.

A Sealer, would forfeit his life before performing this ordinance on a same-sex couple, as well as the president of the church would revoke his keys and authority beforehand, or the Lord would take it. 

So let's say that they do want to force the temples to seal gay couples.  Do you *really* think at this stage of the game, with +140 of temples and a record number of missionaries and one chapel a day and more being built as well as recently purchasing 5% of the geographical landmass of the entire state of Florida for timber harvesting and growing faster than anything in the midst of a global recession that the church is just going to fold right now?  Yah, try that, let's see what happens.  Do you *really* think God is going to be silent in all this, with no consequences?

Do people really have a testimony of this work?  This is the stone cut out of the mountain that Nebuchadnezzar saw.   That's not to say there won't be opposition - oh certainly there is, has been and will be.

But like also with Nebuchadnezzar, nothing happens without the Lord's permission/allowance - as Christ said to Pilate "Thou couldst have no power at all except it were given thee from above."

So do people *really* think that this gay marriage thing is a surprise to the Lord?  That somehow it slipped by him and that we're being forsaken?  (Please stifle any 'yeah buts').

I know this and other things are going to be used by the Lord in his work.  How, remains to be seen.  But nowhere in the scriptures are we told to fret about it, or take up arms or be civilly disobedient or even being perceived as such.  We are to be model citizens and be perceived as such in all circumstances and to the furthest extent possible.  We know all these things are going to bring to pass a lot of end-times prophesy.  Maybe one of the blessings is for us to have an opportunity to bear testimony about marriage to the world amidst these things.

Not only that, we have to discern and be knowledgeable about where our responsibility and obligations and those of others around us, begin and end  Now, you can say she wasn't legally obligated....and that's why she ended up in jail. (Go back to the government is corrupt).  But here's why I disagree with her further.  She never announced she was going to work on the issue, try to find a solution to it, seek a compromise...nothing.  It was about her rights, her beliefs, her values, her thoughts, and not at all about those she was obligated to serve who also have beliefs, rights, values, thoughts and feelings - it presented a "me me me" mentality -  and now imagine a Latter Day Saint doing this and the fallout we would have.

Not smart.  Not diplomatic.  Not wise.

And haven't we been commanded to be wise?

We've been commanded to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.

In my profession as a mental health counselor I sometimes work with individuals struggling with same-gender attraction issues who are fine with being homosexual, but not fine with the social struggles.  I've also worked with gender identity issues - women wanting to be men and such.

And this is where my missionary experiences and the eternal perspective of the gospel comes into play.  I know that not everybody is ready to be, nor can be, a Latter Day Saint right now, today, here, etc.   I also know that people have been given, and chosen, different struggles in mortality from our eternal home before here - gender and sexual issues being among them.  I also know that some people may convert to the gospel later in this life.  And most, not until the next. 

While outrage is certainly understandable in our world being turned on its head, we also need to have perspective and faith.  Not just faith in the Lord, but faith in our fellow man as well.  I see plenty of outrage.  Not much perspective or faith.

While working with people on sexual issues, I tend to look at the issues as steps forward and progress towards the next step - eternal progression.

My last issue is that our conduct and attitude need to be conducive to people wanting to receive the gospel from us in the future.  Throwing down some pat answer like we're Einstein because we know the law and THAT settles it is a jerkish attitude to have in front of those who have different opinions.  Haven't Latter Day Saints figured out / realized / thought that these are big issues - very emotional issues and personal issues and lifelong issues to those people?  How do church members like trite answers about their religion, marriage, beliefs?  Not much golden rule being lived that I see - just outrage - and christlike demeanor being tossed aside.

All of these things that are happening are opportunities to teach and bear witness and build bridges!  We just have to recognize them as such.

I don't mean to minimize or deny - I'm just looking at perspective, different perspectives - the perspectives we seem to miss.  Perhaps  the perspectives we have to take if we are going to live our faith in a fallen world.

These are hard issues to deal with.  These are tough!  They tax us spiritually, mentally and emotionally!  But for the "supposed true church" (taking the perspective of a cynical/skeptical outisder having converted, myself, when I was younger) I would have to say: "I'm not seeing it."

I expect THE true church to know and reflect these things - especially if I was new to the faith.

Such a widespread seeming collapse of faith?  True church?  Really?  Have you looked at this from a non-members' perspective, the skeptical perspective?  No.  These aren't the actions or thoughts of the true church when people do this.

Marriage aside, lets look at something more pressing: the land of Zion and what the Lord has said - trust me these are related:

 25 Behold, the land of Zion—I, the Lord, hold it in mine own hands;

 26 Nevertheless, I, the Lord, render unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar’s.

 27 Wherefore, I the Lord will that you should purchase the lands, that you may have advantage of the world, that you may have claim on the world, that they may not be stirred up unto anger.

 28 For Satan putteth it into their hearts to anger against you, and to the shedding of blood.

 29 Wherefore, the land of Zion shall not be obtained but by purchase or by blood, otherwise there is none inheritance for you.

 30 And if by purchase, behold you are blessed;

 31 And if by blood, as you are forbidden to shed blood, lo, your enemies are upon you, and ye shall be scourged from city to city, and from synagogue to synagogue, and but few shall stand to receive an inheritance.

 32 I, the Lord, am angry with the wicked; I am holding my Spirit from the inhabitants of the earth.

 33 I have sworn in my wrath, and decreed wars upon the face of the earth, and the wicked shall slay the wicked, and fear shall come upon every man;

 34 And the saints also shall hardly escape; nevertheless, I, the Lord, am with them, and will come down in heaven from the presence of my Father and consume the wicked with unquenchable fire.

We have a work to do in regards to redeeming the land of the Lord and we NEED to be on good terms - and have the ability to be on good terms - with our fellow man that we may accomplish this peacefully and invite them to join us that they might be saved with us.

We need to have more wisdom, more faith, more charity, more faith - because these issues are much bigger than marriage.

And Satan wants to - is striving to - divide us up into all manner of ites, so that he can have us war against each other and he's going to use this and everything else he can to do it.  But we also need to have the wisdom and faith on this and every other issue so that we don't unwittingly....become the wicked, and suffer the same fate because we have a lack of godly knowledge, wisdom, charity or the spirit.

"Oh be wise, what can I say more?" (Jacob 6:12).

I hope we can be wiser for our eternal sakes, and see these things for what they really are.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

False Priests Who Oppress....

I actually am leery of technology/social-media when it comes to the gospel.

I won't join most facebook groups dedicated to the gospel for a few reasons: 

The gospel is sacred.  It must be, and should be, treated as such.  It isn't to be trifled with.  It is the laws that govern our eternal existence, not some mere curiosity to be intellectualized and bandied about. Fascinating though it is, I think most of it deserves a little bit more than casual conversation.

And unfortunately, with the anonymity of the internet, too much that is so sacred is trifled with in a manner by Latter Day Saints that it wouldn't be over the pulpit.  I actually - not to sound like a goody-two-shoes - don't like to be around that or seen around that. 

This in mind, I am human - trust me I have my sins and flaws! - but I try to keep my blog in the public sphere within standards that I would share across the pulpit and could share in Sunday School. 

So for this entry - you get a twofer.  My commentary on LDS blogs and social media, which I generally don't participate in or do so carefully, and something I learned from the scriptures.

As I was reading the Topical Guide on False Priesthoods (I'm surprised it didn't head it "Priesthoods, False") it gave me some insight into the tarot card readers of the type that are so commonly seen around Portland where I'm from.

First, most of them don't have any power.  Most are liars and frauds.  They take your money while they put on a show.  String you along for your five free questions and don't really tell you anything until they charge you and then they make stuff up.  The second kind, actually do have power from Satan.  But between them both of the two types, one is a fraud and a liar who deceives for money, and the second actually has power from the prince of darkness used to destroy mankind - both are evil.  You don't get to be the second kind without making some deals, and I don't believe it happens accidentally or unkowingly. 

I was also reading about human sacrifice in the scriptures, and it was interesting to me that human sacrifice doesn't increase anything but only decreases posterity.  Unless you count increasing your damnation, regret, and the horror of your civilization.  But Christ's death brought about life.  Adam's death brought about life.  The deaths of animals was instructive in the law of sacrifice, and did cost you economically to do so - which was its own instruction in not sinning to death.  But human sacrifice?  Only cost you, and didn't gain you anything.

Just thoughts tonight as I was reading the scriptures.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Ugh, Over and Out

Well, it's been almost a week and a half since I got fired from work.   If there's a bummer is that in 8 days I'd have been a permanent employee.  I would have had my government benefits next...Wednesday.

Gosh my experiences in the psychology field have been negative so far.   School was psychotic.  The state mental hospital was another one that was part of the negative experiences of school.  Now I've been fired from a prison where I wasn't given a fair shake and the boss two levels above me is reportedly an alcoholic with an unstable love life that includes seducing security officers away from their wives so she can change her name a lot.  Oh, apparently my trainer did that as well.  And much much more.  It was a *dark* place and that was just because of what my colleagues had going on in their lives.  Another's husband was an officer at the prison, got caught cheating, then blew his brains out in front of his wife and kids.  Another would constantly tell me how she wanted to be a man so she could pee standing up and that was her sense of humor.  Another was reporting everyone for anything she could - who would brag in meetings how she was a mean drunk and she reminded me of those nasty, alcoholic wives that hang around the Veterans of Foreign Wars Posts who have nothing going for them but the days gone by.  She was the start of my downfall rather than coaching me making reports to my superiors.

I don't know if I want to list somewhere how negative an experience that was in its entirety, but I feel like I need to take a shower or have brain bleach at times.  Not because of anything the inmates/my clients did, but because of the...messed-uppedness of my colleagues.

It was....wow.  

And yet here I am asking what I did wrong and analyzing myself as to why I couldn't keep the job.

I could go on but I won't.  

Friday, July 31, 2015

Anyway the Wind Blows

Join the political cause of the day! Right here!
Yet another outrage this week that requires people to change their profile pics, their causes, their outrage and support on facebook more often than Sneeches changed the stars on their bellybuttons.

People suddenly throw rainbow flags on their profiles....who have never marched in a parade or donated money to the gay pride movement before in their life.  People outraged over the death of a lion in Africa...who have never taken a hunting, ecology, taxidermy, environmental studies class in their life.  Who are suddenly "outraged" and descend into name-calling and arguments on facebook.

What's going to happen next week that we're going to be outraged about?

And what did we devote our lives to this past year to stop/help/improve?

The Facebook Advocacy is worse than a bunch of ADDers on caffeine, multi-tasking at an all-night squirrel convention, honestly.

Not only do I sometimes want to scream "Pick a cause and stick to it!" but I also wonder just how healthy this is spiritually for a society.

Unfortunately so much gets done in our politics when the winds finally blow with a gust, just right, in the direction certain movements need them to - yet consciousness and awareness has never been permanently raised beyond a facebook photo that gets forgotten over time. 

I try to keep my social media commentary from blowing every which-way as most people know I am a member of the church, as I know it might reflect poorly on the church. But honestly, I never feel like I'm getting the truth in the first place, ever.  I honestly think that I'm not going to know what's going on for at least a year after the first media-storm. 

(Like Trayvon Martin was mixing ingredients for a drug that makes you aggressive and that didn't even come up for a few weeks after his original shooting - just saying the media is different than the history books).

Beyond that though, there are causes, there is truth, and there are principles.  What principle are we abiding by when we chase cause after cause by only changing our facebook profile pic like a bunch of Sneeches?

I just find it pretentious to say I care when my support is marginal at best and my own jury is still out on the affair because it takes me over a year to form an opinion if only for the basis that I know the media isn't telling me the full story.

political activity and direction....go ahead....stand here
So! I have a few groups on facebook for a few different things.  Randomness where I sometimes rant.  My personal page which is about family and I rarely rant there. A psyche group that is almost entirely about work.  A genealogy group about LDS temple work and I try to put comments/ posts in the applicable sections.  I actively support the 2nd Amendment through facebook activism / information and letter writing - and whatever the church inspires me to do or be doing, but otherwise?  That's about it for me.  The world is full of corruption, I know it.  I'm a part of it personally with my own sins and if anything that keeps me a bit steadier because I remember my own weaknesses - but.....really the outrage of the week and then overlooking things like Planned Parenthood harvesting human body parts (Satan's Synagogue if there ever was one) getting ignored in the news?

I drove by an abortion clinic in Portland, the Lovejoy Surgicenter (isn't that sweet sounding?(satire font)) and I saw with my spiritual eyes a man in the spirit running around begging people to hear him to let him be born.  He was frantic.  He was tall and thin and handsome.  I was the only one who could see him.  A pro-life protester got kicked by an angry boyfriend there for the "surgery" and I leaned out my truck window and said "God Bless You" to the protester - who was just sitting there with his sign - and suddenly the spirit man saw me and recognized someone supported his side and he came over and looked at me and then gave me the biggest, celestial hug out of this world!  It was so incredible - an utter explosion of love and I couldn't believe it happened.  He was racing around his energy renewed.  And then today I read of Planned Parenthood's doctors pawing through fetus parts saying "another boy!" - no.  No.  Humans don't do that.  No.  Life is sacred.  Your oaths don't allow you to do that or joke about it.  Imagine that was someone you love's body parts they were saying that about. Wow. No.

And yet....we flip out more over the fag flag (as I call it - it's very pretty though) and Cecil the Lion than we do the destruction of our own cities and families and flesh because that's the way the wind blows.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Proper Place of Rest

In my scripture studies, at one point, I was directed to read in the Topical Guide about "Rest". 

I'd never thought to read about rest in the topical guide, or even to contemplate it spiritually.  What came to me, however, surprised and enlightened me.

It began with reading: 
 Then David the king stood up upon his feet, and said, Hear me, my brethren, and my people: As for me, I had in mine heart to build an house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and for the footstool of our God, and had made ready for the building:
 But God said unto me, Thou shalt not build an house for my name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood.(1 Chronicles 28). 

It wasn't proper to just place the ark anywhere.  It needed an appropriate house of rest for it.  

Simply setting it anywhere wouldn't do.  

Just setting it down wasn't resting it.  

Merely stopping its journey wasn't rest. 

This is the holiest of ancient items in the nation of Israel - it needed a place, built by one whose nature was in line with its own, who would built it a place suited to its nature. ( Interesting with all the Ordain Women Now cries for women to hold the priesthood, even King David here was denied the privilege - the honor - of building a house of rest for the ark, despite being a man and being the God-Appointed king.)

So....what's the point?

Well...it made me think then of the significance of the temple being the Lord's house of rest.  It is a place in line with his nature.  With his purpose.  With his origins.  With his being.  With his divinity.  Dedicated and built by men called of him.  If anything, the temple can tell us a lot about the Lord given that it is his house of rest.

We can be inspired when we see where the Lord rests.  And when we think of the fact that he has invited us in there to rest as well, how our rest lifts and inspires our minds when we rest where the Lord rests!  Our rest there is in line with our eternal natures.  Our rest lifts us. 

The sabbath being a  day of rest - what has the Lord commanded us to do with our time to rest our spirits, compared with how the world invites us to rest? 

(Speaking of commandments, I found it interesting the word "commandment" as originally given, and in the context of the scriptures, actually connotes/connoted "understanding", "instruction", "guidance", "knowledge" and "enlightenment".  We think of a commandment as being such a harsh and negative thing, but in the original language it was given in, and as it is intended, it is a loving guideline for our safety and growth - fatherly wisdom.)

So also is our rest intended to be suited to our eternal natures.  There are things we can take rest in that are not suited to our natures, and things we should not allow ourselves to be comforted by.

But simply stopping, isn't rest.  Setting down in a bar or saloon doesn't inspire our minds or our spirits to the things they should be (I find bars depressing because I'm not a fan of alcoholism).  The Lord has said that he gives peace, but not as the world gives.  We might even draw a parallel between athletes who are trying to maximize their performance and abilities, who don't simply engage in whatever shenanigans with food and entertainment they want to in their off days because it will affect their performance days.  So it is and should be with us spiritually, and so it is with the Lord.

Just...some thoughts that came to me reading.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Mentally Awake, and Morally Straight

I'm an Eagle Scout.

I started scouts in 1982 as a young Bobcat and worked my way up to Eagle.  My dad was my scoutmaster and cubmaster much of the time and did an excellent job at it.  My family broke up when I was sixteen, but I finished my Eagle Scout on my own.

Now, the BSA council has taken a vote - deliberately while the LDS council members were absent - to allow openly gay leaders to serve.  The LDS church leadership has stated that it is deeply troubled by this and that the church is going to examine its relationship with scouting.

Well, part of the Scout Law and Oath include such tenets as being trustworthy, loyal, courteous, kind, as well as to keep mentally awake and morally straight.

When you hold a vote when other members aren't present - deliberately - on such a ground shaping issue, I cannot say you've lived up to  those tenets.

Sometimes I wonder if we have a morality problem or a language problem in our society.  For example, on this issue, what does "equal" mean?  You would think that would be pretty simple, and yet, the word doesn't mean what it used to mean anymore on moral issues.  If you don't know, or say you don't know, what "equal" means, or assign it a new definition, you're either uneducated, or dishonest - deliberately or unintentionally.  But unintentional men and women aren't fit to lead anything.

In all this, I can imagine the outrage of the public at large reading my blog here.  The public dialogue on sexual morality reminds me of the Priests of King Noah who were outraged and accused Abinadai for speaking against the law of Moses and the King's law, when he was actually speaking in favor of it, but noting that they had broken it.  And they killed him for it.  (If modern history is any example, I have no reason to believe that can't and won't happen here if trends continue).

Now, I am not one in a place to condemn - I'm really not.  I have my own sins, so I am not "better" than anybody.  Neither do I have malice towards anyone over their sexual orientation either - I know we are all on our human journey to explore, discover, learn, experience - I've made my mistakes just like anyone else - different or same, I've made mistakes.  But it takes honesty to have these discussions, and from what I can tell - we aren't being honest as a nation. We aren't "mentally awake" or "morally straight" on how we are approaching this or any other number of issues.

And that is what troubles me.   Those virtues and values are learned, and take time to learn, and they aren't being taught.  Anymore we focus on diversity, but we don't learn what is right.  Some things it is okay to be different on and we should be.  Other things?  There are eternal truths and principles at play.  And we should always be kind.  But when we can't recognize this - or refuse to - I'm afraid we as a society are living numbered days.

And why do we have to learn these things of diversity and tolerance of sexual orientation in Scouts?  Aren't we getting these messages in media and in schools? 

I would love for my sons to earn their Eagle Scout awards.  But now that the LDS church looks like it will be dropping scouting and creating its own program - which might be the death knell of scouting for as large as the LDS church is - I guess I have a lot of mixed feelings.

I would rather my children learn to keep those things of the Scout Law and Oath, but if the Boy Scouts of America stops teaching them.....then I guess we may have to learn them elsewhere.  We shall see what is decided.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Seer Stones in the Scriptures

One of the things I enjoy about scripture study is putting myself to findin the hidden mysteries and secrets right in plain sight.

I don't search for them as the focus of my scripture studies, but I find them a lot with how I study.  I have a notebook and I read a single verse, write down the cross references, read them all, any cross references from those I also read if they pique my curiosity, and I take notes - so a single verse can take me well over a couple weeks!  A few months in some cases where I scripture chase continuously.

At any rate, it is interesting that in Mosiah, Mosiah says that the seer stones were passed down from generation to generation.  We have no record of them being received by Mosiah, only that he had them and they were passed down.......and had been......so......Lehi was a seer?  Lehi had the stones?  Has he had them the entire time, or did he get them with the brass plates from Laban and being sacred it wasn't recorded?  Interesting if he was a seer, that they would be given the Liahona - which we don't read of anyone else using really but which was preserved.  I might have thought that they would just use the Urim and Thummim, but instead, the miraculous directors were available and visible to all - doubtless to help the faith of Laman and Lemuel.  

Also interesting that Sarai, Lehi's wife referred to him as a "visionary man" and even Lehi said that he knew he was a visionary man.  Is that code for Seer?

There were also the stones from the Brother of Jared - but we don't read of stones being brought back with the 24 plates of the Jaredites.  I personally think that the 24 plates weren't the only record that was left behind - I personally think the 24 plates were left as an abridgement but there must have been more.  Even Moroni said that the 15 chapters of Ether were not even a hundredth of what was written - so unless the language was pure, which the Jaredites did speak the language of Adam as their language wasn't confounded it may have conveyed much much meaning with a single symbol as it was interpreted by Urim and Thummim.  Also the records of the 24 plates were called "an account" not "the record" - but I don't want to read too much into this, but these are the details I'm noting.

At any rate, so that's at least two sets of stones. Then Abraham was given a set.  Moses had a set but I don't know if he got them from Abraham.  Possibly Lehi had them from Moses but we don't know.  At any rate, just looking around, that's four possible seer stones I've found.  I'm thinking that with the scattering of Israel, that the other tribes would have had seers leading them as well, so with another ten tribes being led off, that would be another ten - but!  Who knows but the Lord?  Just things I noticed as I was reading.