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). 
IOW: GET OUT OF THE ROAD!!!!

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.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Missing & Let Go

I was let go from my dream job yesterday.

I saw things coming, but on the spiritual side of things, I was told and prompted that something very very bad was going to happen and I was going to be caught up in it and it was going to destroy me.

I have seen security falsify reports against inmates to get them in trouble.  I've seen men hauled off to segregation to protect an officer's ego.  I've seen so much hypocrisy all around and rule-breaking but I was being held to a....I can't say loftier, because double standards aren't lofty....different standard. And in the DOC if you point out anything like this, you are instantly "defensive" and are "not taking responsibility" so you can't speak. 

I had hoped things would work out, but I had prayed earlier this week that I be not caught up in what was coming.  This was a dream job, a dream chance, a dream opportunity, and I got it. But I would rather lose my job than my soul and I know that was what was going to happen and I know it is in the process of happening now.  Our high priest group leader who also works there has commented on how corrupt it is and said that they are interested only in the waters being smooth on the surface though they are muddy beneath - I don't...I can't work in a place like that.  I have enough sins in my personal life that I don't need to be strapped to a machine that pays me but forces me to compromise my integrity.

Right now is really hard for me - I was very good at what I do - and I have the numbers to prove it.   I secured a couple solid references from some coworkers who know I was shafted.  My trainer had seduced another security officer away from his wife, got him to divorce her, then married him.  My other trainer thought it was appropriate to talk about her sex life in public company and in my professional opinion wasn't that smart.  I felt like I was constantly on the defensive listening to my one trainer talk about how bad everyone else sucked compared to her,  and my boss' face didn't reflect anything other than skepticism anytime I spoke to her and it was growing increasingly difficult to talk to her. 

I could write a million pages at this point but I will close with a short story.  One of my clients caught his wife cheating on him, she told him he was disgusting and not to touch her, in front of the children.  He dropped his two little children off at daycare, came back, pulled out a pistol and shot her in the forehead, executed her and dropped her to the floor with one shot. 

She will never cheat again.

He won't ever be cheated on again.

Nor will he see his children ever again. Or freedom.

Another, his father executed himself with a pistol in front of the children, when the client was 11 years old. 

He missed out on his dad growing up and now is in prison and is missing his daughter and son who look forward to him coming back. 

There are 3,000 inmates in that prison who would trade places with me right now.

I got to come home to my children last night, hug them, I am sealed to them - and my sins are repentable-of.  They aren't permanent.

I'm not missing out on them growing up and I've been told something better awaits.  Oh, it is hard, but that's what I have been told, and that something very very bad was coming.

But it is hard waiting, but I didn't come home to my wife and children like they were second prize - no - they are first prize - the job is secondary.

I don't trust my bosses with the things I've heard there and yesterday really confirmed it.  So, hard as this is, I walked out better than if I'd stayed - and now - I ask your prayers in helping me find a new job; now that I've dragged my wife and children 400 miles from home into the middle of the desert with no family and real support around other than the LDS church - it's lonely - but I'm grateful I'm not going down in a conspiracy - I would rather lose my job than my soul and it was going to happen.

But God knows and his hand is over all - and that's the hard part to remember and grab hold of. (Because I wish this life's turmoils and uncertainties and shocks and sorrows were over, though there is joy to be had, the shocks seem to eclipse the joys in my life as a priesthood blessing is fulfilled that mine would be a life of sorrow)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Musings and Memories

I miss the trees of Western Oregon - the Pacific Northwest.

It's where I'm from.  It's where I was born, raised, grew up.  Douglas Firs all around and one of the largest supplies of wood in the world with mountains in every direction, and the occasional smell of sea air blowing in from the Pacific.  When I was little I saw Mount Saint Helens ash all over as the volcano blew and coated the region.

Misty forests, foggy days, rain that just continues for weeks on end, the clouds ever low over the trees - this is where I'm from.

Now, I've been led out into the desert.  I'm a mental health counselor at a prison.  In the desert.

My mission was the most time I've spent between the life before and this one - it was "reality" more than about anything else I've ever lived.  Now I spent time in an all male prison, climbing inside the heads of psychopathic murderers and rapists - listening to the confessions of Heavenly Father's wayward children.

I know that breaking the law of chastity is bad in our religion - next to murder - because we are playing with the powers of the creation of life - but compared to the things I hear and sit down with....I don't know a man in that prison who wouldn't wish that was their only crime.  Most of their crimes can't be undone.

Like executing your wife after you catch her cheating on you.

That can't be undone.

Day after day.  Week after week.  Month after month.  Year after Year.  Decade after decade.  One life only.....when you've done that?  Your children are lost permanently.  You don't even get to be a dad to say hi to them anymore.  Seeing them grow up?  Not happening.

It doesn't matter how much misery you sit in on your bunk.

No matter how hard you pray.

No matter how hard you wish you could go back to that moment.

It isn't going to change.

You can't undo it.

Ever.

You made a choice.  Mental illness, bad childhood, drugs or whatever - you were the one who acted.

And now?  You're here.

These men lie to me, I know - who doesn't lie to the the shrink?  Who wants to tell the truth to the shrink?   I know.  I know so much of it is lies.  But my job is to listen.  I got told today I'm a good listener.  It's amazing how much that dam breaks - how much it cracks - how much that river of human emotion flows when you give it someplace to go.


Its challenging to go from a prison setting, to out here in the free world where people like our politicians have the exact same psychology as rapists in terms of justifying what they do to harm others, but because they wear suits and live in nice houses and offices....none of what they do is a crime.

If you've never noticed?  Some of the most evil men in this world never have to even raise their voices, are dressed nicely, have manicured hands and haircuts, and are highly educated - I think C.S. Lewis made this observation. A horse because it is an animal isn't really capable of evil - but a man - despite lacking the power of a beast - is capable of devising much much more.  And so, educate a man and refine him and give him the appearance of beauty to fool millions - make him an excellent orator?  And he can become the most evil man in history.  Capable of leading away 1/3 of the host of heaven, down into willing slavery.

Our church is at a crossroads of sorts.  We are building one new building a day in the world - 365 buildings a year - not even Wal Mart is building like that.  Our power and influence for good in the world as we seek to get along with all people and invite all to receive the blessings of the gospel and be our friends - is unprecedented.  And at the same time, opposition to this work is unlike before - not the church actively - but Goodly principles - Godly principles.

These troubles our nation is facing?  It isn't because the people doing it are evil and unrepentant.  Its because we are evil and unrepentant as a nation.  If we were righteous, there wouldn't be anywhere for them to hide.  The same argument that's made by the Nazis - I was just following orders - I need a paycheck - is what's happening here.

Soon, the church has indicated it's going to be making changes that aren't going to be popular, and are going to be hard to follow in the eyes of our fellow man and.....well....it's not going to be because we're strange that there's going to be challenges.  It's going to be because we live in a wicked and corrupt society that's getting worse!