Saturday, December 29, 2007
It has also lent itself to much family togetherness, which has been really good. (Aside: it has also really hit home this week how far away I am from family and there has been a degree of homesickness that surprised me. This will, no doubt, be a subject for a future post.) It has also meant that there is much Mitt-championing going on because members of Plantboy's family, particularly, have definitely jumped on that bandwagon. What has amazed me is the extreme sensitivity over any question of Romney's candidacy or tactics. It reminded me of a post of KimBlue's some weeks back.
She discussed a survey about viewing/listening/reading habits of conservatives and liberals. One major conclusion was that conservatives tend to avoid media that disagrees with them because it seems threatening or dangerous to their ideals. Liberals, on the other hand, observe all types of media and are more likely to have shifting opinions. I have been mired in the land of Conservatism these last two weeks.
I guess I believe that we need to stick to our guns where principles and eternal gospel truths are at stake, but if we occasionally, or even often, change our minds about the efficacy and logistics of certain practices, then perhaps this is just evidence of progression? I'm tired of being told that I've gone to the dark side because I don't believe the government's whole role should be to bomb countries with more oil than us. If the government is a reflection of its people, then what does this say about us? But you know my feelings on THIS.
I probably won't/can't say much else. My blog is being read by some suprising people who don't always leave comments until after they've read for some time, or they tell me in person. And while I'm happy about this, I am starting to see that the idea of an on-line, open journal definitely has its limits. Forecastcallsforrain told me that she loves her Dallas book club because all of the members are from different wards and the group is pretty exclusive. She says it is kind of a place to go and dump the baggage because what happens at book club stays at book club. I feel like I need a place like that.
Hm . . . . now it sounds like I'm an incurable (insufferable, incorrigible) gossip, but I'm really not. I've just got a lot rolling around in my head right now that I'd like to "talk" about, but I don't think this is quite the right forum, though there are some of you I'd like to really hash out some of this stuff with. My journal writing used to be a place I could really unload on the page; often times, by the time I'd finished writing I'd feel better, more clear-headed and and relieved from some of the emotional baggage. But blogging . . . well, it is just different. And though this is filling an important niche for me, it is not quite filling the niche I expected it to.
As I approach post #100, I need to do some re-thinking about what I'm doing here.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Okay, if you've stuck with me this far then you get to listen to me pat myself on the back. :) So the Poopy Pirate agreed enthusiastically to my birthday party idea, even though I must be nuts to allow any kind of tradition that occurs less than two weeks before Christmas. Then, brilliant STM that I am, hit on the idea to have a "Go Diego Go" party: the current love of our three-year old life. The alternative was a Thomas Party, but I've just done WAY too many of these. (Not as many as on.the.run. but enough.) Should be a piece of cake, right?
If there is Go Diego party paraphenelia out there then it is not for sale in our corner of The Land of Commercialism. Instead mommy basically created the party from scratch, though after four phone calls I found a bakery that could do my cake "kit." Here is a sampling--notice my fabulously coordinated blue and orange as well as my blue and orange children:
It was hard for Scallywag to understand that it wasn't actually his birthday. He was right in the thick of making the invites, decorating, welcoming the kids and (naturally) opening the booty.
This is a bean bag toss game, only you don't throw bean bags through holes. Or even bean bags for that matter. What you do is take some of Captain Tootypants' soft blocks and throw them as hard as you can at pictures of diego and the animals he is rescuing. For stickers.
Now for the part where mommy needs her head examined.
After the party (and waiting for the parent who thinks the party ends 30 minutes later than it actually did), I had to drive all over the neighborhood because I have started an early morning paper route. How early you must be asking? There has hardly been a day in the last month that I've gotten out of bed later than THREE AM. I am NOT making this up. Anyway, I was having a couple of route troubles so I drove all over making sure that I had my house numbers correct when I could actually see them. The paper route will, no doubt, one day be a very charming post all on its own, so I will refrain from further comment here.
Then I went to Staples where I picked up the copy of my book that I made to give to my mother. I did a very ruthless edit and am extremely happy with this (temporarily anyway) final version. I still think that unless you read more than the first three chapters you aren't sure if you're sold on it, so I may try another publisher that looks more at an entire manuscript (or at least says they do). My plan is to send it off again in January.
I came home just in time to realize that I had signed up weeks before to feed our missionaries, which I do every month, but I'm never consistent about the day or the week so it is always a complete shock when they call. I noted with some smugness that sister missionaries are more considerate about calling at least a couple of days in advance. Elders . . . . .
So last Saturday was a very long day. Perhaps not as long as this coming Saturday wherein we will load three kids in the car at three am and hope to make Ogden in 13 hours.
Last two items (I know, I know, I've got to get the pics off my camera more often):
We've had our Christmas on for about a month now, but I had to post a picture of my Christmas tree. I bought it at a garage sale in Champions Forest because the family had three others (my TX friends will appreciate that tidbit). We were traveling that year and a tree was not in the budget. Neither were presents. Neither was the traveling. Anyway, it was late afternoon when I stopped on a whim at the garage sale. How much did she want for this seven foot beauty covered with seven strands of white lights? FIVE DOLLARS.
Um . . . sold?
Anyway, nearly all of the ornaments are homemade and we add a few each year. This year it is clothespin angels that my neighbor taught me how to make. It is a little bright, bold, silly and just so darn homey. We love our tree. I think Plantboy would love to do the lumberjack thing and get the boys out in the woods to pick their own, but I remind him how environmental this is: we reduce because we don't get a new one every year, we reuse this one and we recycled it from somebody else. So we are having a green Christmas in at least one respect.
Almost ready to wrap up, promise. Here is the baby who slept like an angel all through the Diego Melee, but has been a little devil over the last 48 hours with an icky fever and more snot and drool than I've ever seen even come from a BIG person.
My last item is just such a funny kid thing that you will definitely be rewarded if you have made it this far. Yesterday afternoon, Pirate dragged out the dinosaurs that haven't been played with for months. He began making up names for them and acting very silly. He began calling this dinosaur the yee-horse. I have no idea why.
Anyway, Scallywag got after Pirate for making up "dumb" stuff. Right, because Scallywag isn't full of it. Anyway, it turns out that the yee-horse can fly. Well, this was even more dumb in Scallywag's book, but when he saw what fun Pirate was having, he promptly picked up the other yee-horse, who is pink and apparently the female.
I'm not sure what these two yee-horses are doing:
But this is their baby, who is still learning to fly.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Instead, a funny story and two great videos.
Scallywag Plankwalker has, for some odd reason, been interested in finding a wife (he sometimes calls her "mother") lately. The Poopy Pirate was given a puzzle-map of the United States for his birthday and Scallywag is fascinated by it. He is constantly asking to put it together and wants me to tell him the names of the states. The other night he was running his finger around the map and said to Plantboy, "Yep, somewhere around here I'm going to travel to find my little lady."
"Little lady, huh?"
"Yep, a little lady to get married to."
Today, as he looked at the map (as well as a world map we found on-line) he said, "I'm going to go to Brazil to find my little lady. Then, we will move back to Oregon. After our first baby we'll go to Texas. Then, after our second baby we'll got to West Virginia. After our third baby then we'll move to Canada. After all that, we'll get on a boat and go to Hawaii."
"No. For our first vacation." After all that, he's going to need one.
A nomad in training.
Here are the videos. I subbed RS in church on Friday. I pretty much had to fight the ugly cry during the entire lesson. The topic was on missionary work and it just happens to be ten years ago this week that I came home from the Great South Land. Besides feeling really old, teaching this lesson just reminded me for the umpteenth time how much I loved those people and how much serving a mission blessed my life. I showed the link in the lesson because President Kimball said that righteous members were "the best advertisement for the Church."
This link is to the story explaining the origin of the ad campaign. I've also linked the summary of the comencement given by Elder Ballard at BYU-Hawaii last week is reported on; his remarks go along so beautifully with his conference talk.
As I watch these commercials and it is like the Church has grown up. I'm not sure if can really explain that? It is like the Church is getting ready for another great round of converts or something. I hope I can do my part; I pray daily that I'll raise my sons to do theirs.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
I was like
While, strictly speaking, this is correct theology we are dealing with here, but I've only heard this statement worded precisely so when speaking with a person quoting anti-Mormon literature. The only political leverage to be gained from such a statement is an attempt to paint Romney as a member of cult and thereby undermine his support among conservative Christians. Such personal attacks on a person's religious belief can have NO bearing whatever on any rational approach to politics.
I am about four months behind in my Sunday School lessons, and I was just reading Acts 5 the other day: one of my favorites in the whole New Testament (actually the first SEVEN chapters of The Acts are such affirmation for LDS theology that you have to wonder how the early Christians fell apart so quickly). Two of my favorite all time verses are found here.
The first is about Peter. The apostles are brought before a council and critisized all around for preaching Jesus. The high priest believes the apostles are only preaching about him in an attempt to pin his murder on them. Peter insists that no, his only desire is to witness about Jesus' life and resurrection so that people will feel the spirit and become saved. Despite wanting to kill him, they really have nothing on Peter and the apostles and they are released. Then, Luke records the following, "And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name."
I don't agree with Mr. Romney's politics, though I think there are certainly WORSE choices on the ballot (particularly the Republican ballot). But I have had a lot of empathy for him the last couple of weeks. I too have suffered shame for His name, and in the moment I have never felt cause to rejoice. I mostly felt hurt and confused and that I had been treated unfairly. Mostly I felt that I had cast my pearls before swine. . . .
I wonder if Mr. Romney is feeling any of these emotions this week? I pray that he will one day look back on his (short-lived?) run at the White House and feel joy that he was willing to suffer shame to stick to his beliefs. It takes true courage to stand up in the face of so much opposition.
The next part of this same chapter that I love has also been on my mind. And perhaps this is the greater message to the world in response to the way Mr. Romney has been treated. The reason the apostles were even released is because of a man referred to as a "doctor in the law" called Gamliel speaks in favor of amnesty, using an example from an earlier event in the city and then saying the following:
" . . . Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God."
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is just ONE generation away from its bicentennial. It is truly the stone cut out of the mountain prophesied by Daniel in ancient times. The world may rage against its doctrine and try to lure its adherents away into false paths, but the church will grow. "As well a man might stretch forth his puny arm to stop the Missouri river in its decreed course, or to turn it up stream, as to hinder the Almight from pouring down knowledge from heaven upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints." Those who have disparaged, criticized, born false witness against, or treated lightly the sacred things of the Church will one day know that they were mistaken. And only an infinitely loving Father in Heaven will be able to give them a second chance.
I know that Elohim and Jehovah appeared together, united but unique, to Joseph Smith that day in the grove. I know it. In the years after, I know they directed Joseph into forming a church. Not a reformed church. Not a protestant church. A RESTORED Church. A Church based on truth and modern prophetic revelation, not on assumption and dead philosphy. That prophetic line has not been broken even to this day. Anybody can know this for themselves. Anybody can read and pray and ponder and know if they will pray with a sincere heart.
If Mr. Romney's bid for candidacy does no more than genuinely interest some few who are seeking to know truth, then it will be worth all of his time and effort and money and pain.
Saturday, December 08, 2007
This is excerpted/paraphrased. My original remarks were about 50 minutes long. The theme was from D & C 121:45 "Let Virtue Garnish Thy Thoughts Unceasingly," which is the YM/YW theme for 2007.
I began by showing them pictures of myself in junior high and high school and spoke about trying to reinvent myself every year because I kept thinking that I'd have more confidence if I could just alter aspects of myself that I hated. These were mostly superficial things. Clothes, hair make-up, peer groups, etc. The kids, obviously got a real kick out of my late-eighties, early nineties attire and hair disasters. I'll pick up here:
"And while I was figuring out a lot about myself, there were still things that just didn't seem quite right. There was this boy that I really was crazy about who never saw me as anything more than a friend. I never quite got the grades I really craved. I never was the lead in the play. I never made student office. Even during my senior year, as I learned what I was good at and had lots of friends, I could never quite get rid of my inner turmoil.
"All this time I had attended seminary and church regularly. I knew a lot about the Church. I had felt the spirit many times and even borne my testimony, but I frequently doubted the truth of the gospel and often mistrusted my feelings.
"This is my state of mind when I got to college. And although I was thrilled to move out and be on my own, I was overwhelmed with the number of freshmen girls at my university. They all seemed just like me! I felt kind of adrift and without identity. And for the first time, I was very closely exposed to students who did not keep the commandments, or even pretend to. I
"Then during my freshman year of college, a series of a terrible and unrelated events happened, all of them within just a couple of months of each other." My freshman year was pretty bad--friends having terrible accidents or cancer, a brother with an emergency surgery, an aunt who died of cancer at age 34, leaving behind four young children. . . you get the picture.
"Up to that point, I’d had very few trials and I felt like my life was crashing down around my ears. And for the first time in my life I had to know if the gospel was true. I had to know if families were eternal, or if the whole temple marriage thing was just a nice fairy tale we told ourselves to feel better about death. I had to know that there was a purpose to trial and suffering and difficulty. I had to know there was a reason to keep the commandments and be righteous, when I was surrounded by those who seemed to have a lot more fun by not doing these things.
"So I did the things I’d been taught. I prayed and studied the scriptures. I read stories from the life of the Savior and tried to learn who He was so I could begin to understand what He had done for me, and what He meant to me. I worked hard on being a good daughter and good friend. And then one day, I knew. I still remember the chair I was sitting in and the passage of the book I was reading when it hit me. I knew that Jesus had died for me, a poor, struggling college student who had no idea what terrible thing would happen next to someone I loved. Once this knowledge flooded me, the other pieces of the gospel fell into place and I knew that our trials had purpose and that families were eternal. I didn’t doubt any more, and I began keeping the commandments because I wanted to.
"And I learned one of the most important lessons of my life: confidence does not come from changing your outward appearance or your friends or from always saying the right thing, though the world will tell us this is the exact formula. But this prideful sense of self-esteem is just Satan’s counterfeit for true confidence.
"True confidence is something else entirely. True confidence is trusting the Lord so completely that our testimonies do not falter even when the storms of life beset us. True confidence is having our thoughts so in tune with the Lord that the Spirit is our constant companion in the face of every difficulty, temptation and trial. "
We then discussed the scriptural theme for the year and talked about the terrible circumstances under which Joseph was given this revelation. I told them that I loved this scripture for its built in promise about having confidence. My whole life I'd fought so hard to have confidence, but the formula was there in the scriptures all along. This, incidentally, is the only time in the scriptures that the word "confidence is used."
"True confidence . . . has nothing to do with how we dress or look or act, it has everything to do with how much faith we exercise.
"So though I’ve spent most of our time here tonight focusing on this remarkable promise of confidence in the presence of the Lord, I’d like to take some more time now on the virtue part."
We then discussed the 13th Article of Faith and how it uses the term virtue in two different contexts. "The first time it comes in a list of other good attributes. So our first working definition is that virtue is a particular attribute, a Christlike attribute, that is desirous to have. The second time it is used, it gives the impression that all of these things can be considered virtuous, so that virtue can also be a general category of good things.
"Some years back President Hinckley wrote a book that spent a couple of weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. This book may look familiar to some of you. Now you are probably all too young to have been aware when this came out, but if your parents have a copy of this book, you should read it. The book is called Standing for Something: 10 Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes."
The kids came up with as many virtues as they could. I mentioned that although they were all good, we wanted to emphasize, "chapter three of his book called, 'Making a Case for Morality, in which he uses the words morality, chastity and virtue interchangeably. So while virtue is being generally a good person, virtue is, specifically, keeping the Lord’s law of chastity. Just so there is no question about what this law is, I’m going to quote directly from For the Strength of Youth 'Physical Intimacy between husband and wife is beautiful and sacred. It is ordained of God for the creation of children and for the expression of love between husband and wife. God has commanded that sexual intimacy be reserved for marriage.'
"I think it is important to point out here that the term “sexual intimacy” is used, which is more encompassing than if just the word “sex” is used. If you have any questions about behaviors and whether or not they are appropriate, you should read the rest of this section as well as the section on chastity in 'True to the Faith." Or talk to your parents and leaders and bishop. And if you are behaving in any way in reference to the opposite sex that even raises a question in your mind of whether or not it is appropriate, then stop what you are doing immediately.
"I want to quote somewhat at length from President Hinckley’s book here. I am also going to have several of you read quotes from his book as well as a talk that was given in October Conference 1998 by Jeffrey R. Holland, which I first heard when my husband and I were dating. I quote liberally from the prophets here because their words, while being plain and unapologetic about our standards, are also filled with love and authority."
The kids read several excerpts which I will not quote here--you really should read both the chapter and the talk in their complete form. EXCELLENT stuff.
"I know it is hard. I know it. About a year before going on my mission, I committed myself to the Lord one night in my prayers, promising that by my 21st birthday I would be ready and worthy to go to the temple—whether to be married or to go on a mission would be up to Him, but I would be ready.
"I was so grateful for my commitment. Just weeks after making this promise, I was tested in this very principle. I came to the moment of decision, and if I had not decided before-hand and made that firm commitment of worthiness to the Lord, I would never have had the strength to make up my mind in that instant. And if I had not made the right decision, I would have regretted it for months, and maybe years after.
"Because it wasn’t marriage that happened for me first; it was a mission. The confidence I took with me on my mission, true confidence based on the Lord’s requirements, was one of my most valuable possessions. Only perfect trust in the Lord could have compelled me to knock on doors, day after day, week after week and share the gospel message. And even after thousands and thousands of rejections, my testimony, my faith and my confidence only grew. I saw an elder on the last day of his mission knock on a door and say with absolute steadiness, 'Sir, I am here on your doorstep because the Lord wants to call you to repentance. Will you listen to our message?' The man did listen. Only perfect purity of heart can give you enough faith to say such a thing to a perfect stranger.
"Now, I know that you are exposed to things so much worse and more shocking than what I was exposed to as a teenager, but I also know--I know--that you were saved to come to earth for this time because you are the very best the Lord has. Many of you sitting in this very room no doubt sat at the knee of our Father in Heaven before you ever came to this earth and solemnly promised to do all in your power to overcome temptation and return to Him. There is nothing the world has to offer that is greater than the Kingdom of Heaven. Nothing.
"Satan knows this. And I hate to even bring up his name. I hate to even give him mention in a place that should uplift and edify. But he is so real. He knows you are the best of the best. It is nothing for him to claim a soul that is already on its way down to hell, but if he can claim one of YOU for his own—one of God’s own elite—then he laughs and laughs as he watches you surrender your agency to your passions, as he watches you surrender your body to one who will break your heart and surrender your soul to himself, so he can enslave you.
"I’d like to take a moment to address the boys.
"I’ve never had a teenage son, nor have I been a teenage boy. But I have taught hundreds of middle and high schoolers over the last several years and I have three sons of my own. I think I know a little bit about how boys tick. You hear talks time and time again about the evils of pornography. But even with the repetition, I don’t think the warning can be repeated often enough. There is nothing in our society that will give you a more perverse idea of relationships between men and women. There is nothing that will lead you to objectify and distort the truth about love and intimacy as much as pornography. It will poison your mind and heart and spirit. And if doesn’t even have to be hard pornography found in certain places on the internet. Any television program, song or commercial that treats women as objects to satisfy desire is unworthy of a priesthood holder’s time and attention; even a moment is too much if it seeks to cheapen things that are sacred. If you do date, date in groups. If you date alone, specify a start and ending time to the date. Bring her home early. Whatever you do, PLAN activities for your dates. There is nothing more flattering to a young woman than to know her date has cared enough about her to plan something to do. If you are in a place where your guy and girl friends are doing nothing more than hanging out or, worst case scenario, watching a movie in the dark, then have the courage to be like Joseph of Egypt and FLEE. Have the courage to date girls who are keeping gospel standards, even if it means you may not get a goodnight kiss. Have the courage to tell a young woman who is dressed modestly how pretty she looks and how proud you are to be seen with her.
"Now the boys can tune out while I address the girls.
"You young sisters have more power over the young men than even they will dare admit. If you would one day have strong marriages and worthy priesthood holders leading your families, you must not do anything that would jeopardize the young men you associate with—either the young men you date, or the young men you are friends with—from going on missions. On their missions they will learn the true nature of love and sacrifice; they will return home ready to settle and commit and lead. The way you speak, the way you dress, the way you walk, has a huge influence on any young man in your vicinity. Using your words and your body to tease, tempt and control is the cruelest use of the powerful gifts God has given to you. Do not wear clothes that are so tight your straps underneath can be seen; do not sit on a guy’s lap, even if he is just a friend; do not give back rubs; do not wear dresses that creep up your legs and shirts that creep up your bellies. Try clothes on until you find the ones that fit you properly so they are not too tight or too sloppy. But most of all, do not explain away such behavior. Rationalization is no substitute for quiet dignity and modesty. Nobody should ever have to look at you and wonder if you are LDS.
"And while many of these things, on their own, are not direct violations of the Law of Chastity, I have seen every single one of them lead to things that are.
"In the Book of Mormon, Alma gives some advice to each of his sons before he dies. He says to one of them, 'Bridle all of your passions that you may be filled with love.' The world would have us believe that expressing your passion is the equivalence of expressing your love. But the Lord’s way is the higher way, and he says that expressing our passion is absolutely NOT love: it is keeping our passion under control so that we might have time to learn and develop true Christlike love instead of just giving in to our selfish desires.
"When I knelt across the altar from my husband eight and a half years ago, surrounded by family and friends in that beautiful sealing room in the Logan temple, I knew that we were worthy to be there. I knew that any price I had paid in self control was worth it for that moment and for the eternity we would have together, and the children that would be born to us. On that day, I began to understand what it means to really be 'in love.' I testify to you this day, that keeping your thoughts clean and pure and virtuous is WORTH IT. Whatever sacrifice you think you are making to get your life in order is NOTHING compared to the blessings the Lord is waiting to give to you when you approach him with clean hands and a pure heart.
I concluded by sharing two stories: the first of a girl I had grown up with who allowed herself be led away, and the second of a remarkable young man I taught on my mission.
After sharing the story of the young woman, who, after a series of terrible choices, ended up pregnant by age 16, I said, "Not long ago I heard about her, though my parents have since moved from that neighborhood. She is renting the home she grew up in from her parents who have moved away. She has several children now from at least two different fathers and has been divorced a couple of times. Her unwillingness to keep her thoughts and actions pure has caused her to have a life that is difficult and no doubt, filled with a large measure of sorrow. At what point could she have turned things around?"
There was some discussion about the right time to make good choices, and then one especially perceptive Priest said, "Now!"
"That is right. At any point she wanted to. The Savior’s atonement is real and powerful. At any moment, even now, that she decides her life is not what she wants it to be and she desires to repent, she can begin the long process back toward the light. Any one of you sitting her tonight has the same promise extended. If there is anything in your life that needs changing, do it now! The Lord is waiting to help you overcome your sin and to bless you anew with the power of His Spirit. You just have to take a single step in the right direction. I shared her story because I don't think any dicussion of chastity can be made without reference to repentance."
I then shared a story of one of the most remarkable young men I've ever met, Peter, and shared his conversion story I was pleased to witness during my mission. The central pont was that, "Peter did not have a single thing in his life when we met him that would give him anything the world termed confidence.
"Still, even before joining the church, the strength of Peter’s spirit shone through and he was a young man of integrity. A year or two previous he had made a commitment to himself not to drink or smoke as well as a decision to live the law of chastity. While this may not seem too remarkable to you, growing up in the church and being trained to make these commitments from your early childhood, but to a young man growing up in Australia! Such a commitment outside the church is hardly ever heard of.
"After his baptism, Peter glowed with such a light that he found himself a white shirt and tie at the thrift shop and was out door knocking with our district leader before he had even been a member for a month. Our district leader said that Peter was more bold at the doors than even he and his companion and his strength of spirit and pure testimony had given them teaching opportunities they wouldn’t have otherwise had.
"Peter’s journey hasn’t always gone as smoothly as those first several weeks, but he has endured. Just over a year ago, he and his wife were sealed together in the Sydney Temple. Now, if Peter will stay true to the covenants he made both at baptism and in the temple, keeping his thoughts and actions clean before the Lord, then he will be able to be the husband and father that his own dad was not. He will be walk with confidence when confronting any situation because his life is right with the Lord."
I closed with my testimony of the divinity of the soul and the Lord's love for each of us, urging the kids to find out for themselves who they really are and to gain a testimony so that resisting temptation will not be as hard.
I think it went over pretty well. The leaders liked it and the kids are all still speaking to me.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
As an member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I found Michelle Norris' Monday interview with Pastor Mike Rose on Monday offensive to my faith and irrelevant to any pertinent and thinking discussion of politics. It is true that members of the LDS church do not consider themselves Protestant Christians, but it doesn't follow that we aren't Christians. As the fastest growing church in North America, it is no wonder that pastors and ministers of other faiths have spent decades attempting to spread misinformation about our faith in attempt to prevent their congregants from opening their minds to further possibilities. However, all religious discussion aside, Pastor Rose was unable to give a single argument against Mr. Romney other than his Mormonism. His remarks made it seem as though a vote for Mr. Romney is tantamount to accepting the tenets of the LDS faith. Pastor Rose's evidence of conservative Christians in Iowa being uneasy about Mr. Romney was merely anecdotal and not at all specific. While he attempted to sound as though he was paraphrasing the opinions of others, it is plain that Pastor Rose used the interview to spread his own belief that Mormonism is a "cult." (A term used three or four different times in the piece, while protesting a desire to belittle anyone else's belief.)
There are thousands of conservative, Christian, Mormons living in Iowa. I am sure that any one of them would have been happy to present another side to a radio station that is usually so careful to truly understand the issues. If Ms. Norris was concerned about getting a biased view by interviewing Latter-Day Saints, then she should reference several great articles written by Jan Shipps, a prominent LDS scholar, who is actually not a Mormon herself. Her work is well respected by many both inside and outside of the Church, and she has a very concise way of helping curious on-lookers to understand a very interesting, and popular, subculture of American life.
Unfortunately, Ms. Norris' piece on Iowa's conservative Christians did very little to help us understand what is really going on in the state, and gave platform to the religious bigotry that members of the LDS church have tried for nearly 200 years to get past.
Thanks for your time,
Saturday, December 01, 2007
The comments in my last blog really became a political discussion of sorts. I was a bit dismissive of Chavez as any kind of a real threat to the US. Then I read this today. Scary stuff, along the lines of the "if you aren't with us then you are against us" rhetoric I so love.
I guess we are getting oil from one more enemy. What is it with dictators and statues? Or in this case, balloons? Think pyramids. The ultimate diva fit, I guess. What do you call a he-diva?
In an unrelated bit of news. I just finished reading my favorite Christmas book. This has become a nearly annual after Thanksgiving read for me. It is just so cozy.