Category Archives: Spirituality

Spiritually Speaking

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While lying in bed perusing Facebook this morning, I came upon this gem of a post by Greg Trimble entitled “ You Can Make Fun of Me for Being a Mormon if You Want…” I immediately swyped out a response on my Kindle, but upon  reading it later at my desktop, I found it to be wholly inadequate (not to mention filled with typos and structural errors!) in expressing the deeper feelings of my heart on the subject of my faith. So, without further ado, here’s what I meant to say…Images-of-jesus-christ-097-2c

I was raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and had what I thought was a strong testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel, as taught by said church, as a teen. But somewhere around seventeen, I started going off track, and by nineteen I was pretty much there. Looking for the love I didn’t feel I had in my family took me to a place I never imagined I would be. Eventually, it became easier to push faith to the back of my mind than to live with the guilt of my actions.

At 21, I married a great Christian guy (actually, we met just as I was trying to come back to church). We tried to find a middle ground between my LDS faith and his Pentecostal one, but by the time I was 24, pushing 25, it was clear to my both heart and soul, I needed to be back in what I strongly believe to be Christ’s restored church, not biding time in a holding pen. The people I met in the other Christian denominations we tried were generally lovely, kind people (as long as they didn’t know I was a Mormon); I expected nothing less. During my years in their pews, I learned intimately about the beliefs of others and the likenesses (there are so many!) between my “LDS Christianity” and their “mainstream” kind. But despite nodding my head in agreement with many of their teachings, I could never get past the fact that something was missing, at least for me. AChristus2

So, for 16 years after I returned to the faith of my youth, my dear husband and I “split the difference,” alternating Sundays at each other’s church. Although, I am the one that has been more involved in the “other than Sunday” activities of my ward; and I’ve no doubt that was part of the reason both of my girls chose to be baptized in the LDS faith. Sadly, in all of our years together, hubby has chosen to be an only- on-Sunday worshiper (he’s not much of a socializer/ joiner). The fissure that occurred in the church community of his youth (and his family) when he married a heathen like me (“He was such a good boy, until…”), the cold shoulder we’ve received at times from mainstreamers when they learned I was LDS, and the fact that he is a federal law enforcement officer (naturally stand-offish and very distrustful), has made it difficult for hubby to insert himself meaningfully into any church. He prefers the anonymity of being last in and first out. To be sure, you don’t have to answer many personal questions that way, which suits him just fine.

Well, the every-other-Sunday agreement he and I made before the kids came along worked fine for a while, but after Blondie, our oldest daughter, turned twelve, it was once again clear a change need to be made; she was growing up without a firm anchor to either his faith or mine. She was getting nothing out of our compromise, and Brownie, our youngest, was getting even less. After all, it is hard to make connections on any level, especially as a kid, when you only see people every other week; and if you
actually don’t want to talk to anyone, it’s even worse! The change we agreed upon was that my two girls and I would attend our ward full time and he would come with us every other week (a day I jokingly refer to as  his “Outreach Sunday”). On the “off” weeks, he attends his church solo (but due to the lack of his exact flavor of a Pentecostal church locally, he actually attends the Methodist church, which was our middle ground denomination in the early years of our marriage).

Now that we are coming up on five years since we made that last change, it’s gratifying to contrast where we were to where we are. Our compromise isn’t ideal, but it has worked as I had prayed it would. I’ve watched my girls’ connections to both the faith, in general, and Christ, in specific, grow and develop beautifully, as has my own. Because of some rough family issues in my youth, church means “family” to me. It was breaking my heart that my kids weren’t developing that same sense of church members being an extended family, and even worse they had no deep, meaningful understanding of God’s love and Christ’s atoning sacrifice for us. But they are getting it now…especially my Blondie. Her faith, her testimony simply amaze me!large

I’m personally grateful for the testimony that I have of Christ as my Savior and His grace that attends me each and every day as I struggle and thrive in this earthly testing ground. Without my upbringing in the LDS faith, the examples of Christ-like love and direction that have attended me as a direct result of my “Mormonism,” I don’t know if I would be in any church today. My path has not been smooth nor easy, and during long periods, I’ve struggled mightily, due both to my own choices and those of others. I’ve had doubts and questions, some that have been answered well, some that I’ve chosen to “put a pin in” for now, but always I have had faith in Christ. My faith has seen me through the rough patches, created within me a gratitude and joy I could not know without Him, and it gives me a vision of who I really am: the daughter of a King.

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Interested in more reading? Here’s a few that have influenced me:

The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ

The Holy Bible (particularly the KJV version)

The God Who Weeps, Letter to a Doubter, and Crucible of Doubt, Givens

Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus, Spangler and TverbergBOM11

Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, Bushman

Planted: Belief and Belonging in an Age of Doubt, Mason

Shaken Faith Syndrome and Of Faith and Reason, Ash

LDS- Gospel Topics Essays

A Reason For Faith, Hales

The Weight of Glory and Mere Christianity, Lewis

Letters to a Young Mormon, Miller

The Rage Against God, Hitchens

LDS Living

A Different Jesus?Claiming Christ, and The Mormon Faith, Millet

Comparing LDS and Evangelical Beliefs

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nterested in commenting? Feel free to do so, but know that I do not engage in arguments about my faith. There are plenty of bloggers and the like that do, but I prefer instead to state our 11th Article of Faith and leave it at that: We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may. 

No, Virginia, Christianity Doesn’t Need to Change, People Do

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:While doing a quick “pop on and off” on Facebook the other day, this Matt Walsh repost from a friend caught my eye. I mulled it over for twenty-four hours then decided I would repost it, too. Blogging has been more difficult since my recent uptake in school-related chauffeuring duties, but I felt strongly enough about Walsh’s sentiments to hammer out the longest Facebook post I’ve done in many a moon. When I got done writing, I realized I had essentially written a blog post with very little effort. Duh. It’s amazing how passion about a subject can make composition a breeze. With that, and a bit of extra editing, here it is:

Along with “sex06be951ca0503442ec7e8e44524b011dual atheism” among the supposedly faithful, I truly believe “liberal” Christianity, which has removed all expectations of both physical and spiritual change in those who come to church, is a blight on Christ’s teachings to “Come, Follow Me.” Christ had no difficulty calling sin sin, but I’m amazed that such a large crowd of religious folks these days can’t seem to spit that word out without choking! Without the the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which clearly delineates good from evil, or at least good from bad or incorrect, if you prefer, everything is subjective, open to interpretation; and I don’t believe Christ left that much of His teachings open ended.

Christ did, however, invite all to leave their lifestyles and seek Him. Never once did he say, “Keep doing what you’re doing; just follow those of my teachings that is easiest for you.” Yet that is exactly what far too many ministers, priests, preachers, and the like are telling their congregants, and it matters not a whit whether they say it explicitly or implicitly. “Come as you are, stay as you are; don’t change a bit,” that is the message that is received. And it is a perversion of Christ’s life-altering message and the meaning of His eternal sacrifice on the cross.

One of the arguments frequently heard against “traditional” Christian morality, morality that eschews homosexual or other aberrant behaviors, “shacking-up,” pre-marital-sex, children being regularly conceived and born out of wed-lock, and extramarital affairs, is that it shames and condemns individuals, or rather those claiming to practice this morality shame and condemn; and Christ didn’t do those things- that is completely true. He didn’t, and we definitely shouldn’t. People are weak; mistakes are made; even deliberate actions are taken because humans are quite adept at selecting the wrong path to happiness from time to time. Gratefully, we can repent of our errors; grace and love need to be extended to those who stray. Nevertheless, despite to fact that disciples of Christ during the time of his mortal ministry were expected to get their mess together, or, if you prefer, “Go and sin no more,” we modern day followers, according to so-called “liberal Christians,” are expected to welcome everyone in while they live in, flaunt, and frolic about in their sinful behaviors—and even jump for joy as scriptures are cut and pasted (or just cut) to allow for such lifestyles. Seriously, folks?! The Jesus who said, “If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell” and “He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me,” is suddenly into moral relativism? I think not.

Christ did say if you want to be my disciple DO as I say. He wasn’t loud or hateful about it (many of us do need to work on our delivery); He never would have put a Scarlet Letter on a woman’s dress or stoned her lover, but He always asked those following Him to seek after better things, to, in fact, BECOME better; choose better, BE better; and bring others up, too. Don’t, however, stay exactly where you are. Why is this so hard for the “enlightened” people of today to understand?

Liberal Catholics in San Francisco want their archbishop removed and replaced with one who holds “their” values (regardless of whether they may be Christ’s values), liberal Mormons want a more “diverse” look to their leaders and demand women get the priesthood (because that matters a whole lot to Christ), and apparently, even agitators in the Churches of Christ want women in the pulpit. A broad swath of liberal “general population” Christians appear to want any part of scripture (the hard parts) with which they disagree to be stricken from the record or ignored (the Nazis rewrote Lutheranism to their purposes, too). Goodness, there is even a group of “pro-choice” religious leaders out there blessing abortion clinics! Isaiah 29:13 comes to mind here, which reads something like this: “They draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”

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Christ was definitely all about Love, and reaching out, pulling people in, loving them through thick and thin, tolerating (which is very, very different from accepting). We all need to love more and love better. BUT in addition to Love, Christ was also about Change, and broken heartsOn Duty 3 003 and contrite spirits; he was about us overcoming our human weaknesses and frailties to rise to a higher plain. Thank heaven for Grace and the Lord’s forgiveness for those of us who fall short (on a daily, or sometimes hourly, basis). Included in that expectation of change was living a sexuality based upon and confined within His laws, God’s laws, not men’s (and women’s) rewriting of those laws to something easier or more palatable for “21st Century morality,” a morality which cares more about shrinking one’s carbon footprint, recycling, LGBT rights, and animal welfare than treating our own bodies as temples. You remember what he did to those who were defiling the temple, right? Man, woman, married– period- that is sexuality His way (or to use the common vernacular, “No huggy, no kissy, til I get a wedding ring”).

In the Book of Mormon there is a section we LDS refer to as “Lehi’s Dream.” In this dream or vision, the prophet Lehi sees a beautiful tree heavy with the delicious fruit of eternal life to which he hopes his family will gravitate and partake, but the path to it is filled with a variety obstacles. One of the difficulties for those seeking the tree is a “great and spacious building” without foundation. It floats, as it were, above the ground and is filled with people in worldly finery who mock and jeer at those seeking the tree; their taunts are meant to shame the faithful and shake them from their true course. Many do fall away from the path, some before they even get started. Others make it further along but step off the path and get lost in mists of darkness; still others make it to the tree, but then step away when they start heeding the idiocy of the onlookers from across the way.

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I think more and more of this tale these days. It is clear that millions of my fellow Christian (and other religiously oriented) brothers and sisters are seeking for a gospel that lets them be comfortable in whatever life or lifestyle they see fit to live. And they are doing so at the expense of those Christians striving to live lives of holiness in this increasingly wicked culture, a culture that doesn’t bat an eye at calling evil good and good evil!  By all appearances, these hip, mainstream, 21st century Christians (though there were plenty of the same ilk in the 20th century, too!) believe that and as long as they go built a Habitat home once a year, feed a homeless dog from time to time, and support liberal ideas of social “justice,” it doesn’t matter that they throw out 80% of Christ’s inconvenient teachings, teachings that require them to work on themselves, not just point fingers at others and say, “Jesus wouldn’t do that!” Yeah, that beam in the eye story works both ways, folks.

Modern social righteousness often differs from the righteousness of the Bible. Someone has said: “A wrong deed is right if the majority of people declare it not to be wrong.” By this principle we can see our standards shifting from year to year according to the popular vote! Divorce was once frowned upon by society, and laws against fornication and adultery were strictly enforced. But now divorce is accepted by society, and fornication is glorified in our literature and films.                                                                                                    –Billy Graham

We are all guilty of looking at another’s sin, but ignoring our own, even liberals who feel they are more loving, more kind, and more tolerant (of some things and some people, maybe). Oddly, the very people who are first to scream, er, um, quote Christ’s “Judge not that ye be not judged,” can be just as, if not more, ugly, hateful, and intolerant of those with whom they disagree as they claim we uptight old Victorians are. How they can not fall to the ground in a stupor from all of the cognitive dissonance is beyond me! Nevertheless, in Revelations we are reminded that as many as God loves, he also chastens and rebukes. “Be zealous,”  John said, “and repent.” That goes for us all, each and every one. We all sin, we just sin differently. Still, the difference lies in being able to accept that there are behaviors and deeds, thoughts and actions, that are, in fact, sinful, and own up it! One can’t possibly repent and change if one feels he has nothing to change.

What would really satisfy us would be a God who said of anything we happened to like doing, ‘What does it matter so long as they are contented?’ We want, in fact, not so much a Father in Heaven as a grandfather in heaven — a senile benevolence who, as they say, ‘liked to see young people enjoying themselves,’ and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, ‘a good time was had by all.                                                                                                                                           — C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Make no mistake, my friends, being a Christian is HARD work, as it should be. We are pulled in many directions by the hyper-happyvholyreligious, the hypo-religious, scriptural interpretations, T.V., social media, newspapers, magazines, movies, and governments. The World in general mocks the precious and the sacred with increasing intensity, enticing people away from God, away from Christ, but being the salt that has lost its savor helps no one! We Christians, we all fail, stumble, trip, fall into traps, act as stumbling blocks for others, mess up, screw up, crash and burn—daily! We can’t keep our mouths shut or our feet out of them, or our fingers off the keyboard. We’re proud, carnal, rude, crude, weak, and horrid- and we know better! Granted, some of our weaknesses, sins or transgressions can be (or seem) terribly hard to overcome. Some problems are definitely tougher than others. True enough, we’re human!

But we’re also wonderful, beautiful, strong, humble, capable, peaceable, loving, kind, spiritual and thoughtful. Indeed, “[We] can do ALL things through Christ which strengtheneth [us].” We are not objects to be acted upon, but agents capable of choosing to act in one way or another- despite our “human nature.” Long ago, all churches taught that our natural man was something to be overcome. Yet now, more and more  church leaders are joining their voices with those of the World in saying, “If you were ‘born that way’ or your way works best for you, run with it! God expects nothing of you.” ALL of us are born with things to overcome. Some of those issues are internal, others are external, but they can be conquered, or at least dealt  or struggled with, if we so choose to do so. Lest we forget, the great Apostle Paul had a thorn in the flesh with which he lived his entire life. Are we better than Paul? Should our walk as Christians be easier than his?

There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened.                                                                                                                                                   C.S. Lewis, “The Great Divorce”

Despite the difficulty, living the Gospel of Christ is a joy and a blessing for those up to the task- or even up to simply trying their best. We are asked to bring our cares to His feet, to bring our failings and frailties to His throne, all that He may make our burdens light, not so He can say, “Nice to see you. Now, go, go, and keep on transgressing my law. Obviously, you know what ‘works best for you‘.” Nope, Jesus’ Hope and Change is a plan that actually works, one that really fundamentally transforms. But it can do none of that as long as we hold on to the world’s morality, not if we turn the meat of His gospel into pablum for babies, not if we only do what “feels good,” labeling sexual purityjesus-kneeling-in-prayer-nelson-82890-gallery before marriage, traditional, God-sanctioned marriage, and marital fidelity (among a whole host of other issues) as old-fashioned or quaint.

Honestly, I doubt dying on the cross felt very good to Christ, not to mention the beating He took before being nailed to it; and I’ve no doubt that bleeding-from-every-pore thing was a bit more than simply uncomfortable, but despite the agony, fear, loneliness, and utter humiliation, He did both anyway, willingly; and He did it all for us. He did it that we might find strength to overcome the world and its teachings; He did it to make it possible for us to conquer our natural man (or woman) by accessing His strength. He did it because we are spiritual creatures created for more than just this earthly realm, to BE more than “just” human. Indeed, according to Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” And if we are to be with our Savior again, after we shuffle off this mortal coil, our vision of us must be as high as His, not as low as the world’s.

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Extra Reading:

Darn that Matt Walsh…the same, but different Read the rest of this entry

Chasing the Right Likes: Focusing Inward In Order to Focus Upward

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Back in May, just as I was planning my summer hiatus from Facebook, the article Chasing the Right Likes from Joshua Becker caught my eye. It came around at roughly the same time as the blog post by Jamie Martin that I referenced in my first posting: To the Mama Who Feels Like She Never Gets Enough Done (My Productivity Secret). Both commentaries have stuck with me these past few months and have greatly influenced my decision to exit Facebook on a more-or-less permanent basis.

Jamie got me thinking about what I truly need to spend all of my time and energy on- and it’s not worrying 24/7 about politics, or laughing at every meme, or seeing what everyone and their dog is up to everyday.single.moment.of.the.day, or trying to decode some people’s cryptic messages or passive examiner-size-woman-at-computeraggressive rants, or get sucked into their whining (mine included, ditto, ditto, ditto). I need to worry about my house, my kids, my pets, my husband, my house: my stuff. And I desperately need to get out of the “Oh, I have to post this!” mind set; the rewiring of the brain that occurs with social media abuse is simply horrific!

However, Joshua made me rethink the psychology of social media all together. In fact, he made me realize it is not a healthy place, at least not for me. Why, you may ask? The answer is simple enough: pride. One need only take a spin around “reality” T.V., Facebook, Twitter, or even the closest busy department store parking lot for evidence of society’s hyper-inflated self-importance. It is almost painful to see how full of ourselves we are. Selfies on the hour, every hour, posts about every meal, thought, gym visit, and bodily function; vanity plates, monster trucks and custom cars that scream “LOOK AT ME!”; clothes (or a lack thereof) that do the same; booming music vibrating the ground, annoying drivers or neighbors a block away, all because we are just so darned important that every one must want, no, need to see what we are doing or admire who we are.

According to Dictionary.com, pride is (among other things) a noun meaning:

1. a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.

2. the state or feeling of being proud.

3. a becoming or dignified sense of what is due to oneself or one’s position or character; self-respect; self-esteem.

4. pleasure or satisfaction taken in something done by or belonging to oneself or believed to reflect credit upon oneself: civic pride.

Pride is rightly listed among the Seven Deadly Sins, and Pride is essentially what set off the “War in Heaven,” which led to the fall of Lucifer, a.k.a. Satan, who in turn took a third of the hosts of heaven with him. The after effects of this terrible rebellion have been reverberating in our terrestrial sphere since the dawn of man and are evidenced throughout the millennia in story after story of human history.9a163183b432e70510fe1d2958e068c8 Holy scripture is replete with illustrations of man’s hubris, as is secular literature, and at no point does pride produce a favorable result. In the cosmic scheme of things, it may be possible for pride to be a positive thing, but… for the most part it is not, for the most part it is quite destructive to the self, the soul, and society as a whole.

In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis observed that a “proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you’re looking down, you can’t see something that is above you.” Additionally, Lewis noted that the “natural man,” or what we might call human nature is “something that wants to be petted and admired, to take advantage of other lives, to exploit the whole universe.” How very true that is. Does that not explain the diseased state of the modern mind? We want to be admired, even by, and perhaps especially by, those we don’t know intimately? Isn’t it clear that man is so enamored with his ability to construct philosophies which exclude Nature or God, reconstruct scripture and society, devise experiments, and develop innovative idols to worship that he forgets to look up to the One who made this fragile, finite life possible?

In Herodotus’ The Histories, the master narrator tells the story of the ancient Lydian ruler Croesus who, while hosting the distinguished Athenian teacher Solon, came to ask of the well-traveled man, “Who is the happiest man you have ever seen?” Knowing Croesus was seeking to be flattered because of his wealth and the vastness of his conquests, Solon refused to feed the leader’s ego, and answered with tales of several men he’d known who’d not been particularly affluent or prominent, but who had had strong families, accomplished noble things in their lives, and died heroically while serving others.

Croesus was baffled by Solon’s selections and demanded to know exactly what his criterion for happiness were, especially considering the bliss that was apparent in Croesus’ own life. How could Solon have possibly failed to include Croesus? The shrewd instructor, seeing an opportunity to impart a bit of wisdom to the arrogant king, responded calmly,

Great wealth can make man no happier than moderate means, unless he has the luck to continue in prosperity to the end (death).  Many rich men have been unfortunate, and many with a modest competence have had good luck…Whoever has the greatest number of the good things I have mentioned (sound body, health, freedom from trouble, fine children, and good looks), and keeps them to the end, and dies a peaceful death, that man, Croesus, deserves in my opinion to be called happy. Look to the end…often God gives man a glimpse of happiness, and then utterly ruins him.

Croesus wasn’t satisfied with this answer, and he failed to glean the lesson learned Solon was seeking to impart. In the end, he was utterly ruined. His pride led him to lose all that he had amassed, including his beloved heir and the entirety of his kingdom. The man had everything anyone could want, save the praise of one man. How many of us seek after the same thing? We have everything we could possibly need, and very likely much of what want, but we still crave more. And we allow that drive to consume us, whether we’re conscious of it or not. I have come to see that the failure to enjoy the moment we are in without first thinking, “I can’t wait to post this,” is part and parcel of that unconscious lust.

In the days and weeks since my car accident and in the time I’ve been off of social media, I’ve had lots of time to think on these particular issues. Unfortunately, I’ve come to the conclusion (though I have been 83c0777a3ca6a31d425b84a3078c3eac4768e9dc03c694e9395b3cc8af5f110afairly aware of this character fault for more than a few decades now) that I am one pride-filled little lady. While I don’t believe God “let” that wreck happen or “caused” the “Nancy Kerrigan-ing” of my knee, the time that I’ve spent sidelined has been a God send (mostly).

Seriously, folks, I’m not so blind to my own faults to have missed the Napoleon complex, a.k.a “small dog syndrome,” to which I am prone. Nor have I missed the internal burn I feel at times to be recognized. In his post Chasing the Right Likes, Joshua tells the sweet story of an orphan girl seeking the attention of her house mother. His conclusion is that many of us continue to seek that attention well beyond when it is normal or healthy; and for some, even many, social media only enables these childish desires to flourish.

Women’s “Lib,” at least the modern incarnation of that movement, is not something of which I’m particularly fond. Actually, it would be more accurate to say I detest much of what is considered 4becc80bcd522e2337dadf2c7d7666b9“feminism,” particularly the way the left-wing politicos have practiced it since the 1960’s. A few strong, truly independent women who were a part of the feminist past do stand out to me, however. Sadly, theirs are not the voices we hear so prominently today.

Rose Wilder Lane, the daughter of well-know pioneer Laura Ingalls Wilder, is one such woman. A pioneer herself, Lane is often considered the mother of twentieth century Libertarianism. In her fictionalized autobiography on Lane entitled A Wilder Rose, Susan Witting Albert has Lane speculating on the origin of the relational difficulties between mother and daughter.

Indeed, it has often seemed to me that in those days (childhood)— except for a brief golden hour after supper and before bed— I had no mother, for she had no time to give me attention or affection, and I was left to ask for it or beg for it or even misbehave for it, which earned instead her sharp anger and my sullen guilt. Then, I thought this lack of mothering was my own particular privation, and I resented it and pitied myself. Now, I know that many children do not receive the mother-love they need and that they keep on needing and wanting it for a long, long time, perhaps all their lives. Do I? Do I do what I do for her now because of the lack, the emptiness I felt then? I don’t know. Perhaps. Perhaps.

I know how she feels, or rather felt. My own maternal relationship often seemed as if I was trying to navigate waters filled sharks and shrieking eels in an attempt to get the “mother-love” I craved. I’m sure there were times my mother felt as if she were suffocating under the weight of my desire for her time and praise. What she could give or was willing to give me as a child didn’t satisfy my thirst to be “noticed.” I ached to have her all to myself, but my plans for us were always interrupted by someone or something else, like a sibling, a grandchild, work, divorce, dating, remarriage….

Still, there came a time when I was a senior in high school and Mom had foot surgery. She was off from work, recuperating at home for six long weeks. By that time it was just she and I, and much like the Harry Chapin song “Cat’s In the Cradle,”  I think she suddenly comprehended  just how little contact we had with each other (and how little influence she had over me). She sought to remedy it forthwith, but it was too late. I resented her efforts to manipulate me into staying home and being a nursemaid. There was my job, church, school, friends, a boyfriend…nothing that included her. Later, in my mid-20’s I recall she came to my workplace to request the use of my car for a two or three day solo road trip; I was frustrated by her request and refused. She observed that my coolness towards her at that moment could stem from nothing more than her reticence toward me in my childhood. “I wasn’t there for you, and now you’re not here for me.”  Spot on, Mom. Brilliant.

Marriage, twenty years, two kids, depression, and her death later, and I’ve learned much about the internal and external struggles Mom had; they were legion. I needed desperately for her to talk to me, to explain who she was to me so I could comprehend her, understand the choices she made- especially 10876bfa7e09bf75034a2dddaf98afc3those that directly affected me- but that wasn’t in her make-up, not for me anyway, the baby of the brood. This lack of meaningful communication made it exceedingly difficult for us to love each other on terms that the other could truly feel. Instead, we, two little Napoleons, mother and daughter, fought with each other from atop our mighty steeds, deeply wounding but never toppling the other.

Before she passed, Mom and I found a small, rocky patch of earth on which to meet, but there was not time enough to work through our problems. I persisted in never feeling I’d had “enough” of her, starving, in the most pathetic of ways, to hear her praise me, to put my “accomplishments” on a pedestal above those of my siblings, to admit that I was all that I thought I was, to open up to me… and to apologize for not being the mom I’d needed early on. Talking past each other was a hard habit to break. The last candid picture I have of her came from Christmas 2001, a month before her death. She is holding my oldest, who was a toddler then, and I can see the tension in Mom’s jaw; I know it was because of me.

Much of what separated us in the five years between that day the parking lot at work and the frantic phone call from a sister-in-law telling me that Mom had died suddenly, was nothing more or less than Pride. We were both so full of “it,” and I was certainly not going to be the one to lose grip on the controls.

Pride is a deadly cancer. It is a gateway sin that leads to a host of other human weaknesses. In fact, it could be said that every other sin is, in essence, a manifestation of pride. This sin has many faces. It leads some to revel in their own perceived self-worth, accomplishments, talents, wealth, or position. They count these blessings as evidence of being “chosen,” “superior,” or “more righteous” than others. This is the sin of “Thank God I am more special than you.” Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Internally, Facebook is no different a struggle for me. “Look at me!” “Praise me!” “Like me!” “Affirm me!” Me, me, me. I, I , I. I don’t want to be a part of that anymore! No one needs me to link all of my apps to Facebook so that the world may know how far or fast I walked today (Fitbit, Map my Run), what I ate or how much weight I’ve lost (MyFitnessPal), what I’m reading (Goodreads), or what I just purchased (Amazon, Groupon). We each have our own worries, why do you really care about mine? Does it make us feel better to know some one has it worse? Or does it make us feel superior to know how good we are, comparatively, you know? Does it make us feel intelligent and astute to “correct” our friends’ views or comments (or grammar)?  Who really wants to hear me whine about my monthly migraine 50322206cycle or annual cold or bum knee? Do I really need eighty-five “Get well soon” posts to make me feel better?  I’ll bet your pets are just as cute as mine, your garden as pretty, and your neighbors just as annoying. Do you really want to give me feedback about a child who won’t listen? Are yours any better? And it goes on and on. Doesn’t it all just turn into a demand for attention that we should have gotten over decades ago? Doesn’t feeding one another’s egos just make us all into a bunch of meth addicts, craving more strokes, more likes, more approval?

Granted, there are wonderful, positive uses for social media, such as keeping in contact with old friends and family, especially when we are separated from those we love, genealogy, seeking for community services, asking for help without having to get on the phone (I hate the phone), sharing positive, uplifting messages, and supporting friends in pain, just to name a few. But, to those who are prone to addictive behaviors, social media can become poison to the soul and just another vehicle for unhealthy behaviours, such as attention seeking. Pride destroys all that could be good, twisting an opportunity to communicate into a Tower of Babel. Galatians 6:3 reads, “For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. Indeed, there is much we do to deceive ourselves down here. In an attempt to be something by man’s measure, we puff ourselves up and forget that the only measuring stick that matters is God’s. I hope to do better by Him in the future.

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Thoughts? Feel free, the three of you who may see this, to add your own sentiments. I promise not to get too uppity to know I have a reader or two. 😉


Some good reads on the subject:

Pride and the Priesthood        Beware of Pride     Cleansing the Inner Vessel     The Great Sin

The Great Divorce

 

I’m OK With Being on the “Wrong” Side of History If It Means being Alright With God (and the US Constitution)

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“Eros ceases to be a devil only when it ceases to be a god”  C.S. Lewis

“They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall.” Doctrine and Covenants 1:16

When I heard about the Obergefell v. Hodges verdict on the morning of June 26, my heart sank. It did not fall because I am a bigoted, hateful, homophobic religious freak who wants to keep gays down, as most activists, or liberals in general, would claim. It sank because I believe in the Constitution, not case law; and I believe in States’ Rights in so much that I believe the voices of the people of each state have a right to be heard, even if the opinion(s) they voice aren’t trendy or popular with some who really like trendy and popular things. Seriously, for a political party that cries so loud and so hard about the “disenfranchised” voters (think back to the hanging chads in Florida during the 2000 election cycle), one would think Dems/ “Liberals,” who are the ones screaming louder than everyone else in favor of gay-everything (and against God-anything) would care a hair more about overturning the votes of millions in multiple states that included many of the same sorts of folks who were supposedly cast on the side lines during Bush v. Gore!man-woman

I also believe that unless a judge or a panel of judges can point directly to the Constitution when they make any legal decision, and in the case of Obergefell they didn’t even try, then a decision should not be allowed to stand. No, all the five unapologetic liberal judges (well, Kennedy, he doth vacillate) did was pull that decision out of their La-La Land handbag where the unicorns and rainbows frolic (the same place Roberts found his two decisions on Obamacare, btw). By doing so, these puffed up demigods in black gave the final “middle finger” salute to the faith and freedom of conscience held dear by millions upon millions of Americans. Indeed, the religious folks, at least that aren’t just marginally so (you know, those who believe more in the “social” gospel than the actual Gospel), and particularly those Christians, Jews, and Muslims who find much to object to even the concept of “gay marriage,” were just told that they may be looking at the final act of their REAL, unambiguous, not-court-created First Amendment rights in a variety of areas.

Is it not enough that kindly declining to participate in a gay marriage ceremony or celebration can cost a business owner his livelihood? Apparently not. It is clear to me, and has been since Massachusetts got gay marriage via judicial fiat that this issue was never, ever about “love;” it is about retribution, about punishing those who deviate from the current culturally dictated, media driven norms. It is about power. Love, and certainly not tolerance, not in the traditional sense of that word anyway,  play no part in this argument. No, this whole “Love is love” mantra that has been fabricated to appeal to the softened heads of “enlightened” Millennials and their ilk, is just a red herring. If it were just about love, then passing civil union laws and using existing contract law would do just fine. But what is loving about shutting down adoption agencies because they don’t want to adopt to gay couples (when others will)? What is loving about ruining someone’s business because they express a religious objection to participating, even obliquely, in a gay wedding (when others will)? What is loving about protesting and demeaning people of faith or firing individuals who support “traditional” marriage, or not allowing judges to be judges who are a part of groups like the Boy Scouts (California)? What is loving about being a small-minded totalitarian who demands acquiescence to what SOME in society have deemed the “new normal,” particularly when such a small fraction of society is actually even gay or just plain confused?  Does the majority have an obligation not to trounce upon the minority? Absolutely. Sadly, that is only a one way street in modern society. It is a classic case of the mouse who roared, but this mouse has fangs, carries a gavel, and had been given a pedestal and a bullhorn by the shortsighted folks who are also being into to the argument that men and women are exactly the same, that gender is a “social construct.” Geesh, and they think Creationists are delusional.

Not very Christian of me, you say? I never said I didn’t esteem the beliefs and lives of others, nor did I say I wish ill upon any individual or want others to be unhappy or downtrodden, but I have read more than just a few lines out of my Bible and other scriptures, and I’m pretty sure beyond the concept of loving others and not judging unrighteously, Christ and his Apostles also spoke of self-control, overcoming our very human natures, bridling our passions/ sexuality, being sexually pure, not being party to evil or being blown about by the opinions of society, not to mention drawing near to God with our lips, but being far from Him in our hearts, or trying to serving God and Mammon. And I’m quite sure nothing other than marriage between a man and a woman was ever sanctioned in any of the more successful world cultures throughout history. So, you’ll excuse me if I don’t support the current overhaul of society just for the sake of “love.” Destroying traditional marriage encompasses much, much more than that, as does shredding the Constitution.

Still, because there is so much to say, nay “feel,” as all we feel is now sacrosanct in modern thought (and case law), I’m going to include in this post a series of links that state more fully and articulately my concerns and frustrations about this subject and the SCOTUS ruling.

“If anyone says that sex, in itself, is bad, Christianity contradicts him at once. But, of course, when people say, ‘Sex is nothing to be ashamed of,’ they may mean ‘the state into which the sexual instinct has now got is nothing to be ashamed of’. If they mean that, I think they are wrong. I think it is everything to be ashamed of. There is nothing to be ashamed of in enjoying your food: there would be everything to be ashamed of if half the world made food the main interest of their lives and spent their time looking at pictures of food and dribbling and smacking their lips.” C.S. Lewis

#1 Judges, Hubris, and Same-Sex Marriage by Dennis Prager

#2 My own faith’s response to the ruling & The Family: A Proclaimation to the World

#3 Would You “Unfriend” Christianity? The Supreme Court Just Did

#4 The Dirty Dozen: Supreme Court Marriage Decision Launches 12 Religious Freedom Grenades

#5 Justice Roberts: “Just Who Do We Think We Are?”  (Would have been nice if he’d wondered that aloud with his atrocious SCOTUS care ruling!)

#6 The Supreme Court Ratifies a New Civic Religion That Is Incompatible with Christianity

#7 Let’s Drop the Charade: The Supreme Court Is a Political Branch, Not a Judicial One

#8 The Supreme Court Has Legalized Same-Sex Marriage: Now What?

#9 15 Reasons ‘Marriage Equality’ Is About Neither Marriage Nor Equality

#10 Here comes the bride. And another one. And another one! Meet world’s first married lesbian THREESOME . . . and they’re expecting a baby due in July   Truly, who gives a rip about the kids!

#11 Dems Declare War on the Words ‘Husband’ and ‘Wife’ Because mothers and fathers don’t matter, right? It’s just all about ‘love.’

#12 Thomas Sowell: Supreme Court Disasters Erode Freedom

#13 Male-Female Marriage Remains the Ideal  And not just “because”

Some Purely Secular Points, too:  Ten Arguments From Social Science Against Same-Sex MarriageThe Irrationality of Gay Marriage

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(Unless you are a harassing jerk)

Disagree? Feel free NOT to post. I’ll not be arguing with strangers or friends over this issue. Just suffice it to say that I’ll happily stand with my God, or my interpretation of His, and his prophets and apostles teachings on morality (that’s for ALL, straight and gay alike) and marriage, hence the cogent C.S. Lewis quotes. And I don’t care where that puts me in the mind of those who disagree.

“The monstrosity of sexual intercourse outside of marriage is that those who indulge in it are trying to isolate one kind of union (the sexual) from all the other kinds of union which were intended to go along with it and make up the total union.” C.S. Lewis

My opinion is just as valid as they suppose theirs to be, but mine is not based on the fluctuating opinions of a fallen world. I am very happy to agree to disagree, and to be friends with those who don’t embrace my worldview. I love many people with whom I disagree on various issues, and contend that political differences should not lead to the dissolution of friendships based on much more than politics. Others, I’ve noted, feel quite differently, however. To each his cup of tea.

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Origin of C.S. Lewis quotes in order:
https://www.cslewis.com/blog/spiritual-sins-are-worse/
http://www.pureintimacy.org/s/sex-where-it-all-starts/
https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/139095-if-anyone-says-that-sex-in-itself-is-bad-christianity

Farewell to Elder L. Tom Perry

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I’m a Christian of the Latter-day Saint, a.k.a. “Mormon” variety. More specifically, I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We are governed on Earth, if you will, by a prophet and by a quorum of twelve apostles, just as in the ancient church. When any one of these men passes away, the body of the church feels it. And that is no less true of Elder L. Tom Perry than of any other of these wonderful men who sacrifice so much to stand at the forefront of LDS leadership.

Elder Perry is one of those shining leaders who has been around since my very early childhood, havingL-Tom-Perry-newsbio-GC-Oct-2010-with-wife been ordained an apostle when I was three years old. Thus, I have come to know his radiant smile and infectious spirit quite well. Throughout the time of a man’s apostleship, which may last decades, (our leaders have a tendency to live well into their 80s & 90s!) he gets to speak for the entire church to hear at least twice every year at our semi-annual general conferences. Elder Perry’s is one of those speakers who couldn’t speak enough! Since becoming truly aware (as in “with a clue”) during general conference, which likely happened around my sixteenth year (1987), when I was old enough to drive and choose for myself whether or not to go to our church meeting house forty minutes away in order to watch the conference broadcasts from Salt Lake, I have enjoyed his tone, his countenance, and his messages, which always seek to uplift and lift us up towards Jesus Christ, our Saviour.

Elder Perry will surely be missed! But things in the Lord’s church do keep a moving. Now, the church will move forward with selecting a new apostle to fill his shoes, difficult though the task will be.

Elder Perry V2

Biography

Official Announcement of Elder Perry’s Passing

Elder Perry’s Last Conference Talk: Why Marriage & Family Matter- Everywhere in the World