Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Liberals -- I need your input

My sphere of influence is minuscule and the vast majority of those who occupy that sphere are politically conservative ..... therefore, I need some liberal input.  Because .... I have questions.

Many conservative talk/news show hosts say this about you.   I would like to know if it's true.

Do you really believe .....

1.  Republicans are either dumb or evil?

2.  More government involvement in our lives is good.  By this I mean government welfare assistance, fees, regulations, and social programs and the millions of government employees involved?

3.  Barack Obama is always honest?

4.  Republicans are anti-immigration?

5.  The more people who move into our country (legally or illegally) the better?  We're talking open borders.

6.  Stricter gun laws will keep criminals from getting guns?

7.  There is no value in a human fetus if the mother chooses to abort it .... other than, possibly for research?

8.  War IS terrorism?  (I saw this on a bumper sticker today.)

9.  The government should be providing more jobs?

10. Free speech should only be allowed when no one is offended?

11. There is no difference between males and females when parenting a child?  Two moms or two dads is equal to a mom and a dad, assuming all are equally loving and functional?

12. Global climate change is the most serious problem we face today?

13. America has a significant problem with racism, meaning the oppression of Blacks?

14. Religion is unnecessary, obsolete, silly, problematic, or dangerous?

15. Conservatives do not care about the poor and needy?

16. Republicans oppress women?

17. The growing national debt is not a concern?

I have little hope of getting answers because ..... well, as I said ..... my sphere.  But on the slight chance one person with liberal opinions reads this, I hope they will see that my questions are not impassioned nor worded in a gotcha fashion.  Again, I simply want to know if what I hear is true.

Thanks.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Stop it now ...... the misrepresentation of the LDS handbook change

Yesterday I read an opinion piece by a former Mormon, Kate Kendell, that sent me on a rant.  Sorry to my husband who was with me at the time .... he had to hear the brunt of it.

Yes, I know as a Christian I should have more patience, but people are really getting on my nerves about this new addition to the LDS Handbook of Instructions, regarding children of gay parents and apostasy.

I see words from the disaffected and axe-grinders, like ..... rejecting children, disavowing parents, discrimination, exclusion, and even bigotry and hate.

Stop it.  Stop it now.

I wrote a stern response to that article, but the site wouldn't accept it.  It said I was registered via my email address under a different user name, then said they didn't have my email address in their records.  Hence, I gave up and am posting my comment here:

"Ms. Kendell -- What do you expect the Church to do??  Should minor children of gay parents be taught the doctrine of the Family Proclamation .... possibly causing confusion and conflict in their home?  Don't you see that the Church is respecting the parents' choices by stepping back and allowing them to raise their children as they... THEY, not the Church... have chosen.  These children can have all blessings they desire eventually, if they choose.  The Lord will not forget nor forsake them.  And NO WAY are they expected to EVER disavow their parents.
The LDS Church does not choose its doctrine.  It is as it has always been concerning morality and heterosexual marriage.  This is how a God-run religion works.  Either we choose the tenets, or God does.  His rules are strict yet ultimately for our good.  Ms. Kendell, you apparently do not understand this.  I wish you did.
Finally, apostates ARE welcome to attend LDS services as long as they don't recruit or teach opposing beliefs and the door is always open for their return to full membership.
Ms. Kendell, your readers deserve that which you did not give them ..... the truth."

I would have said soooooo much more, but there was a size limit.  

Some things to remember:

1. The LDS Church does NOT teach that homosexuality is a choice.  Neither does it teach that the attraction is a sin.  Please.Know.That.  BUT it DOES teach that homosexual BEHAVIOR is sinful.  This is easily supported in the Bible and we regard the Bible as divine scripture.

2. We are a God-led people.  We do not make the rules .... He does.   It is true He loves us all.  But He does not love all we do.

3. Families are the core of our gospel.  We are the most pro-family religion out there, because we believe God has given us a way for families to BE forever.  No other church does that, as far as I know.  
I see this change in the handbook as an effort to not promote discord in the families of gay parents.  I see this as an unfortunate solution for an unfortunate situation that the parents created.   The child has most likely already gone through upheaval from the separation of his/her biological parents.  The child does not need further pain for his/her current family.  Let them grow up honoring their parents throughout their lives ...... and if they choose baptism as adults, they can disavow homosexual behavior all the while continuing their love and association with their parents.  It's possible.  People have done it.

4. Of course gay marriage is apostasy.  It's a direct and willful violation of our doctrine.  That is the very definition of the word.  And of course one must agree to honor our doctrine before baptism.

Ms. Kendell wrote about a lesbian couple who attended an LDS congregation with the bishop's blessing.  Now, she says, they will be booted out.  On what planet??  We are a church of sinners trying to overcome our own weaknesses.  All of us.  Should we all be booted?  Our church is our hospital.  To any gay person or couple or family, the door is wide open and arms are ready to embrace.    

Anyone with same sex attraction has my deepest sympathy.  I do not understand it and can hardly think of anything more difficult.  Their choices for staying within LDS membership are to live alone in celibacy, or marry someone of the opposite sex in spite of their attraction.  The latter is risky but some have done it successfully.  In some cases ..... and don't let anyone tell you this is not possible ...... people have overcome it and live a heterosexual lifestyle.   But we do NOT judge those who can't.  And all honest people deserve respect and fair treatment under the law.

Above all, we believe in a verrrrrrry looooong life after this one.  Like ..... forever.  Wedged into the core of our doctrine along with families, is the Atonement.  The Lord Jesus Christ took upon himself all our sins, weaknesses, pain, and fears ....... and IT IS POSSIBLE for each of us to eventually be free from them all and to live joyful and self-authentic lives within the Lord's boundaries.   That IS the whole point.  There is no other way.  The Lord did his part, now it's up to us to be repentant, humble, and faithful.   And if complete happiness must temporarily elude us in this brief mortal period of our eternal existence, then we know it will come in the next.  We will, through the Atonement, lack for nothing.  Nothing!  We just sometimes have to wait ...... and my heart breaks for those who must do so.  Nevertheless, the Holy Ghost is called the Comforter for a reason and we are all here to love, support, and encourage each other through our individual battles.  I cannot accept that God will turn His back on any of His children who are suffering.   The purpose of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to help us ALL to avoid damaging or limiting the rest of our eternity.  Any and all responsible religions should be doing the same.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Teammates

For six years until "retiring" at age 60, I was a runner.  During those years I ran in seven long-distance relays on teams of twelve, in addition to many non-team races.  Those were some of the most exciting and transforming years of my life.  I had never before really participated in sports nor experienced being on a team.  Until then, I didn't even like athletics.  But that all changed the day I began to run. 

Recently, I was chatting with a young man who had been one of my teammates in my first relay, six years ago.  We both shared how much we loved the experience and in spite of the vast difference between our ages, I will always feel a bond with him and everyone else with whom I had ever been teamed together.  


In a relay, as runners would start one of their "legs" -- the term for the sections of the race each person runs -- their teammates would drive by and honk and cheer them on, as they'd head to the next "exchange" where their next runner would wait to take the "baton".  When the first runner dragged in gasping and sweating, there'd be more clapping and cheers, both for him/her and for the new runner starting out.  I remember feeling such a love for them all.  We were in this together, each doing our part. 

Some of the legs included long grueling hills, and we'd stop the van at the top to cheer our runner up and over. 


We'd sometimes write messages in chalk on the road.  "GO ______, YOU ARE AWESOME!!"  We'd be there to offer water if needed, or mist from a spray bottle to cool them off. 


Many times, teams helped other teams.  I remember waiting for one of our runners to come in from a long, hot leg and a van carrying another team pulled up and said they'd given her water a few miles back and she was doing well.  I have been offered water and encouragement by other teams, as I struggled up hills.  One time a brightly-costumed team of strangers saluted me with an arch as I finished my leg.  
   

I may not always remember the names of all my former teammates, but the bond will live on.  We experienced something hard and wonderful together and forevermore, whenever our future paths may cross, we may hug, high-five, or just smile and laugh while we reminisce.  Several times I've seen strangers out running wearing the T-shirt from a relay in which I had also run, and I wanted to wave and let them know we had been there together!


Mortality is a tiny snapshot of our eternal existence.  We lived long before we came to this earth and we will live long into eternity after we leave it.  The number of souls who came here before us, and the souls who will occupy this planet after us, is countless.  But the number who were here, when you and I were here, is finite.  And that group, is our team.  

Eons from now, I imagine many encounters with others who lived on earth during the different eras of history ... some during the days of Moses, some during the Renaissance, some after my lifetime.  What stories we'll share!  And when I meet up with someone who was here when I was here ..... who lived through the same world events that I did ..... there will be a commonality .... a bond.  Maybe we will hug or high-five, laugh or cry over our shared memories.  Because we were here together, breathing the same air, working through our mortality in tandem, sharing the earth for a few overlapping years.  Our struggles, pain, and fears coincided with our victories and triumphs in the same generation.  

Of all the billions of souls placed here briefly by our Heavenly Father -- those who lived their mortality when I lived my mortality, are part of my team.....  




So we'll pull each other up the hills and give each other water in the heat .... and cheer each other across the finish line .... bonded forever as teammates.  




Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Planned Parenthood

Typically this blog sits quietly for weeks or months without a new post.  But sometimes posts write themselves and the timing is not always mine.   So here goes .....

I am incredulous about the recent Planned Parenthood scandal in which fetuses ..... unborn human babies .... are killed and their organs and tissue are sold to bio-research companies.  

In spite of polls showing that a significant portion of the population believes abortion is morally wrong, particularly in the second and third trimesters, those people are called "right wing extremists".  Really??   But here's a question ...... 

If PP insists that the majority of the services they provide are for women's health, such as cancer screenings, then WHY call themselves PLANNED PARENTHOOD?  The title alone, denotes the conception of a child -- either to assist in it, prevent it, or curtail it.  If they wish to downplay their involvement in the abortion business and promote their role in other health issues, why not start with a different name like .... for lack of a more creative idea ..... WOMEN'S HEALTH SERVICES?  And another question .....

When the cries go out from all those nasty "extremists", about stopping government funding (AKA tax dollars) for abortions, WHY does PP immediately claim that ALL their services are about to be thrown under the proverbial bus?  Case in point, see Sen. Elizabeth Warren's deceptive speech defending PP.  

And a little honesty from PP's vice president, Dawn Laguens, in a recent CNN interview would help as well.  She insists PP only receives reimbursement for expenses for extracting and storing "fetal tissue".  There is no profit, she says, and the doctors who are seen in the videos wouldn't be involved in determining the cost.  That, she said, would happen in the accounting or administrative departments.  Then WHY are those doctors discussing the exchange of money?  And not one word from Ms. Laguens about the illegality of altering the abortion procedure to salvage the in-demand and marketable body parts, as is clearly happening, according to one video.   We are left to only wonder what she has to say about that.  

And let's talk about the justification of "harvesting fetal tissue".  It's used in medical research and may eventually help to save lives.  It may lead to the cure for cancer or other health crises.  Maybe.  But to what level have we sunk?  Consider the cost.   Is extending my life worth the cost of someone else's life?  Is my health more valuable, more precious than that of someone who has no voice ..... who is completely helpless ..... and the most innocent of all humanity?  It's one thing to valiantly and heroically sacrifice your life to save another .... it's quite another thing to forcefully take a life without the consent of the one giving it.

Finally, why is one 17 week old fetus valued as priceless and another 17 week old fetus deemed disposable, as determined solely by the woman who carries it?      

Heaven help us .....what have we become?  

Happy or good?

Which would you rather your children be?  

Until recently I thought I wanted my kids to be happy, regardless of what they achieve or experience in life.  As long as they are happy, what else matters ..... right?  

But I've come to realize that happiness can, in our muddled mortal brains, be subjective.  What an individual perceives as happiness, may be something less than its potential.  

Among the tenets of my religion are that our ultimate goal is happiness.  "Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy."   (2 Nephi 2:25, Book of Mormon)   And yet we are also warned ..... "Wickedness never was happiness."  (Alma 41:10, Book of Mormon)  

Many people live in a state of wickedness, (meaning a life contrary to God's plan) intentionally or otherwise, and claim to be happy.    

But are they really happy?  And will they still be happy .... tomorrow?

Again, what do you wish for your kids ..... to be happy or to be good?  Sometimes, in this life, it seems like we can't always have both.

Although I, like all parents, yearn deeply for my children to be happy today, tomorrow, next week, next month and each minute thereafter ...... I must side with goodness when it's an either/or situation.  Goodness trumps happiness.  And sometimes goodness doesn't result in happiness right away.  Sometimes goodness brings pain, struggle, disruption, and a truck load of sacrifice.  Sometimes goodness brings sadness .... for a while.  

That's where faith enters in.  Faith is believing in the unseen ..... and happiness may be that which we don't yet see.  Faith assures us that it will come ..... genuine, eternal, God-like happiness.  The Real Deal that lasts forever, recognizable because of its eternal companion -- Peacefulness.  Not the fleeting counterfeit with which Satan baits his hook.    

So that's what I hope for my kids.  The Real Deal.  And the God we believe in, mercifully encircles us with glimmers and snippets of the joy to come ..... as we determine in all our mortal clumsiness, to trust Him.  Because He knows the Real Deal.   And He, as the Father He truly is, yearns deeply for us, His children, to have it too.  And considering how wonderful those glimmers and snippets are ..... it's going to be incredibly worth it.  

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

On the other hand .... More thoughts on gay marriage

Feeling sadness.  Not just about the frightening changes happening in our land, but for those people who were placed, at birth, on an almost impossibly rough road through mortality.  It's said the vast majority did not choose this road, and logic must agree.  

Here I sit, on my high horse, absolutely smothered in blessings that bring me joy and hope.  I was allowed to marry the person with whom I fell in love while the world smiled upon our union.  We were able to create a family and raise our children together and now happily watch them repeat the pattern.  The majority of my life has been textbook-"normal", right out of a sixties sitcom.  

So who am I to judge someone who was dealt a different set of cards?  Someone who simply wants the same blessings that were given to me.  

If I was gay, I'd want what I have now.   I'd yearn for it.  I might have even fought for it.  I'd want the same love and companionship that I have now.   I'd want normalcy.  I'd want acceptance.  I'd want to be a mother.  

Yes, I believe in God and that He has the answer.  I just don't know, exactly, what it is yet.  I believe that, through my faith and religion, I have access to all answers .... or will have .... eventually.  But for those people who don't know about that access ..... what are they supposed to do?  We cannot judge them by what we know, and they don't.  

I disagree with gay marriage for all the reasons I've written about, and more.  I firmly believe it is against God's plan for each of us, and for those who must endure loneliness during this lifetime, there's something better  -- infinitely better -- coming.   And we all want that for them.

But in the meantime, we who have what I have, must ... we must .... understand.  They don't see what we see.  They just want the same things we all want.  Who can blame them?    

Monday, June 29, 2015

Truth hurts, Part two

Continuing from the previous post.

I responded with another message:

"I just want to say that your son is very fortunate to have a family and to be in a home where he's loved.  You are a blessing to him and he to you.  Will he, at some point, want more information about his bio-parents?  Most likely.  Will he, at some point, wish he had a dad?  Possibly.  If he does, please don't make him think there's something wrong with him.***  Obviously I don't know him or you, but I know human nature, and I know about raising boys.  

(Name withheld), you asked me to explain my opinion and so I did.  Then you shot me down for doing so.  I am not responsible for human nature.  I did not create it.  It just is what it is.  I spoke the truth and I cannot help if it hurts.  There is a difference, beyond the physical, between men and women.  We all know it, and society fully recognizes it ....until it comes to raising children and suddenly it has been decided that there is no difference between a mom and dad.  I'm saying children need both and one cannot be the other.  And neither is expendable.  I'm sorry if that's hurtful to you.  I can only say it as gently as I can.  But I must be honest.

I am not ashamed of my words.  You can post them wherever you want and say whatever you choose about them or me.  I will not back down.  Children cannot speak up so someone has to.  

Believe it or not, I wish the best for your family.  May your son thrive and be happy.  Thanks to you, he has a chance for a good life.  I mean that."

***According to personal accounts of those who have lived it, this has happened.  

Afterwards she sent a terse note, giving me a thorough tongue-lashing and ended with the instruction to not contact her again.  It was not a public message and so, out of respect for her privacy, I won't print it here.  

And there you have it.  I tried to not color the conversation, but just put it out there.  You are free to decide what you think.   Hopefully, other conversations are happening, in which all sides are allowed to be heard.

On a positive note, I received a lovely and thoughtful private message from one of the other campers who had seen the exchange in the forum ... thanking me for my "courage and kindness".  He was referring to the private message I wrote to her that she published for all to see.  (See previous post, link above.)  Did his message brighten my day?  More than I can say.  However, who will brighten her day?  And I don't know if that's even possible until enough people embrace her beliefs and all dissenters are completely drowned out.  And maybe not even then....

 We are on that proverbial slippery slope.  And we haven't hit the bottom yet.  LBGTs are not bad people, anymore than "Straights" are good.  Blanket statements are meaningless.  Honestly, my heart goes out to them.  I wish there was an easy answer.   

Twenty years ago, we never saw the issue of gay marriage coming nor would we have believed it would..... and we can't yet see what's ahead.  If not for those eternal truths in which I have placed my faith, I'd be worried .... even scared.    


P.S.  Please read this post next.