Sunday, May 28, 2006

Pope John Paul II is well on his way to sainthood

If you click on the title, you'll find his name has been submitted to the Mormon geological database to do baptism for the dead. Don't ask me why but this amuses me.
Even if he doesn't make the test for the Catholics, at least he can say in Heaven now that he's a Mormon that he's a saint.

Sorry, I know most of you don't care. I'll get around to a real post eventually, but stuff like this amuses me. I wonder if I can get a full list of famous people who the Mormons have baptized posthumously.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Writer's Block

You know for the past couple of days I couldn't think of anything to post here. It happens from time to time to even the best of writers. I'm not saying I'm one of them, but I'd certainly like to be someday.

I don't know how many people read this site on a regular basis, and while I certainly could go through my old notebooks and see if I have anything I could post here, I don't want to dig them out right now and reading my own handwriting long after I've probably forgotten what I was writing about is a special kind of Hell.

And just so you know, I will be busy in the next month or so so even with my prolific writing tendencies, I may not post here as much as I'd like. I'll try not to leave you in the dark for several months like I did last time though. (This time however, I will not lose Internet connection -- I don't think.) You see, I plan on moving in July.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Sinister Porpoise is backing down.

I've been busy lately. I've been caught up more in the business side of blogging rather than the part I actually enjoy, which is writing. If you've read the site recently, you'll see two rants for different reasons. One is a valid response to a type of behavior I personally despise. The second and more important to this post is complaining about an edit.

In all honesty, it was a minor edit, although I would have appreciated if Blogger simply e-mailed me and asked me to change it. (All parties involved in this are adults after all, I assume, even if stress, lack of sleep and just a generally bad attitude is making one of us -- me -- act like a child.)

I know this site has at least one Mormon reader. Although a lot of what I might say could be difficult for someone who is still devout to swallow or even believe. Unfortunately, I wish what I was writing about the history were not true. I wish the church would change for the better, but as someone on the outside, I'm simply not in a position to change it. If I were still an insider, affecting the necessary changes would be a slow and difficult process as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is not only conservative, but ruled by old men, who are set in their ways. This is not to say that all change is good, but this denomination needs to see its own flaws and openly admit them.

So, why not admit that Book of Mormon is not a historical document? The evidence isn't there anyway. Why not issue a proclamation against polygamy? It's still in the Doctrine and Covenants. Perhaps an official declaration is to be added at the end like the one about the blacks holding the priesthood. Admit the Pearl of Great Price is nowhere near a translation and admit the founder was in fact translating the Egyptian "Book of Breathings" the facsimiles give it away anyway.

Sorry, I guess I got sidetracked. Those are small things they could do, and more importantly they can stop trying to excommunicate people for telling the truth. There I go again. The point is I overreacted to the edit. Blogger has the right to edit my posts, I just wish they would have had a reason to do so or at least contacted me first.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Blogger edited one of my posts!

I don't believe it. I was reading through it today and in one post, a place where I said the LDS Church was changed to the Church of Jesus Christ. Yet at the same time, they've left all my references to them as Mormons alone.

I don't know who did this, and quite frankly, I'm ticked off about it. I did not refer to them in an offensive manner, I just wanted it to be clear which Mormon group I was referring to. (And like it or not, a lot of the Polygamist sects are Mormon. They are breakoffs and the embarassment the leadership in Salt Lake has over them is understandable.) Unfortunately, this edit obscures the meaning as too many groups call themselves the Church of Christ or something similar. Had they used the church's full name, which is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I probably wouldn't have objected either.

Whoever did this should immediately be fired. You have no business correcting how I refer to a specific organization, even if you find it offensive. Like it or not, referring to it as the LDS Church is acceptable and a lot better than how some people refer to it. What was the reason for the edit anyway? Google isn't even based in Utah is it? I can only imagine the people who Robert Kirby refers to as "Nazi Mormons" being so uptight over the name. And if you want to edit that, go right ahead, but anyone who's read the 5 Types of Mormons will know exactly what I'm talking about.

So, whoever felt this rather stupid edit was necessary needs to get back to the keyboard and change it back. I will be contacting Blogger directly if edits like this continue.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Examining the Reasons for Hatred of Religion

I think a lot of people with issues regarding gender or sexuality end up blaming religion for their own self-loathing. This is in fact a legitimate concern. Get told that how you feel is sinful at a young age and you'll believe there's something wrong with you.

I used to hope that somehow everything would magically be fixed after the Millenium, or if I didn't make it, after I died. It's not like I could tell anyone how I felt. I didn't even admit it to myself for the longest time. I tried to keep the feelings down and hope they'd go away. Of course, they did from time to time but they'd always resurface.

You want to find some peace. Religion is supposed to provide that, but instead, many continue on a harmful message. The people who do this sincerely believe they are doing the right thing and of course, they may expect you to conform to their expectations.

So, after years of this treatment a snap will finally come. If you stay, you will be miserable and lead down the slippery slope of depression. If you leave, you experience sudden freedom, but are more than likely to carry a sense of bitterness with you and thus attack all religion regardless of whether or not it was responsible for your problems in the first place.

I must admit self-loathing is one of the last things I must personally overcome, but I don't blame the Mormons for this entirely. No, I blame years of going through life being told that you're worthless and a set of impossible standards that I couldn't live up to. (Yes, if you know anything about how Mormons behave that
is the church's fault.)

It is not religion that harmed these people. It was someone abusing power in the name of religion.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Hatred of Religion

Why is it currently all too common to hate people of faith? I may take my potshots at my own former religion now and then (and come on, if you're not a Utah Mormon, you know how weird some of the Mormon beliefs are to other people), but on the whole I'm not launching some grand crusade on the Internet to tell people how false it is.

There are good reasons for doing this. The first is there are already enough people doing it and adding my voice to that isn't going to make one bit of difference. The second is that I've seen the Mormon church turn out some really good people regardless of how true it may or may not be. (I've also known Mormons who are real jerks, too, and aspects of the faith only made this worse.)

Yet, if you visit forums geared to the people likely to read this site or non-Christian forums there is a real hatred towards either religion or more specifically, Christianity. Whilie I understand the pain of disillusionment, these people waste their time taking every opportunity to slander Christians and their faith.

Let these people go, folks. Most of them are ordinary people trying to live their lives the best they can. Simply do not discuss religion with evangelicals or fundamentalists -- their only goal is generally to convert you. You can't change their mind and they can't change yours.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Comparing Scars

If you've spent any time around a group of men,
you will know that the discussion of scars comes up.
Each person will try to one-up the other with their
worst scars. This is normal behavior in more ways
than one. (And if you want to know my scars are on
my left foot, right hand, and chin, and two scars on
my finger that I don't ever remember getting. The
last must have happened while I was asleep. The worst
scar is on my left foot and while I don't remember
that happening either, I was two at the time.)

Yet I saw in one forum people doing the same thing
but this time with their emotional scars. Why is it
we feel the need to determine who has suffered the
worst? I am just as guilty as everyone else of this
and probably should not be a hypocrite. At the same
time it reminded me that people have gone through
worse things than I have and I should be grateful
there are things outside of my experience.

The whole experience served as a reminder that
things could have been worse and it helped dragged me
out of the moodiness that I'd been feeling for the
past week or so. (I think lack of sleep is a huge
factor in this.) Still, I'm a little bit skeptical
when people on the Internet do this. They could be
lying, even though I tend to be trusting.

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

(Please note: I will change the screwed-up advertising that's causing problems with the page.)

In a few more months this blog will have been up for nearly a year. A lot has happened in that time and not all of its good, but it seems that I am recovering from it however slow it has been.

It might be a good time and reflect on what I've learned in a year. Certainly, I've learned harsh and valuable lessons about fiscal responsibility that could have been avoided. I've learned that things do not always go as planned and I've learned that left-handed people can have really great problems with stick-shift.

As far as personal growth goes, the above lessons are important, but not all that has happened. I find myself in a quandary when it comes to rational thought and religious/spiritual belief. I must decide how to reconcile them if possible.

Perhaps there can be greater comforter in just knowing that I don't have all the answers rather than trying to find them.

Monday, May 08, 2006

I don't know the meaning of the Porpoise Song

I realize I've been a funk lately. I guess I've just been a little sad and when I get in that mode I tend to get moody and a little introspective. I'm not sure what the cause of this is, but it seems to be past me now.

I am currently considering moving this blog to Blogcharm, but I will hold off on the decision. Blogger has seved me well for most things and I've familiarized myself with how to edit the add templates. Not to mention being on Blogger automatically lists my site on Google and its blog search.

To address some lighter issues, I found some people coming to this site searching for the lyrics to something like "I want to be Obscure." Sorry folks, I couldn't find it. It amuses me that these searches take you here, but I can't stop the way the search engine's code runs. Nor do I have any idea what the Porpoise song is about, you might as well look for meaning in Stairway to Heaven at least in the latter song it seems like it should be there. Wish I could help you, but I'm just not familiar with the band who did "I wanna be Obscure."

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Minor Reflections

Going through the comments yesterday provoked my rage, an emotion I'm all too familiar with. I no longer feel it as often and put my ranting days mostly long behind me. It got me thinking, though. Sometimes I wonder just how far I've come when it comes to personal growth. As their is no real way to define what personal growth means, it is a difficult question to answer and a question of the type I'm not sure should be answered by me.

As I've alluded to before I dealt with a great deal of ostracism during my school years. I didn't quite understand the reasons why then and I still do not. Now, however it is water under the bridge. I must live with the effects of what happened to me back then. My tormentors were not concerned with my feelings, obviously.

If you have ever been through this or are going through this, I am not going to tell you it is easy. It is not. It is difficult. I wanted revenge, but saw no practical way of getting it. I heard some of their comments suggesting I'd be better off if I committed suicide and became angrier. About the only thing that got me through those years was sheer stubborness and an attitue of Nolite te illegitium carborandum. (Latin for "Don't let the bastards grind you down.")I wish I hadn't spent years locked in that miserable stalemate. I do not recommend my methods. They worked, but the anger built up and I'd snap at people for very little things for years.

Eventually I got help and learned to let go. I wish there had been someone I could talk to back then, but my own psychological problems did not make it easy. Even keeping a journal would have helped had I not tried to make it uplifting all the time.

If for some unknown reason you choose to speak to me, someone who you probably don't know, my e-mail address is on the links page here. I will however, try to refrain from giving advice.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Spiritual Vultures

I've been thinking lately and it seems I identify more with being an Ex-Mormon than I do with any religion I've practiced since. I was going back through old threads today trying to figure out where a comment someone posted went when I came across several comments from someone claiming to be Joseph Smith, Jr. I've included a link to his site if you want to read what it's about.

Behavior such as this burns me up. Just because I abandonned Mormonism because I've found some of it's claims to be false, it does not mean I'm ready to become a Fundamentalist Christian. Much like I believe the Book of Mormon to be a badly written alternate history novel, I do not believe the Bible to be the inerrant word of God.

There is a term that describes people who engage in this kind of behavior: spiritual vultures. These people are ready as soon as someone questions their own faith to bring them into another fold, eager to show them how the faith they're questioning is wrong. Such people never think to question their own beliefs. While the Bible does actually contain some history, perhaps you should look into the science that shoots holes in some of its stories?

They never think that however insiginificant it might seem the person doubting faith is facing a crisis and needs compassionate guidance to help them through it. Instead, they offer a accept-or-be-damned approach that attempts to get the person in question to make an irrational decision based on fear. And with people leaving Mormonism, they compound the mistake by trying to quote from the Bible itself. (Note: The Mormons only believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. Do some freakin' research. It's not that hard to dig up a copy of the Articles of Faith.) Quoting the Bible at them won't do you any good, they already accept it as scripture, but a flawed one that has been retranslated too many times. (Please note the reason the Church of Jesus Christ does not use the Joseph Smith translation has to do with complicated copyright issues. The copyright for the JST is in fact owned by the Community of Christ. In an LDS copy of the KJV you'll find footnotes that refer to the JST.) And if you shout it at them, it is a very human reaction to retreat into their own comfort zones and ignore you.

The concerns I had about Mormon history were real and the more I knew, the less I wanted to find out. But even though my faith in it could have survived had it not been an either or choice in believing in the Book of Mormon, or believing that Joseph Smith was a lying, manipulative, polygamist scumbag who made the whole thing up. Unfortunately, I know too much to go back now and I'm not in the mood to lie through an interview with the Bishop. I've already gone through one Bishop's interview when I was eight, and several more as I moved up through the ranks of the Priesthood. I know the pad answers, but I can no longer speak them as though I believe them.

No, instead try a different approach. Talk to them. Find out why they're having doubts. Are they valid? Would they have a valid reason for leaving the faith behind? Do they just need someone to talk to so they can work it out for themselves? You can do more for a person in a crisis of faith by being the ear for them to speak to and the shoulder for them to cry on then you can by forcing a new belief system upon them.

And by the way, I'm fully aware of the fact that I'll probably be baptized again by proxy after I'm dead.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Search for Answers

I realize I have not posted in a while. But when I came back and looked at the traffic log, I realized there were still people visiting this site. While it is not a lot of people, it has been a steady stream. For now, I'm going to return to the purposes of this blog as much as I am able.

One of the main reasons this was started had to do with my own search for answers in a rather confusing situation. I had gone through my own crisis of faith nearly a year before starting this site. If you have read it, you know what my issues with one particular religion are.

Yet I do not discredit religion as invalid and outdated. Faith is a powerful force and adds so much meaning to our lives. Whether this be faith in science or religion it does not matter. We use that faith to guide our lives.

I study religions because belief fascinates me. A lot of them have good points. Some I disagree with on key points, but the study has helped me have a better understanding of where other people are coming from. I still may make mistakes like wishing a Jewish person a Happy Yom Kippur. (I think I only did this once, folks, and thankfully, the person in question was willing to put up with me, partly because we got along well and he found my stories about the Mormons fascinating, if not believable.)

Even so, with the study, the one question that comes to mind is: How do you know which one is right? We are bombarded with conflicting ideas every day of our lives. I suppose my method is still akin to "feeling the spirit", but the problem with feeling the spirit is the spirit isn't tied to any particular religion.

Although I've found the Tao Te Ching to be an incredible book and I think it has many things correct, it will have to remain in the section of the brain that deals with beliefs and thoughts that aren't rational. The nice thing is, since Taoism is a philosophy, I can incorporate it and have no problems practicing another religion if that is my choice.