Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Gordy's Life

Time for some laughter, lightmindedness, and some speaking ill of the Lord's Annointed. Sung to the tune of Kurt Weill's "Mac the Knife":

Oh when the prophet speaks to us dear
You know the thinking has been done
When Gordy lies on tv dear
Some mormon doctrine is now gone

When the prophet lies to Larry
Mormon faces all turn red
Did he say we don't belive that?
Perhaps we should choose Boyd instead

In the chapel Sunday morning
lies a prophet snoozing life
Boyd's gay bashing 'round the corner
Could this be Gordy's life?

Some apostates protest the mall purchase don't you know
Picket signs on our new lawn
God will get them in the end dear
It's too bad old Brigham's gone

Blood atonement? We never taught that
Joe's Polygamy? Now don't be rash
I spend money like a sailor
Pay your tithing for my temple stash.

Thomas Monson, Boyd K. Packer,
Paul H. Dunn, Orson Pratt
Oh God's way is through Joseph
Now that Gordy's back in town.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I Found a Path? Maybe.

Like many people who blog, I will occasionally get an idea for a post from a message board I visit. Rarely however do I post the message in question and today's post will be no exception. In this case, it's not what the thread was about that was important, but me looking into why I was doing what I was doing.

I have not been able to discuss anything regarding religion with passion for a while. Anything I said was merely a dispassionate exchange of ideas from an intellectual standpoint.

Yet recently when I found someone stating something about Taoism I disagreed with (and their statement was a misinterpretation of the philosophy) I found myself vehemently defending it.

Now, I've read the Tao Te Ching many times in various formats, mostly online. It doesn't take a long time to read it, but I didn't think I'd developed any deep connection to it. Perhaps I should have known better since when I first read the book I knew I'd found something I'd been looking for ever since I saw Star Wars for the first time as a kid. I always thought there should be something like the Force. What I wouldn't know until years later was that the Force and a lot of the Jedi stuff were based on real world philosophies. (I suppose that's why we have people trying to claim they're Jedi now. They simply don't want to look up the elements George Lucas used in making the movies.)

But I didn't realize I was passionate about it until I started arguing. Now, the argument details aren't that important. Basically, it was the typical type of argument that goes on on Internet message boards. I got accused of doing things I wasn't doing and then engaged in some armchair psychology of why my opponent felt the way he did. This is in fact a little hypocritical of me as I do in fact hate people who engage in armchair psychology on the Internet, at least where it relates to others.

Does this mean I've found the Way? I don't think so, but it does mean even though I hadn't realized I had incorporated a philosophy into my belief system and realize I should in fact study it deeper. I guess a few trips to the library and are in order.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Arrogant Assumptions that Irritate Me Part II

“If my mind is modest and I walk the great Way, arrogance is all I fear.” --Lao Tzu.

Why is it when people leave Mormonism, they still have the need to cling to some sort of absolute truth? If you read the Recovery from Mormonism boards, in addition to the bitterness, you'll find that many people there have become Atheists as well.

I always feel for someone who does express a religious opinion on RfM, however sincere they might be about it, because at least five posters will jump down his throat informing the poster of the error of his ways. I even had someone comment on my blog that he thought it was sad I had become Catholic and had exchanged one mythology for another. I'm not exactly sure where he got the idea I'd become Catholic, although I have quoted Pope John Paul II once or twice and may have mentioned I like the mysticism. Still, liking what one pope said and liking the mysticism does not a convert to Catholicism make. I did in fact attend RCIA classes out of curiosity for a while, but in the end decided it wasn't for me.

I don't mind that the people have become Atheists. What I find irritating is they assume that a simple application of logic should lead everyone else to the same conclusion they have come to. It seems what they do not realize is that if they're militant about it, is that they have merely substituted one absolute truth for another. Even this wouldn't bother me if they'd simply be quiet about it. Atheism is not superior to any other belief system when it comes to having great, universal truths. In this, they are just as guilty as the Christian Fundamentalists who quote the Bible who expect that reading their material will lead you to their religion.

To assume that we have found some new absolute truth is just as arrogant as our stance as former Mormons, and perhaps something from that time is carrying over with them, perhaps not. In the end, each individual must decide what his or her own motivations are. After leaving a religion people need time to sort things out for themselves. Shoving even your non-religious viewpoint down their throat isn't the way to go.

One of the things I've learned in my journey away from Mormonism is that it's okay if I don't know something and that there doesn't need to be certainty when it comes to beliefs. I had all the answers, and I found out they were false. Why are so many people who leave the church so eager to fill the void with different ones, which may or may not be true? When it comes to religious belief or lack thereof, it's all subjective. I don't ever expect to wholly know if I'm right, and if there is no afterlife, I certainly will never know. Religion and Philosophies can be helpful tools to guide us, but we often spend our time arguing about which one is better rather than realizing what things exist in these two areas that help us get through our daily lives. It's that more than any dogma that's important.

Now, this is not to say I don't have beliefs myself, and in the next post, I'll share a story about something that surprised me, but I try not to assume my religious beliefs are superior to anyone else's, unless it's a Muslim's viewpoint. (Okay, so I'm kidding on that last point.)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Assumption that I Need to Reevaluate my Politics

I'm a card carrying member of the Republican Party. For some reason, I get the impression that many in Outer Blogness seem to think there's something wrong with that. Why? What they object to is unfortunately who seems to have control of the Republican Party at the moment -- the Religious Right.

Republicans ideally should stand for lesser government intervention and as a consequence greater personal freedom, but perhaps I just think that because of my own libertarian leanings, and despite what many people seem to think, it's actually to my finacial advantage as someone who is working poor to support them. The Democrats have not initiated helpful policies in that regard for a long time. Currently, all they seem to be doing is encouraging people to stay in lower brackets to take advantage of programs. Now, for Union members, it's definitely to their financial advantage to support the Democratic party.

It would have been better for such people to say that people should reevaluate their support of the current Bush administration, which is what I think they meant anyway. I've never been a huge fan of the Patriot Act and the Wiretapping thing has me really ticked off. Let's face it, in 2000 Al Gore was an idiot, and Bush wasn't that bright, but in my opinion, George Bush was the better of the two. In 2004 the options were just as bleak, but I'd have to say Kerry probably was smarter. Yet, in the second term it became abundantly clear that Bush had no respect for things like right to privacy or even bothering with the actual law. He could have obtained warrants for the wiretaps, but chose not to for some inexplicable reason. Not to mention, we've gotten bogged down in Iraq, which would not have happened if we'd bring full military power to bear on the region. However, the reasons for the Iraq war were never exactly clear and I always thought it was more of a personal vendetta than any clear ties Iraq had to Al Qaeda.

Not only that, some of the positions of the Bush administration seem to be compounded by George Bush's unwillingness to rectify his own ignorance. Stem cells are a prime example of this. We can obtain them from cloning technology, and his objection seems to come from that these cells are obtained from abortions, but they don't have to be, since I believe we already have a fair number of frozen stem cells in storage. Now, I don't believe it's going to be a magical cure all or that we're even close to seeing results from this, but a complete ban on government funding for it does not make sense since we will eventually see benefits.

The current direction of the Republican Party scares me and I think it's time more reasonable voices took control of it back from its more reactionary fringe.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Unleashing my Inner Grammar Nazi

Please note, as far as copyright goes: What I said is copyrighted by me, the rest is copyrighted by the owner of Joseph's Left One. Not that I expect this to be an issue, because if I ever did catch someone stealing content from my blog, I'd be angry, flattered, and bewildered at the same time.

No, I just didn't edit the e-mail I sent him and I should have. Because this bothers me, here is what I said with the corrections that should have been made before I sent it.

This week's profile is the always-thoughtful and interesting Lair of the Sinister Porpoise.

JLO: How and why did you start blogging?

You know, Blogger Beta has caused me more problems than it should have of late. I assume it even lists my Google e-mail address instead of the one I link to on the site, which is my Yahooo e-mail address. Starting to blog was fairly easy -- I just set up a Blogger account, but why is a different issue. The Lair of the Sinister Porpoise started out as a way for me to work some things out I'd been going through, not the least of which was my struggle with gender identity which I'd just allow to come to the surface. As I saw it as something as a spiritual issue, religious posts began to develop. It didn't matter to me if I worked away in anonymity and no one discovered it. In many ways, it served the same purpose a personal journal should serve.

JLO: What do you enjoy about blogging? Dislike about it?

Well, personally, I love it when someone praises my writing, which has happened three times over the course of my blogging career. My sister found out about it (I did not tell her, but I forgot to clear the history after using her computer) and made a comment about the secrets I'd been keeping from her. Strangely, the one about not knowing I could write so well annoyed me more, as it's an ability I've never hidden. Whether or not I can write well is a decision I'd rather leave up to the readers. It was Gunner the second time, and the third was an unexpected comment on one of my unrelated blogs and a follow up e-mail that I should enter a blogging contest they would have and would be likely to win. Still, while it satisfies my ego, it's only a minor point. I like to write, blogging satisfies that need and I've found I do best with short, thoughtful posts.

I must admit I also love some of the spam comments. Some invoke my rage if it's some Fundamentalist trying to sell some Anti-Mormon product that makes the assumption that our religious quests should bring us to his religion. The one or two ads for penis enlargement i left up and had great fun mocking, but I think I've got that sort of thing under control know as you can post comments anonymously to Blogger with word verification on.

What do I dislike about it? This question would invoke less emotion from me if I did not have problems with offline blog posting tools because I've switched over to Blogger beta. Google's response on this is I have to wait for them to catch up. Is it that hard for them just to let me use my original Blogger account rather than my e-mail account?

JLO: What do you read regularly?

Mostly fantasy and science fiction, although I've started borrowing the detective novels the local library has. In non-fiction, my tastes run towards science, religion, history, and computers. I'm a huge fan of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series and Frank Hebert's Dune.

But if you tell me a good story, you'll draw me in even if I disagree with your work entirely.

JLO: What do you like to do when you're not blogging?

Well, there are things I'd like to do, but unfortunately my job cuts into social time simply by its scheduling. I've played D&D for many years and have a collection of obscure RPGs that I don't think anyone ever intends to run. Mostly, I spend a lot of time on the computer, and when I'm not there, I'm either reading, napping, or out for a walk. I'd love to take up fencing someday and even found a place locally that teaches it, but need to get some transportation issues settled first.

JLO: Where would you say you are in the process of recovery from Mormonism?

Well, you can pretty much get a good idea of the stages I've been through through by going through the archives since I've started the blog. At first, I too, felt betrayed and angry at the church. I did trust it, but I never seemed to go into the great deal of anger so many Ex-Mormons have. Perhaps because I'd seen how poisonous pent up anger can be from other issues and though moving on would be more prudent. I looked around at other religions and tried to hurry into one. Then I slowed down and realized I didn't need to. I'd say I'm at the point of letting go of years of sexual repression and figuring out exactly what I am on that front. This isn't quite the same as the gender issues, I've known about those for years, but simply didn't want to even admit the possibility to myself.

JLO: What advice would have you for people trying to deal with leaving the church?

It was easier for me. I come from Pennsylvania Dutch stock rather than the pioneers who went across the plains. I can't imagine what multi-generationl BIC Mormons go through. I'm a child of convert parents outside of the Morg Corridor. It also seems that because of the Mormon emphasis on geneology, I know heresy was something of a family tradition, and a few of people who were likely my ancestors were killed in Zurich, Switzerland and had their names recorded in The Martyr's Mirror.

But even for BICs like me where it's not a part of your heritage (Hex Signs, scrapple, and pot pie would have far more bearing on my heritage than jello and funeral potatoes), I think we tend to think it's not an ongoing process. We don't really recover. It's always going to be a part of us. We just need to break out of Mormonthink where the Mormon indoctrination was harmful. I've fooled myself into thinking I was done several times, then some new issue will crop up. I don't even think it's a good idea to try to deny what our past has made us into. For me, I find bits of Mormon history and theology too bizarrely fascinating to just leave alone. I'd probably feel the same way about Scientolgy, and like some of my non-Mormon acqauintances don't believe my stories about Mormonism, I doubt I'd believe the stories of a former Scientologist.

JLO: What else do you want to say about your interests, hobbies, career, education, whatever?

Well, because of my searches away from Mormonism I maintain an interest in theology and belief. My carreer attempts are currently along the lines of becoming self-employed because I simply don't like bosses. My education is at the "some college" level and I was a computer science major, which strangely enough lends itself well to the if-then thinking required by most theologians.

JLO: Where did you come up with the name of your blog?

You'd think there'd be some interesting story behind the screen name in the first place, but there isn't. The Sinister Porpoise comes from my misuse of a Latin phrase i intended to mean left-handed person. When someone told me he saw that all he could think of was "The Sinister Porpoise." I happened to like that alias better and have used it as my aliases on many places ever since. Today it serves as a reminder not to take life so seriously. "Lair of" was I suppose just a way of attracting a little more attention to a limited interest blog, which ultimately, I expected no one to read. I can't say I'm displeased with the turn of events a year later when I suddenly found myself being included in Outer Blogness and the Disaffected Mormon Underground.

Friday, August 25, 2006

And the Porpoise is laughing....

The last post was the 150th on this blog. I knew this was coming up, I just didn't know when I'd hit it exactly. Some strange things have been happening to me in blog land, not the least of which is finding some odd sites shwoing up on the traffic trackers I use.

Now, it seems Blogshares uses a spider and would track down my blog eventually, but oddly I've been listed since last October. When I found this out I went to claim my blog not because I care all that much about Blogshares, but simply because I don't want someone claiming my blog as theirs. Maybe I'm a little possessive that way.

I've also become aware of my Technorati and Alexa rankings. Truthfully, I've tried to avoid knowing this information. I didn't watnt to get caught up in the types of contests these rankings seem to engender. I shouldn't really care that I'm ranked about 6 millionth in Alexa, or about 108 millionth in Technorati. Although the Alexa rankings seem to be choosing odd sites that people visit when they come here, I can kind of see the thought process behind linking to blogs that use and/or support Opensource software, since I use a good number of such programs myself.

So far the weirdest thing I've seen was that you can review blogs on! I really couldn't help doing a vanity search on Amazon for my blog on this one, but it seems I'm not listed. The upside of this is it means there are no bad reviews of my blog on Amazon. It also means there are no good ones, either.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


A search for my EQ character's name took a vistor to this blog. Now, believe it or not, I do have my fair share of 'enemies' from my EQ days, mostly because I was bitter and angry and let a number of things that had nothing to do with the game come across in my personality.

This had little to do with the Mormons either, it was just I hadn't gotten over what had happened to me when I was younger. Of course, there wasn't really any valid target for me to take these things out on. Still, I'd forgotten I *had* mentioned my EQ account once, and it would show up on this blog. Even so, my EZboard account is the same one I used when I ended EQ. So, a Google search for the name would lead them here, just as easily as googling "The Sinister Porpoise."

Of course, it may not be one of the people who hated me and I shouldn't jump to conclusions. Still, I'd rather not have many people from that time coming here. It's a phase of my life, despite my bitterness, I enjoyed, but I put far too much effort into EQ and let too many real life things slip.

Given that the character's surname was included, which simply means "the silent," I can only assume the searcher was someone who knew me during my final days as an EQ player, or someone who knows me from EZboards, where the surname is included in my sig. If it was someone looking for the Roman nymph, that name is "Lara Tacita."

Well, even so, I knew I couldn't hide this blog forever, I just didn't think anyone would do a search on my EQ name. Hopefully, that person will not act on this knowledge. According to the site statistics, the search came from somewhere in Oklahoma.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Time, Time, Time. See what's become of me...

I love the cool August nights. The hint of Autumn is in the air, and the humidity is generally lower than it is during the rest of the summer. You can see the Milky Way on a lot of these nights, too. There's also an inevitable tinge of sadness that comes with August. For August means the end of Summer is near and that Fall is on its way.

Fall is certainly the most colorful of seasons in a temperate zone, but it's a season I always associate with dying in some small way. The leaves fall off the trees, and for the next six months the forests will be bare. That doesn't mean they won't still be pretty and there is in fact nothing like the first snowfall that covers a forest, but that doesn't mean I'd not rather see the green leaves. More importantly, it also means cold weather.

I suppose living in the MidAtlantic states, I should be used to the relatively mild Winters that we experience, but just because I'm used to them, that doesn't mean I like them or approve of them.

I suppose it's also a time of year when I realize that whether I want to or not, I am getting older. Perhaps this is because my 30th birthday comes up in February, and it's a milestone that while not meaning I'm old, does mean I'm getting closer to Middle Age. It may be natural for it to bother me, but I wish it didn't. It may be one of the reasons my thoughts have been focused on time lately. Now, of course February is still several months away and I always dislike it because it seems my birthday gets overshadowed by Valentine's Day. (You can guess which holiday is more important to me.)

The benefit of time passing means I'm also getting farther away from the Hell that was my early life. I realize the experiences made me who I am, but that is not always a good thing. I also realize as a part of these thoughts that religious indoctrination robbed me of something precious – that is, time itself. As much as I want the Mormon church to be part of my background, it has intruded itself so deeply that I doubt I'll ever be able to untangle it completely from my psyche. And you know what? While I'm not the type to go screaming from the rooftops, I've finally realized the anger I've felt is justifiable. It doesn't matter whether or not the individuals were well-meaning, it doesn't mean they still didn't cause me some psychological harm.

I've wanted to deny that the Mormon church did some damage, mostly because compared to the rest of my life, the experience was positive, but now I can no longer pretend it didn't happen. I can either let it make me bitter or move on. I just wish Mormonism wouldn't play with its members heads so much.

Overall, I really don't like being in these moods. It makes me feel like something of a drama queen. I suppose I should pay more attention on the ring that was handed to Solomon that said, “this too shall pass.”

As a final note, I happen to love the term “Morridor” when referring to certain areas of Utah and Idaho. It just makes me think there should be something like this:

Three for the Trinity above the sky
Nine for the witches doomed to die
Seven for the Catholics in their cathedrals of stone
One of the prophet on his plush throne
In the land of Morridor where the shadows lie

One church to rule them, one church to find them
One church to bring them all and in the gospel's darkness bind them
In the Land of Morridor where the shadows lie.

I wonder if a Mormon jewelry company would inscribe that on a CTR ring for me.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Mondays that don't start at 2 a.m. rock

I've figured out the problem with Qumana, and unfortunately there's very little I can do about it. My Google account is not the same as the name I signed up for Blogger under. I hope Qunama and Blogger can get this worked out, otherwise I might have to break down and pirate -- oops, I mean buy -- a copy of Word to use.

I've finally got a Monday off. It is in fact the first Monday I've had off since March, and for that matter, the first Monday I haven't had to be up at 2 a.m. since mid-May. Now, I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do with my Monday, perhaps a trip to the library is in order as I've finished the stack of four books I've recently borrowed. (or was it 5?) Well, I could borrow DVD's too, but with the usual luck in my life, after finding a nice, new and actually good DVD player at Dollar General, the tube on my TV set blew.

Although I don't intend to make a habit of replying to other people on my blog, there was a comment made on Letters from a Broad recently that probably does deserve a full blown blog entry here, rather than take up comment space when she was showcasing another author. (And of course, the other irony, is I may in fact need to pick up a book on Java/Javascript in the near future as my HTML textbook from college which had a large section on Javascript is now missing..)

Now that I've made it clear I'm not addressing C.L. Hansen, but rather a stage I've personally been at in my journey out of the church. As we all know, the church makes its best attempt to sexually repress its members. I've said before it's left me terrified of aspects of myself. Perhaps it would be best if I said what the comment was, and it's one I made a while ago on this blog and now regret. I did in fact say that I was transgendered and not gay. That statement was made a while ago when I started to break down the walls of years of church, then self-imposed sexual repression.

That's been changing over the last few months. In fact, I'm stating to think that celibacy may in fact be causing me to miss out on something. I'm still socially inept, so I'm not sure how to proceed, but I think hurrying is a bad idea as it's only something that has recently awakened within me.

If I may get back to the comment, at the time I wrote that I felt the need to deny being gay. I still internally felt it was wrong for me to be that way. Now as I've come to embrace and accept even more of who I am, I realize it's a possibility. I even managed to bring up some of the issues with my new therapist, although I am not and probably never will be comfortable about talking orally (no pun intended) about anything involving sex. Fortunately, you can't see the pauses I make me in my writing as I do a blog entry like this one.

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Not Happy with Blogger Beta

Ads by Well since it's a Sunday and there won't be many readers here anyway, I thought I may as well express my frustration with the new Blogger beta. It's managed to make useless the program I downloaded for doing blog entries offline. I hope I can figure out what the problem is before I go postal.

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Arizona Expositor

I received an e-mail from you a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, I thought it was an e-mail notifying me of a comment on my blog, which it was not. I would have responded, but I intended to do it on my blog and unfortunately deleted it before I got the chance to. I suppose this really isn't a loss as it was mostly just a comment saying you agree with me that we're just preaching to the choir.

Although it would be better had I responded privately, I'll take the time now. Yes, we are preaching to the choir, but I'd like to think that what we're doing is in some way useful, and that it's more than just mental masturbation on our parts.

I hope this blog will be useful to those who, like me, were in some way injured by religion in getting them to think a little before abandonning it altogether. I'm not sure how successful I am, and it doesn't bother me if I'm not. I blog for other reasons as well, not the least of which is the joy of writing, and of course, getting paid a small amount for doing so. (Took me a while to figure this one out, but it's working now.)

The most useful thing we do is tell others who may be doubting the church that they are not alone. Others have discovered the same things they have and even though there's a lot of information about the church that isn't true on the Internet, there's a lot that is that isn't faith promoting. Ultimately, although we can help, the destination each person takes is up to them. It's their spiritual and personal journey after all.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I Will Choose the Path That's Clear. I will Choose Free Will

    I just finished reading a book  that used Peanuts cartoons to illustrate Bible points.  I'm not going to compare the too, for the most part I found the strips chosen to illustrate Robert Shorts' points to be completely unrelated to the topic he was trying to discuss.

    But his idea of Free Agency as the Mormon church used to call it is rather curious.  He believed we only have free agency to choose our salvation or not.  Perhaps I didn't quite understand his point, although it may itself have been somewhat confused.  It seemed to me he was saying if we choose to be Christian we obey God and do his will, but if we choose to sin, we do so on our own.

    I'm a Deist and not a Christian, but it seems to me that God gave us free will whether we wanted it or not.  We get to choose the actions we take through the course of our life.  I don't believe God has anything to do with it whether were doing His will or not.   While He may serve as a guide, we are, as William Ernest Henley put it, the master of our fates and the captains of our souls.

     I think this has to do with the reason the creator -- if he exists -- gave us brains.  He expected us to use them.   I suppose this is just one of the many problems I have with the blind obedience expected in most religions.   He gave us this wonderful intelligence, which we are led to believe is a glorious gift, and those in power do their best to get people not to use it.  I don't see the logic behind this.   Why tell people that God gave them the power to think for themselves, but if they do, they'll be damned to some insufferable Hell for not doing as the leadership tells them? (Or in the case of my former religion, not achieving the Celestial Kingdom.)

    Is it so wrong to tell people, like the hero of The Life of Brian tries so successfully to do, that they need to work it out for themselves?   If religions really were a one-size fits all proposition, there wouldn't be a multiplicity of religions still extant on the planet. Even in the one true religions like Mormonism and Islam there are variations.

    The best I can say for Shorts' argument is that he does not believe in a literal Hell, and see it rather as separation from God.  (I see Hell as a mental state personality which may or may not have anything to do with the divine.)  Still, although I disagreed with him, it was an interesting read.   It has also given me something to think about and may give me ideas for two further blog posts.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Will the person who signed this site up for Traffic Standards please come forward?

I'm not mad about it, but as I'm not a member, I'm curious as to why you'd submit my site and not one of your own. (The site meter alerted me to this oddity.)

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Offensive Mormon behavior

About a month ago, I heard a story about my nephew and niece running into a member of my former ward. Now this member and my father were friends, but his children personally do not like him. This is the same member who showed up at a memorial held for my mother to get people's addresses. (Too bad Hallmark doesn't make a "We sincerely wish you'd learn to mind your own business" greeting card. Perhaps I'll start a line of cards someday to say what you really feel. I expect the "F You" and "Go to Hell" cards to be best sellers.) In fact, when he was prying my brother's wife for information I asked him if I should stop the offensive Mormon, but my brother said only, "She has to learn sometime."

Although neither my nephew or niece has set foot inside a Mormon church, he has reminded them that they should go to primary and he told his mother that my nephew is nearly old enough to hold the Priesthood. Now, my sister could cause this behavior to cease by having her name removed from the records, but she figures if there's ever a fire at her house, she'd rather still have her name on the church rolls.

Of course, I've told my nephew to ask him the next time this happens if he's wearing his Jesus Jammies or if he's baptized any dead Jews lately, and given the general temperment of my nephew, I fully expect him to carry it too far. I don't feel sorry for Brother Tressler, any more than I feel sorry for beating him in bocce ball the night he had shown up either. (I can't really explain why I'm good at bocce ball, but my grandmother is uncannily good at it.)

Did he not understand that his behavior was rude and insensitive or did he simply not care? A few other Mormons were there, but they seemed to understand the limits. I can't even say it's a Utah vs. Non-Utah Mormon thing as all people who did show up who were Mormon were also like myself, not native to the Beehive state. Anyone else encounter behaviors like this?

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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Another deep thought had in the throws of insomnia

Don't ask me why but it seems that all the really deep answers come to me either when I'm trying to get to sleep or suffering a bout of insomnia. This is always of course, as I'm trying to go to sleep, not suffering through work the next day trying not to fall asleep on my feet.

Lately, I've been calm and happier than usual. I'm not sure why. I've been forgetting to take the anti-depressants for the most part. (Which reminds me, I'll need to remember it tonight.) Perhaps it's because I'm not struggling with the same issues as much as I used to.

For the longest time, I felt I needed some label to give when someone asked me "What religion are you?" Most people assume I am still Mormon if they know anything about me at all. Perhaps if I smoked and drank coffee that impression would fade, but I don't feel the need to do this just to rebel against my upbringing. I simply don't like coffee and sinus problems pretty much prevent me from smoking.

Not only that, I felt I had to belong to some group as if religion is something I needed in my life. Now, I may still join a church for social reasons (although not a Unitarian Universalist one, after listening to one sermon about the myth of individualism, the rugged individualist in me asked repeatedly, "Does this woman really believe the garbage she is spewing?")

Being a Deist is fine with me, why go any deeper than that? It may be useful to have a philosophy to guide my life, but I already have a sense of morals which I find to be pretty useful. True, I had to abandon some of the ones the church taught, but a lot of them, although they could have been taught elsewhere, are useful. The one thing I was never big on which the church is was blind obedience. Sorry, but I'm not going to follow someone just because they claim to be God's personal representative.

I also realized that my relationship with God if I choose to have one is a personal matter. Dogma and doctrine while fascinating simply get in the way of what we're trying to achieve at times. (Perhaps it's an extension of why I've felt more spiritually connected out in the woods than I ever have in a church. Never mind that Mormon buildings are dull, soulless, and lifeless. Put some art up that isn't a picture of a temple of a current prophet please!)

Perhaps this is the end of my search, I don't know. The thing I've also realized is that even though I may have stopped searching for a time, my attempts to grow as a person do not stop. In this, it is the journey that's more important than a destination. In this quest, I see the divine as my guide, not as the father the Mormons pretend he is.

Final Note: If you've noticed the powered by Qumana tags, there's a reason for it. I was looking for a way to write blog entries offline and post them directly to my blog. A program exists for Word that does this. The major problem with this for me is that I use OpenOffice. So, when I saw an add for this, I tried it. It has a few quirks I'd change, but fulfills what I needed fairly well.

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Okay, it's time for a startling revelation....

 If there's one thing in my life, I've been more than open about, it's my left-handedness.  I actually enjoy being left-handed even if it does mean I have to put up with a variety of right-handed equipment I can't actually use properly.  Most people assume this is due to my innate clumsiness rather than poor design.   They can't actually fathom that there is actually a difference between how a left and right handed knife would be constructed for example.

 Now, I realize this won't come as a shock to anyone who realizes what the origins of the word sinister actually are, but the name The  Sinister Porpoise is actually intended to mean an evil-minded dolphin as the words imply rather than one who favors the opposite flipper. 

Why am I now choosing to reveal my left-handedness?  Well, if you've read this blog before, you know it's not the first time I've done so. I've been out of the closet when it comes to my hand preference for years.   It's not like I have to walk down the street and worry about someone trying to beat up that left-handed freak.  Most people wouldn't know even if I were writing right in front of them.  (It seems only other left-handed people will notice if someone's writing with their left-hand, I wonder why that is.)

 I guess I better get to the point as quickly as I can here.  August 13th is International Left-Handers Day.   It's a holiday I wish more people would celebrate.   Sure, you may not think it's a big deal, but chances are you've never been banned from doing a school newspaper layout because someone bought really cheap scissors that wouldn't cut when used in the left-hand.

 It's not a day of appreciation, but right handers can take the time and realize all the little crap that southpaws go through that generally adds up to mostly minor frustration.  Most sinistrals learn to deal with this, but I have in the past came across one blog entry from someone who injured their right hand and realized that most equipoment really isn't designed with left-handed use in mind.  Reading his rant was entertaining, because he had discovered something I'd known for years.  Fortunately, as a natural-born lefty, I'm more adaptable and can deal with it.  Let's face it, you have to be.  This guy could go back to his comfortable world as soon as his hand healed, but the sinistral lives with being 90 degrees out of phase with the rest of the world all his life.

So, feel free to go pick up a pair of left-handed scissors, corkscrew, can opener, watch (hmmm... why are these always ridiculously more expensive than their counterparts?  It isn't that difficult to put the button on the other side.), toothbrush, or bowling ball for that special southpaw in your life.   Personally, if you choose me, I'd prefer cash to purchase such items, and will gladly accept donations via Paypal.

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Quest for Truth

I scrapped what I'd originally written for this entry. I don't know why, but it seems the quality of what I've put up here hasn't been as high as lately. Call me a perfectionist, but it does bother me.

I will try to remain true to the spirit of the original post, if not I'll just post some of my detective fiction that I've never been able to get off the ground.

The fact is, I did lose a couple things in my life when I left the Mormon church. Sometimes I even think about going back, but a quick reading of Section 132 of the Doctrine & Covenants usually makes me change my mind. Besides as someone who has no intention at the moment of getting married, I'll never achieve the ultimate goal of a Mormon which is to make it into the Celestial Kingdom.

But, on to what it cost me. The first thing I think I've stated before. I lost the comforting feeling of having all the answers. The second I lost was the deep sense of community that existed. I don't know if this is the same in predominantly Mormon areas, but if you live in an area where you know you're in a religious minority, the community tends to be more tightly knit.

Because of the acceptance of absolute truth in my past, I'm not at all willing to accept the claims of anyone who believes that they have all the answers. If they tell me they believe something is true, that's fine, but I will not accept a random person telling me that they know it's true because the Bible tells them so. (How do they know the Bible is true beyond some vague feeling?)

Yet, an issue of a feeling lies at the core of this blog. Logic and simple biology tells me one thing, but my emotions are telling me another. I'm not sure which to follow at times. I wish I could just tell the feelings to go away and deal with the reality of the situation. I guess it worked when I had to deal with my mother's delusions, but not when it comes to things that affect me on a much more personal level.

Yet I find myself more willing to accept gender dysphoric feelings of late. Like my past, which is not always comfortable, ti's part of who I am and what I have become. Strangely enough this has been a recent change in me, perhaps I'm finally starting to overcome all the shame and guilt forced upon me on Mormonism.

For years I had a curious double standard when it came to such things. It was okay if other people were transgendered or gay, but when it came to myself, it never was. Don't ask me why I held myself to a higher standard when it came to this. We can all take a guess, given that we were supposed to be special and were told others held us to a higher standard because we were Mormon. I suppose I should feel some sort of sadness that another part of my Mormon upbringing is shaking away, but it's one that screwed me up royally and I will not miss it. It's nice to turn towards what might be approaching normality rather than have that shadow hanging over me.

Excuse me, but I think I'm having some feelings of anger come on that are familiar to many of us as our personal and spiritual journeys take us farther away from the “one true church.”

Monday, August 07, 2006

Good Ol' Cousin Floyd

Normally, I could care less who won the Tour De France. And normally, I'd be inclined to believe that the French really did temper with Floyd Landis's sample, simply because the French seem to have problems with Americans winning the Tour De France. (No offense, but if you accuse someone of cheating five times with no evidence, it would make it believable.) Now tensions between the United States and France have been a little high since the start of the war in Iraq, and most Americans view the French, as the Simpsons put it as “cheese-eating surrender monkeys.” (Q: How many Frenchmen does it take to defend Paris? A: Nobody knows, it's never been attempted.)

It's the sort of story I wish I could ignore, but unfortunately Floyd Landis and I share the same last name. If I even here my first or last name, it attracts my attention, so naturally, whether I've wanted to or not, I've followed this story. For the record, I watch one sporting event every four years, and it's not the Olympics. It's the World Cup. Okay, so I watched Italian soccer matches while working at a local pizza shop, but that's because it was the only thing on RAI International that I could understand. (I did follow the Superbowl this year, but only because I had a bet involving a gallon of Thin Mint Cookie Ice Cream riding on it. I lost, but as the Pennsylvania team won, it wasn't much of a loss.)

Now, while I have my doubts about the validity of the accusation, they are superseded by my suspicion that Cousin Floyd (note: we are probably not actually related, and if we are, it's distant.) really did do the deed he was accused of. It's not like he'd be the first athlete to have done so. He just got caught.

If it turns out he isn't guilty after all, I'll feel the same feeling of pride I did when I heard that he won. After all, he carries the same name and comes from the same state I do. (Although not the same area.) If not, I'll happily point out that it's just a coincidence we have the same last name.

Friday, August 04, 2006

I am The Sinister Porpoise

One or two things have been bothering me lately. The first is relatively minor and I'm not entirely sure I understand my objection to it, but if you're going to link to me, my nickname here is The Sinister Porpoise

People referring to me as Sinister Porpoise in comments or on message boards doesn't bother me, but if you link to me on the Internet, I'd prefer it if you'd use the full alias or the name of the site. You can also refer to me as "that unimaginative, crazy jerk who picks on the one true church" but that link might make readers think of someone else including some Mormons like Robert Kirby of Jeff Lindsey. (They may also confuse me with the Myspace Sinister Porpoise or the band of the same name.)

The other thing, of equally great importance is the term 'disaffected Mormon undergound' or DAMU. I rather think that New Order Mormons should belong to this category rather than blogs written by apostates. After all, we've left the church and can no longer be part of any underground. The New Order Mormons go here, in my opinion. They are the ones who choose to stay in the church after all.

I wish I could say I don't understand the position of the New Order Mormons, but unfortunately, I think I can understand it very well. The church after all offers a tight-knit if rather dysfunctional extended famiily. Not that this is the only reason to stay, sometimes there are issues with a your real family and you stay in the church to keep the peace.

But some people have mistakenly put Outer Blogness and DAMU in the same category. The boys in Salt Lake will never listen to the bitter apostates who obviously left so they could sin or were offended by some crying, middle aged woman taking up too much of our testimony time on the first Sunday of the month. If they realize there's a growing movement of people who don't believe and aren't happy with church policies the tune of the Brethren will change, especially if tithing money drops.

To me, the term underground conveys a more active resistance movement, and since I got out, I have no need to be part of a resistance movement in the Mormon organization.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Carnival of the Veil Week 12: Bread and Porpoises

Step right up and see the wonders of this weeks Carnival of the Veil! We bring the finest of posts from around the Ex and Post Mormon world to you the reader. Tonight we have a very special guest ringmaster, The Sinister Porpoise.

Matt from Not A Mormon relates a tale of a beat up Mormon missionary. For those who may be wondering, this Matt is not the same Matt who ran the other NotA Mormon site. Read more here Mormon Missionary Got Beat UP

Eight Hour Lunch talks about the various languages he's studied during the course of his life. Personally, the part about Spanish brings up this German phrase: Das kammt mir Spanisch vor. And as a student of Latin myself, I can't help but think of Seneca's famous quote: Rident Stolidi Verba Latina. Read more here Let's just hope the church doesn't get any ideas about bringing back the pater familias.

The normal ringmaster and gracious host for many Carnivals of the Veil talks about attending a Mormon baptism as an apostate and the social repercussions of it. What a shame Mormons cannot respect a decision to leave the church. Read more here:
Attending a Mormon Baptism

Not having an extensive dating career myself, I can't say I'm really sure what Trixie Granny is talking about, but it seems to be about the aftermath of a breakup. Well, I'm sure other people will be able to sort it out better than I. Read more here Trixie Granny's Blog

C.L. Hansen from Letters from A Broad discusses being on the “Mommy Track.” Personally, I prefer having nieces and nephews. I can have all of the fun and none of the responsibility. Read more here:

Darque from Heart of Darqueness offers a variety of video clips. Unfortunately, while I can watch them, I have odd technical issues with my sound card that can't be fixed. If you're more fortunate than I, watch the videos here

Sideon from Sideon's Sanctuary compares Mormon Garments to chastity belts. I never went through the temple, so I never experienced wearing garments, but from what I understand wearing a chastity belt would be somewhat more comfortable. Read more here

Over at Sons of Perdition they ask the eternal question of how to determine whose God is stronger. Read more here:

Here at the Lair I ask to be woken up when September ends, read below. I'd quote it for you, but that would be redundant and arrogant. See the world's most intelligent cetacean sleep with one eye open.