Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Interview

I finally came across the infamous interview with two Mormon apostles where the Church clarifies its position on homosexuality. I know I'm a bit behind here as many people have already expressed their opinions on what Elders Oaks and Wickam had to say, but I must admit I'm not seeing why there was a great deal of anger over it.

There were some things I personally found offensive, but I think many people are forgetting the framework in which this is occurring. Whether we like to admit it or not this is actually a huge leap forward for the church when it comes to dealing with one minority group they've not had good relations with. (You can read horror stories about electroshock therapy at BYU by doing a simple Google search on it.)

Basically the whole point of the interview, or at least the important bits is that sexual orientation cannot be changed and that people are born with it. Coming from an organization that still has many people treating sexual orientation and gender identity they consider to be abnormal as an illness.

It seems that a lot of us would like an organization to come wholly into line with our viewpoint, even if we've left it simply because we disagree with its doctrines, history, or lying about its history or any combination of the above. I know this is human, but the truth is it isn't going to happen. The Church is above all else, interested in maintaining the organization with as many members as it can. Whether this is due to money or because the leadership actually believes in it is a matter of individual opinion, although both may be factors. I don't know the personal motives of the Brethren. Right now it seems they're in a difficult spot with true information freely available that can't just be discarded as Anti-Mormon lies and it seems to me they have yet to figure out how to do damage control from maintaining a black and white stance for so long.

Don't worry folks, it may be 30 years down the road from now, but the Mormon church will eventually become more like other Liberal Mainstream Protestant churches in its outlook, although I hope the organization maintains its bizarre theology that makes it unique in American religion.

Monday, September 25, 2006

This week will mark the one year anniversary of this blog. I mention it just becauswe it amazes me I've kept this up for a year. I'm also surprised at the way things have evolved. However, I am not going to spend too much time dwelling on it.

I've been a little depressed lately, I'm not sure why. I know I haven't quite feel like writing anything down here and don't necessarily feel up to it today. Whether this is becauze the Zoloft has stopped working or I'm just in a natural down due to the greyer fall weather is anybody's guess.

Not to mention I think the therapist mentioned earlier may be right about post traumatic stress disorder. I've looked up the symptoms but I just wish I could find more information on possible emotional causes of the disease or any diseases that mimic the disorder.

My feelings regarding the issue are complex. We typically associate the disorder with combat veterans and people who have been through disasters. I just have this vision of being in a support group filled with combat veterans, survivors of hurricanes or other disasters, and maybe one or two of the rescue workers who were at the World Trade Center and being laughed out of the meeting.

Perhaps that's a little harsh. If you know some of the things I went through including having to deal with crazy relatives, it would not be unlikely for psychological disorders to develop. Still, I don't know. Maybe it's one of those things I'd have difficulty accepting.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

This Counselor is Starting to Worry Me

I've been in counseling for several years for anxiety and depression issues. A lot of this is related to my early life and I don't want to get into detail here. However, somethings about the current therapist are making me a little nervous.

First off, I get the impression she's a Southern Baptist. While this does not condemn her as a person, she knows of my Mormon background and I think her sect's perception of it is affecting her professionalism. I know a lot of us in Outer Blogness refer to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as a cult, but you'd be hard pressed to find an example of me referring to the organization as it exists today as such. The church is just weird.

She's brought up Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in a few of the last sessions. I've looked up the symptoms online and can see why she thinks this, but I do not think there were any events in my past that could have led to me developing PTSD. Either she's totally wrong, or I'm missing something that she is seeing. The earlier therapist brought it up once or twice as well.

While craziness may be the normal impression most of us get from Southern Baptists, even if they are living outside of the South, it is not good to find such disturbing traits in a mental health professional. Although the saying of people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones may apply here, it just makes me wonder if I'm really getting what I should be getting out of the experience or if she's applying her own prejudices in my case. Which brings up another question, is projection a real problem with psychotherapy?

I've tried to bring up the issue of her calling the Mormons a cult, but she said only, “How do you know that isn't what they want you to believe?” Now, while I'm not a big fan of the Mormon church in general, I've done my own research and come to my own conclusions. I may or may not be using my own personal biases as I still want to take something of value out of my experiences as Mormon, just as she's using her own perceptions to paint the brush of cultism on a religious denomination she doesn't personally agree with.

I don't know if her religious convictions come into play here or not. I know at times it's hard to separate what we have to do professionally from what we believe personally. (For example, I believe a lot of customers really need a good, swift kick in the rear, but I'd get fired for acting out on that belief.) It seems to me she is not separating them the way she should.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Ahoy, me hearties!

Today be September 19th and that day be one of my favorite hoidays. That's right ye landlubbers, today be Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Friday, September 15, 2006

There is no Title Today

Much to my surprise I was included in the Carnival of the Veil this week. This is because although I did in fact intend to participate, I had suffered from a strange case of writer's block and could not think of anything to write for it. I'm not mad that what I wrote got included, I just finished it late and did not submit it. Oh well. It could have been better, too.

It seems I've not really been able to set the proper mood for writing which Ray Bradbury describes in his book Zen in the Art of Writing. I don't know how many people have read this book, or even are Ray Bradbuy fans. After reading some of his later stories, I can only conclude that his writing has gotten worse as he's gotten older.

I suppose I'm only bringing up writing because it seems a lot of the people in Outer Blogness are taking a break to write about their experiences with the Mormon church. Now, I don't really want to sit down and write a book about it, because it would out of necessity deal with somethings involving my family and I simply don't think some stories would be believed. (Some things you just have to live through.)

I suppose that's because a lot of us who do blog do it because one of our hobbies is writing. We may or may not have made it professionaly.. I know I certainly haven't. It's been a while since I've tried as well. I guess a bout of depression a few years back caused me to lose my interest in it. Even if I never make it, I'll still have a hobby that I enjoy. (At least that's one way of looking at it.)

As much as I'd love to be a feature columnist, I just don't see it happening in my life, unless by some miracle someone looks at this blog and says “By golly, let's get her to write for our paper.” For various reasons, I don't see that happening, not the least of which is that no one uses the phrase “By golly” in real life.

In the meantime, I guess I'll just continue blogging.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


I've been struggling with self-hatred for the longest time. I remember sitting down in groups where people would ask me what I thought was good about myself and dreading it. I would not give answers when asked, although this may have been out of modesty, or would it be because I didn't have a very good self-image?

If you know me, you know there are reasons I would feel this way and if you don't, you can go back through the archives where I give a good number of them. Being given the impression every day that your worthless regardless of the source and in my case there were a number of them does not help one build positive self-esteem.

I don't really know how to work on this. I don't believe telling myself things that are not true is a good way to work on it, nor do I believe human beings are an accurate judge of their own personal strengths and weaknesses. Yet the process for overcoming this seems to be sending messages to yourself. I don't know, it doesn't seem to me that a deluded self-image is a good way to build up how you personally feel about yourself.

Perhaps I should pay more attention to the positive things others have said about me as few and far between as those are. Chances are there might be something there. Maybe not. Still, it would be nice not to have to deal with self-hatred.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Project Lazarus

Well, at least Blogger Beta has sprung no new moronic surprises on me lately, although they still have to fix some of the ones they have created. (Note: If you can't comment on my blog because you're not using Blogger Beta, I do allow anonymous comments. Unfortunately, I can't comment on some of the blogs I read regularly right now because of this little quirk. Geeze, let's try fixing this Google? Not to mention getting your beta to place nice with offline blog authoring tools instead of putting the burden on the developers. You're the twits who switched the software.)

Speaking of software, if you've followed one of my trends for a while, you know I use a good deal of open source software. Apart from writing, programming is one of my other hobbies. A while ago I'd found a good Pascal compiler that was compatible with Delphi – the problem was it didn't have the GUI interface that Delphi and Visual Basic use which actually does cut down on quite a bit of coding. (Delphi writes the code for you, it seems to be internally generated in Visual Basic.)

So strangely enough I happen upon a project called Lazarus. Lazarus is a GNU/open source attempt to build a Delphi-like environment. I haven't really played around with it too much yet, but it seems to work. I even dug out a bug I have on Delphi to see if it would be useful. I'll keep you updated as I play around with it.

If you ask me why I don't find such a product for Visual Basic, I'll just give you an evil look. Oh, and don't you think bus drivers are horrendously underpaid, especially the kind that drive those big yellow ones?

Monday, September 11, 2006

I've Never Had to Knock on Wood...

A song by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones starts out with this line: "Have you ever been close to tragedy or been close to folks who have?" For a while, I could identify with this song, but one day five years ago, it seemed that it lost some of its impact. When I heard what had happened to the Twin towers and saw America's reaction I realized we had all been close to tragedy then regardless of how far we were from the Pentagon, New York City, or the Pennsylvania field where the one plane went down.

I suppose there will be memorial posts all over blogs today, after all, it was one of the most significant events in recent American history and it literally rocked the world. We are still dealing with the aftereffects today, including a war currently on two fronts.

It is hard not to feel a little sadness when we reflect on such things, even though we may not have personally suffered any loss as a direct result of an attack by people committing violence in the name of their religion. We are lucky in the West to see this occur on a very limited basis and most events -- such as the Mountain Meadows Massacre (which also occurred on a September 11th) are in a distant past.

While I do not think we will ever live in a world free of violence, perhaps we can stop killing each other because our God or gods tell us to someday. Maybe I just should have gotten permission from the Onion to reprint their classic story of "God Clarifies 'Thou Shalt Not Kill' Rule" which they ran shortly after September 11, 2001.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

What do people mean when they say personal growth?

I've been thinking about what Personal growth means lately. Truthfully, although I've been told I've been pursuing this I'm not quite clear on what it means exactly. It seems that every person who I ask has a different definition. In my more cynical moments, I think that personal growth simply means becoming more like the person using the phrase.

So, it wouldn't be the first time a human has embarked down a road without a clear idea of where the road might lead or where the journey might take him or her along the way, but it seems to me that I should have a clearer idea of what I'm trying to achieve.

I think it should be more than just some New Age almost Wiccan answer that "it can mean whatever you want it to mean." Perhaps there are areas that I may need to work on for this elusive personal growth thing -- whatever that may mean -- that others may not, but it does seem that there should be some sort of goal overall with the various roadsigns along the way dependant on the path we are taking.

I don't know. Maybe there's a reason why it remains vague. It seems that the self-help authoring industry is a growing field. Perhaps they've decided to keep it vague because they themselves can't decide what personal growth must mean and make more money by arguing amongst themselves about it. Sometimes we can let organizations define it for us, but that ultimately means become more like the members of the organization.

I have yet to come to any real conclusion about this. I've asked several people and they all came up with different answers.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

My Ill Will Towards Google is Increasing....

Quit screwing around with Blogger Beta. I've found a number of posts I've liked to comment on but can't simply because someone decided it was a good idea to seperate Google accounts from Blogger accounts. Letting people sign in with their Google accounts may in theory have been a neat idea, but it was a bad one in practice since you could no longer sign in with your old account. Well, all those offline blogging tools are now useless and the fixes I've found don't work. Thank you for that.

This new decision to seperate them is even more moronic. Why shouldn't someone who hasn't upgraded be able to comment on my blog if they so desire to do so. They can't. Only those who've switched to Blogger beta can and although Blogger still recognizes my original account, I get redirected every single freaking time asking me to log in with the new account whether I have or not.

It's time to abandon Blogger Beta as simply a bad idea, Google. It doesn't work and you're just causing people frustrations over things that used to work. Sure they may not have worked perfectly, but they did at least work. I'm getting sick of some moronic surprise being sprung on me every few days.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

An Odd Question

Since many of us Ex-Mormon and otherwise are amatuer Mormon theologians, I put forth the following question: Do I still hold the preisthood?

Yes, those of us who have done the research know the church is a fraud and it's unlikely that I have any real authority from God, but follow my logic on this. Leaving the church according to the exit letter we receive cancels the Blessings of Baptism. This is, according to my understanding, contrary to Christian doctrine. However, the Priesthood ordinations aren't a result of the blessings of Baptism, and if I remember the Aaronic Priesthood lessons correctly cannot be revoked from a person once given.

So, the question is, even though we're apostates, can we still perform Priesthood ordinances? I ask this simply because according to one little book I took home with me from my brief time in the Navy, Priests can participate in exorcisms. (I still wish I had this little red booklet. It came with the 'service set' of scriptures.)

If so, are there any fellow apostates who want to get together and perform, I don't know, an exorcism on Boyd K. Packer? I can think of a few other worthy Mormon apostles who seem to be possessed. Maybe we can even get the spirit of the former public relations/advertising professional who seems to inhabit the body of the current prophet.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Talking to Myself

“You don't have to keep me hidden forever you know.”

“Who are you?”

“I am part of you.”

“Why have you chosen to reveal yourself now?”

“I've been here all along. You've tried to ignore me.”

“What are you, my conscience?”

“No, although I can fill that role. I am the part of you that you've known was there all along, but life caused you to build a very different persona than the person we'd both like to have become.”

“What's wrong with me?”

“If you liked who you were two years ago you wouldn't have started down this road.”

“What road?”

“Why are you asking questions which you already know the answers to? The road of personal growth. The road of self-discovery.”

“But I already know who I am.”

“I do not deny you know you're given name and you've made great strides in discovering who you are, but you will not go as far as you need to until you accept all that that entails.”

“I can't do that yet.”

“I'll be here whether or not you are ready. In the end you'll have no choice but to face me one way or the other.”