Wednesday, November 29, 2006

What? All this and talk of peace?

     The Christmas season once again descends upon us and it looks like those who engaged in the Blog Everyday contest will soon be relieved of their burden.  I did not engage in this merely because I knew the quality of my writing would suffer if I had to blog everyday. I've tried it in the past. I can do it if I have something to talk about, but I cannot do it if there is nothing I want to write about.  (Perhaps I should engage in Cynthia Bagley's writing exercises as she is right that blogging has rekindled my interest in writing. Now if something could be done to restore my desire to code.)
     But I got an e-mail from someone who shall remain anonymous (and I have not answered his other question, but while someone related to me does post here from time to time, I am not related to anyone in Outer Blogness.) hoping that I'd find peace with myself.  A number of Outer Blogness posts in November seemed to deal with the same subject.

      If we seek peace, are we not missing the point of our spiritual pursuits or our quests for personal growth?  Call it what you will, but I thought the point was to make yourself a better person.   People often go on about the benefits of how their religion brings them peace or joy (the peace part seems absent in Mormonism, and if the use of anti-depressants is as high as to be believed, most of the "joy" comes from prescription medication.)

    It seems to me that peace should be a side effect of the journey, not the goal in and of itself, as whatever path the journey takes you on, you will struggle along it and you'll not always be at the inner peace that the others think they are trying to achieve.

      It is a struggle, but cannot it not be said that the struggle is more important than the brief moments of rest you find along the way?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

    If my readers will forgive me for writing a rambled and disjointed post, I will share with them some news.  I've hinted at a project I'm working on.  Like many others in Outer Blogness, I've decided to write a book after a publisher asked to see a manuscript from me.  I'm not too excited about this because it merely means a publisher asked to see a manuscript, nothing more.  A number of things could keep it from the eventual publication.

     But like the established writer, Natalie R. Collins, I'll be working on a mystery series. (I might also start work on two "Roman" based works I've had ideas about for awhile.)  Thankfully as my idea is a film-noir fantasy mix it will blissfully not mention Mormons in any way and although they may exist in my fictional world, they will not be the focus of the work.

     Secondly, I've somehow managed to get the fourth ranking for "porpoise" on Google's search.  I'm not sure how this happened and it's the blurb someone else submitted to the open directory project.  I'm not sure I can change this, although I'd very much like to.  (Even though this has happened, the vast majority of the searchers who come to this blog will still probably be looking for song lyrics.)   I suppose just to placate these searcher although they seem to be rare, I might have to post things about actual porpoises.  (And by the way to the one searcher -- that's Joseph Smith is a lier, lair is a completely different and unrelated word.  Joseph Smith was probably a lier, but he was never a lair.)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Hazy Shade of Winter Lyrics

      While the number of hits on my blog for the MMBT's "The Impression That I Get" is impressive, I've also been getting a number of people searching for the lyrics to A Hazy Shade of Winter.   (But they don't seem to know that's the title... I've seen leaves are brown and time time time see what's become of me.)

     The song was done originally by Simon and Garfunkel and was redone in the 80s by the Bangles.   To help those searchers out, here are the lyrics:

Time, time, time, see whats become of me
While I looked around
For my possibilities
I was so hard to please
But look around, leaves are brown
And the sky is a hazy shade of winter

Hear the salvation army band
Down by the riverside, its bound to be a better ride
Than what youve got planned
Carry your cup in your hand
And look around, leaves are brown now
And the sky is a hazy shade of winter

Hang on to your hopes, my friend
Thats an easy thing to say, but if your hopes should pass away
Simply pretend
That you can build them again
Look around, the grass is high
The fields are ripe, its the springtime of my life

Ahhh, seasons change with the scenery
Weaving time in a tapestry
Wont you stop and remember me
At any convenient time
Funny how my memory slips while looking over manuscripts
Of unpublished rhyme
Drinking my vodka and lime

But look around, leaves are brown now
And the sky is a hazy shade of winter

Look around, leaves are brown
Theres a patch of snow on the ground...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

November 20th

    I started out to write this entry a few days ago.  Even those who are engaged in writing in a casual way know how difficult it is when you set down to write something in mind.   This is true even if it's as something as typically as short as a blog entry is.

     However, I did have something in particular I wanted to address for this entry and have it included in this week's Carnival of the Veil.  I may be writing about it a little early, but the dates of the carnival deadline and November 20th don't quite match up.

    What's special about November 20th?  Perhaps I've treated the subject too lightly up to this point.  It's not that it's my birthday.  (The Sinister Porpoise's birthday is in February.)  No, it is a sad day if you are aware of what it signifies.  November 20th is the Transgendered Day of Remembrance.

       I wanted to do some research on it, but I'm not the type of person who can make my writing fit well if I'm encumbered by too much facts.  I strongly recommend doing a Google search and visiting the other sites where the people who were murdered are remembered.

      I'd prefer not to address this at all.   I wish we could live in a world where people were not murdered for their differences but it's all too easily to late irrational hate turn into anger and let your anger guide you.  

       They paid a price for being true to themselves.   May we all never have to pay such a price.

P.S. I don't know if I was unclear but the day remembers people who were murdered. I don't know if Mattt's comment is trying to point out my lack of clarity, humor, or knowledge I personally don't have.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

     Jeff Lindsey had an interesting post on his blog, Mormanity.  Jeff Lindsey may not know it, he was influential when I made my decision to finally rescind my membership in the Mormon church, but I do have some respect for the man although I disagree with him.  When I first encountered the website that he runs I was amused by his proud display of some of the awards he's won.  Quite  few of these came from groups that are decidedly Anti-Mormon.  Clearly, the man does have a sense of humor, albeit a sarcastic and sometimes subtle one.  (Blogger, if you're really going to edit me for this, can you at least try to keep the rhythm I'm going for here?  Don't think I've forgotten your little faux pas changing LDS church to the Church of Jesus Christ elsewhere on my blog.)

    He even acknowledges there may be valid reasons for leaving, but he wants us to search for the divine.  I must disagree strongly with Mr. Lindsey that there is evidence of the divine in the Mormon scriptures, and the things that may be considered evidence of the divine aren't at all unique to the Mormon church.  When it comes to writing, I consider showing what beauty a language is capable of or expressing your thoughts clearly to be evidence of the divine -- if that was the writer's purpose.   What parts of the Book of Mormon do show this come from elsewhere, either plagiarized from the new testament by the hand of Joseph Smith, or plagiarized by the Nephites from the Old Testament they took with them to America.

     Writing is not the only evidence of the divine though.  Given the deceptions that were carried out by Joseph Smith and leaders of the church, I find I must ask myself, is there really any evidence of the divine within the church as an organization?  It often goes on about how much charity work it does, but at least in the United States, those figures are hidden from its members.

    While it may be true I have a blind spot where Mormonism is concerned because it has not always have had a positive effect on me, I've been thinking more or less lately about whether the organization is good or evil.  I suppose some of this comes from a report of a family member having an argument with my father.   I did not think the argument was necessary, but on the other hand my father should have no better to say "Mormonism is an easy religion for women. You only have to obey your husband" in front of that particular family member.  (I hope she doesn't mind this.  We all at times say things before we start to think.  To some of us it happens far more often than others.)   I suppose she could have brought up the high use of anti-depressants among Mormon women, but I was not privy to the conversation, and I do not know if she did.   She also brought up electroshock therapy used as late as the 70's at BYU -- which he did not believe.

     Often the intents of people trying to good or noble, but would the saying "The Road to Hell is paved with good intentions" have become a clich�� were it not for the tendency to do evil things while believing you're serving the greater good?

    I will not deny that the church produces good people, but those who Robert Kirby calls genuine Mormons are few and far between.  It is highly likely these people would have been good whether or not they were members of the church.  However, while this is the case, there are many people for whom religion is a tool to make them a better person and this is where I think religion is most beneficial to a society, if we do not carry it so far that we're willing to harm others for our belief.  A good example is the 12-step program favored by AA.  I'd rather have a harmless evangelical proselytizing me than a heroin addict who's trying to take my wallet.  At least the first person is far less likely to use violence.

     The question is, does the Mormon church do this as a whole? I'm tempted to say no, but in this case, I must be cautious of my bias.  I think it could be, but as an organization it is largely immature, although it could have learned from its predecessors and avoided many of the pitfalls other churches soon fell into.

    Perhaps it is time we re-evaluated all our religions to see if this is the purpose that they're serving?  After all, evidence of the divine can be found in someone being a better human being more easily than such evidence can be found by translating golden plates you found buried in a hillside.


    I'm beta-testing Performancing for Firefox and it has a few quirks with Blogger Beta.  The most annoying one is the lack of titles and the double tag.   But it is something I've been looking for as it lets me edit the blog offline without pasting things in from Open Office.

Monday, November 06, 2006

    I've been told I should dedicate a blog exclusively to Anti-Mormonism. I've also been asked if all Ex-Mormons are gay or just the ones I know.   Well, considering the person who asked the question is Ex-Mormon herself whether or not the church considers her such, she might have wanted to think that one through a little better, but I didn't think about it myself at the time.

    The truth is while it would be easy to dedicate a blog to exposing the Mormon church, and people have done so.  (The long-winded Mormon Truth is a good example.)  Blogs are weblogs or personal journals where the thoughts of a person get aired -- or at least that's the personal weblogs.  Businesses sometimes use them and blogs are often used as a means of political commentary as well.   The truth is I already have enough blogs to keep me busy for awhile and I'm not very good about updating most of them.  This one is an exception as I consider it my "main blog."  This is usually where my best stuff goes.  Normal websites that I do not link to here such as Deconstructor's are the best place to go if you're looking for information on the darker side of Mormonism.

      And I will blog about what I wish to blog about, although the line of "Got Porpoise?" products might have a certain ring to it if there was enough interest.  On the other hand, I am tempted to make slight alterations to those "Got Purpose" bumper stickers every time I see them.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Crises of Faith

    I've written in the past of people who I like to call spiritual vultures.  There are the people ready to sweep in on someone in a crisis of faith and get them to convert to their religion.   They exist primarily in Christianity and mostly among the Fundamentalist sects nowdays.  Yet it seems that some Ex-Mormons when they find someone is questioning their own beliefs are ready to jump down the individual's throat and tell them how wrong the questoner is.   It seems there's something in every human that makes him want the questioning individual to agree with thim.

     It is not for me to say whether any religion, spiritual path or philosophy is valid so long as it is not a danger to the practitioner, others, or the community as a whole.   I fully acknowledge the possibility that I may be wrong in my beliefs, whatever they may be. I've found they've changed as I've gotten older, although I still hang on to to a "Zen" writing method.    At the same time I want to scream at the people doing this to stop.  Yet if I did that I'd be no better than the people engaging in the spiritual vulture behavior that I abhor.

    I realize there are those who say I play a dangerous game with my eternal soul, but such people are those who try to convert others with the threat of eternal punishment, and I do not believe they should be heeded.  Such people may detest the writings of Niccolo Machiavelli, it seems they eagerly embrace his tactics when it comes to spiritual pursuits.  Does a God that created the universe and everyghing it contains really believe that it's better to be feared than loved? 

     Perhaps it may not be sensational and perhaps we wil not see spectacular mystical experiences such as those that happened to Paul or supposedly happened to the Buddha, but letting people take their own quiet path of exploration seems a surer way.

       While I can not prove that there is something in us that lives beyond our deaths in any way that a scientist would except, I do think we have a spirit, even if as die-hard atheists are likely to maintain it's nothing more than our interpretation of our thoughts, experiences, and memories.   Even so, I'm sure almost everyone would agree there is something within us all that makes us more than a collection of our parts.

       There are times to challenge others in order for their growth and their are times when a person is already challenged enough with things as they currently are.  I do not think a crisis of faith is the right time to be forcing your opinions on another individual.

powered by performancing firefox