Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Addendum #1

Hello to anyone who has emailed me in the last 6 months. I went through my emails last Fall, then have tried to keep up with them for the last couple months. I know a lot of BYU students who email me make up new emails, and sometimes I don't reply quickly. But I have been trying to get better at it since some people truly are grateful to meet other students and people who have doubts or don't believe anymore, or maybe are not religious and at BYU, so I have been trying to reply to all emails.

If you emailed me but didn't get a response, or forgot your email, etc... or changed your mind, but now maybe think it might be fun to meet up with people in similar playing fields as you, please email me again. Best wishes.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The End - Evolution of a Blog 2012

Hello dear readers. 
As I’m sure many have noticed … I’m rarely on here anymore! Life has gotten back to normal, well, more regular since this last spring. For those who know me they probably have noticed that I’ve been traveling a lot, my online posting has become a lot less argumentative, I’m back to college full-time and doing good, and I’ve been hanging out and seeing a lot of girls/women. On my blog you will have noticed that I rarely post anymore, and that my posts have generally been heading towards more concise issues, fewer posts about Mormonism, and more posts about any qualms I have with having moved into such an atheistic and secular lifestyle. 
As like my post of over a year ago about the evolution of my blog this post is coming up because I feel my blog has left another chapter. Or rather, I have moved on into another chapter of my life.

I’m no longer working fulltime, no longer dating Heretic, for a while now actually, lolz. My dad has moved from Dementia to late Alzheimer’s now and is in a 24/7 care facility. I am no longer truly connected with a lot of postmo and atheist groups in Utah. I actually left a lot of them, including the BYU group. I have become a slight connoisseur of wine. I’ve greatly expanded my travels in the region. And I decided to go back into therapy to deal with any social issues I feel I have, and to better deal with the deterioration of my father.
I have long come to terms with that surety of my own mortality, but I struggle with the mortality of others, from acquaintances and former friends, to current friends and family. As I explained early on in my blogging career, I left the church, I admitted I was an atheist, and a month later my dad was diagnosed with Dementia. This didn’t make me hate God … I didn’t believe, and his illness didn’t make me stop believing, that had already happened. But his illness really made me question my stance; if it was healthy for me, did I truly not believe.
I rarely ever brought this up. I mentioned it at SHIFT once in discussion, I brought it up lightly with Heretic when we dated, I never really talked about it with friends. Underneath the surface I was wrought with pain at the oncoming deaths of my parents, knowing and understanding that I would first see my dad struggle for a long time.
Then, in March of this year, he was in the hospital for several weeks, and was diagnosed with late moderate stage Alzheimer’s disease. This was a devastating time for me. Besides that and no longer having a full-time job he also was put into a home (the doctor’s were trying to require it of us) and was expected to cost $8000. Now, lolz, for those who know me, I get insanely stressed out about finances. It drives me up the wall, gives me ulcers, causes me to lose sleep, and can put me into a lazy depression. Spring didn’t start well for me.
If Mormonism must be mentioned then it is this: the Church has nothing to help with the elderly, like my 60 year old dying father, who cannot take care of themselves, or to help the Caregivers. I admit, many religions and churches don’t, but there are a lot of Christian organizations to help just with something like this. Point being served: church is invisible by this time, even to the point of me calling around to authorities and receiving no callbacks. Even my mother was surprised by the lack of help she received, even when asking.
But it is normal for people outside of the family to not really understand or properly judge the situation that the Caregivers and victims are in and experiencing. 

God really does seem like an abusive spouse. 

After some more drama and schisms within the BYU group I left that as well, though by that point I was at a new all-time low. I had begun hooking up, getting fuck-buddies, and trying to date, one-night stands, and I had gotten back into doing classes of UofU, but with all the drama and disconnect from former friends and lovers, I threw myself into therapy. After a couple intake sessions (cause I had enough issues to warrant two) it was decided I should focus on different issues at a time, first off by putting me into group therapy for relationships.
Since then, I’ve been in one-on-one for dealing with stress, dealing with my dad, and now focusing on trying to get me to stop burning bridges and self-destructing my friendships … most often cause something else is hurting me in my life.
That’s a bit of rambling. But I’m trying to point out that my spring and summer didn’t start too well, which affected my blog negatively, primarily by me not checking emails or replying nearly so often as I should. I did write a mass email out to the last 12 who contacted me since June. I hope they all received that, and can forgive me for letting them down.
On that thread, there is a small movement to form a new group at BYU to garner towards new people, as the old group has evolved into a group of friends rather than a group of people who look for and help new people. I have not heard of any new updates with that as of yet. But after a year of stagnation, and a season of me being off the radar, I think it is time a fresh group is brought into the picture. I expect this should probably be done every couple years or so. When I came on the scene there was Taking Back Sunday; now it’s the Community. Who knows what the future will hold for those who feel lost, alone, or in need of some people they can be open with. 

I am semi-retired. I have not lived up to a lot of promises on here, towards posts I said I would write, and mainly that is because I’m just not that interested anymore. A lot of my podcasts I listen to and watch now are not related to religion. History and sex advice seem to be my top two categories, lolz. Mormonism and atheism, and religion and spirituality … eh, I’m pretty fine where I am now, knowledge-wise. Being that the type of happiness I’ve achieved, on my own, over the last few months, I feel that god-belief and religion are unnecessary for me now. Atheism isn’t something I need to go to and read up on. Mormonism is more false now than before (especially after getting more involved in mixed dating and seeing so many couples get divorces, from people I’ve met online, like in the Mormon Expression group).
I really tried hard from my early days to incorporate a strong agnosticism, like Demosthenes seemed to promote, and I feel I have achieved that a lot more than I expected. I catch myself, all the time, saying “are you sure? Do you truly know? Why don’t you ask them?” It’s made me more sensitive and conscientious to those who DON’T live that way, in particular, those online who routinely follow a “relativeness” heuristic in every conversation (meaning, I say one thing, and they categorize me and assume everything else about me). Still astounded with how many adults do this … must be a post-Mormon thing. Fundamental attribution errors happen a lot too, as an afterthought.
But, the point is, I’m kind of done. I don’t expect to ever completely stop with this blog. I’ll check it now and then, I’ll probably write a little more here and there. And if a newer group doesn’t form then maybe I should help it get off the ground.
And this is all pretty normal. Most blogs die off. Irreligiosophy essentially died. Mormon Expression has kind of died. And not because no one was listening, no, usually at the apex of interest. I still, even after only a dozen posts this year, average 170 views a day, though over a 120 of those are picture searches, lolz, on average. 

So, this is goodbye for now. I am sure there will be more posts I’ll make in the future, but no more promises, no more ‘responsibility.’ I would like to be out of Utah in two years. I feel myself separating from the postmo crowds a bit due to drama that eventually ensues. Religion and god-belief has taken a backseat in my life, I’ve moved on to more important and enjoyable things. To anyone who is still reading, best of luck to you in any of your journeys, and I hope that with whatever you are doing now, and wherever you are in life, you can admit that things won’t always be great, but that you have no reason to stay where you’re at if you aren’t happy, or if you’re miserable. Move on to something else and don’t hold on to the things that are merely causing you more pain than necessary.
Best of luck, ciao.

Monday, August 20, 2012

When God Matters

I have been keeping myself busy with trips, traveling, and people. I apologize to those emailing me, I am very far behind. But being that BYU is about to start back up I will get through my emails and help postmos and the non-religious to find accepting and/or similar people to be around.

I recently hung out with a really fun girl who used to be LDS, isn't really anymore, would call herself Christian, and does things she would've been taught we're sinful. We've actually known each other for a while but never hung out or anything, and though my mind was occupied with a lot of family issues I had a blast with her. For her she has a lot of self-professed angst, seemingly stemming from the death of a parent not too many years ago while she was in high school. For her the idea of her parent looking down and watching over her, guiding her along when needed, and proud of her achievements, brings a lot of strength to her. Listening to her say things like this off-hand and commonly, I noticed that she rarely spoke about God doing something similar but would mention God in similar threads to that of her parent, just usually a little more vaguely.

I guessed that she has some antagonistic sentiments towards God, where God deals out justice and law, but where her parent deals out love, comfort, and motivation. She also has some reservations in how she views her living parent, though she expresses a lot of love, she also expresses a lot of criticism. I felt like the girl was a walking cliche at first, but found a lot of the emotions and thoughts to be very complicated, quite fascinating. And in relation to my postmo status and agnostic worldview along with atheism, I found myself having a difficult time relating ... yet desperately wanting to relate. Not that she needed help or a shoulder to lean on, but I found myself lacking in what I could say at those quiet moments where she ceased to speak and where the offer for my compassion hung in the air. But I could not find a personal view on death or 'afterlife' that would be helpful, neither a simple sentiment in regards to her beliefs without either lying or coming across as detached and unsympathetic.

It not my place to change people from one world-view to another, but I find myself lacking in being able to relate on important topics even though at one point I believed like she does, and I can still remember what that is like. Which makes sense. As my father slowly dies I find myself not being able to handle it well. I recognize, accept, and receive inspiration from my own mortality ... but I lack the calm water of my mortality when faced with the turbulent mortality of others. And I lack ways of being able to relate to those with strong convictions about souls and the afterlife, even though I desperately wish to relate to people like this girl.

This isn't a sad post or anything, but a very sober post and an admission to the gulf between the believers and the non-believing, especially when it comes to death. Or perhaps this is simply a comment on the wide variety of ways people deal with life's issues, and that my approach is somehow not all that compatible with hers.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Some Things the LDS Church Should Change For the Better

I am not posting any funny pictures to this post. I am in one of my moods right now. This is something that has been coming for a long time now, mulling over in my head as I listen to podcasts, as I wrote posts on here for over two years. Some of what I say here is not new by any means, but I feel like this list is 'acceptable.' That any member could read this and as a decent human being agree. I try to be reasonable with my suggestions, and I honestly believe that if the Church did these things it would help it as an institution and would garner more respect from me and others who left it behind. These by no means are the entirety of how I feel ... for the most part this is a list of compromises. Especially the Women's section. These are things I think the Church could ACTUALLY do within the next year and would not cause that much of a stir inside, but would help them to gain the support and respect from many outside.

So here it goes:

Own up to their racist past:
The Catholic Church comes out and apologizes for things. The LDS church tries to separate itself. I thought racism was discriminating against someone based on their skin color and/or ethnicity. Tell me how blacks not getting the priesthood or being able to go to the temple worship services is not racism? What exactly was stopping them except their skin color? How is this discrimination based on skin color NOT racism? If not, then how would you define Racism? Please, I would like to know.

This is one of the top reasons members LEAVE the church: the history of racism. If the church owned up to it, apologized to its members, all blacks, and those of the world who detest an evil discrimination such as this, then it would only do them good. As it is now, it is doing them harm. And if some members get upset about it ... then good, the Church SHOULDN'T want those type of people in their community.

I have met people who separated themselves from the Church because of this.

Stop using The Miracle of Forgiveness for those raped or molested:
I had heard of this before but never gave it much thought till a recent conversation with a former member who has worked with rape victims professionally and felt this was one of the most damaging things in her life. And who could disagree? For those who don't know TMoF is a book talking about all the types of sinning you can do and how Jesus is there to provide a path of forgiveness and love. Its central message is lost in the very judgmental and depressing statements made about sinners. Basically if you ever had a bad thought about a girl in a bikini then you will fear Hell-fire and run to your bishop for forgiveness if you read this book. If you're looking at porn and masturbating, well ... sucks to be you.

So why the Hell has this book been given (and still is?!) to girls and boys who have been molested and raped? How is it supposed to be helpful in any way? To make sure they didn't 'enjoy' being raped? To make sure that, because of being molested for years, they don't have any repenting to do? WTF!??! This is ass-backwards, this is just about the worst thing to do, clinically speaking, to rape and molestation victims. This is the equivalent of getting upset with someone who just told you they are suicidal!

The Church needs to own this too. They need to release a statement telling members to STOP using the book. They need to apologize to all the members over the years whose suffering was increased by their inept use of a book about condemnation and putting the victim in the hot seat. This is abhorrent.

I have met people who have been hurt directly by this type of action.

The Church needs to own up to how its members treat gays:
Okay, I've made enough posts about gay suicides in the church, the rates in Utah, the homeless youth rates in Utah, etc ... and if you don't know then do some minor research or follow my links on the panel to the right. I am NOT saying the Church needs to allow gay marriage. I am saying the Church needs to make a definitive and forthright declaration to parents to stop DISOWNING THEIR OWN FUCKING KIDS when they come out as gay or get caught. They need to tell their members to love their own kids. The Church has, in private with specific people, acknowledged that they don't know what to do exactly. Well, regardless, kids are dying and the Church so far feeds the culture that allows this to happen. A statement would remove them from personal responsibility and they won't make it. How it is all happening right now is atrocious.

They need to own up to the fact that members do these things BECAUSE of their particular beliefs in the Church. The Church can fix this and SAVE LIVES with one statement and it really is not much to ask.

I have friends who have been disowned by LDS parents for being gay.

The Church needs to remind women that being a mother is not ALL they are:
This is one area that is muddled by ALL the issues going on with women in the church. But the Church has one simple thing they could do that would help a lot of women: remind them that being a mother is not the only thing they are. I'm not saying the Church has to change it's doctrines two-fold, but so many women in the Church get stuck in the mindset of 'motherhood' and lose sense of themselves, lose sense of their own wants and needs, and are reinforced into this through statements about 'not being selfish' and 'motherhood is what you were made for.'

I'm not saying to give women the priesthood. I'm saying to tell women that they are MORE than being a mother. They are a person. They can have career goals. Not having kids right away is NOT a sin. Not having that many kids is NOT being selfish. How often have we heard of women in the Church who lose their identity because it is swallowed up in their kids and their callings in the Church? Just like gay teens killing themselves, for those women who can't separate their personalities from motherhood and suffer because of it, they are losing their lives.

The Church needs to switch gears and help women to be 'women,' not 'mothers.'

I know mothers who got so engrained that they forgot how to live for themselves and feel betrayed by the Church.

The Church needs to own its history:
On simple facts the Church could be more forthright and lose fewer members. Some people, such as myself, grew up till older teens believing polygamy was not true, it was all lies! Then we find out it was true and it shatters our world. The Church white-washes its history and this leads to members who are stalwart and want to seek truth to discover these 'darker parts' and end up leaving because the Church 'lied' to them. In regards to human history polygamy is not that big of a deal, it is not unique. If more open about their history the Church would not lose more people but retain people ... and not hundreds, but thousands over something like polygamy.

Some people look into it and find out that in regards to other religions and cultures it is not that big of a deal and go on about their normal lives. Some other people reach that point and then continue ... finding about the polyandry that occurred, like how Joseph Smith who had roughly 33 wives while alive, also had been marrying other men's wives, such as Orson Hyde. The Church can not avoid things like this in an internet age, where, as more and more members leave, the Post-Mormon culture has grown enough to support more mass publications of factual, informative critiques of the Church's history. For those who find out Joseph Smith married Hyde's wife WHILE Hyde was away on a mission for a year ... that blows their mind. The Church could attempt to explain this, show how Hyde actually DID mostly accept the marriage when he came back. They can give doctrinal explanations. So long as they remain silent and knowingly hide bits of history like this then members who stumble across it will fall away, feeling betrayed.

I know and have met literal thousands who have left the Church based on historical facts about the Church that the Church is not forthright about.

The Church needs to make the family first, not the church:
Bishops donate about 23 hours a week to their calling. Most have full-time jobs. Women are taught to marry in the Temple to BE SAVED and so a non-Temple marriage is that much more scary for them than men. If a spouse falls away often the believing spouse is advised about seeking a divorce to marry a worthy member. Every Sunday part-member families are reminded of how second-rate their home is compared to a full-active family with active children. Gay teens and rebellious teens are kicked out of their LDS homes, apprising roughly 72% of the homeless youth in Utah, though the number of LDS persons in Utah is less than 2/3s.

These things are the same types of actions you see in the slang-used 'cults' in America. This is cultish, us versus them, and the Church has taken great strides to be more inclusive but it has a far distance to travel still. The Church needs to change the rhetoric about non-members who are in part-member families or active families. These situations show that, at least to the members, the culture and doctrines say to put your family second if they don't put the Church first. If a kid is gay then he forfeits his family. If a wife stops believing, then she forfeits her marriage. If a husband stops believing he forfeits his rights as a father to his children with the right to see them and love them.

This is despicable.

Why is it that we can have Catholics married to Jews, atheists married to Hindus, Muslims married to Christians, but that Mormons have such a difficult time with sharing faiths? Having a different opinion, point of view on life, or different faith doesn't mean you can't love each other enough to have a family. The Church gives the impression of 'us versus them' and it means that for members, how the impression is expressed is that they need to separate themselves from those 'others.' This hurts many people, families, children, and non-members, especially those who have no other connection to the Church except to be told they are not welcomed. I recently ran into this myself with a believing Mormon who feels she has to marry in the Temple. Some people have truly wonderful relationships with bright futures, who will end it all based on the LDS beliefs. Regardless of how happy they and their future children could have been or how wonderful the person was to be with.

The Church has tried to be more accepting lately, even saying that some Apostles came from Less-Active or split homes. The horror stories former members and non-members hear, like ex-wives who run from state to state to keep her kids from her still Christian but now non-Mormon ex-husband are DAMAGING to the Church ... not helpful. I know these people. I know friends who were disowned for not believing. I have friends who are going through divorces or have to fight to see their kids because they left the LDS faith. I cannot think of anything worse then being a parent who has lost the love of their life and who has to fight to have the right to see their kids simply because they stopped believing in LDS theology.

 The Church needs to address these issues more directly and make official policies about HELPING families, not tearing them apart.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Big 5 Reasons I Will Not Go Back to The Church

Subtitle: The 5 reasons I know the church is not true.
Which is actually 6 major reasons. I have finished compiling my list, which is probably the biggest general overview I can get (check out the labels I know I'll be using). There's a bit of a tie, but here are the Big 5(6) and there subtitles:

1 - The Book of Abraham (translation powers of J.S.)
2 - The Adam-God Doctrine (history in the church)
3 - The Discerning Power (with examples such as Hoffman and Lyman)
4 - Teachings versus Actions (polygamy, polyandry, and also 'church funds')
5 - The 'Hetero-White-Man' Discrimination (women, blacks, and homosexuals)
5.5 - The Cult (the psychology of the church and its culture, and the burden of proof)

 They are not yet in any particular order, and as you can see, these 6 things cover nearly every major issue with the church. However, I have personalized them to my opinions and views, and I have tried to tie in major issues I see/and/or experienced to a more general foundational problem (i.e. as the Book of Abraham being a major issue with the church and its claim to 'truth' but also being only a section of the issues Joseph Smith had with translating any and all documents). Also, these topics have little to do with belief in God and atheism (except maybe 5.5) and more to do with the mainstream LDS church.

 I cannot promise that I'll get these out in any timely manner, but I do promise that I'll treat each of these as a term paper, or the like. I will provide sources, I will put the information together in a simple and concise fashion, and I'll let doubt stay where it should. This is not an exit story, nor is it the reasons I left. These issues with the church should be more widely known, especially by anyone who does not 'fit in' with the church, is leaving, has left, or is struggling and perhaps SHOULD leave the church. Same goes for BYU students. I'm still firm in my stance of not trying to deconvert random people, but like I mentioned in the first segment on The Big 5, I get a little annoyed when people say they think the church could be true, or that they know "everything" when they don't.
Lastly, I do feel fine posting things like this because ultimately these topics won't deconvert people away from Mormonism. People somehow know a lot about the BoA and just set it on their shelf of things to 'not think about.' However, I find very few people, who still believe or WANT to believe, know a lot about a lot, such as a lot about these listed topics. My goal will be to lay them out for anyone in a simple order for anyone curious. It may be a little while before one comes out, I'm sure it will take several hours to write each one up (though I've done a lot of research already) and so, as always, don't hold your breath waiting for me.