Sunday, November 11, 2012 0 comments

New Beginning

Here I sit at 3:30am finished with my workload and waiting for my shift to be over. The only way I am able to stay awake is to open my thoughts up on a type/blog. Here they are.

This last week was the beginning of a new job for me. I began Monday working at a job that I so far like. Everyone has their dislikes about their job, but there seem to be more positives in this new job. Call me crazy but I kind of like working behind a desk and in an office setting where customers/patients come to see me. I almost want to go back to school and become a doctor so I can be a family practitioner, almost. Ha. There are some benefits to my new job that I really like and they include working during the day (11-5 for now) makes it great for evenings with my family. It is the strangest thing when I'm able to put a full day in and come home and put up the Christmas lights. I've never been able to do that and this last week I did. It felt good. I am also working my previous job every other Saturday. This will enable me to not lose my skills I've developed while working in a hospital setting. The new job is performance based and therefore has a lot of potential for me. I will be working my butt off to get things on the right path. In the end, I'd like to have a long term relationship with a job rather than jump from job to job only because I need to increase my pay. That may happen, but I want to try to avoid that. I think everyone tries to find some financial stability right? All I want is for my children to have everything they could ever need and not have to struggle to get it. This will take more time but I can at least say I am trying at this point.

Okay, my thoughts are decreasing at this point and my eyelids are getting heavier forcing me to end this post and try to find something else to occupy my mind so I can keep from sleeping just yet. Until next time!
Saturday, September 29, 2012 0 comments

Daily Battle of Thoughts, End Result=Peace

I know I am not periodically posting on my blog here, but I do have a few comments and things I have thought about to post. It is important for me to relay my thoughts mainly because I feel like I don't have anyone in my close knit of family/friends to relate to. None of them have denounced a religion they've known their whole lives to only find a secluded outcome. These thoughts keep me sane and therefore when I spill them into a blog such as this, I feel like maybe someone is able to benefit from it, even if it's just me. So now onto my subjects of discussion... I have been reading like normal in the exmormon subreddit and have found some interesting topics. Coming up in next week's GC, it seems as though something will be announced that is supposed to affect every man, woman and child in the church. Another thought I want to somewhat discuss is "free agency" and how cognitive dissonance of one group makes them feel like they are correct. And finally, I wish to relay my thoughts on how mixed belief relationships can have their difficulty but also their strengths.

GC (General Conference) comes but twice a year and is usually full of the same mumbo jumbo but with a slight variance on who is speaking and how it is spoken. It is normally about loving your family, following the prophet, paying your tithing and attending your meetings. In all of the years I have been in the church as a Priesthood holder, I had been looking forward to the "hell, fire and damnation" doctrines and/or revelation to be spilled out. Where this would normally take place is in the Priesthood Session of GC. To my best memory, I do not believe anything has come from those meetings that has been earth shaking or even revelatory by any means. I remember when I was a young teenager where GBH (Gordon B. Hinckley) was prophet and he would speak at every Priesthood Session and almost every session of GC. He would go over how this generation (speaking of my generation) was the greatest that the world has ever seen and that they will prepare the way for the second coming. He would then proceed to give strict adherence to specific guidelines and what young men (sometimes women) would need to stay away from to accomplish much in this world. While I do have a lot of respect and admiration for GBH, I do see this as just what it should be seen as, elitest speech to ensure control. Who wouldn't follow someone who only builds off of being better than something or someone prior? Who wouldn't adhere to strict rules if they were promised the world? At the time I ate it all up because I was young and felt like I was the best the world had seen. I believe we all consume this type of control because we see it as beneficial for ourselves (selfish desires) and then we assume the promises will be met. There are two types of people in this scenario, those who realize they have been duped and therefore call it as it is, control. And there are those who have some serious cognitive dissonance and even though it isn't true to them anymore, they find a way to make it true. This type of thinking scares me because it houses ignorance and therefore pushes more control into not only their lives, but those they affect on a daily basis (including family). Which brings me to my point, I do not believe anything special or incredible will be announced this GC and if it is something extraordinary, then great. We can see with past GC's that the outcome will remain the same. Although there is a rumor out there that it may be changing the age of when young men serve missions. They are saying it'll be 18 years old. Who knows? Only time will tell.

"I don't care if you don't believe it, you have your free agency and I have mine." Does that sound familiar with anyone? It sure does to me. It seems as though the ones we come in contact with that still have a belief in some thing or some one, this is the response if you try to bring some reasoning to them. I cannot tell you how many conversations I have had out there with those who fit this description where they bring the whole free agency into the discussion. Even after your show "proof" of their misconceptions, they resort to a corner speech designed similar to this, to protect their belief. Someone recently told me I may have been reading the incorrect information out there because "no one will ever know because we didn't live during that time." True, but what is everything we have today that has been written? Can we take any validity of what is being taught in schools or even what is being pushed abroad by the older generations? This person happened to be a TBM (True Blue Mormon) and therefore I brought up the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants. How can I, or this person, believe anything that is in these books if we weren't there to see it written or experience it for ourselves? This is true especially with the D&C where portions of it were taken out and others added after Joseph Smith published it. For example, The "Lectures on Faith" written by Joseph Smith Jr. was originally a part of the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants but later in 1921 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints removed it from their canon scripture because it didn't coincide with the beliefs the church had evolved into believing. It speaks of a trinity and also that God is the only god out there (no plural gods). So my discussion included this example for the sake that if we cannot take something that Joseph Smith originally said was doctrine and leave the rest, how can one pick and choose? That is almost similar to seeing what Moses had in the old testament and pulling out the 3rd commandment because it didn't mesh well with the others. It makes no sense! Once I was able to spell out the discrepancy in this logic, the individual I was speaking to agreed with me to an extent. In the past, this person when coming to this conclusion, would resort to the agency comment and just brush it off. I don't believe people understand the significance behind this distorted thinking and how it only hinders further "light and knowledge" we as a people and society could gain.

There seems to be a common thread lately in the exmormon community where one spouse discovers the inconsistencies built into the LDS organization and the other spouse is in denial or just pushes it off. In my life, this is the case. I have discovered, through years of trying to understand, that the church is not what it says it is. This has led me to decide it is best to separate myself from the LDS church. Although I have not gone 100% out of the church on paper, I do not see myself coming back at all. My integrity would not allow me to do so. My lovely wife still decides to go to church, despite hearing my rants and what not on religion. She takes our children to church with her and therefore goes on with her life. Occasionally I ask how it all went and she explains how thing went, while leaving out the parts she feels I may look down upon with my lack of belief. While it doesn't work for everyone, it does work for some. One day my daughter came home and told me that "bad people go to the place down there and burn" and I was livid! I told her not to fear that place because it doesn't exist. While I am an advocate in having some level of control with your young children, flat out lying to them is not what I believe in. Taking a lie such as this and scaring the little children into submission is what brought me so much grief, guilt and depression as a teenager and young adult. If we can flush these false truths out there, I believe our children will only benefit from it. Young children are only programmed with what we allow them to believe and what we relay to them as truth. In my marriage, we know we have to appease both parties. In this case our children will at least have two choices in life rather than assuming the one belief of their parents. This enables them to seek out their own understanding later in life (a hope we have). While my wife and I discuss these issues together and most of the time do not agree with how it should be dealt with, it is important to note that we are trying and I think that is key here. The strengths with our marriage on this is that we both acknowledge that individually we do not have all of the answers (I would say I concede with this more because of my lack of belief) and that we need to figure this out together. The idea of us divorcing has come up but it is because of belief. We haven't entertained the idea because this idea doesn't fix the situation. We would fight only more about belief with our children than if we remained together. We do love each other very much and we are very attracted to each other and have many other areas of interest we share. Religion is such a huge topic that any relationship is going to have its issues if communication isn't open. Yes, we have our issues in the communication department, but mostly we are able to work through it. As most couples can.

My thoughts are just that, my thoughts. They are my own battles I fight daily and hope for the best with them. We all have our battles and how we decide to fight them may be different in ever aspect, but hopefully the end result remains the same, peace.

Monday, July 23, 2012 1 comments

Not Sleeping Well Tonight...Let's Blog!

I've had a lot on my mind recently and more especially tonight. I have not been able to sleep this evening and therefore I am looking to unload my thoughts and try to get some sleep afterwards. First of all, my wife and I are still together, hooray! Things seem to be going alright with our relationship. I don't say much about the church anymore with her and she doesn't say much for the church to me anymore. We kind of took that portion out for now. I don't know if it's because it is a sore spot or what. All I know is we don't do much with that. I do wish we would. I believe that talking about things really helps clear the mind of negative vibes and also helps individuals think through thoughts. I'll be honest, a lot of times I believe it'd be better for my wife to find another TBM LDS guy and therefore have a temple marriage to help with her comfort level. Let me explain...

I am one that has always liked changed. I do not like to stay too comfortable for too long. Blame it on the growing up and learning that if I am ever comfortable, something bad was about to happen. It meant I was being lazy and not doing more with my life. It's hard to get de-programmed out of that. I am doing my best at this point to stay active in my life with other things. My wife on the other hand does like to be comfortable with her life decisions. Meaning she doesn't like change much. I think I drive her nuts with how much I like change. When I was selling automobiles, I think the change with vehicles happened nearly every 6 months to a year. I don't like feeling comfortable in that way. I guess my comfort comes from learning new things or sitting on new ground. It makes sense with how I studied the church out the way I did. I had a hunger for it and looked everywhere it was possible. I went to my church leaders that had already studied most of the subjects I was interested in. I went to past prophets and apostles, present ones too and what they have to say on specific topics on my mind. I look at how things work in the structure of the LDS church and how things have changed over the years and realize then that something isn't quite right. Eventually I began to question what the church had given me for information.

The information that is given from TSCC (the so called church), is very syphoned down to better fit current views it holds. It is almost as if the current church is almost completely different from the original church. I will say that is a good thing, but not quite enough to keep me in it. You see, we are taught from an early age that TSCC is the ONLY true church out there and that everyone else is following a false church. We are also taught that every bit of the beginning had to happen (Joseph Smith, the BoM translation, restoration of keys, etc) or it is false. President Gordon Hinckley (previous prophet from the current), stated that either this church is all true or it is the greatest hoax of all time (not exact quote, but close). When I was in the MTC I was taught that when you pick up one end of the stick, the other follows with it. The analogy works for having a testimony in Joseph Smith and him being a prophet, which automatically makes the BoM divine. That enables members to have a testimony of one thing and therefore making the rest true with it. With President Hinckley's quote, that is still true if one sees it that same way. Here's the problem...

There are situations in my family that are happening/happened (extended family) in which they are grieving because of misdeeds that happened to them while they were growing up. I will not divulge any details or even mention who they are, but sufficeth to say, the law is involved. With this being said, I see a lot of similarities with what happened to them and what happened in the early days of the church and yet they do not see the similarities. I used to be looked up to as a beacon of knowledge when it came to church because I was able to quote scripture and other sources on the spot. While I can still do that, I refrain from doing so because I do not see it in the same light as I did before. Since I came out as an agnostic leaning atheist, those who used to look up to me (some of the ones I love most), do not anymore. They almost see me as an individual who has lost their way and anything I have to say on the matter does not take the same ground it used to. It doesn't hold well anymore. This saddens me because it is almost as if I am accepted if I see things as they do (and can add more depth to their interests) and therefore I have lost my place among them. I would think this would stir them up a bit to try to understand why I have gone the direction I have. It hasn't been because of any misdeed or "transgression" I have committed. Technically I am still a member of TSCC. I haven't resigned as of yet and therefore the only way I could be forced out is through excommunication through apostasy. I digress...

The problem continues... if you study the life of Joseph Smith, you find out he was far from perfect. Does this bar him from his misdeeds and make him less of a prophet? I say yes and no. If he was merely following what God had instructed him to do, then we could see it for what it was, a commandment. When he was doing something that only afterwards received revelation about, then one must wonder what he really was trying to accomplish. For example, polygamy is a big topic within TSCC and therefore it becomes pushed under the rug when the public speaks of it. Let me make myself clear here, if the adults are consenting, then I am okay with it. The issue lies within what started polygamy in Joseph Smith's time. Remind you, marriage age was not much different than it is now and under the age of 18 was still illegal in most areas of the country (so it was not the norm). Joseph Smith was caught when Emma returned from home and glanced up the stairway and saw Joseph passionately kissing their adopted daughter Fannie Alger (who at the time was 16 years old) and later married others in their teenage years, the youngest being 14. Polyandry also comes to mind when you talk about the polygamy in those days with Joseph Smith, but for the sake of time I will not dive into that topic. After Joseph was caught with Fannie, literally just days after, God revealed to Joseph that polygamy was to become a part of the restoration of all things in these the latter-days. Seem a little backwards there? Wouldn't God reveal it to Joseph through revelation prior to engaging in the act and being caught? I mean I can think of a better story than that, but Emma bought it at the time. Even if she had a difficult time accepting it (after Joseph's death, she denied polygamy was practiced in their marriage). Another example is when Joseph joined the masons, after Hyrum had tried to get him to join several times prior. When we had gone through and become a mason, Joseph only weeks later had a revelation about the temple ceremony. The original ceremony had all of the same tokens, threats, etc. as the masons had in their script with few words changed to fit TSCC better. Over the years the ceremony has changed drastically (which goes against some scriptures in the D&C). Seems convenient that Joseph joins a brotherhood group and has a revelation that almost mirrors it word for word weeks later in a saving ordinance. By the way, if you study the Bible and old times in the Bible, you can see there was no such ceremony in Solomon's temple or others. Heck you can't even find it in the BoM. Things with Joseph seemed backwards. Let's find something cool, have a revelation about it, and claim it ours. Rather than let's have a revelation about something, find something out there that is just like it (cool) and still claim it ours. I am not trying to fight against TSCC, I am trying to recover from the initial shock one faces when it's cover is peeled back to reveal what it is on the inside.

What I am trying to explain here is the fact that I have not left because of a transgression or anything TSCC would see as horrible. I am merely leaving because it doesn't have consistency and anything different to offer from other churches. With this being said, it is difficult to follow it when its past doesn't live up to what the prior prophet proclaims. You cannot say it has lasted these past 180 years or so without being proven wrong, because it has. For example, study up on the Book of Abraham and how it turned up after the great fire of Chicago. I won't go into detail with it. Just know there are non-bias views out there. www.mormonthink.com is a great place to start because it gives every stand point on the issue and leaves the conclusion up to the reader (it was set up by active LDS members for those to go to find sources for specific topics like that). TSCC isn't what it lived up to prior in my life and also many others out there. Yes, it has power today more-so than it has in prior years because of its massive wealth. It's a corporation and a well run one at best (another topic I won't touch). Ends just keep coming undone and therefore can't keep one such as myself in it.

Yes, I would love for my wife to see things the way I do, but I will honestly say I am glad she is doing something on her own with her belief. I hope she continues to live her own because I think that makes one stronger. I just wish that when we spoke about TSCC, it wouldn't be like pins and needles below our feet. I wish it could be open and understanding dialogue about things. My wife does not study the church and its history because I think it honestly scares her that she will find something. I do not look down on her for that. It is merely a way for her to remain comfortable and I respect that. Although it would be nice to fully decipher what happened rather than she automatically questioning my source or understanding on the matter when prior to my lack of belief she wouldn't even question my information. She took it whole-heartedly. She is a great person and full of love and compassion. I do look up to her for what she is able to do in her life. I am not going to lie and say I do not feel alone, because I do when it comes to this aspect of my life. I do not feel I have anyone to turn to and talk to about this matter but my blog. So I continue to spill my thoughts towards this only to gain some support. It allows me to cope with my alone feelings to hope towards more acceptance later. Here's to the future!


Saturday, May 5, 2012 0 comments

Done with my last rant...

Okay, so I am done with my last rant and now trying to move on. I look back now and realize that maybe a few would be offended by it. I am not sorry for being offensive in that, my blog is for my thoughts and I intend to keep it that way. I do apologize if you do feel that I have gone against your beliefs because that is not my intention. I feel everyone should have their own right to believe what they want. I do not believe anyone should push their beliefs on another individual. This only causes contention and therefore makes any kind of relationship turn into a disastrous one. I for one am not the individual who likes to loathe on negative thoughts or negative feelings. I try to look at the glass half full. If you are reading this and have had offense for the reason I have described, I am sorry, if you have offense for me expressing my thoughts and feelings for the last few months, I'm not sure what to tell you. As I said, I have not intended that to happen. Okay, now that I have that off my chest, I can move into more thoughts and feelings that I have now. By the way, I was not trying to say I am the devil, I was trying to take a perspective most may not think about, but would put God into the author of those. Why not look at something or someone for what or who they are, and not merely a reflection of your spiritual belief? You got the job because someone decided you were the best candidate, not because God zapped the interviewer in the butt with your name branded on it. I don't mean that in the wrong way, just trying to get a point out.

Today, 6 years ago, I took the plunge and married my best friend. It was a great day for us. We really felt close to each other. I will be the first to say that I may have not been really ready for marriage, but who is? No one can really gauge what will lie ahead. This is what marriage is all about, taking that road and travelling it together. No matter what is in store, you have each other. My wife and I have officially been together for 10 years. We had our first date when we were Juniors in high school and from then on out we had been on and off until we decided to marry. One of the best decisions I made was to ask her on that first date. It has brought us to this point in our lives together and we remain strong because of it. She really is an amazing person. Where we go from here is our decision and our decision alone. I look back at the day when we were married in the Salt Lake Temple and I do not regret doing so, it was a great day. I take it for what it was, the beginning of our lives together as one. I can honestly say when we kneeled across the alter, I didn't get the amazing feeling I wanted, but I did know I was making a great decision. It wasn't until we were heading to New York, to catch a cruise ship, that I looked down at my now wife and realized that I loved her. That was the moment I knew I wanted to be with her. Not the moment we were going through the temple. Our marriage and relationship meant more to me than the temple. I know it is difficult for those of you that are still strong mormons to understand that. I choose her over the church, and I always have. The church may have issues with me, but I can assure you that those issues do not stretch to my relationship with my wife. If it would have, we wouldn't be together now, after publicly being done with the LDS church. 

I feel like I may be coming off on the wrong foot again and maybe playing the defensive. I don't mean to do that. I want to relay my feelings of gratitude and peace by not having to believe what the church dictates and teaches. I came across a great blog today that really sums up what we should be feeling in any good experience. Church is not that good experience we all should be searching for. It is the relationships we have with others and the rich dialogue we have with them. We are human, and humans succeed better when we work together. Hence why we have progressed in ways unimaginable hundreds of years ago. I look at the world today and I don't see a world that is getting worse, I see a world that is literally getting better as we speak. Think about it, the dictator from Egypt, gone. The dictator from North Korea, dead. How about Iraq? Afghanistan is still a work in progress. Either way you look at it, the information era is freeing individuals minds from oppressors and dictators alike. The more we know, the more free we become to act for ourselves. Twitter and Facebook have unlocked doors in the communication world unlike any other. I can get real information the second it happens from twitter and I can know what my friends are enjoying when they want to share it. It really is remarkable that we humans can do this. WE did this. In the blog he describes his transformation from strong mormon to atheist and I think it sums up well with what he said, "I came to realize that I had no belief in God. Upon serious introspection into my thoughts and beliefs and values, I came to this realization: I don't believe. I don't believe in anything without good evidence. I had broken the narrative. I had had an epiphany, and it wasn't that I needed to go back to church, but that I was completely lacking in spiritual belief. The strange part was that I had always been taught that I needed faith to be happy, so why did I feel so good?"    Why does it feel so good? I believe it does because the individual realizes then that no one can make their decisions for them. They become rulers of their own lives and therefore do not blame the devil and/or God for good or bad things that are happening. They live up to their own choices and look to them as the decisions that shape their lives here and tomorrow. Religion never taught me it was wrong to steal. What taught me it was wrong was the result of that action taken by my cousin when we were young. He took some candy and had to live to the consequence of his decision. It doesn't mean we should feel bad about getting caught, but someone has put forth their effort to purchase those goods and in turn is trying to work to sell that good to make a living for his/her family/self. We are all trying to carve our names in the rock we call life so everyone can see we made a difference. How we choose to do that, comes from our own desires from past choices. Religion may tell you one thing, but you must come to the realization of that on your own. Religion telling me something is no different than another individual off the street telling me the same thing. I still must make my own thought process work to come to a conclusion as to what I will choose. Being free from religion enables me to become free in mind, action and consequence. Here is the link to the blog I just mentioned, I found it interesting. 


As I reflect upon my thoughts, daily, today I focus my thoughts on an amazing woman that chooses to be with me and chooses to be herself. I am very much in love with her, no matter what the obstacle can throw at us. Tonight I will be taking her to her favorite restaurant and then we will be finishing the evening with .....



IN 3D!!!  :) Until next time!
Monday, April 30, 2012 0 comments

Coming Out... of Church


Today is April 30th, 2012 and I can honestly say that I am happier now, more than I have in the past with my spirituality. I have reached a point in my life now where I do not fear where my salvation will be in the next life. I am one that is able to see me for who I am today and what I am able to offer to others and to myself. I am a father to two beautiful children of whom I love with all of my heart and a husband to an amazing woman that I can say is my best friend. She is one of my biggest fans and supports me in ways I know are difficult for her. I work a crazy schedule with the hospitals I am affiliated with and she has to deal with that in the most difficult ways. She is a great mother to our children and I am glad she chooses to do what she does. I say this because of what I have recently done in my family.



I have chosen to finally come out to specific family members about my beliefs and how they have changed over the years. Obviously if my other family members have stumbled upon this blog, they too know where I stand spiritually in this life. Needless to say this journey has many obstacles ahead of me still. I sat down with the bishop first to show respect to him and his "flock". To my surprise the visit went rather well and I felt he was genuine in what he had said and shared with me. I also sat down with my parents and told them of my is belief and lost of faith towards the Mormon religion. If they are reading this, they must know that I knew how they'd react and to be quite honest, I was very disappointed that they had acted almost worse towards me in that meeting than what I had thought. I chose not to take offense and therefore worked towards the relationship we already had. I decided to "turn the other cheek" and not debate or leave my post. My ground is my ground and I was not leaving it. Do you understand how difficult it is for someone to go to those of whom they have been looked at as a saint and tell them that you are no longer that "saint" anymore? You may think you know and understand what it is like, but I assure you unless you've been through it, you do not have a sliver of understanding. I felt as if I was a walking tuberculosis and could infect anyone they thought was at risk. If you know how tuberculosis works, it is highly contagious and very deadly. My field is respiratory and this is the easiest way for me to explain my feelings towards this meeting with my parents. To not be able to speak my beliefs with those who supposively love me is difficult because that road is not a two way communication link. I am not able to speak my beliefs, but they are freely able to talk about theirs to me. Although they may not see any wrong in this because theirs is "true", it is damning in a way that prohibits a true relationship to continue with strength. This becomes the link to my wife that I was hinting towards the beginning of this post. She has stood up for me and taken my side on this whole matter, even when her beliefs are still with the church. Her view is more open than others and even though she may not openly admit her stance, she is very loving and understanding in this matter. I can say our relationship has strengthened because of that and I commend her for doing so. We also sat down with her parents and told them where I stand and they were very supportive. They actually said they would be fine if I chose to speak my beliefs in front of the others in their clan. This was what took me off guard for a moment considering what had taken place earlier with my parents. They said they would love and support me no matter what decision I made. Then a few days after all three meetings (bishop, parents, inlaws), the bishop decided to write a 10 page single spaced letter of his thoughts had had over the days post visit. Although I still have some respect for him, he backtracked heavily into the territory I first had thought he would go. This not only made me stand off to him, I don't feel like he will be a support in all ways towards my decision and I am okay with that.



I came out to all three parties as an agnostic leaning atheist. I don't know if there is a God. If there is then I must be the devil... Which reminds me I was thinking what I'd do if I were truly the devil (taking devils advocate stance here) as I have come across a few ideas out there I wanted to share. I found them on reddit. Although I cannot take all credit towards them, it is quite interesting:




If I were the devil, I would convince as many groups of people that God told them they alone are right, they are better than the other groups of people...
If I were the devil, I would convince people that blind patriotism is a virtue - that waving a flag and supporting your country no matter what is an ideal...
If I were the devil, I would convince people that blind faith in easily-disproven assertions is a higher virtue than questioning, that facts are irrelevant.
If I were the devil, I would write a book that endorses genocide, torture, rape, and slavery - I'd call such book the definitive word of God, or at least get certain sects to view it as the "Word of God, as far as it is translated correctly."
If I were the devil, I would convince people that being sexist is okay, that men are better than women, and that women should "submit to the will of her husband."
If i were the devil, I would convince people that being white is a blessing or sign of faithfulness, and that black people either sinned in a previous life, or are the seed of sinners - but it's okay, if you ask God hard enough, your sin can be made "white and delightsome" again.
If I were the devil, I would convince people to judge and look down on gay people, and convince as many gay people as possible that their condition is a curse, and they have to live a miserable life of devoid of a healthy relationship or intimacy...
If I were the devil, I would convince people that God needed their money - and that they should ALWAYS give it first, even if they can't feed their own children - and build shopping malls worth $5 billion dollars.
If I were the devil, I would convince people that monogamy "degenerates the human family", and tell young girls that they MUST join other girls and women in marrying the same creepy man.
If I were the devil, who delighted in misery, I would laugh as God stood idly by and watched as countless children starved to death or were enlisted into brutal armies, and I would laugh as God stood idly by and watched thousands of incidents of rape and torture occur daily....
In short, what's the difference between what the devil would do, and what God is supposedly doing now (besides of course, helping a few people find their lost keys when they ask?)

-Brandon

PS - If you're curious as to any of the quotes, positions, or references found in my response, feel free to ask - I could show mountains for each point... but if it doesn't matter to you because God already told you you're right... well, I know some RLDS that know what God told them is right, lots of Southern Baptists that know what God told them is right, some Scientologists that know what Xenos told them is right...



Kind of interesting eh? I believe that an individual must find out who they are truly. Not what someone else thinks they are or even an organization, but they must take a journey and discover it through choices they make. I am doing that now and I will be the first to say that I am not perfect or even trying to be. I am just trying to be the best person I know how to be right now. This is key to any success. I feel so free and liberated at this point in my life. I see people for who they are instead of placing labels on them. I look towards meeting other people with great life changing stories that are verifiable. I can honestly say that I am a skeptic and that is okay. I may vote for Obama because I believe he'd be the better candidate (oh no, did I strike a sensitive string?). I may decide to not pass up a good alcoholic beverage at that time in the future. I don't know what my choices will lead me to, but I know I will be the one making them and I will discover what I like and don't like, not what an organization tells me. The best part about all of this is that I have a supportive wife and I want her to know and understand that I am also supportive and loving towards her and the choices she decides to make. She is my everything right now and my children also occupy that place in my heart and life. I believe in honesty and integrity and I believe any human being can hold those qualities without religion. Religion hasn't made me who I am, I have made me into who I am. Religion has played a part in my life, for both the good and bad, and now I have my own choices and beliefs to help shape the rest of my life, however long that will be.


In conclusion, I wish to apologize for any offenses anyone I know that is reading this now has taken from me leaving the church. I especially want to sincerely apologize to my parents for offending them and their beliefs because of how I thought that meeting went. I will try to take the higher road and do my best to still love you more. All I can do is be the best Brandon I can be. I know it'll be fun and great at times, and difficult and hard in other times, but I know in the end I will be much happier than I have been in so long. I love you Amanda! I love my children as well. I hope our path together can be full of joy and happiness. I choose true happiness.
Wednesday, February 1, 2012 0 comments

Update

So here we are on February 1, 2012. This post is more for what has happened since my last post. I know I am not a very good blogger, but I do tweet and post quite a bit on the internet. I speak much of my spiritual views in this blog and this time I am wanting to add a little more to it and also place my politics within this post. Spiritually, with Mormonism, I am struggling to find a root that I can hold on to. I am a history buff and I like to adhere to something with its history. As you know, like I do, the history of Mormonism is very cloudy and difficult to understand. I have struggled with it since I was a young teenager. I went through my "rebellion" as a teenager because I didn't like what I saw in the history of the church. I won't go into detail as to what I do not like about the history, but just know there is more I do not agree with than there is that I do agree with. This is big to me. I served a two year mission in the southern part of our country (Texas) and I came across more information that I was not ready for yet because I had consented on serving for two years. I did so successfully. Most individuals I have spoken to didn't fall away because of transgression or anything similar, they did because they studied to be a better member. I studied quite a bit on my mission and when I returned home. I tried to make sense of it all by "proving" to myself through cognitive thinking that it made sense, when in fact it did not. Needless to say, anyone can have their view on what they believe to be "truth". I mean heck, I argued it for two years up against some very intellectual individuals and felt I was somewhat successful at doing so. If they did not agree with me, most if not all, could at least become friendly by the end of our discussion.

I read an article that Elder Jensen was a part of and it was quite interesting. Here is the link,

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/31/us-mormonchurch-idUSTRE80T1CM20120131

Elder Jensen acknowledges the decline in membership by individuals leaving the church by record percentages not seen since before Brigham Young. He sees the issue. Some of the brethren also see the issue. A lot of members do not see the issue. With Governor Mitt Romney one step closer to becoming the Republican Nominee after winning Florida, Mormonism will come more into the limelight and members will want to search more about their beliefs so their gentile brothers and sisters will have better answers to their questions. I feel this may only fuel what is happening that Elder Jensen acknowledges as something happening worldwide. Either the church must start to become fully transparent, just as we demand our government do the same thing, or more members will flee. I am sure this is a growing concern for the brethren on top of the church's chain of command.

As for my politics...I was one to support Mitt Romney back in 2008 because I felt the strains of the economy while selling automobiles at my father's establishment. With that being said, this time around I do not know who to follow. Mitt can be confusing as to where he is taking his campaign. I have to agree that he isn't doing this for money or anything similar. I do believe he is doing it for the mere sake of power. I mean who wouldn't want to have the most powerful job in the world? He could do a lot of good if he can turn our economy around just like he did with the Olympics in 2002 and also with his prior businesses that Bain capital was able to make profitable again (through questionable tactics, but ultimately successful). Obama has been President for 3 years now and he has not been able to hold to his promises during his campaign to be President. He has done quite a bit and I do believe he is trying his best. I also believe he is a good man and sincerely wants the best for this country. When individuals believe he is less American or that he hates the American people, I scorn them for thinking that! Sufficeth to say, I am becoming more liberal with my political views. That is why Romney still is in my thinking against Obama and vice versa. I do not support any of the other candidates in the Republican Party.

In conclusion it is important to bring my politics and religion together in this post. The more I see my faith shatter with the LDS church, the more I see my political views change and tend to shy away from conservatism. I have my reasons, and know that they are not because of transgression or anything similar to that. I love my family very much (wife and children) and will not make any decisions as of yet. I am still searching for that ROOT that I can hold on to. If you want to know why individuals leave the church, without transgression, John Dehlin makes a valid point in his podcast. Here is the link,

http://whymormonsleave.com/2011/08/01/hello-world/

Until next time! Leave comments if you would like me to clarify anything I've mentioned. Thanks!
 
;