Monday, July 06, 2015

I'M BACK! .... at least for now

I've been through a lot the past 6 years. Lately, I've had some strong feelings and thoughts about a few things and need to get them OUT.

So in the next few weeks, I'll be putting out a few posts about Judgment, Jumping to Conclusions, Ignorance and Innocence, Getting Married, Boy Scouts, and maybe a couple other things. I just need to rant.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Politics Corrections

Master FOB responded to my post about Prop 8. I filter my responses, but allowed his for 2 reasons. One, I like and respect him. Two, he is right. The Church did indeed spend much time and money to pass Prop 8 in California.

It has been a while since Ben made this comment. He also sent some links. Not all of them worked, but I investigated a lot more anyway. I found a few interesting things. First of all, as the end of days gets closer, moral issues are getting more political, not just societal. And as I said before, the Church does not involved in political issues, per se, but it does get involved in moral issues.

This is a moral issue for the Church. NOT that it is trying to squelch, alienate, combat, or even confront homosexuals. For the Church, it is all about marriage and the family. This is certainly a hot issue and one that can be debated for ages. That is not my intent and I will not allow that here. And there are other LEGAL issues involved here, looking to future conflict and persecutions for the Church.

I think this kind of marks a turning point for the Church in that it is now really getting out there and making a greater effort, even greater financial efforts, to uphold its stance on moral issues. This may be the biggest instance so far, but it will not be the last or the biggest ever. I know things will get worse. And it won't just be homosexual issues.

But the Church did spend a lot of money, make a lot of effort, and ask its members to do what they could to promote a positive vote on Proposition 8 in California. It's true. SO WHAT?!?!?

It does not mean that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not true. It does not mean that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is not the true church of God. It does not mean that the Church and/or its members hate homosexuals. Some people do, and some of those people are members of the Church. there are also church members that are racist, or that molest children, or that steal, or that lie. Members of the Church are no more perfect than homosexuals. But, generally, many of them tend to be more closed-minded and ignorant when it comes the issue of sexuality.

Recently, the legislature of the state where I live considered a bill that which, if passed, would mean that our state would not recognize marriages performed in other states or countries for homosexual couples. That means if a gay couple was married, then moved to this state, they would not be considered married here.

This bill was, fortunately, defeated by a good majority. It is very sad to me that this issue has to be a battle. I believe firmly that sanctified marriage is for and between man and woman. But I also love my SSA friends and do not want to alienate or offend them.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The End of a Chapter

A couple weeks ago, Samantha and I had a visit from Maurice (Sam's father and our Stake President.) We talked about how I would soon be released as Bishop. This is actually the second time he and I talked about it. He had already explained to me that there are big changes coming in our stake and that Salt Lake said, since I would be released in just a couple more months anyway, to go ahead and do it sooner with all the other changes.

But there are two big things for me here. First, I do not want to be released. I love my YSA ward. I do not know anyone in my family ward. Three years ago, Maurice came to visit us one night and issued this calling to me. I bawled. I already had fallen in love with this YSA ward. The bishop at that time had been a long time friend whom I loved and respected. And I had already had some interaction with this ward. I cried because I knew that I would one day be released. I cannot believe the time is already here. That totally sucks. (Yes, some bishops say "suck.")

I will try to hang out at the Institute building where the members of our YSA wards meet and hang out. Thanks to them, I have a couple hundred young, beautiful Facebook friends.

The second thing is new callings. Maurice mentioned to me that my family ward Bishop already had a calling for me. That really bummed me out. I don't want to work in our family. (Yeah, bad attitude, not exactly the "I'll go where you want to go" type of thing.) He told me this the first time when he said I would be released soon. But this night when he came to talk to Sam and me, he mentioned he had another calling, for both of us. I guess I shouldn't say too much about it or exactly what it is. But i will say that we will get to work together, work with various church leaders, and work with the SSA issue in the church. I AM TOTALLY PSYCHED!!! This could be big. I think we are the first ones in the church with such a responsibility. Hopefully, we will help a lot of people, dispose of a lot of ignorance, and educate a lot of members. More later ...

I guess when one chapter ends, sometimes another one begins.

Modern Gay Politics: Part 2

I apologize for the delay of this post. Actually, I was going to write about something else, but noticed I never finished my thoughts on this topic. So here it is ...

There are some ideas out there that should be dispelled. 1. The Church does NOT get involved in politics. It does not say what political candidates should be supported and who should not. However, it does take a strong stance on some political, or rather SOCIAL issues, such as gambling, abortion, and gay marriage. It is the nature of the Church to influense others, and even push their beliefs on others. We call that missionary work. We want everyone to believe as we do and we want our society to reflect our beliefs.

2. The Church did NOT finance any campaigning or efforts to promote Prop 8 or oppose gay marriage. The Church also does not tell members to spend their money on this. Being a Bishop, I receive all correspondence that the First Presidency sends out when they want to communicate to the members about issues. They ask that their letters be read from the pulpit, which simply state the church's position regarding the issues.

I lived in California when the state was considering starting a lottery. The letter out stating that lotteries are a form of gambling and the Church/Gospel is strictly opposed to gambling. That's basically about it. Sometimes members take it upon themselves to finance certain efforts to promote or oppose certain points of view. The efforts of those members should not be confused with those of the Church. I have heard people say that the CHURCH financed advertising and other efforts to promote Prop 8 and oppose gay marriage. It did not. It did not finance any such efforts, nor did it tell the members to spend their money to do so.

3. I agree that most members of the church are still pretty ignorant and do not understand anything about SSA. And I believe that a lot of their support for Prop 8 was done out of ignorance and misunderstanding. I think that the issue blew up to look like many people showing their outward hatred of gays. I think that was wrong.

4. If given the chance, I would vote to outlaw tobacco, alcohol, stores being open on Sunday, etc. And yet, I love my smoking relatives, my alcoholic friends, my sabbath-breaking co-workers, and I love my gay friends. I kind of wish Prop 8 never happened.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Modern Gay Politics: Part 1

Poli: from the latin, meaning 'many'; tics: little insects that burrow under your skin and suck the blood out of you. Hence - "Politics"

There is a lot of hubbub about California's Proposition 8, which would define marriage as "between one man and one woman." So not only does that exclude gay marriage, it also excludes plural marriage. Polygamy has actually never been outlawed. Bigamy has. And most polygamists go to jail for reasons other than plural marriage. But I digress. A 'yes' vote for Prop 8 means no gay marriage, in California.

There has been a lot of discussion among church members about this, especially SSA church members. Some even think that, "I would never do it, but should be permissible for others to have that choice. Therefore, it should not be a law."

But it is already a law in the church, or at least official doctrine. In The Family: A Proclamation, it states:
The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife. ... The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.
There it is. No room for gay marriage there. Sorry. Bummer. That is the doctrine and I believe it is eternal and true. The only marriage here is between a man and a woman.

I do not mean to be mean or critical. I think I now have many gay friends and truly wish they can find great happiness in their lives. However, I will hold to the doctrine.

(more in Part 2)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cell Phone Faux Pas

My job involves service to businesses and organizations. I am typically in 3 to 6 different places a day. Today I had an interesting experience. I happen to be working near the restroom of a large real estate company. During the hour and a half that I was there, that restroom stayed pretty busy.

But then I noticed a lady coming down the hall talking on her cell phone. I though, "No, she won't head for the restroom - not while she's talking on the phone." She headed right for it. I am thinking quickly in the back of my mind while I work, "She'll get off just before she goes in. Bathrooms echo. The person on the end will know..." Nope. She went in and kept talking. I could hear the bathroom echo sound. Before long, I hear the toilet flush, and out she comes, still talking on the phone. "(NNNoooooooooo.... You can't DO that!)"

What was the person on the other end of the call thinking? What was this lady thinking??? What would you think if you were talking to someone, all of a sudden it sounds like they are in a small, tiled room, and then you hear a toilet flush close by???

So ... list of things to NOT do while talking on the cell phone: drive, walk down the street (I've seen people walk out into traffic), shower, chop vegetables, shave, operate a construction crane (or any heavy machinery), race cars, race boats, race anything, juggle machetes, perform a prostate exam, use the toilet. Uh, what else?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Baptismal Slides

Funny thoughts. So I am a bishop. We recently had a special "Bishops and Ward Mission Leaders" meeting with the Stake Presidency. Baptisms and retention are up. Yeah for us. I am also very close friends with our Stake President, who is Sam's father, and I know he has a great sense of humor. That's the background. Now for the story.

So I just got an email from the Stake President (Maurice?) with an attachment. The email is entitled "Slides for High Baptizing Wards." Naturally, I see the word 'slides' and think of the slippery playground device. So I start imagining some hilarious picture of a baptismal font, with a man dressed in white standing in the middle of it, people being helped out of the font to the left, one at a time, and a line of people waiting to go down a pool-like slide into the font on the right side - a baptismal assembly line with a slide to help speed things up.

What I got instead was a PowerPoint presentation designed for new Mission Presidents. It was mostly text and not funny at all. I am so irreverent!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Time for Change

Okay, I've been gone long enough. And I NEED to get back to writing. Baby steps, though...

My computer (laptop) that I have had for 6 1/2 years crashed on me this past week. It seemed irreparable, so I got a new one. Fun. But being a professionally educated idiot with a Masters Degree in business technology, I certainly did NOT have any of my precious files backed up somewhere.

So I am sitting here in my Bishop's office with my new lappy and counseling with one of my ward members about coping with family stresses, depression, anxiety, abuse, etc. We talk about writing, keeping a journal, counselors, etc. I bring up the subject of blogs, and suggest a few to her to read. I suggest that she might also find it somewhat helpful to write about her thoughts and feelings where others could give her feedback without knowing who she is. She ius quite strong and I think she could handle it.

Then a thought comes to mind, "YOU (meaning me) need to get back to it too!" Fine.

So I have a new member in my ward, a young man, first year in college. He comes to me and confesses he struggles with masturbation and SSA. "YOU'VE COME TO THE RIGHT PLACE," I assure him. Now what do I do? Okay, I'm an idiot. I regurgitate some of the rhetoric that I have picked up over the last couple years from Evergreen, Northern Lights, etc.

But I don't really know how to HELP him. I must be getting really old. I am sending him to YOU, all you other bloggers out there - mainly my favorite ones and those of who who will not destroy him.

As Fall approaches, I am noticing more flat rabbits on the highways. Interesting.

I have a great YSA ward. We had a tremendous Fast-and-Testimony meeting today. The Spirit was definitely strong. Hearts were touched.

Have you seen the new Picasso emoticons? %\ .^