They can ban me, but they can’t leave me alone

December 14, 2012

A few years ago, I wrote a blog post about the disbanding of the LDS Relief Society, which I thought was interesting. I noticed today that a number of people had read that piece, and that almost all of them had followed a link on  the MormonDialogue board. Curious, I went over to see what was being said.

True to form, a couple of posters decided to take the opportunity to take a few personal shots at me, and for good measure made sure everyone knew my IRL name (not that it’s a secret). One of the shots came from someone I considered a friend, so his comments stung a little. It’s true that I have long since been banned from that board, as one of the posters noted. What happened is that I posted a rather innocuous top-ten list on a different board, which was cross-posted on the MormonDialogue board. I attempted to apologize for offending anyone, which resulted in my being banned. I hadn’t been posting much there, anyway, so it wasn’t a big deal. But since I can’t post there, I’ll just say a few words here.

First, do I spend “some effort finding opportunities to knock the Church”? Hardly. If I wanted to go after the LDS church, I would surely do something worse than semi-regular musings on the religion and culture. I’ve said before that, if people are happy in the LDS church, that is where they should be.

Am I “wrapped around the axle with” the church? Maybe, but it’s hard to “grow out of” something that is part of every single day of my life.  It’s impossible “let the Church be and just move along” when my family and I are immersed in Mormonism. And I am not “fixated” on Mormonism any more than I am fixated on politics, cooking, British television, or any number of things I find interesting.

And the purification ritual I “invented” was a brief musing on how nice it would be to have that part of my life be over. It’s not, and it probably never will be. So, I don’t apologize for discussing things that are, like it or not, important aspects of my life, past, present, and future.

But seriously, why do I keep coming up in a place I haven’t been anywhere near in at least four years? It’s like they’re fixated on me.

Hi, I’m Jesus, and I’m a Mormon

December 13, 2012

About Me

I grew up never knowing my real father. Sure, the man who raised me and taught me his trade (carpentry) was a good enough guy, but there was always something missing in my life. Sometimes I felt like a burden, like my parents didn’t really want me around. Once they left me at the temple and forgot all about me for a couple of days. Needless to say, I had self-esteem issues. Through my teens and twenties I let myself go spiritually and physically. I wanted to be different, so I adopted a hippie style, letting my hair and beard grow out and wearing ratty old robes and sandals. I felt like I had hit bottom when I was invited to a wedding, and it turned out they just wanted me to bring the alcohol.

Confused and lost, I left home at age 30 and went from town to town looking for meaning in my life. I thought I had found my calling teaching people about being good to each other and healing the sick. I thought I’d made friends and finally felt like I belonged, but my friends deserted me when I needed them, and I ended up alone on a cross, wondering what had happened with my life.

But then two missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints knocked on my door. I was curious about a religion that coincidentally bore my name, so I invited them in. What they taught me changed my life.

Why I’m a Mormon

Since my baptism into the LDS church, I have learned that I have a purpose in life, that my time here on earth has meaning. I’ve  cleaned myself up, trading the grunge look for a clean-cut, businesslike look. I don’t have to wander around among strangers desperately seeking validation through pathetic attempts at “charity.” Now I know that true fulfillment comes from dressing in white robes and sitting for a couple of hours to watch a film and recite oaths, signs, and tokens. I go to the temple three times a week to make up for lost time.

I’ve also become more humble. I recognize that it’s rather arrogant to presume I know more about medicine than qualified doctors, like my bishop, so I have stopped healing people just to show off. Besides, I keep very busy as my ward’s physical maintenance coordinator and as a stake public affairs representative (we are making a lot of progress towards helping people to see that we’re normal).

Some of my friends think I’m too focused on rules and “standards,” but I know that diligently reading my scriptures, paying tithing, and attending meetings has helped me become a better, more Christlike person. I am so grateful for a bishop and stake president who have the priesthood authority to declare me worthy to enter the temple. Having a temple recommend has shown me what it means to be clean and pure before God.

Someday, I hope to find a worthy eternal companion to take with me to the temple to be sealed for time and eternity. I thought I had found “the one,” but she turned out to have a problem with following the prophet. Seriously, how can you jeopardize your eternal destiny just so you can wear an extra pair of earrings?

I know that we are led today by a living prophet, who stands at the head of the corporation sole, even The Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Without his guidance, who knows what I would be doing with my life? I am grateful that he has shown us the way and the truth through bad poetry and shopping mall construction.

If you would like to find the same happiness I have, please contact the LDS church and have them send missionaries to teach you. You won’t regret it.

Shameless Holiday Reminder

December 5, 2012

I feel kind of mercenary posting this, but I just got laid off, so what the heck? I’ve been told that my book, Heaven Up Here, makes an excellent Christmas gift for people who have served LDS missions, will serve missions, or simply want to read a good book.

At less than $10, it even makes a good stocking stuffer.

OK, I’m done begging for the year. Merry Christmas!

When it rains

December 4, 2012
So, Monday morning my employers called a mandatory meeting at 9:00 for me and 79 of my colleagues. As of February 1, I will no longer be employed by my current employer. Merry Christmas.

I’ve been through this before, as the high-tech industry is notorious for a lot of turnover, so I’m not particularly stressed. More annoyed, really. I was just starting to feel like I was almost ready for Christmas, and now I’ll be spending all my free time looking for a job.

The good news is that I have two months of paid employment plus 5 weeks of severance, and my insurance is good until the end of February. Fortunately, we had time to sign up for my wife’s insurance, which she has always declined in favor of mine. Ironically, I will almost certainly receive a healthy bonus check as I leave the building because our larger division has done extremely well this year.

Needless to say, we are going to be extremely frugal over the next few months. I feel bad for the people who’ve never been through this before. There were some very stressed faces today. One guy said he’s not going to tell his wife until after Christmas so she won’t worry. Big mistake, IMO.

So, my resume is out again. I had updated it a couple of months ago because I was worried that the company was in trouble. When I took this job, my wife made me promise we wouldn’t go anywhere for 5 years, which I reached in July (I got a plaque, a lapel pin, and a fishing pole).

I think I would have been more stressed if they had just walked us out of the building, as has happened to me before. So, wish me luck. In a twisted way, it’s nice to have a dose of perspective.