Thursday, November 24, 2011

Let's Talk About Dangerous Things

There has been a blog post going around lately by a supposed stake president, President Paternoster, titled "The Dangers of Logic and Reason."  The article warns that using our brains to obtain worldly knowledge is a danger to the LDS Church, and instead we should only trust our beating hearts.  Well, my heart was beating so fast when I read the post that I was tricked into thinking it was real!  Silly me... I should have caught the sarcasm and satire much sooner.  Unfortunately I was advised against using logic and reason.  But the sad thing is, there really are people out there that believe that notion and people who dangerously feed into false dangers.  People who use Church authority to manipulate scriptures and prophetic words to fit their agenda, causing confusion and undue hostility towards a religion as a whole, instead of the person who said it.  This epidemic spans across many religions, but is ever present in the LDS Church.  Lets see how many manipulative "Men of God" we can name in ten seconds... Warren Jeffs, Boyd K. Packer, L. Ron Hubbard, Jim Jones, even Adolph Hitler!  All of these people have one thing in common: they did what I like to call "Pull the God card."  This is when humans say and do things that are inappropriate, offensive, against the law, and harmful, all in the name of God or another Higher Power.  They all believe it is in the best interest of the world - or whoever will listen.
"Mr. Cain, why are you running for President?" "Because God told me to do it."
"President Bush, why did you start a war in the Middle East?" "Because God told me to end the tyranny."
"Mr. Jeffs, why did you molest all those young girls?" "Because God said I had to!"
The religions of the world shouldn't be worried about members using logic and reason to answer questions about faith, they should be worried about these people who say terribly misguided things in the name of God.  The LDS Church shouldn't be worried about the members who learn to use their minds for logic and reason. The Church should be worried about the President Paternosters out there, advising people to believe that God would have us hide our talents of thinking logically under a bushel.
I understand that the LDS faith subscribes to the belief that anything a living prophet says is as good as scripture, and should be considered the word of God.  But even prophets of God, or leaders of any faith, are still human beings, which means they are not perfect.  The scriptures might be the word of God, but they were still recorded, rerecorded, and translated by humans, which means they are not perfect.  Many religions recognize communication with God, or Gods.  But don't you think that sometimes us mere mortals are capable of hearing what we want to hear, or misinterpreting something worldly as something divine?  My sister has pulled the God card a couple times...  Five years ago she was dating a man, she prayed about it, and God told her he was the one she was going to marry.  She went out wedding dress shopping, she was looking at rings...  Less than two weeks later he broke up with her, she still hasn't found the one.  A couple years ago she had been living with some girlfriends and was about to move to another house.  The ink on the lease was just about dry when sister-dearest once again got the word from God not to move with the girls, instead she should move home so she could save for school.  Well, needless to say the girls were pissed she had bailed, and she still isn't going to school.  But how can faithful LDS girls be upset with another faithful LDS girl who was just listening to God?  It's as if the God card is the same as a Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card. 
I can hardly believe that any God would instruct any person to act in any way harmful to another person.  I strongly believe that God did not intend the Bible to be used as fuel for bigotry and hate against any human being or community.  Yet people continue to take things out of context for their own gain and the deprivation of others.  People need to understand that anyone is allowed a relationship with whichever God they choose, and allowed to not have one at all.  God intended the LDS Church to go out and spread the gospel of unconditional love, service, and fellowship; not one of close-mindedness, selfishness, self-glorification, and judgement.  God gave us all free-agency, which is useless without logic and reason - gifts he also gave us.  But free-agency doesn't only apply to people who believe in God, and only choose Godly things.  Free-agency was the fall of Adam, the reason Christ made his sacrifice, so we COULD make mistakes.  So we CAN choose other religions.  The important thing to remember is that as humans we allow our fellow humans all the privileges and freedoms we ourselves want to enjoy.  If someone is happily married to the person they love, who are they to decide that happiness is only allowed to heterosexual, monogamous couples?  If someone has found uplifting and profound messages that make them a better person, in a church different other than our own, how can we take that away from them?  Or tell them their religion is untrue or incorrect?  Shouldn't we encourage anything that will make us better people, partners, and neighbors?
Seeing as I am posting this on Thanksgiving, I guess I will end by saying I am so grateful to have a God and a great man who love me, even if I want to drink on Saturday, and go to church on Sunday.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

My Very First Blog Post!

I decided to start a blog for the same reason most people start blogs, which is: I think I have interesting things to say.  Everyone who blogs does so with the intent of others looking at and reading what they have to say.  Some of these blogs are incredible, and some of them... not so much.  I have recently come into a position where I have a lot more free time in front of a computer, and I started to realize the potential of the internet's ability to share ideas and thoughts with other people who may be looking for what I have to say.  I love that every single person in the world has a different perspective on life, and mine is literally 1 in 7 billion, but it is unique to me and my learning experiences.  So I hope that in writing openly on the world wide web that someone will find my words helpful, enlightening, educational, or just funny enough to merit a smile.  Things I like to talk about include equality and human rights, religion, class and race, psychology (which is my major), books and literacy, love and relationships... etc.  I'm just a wealth of information waiting to burst at the seams with opinions and soap boxes! 
While I need to be on the discreet side, I will say most of this will be written while I'm at work.  And while I won't reveal any names that could get any person or my company in trouble, I do work in a hotel, which provides some wonderfully hilarious and sometimes horrific stories.  So stay tuned to the "Hotel Diaries" portion of the blog, I think I can promise some good laughs.  People are the absolute weirdest when they travel out of their comfort zones.
Like I said, this is my very first attempt at blogging, and I'm sure it will take a while before anyone even sees my page... but nonetheless, I will do my best to get it all updated and running.  Please feel free to help me in the learning process, maybe go easy on me...  I'm only human.