Sunday, March 20, 2011
The picture above has nothing to do with this post...but I like it.
Speaking of things I like...I like the "it gets better project" website. I could (and do) spend hours listening to the people who have told their stories. I'm sure I've only viewed a fraction of the videos. I'm amazed at the variety and creativity. One of my favorites so far is at the link below.
A person who is asexual does not experience sexual attraction. The Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) indicates that unlike celibacy, which people choose, asexuality is an intrinsic part of who some people are (sounds familiar, no?). AVEN website
I don't believe that I'm asexual. However, as I've learned more about the lives of young LDS gay people I've wondered if many of us didn't pass through a period of self imposed asexuality. I know that I did. When I was in high school I was not interested in girls. I was most interested in the cute guys.
But, I knew from what I'd learned at church that homosexuality was incredibly evil. It was not possible to live with my feelings of attraction to men and at the same time to live the life of an active LDS church member. I knew I would go to hell if I was gay. Obviously, I did not want that outcome. As a result, I buried my true feelings so deeply that in fact I became a self imposed asexual person.
In other posts I've mentioned that I've wished I had been more outgoing, more social, more wild, had more outrageous fun, and been more experimental during my high school years. I could not relax, be me and enjoy life. Along with being incredibly shy, I think one of the main reasons why I could not relax and be young and passionate was this self imposed asexuality, which was my constant battle to keep bottled up inside.
I am only now really understanding the damage that I did to myself during those years and the walls I built by not being true to myself. Also, as I've mentioned before, I believe the LDS church was complicit in this harm.
Fortunately, I am healing and I'm grateful for that. Hate and anger are very corrosive. Part of that healing for me needs to be forgiving the church. I think I'm making some progress in that area as well. I'm enjoying life as never before but I still feel that I probably missed out on some important things along the way. I believe that God intends for young people to be happy and enjoy the gifts of youth. I don't think my experience is unique.
In case you're wondering, below is the generally recognized symbol for asexuality.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Blogger stats show that my post that has been viewed more than any other is the first Luis Fonsi post, by more than double of any other post. What does this mean?
- It means that most of those who view my blog would rather see photos of a cute guy than read what I have to say...
Sunday, March 6, 2011
If you are not familiar with Rob Bell (pictured above), I suggest you look him up. He is the founding pastor of the Mars Hill Bible Church. I really like the way he teaches. He is also the narrator for a set of videos from NOOMA that teach very powerfully some basic Christian ideas with short stories and analogies. You can download the video trailers or buy the video for $4.99 on ITunes. One of my favorites is Video 1 called "rain". It teaches about the atonement and God's love for us in a powerful story of a father and his young son who are caught in a rain storm. You can also learn more at the links below:
Here is a quick summary of my testimony of God's plan for his children (us) based on four core principles of the gospel.
- Everything the Lord does is for the welfare and benefit of his children (us).
- We are on earth to learn and develop our talents, relationships, and spirituality. The Lord stated that we are here to learn by our own experiences to distinguish good from evil (meaning He is not going to give us all the answers, we need to do some living, thinking, and feeling, to work it out for ourselves).
- Wickedness leads to unhappiness (although other things can also lead to temporary unhappiness due to the fallen nature of this world) and righteousness leads to happiness (although other things can also lead to temporary happiness due to the fallen nature of this world)
- The atonement of Jesus Christ is the way that has been provided by God to permanently overcome unhappiness, regardless of the source
OK, with these four basics I can then summarize our existence. We are here on earth to putter around, experience the good things and bad things of a mortal body and to basically enjoy ourselves and learn as we go. The variety in human experience is almost so vast as to be uncomprehendable. Obviously, our Father loves variety and He has the ability to help each of us in very personal ways.
As we go along we develop patterns of doing things that make us happy because nobody likes to be unhappy. So after a few stints in the unhappiness arena we tend to move on to what makes us happy. This is exactly God's Plan. In the end, it is God's intent that we learn that serving others, being kind, honest, and other good things make us happy.
At some point we all die. When we die we have not finished learning we've just changed schools. Ultimately, through the atonement of Christ we will all fully learn the lessons that God laid out in the beginning and we will be happy because of it. Because everything God does is for the benefit of his children, ultimately He will see to it that each one of us is happy and that we are exactly where we want to be. How could a loving Father do anything less? He is a perfect Father. He won't push but he will encourage and provide opportunities that we need. I may not have faith enough to move mountains but I have faith enough in a loving Father who will do everything he can (and that's saying a lot) to ensure I'm happy.
So lighten up, smile, and know that it will all be OK.
Friday, March 4, 2011
OK, I'm going out on a limb here. I don't know any of the details about how this 19 year old young man came to be the focus of the BYU honor code office and I may be wrong but I disagree with the way BYU (aka the church) has dealt with this situation.
Brandon's suspension has become the focus of a nation wide media frenzy, which has generated some reports that are favorable toward the church and that commend BYU for its "integrity". A media organization as sophisticated as the LDS Church and BYU was certainly aware that this would happen.
But consider the individual involved. Does this suspension do anything to help him? If he has sinned or is hurting, does this action in any way help him to heal? I think not. Brandon and his family were sacrificed on the alter of LDS public relations.
Think about it. There are so many unseemly events and circumstances that the LDS Church works very hard to keep under cover but it had no problem throwing Brandon to the wolves. To me this seems like exactly the wrong approach for an organization that claims to practice the ideal of Christian love and virtues.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
As Galileo was being led away after his trial for heresy during the Inquisition, he reportedly said, "and yet it moves!". He had been found guilty of heresy because it was obvious to those who judged him that in fact the earth did not move but it was plainly visible to all that it was the sun that moved across the horizon and not the earth. Galileo had a more expansive vision of the truth through his telescope and with better vision he was better able to determine the truth.
As humans we are so very prone to judge based on our own senses and experiences and we are so often wrong! We are conditioned to make quick judgments of people, events, places, and everything else based on our preconceived ideas and stereotypes. These spot judgments are often wrong and we miss the opportunity to gain perspective.
Life is full of paradoxes where the truth is actually the complete opposite of what we may initially believe. A few examples:
- A person feels trapped into a life they don't want by the choices of others and circumstances they can't control. The reality is that we can control our destiny and have the power to change our circumstances and can make ourselves happy.
- A quick judgement may suggest that money and power lead to happiness. The reality is that the small everyday pleasures of life are what really make us happy.
- Some believe that people who are not similar to them should be viewed with suspicion. The reality is that diversity adds wonderful flavor and expanded perspective to life.
- You make me angry! In reality, I let you make me angry.
The list could go on and on. Paradox is so common in life and spirituality that we need to turn over every leaf to see the other side. When I do that I am often pleasantly surprised by what I find.