Wednesday, May 28, 2008

more fortunate coincidences in sequential reading

Because, with the semester over, I can once again delve into page upon page of the written word, I am delighted with the unplanned coincidence of being 50 pgs deep into two books with tantalizingly overlapping themes.

Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell. A treatise on the spit second decision, intuition (though the author hates that word), and how we 'thin slice' information to get to our conclusions. (My own intuition tells me this book may try also try to double as a positive-thinking self-help book... but it has been very interesting so far)


Deep Survival, by Laurence Gonzales. A roller-coaster ride of of close calls, narrow escapes, miraculous turns of events, and sudden death in spite of the best circumstances. The subtitle is "Who lives, Who dies, and Why. (Deep down, I'm a wacky survivalist nut.) (This one may also turn self-help. We'll see. Personally, I've got nothing against self-help books... they just aren't what I usually seek out to read.)

ahhhhhh.... It's good to be back in the books.
(if either of these books warrants it, I'm sure I'll write more about them.)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

sharing the scripture in primary...

It was my Little Buddy's turn to give the scripture in closing exercises today. I shifted all the responsiblity to my lover (feeling rather conflicted about it all), and he did a wonderful job.
He picked D&C 121: 41.
"No power of influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the power of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned."

and then he took some pictures of Little Buddy to illustrate the various virtues of influence:



gentleness and meekness...

love unfeigned...

I think my lover did a very good job.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

some more about my options...

(...continuing from this post)

Just a month or so ago I was going to write a post about how church had thankfully become quite tolerable after I gave myself permission to not believe what was said over the pulpit or in the class room. I had taken to bringing my journal to write in, or a book to read to get me through talks or lessons that would have otherwise driven me over the edge (church is a GREAT place to read Well Behaved Women Seldom Make History or History of the Wife).

This worked really well for a while. I thought I had reconciled myself to a different way of being in the church, but the relationship didn't last; lately this has been an exhausting isolated place to be where an enormous elephant follows me from sacrament to sunday school to relief society. Can't talk about it, can't acknowledge it, but it won't go away.

I used to cling to this statement by Chieko Okazaki:
"If you experience the pain of exclusion at church... Don't become inactive. You may think that you are voting with your feet, that you are making a statement by leaving. You are, but your absence may be welcomed and encouraged by those who don't understand or value you. They see your diversity as a problem to be fixed; as a flaw to be corrected or erased. If you are gone, they don't have to deal with you anymore. I want you to know that your diversity is a more valuable statement." (quoted by Brian Chapman in the march 2007 Sunstone)

But as a non-believer, staying in the church just to make others have to deal with me seems... wrong. I was especially impressed by this thought as I read Alya's post at fMh asking if she should join the church. She has a lot of very 'diverse' ideas that may make her uncomfortable in church culture (and make church culture uncomfortable with her)... but she believes the church is true, and that God wants her to be a part of it. That's a good reason to join the church, and stay in the church. Mostly I feel that the only reason I am sticking around is out of habit, and because I am afraid of what my family will say. And because I honestly don't know what I will do instead. Because of Fear.

I was touched by Natasha's post about the things that she (as an "unbeliever") does love about the church... but right now my short list of common beliefs I share with the church isn't enough, I am sitting through three hours of listening to stuff I don't believe, unable to participate at all. This is hard, because I have always been the one that loves to participate.

I've wondered if, like Deborah, I should take a sabbatical from the Church. Visit other religions, do some soul searching, just take a break from the mental gymnastics. Ha, easy for her to do... she wasn't married at the time. I will be deserting a husband and a son (who is slated to give the scripture in primary this sunday). I'm really not sure how we will actually do that. How will sundays look and what will we tell little buddy?

On the other hand, I could also move back into full participation, setting aside the cup of tea and glass of wine, putting on garments again, going into the bishop to start working towards getting a temple recommend again. There was two very thought provoking posts, one by Natasha, and another by Zeniada, on how they negotiate being active in their wards while being non-believers. By adhering to the requirements of the church they are able to have a voice in their wards, are able to participate and make a difference. For the first 30 years of my life, the church was a pivotal, central force. I was heavily involved in my various wards, starting in young womens frequently holding leadership and teaching callings. It's probably what makes my current situation of silent non-participation so hard. I always defined myself by my callings, my testimony, my activity. If the shell of that organization is taken away, what will fill it's void? But if I stay merely to retain the comfort of that familiarity, what will be the consequence?

To be a non-believer but still be able to participate, I'll have to do it like Natasha or Zeniada, where I 'live the gospel' by observing all of the obvious external indicators of the church. Law of tithing, word of wisdom, temple worthy. Will I remove my extra piercings? They are a big neon sign hanging over my head confirming the fact that "I don't believe". Likewise that box of green tea in the pantry is a glaring search light revealing me as a non-believer. Blowing my cover. (And incase the glare from that box of tea isn't strong enough... you should see what the six pack of local beer in my fridge is putting off).

In other words, I am doing this all wrong. And I am feeling the burden of the double life. What I am doing right now is schizophrenic. If I want to continue as I am, I should just move on and come out of the closet about it. Or else I should go back, 'repent', hide my disaffections and find a way to participate.

*Sigh*... Easier said than done, for either option.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

running out of options...

I"ve come to what feels like a bit of a watershed point with the church. I didn't anticipate this, I really thought I could continue for some time in my current path. But I really don't think I can for much longer.

I can either peacefully leave the church, stop attending, and be open with friends and family about my no longer 'living the gospel'


I can move back into full participation in the church. Began wearing garments again, live the word of wisdom, 'confess' to the bishop and work towards getting temple recommend.

I need to write more about this, I know. I have explained nothing here to give anyone any indication of my personal reasons for and against each of those options, or the lack of any forms of 'middle road' options... but I'm going to post this now anyways, and come back to it later.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

fair is fair...

well, my little buddy couldn't help but notice that mommy didn't have any pictures with multiple eyes. So when I opened this one up to work on it, and he asked me, 'where are you eyes?' I put him on my lap and let him dictate where mommy needed extra eyes (yep, he specifically requested one on my nose).
Fair is fair...
here you go.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


(the title of this post being my attempt at evil laughter)

my little darling boy... after I got done with him in photoshop! Next stop, I import him to Flash and animate the image; get the eyes blinking and rolling around, maybe a tongue licking his lips... we'll see!
(see here for the unaltered pic of my beautiful boy)