Wednesday, February 29, 2012

From Another Time in My Life

I found a poem that I wrote in the Bible that a Christian gave me. Stumbling across the poem was interesting for me. It was from a period of my life that was still grim but beginning to yield to happiness and peace. When I wrote this poem, I was still struggling with the idea of God and whether such a being existed or not. On the day that I wrote the poem, I was preparing to go see the Honor Code the next day. I was terrified and felt backed into a corner. I felt alone and lost and could only turn to something that I felt was reliable and trustworthy: my faith. There's no title to this poem. But I find it interested to read into a window of my thoughts from that time.

Walk with me this day,
Before I fade
Into gloom and darkness.
The shadows are long,
Their purpose grim,
And I am without solace.

Where is the Comforter 
By whom the day was formed?
Does not the Shadow know
Him that gave it power?

Go with me, I am weary,
My heart is heavy,
Sorrow already accompanies me;
No darkness clings to my soul,
For which Shadow would attach to
To destroy me.
Still, I need you.
For I do not wish to go alone.
Be with me,
My soul is bare and
Ravening wolves are drawing near.

The poem was written June 28, 2009

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Say No More

I may be wrong, but I will go forward anyway and assume I'm not. I try to make make decisions, when I have time to think it through, based on what I've seen around me, what I've read, and what I believe to be correct, true, and good. 

That thought process led me to come out a few years ago. That same thought process finally allowed to me accept that I had lost my faith in idea of God actually existing. And it was that same thought process that allowed me to embrace the beauty of life around me. Now the past few years have felt like a great and titanic shift in thinking. I have felt my mind slowly shift to and from on different ideas on religion.

I've been waiting for that. I've been waiting now for the full depth of not believing to sink in and to let that non-belief become deeply rooted in me. I have read, watched, and talked about this for a while now. The sense I felt of my world spinning out of control, of darkness consumes my being until I would be forever lost to depression, has all long since ceased. What remains within is a sense of reality coming into awareness in me. 

These past few years have been a restoration of my soul long since succumbed to a death-like slumber. The restoration, the reawakening of that part of me is happening more and more. I feel a sense of peace now. I feel a sense of the deepest core of my being has come alive again. What had previously felt like a contortionist's act gone wrong, feels like all the pieces have come together. I have long since realized and accepted my sexuality. There is no mystery, no coming to terms with who I am. I am gay. And I like this about me. There is no desire to wrestle with it again because I feel at peace with myself. That aspect of my humanity has been restored and I am grateful I stopped resisting earlier so I could feel this now instead of much later in life. I can now post pictures of men and not feel guilty or deviant in doing so.

The freedom and peace of the silence that now exists in the absence of God moves me to have greater respect and awe at the wonderful and frightening power of ideas. We are not removed from our ancestors though they are gone. But our world is the direct result of their being here. We live amid the results of their efforts and counter efforts to create a world for us. The old empires may be gone, long since crumbled to dust and a shadow of memory, but the gifts they gave to humanity continue on, having evolved and lived on. 

Coming to terms with all of this was not the end (otherwise I'd never have created this blog, ha ha!) but the beginning of my journey. There is life that exists beyond the efforts of coming to terms with yourself, of college life, and of all other things that society seems to think are so desperately important. What matters is the journey, the effort to be someone. At least, that's what I think. 

Now, hopefully I can start writing some fun posts instead of some of these dreary (what feels like) treatises on some of these topics.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Character in a Story

I've been working on a story lately. Yes, it will be another one of those posts. I won't be offended if the one or two of you that read this blog just skips this post entirely, ha ha! Perhaps this is for my own sanity. But I've been working on the main character lately. I confess that I want this story to be perfect (who doesn't want their own story to be that way, right?). I believe the key to a successful story is for the characters to be believable and the pull that draws the readers in.

So, the main character is very much the young man. He is ready to take on the world, all while ignoring the risks that are so clearly before him. He is naive about so many things in the world. Yet it is this naivete that will either destroy or save him. He is in a unique position for he is nobody important and yet incredibly important at the same time. He is the heir to a throne of no real power, just religious power. He is the latest in a line of a family that carries magic in their veins. It is this secret that if known will cause his death. Magic is something to be destroyed in this world because it is more of a nuisance to those in power than a tool to use anymore.

But I hope he is relate-able. How many of us have begun a new phase in life's journey all bright-eyed and eager to make a difference, get it right, or just see what will happen? We will be naturally ignorant of the risks because we don't expect them. Remember that part of your life when you felt invincible? That's this young man. He wants to make a difference, change the world, and even bring salvation to the weary and down-trodden. He is very similar to a missionary in that regard.

When people read the story, it's my hope that that's what they get from this character. They feel his youth, his energy, his optimism, and his courage to face opposition that would pull him into a web of deceits, intrigue, and destruction. But there's more to it than that. The city he goes to live in, the capital of the empire he lives in on this world, is not a place of safety and opportunity. He will have to find a way to overcome despair, a sea of poverty, cruelty previously unseen and unimaginable, and hopelessness that will threaten to overwhelm him. He cannot survive it as he is at the beginning. Like all stories, he must undergo a change or he will break.

So, it is my hope that when people read it, they want to know what will happen to him. It won't matter whether it's political intrigue, human suffering, love, or simply keeping sane in a world that seems so keen on falling into the abyss.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Further Thoughts on Mormonism's God

A thought on religion:

God is light. God is knowledge. This concept has been said and phrased similarly in a thousand ways over my life. Mormonism teaches this concept each Sunday and throughout the week through its different programs. And let's be honest here for a moment, if you have ever been religious, you've thought this before, right? I know that I have. God is heat, warmth, love, light, and wisdom. He is all that is positive in this world.

According to some branches of mysticism, and I admit I am no expert, this concept of God is ultimately false or, at best, an illusion. God, they will argue, is beyond human words and human meanings. God is not this or that. God is not any of that. According to some mysticism it would be better to describe God as not light, not knowledge, not love. Using the antithesis is better to describe God because it he is not that. He is more. Such concepts of good and evil, in mysticism, are entirely and wholly human. Our morality is just that: ours. God's morality is not moral. In order to understand God, you have to first admit that he is not understandable. He is incomprehensible.

Now, to return to Mormonism. Mormonism follows the theological and cultural line of thought that God is and is knowable. Such theological proofs by the Christian tradition, while not apparent in the faith, still leave their marks on Mormonism. God has a corporeal body in Mormonism. He has a fixed location. He has a family. God is an evolved being that spends his days doing set activities: creating and punishing the hell into his disobedient children. These ideas or "revelations" on God is ultimately a reasonable conclusion to come to in a society where God is rationally explained and understood (albeit God becomes incredibly irrational and full of many fallacies). After all, could you imagine a Joseph Smith figure appearing in a society where God was taught as being unknowable and incomprehensible? That all attempts to approach God are failures except once we face the reality that God is not out there but inside us?

Mormonism teaches the person that is God. Mysticism and many other traditions teach the experience that is God. God's literal distance from us, his physical form, and all other things that are relate-able actually do harm to the concept of God. It turns God into something unnecessary, unapproachable. Why? What need have we to interact with a being that is so much like us? He is not majestic or capable of filling us with wonder. He cannot because he is the average joe of the gods to believe in. The gods of mysticism, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam (I fully admit that the mystical God is arguably inseparable from their twin form in the different monotheistic faiths) transcend human thought and understanding.

Consider this scripture mastery passage from Isaiah: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts" (55:8-9). This idea in Mormonism, especially among many Mormons that I have met, is explained as "God is more knowing." But there is an inherent problem with that. In order for this passage to have some ring of accuracy to that, the Mormon would have to admit that current knowledge is pathetic and absolutely and totally unnecessary. Human thought and human logic is incorrect and the tools for our inability to know God. But Mormonism, being the child of Enlightenment and the offspring of the progress of American and European philosophy and science, cannot accept that. God just knows more than you or I. God did not create the laws at work in our universe. He's just smart about manipulating them. God is definable. Mormonism defines their God very successfully.

Yet the tragedy in this (if you believe in God) is that once you successfully define your God, he becomes no longer mysterious. Such phrases as "Be still and know that I am God" lose their power to create wonder and awe. God is now capable of being disregarded. His being knowable, completely comprehended strips him of the divinity that humans have always granted their gods and goddesses. God is a creature of this realm and this reality. He becomes absolutely personable. See, Mormonism has made god the ultimate god of personable-ness. He is the very thing that mystics, ancient religious philosophers, and even prophets have feared. Once you turn God personable, he loses the power to transcend you and all humanity and simply becomes the superhuman extension of you. He is your anger, justice, mercy, and condemnation. He becomes to the fullest extent all that you are but just more of that.

Ever wonder why God changes his mind in Mormonism? Why he hates the gays and supports America's wars from time to time? Why he seems to have sided with America in World War II and hates Islam? Because Mormons think that way. Why is God schizophrenic and seems to agree (or disagree even) with what we believe or think? Because he is truly the manifestation of what we think or don't want to think.

There is no God in Mormonism. He is the superhuman invisible friend of all.

Enjoy your Sabbath!