Thursday, March 28, 2013

Love the Person, Hate the Discrimination

With the Supreme Court hearing two cases on marriage and rights for gays, many of us who support ending discrimination chose to show our support by posting a red equality sign as our avatar on facebook. What I didn't expect was the back lash from family who are opposed to ending discrimination.

I was surprised by this, as I expected silence at most, some support at best, not outright opposition. Many of the opposition is couched in, 'love the sinner, hate the sin' or 'being gay is a lifestyle choice, therefore I oppose the lifestyle but love the person'. It is all the same to me, it is discrimination. Any time any privileges, power or money is with held from a group of people, it is discrimination. I have to ask, 'how does being gay harm anyone? If it is so wrong, why is it so prevalent in the animal kingdom? Is it possible to look at sexuality as more than procreation in both humans and animals?

First, the scientific evidence that sexual orientation is not a lifestyle, if it was then heterosexuals would also be making a choice.  BYU professor Bill Bradshaw of the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Biology has done extensive research in this area and this is what he has to say: sexual orientation is not a lifestyle choice

Hormones and steroids that an embryo is exposed to inutero; genes, play a role in sexual orientation. Target cells, molecules, cortisone, all play a role in sexual orientation. The processes are complicated and different for males and females. There are continuums as well, from hetro-to intersex to homosexual behavior in people as well as animals: intersex

Second, what about the animal kingdom? Homosexual and bisexual behavior is widespread within the animal kingdom.  Here is a link to some of the animals that engage in homosexual behavior: animals

Third, if sexual behavior is only for reproduction, then why would animals engage in non-reproductive sexual behavior of  a heterosexual,  homosexual, or bisexual nature? (I am going to assume that non-reproductive sexual activity is accepted in humans) Could the answer be the same in the animal kingdom as it is in the human kingdom?  Many studies suggest that such behavior enhances their social standing, sexual behavior is enjoyable, to resolve conflicts, to establish life long bonds, for sexual gratification, or for domination.
nationalgeographic             wide spread in animal kindgom          livescience      nbcnews

over 1,500 animal species observed

I understand confirmation bias, that people have been told their entire religious life that god says it has to be only one way and people look for information to support their beliefs.

When I was in college taking social work classes, one of my professors had several students talk to us about their personal experiences of being gay. It was profound. They spoke of their families shunning them, of people discriminating against them. Of people saying such things to them as, 'you are a sinner' or 'you chose to be that way, you can choose different'.  I was experiencing cognitive dissonance and after class I asked the teacher for her time and said that I was confused because I had never questioned my sexual orientation. She looked at me and all she said was, 'exactly'.

Does being gay harm people? The answer to this is no. It does challenge people's belief systems. This is the
core of the problem, is it not? That people's belief system that they have been taught through their families and religions are being challenged.

If a person's behavior is abusive to others, then that behavior should be expected to be changed or that person can not be allowed in my life. If a person's behavior just annoys me, I can ask them to change that behavior or ignore it if they choose to not change it.

Someone's sexual orientation does not fit into either of these categories, anymore than being heterosexual. It is nobody's business. Currently, there are laws that discriminate against them. I support ending this discrimination because sexual orientation does not harm people.

Love does not harm.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Menace to Society

I'm sitting at a coffee shop at the Treefort music festival with my family and a friend, listening to emerging musical artists.  The music is grand. I marvel at the talent these artists have, at how many hours they have practiced, and how much support they have received from their parents and family and friends. I know a lot of money has been spent on equipment and lessons. They have come from all over, from San Francisco and Arkansas and Portland.

I watch the crowd of people listen to the music and wonder at how times have changed since I was in my 20's.  We didn't have disposable time to spend at such venues, for one thing. I'm glad at the change. It's a wonderful thing to enjoy the arts and appreciate the great music. How great to fill your life with joy and splendor and not always work and drudgery.

I watch these young men as they are enmeshed in the music. They feel the rhythm.  They move to the beat. They have changed since the youth I grew up with. There isn't this stiffness about them. They aren't afraid to express the emotion they feel when the music moves them. In my youth, the men would stand there, stoic and cool acting, as though the music had no effect on them whatsoever.  The change in this generation is good and I hope it only gets better.

There a meme going around facebook that says something to the effect that there's an entire generation growing up that wasn't spanked and they worry about this generation becoming the world's leaders. I worry about today's leaders that have learned that fear is the ultimate power and they lead by instilling in fear. I do not fear a generation that has learned love.

George Q. Cannon made the statement that a lot of unmarried 25 year old men are a menace to society. I see no menace here. Only appreciation and fun and happiness.

Young men who are able to express their emotions can only be a good thing...may it continue and make our society a safer and more peaceable place.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Embrace the World

St.'s October and cold. We are going into the Hermitage museum. It is so huge! And incredible. It would take something like 7 years to explore the entire thing. We see paintings from Leonardo DaVinci and VanGoh and Matisse.  Tapestries on the walls and statues and gold and marble everywhere.

In Finland we ate domesticated moose and reindeer, it was so tender and moist and not wild tasting at all.  Sailing up the waterways in Sweden and Norway was so incredible and beautiful, it was beyond words.  Tallin, Estonia and Gdansk, Poland are the most picturesque towns you can imagine. If I ever return, I hope it is in the spring.

Turkey...did you know that Turkey has had a secular government for nearly 100 years. Istanbul is a city that is very modern. You can hear the bells ring for prayers 5 times a day, but unlike religious-run muslin countries, in Istanbul, you don't see people running to the mosques for prayers. It is a city with a complicated identity. The dress of primarily European people everywhere, with a smattering of muslin. The mosques have layers of paint from years of invasions. Its beautiful in such a unique way.

Ireland; 1,000 shades of green covering the most beautiful castles you ever did see. Its the scariest place to drive, with one lane roads and cars and vans and semi's passing each other at 60 miles an hour!

Paris. If ever I can live anywhere outside the US, it will be France or Italy....Oh, to be there again. I walked in the early morning dew to the Louvre.  What a crisp, beautiful spring morning. I find the floor with the Mona Lisa. I have heard good and bad. Some people say it was just meh. I have to see for myself. I see her from across the room and already, her eyes have me in their spell. I must get closer. I can't stop staring. She is more beautiful in person that in photos. Nothing has done her justice. I want to stay and look at her all day.

Please, bring me back to Europe, universe.

It is estimated that only 30% of Americans have passports. I love the world, I don't understand why we don't embrace it more. I haven't seen enough.

More, please.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Keep Your Word

Your word is your bond.
If you say you're going to call; call.
If you say you're going to come over; come over.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Mantras to Live By

Here are some mantas that I can live by:

*What you do speaks so loud I cannot hear what you say. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

The more life experiences I have, the more I realize that it is people's behaviors that speak for them, and not their words.

*There are some people who always seem angry and continuously look for conflict. Walk away; the battle they are fighting isn't with you, it is with themselves. ~ Anonymous

I have also learned that people's emotions are also about themselves, not me. There are people who always drive with road rage. (I'm not talking about those of us who get upset with the guy who cuts us off, or drives 20 miles under the speed limit when we are late, it is normal for us to upset by these things. I'm talking about the person who flips off every driver, who roles down his window to yell at any driver, who gets out of his car at red lights to scream at drivers, and even bumps other cars and chases other drivers on a regular bases.) There are people who keep their rage just under their skin; who wait until they are drunk and then yell at the wait staff, or bring up petty arguments with family members, or complain about spilled food on counters and other minor things. They are always pointing out small imperfections of those around them. The never see their own minor imperfections but always those in others and create drama and conflict by pointing them out.

*It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.

This is what growing up is all about... plus taking responsibility for yourself. For many women, they are looking for others to save them. This isn't a disney movie. Women need to save themselves. For many men, they are looking for someone to blame. They need to take ownership of their problems. When people have the courage to grow up, they can become who they were meant to be.

*You are not powerless.

Even when the entire universe conspires against you; you still have the choice to think freely. That is the greatest power of all.

*Is fat really the worst thing a human being can be? Is fat worse than vindictive, shallow, jealous, vain, boring, evil, or cruel? ~J.K. Rowling

And might I add, violence, war, poverty?

*People don't always need advice. Sometimes all they really need is a hand to hold, an ear to listen, and a heart to understand them.

*If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten we belong to each other. ~Mother Theresa

*Do no harm, but take no shit.

*Never ruin an apology with an excuse. ~Abraham Lincoln

*Most relationships fail because we spend too much time pointing out each other's mistakes and not enough time enjoying each other's company. ~

True dat~

*Girls don't dress for boys. They dress for themselves, and of course, each other. If girls dressed for boys, they'd just walk around naked at all times. ~Betty Johnson

No other explanation necessary...

And of course, communication styles:

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Walk Away

There are some people who always seem angry
and continuously look for conflict. 
Walk away; the battle they are fighting
isn't with you, it is with 
themselves. ~unknown


I have lived a life filled with pain
 and sorrow, yet I choose happiness
 because happiness didn't choose me. A~

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Saving Grace

When I was mormon, I read scriptures regularly, but I have learned more since leaving than I ever knew as a believing mormon. For example is the scripture in Moroni 8. As a believing Mormon, the only part that is ever discussed, is the part about children being saved in Christ. However, the most fascinating part is the two verses that talk about people who have never received any knowledge of Jesus:

In Moroni 8:22-23 it states: 22 For behold that all little children are aalive in Christ, and also all they that are without the blaw. For the power of credemption cometh on all them that have dno law; wherefore, he that is not condemned, or he that is under no condemnation, cannot repent; and unto such baptism availeth nothing—
 23 But it is mockery before God, denying the mercies of Christ, and the power of his Holy Spirit, and putting trust in adead works.
When I was still Mormon, I didn't think too hard on this passage, as I do now. I find it one of the most fascinating scriptures in the BoM. Joseph Smith's grandfather refused to believe in any organized religion because he believed that no religion had the capacity to save. He believed that god's grace saved. He believed that if god's grace was good enough to save some, it was great enough to save all.

If god's grace saves people, then a religion does not save, baptism does not save, saving ordinances do not save, good works do not save, and tithing paid to a church does not save.

We find a hint of this belief in Moroni 8. Children and people who do not hear the gospel of Jesus are saved with no need for saving ordinances. If no saving ordinances are needed for them, then why are they necessary for others? Why are there two sets of rules? If grace saves one set of people, then why do works save another set of people? Why are works necessary for people who do hear about Jesus? Why are works necessary for people who are born into the Mormon church?

I was raised to believe that in order to be saved, I must pay tithing, not have sex outside of marriage, attend the Mormon temple and church, faithfully do my church callings, take bread to my neighbor, and many other good works. Why must my good works save me, when no amount of good works are necessary for those who have no knowledge of the Mormon church or Jesus?

I was taught that I was more valiant and blessed than people who weren't born into a Mormon family, yet to get to heaven, it is harder for me to get there, than someone who was born in India or China.

It seems to me that god made it harder for me to return to him, and therefore I am not blessed or more valiant, and the guarantee I was given has too much fine print and is a bait a switch.

I want my money back.

Friday, March 8, 2013


I don't want a man to control me

I want a man to respect me

and love me completely

is that really too much to ask?

Saturday, March 2, 2013


I have been on a quest of self improvement lately. What has made it difficult, however, are the contradictions.  People live by these mantras, yet I cannot wrap my head around which ones to follow, since they contradict what others also swear by or they don't ring true to me.

Here goes:
*Everything will be okay, if it's not okay, its not the end.--unknown
*When a child starves to death in India, it is the end for them, and it is not okay. When a person dies from a murder, why is that end okay? Is the end always the end of a life? Why is the end always defined by turning out well?

*Over thinking ruins you.--Zen
*What does under thinking do? How does a person know where along the continuum they are between over- and under thinking? Is there a scientific process for figuring out when a person has over thought? I do believe that ruminating on problems or worrying is not healthy and a person is does better to learn to take action in their life and make decisions. Often, even if a decision turns out to not be the best course, the course can be changed easier when momentum is reached rather than having no momentum at all, but thinking is also important and should not be discounted.

*A calm sea does not make a skilled sailor.
*A calm sea provides time to learn navigation skills, how to operate the sails, to rest, to plan, to learn, to prepare, to eat, etc. Without calm seas, a person cannot be prepared for the rough seas.  Why doesn't anyone write quotes about how important the calm is?

*You attract what you are, emotionally healthy people attract emotionally healthy people.
*If this were true, then all the emotionally healthy people would be living in one part of the world, and all the emotionally unhealthy people would be living separately.  Sociopaths and narcissists are CEO's, politicians, clergy, as well as murderers; healthy people are in relationships with all of them. They are very good at blending in to society, of fooling people, and imitating the most normal behaviors. Sociopaths  are very charming, excellent liars, they seek a conventional appearance, they have an emotional need to justify their crimes, therefore they seek admiration, love and respect. All people in all aspects of life come in contact with them and are in business with them, are brothers or sisters with them, parents with them, or married to them. It is impossible to avoid a relationship with a narcissist or sociopath at some point in your lifetime.

I think it is more important that a person educate themselves on unhealthy personality types and when they find themselves in relationships with these types, they get away from them. That people learn red flags, learn to listen to their intuition and follow it about people, rather than believe that they will only attract a certain type of people to them.

This is what I believe:
*When someone is nasty or treats you poorly, don't take it personally. It says nothing about you but a lot about them.

*Forgive and forget; forgive 70 times 7, turn the other cheek.
*This implies a person must continue to take abuse. I fundamentally disagree with this. If you are in an abusive relationship, get out. Walk away. Being a doormat is the opposite of loving yourself. I recently found this article and although it speaks to children of abusive parents, it applies to all abusive relationships. You have the right to walk away, you owe it to yourself to walk away. Abuse is not acceptable.  Abuse and Forgiveness

*You are exactly where you are supposed to be.
*Really? When I was a kid, toilet papered my high school, what I supposed to be there?  The child starving to death in India is supposed to be there?  Seriously, don't say stupid shit.