Monday, July 29, 2013

As the Pharisees

I remember so many lessons in church about the Pharisees. They were the leaders in Jesus' time and were very concerned about the outward display of propriety.  They would help the poor, but only when their charitable works were seen of others. They made sure their Sunday piety was seen by others when they fasted, they made sure others saw their drawn out faces and the hunger pains on their faces. They made sure others saw them attend to the strict Sunday observances.

I have to wonder how little things have changed. People in the mormon church are still judged by their outward appearance rather than by the content of their heart. I know many people who have chosen to stop believing in the mormon church, yet they are still wonderful fathers and mothers, wives and husbands. Yet they are accused of not being good people simply because they do not believe in a particular religion. This is very perplexing to me.

They are judged by an outward show of behavior, of whether they drink coffee or alcohol, or if they stop wearing garments, if they choose to have sex outside of marriage.  These behaviors do not define them as a person or determine whether they are a good parent, how much they love their kids, how well they provide for their family, how kind they are to others, how compassionate they are. Yet, these outward displays are easy for others to see and judge them.

It is as the pharisees, an outward display of piety, yet it does not define a person's goodness or moral character. A person can be very good at wearing garments, of attending church, of paying tithing and not drinking coffee and tea; yet they can also cheat their neighbors in business and neglect their children and verbally abuse their spouse in private. Does this make the person a good person; just because they have the outward appearance of piety?

I purpose that a person's moral character is defined not by the outward displays of whether a person wears garments or drinks coffee or alcohol or even attends church, but by the content of their heart. I purpose that a person's moral character is defined by their kindness, their love, their acceptance of people who disagree with them and are different than them.

Just the musings of someone who is rejected by pharisees.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Critical Thinking

I was not taught critical thinking skills in school. I read voraciously and learned to think critically on my own. I have asked educators why these skills are not taught in the high schools and I have yet to hear one reason why.

I have studied these skills the last several years and this is what I have learned.

A critical thinker:
1. Is open-minded and mindful of alternatives
2. Desires to be, and is, well-informed
3. Judges well the credibility of sources
4. Identifies reasons, assumptions, and conclusions
5. Asks appropriate clarifying questions
6. Judges well the quality of an argument, including its reasons, assumptions, evidence, and their degree of support for the conclusion
7. Can well develop and defend a reasonable position regarding a belief or an action, doing justice to challenges
8. Formulates plausible hypotheses
9. Plans and conducts experiments well
10. Defines terms in a way appropriate for the context
11. Draws conclusions when warranted – but with caution
12. Integrates all of the above aspects of critical thinking criticalthinking

Why would a person need to have critical thinking skills? Let's say people are posting all over facebook that the Zombie Apocalypse is coming and they have it on good authority from the prophet Zambo's book of god.  Would you take it for gospel or could you use the above critical thinking skills to determine for yourself if it were worthy of truth?

The first thing a person wants to do is be REFLECTIVE: Do you automatically accept everything that is presented to you? Do you automatically accept everything that you have been taught by an organization, a trusted friend or family member?

The second thing a person wants to do is look at REASONS: What resources do you have where you can verify the information that has been presented to you? Ask questions, such as, 'how do you know' 'what research have you done' 'what are your reasons for this belief' 'Can this be verified in other places' Why do you think that is the only conclusion?

The third thing a person wants to do is look at ALTERNATIVES: Are there possibilities for alternative points of views or hypothesis, or explanations or conclusions?

It has been interesting to watch people apply these principles to their work environment then suspend them when it comes to their religious beliefs. I wonder why...if all things are worthy of scrutiny, then why not people's own personal beliefs? People are often open to scrutinize other peoples' religious beliefs when it comes to them blowing up buildings, but when it comes to something like the Mountain Meadows Massacre, they suspend the same critical thinking skills they just applied and say they have faith.  If they have nothing to fear, then what do they have to lose by the process of critical thought?

We are averse to loss and if we ask critical questions about our faith, we open the door to losing our faith, our belief in an afterlife, our belief in an eternal family. It is safe to not ask these questions rather than subject them to the potential of loss.  risk aversion

Many of us know, as we did lose our marriages, our connections to our extended families and more because we had the courage to ask these questions. Once asked, there is no going back.

Just my thoughts.

Monday, July 15, 2013


This blog is written by a female who expresses opinions...this causes people to be offended.
If you are offended by women expressing opinions, DO NOT READ.

This blogger sometimes swears. If you are offended by the occasional swear word, DO NOT READ.


“Sometimes we can take offense so easily. On other occasions we are too stubborn to accept a sincere apology. Who will subordinate ego, pride, and hurt—then step forward with ‘I am truly sorry! Let’s be as we once were: friends. Let’s not pass to future generations the grievances, the anger of our time’? Let’s remove any hidden wedges that can do nothing but destroy.” 
( “The Peril of Hidden Wedges,” Ensign, July 2007, 8.

I have a right to my own opinions. I have a right to express them on this blog. If someone doesn't like them, don't read them. I will not be silenced because some people do not like what I have to say.

I would like to make a public apology to my family who believes anything I say about the Mormon church is an attack on them personally. It is not intended that way in any way, shape or form.

I am an advocate for transparency and equality. I will continue to be.

Again. I am sorry if my writings
appear as a personal attack on family who are Mormon. They are not intended to be that way. They are a plea for openness and change within an organization that I do not agree with, not an attack on the people themselves.

What is Respect?

I am not Hindu...should I not eat beef to show respect for the Hindu people?

I am not Muslim...should I wear a burka to show respect for the Muslim people?

I am not Catholic...should I not eat meat on Fridays to show respect for the Catholic people?

I am not Mormon...should I remain quiet to show my respect for the Mormon people?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Real costs of membership

Today I learned something new about the mormon church. When a church member dies, the family has a funeral at the church and hosts a luncheon for the family after. The church used to carry the cost of the main dish for the family and the church members would then add side dishes, thus providing a complete lunch for the family before they have to travel back to their home cities.

The majority of wards have dispensed with this cost, asking the family members to cover the cost of
the main dish while the church members continue to add side dishes.

Once again, my anger goes from dormant to active at the audacity of the coperation known as the LDS church. Do you know how much money the mormon church brings in each year in tithing money? The church refuses to disclose these costs, yet because Canada and European countries require transparency, a close prediction can be made.  My numbers come from two sources. What is the annual intake from tithing each year? Estimates place it at $7 billion. tithing income    tithing income II

In addition, the mormon church has a very profitable corporate arm. Here are a list of its holdings:
*2 billion City Creek Mall and other real estate venues totally over $5 billion
*Polynesian Culture Center which brings in $23 million in tickets sales a year and other Hawaiian      holdings under the name of Hawaiian Reserves
*Largest Rancher in USA called Deseret Ranches worth $1 billion , with other ranches in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico, Australia and Great Britain (the Australian ranches have sales of $267 million a year)
*Insurance Company- Beneficial Life worth $3.3 billion
*Education Division- BYU, BYU-I, BYU-H, and seminary buildings
*Deseret Corporation
*Bonneville International- media outlet
*Multiple stock holdings
It is estimated that the churches holdings are worth $30 billion  businessweek

But the church is a charity and often brags about its humanitarian aid work bragging rights, so this is all good, right? Lets look at the church's own numbers. not to brag about
over a 25 year period:
$1,212.2 million (cash 327.6 + materials 884.6)
Amount of aid per year: ($1,212.2 / 25 yr) = $48.5 million per year
12 million members of the church over that 25 year time span

($80.8 / 12) = $6.73 per member given in charitable aid per year    by the numbers

Walmart and Target give more in humanitarian aid each year than the Mormon church does!

Hard to believe? Want another source? charity?

With all the wealth, what do the members pay for out of their own pockets and with their own time?
*Missionary funds and dedication of own time
*funeral food
*cleaning churches- janitorial own time
*humanitarian materials and dedication of own time
*temple services for cafeteria,veil work, janitorial
*some teaching positions at BYU-I and BYU
*extraction work
*visitor centers are run by dedication of own time
*all church positions at stake president level on down, such as bishops, ward clerks, Relief Society presidents, nursery workers, etc.
*welfare system paid for out of fast offerings, not out of tithing fund

It is difficult to measure the costs that members give over a year or a lifetime to the church, but far more than the 10% they require in tithing to enter their temples and get to heaven.With the billions and billions the church brings in each year, is it too much to ask that the mormon church cover the costs of the food for funerals of those who die each year, who have dedicated their lives, their time and their money to the fucking mormon church?

Gawd damn fucking church.