Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Temple

In preparation for a Family Home Evening lesson tomorrow I wrote this words. I copied them to my journal and now share them on this site.

I love the temple. I would rather be there than any other place. I could serve there every day and never tire of it. When I see those that have recommends that only attend for special occasions I am saddened. When they never attend I cry. When I hear members say a person is going to “take out their endowments” I cringe. I see people attend and as they enter the temple the world remains with them and when they leave the temple, the temple is left behind. I love the temple, but it wasn’t always that way. I led a life like those mentioned above.
The temple was a place that I was required to attend. I went out of a sense of duty. For me the zenith of going to the temple was where we ate and socialized afterwards. But all of that changed when I was called to repentance. Slowly, over time, the Lord showed me my errors and I repented. Now when I enter the temple I am home, the world no longer exists and more importantly when I leave the temple it comes with me.

I fear that many think that the baptism and activity in the church is the primary goal of church membership. While this steps are of great importance they are only the beginning of a long journey that actually starts as they enter the temple for the first time. The endowment is a gift from a loving Father. It is the key to understanding the marvelous mysteries of God. The first time one attends they are given the tools needed to comprehend the ways of God. With regular worship at the Lord’s House the tools provide a way for greater revelations. The revelations received in the temple teach us of His ways and provide answers to the problems and complexity of life. Oh, how I love the temple.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Aftermath

This evening I went to a devotional for the Redlands Temple ordinance workers. The speaker was Elder Nelson D. Cordova, Area Seventy. He reported that the recent protest against church has resulted in people flooding the phones asking for more information about the church. They are proud of the stance the church has taken on Proposition 8 and they want to know more.

Last week the Los Angeles Temple was closed due to an envelope of strange white powder being mailed to the temple. The LAPD and the FBI showed up to investigate. One officer, a non member, remarked to Elder Cordova that he noticed a wonderful feeling the minute he entered the gates of the temple grounds and wanted to know why. Elder Cordova told him that he had entered sacred ground. The officer responded that he wanted to know more about the church.

The bottom line is that while newspapers have reported that some people have left the church over this issue they are not reporting that many people, because of the protesting, want to know more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

So let the protesters come. Let it be in the news everyday. It is helping us and hurting the opposition.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

It Is Not Over

The results are in. Prop 8 passed by a majority. Yes, the margin was small but it was a majority.

For those on the other side who apparently to do understand the mother tongue (more on that later) a majority is a number, or a percentage equaling more than half of a total. A majority vote is how our laws are passed. Many laws on the books in this State and Nationally have passed by the thinnest of a margin. However, it is not the measurement of the margin that matters; only that a majority has been reached.

That a majority has spoken was not enough with Prop 22. The opposition took to a court of the most liberal judges in the country and had them decide if Proposition 22 was legal. Four judges ruled it was unconstitutional and three said it was. Wow, there comes that word majority again. Now I have no argument with them taking it to court because that is their right to challenge the law, that is called a check and balance system.

Prop 8 passed and the opposition is trying to take it to court, which I do not understand because Prop 8 was not about putting a law on the books but changing the amendment of the State Constitution. Now the opposition is out on the street crying and wailing that life is not fair, justice has not been reached, and that the supporters of Prop 8 lied to the people.

This, of course, suggest that the majority of the people were sheep that followed a minority down a evil road through deception. I do not believe that to be the situation. I, for one, studied the issue carefully. Since I do not watch TV I never saw any of the ads so I wasn't persuaded by them. Oh, yes, that is right I am a Mormon and I do whatever the church tells me. No,I have a mind, I can think and I followed the church on this because, despite what others think, it is a moral decision. I also spent a considerable amount of hours researching the issue. I support Prop 8 and it was my opinion that is was an important issue so I donated money and time to help it pass. Below are some of my observations from this last week.

The opposition plays by their rules. They do not follow the laws or have respect for others or their property. A percentage of them are unable to express their opinions without using filthy language and name calling.

One friend of mine was responsible for bring into the the Lancaster area over 15,000 "Yes on Prop 8" signs that was setup by a large body of people. As fast as they could but the signs up they were stolen. He estimated that only about 500 of the signs were ever up at any given time. Another friend had his signs stolen nearly every night from his yard; as fast as he put them up they were stolen. For those that do not know such theft is a Federal offense.

People that had "Yes on Prop 8" stickers on their cars also had their stickers removed, scratched out or worse the car was keyed. One woman came out in the morning to find her sticker removed and trash all over her car.

As a side bar one group of supporters were out on a main thoroughfare. A woman from the opposition drives by and throws garbage on the supporters. While the woman threw the garbage her van veered off the road and hit a telephone pole. The supporters of Prop 8 rushed to her aid and helped her. It was reported that the woman was very embarrassed.

I have no problem with the opposition protesting, but I do have a problem with them destroying the property of others. Perhaps, I do not know my history but I can not recall Martin Luther King or the people that supported him using such tactics, and their cause was a serious legitimate issue.

I find it fascinating that the opposition has decided to come out against the Mormon Church. Has anyone wondered why the are not in the heart of Watts protesting? According to the polls a a majority of black people supported Prop 8. The reason is simple, if they were to move their protest to Watts the opposition would be labeled racists and I am not so sure they would have been able to protest without some harm coming upon them. I do not want to leave out the Hispanics that also came out in support of Prop 8. But again, the opposition knows they would be taking their lives into their hands and would also be labeled racist. The reason the opposition comes out against the Mormon church is because it is safe. The opposition has shown themselves to be cowards.

The opposition also carelessly throws around words that are meant to inflame but have no real legitimacy. Sometime last week I was reading a news report about one of the protest in Los Angeles. One person stated that, with the passing of Prop 8, children that are part of a gay/lesbian marriage will now become bastards.

A bastard has several meanings but not in the context used above. One meaning is that it is used as an insult but it is in respect to marriage that I want to focus on. According to Merriam-Webster it is an illegitimate child. Other definitions that I found were
  • the illegitimate offspring of unmarried parents
  • a person whose parents, at the time of their birth, were not married to each other
Is there anyone who would disagree that the parents of a child are the female and male that produced the child? Yes, there is another definition of parents that is used and that is a couple that raises the child are also called parents. My point is the word "parent" in relationship to someone being called a bastard and so that second definition of parent would not apply at this time.

If a woman is impregnated by a man and they are not married at the the time a child is born then that child is called a bastard. If celebrities have a child out of wedlock the child is called a "love child." See how one can change a sin to something of endearment by just changing the name of the action, but I digress. It is my understanding that if the couple later marry the child is no longer illegitimate.

So if a gay couple have a child by one of the males donating their sperm to a female who then delivers the child the parents are the woman and the male donor; not the gay couple. Thus the child is illegitimate because the sperm donor and woman were not married.

If a lesbian couple have a child by one of the woman being impregnated by a sperm donor then the woman and the sperm donor are the parents and not the two women.

My point is a child is illegitimate in a gay/lesbian relationship regardless if the gay couple are married according to the state law or are just living together. Therefore, Prop 8 is not making children being raised by gay couples bastards. That was accomplished by the gay couple themselves.

If one is to use the second definition of a parent as "one who raises a child." The gay community still does not have a valid claim to use the word bastard. One does not need to be married to be called a parent of a child they are raising and the child is not considered a bastard.

So sling around that word sure pulls at the heart strings but has no validity; nor does the opposition's position in general.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Prop 8 Observation

I have spent a considerable amount of time searching the internet look for comments about Prop 8. I have read statements by those that support it and other that oppose it. After one evening of reading the various comments I was struck by something that at first I missed.

Some of those that oppose Prop 8 use name calling and worse seem unable to express themselves without swearing. While I agree they are in the minority I never found similar comments from those that support Prop 8.

While I am not sure what this indicates I find it interesting.

And They Said That This Does Not Affect Our Schools

Recently a First Grade class in San Francisco took a field trip. Field trips are so much fun for the students as they experience things for the first time or deepen their knowledge on a particular topic. Yes, I am sure that those young students were so excited to go on a special field trip to see their teacher married.

A field trip to see their teacher married? Unusual you say, well there is even more. This was not a traditional marriage but a same-sex marriage.

The opponents to Prop 8 say this is only about rights and has nothing to do with our schools. I wonder how many field trips there have been in the past to traditional marriages? Normally, when children go on a field trip they make a report when the get back to school to share what they learned. I would love to read those reports. And they say the rights for same-sex marriage will not affect our children. Field trips are to be tied to the curriculum. Exactly what part of the course work was this event augmenting?

They have accused those that support Prop 8 of running ads that lie. But which side is really holding back the truth?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Peter Cook - A Pervert?

I seldom if ever read what the latest hot stars are doing. I neither look up to them, nor am I impressed with, or envy their lives. However, something caught my attention last week that I thought was indicative of the decay of our society.

Peter Cook (I don't know who he is or what he has done to be famous) blames Christie Brinkley, his ex-wife,  for his affair. Peter Cook said this as he poured out his heart to Barbara Walters on ABC's 20/20 recently. 

During the interview he said that he was seeking a connection that he could not find in his own marriage. I do not know if Chistie Brinkley is every thing he stated or if she is a saint; it is of little significance. I do know that Mr. Cook broke his sacred vows and that he had the opportunity to tell the world that he is not, "the... pervert that I've been painted to be."

Pervert? Yes! You see, he not only committed adultery but had or still has an expensive porn habit (part of the reason for his divorce) and he paid $300,000 to the other women, who by the way is 18 years old, to keep her quiet about the affair.

I do not know if I should be angry at Cook or ABC and Barbara Walters for allowing a depraved man to air his feelings. Having spent 30 seconds to think about it I have decided both the pimp and the accused are guilty and both should be ashamed of themselves. 

Of course, the problem is that shame is no longer in our vocabulary. Perhaps if it was, Peter would prefer to hide then expose his sordid live to millions, and maybe ABC would find someone that is a healthy role model to interview. But that leads to another problem - finding the depraved in our society is far easier than finding someone that lifts our thoughts to higher ground. 

Prop 8 and Google et al

I was recently sent an email stating that Google is against Prop 8 here in California. It was suggested in the email that I use Yahoo as my search engine as a way to voice my disagreement. I then noticed that the person who made the suggestion is using Gmail.

I tend not to believe anything that I read on the Internet, newspapers and magazines or hear on TV until I have checked the reliability of the information myself. So I started searching the Internet for information on Google and Prop 8 and found several sources including Google's own blog that it was true they were against the passage of Prop 8. However, I couldn't find anything stating that they have donated any money. This caused me to pause and think about the entire issue and have decided that it is one thing to voice one's opinion and another to support a cause financially. Are we at the point that we need to cut off contact with anyone that disagrees with us or, only those who back up their beliefs with money?

If my neighbor was to post a banner on their property supporting a "no" on Prop 8 does that mean that I must never talk to them again? I think that most would answer, "Of course not." If my dry cleaner has the same poster up should I stop using his services. This becomes a harder question. Is he simply expressing his opinion or has he also provided financial support? If he has provided financial support then some of the money that I have paid him (a very minuscule amount in ratio to what he donated) is being used to support something that I do not believe in. So what should I do?

Refusing to use the dry cleaning service is far different that boycotting large enterprises. It becomes very complicated and needs to be thought through completely. If we are to start banning those that oppose our views then I think that we need to be consistent.

Stop using Google's search engine, email, documents, reader, phones, browser, blog service etc. Those that use AT&T must stop using all of their services. Do not buy anything manufactured by Levi Strauss and do not frequent stores that sell their products. If you are member of the Washington State Bar Association you must withdraw your membership - oh, right, that is not even possible. Well, we can certainly no longer buy anything manufactured by PepsiCo, which is by the way, is a very long, long list.

For example, Pizza Hut, KFC , California Pizza Kitchen and Taco Bell are owned by PepsiCo. And do not eat any Doritos or Lay's chips because PepsiCo owns them. When you do eat some other brand of chips do not wash them down with any Tropicana or Gatorade drinks. Oh, and remember that 7-Up is also off the list. We then certainly should not support any store that sells PepsiCo products. That not only means food stores but also convenience stores and gas stations. If we black list those that do not support Prop 8 then the list becomes long and complicated. Just from my short list above it would mean that I would not have gas for my car, food in my cupboards and would be making all of my own clothes. Perhaps that day will come that will happen but I do not think we are at the point yet. I feel we need to approach the problem rationally.

In search on the Internet what really shocked me was that the California Teacher Association not only is against Prop 8 but that they donated $250,000 to support it. As a teacher I am upset that they are using my money to support the fight against Prop 8. I must admit that I have never agreed with any of their picks for Congress or President and have objected to them using my money to support these people but I have learned to pick my battles and have said nothing, but today a letter went off to the CTA to express my dismay and anger over what they have done.

Which leads me to what I feel that we should do. I find that the most powerful tool anyone has is a letter. Write to Google et al and express your concerns and anger over their support if they see that enough of their base is upset they will flip their opinion immediately.

Write a letter to PepsiCo and say that you wanted a pizza this evening but decided that instead of ordering a pizza from Pizza Hut you used the money to support Prop 8. Or perhaps that you have decided to eat at restaurants that only serves Coke. But to quietly stop using a particular product or service has no efficacy without a letter expressing your opinion. Also, be aware that these companies are very large and have their tentacles into many facets of our lives. So be careful how you choose. Not using Google for searches but continuing to use their email service may not be the best approach.

I know all those who support Prop 8 are doing everything possible to see that it passes, but I hope that we will react with careful thoughtfulness and not an emotional frenzy that may look good up front, and even have a nice ring to it, but produces little if any results.