Wednesday, November 28, 2012

We Win, Now What?

This is something my mom and I talked about that I've been chewing on a while.

In the Book of Mormon, we encounter the "pride cycle."  Basically, when the people are doing well, they get rich and civilize the land and everything, then they get self-centered and distracted and start getting into all sorts of trouble, then god sends something nasty their way, and as they rebuild they humble themselves and put their shoulders to the wheel, only to end up starting to do pretty well again and repeat the cycle.

We talked about why people might do this, and my thought was "boredom."  If you accomplish all the goals your culture has given you, you start running out of things to do with all the success you've had.  Even with spiritual goal available, it happens, since these spiritual goals are not very motivational in connection with everyday temporal concerns for most folks.  So, you start looking for novelty: dressing nice, trying all kinds of food, collecting expensive stuff.  Things to occupy your time, since society has accomplished its goals.
You might as well call the "Pride Cycle" the "Boredom Cycle."

We talked about the effect this has today.  More young people are moving back home with their parents.  They don't know what to do with their lives.  Is it that people became lazy all of a sudden?  Is it the culture of instant-gratification we've slipped into with computers and the internet?
I don't think so: those things are symptoms, not the root cause.  The root is boredom.
Think about it:  in the USA in particular, what common cultural goals do we have?  I'm not talking about the fiscal cliff and all that, that's just another sign of the apathy we've slipped into.
Do we all believe in the war on terror?  Environmentalism?  Nope, if you strongly believe in these things you're part of a fringe.

Do we believe in establishing American dominance over the world?  No, because we already DID THAT.  And we know it doesn't make life have more meaning: it might have while we were working on it, but once we achieved it it wasn't all that great, in fact it just made lots of people hate us and our young people lose their faith in the morality of their nation.

The point is, some previous generations had causes.  Wars we believed in, like stopping Hitler.  A "destiny" to tame the wild north-american continent.  A higher standard of living for our children.   But once we accomplished those things, we in the "middle-class" were left wondering what to do next.  Religion is a fading influence in the lives of young people because it doesn't really offer satisfaction to many, but even with religious belief many young people feel directionless.  There are causes that can be believed in, sure, but our culture as a whole has run out of things to believe in, and has turned to mindless entertainment just to stay alive.

When I am pretty suicidal, I play video games and watch tv.  It keeps me from thinking about the meaninglessness of my existence.  It's my opinion that our entire culture has begun to do the same.  And as the world slips toward disaster in a thousand ways, the jaded youth of the upcoming generation are not uninformed, their just indifferent, because they have nothing to save the world for.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Headaches and Self-Conciousness

I find that my blog makes me more self-conscious at times.  For some strange reason, I actually get comments on most of my posts, and that indicates to me that people read them!  While this gratifies me, it terrifies me, too.

Every time I get a positive comment, I think "Awesome!  I'm coool!"  But then, a minute later, I think "I'm not really that cool.  What if they expect me to be that cool all the time, but I was only cool by accident in that post?  Then I'll be extra NOT cool!  Oh nooooo!"
Not that I don't want positive comment, please, praise me!  It just makes me realize how insecure I am, despite trying to seem like such a badass on this blog.

And, of course, the negative comments illicit a strange combination of blood-boiling wrath and the desire to curl up in the fetal position in the nearest dark closet.  "Oh pleeease, leave me alone, I'm nobody, why waste your time one me?  Oh noooo, somebody doesn't like me!"  sporadically switches with "You wanna play, asshole, YOU WANNA JACK WITH THE RIPPER?!"  It's a strange reaction revealing my fragile self-esteem AND my huge ego.  Man, I'm a wreck.

Self-centered raving aside, I thought I'd talk about headaches.  Because I have one, so I guess this is still self-centered raving.
A headache is like a fly buzzing around your head... you don't even notice it at first.  And then, all of a sudden, you SNAP.  OH MY GOODNESS, I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE.
You realize you've had a headache for a whole hour, but all of a sudden you feel like braining yourself with the nearest heavy object just to make the pain go away.
If the headache gets bad enough, EVERYTHING hurts.  Sounds.  Light.  Even happiness.  HAPPINESS IS PAIN!  Moving at all makes it feel like your eyes have turned on you and stabbed your brain with your optic nerves.
Headaches feel immortal... like even if you died they'd still be there... no head, but still a headache.  Floating around, a spectre of pain, without thoughts or form, just dull, throbbing PAIN.
In conclusion, headaches suck, and even Excedrin doesn't always work unless you're willing to take too many and then have the jitters for 6 hours because of the massive hit of caffeine.

Monday, September 24, 2012

I Want to be a Robot

I want to be perfectly rational, and despite all my efforts, it seems that I am not.  Just today, I was feeling very depressed and concluded that I would be better off dead, and there was no way around my impeccable logic.  I went to sleep for a few hours, and woke up, and was unable to duplicate my conclusions, feeling a little better.

This is bullshit!  This means I am incapable of rational thought unsullied by the capricious taint of mood and feelings.  This means that my pessimism must be, in part, a product of my stubborn depression, which is a mood disorder.  My political views are mostly determined by my feelings of familiarity or loyalty to a certain set of people.  Every aspect of my life is held hostage to the chemical whims of my biology as it goes through the silly, apish cycles originally meant to keep it alive in a very different set of circumstances.

What a cruel joke is human life!  The mightiest intellects in the natural world crumble before their own moody emotional gusts!  The brains that can put life on other celestial bodies and unravel the mysteries of the fabric of the cosmos fall prey to a little lost sleep, or a bad day at work!

I very much resent the hideous moods that run not just my life, but my very reality.  And even my resent is utterly without logic or reason!  There is a sick humor in all of it.

It occurs to me that we are little more than toddlers.  Sure, we articulate and justify our emotional whims much more fluently than toddlers, but we are still ruled by the exact same chemical stimulus-response laws as an infant.  We apply additional meaning to each whim with our advanced verbal abilities, to justify to ourselves that we are NOT just a sad pack of children squabbling over meaningless games and crying for sustenance.

Now I've whipped myself up into a vengeful, angry mood about all this stuff.  Yet as right as a feel, I know I may very well not be correct... after all, my conclusions are inseparably linked to my irrational caveman feelings.  Maybe life is great and amazing and I will never experience the truth because my very brain chemistry prevents it.  Yay life.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Keebler Elves: Defilers of all that is Good

I saw a Keebler commercial recently in which the head elf (the one who looks like Newt Gingrich) explains that all of the goodness contained in their cookies comes from the good and kind things people (like you and me!) do.  Each time that happens, some kind of metaphysical "goodness" is captured and mixed in with the cookies.  This (and not sugar and fats) explains the excellent taste.

I couldn't believe it... the elves have always been obnoxious corporate facades for a cold, calculating profit machine mass-producing diabetes bullets, but that doesn't bother me.  This... this is PURE EVIL.

Somehow, someone somewhere decided it would be cute to imply that the very moral essence of all good acts is coldly snatched from the air by animated cookie minions.  Without the permission (or even notification!) of the originator of this "goodness," it is processed and baked into cookies so some cookie magnate somewhere can buy cocaine for his poodle.  The goodness does not spread more morality or kindness... it spreads chocolaty goodness.  If you're lucky, the very essence of your kindness helped calm a squalling infant.  More likely, it was used to entice millions of Americans to eat "just one more" enough times that your kindness is far outweighed by the idiotic rage in politics about rising health care costs.

That's right, the Keebler elves are not guilty as something so simple as co-opting your morality for themselves.  No, if that was the issue here, they'd only be as evil as most authoritative religions.
No, the elves are raping the very spirit of morality and kindness, and using it to fuel the narcissistic self-destruction of mankind.  Satan himself must weep in envy of such power!

In all seriousness, I know they can't do what they claim to do.  And I'm so glad, because if they could, putting the powdered remains of aborted fetuses into their cookies would be a morally-preferable option.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

I'm done with politics for a while

Normally, I follow politics with some interest.  I'm a person with opinions, and I always hope my moral opinions will be reflected in policy.
There come a time, however, when I get overwhelmed by the stupidity of the rhetoric on both sides.  They simply cannot stop flapping their jaws, and declaring that the outcome of this ONE election will determine whether America stands or dies.
Obama is not some Karl Marx of a socialist who has single-handedly bankrupt our country because Satan told him to.
Romney is not some ruthless Ayn-Randian fat-cat out to grind the poor into a massive sausage to beat gay people to death with.
Seriously, folks, you give these schmucks too much credit!  They are both reasonably-experienced, notably-MODERATE politicians who are equally beholden to their parties' whims.

I just don't care anymore.  Honestly, I'm only a SOCIAL liberal, so I'm not really rabid about the economic and health-care policies of either side... Not that I don't care, I'm glad we're all talking about fixing these things, but I'm acutely aware that the national debt has been consistently ignored by BOTH parties for decades, and only now that it's a crisis do they start pointing fingers (at eachother, of course).  The proposed solutions are not much different from party to party now, and the "big" debates are over tiny details.  If all the money spent campaigning and squabbling over these things were put toward the public good instead, maybe we wouldn't be in this bind.

So I've stopped reading about politics.  The conventions put the final nail in the coffin for me.  Maybe I won't vote: my vote for a presidential candidate doesn't actually affect the outcome anyway.  The illusion of control is all we get from casting a vote.
Frankly, I can't see a whole lot of difference between parties anyhow, so even if my vote determined the whole election, I don't think I'd feel a lot of control.

In the end, all empires fall.  All civilizations collapse.  Ours will, too, at some point... who cares when?  Maybe Obama will create health-care policy so inefficient that the overspending sends us into so much debt the Chinese will own us.  Maybe Romney will get us into a war with Iran that bankrupts us, and then the Chinese will own us.  If we're that close to the edge, we're going over sometime soon anyway.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Changing Sides as an Argument

I've noticed that it always seems like a big deal when a person on one side of a debate switches over to staunchly defend the other.  It's a shock for those left behind and a triumph for those joined by their new ally.

I think I can understand why this might be the case.  As someone who drastically changed religious views, I admit that once or twice I've considered that I might have an advantage for having experienced both opinions rather strongly.  I occasionally have thought at some who have lectured me about what I'm doing wrong in losing my faith, "I have been where you are, but you have not been where I am.  You have no business lecturing me on what I know more about."

I know I'm wrong in this.  I don't know everyone's history, and to assume that my depth of religious conviction was every bit that of those lecturing me is arrogant and probably dead wrong in many cases.

Still, it seems significant that those who have switched sides have experienced both.  Their opinions are extra-respected by their new allies.  They waded all the way from conviction on one end through moderation and uncertainty all the way to the views they once despised and mocked.

However, no matter what the divisive issue, individuals seem to change camps from both sides.  There are plenty of former atheists who took a journey similar to mine, but in the opposite direction.

I guess it can't possibly have any bearing on the truth when a republican becomes a democrat or vice-versa.  Religious conversion/deconversion stories are equally genuine and moving on each side, since each is the true story of one soul overcoming confusion and misdirection to find some kind of peace or resolution.

The lesson to be taken from this little tangent: nobody's conversion to or rejection of a system of thought justifies my own.  To seek truth, we must look past the admittedly-appealing testimonies of others and look for what is true.  A lonely road, perhaps... but the only way to avoid being the blind following the blind.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

To Live For

So much to live for.  That's what they say.
What, exactly, is there to live for?  Further disillusionment?  A slow fading of mental and physical faculties as the body takes what vitality it once gave?
Perhaps it's the future atrocities the human race will commit?  The idiotic rhetoric of future pundits as they debate future decisions?

Why is it that the beautiful produced by humanity is the product of minds most in anguish?
Beauty is born of suffering.  Is beauty composed of suffering?
All things have their opposite: for joy to exist sorrow must be known.  Does that mean joy is meaningless without suffering?  That we must inflict suffering on either ourselves or others to know what joy is?

What are joy and happiness but moments of amnesia as we hurtle toward death through a world built of suffering and violence?

The empty promises of Heaven ring hollow in churches built of mud, and the empty promises of mortal joy fly impotently in the inexorable faces of disease, cruelty, and death.
Everywhere are claims of happiness and nowhere are admissions that happiness might be nothing more than a phantom reflection of our lust for relevance, flickering ever before us but never within our grasp.

So much to live for.  Consciousness is fleeting, and so ought we not observe keenly the horrors around us?  Ought we not strive, through the sweat of our brows, to make something with out short days?  Never mind that any sandy palaces we build will soon crumble beneath the waves of time.  Never mind that all our knowledge and wonder, accumulated carefully, will be eaten by insects like any other piece of rancid flesh.

I occasionally doubt my ability to make a better world for my children to die and decay in.

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Numbers Game

I occasionally go poking around Conservapedia to see what the crazies have been up to.  Tonight I eventually encountered some "Question Evolution" blog with literally dozens of links to articles and posts about how Biblical Christianity is on the rise and atheists' numbers are shrinking, etc.

What strikes me is how silly this all is... do you think it proves you right if more people agree with you?  I'm afraid it doesn't.  I mean, I doubt the accuracy of your sources as well, but that's beside the point.  Even if these all-caps claims of yours are true, so what?

No matter how many people agree with you, it's perfectly possible for everyone to be wrong.  Maybe evolution and creationism are both wrong, and some other origin of life is the real fact, but no one has even suggested it yet!
No one is suggesting that Christians aren't the majority in the U.S.  No one is suggesting that atheists are not the least-trusted demographic.  We all know those things are true.  I'm confused as to what you're trying to prove with your numbers.

The LDS church is guilty of this, too.  While always carefully pointing out that it doesn't really matter, church leaders love to say "we're 14 million strong!"  Like that changes anything about the veracity of your doctrines.

I guess I'm guilty of this stuff too, though.  It seems somehow significant to me that an overwhelming majority of anyone who has (actually) studied living things in depth supports the theory of evolution, religious or not.  But I should really let the evidence speak for itself, I suppose, and not play the silly numbers game.
Thank you, crazy people, for inspiring this opportunity for self-improvement!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Grrr, Hate Hate Hate

I like to follow the news and stuff.  Sometimes it takes a great deal of effort, though, not to get very frustrated with people I don't agree with.

Today, though, I noticed that I've begun just hating everyone... not just those I think are wrong, but anyone involved at all in any debate.  Why?  I don't know.  I kind of hate humanity for sucking so bad at coming to consensus or figuring out what is actually going on.  For fighting so much over so many things.

So go ahead, world.  Start stupid wars.  Hate people who never did you any wrong.  Let politics decide your opinions instead of evidence.  Slaughter innocents in the name of your religious 'message of peace.'  Debate and argue and insult and blame and curse and fight and condemn and deny.
The more moral we think we are, the more aggressive the violence we direct at others.
I can try to ignore it all, but that won't make it go away... given the chance to destroy the world, to completely obliterate the species, I'd do it just to SHUT YOU UP.

Anyway, I think moving from general disdain for certain opinions to complete hatred of the entire human race is a big step in my movement toward becoming a super-villain.  It's nice to be able to share these milestones with the world via my blog.

This is it!

I haven't been to church in a couple of weeks.  And I don't think I'll be going back...

This is awesome! I'm... "less-active!"  I'm a wandering soul, an apostate, a seed who sprung up but was choked by the lying weeds of the world!  Wooo!

Honestly, despite all the hype, I don't feel much different.  It's just an annoying thing I don't have to drag myself out to every Sunday.

So... personal inventory time:
Am I offended?   Well, sometimes, especially at really stupid stuff, but not recently.
Am I sinning?    Not going to church is in itself a sin, right?  As is speaking evil of the lord's anointed?  So yeah, I guess... but that seems like a chicken/egg problem.  Naturally, if leaving the church is a sin, all those who leave must be sinning.

I hope I don't become the center of any "rescue efforts."  I'll just have to learn to politely and firmly tell people that "Oh, I'm not interested in coming to church."

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Why is Suicide "Not the Answer?"

When you see discussions about suicide on the web, you always get folks saying it's "not the answer."  That it is "not an option."  Like they know what they're talking about.

I will bet you $100 that not one of these people has succeeded in committing suicide.  That's the problem, no one knows if it's a good option, because frankly anyone who's done it is unavailable for comment.
Sure you can talk about failed attempts and the misery they cause, but I feel like that's beating around the bush a little.

People talk about how permanent suicide is, but usually the discussion doesn't go into the fact that death is always permanent.  And we will all die.  Sometimes it seems to me that the only way to escape our utter powerlessness in the face of our own mortality would be to choose the time and manner of our death, and take care of it immediately.

"Things will get better" is another thing people say.  Will they?  How do you know?
"You have so much to live for."  Do I?  How the hell do you presume to know that?

I find more and more that I admire the stigmatized and pitied in society... the ones who took their own lives rather than try to force themselves back down into a delusional dream of immortality and relevance.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Teaching Elders' Quorum Tomorrow

Yup, you read it, I am teaching in church tomorrow.  Chapter 13 from the manual, about sharing the fucking gospel (pardon my fucking French).

I feel like I have to blaspheme here on my blog, just to balance it out.  But that seems pretty cowardly.  I'm really sick of my complete lack of integrity.  I can't live by any of the principles I believe in, just by what I believed once.  Damn my past self for getting me into this mess, and damn my present self for being a coward.

Shit shit shit.  There's nothing... nothing to do about all this.
I don't even really care enough to hate the church now... I think I'm done with that.  Sure, I disagree with a bunch of stuff the church says and does, but really, whatever.
I just want to be gone, and done, and away from all the expectations that I'm something or I believe something or anything like that.

Oh good god, I just want to die.  Yes, I just took the lord's name in vain, and if he's up there keeping score, he can add it to the pile of my offenses, go ahead.  If you, imaginary person who reads this blog, are offended, sorry, but that confuses me.  I didn't take your name in vain, after all.  And if it's your god, well, I'll bet your beliefs specify that his powers include the ability to take care of his goddamned self, so don't mind this little blasphemer pouring obscenity into his own little godforsaken corner of the cloud.  Seriously, if you don't like that or gay sex or booze or blood transfusions, awesome, just don't do it, motherfucker!  Nobody is trying to make you do it.  Just go away, imaginary critic, and leave me to my damnation.

Anyway, I'm tired.  Tired of being nothing drifting through a life of broken promises and the shattered bits of goals and dreams past.  Blah blah blah, I'm so tired and shit and all that totally original stuff I always whine about.

Anyway.  I'll probably teach a very normal Elders' quorum lesson tomorrow.  There's probably a 5% chance that I freak out in the middle and just walk out, leaving my unfortunate EQ president with 10 minutes of time to fill because it's not about substance at church, oh no, it's about FILLING EVERY MOTHERFUCKING SECOND FOR THREE GODDAMN HOURS, BITCH!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Losing my Mind?

I've wondered recently whether my outlook hasn't reached a ridiculous level of pessimism.  I can't really see good in anything.  I know depression can inspire an inaccurate view of one's self and the world, and in some cases can even lead to delusion.  What worries me the most is that I often feel convinced that the way I see things is the absolute most correct way, and basically everyone else is deluded.  Not usually a good sign of mental stability or objectivity...

Am I just a few bad days away from disconnecting with reality?  Will I snap one day and just go out and set fire to things?

A part of me is perversely delighted to know that I'm basically perfect supervillain material.  I'm smart, creative, technical, nihilistic, unstable, and sometimes wish I could destroy the whole world.  I'm a menace just waiting to happen!

I don't think I'm off my rocker yet, but sometimes it seems like I can feel my mind being bent by the constant pressure of my desperate dissatisfaction, boredom, and self-loathing.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Things Have to Change

This is it, I'm going to drop out of school.  I'm going to go discuss my options with an academic adviser in a few minutes, but I just can't keep this up.  I can't keep going to BYU, and I'll need a break from school in general.  I also can't keep going to church.  It's going to kill me if I stay stuck in this situation any longer.

I should have done this a long time ago, instead of wait until my very sanity started circling the drain.

I don't intend to go out with a fuss, just quietly walk away from all this.  Maybe I can finish my degree soon at UVU or Utah or something.

Several folks I've mentioned my intentions to have expressed surprise and disapproval, especially since I seem so close to graduation.  But I've come to believe that my approach toward graduation is currently asymptotic; I will never actually get there from here.

What do I intend to do with life?  Hell if I know.  For now, just survive.  I'd love to say this was all about some high-minded ideal, but mostly it's just survival.


I'm so close, but so far.  The adviser thinks I should either finish or take a break and come back, but either way I have to go to church.  I think maybe I should kill myself, that will solve all of the problems.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Still No Answers!

I've been writing in this blog for more than 2 years.  At lot has happened in that time.  Thankfully I'm almost done with my degree, and then I can finally leave behind BYU with the accompanying rut I've dug myself into.

Still, I don't know that things are clearer now than they were, then.  Life still seems without meaning much of the time, an unwanted burden thrust upon me be either an uncaring universe or some perversely-cruel "supreme being."

I don't think there's a higher intelligence responsible for everything, but far be it from me to claim any more than that.  I know almost nothing, and I dare say I'm smarter than the average bear.  I don't find comfort in even the remote possibility that there is a god, though... if there is, he's the wanker who decided to bestow consciousness on the chunk of dirt that happens to be me.  Who knows what else this diabolical monster is capable of?  Making me continue to live after death, perhaps!?  Perish the thought.

I am reminded of Tantalus... the poor sucker from Greek mythology who angered the gods and was therefore trapped forever in a pond with luscious fruit hanging on branches above him, only to have the fruit or water withdraw beyond his reach every time he went for either one.  Human beings are given inquisitive minds capable of asking deeply abstract questions about our own existence, then the answers to said questions are always apparently just out of reach.  Even religion doesn't have answers, it only promises more later.  Case in point, how many times in Sunday School have you asked a question and been told that maybe we'll have to wait until the Celestial Kingdom to know about that?

So, I know I sound like I'm super-depressed.  And yeah, I am.  But it occurs to me over and over... does that make anything I say less valid?
 People imply that my view and conclusions are affected by my depression, and therefore are wrong.   Now, the first one I'll give them, they are.  But the second?
For all we know, optimism or happiness are results of a healthy human mind drugging itself enough to ignore the void of meaning and impending ruin and decay that loom over them all the time.
Doesn't that sound like something that might evolve in a keenly self-aware species?
What if those with depression see the world as it is, and a healthy mind is the mind more deluded?  What then?  Which would you rather have???

This isn't even red/blue pill, because in The Matrix there was a tiny bit of hope that outside the matrix there was still something to work for.  What if knowing is accepting that there never was and never will be meaning?  Which would you choose?
Happiness or awareness?

Without awareness, what are you?  A rat with its pleasure centers wired to a machine, oblivious of that actual logic behind its ecstasy?
With awareness, what are you?  A mind trapped in a fleshy little jar, able to see just long enough to glimpse the universe slowly devouring itself with entropy, where good and evil end up rusted together in a pile of dust with no one to even observe it?

No wonder there are lots of people out there who claim to have the answers, and even more people who flock to them at any expense.
Damn those charlatans, though.  Damn them for promising answers and then telling cute stories to distract from the fact that they have none!!! 

Sometimes I don't feel like there is an adequate way to express the rage I feel at this, our beloved human condition.  It makes me wish I could believe in a creator, so I could then try to find a way to get revenge on him/her/it.
Heh, so basically, I wish for a living god just so I can go kill him.  Maybe I'm just insane after all.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


I need to get a rant off my chest:  I used to love the History channel.  I watched it whenever I stayed home sick from school.  Yeah, yeah, I'm a nerd, I know.

Now... the stuff they show on there!  It's sad!

What used to be a channel where I was sure to find something like "The Sinking of the Bismark!" is now a non-stop parade of shit like "Why Aliens Built the Pyramids!!!"

Aliens built the pyramids?  Really?

I am all for considering every viable option, but this one seems to need a bare minimum of consideration before it's up for complete rejection.

The whole argument seems to go as follows:
1. The pyramids are big and huge and awesome.
2. It would have been tricky for ancient people to build things that we think are big and huge and awesome.
3. Therefore, aliens!

The first thing I would like to point out is that the pyramids, and yes, Stonehenge and the Easter Island heads  too, are not that incredible in composition or form.  I mean, the pyramids were made out of mud.  Mud!  And they are nice geometric forms, yes, but pretty simple ones.
Sure, they would have been hard to build, but I think some people underestimate the potential of megalomaniac kings unafraid to bankrupt their kingdoms in order to erect some monument to themselves.

So, if we go with the alien explanation, aliens came and did what?  Decided to impress future generations of humans by building some big monument?
And they decide, instead of building some giant monolith covered in their strange writing, made of space-age ceramics or something of a nature we can't reproduce, hovering 200 feet in the air.... they build some angular piles of dirt?
...a circle of rocks?
...a big, handsome head carved out of a stone?

If these aliens have crossed interstellar distances to get to Earth and build big stuff to mess with our heads, seems like they could have built some more impressive stuff.  We could right now!

Furthermore, it seems like a real slap at our ancestors to say "the rocks from Stonehenge originated really far away from the site!  there's no way our ancestors could have moved them, because they were too dumb!"
Just because we don't have ready solutions of how to move lots of big rocks with bronze-age technology doesn't mean they didn't come up with something.

So basically, I'm angry that the History Channel spends all its time on either reality shows about foul-mouthed people operating heavy machinery or an utter horseshit interpretation of history.

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Messiah

In the LDS church, as in all (that I know of) the Christian world, Jesus is acknowledged as the Messiah prophesied in Jewish scripture.  That's what "Christ," means, actually, it's just the Greek form.

Why didn't the Jews accept their Messiah?  Well, goes the LDS interpretation, they became so hung up on certain things they hoped for in their temporal lives that they failed to recognize the real mission of the Messiah (the Atonement).

The Jews hoped for the Messiah who would liberate them from Rome and all other captors, but Jesus did not do this.  The LDS theology attributes this to their undue concern for their well-being as a nation.  They missed their chance because they wanted their Messiah to come solve all of their worldly problems.

Fast-forward a couple thousand years.  The LDS church anxiously awaits the return of Jesus, who will kill all the sinners, clean up the Earth, and create an authoritarian system of government based on absolute truth that rules over an ecstatic utopia for 1000 years.

Time out!!   Isn't this almost exactly the thing  the Jews were waiting for from their Messiah?  The thing for which the modern LDS church condemns them?!

Frankly, this seems a bit hypocritical to me.
"The Jews were wrong to want their Messiah to save them temporally.  Meanwhile, Jesus is coming to show the world we were right all along and solve all our problems, yay!"

Sunday, April 1, 2012

An Explosion in a Print Shop -or- Elder Nelson sets the Church back 100 years intellectually

I'm starting this post before the silly talk has even ended, but I'm ticked.

So far, General Conference (or General Nonsense, whichever you prefer) had been relatively benign in my eyes, many of the talks even surprisingly pleasant and accepting.  And then this!

In his talk on gratitude, Elder Nelson ridicules those who assume life began as the result of "a Big Bang somewhere!"  He suggests that this scenario is analogous to an explosion in a print shop producing a dictionary.
His basic argument is that the human body is amazing (I agree with this), and so cannot have arisen without design (but not this).  Even if it had, our healing capacities would never allow us to die, but mercifully (!), God invented aging to kill us off so we could begin our eternal lives.

Where do I begin?!

First off, I won't go into detail about the watchmaker argument, which I've covered before in both qualitative and quantitative examination, but it's a load of hokum.  Okay, yeah, life is amazing.  But to suggest that it had to be designed denies the elegance and beauty of the theories on the origins of life that have developed so magnificently from Charles Darwin's first innocent suggestion that the diversity of life might have something to do with inheritance and selection.  There is a whole century of scientific progress that tackles one puzzle after another in evolutionary biology.  Sure, not all the answers are yet available.  But for Elder Nelson to demean all of the best truth-seeking work mankind has done with an offhand comment simplifying centuries of scientific progress to a poorly-conceived metaphor about a print shop and a dictionary is infuriating.

Without comment like this, faith and rational inquiry could coexist.  But no, Elder I'm-A-Heart-Surgeon-So-I-Can-Comment-On-Cosmology Nelson couldn't keep his trap shut, so now the intellectual potential of millions of faithful LDS individuals has been stunted to a level found among subsistence farmers in the 1800s!
Why must leaders in the church do this?!

Now, on to aging: WHAT?!
So... a slow decline in physical and mental facilities, culminating in the loss of independence and, ultimately, the death of every human being is a divine gift?
This is not much better than regarding disease as God's wrath, and therefore rejecting treatment.
Never mind that there are plenty of biological reasons aging happens, not least of which is the fact that a limited life-span is actually an evolved characteristic maximizing the survival of the genes of an organism.
Aging as a gift is like... 9/11 as a gift!  Who are we, the Westboro Baptist Church?

Elder Nelson is an educated man, an accomplished doctor, leader, and orator.  Despite this, he has decided (in his talk on gratitude!) to ridicule the educational establishment and its most carefully-crafted ideas and theories, essentially stabbing the very organization that has helped him to success in the back.
That, my friends, is ingratitude.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Is the LDS Church a Cult?

The short answer:  No

I know many of my good friends would disagree with me, but I don't think that the church (in its current form) lives up to the brainwashed compound stockpiling weapons, mass suicide sort of image that "cult" carries with it.  In most respects, the behavior of the church is no more nefarious than any (other?) Christian denomination.  Church members are entitled to their own opinions, and can even criticize church leaders a little bit (not super-publicly, mind you) without being punished.  The authority figures aren't even that charismatic. (some will disagree with this, and I ask them... have you SEEN General Conference?!  It's about as emotionally rousing as a bunch of old paper bags blowing around the parking lot.)
That being said, I think the early church was definitely a cult of the most bright-kool-aid colored variety.  Charismatic central figure?  Check.  Strange and erratic church doctrine and mandates?  Check.  Blowing up stuff they didn't like?  Check.
No real mass suicides that I know of, but that might be because Joe Smith died young.

Is the LDS Church a cult?

The long answer:  Yes.

Frankly, I think that the basic attributes of a cult are shared by all organized sects, Christian or otherwise.  The same we-are-special us-vs-them mentality, the strange obsession with running the lives of others, the willingness to, nay, obsession with denying rational inquiry and appeal to facts in favor of embracing implausible truth-claims...
Most people stay in because they are already in, frankly.

So, when other religions call the LDS Church a cult, I say they are wrong to do so.  Or at least it's a case of the pot calling the kettle black.  But frankly, a cult is nothing more than a religious organization, and the negative connotation of the word comes from, well, the crazy things fundamentalists of all persuasions do in the name of their beliefs.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Dear God,

I'm still upset with you for creating me without my permission, but I suppose I should let bygones be bygones.

Anyway, I thought I'd let you know that I like what you've done with the universe in general; it's a very pretty and interesting place in most regards.

That being said, I wish you'd tell your followers to stop being dicks.  I mean, lots of them are nice people, but lots of others do mean things in your name.  Can't you publicly express your disapproval or something?  A press release or something?  I mean, the McDonald's corporation would do it in your circumstances, and I'd think that your public image would be a little more important than theirs.

Anyway, the human condition still sucks and I still don't buy your excuses trying to shove the blame off on free will or Satan or any of that.  Also, Jesus has been "about to come back" for a couple thousand years now, and lots of folks are starting to doubt your priorities.  It's all fine and good for you to want to screw up the U.S. educational system through due political process, but if you can't get your kid out the door on time you might want to focus on such immediate concerns first.

All in all, it's getting more and more difficult for anyone to believe what you say, what with the broken promises and constant flip-flopping, not to mention your constant refusal to comment through any means other than various nutjobs who make mutually-exclusive claims.  I know you're master of the universe and everything, but that doesn't mean you can completely neglect PR.

A Concerned Citizen of the Universe

P.S.  I'm still willing to believe in you if you decide to answer any of all those prayers, but the answer had better be distinguishable from placebo, wishful thinking, or coincidence.  My standards really aren't that high, I'm only insisting on credible confirmation, not a magic backwoods light-show or angel Moroni in a towel or anything.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

To The Lies

Promises of Hope = Lies and Fiction

Remember in "It's a Wonderful Life," how when Mr. Smalltowny Stewart is about to chuck himself over a bridge because Mr. Nasty Wheelchair has finally beat him, but then Mr. Incompetent Angel stops him (well, kind of)?
He is then shown how much different things would be without him (mostly everyone would by whores or librarians, apparently).  Then, he goes home to find that all his troubles have magically gone away and he's richer than rich and Nasty McWheelchair will die alone and unfulfilled after all!!  Hooray!

The point is, the movie promises that when things are at their lowest, wait a moment before hurling yourself into the river: things are sure to get better any moment.
This. Is. A. Lie.

Things might be about to get very much worse.  In fact, things could never get better again.  There is no promise in reality that all bad things will get better that is not a lie.

So to all the inspiring stories out there, the promises that it's darkest just before dawn, that things have to get better: go fuck yourselves, you damned pack of lies.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Ambien ismessing with me now

I havvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv noticed something,.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
The tastk at hand
Forgive me, for I keep flying in and out a world where the baby's been,=,
terare voices and derectives everywhere.   I ignore the desk ninja with somethinf like satisdfaction

(Note from Dave's wife:  Dave took a break from writing this post to tell me how lucid he was, but that his feet are part of a national crime syndicate)

Okay, he're ss teh deal,.  I took an Ambien to help me sleep.  At my most lucide periods I can a little loopy, but aware of my surroundings .  I get the feel that different aspcetrcs of myself split off and take on new porblesmna nd rtoubles.

Apple doesnt'' need to put teens inside the new ipad to make ti sell.  honesry, giant theme partk shows are mnot so interesting to me.

We all
honor, defience, romance, curiousity

My room i s a ltiie gradjewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwbetter publish now before I lose it agaiin

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Orson Scott Card - Fallen Author

There was a time when I couldn't get enough of Orson Scott Card's writing.  I read "Ender's Game" in middle school and loved it, and read it a few more times as a teen and was fascinated by the things I'd missed the first time around.  It was a masterpiece.  I especially used to like his short fiction: it was raw and rough hard sci-fi.  He had a talent for capturing the darkest elements of human nature and the struggle we each must personally make against them.

Through the years, though, I found I tired of Card.  His new books were increasingly bland, predictable, and repetitive.  I eventually gave up entirely, since if I really wanted cheap pulp-fiction sci-fi, I could find better examples elsewhere.

Fast-forward a few years.  I learn that Card is involved with the National Organization for Marriage, an organization I have never liked much because of its dishonest anti-gay rhetoric.  Even before I lost all faith in the LDS church, I always had issues with the church's political stance on gay marriage... I was okay with religious organizations dictating moral standards for their members, but for society as a whole...?

More recently, I had the misfortune of happening across this little bowl of tripe.  Card's essay about "the hypocrites of homosexuality" is nothing we haven't all heard before.  My main objections to his reasoning are his insistence that the laws of god as purveyed by the "prophets" is unchanging (when LDS church dogma has in fact evolved rapidly for the last couple of centuries), his "I'm the victim here" condemnation of his own critics, and his sleight-of-hand transition from condemning the idea that the church should accept homosexuality to condemnation of all legal recognition of rights for gays.

The first is self-explanatory: sure, the will of the prophets can't be contradicted, except when later prophets overturn "God's word" entirely.  To suggest that the church never changes its mind in response to the moral progress of society as a whole is to ignore entirely the church's historical stance on race, gender, and sexual orientation.  Or should we still kill anyone who marries across ethnic boundaries?

Card's defiant defense against his "satanic" critics is laughable.  At the end of the article, he notes that just as he predicted, he had been unfairly labeled for his upright and honest writing as "homophobic" and other related terms.  While it is true that Card never directly advocates violence or hatred toward gays, he consistently refers to their feelings in a way that dismisses them as selfish or unnatural.  He even advocates kindness toward individuals, but outright animosity toward gays as a group.  Poor Orson!  How dare those mean old gays and their brainwashed friends attack him for his honest portrayal of their sinful lifestyle?

Finally, Card pulls a funny little trick when he transitions without warning from defending a church's right not to condone homosexual behavior (which I grudgingly accept) to insisting that government ought to condemn the same.  He makes the argument that government ought to defend its citizens against such offenses as murder, and the same goes for gay marriage!  I think the difference is obvious, but if it isn't, I'll point out that gay marriage does not hurt those who don't approve of it as long as they don't engage in it.  You can babble all you want about churches losing their tax-exempt status if they refuse to perform such nuptials and such, but frankly I am an advocate of removing tax-exempt status for churches entirely (treat them like non-profits or something for all I care, it's just silly to give them special privileges just because they have "church" in their names).  The bottom line?  The LDS church need never condone gay marriage as far as I am concerned, but has no right acting as a political entity trying to ban the same at a state of federal level.  The individuals in the church are free to vote as their conscience dictates, of course, and if they choose to vote for intolerance, that is their decision.  That's what we have courts for -- to prevent the "moral" majority from needlessly oppressing minorities.

How did Card go from the masterpiece of Ender's Game to the pile of steaming poo that constitutes this essay?  I wish I knew...  How do authors so fall from grace?
One theory (purely speculative) springs to mind.  I remember my father telling my young self that he suspected Card of having strong homosexual feelings himself, and of struggling with said feelings because of his LDS faith.  This was simply based on my father's assessment of Card's writings.
If this was true, it all begins to make sense.  Card's lifelong struggle and self-hatred due to his hidden homosexual tendencies have finally manifested themselves in his old age as hatred toward all thing to do with homosexuality.  We all attack most vehemently what we hate most about ourselves.  In addition, he seeks to "redeem" himself from his earlier, darker (and brilliant) writings by writing increasingly-conformist books filled with more and more tiresome apologetic viewpoints designed to ameliorate his inner Brigham Young.  The tortured young author has become the self-righteous old puppet of his religion's ideology.  And now he rides on the wave of fame (and maybe shame?) of his earlier self in order to disseminate his uncreative ideas about how other people's sexuality should be treated.

Mourn with me a moment, brothers and sisters, for the passing of a great author, not into a noble death, but into shameful triviality.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Spinning My Wheels

I've written several posts lately and ended up not posting them.  It feels like I'm spinning my wheels as far as life is concerned...  I want to change the world but find myself impotent.

I feel trapped, for the most part.  My brother is getting married very soon, and my mother has been pressuring me to see if I can't get a temple recommend.  I think today I'm going to call her and tell her there is no way that is going to happen.

Anyone who says the church strengthens families is full of shit.  The church happily tears families apart when it suits the church's dogmas and agendas.

School blows.  I need to get out of this damn place, but I keep pushing back graduation because my damned depression has sabotaged my academic performance for the last two years.  I feel so fucking trapped that I entertain thoughts of offing myself every day.

I'm a wreck.  I suppose I'm a disgrace to atheists, agnostics, and apostates everywhere, because I've been consistently less happy since I gave up on faith.  But I'll be damned if I go back to believing contradictory statements simultaneously just to make myself feel better.
Damn the church and its lies.  It's like an addiction I can't get over, that feeling of absolute truth and simple moral reality.  The feeling of objective meaning.  Damn them all for promising peace where there is none.
Damn them for speaking of rest where there is only death.
Damn them for teaching me to hate myself for being less-than-perfect.
Damn them for their precious "Atonement" and "Grace" and all the other righteous bullshit that they use to tell those who suffer that their pain isn't real.
And damn me for taking it all so fucking seriously that I have been no more than half of a man ever since I figured out that all of it is fantasy.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sometimes you forget about all the jacked-up stuff

So I just picked up "The Passion of Raptor Jesus and the Road to Mormon Apostasy" in the Amazon Kindle Store, and it's got me remembering all the weird crap that happens in the church.
This book, by the way, is really great.  It's hilarious and so incredibly accurate, at least about the experience of being a boy growing up active in the church.  However, if you can't handle some intense blasphemy and swearing, maybe you'd better steer clear.


Anyway, it's totally true!  The invasive interviews about masturbation and all possible sexual violations... I remember being interviewed for my mission and a member of the stake presidency raking me over the coals over and over.  There was very little he didn't think to ask me about, and he commented that I'd clearly had a problem.  I had a problem?  Who didn't have a problem?!  I hadn't even jerked off in months and months, maybe even years at that point!  Sure, I was interested in the boobs of my female classmates, but hell, I had only kissed one girl, and her only like twice!  A "problem?"
That interview was specifically engineered to make me feel  like a lustful piece of crap, and I even knew it at the time.

And that interview was not an isolated sort of incident.  I spent my entire teenage experience knowing for a fact that I was going to hell because I could never go more than a few months without masturbating, even after I promised god through a whole straight hour of self-flagellating prayer never to do it again.  Every time I took the sacrament, I reminded myself that I was "drinking damnation to my soul."  I hated thinking about the Atonement because every time I screwed something up it was like I was personally tasering Jesus in the face, and since I was surely damned anyway his sacrifice was completely wasted.  I confessed over and over, but it never seemed to help.  I developed exercise regimens to stave off my horniness (hornocity?), I reported to my parents, I withheld things I liked when I screwed up, but it was all for naught.
Okay, and let's get something straight.  I never fooled around even a little with a girl.  This was not even my decision until maybe my junior, probably my senior year of high school.  I was a huge nerd and didn't know diddly about talking to the opposite sex.  But in my senior year I had one opportunity where I was quite confident that I could get laid, and I very deliberately went home despite being horny, lonely, and depressed.

Once in middle school I experienced attraction to another guy.  I admired him, but also he turned me on a little.  I worried for years that I was gay, and what would I do?  Maybe I turned myself gay by being such a pervert and fiddling with myself.  I never felt that sort of thing again, but I was very, very worried for a long time.  I can't imagine what it must be like to grow up in the church and actually feel that way consistently.  To you out there actually coping with those circumstance: you have my everlasting admiration.

Damn, I didn't mean for this to turn into my confessions, but man, it's amazing to think about this stuff now.  I spent my youth telling myself that I was a disgrace, a sinner, inadequate despite my most earnest and desperate efforts.

You'd think with such self-punishment, I must have been pretty damn sure the church was true, right?
Hell, no.  I had points in High School where I decided (temporarily) that the church must not be true.
Get this:  I had the opportunity to attend a temple open house as a teen.  What do I remember?  I remember looking into the endowment room and wondering what the little reddish LED banks in the ceiling were for.  I know now that they are for transmitting audio to the little translation-headphone setups, but at the time my first guess was some kind of hypnosis for brainwashing.  I had some serious repressed doubts about the church even then.

I assumed most of my youth that I would end up being a worthless apostate, starting with a failure to go on a mission.  Hell, I didn't want to go on a mission, I don't like being pushy, and I didn't have a testimony.
That's right, I never bore my testimony, even at EFY and Youth Conference when they whipped us up into a mucous-dripping frenzy with heart-wrenching videos about the Atonement.  I remember one year I was the only one in the whole room who didn't.  The counselors kept kind of not looking at me and asking if anyone else would like to take the opportunity...?

Once, in mutual, they had us write our testimonies in the inside covers of a bunch of copies of the Book of Mormon for the missionaries to distribute before we went caroling or something.  I stared at that inside cover until they were starting to load vehicles 15 minutes later, and then quietly slipped the book back into the unsigned pile, ashamed.  I didn't have a testimony, what was I supposed to write?

Even on my mission I had serious doubts.  In my first area, while we road our bikes from rejection to rejection I tried to justify the church to myself in vain.  Ultimately I classified these disheartening inner dialogues as "idle doubts" and decided that they were sinful, so I should avoid them.  Not thinking helped some, but I still wondered why, if our message was so great, did no one want to hear about it?  Why didn't we find the "prepared" no matter how hard we tried?
And throughout my mission, I came to understand that the "challenge" in Moroni was just a formality, and no one would ever actually feel anything even if they did read and pray.  Not that surprising, considering the fact that I never did, I guess.  Still, never did an investigator have a good experience with that.

Once, I had a painful flash of self-awareness when one of our long-term investigators admitted to us that she had joined two "cults" in the past, and that was why her husband didn't like us.  Were we a cult?  I was depressed for days.  I saw us for what we were: pushy, sneaky, even a little brainwashed.  No, I don't think the church is some psychotic organization with a secret slave trade, but you have got to admit that the training for missionaries is pretty dogmatic.  We were taught to basically shout down alternative opinions.

I never much liked the temple.  Chanting freaks me out, so I really disliked the prayer circle with its mumbling in a circle followed by the unsettling repetition by the group of everything one guys said.  Also, it's really freaking boring after the first time.  And, damn this is shallow, but I hated those stupid mushroom hats.
Do people actually enjoy that stuff, or do they just convince themselves that they must, otherwise why would they keep going?

I wonder occasionally if I'll go straight to hell on the off chance that it was all true.  After all, I was endowed.  Now I can't even remember my "new name"... I guess if I ever do have to get past those angels I'll just say "Dennis" and then ask real quick where the angel's from, what's it like there?

I've come a long way in the last year or two.  I don't hate the church or its members.  I don't get angry like I used to.  Still, I sometimes wonder if I'll ever be able to entirely stop feeling quite hurt by the church and all it put me through.  Maybe I'm playing victim and wallowing in self-pity, I don't know.  Sometimes I wish I could convey to my younger brothers that screw the church, they are good boys.  If they don't want to go on missions, don't let the church bully them into it.  But I know it would have no effect except to push my family away.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Choosing Views

My political views are in a state of constant flux.  My many conservative friends and family would call me liberal, maybe even radical in a couple of areas.  Then again, my most liberal friends might not approve of "liberal" as a moniker for me.  After all, I am fiscally moderate and actually approve of the medical and pharmaceutical fields' work.  Hell, I'm actually kind of a libertarian in certain economic and individual rights issues.

Generally, I guess I side with the scientific community.  So yeah, I'm all about evolution, but I don't set much store by alternative medicine.

I guess I'm some kind of pragmatic materialist.

I'm not patriotic per se... I care very much about the welfare of US citizens and the goings on in this country, but I don't think the USA is the infallible beacon of all that is good that some others think.  I don't like the USA's extensive military presence and activity in the world.  Does that make my un-American?
I guess I don't care too much about being "American" or "un-American."  I'm mostly concerned with the happiness and suffering of people in general, not Americans in particular.

I guess it's a tricky question... is it moral for me to value those who happen to live close to me more than those who don't?  (Here I use "close" not exclusively in reference to distance.  Cultural experience and roots count, too)
On one hand, this assumption seems utterly immoral to me.  Why should other people be more important just because they happen to be more similar or at least close to me?
On the other, the world is too big to try to help every single person.  So I guess we should start at home?
I can't tell.  Hrmph.  Moral ambiguity is so tricky all the time.

Ah well, when I try to nail down my own political stances, I either have to laugh at the absurdity of it all or get really frustrated, so I'm practicing laughing.  Dead children... ba hahahahahahaaaa!

I've actually formulated the ideal political solution.  It's a version of democracy where people vote on basic moral statements, not policy.  Awesome, no?!
See, you just poll the entire population on what they value, getting a large base of simple moral statements that can be rationally extended into moral statements about potential policy.  Then, you enact the combination of policies that results in the highest overall moral satisfaction score!
What shall I call it?  Ethical... Ethos... Etho-rational democracy?  Or maybe Logo-moral self-representation...
And yes, I know it couldn't work  just like that.  Maybe I'll post on it later.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The GOP's Political Circus

I'm usually amused by the election process, but this set of Republican Primaries has been a show I won't soon forget.  The spotlight keeps shifting from ring to ring, highlighting the front-runner of the week while he or she does his or her song and dance, then moving on once we get bored of the act.

Ladies and Gentlemen, if you'll give me your attention please, I'm proud to introduce to you our performers!

-Michelle "Fact-Check" Bachmann, the very same who brought you her serial-killer lineage returns to astound you with her absurd linking of vaccines and autism!

-Rick "Almost-There" Perry, an accomplished Texas clown bringing you all the hilarious charm of Larry, Curly, and.... what was that other one?

-Mitt "Why-Won't-They-Love-Me" Romney may actually say smart things once in a while, but that won't stop voters from despising the star of the children's book "A Mormon Fires a Who!"

-Rick "Sensitivity" Santorum, a delightfully frothy mixture of ignorant ethnocentrism and offensive analogies, you'll love this underdog who loses even when he wins!

-Ron "Won't-Leave" Paul, the batty old libertarian who won't go home no matter how much the GOP tries to hint that no matter what place he wins, he's overstayed his welcome!

-Newt "Rage-Potato" Gingrich, a fun, lumpy bag of infidelity and spite, this firecracker will wow your with his whining, awe you with his audacity, and astound you with his asshole comments about minorities!

And while you watch those acts, don't forget to glance at the darkened ring in the corner to pretend to see Herman "999-Harassment-Cases" Cain and John "Who-Am-I" Huntsman!

Seriously, this would be really funny as a comic strip or Sandler-Style late-night comedy, but as reality it is beyond hilarious.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Healing Process

It has been months and months since I last successfully posted.  I have written a few drafts that will probably never see the light of day.  I think what I really needed was some time to step back and let some of the hurt I felt at losing my faith really start to heal over.

For the most part, I'm not angry anymore.  The only times I'm even irked are in Sunday School (I just can stand listening to logical fallacies stated as if they were sound reason for an hour at a time) and occasionally when I see friends inadvertently hurt by elements of church culture (which I admit is a problem with specific people, not the actual theology or organization of the church proper).

I have begun to admit to more people my lack of belief more than ever before, and I feel like I don't have to be very defensive about it.  I mean, I don't tell everyone I see, but I find that most folks are quite accepting when I explain myself.

I still try to keep my mind open to the possibility that I've missed something.  Maybe the LDS church is true after all?  I still doubt it as much as ever, but I don't want to miss truth regardless of its potential effect on my ego.

My most recent experiment with prayer involved a 6-sided die: I would pray, carefully explaining that in my pride I was having difficulty getting answers and maybe instead of waiting I should come up with a suggestion like the brother of Jared, so I asked if God couldn't help me predict the outcome of a die roll with statistical significance.  I'd pray before each roll and conducted a large number of trials, but ultimately the results were very bland indeed: I successfully predicted the roll just barely under 1/6 of the time.
Blasphemous?  I don't know, but I thought if I had an idea I might as well give it a shot.  Can't be any more blasphemous than myself of a year ago shaking my fist at the sky and daring God in filthy language to strike me down to hell immediately.

Was with my family for Christmas, it was really great.  Had only one major religious discussion with my parents, and it went very smoothly, considering.  I think their hopes for my swift reconversion are a little higher than is justified, but they are very accepting of me.