Sunday, February 13, 2005

For me,the ritual boredom's been awful

I found the linked column by Robert Kirby quite humorous, and thought you might enjoy. Please feel free to come back here and comment.

Friday, February 11, 2005

No Way, Jose

I was thinking one day, as I am wont to do, and I thought "wait a minute. If Joseph Smith was married to all those young beautiful women, where are all the kids?" I did a little amateur research and came up with nothing. Nada. Stories about Joseph's attraction and attractive-ness to women, but no progeny. None.

Hmmm...I don't think so. I researched a little further. It appears that many of the women who were sealed to Joseph were polyandrous marriages, that is, the women were marred to other men and never lived with Joseph. I wonder if Joseph even knew about the sealings? At the time, it was thought that they had a better lock at exaltation if they were sealed to the prophets. What were their husbands thinking?

I lost the original research, but I think there were around 30 women, give or take. Most were ver young, under 25, some in their teens. If we assume that maybe five were actual polygamous marriages, it is crazy to believe that of those five nubile young women, not had a child. My husband's ancestor had five wives and their descendants are legion. They are known all over southern Utah, and parts of Nevada.

Mormons have big mouths. If Joseph had any children by these women, somebody would be singing loud and proud, like President Young's descendants. But we never hear about them. I believe that Joseph Smith did not, in fact, marry any of these women, for the simple reason that there are no descendants of Joseph Smith, except from Emma. I do not believe the church is capable of keeping that kind of secret or that there would be any purpose to it. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Figuring out God

I grew up in an aubisve and brutal home,not knowing much of the normal love a child should feel. Consequetnly, I didn't understand God. I saw Him as punitive. I thought if I was perfect enough and different enough from my parent, I might earn His respect, if not his affection. So I wonder a lot what God is like. Is He nice? Is He really mean enough to kill children by bears for making of His prophet's bald head? Does He care that the world is going to Hell? Where is He?

My relationship with Him as an active member of the churchhas often been tenuous and troubled, punctuated by a few rare episodes of peace. I was a human doing, working hard to get blessings. A few years ago, a friend described God as a "kick-back kind of guy, who can laugh at a joke." God smiling, wow, what a concept.

But last summer, something happened at our house that made me maybe understand Him just alittle. I love my grandchildren, but Maxwell is special. Age five, blue eyes, blond hair, chubby little cheeks, he is the apple of my eye. I love him unconditionally.

We had Camp Grandma at our house for a week, with all the "grands." The older boys bought silly string with their own money. After a long day of fast food and the movies and the park, they were out chasing each other all over with it. Maxwell demanded that I make them give him some. When I refused, saying they bought it themselves, he completely lost his dignity, throwing himself down on the floor, kicking and screaming.

I decided to put this stinky upset little boy in the tub. It took my 6'4" husband, my daughter, and me to drag him down the hall, peel off those peed-in Levis and filthy shirt, and plop him in the bubble bath. He was screaming like a banshee the whole time, "I want silly string!"

We got him undressed and in the warm water with toys and he hiccupped and too a long breath and changed his mood. By the time his bath was over, he was clean and warm and calm and ran outside cheerfully in his pj's to play with the other kids on the tramp.

Through it all we never yelled, we never hit him, we were completely gentle in our movements, and loving. We laughed and smiled and gave him hugs, but we never gave him the silly string.

It struck me as I watched himrunout on the grass in the twilight that maybe God loves me that much. Maybe He smiles and says, "no you can't have that" but He's not mad. He still thinks I'm adorable and worthwhile when I'm all dirty and unattractive and pee my pants and want that silly string bad enough to die for it.

I'm sure my quest to figure out God will take the rest of my life, but it's getting better. Maybe He does smile sometimes.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

What about "Free Hearing" Rights?

When I sit down in front of the TV, if I don't like what I see, I get to change the channel or, heaven forbid, turn the TV off! If I turn the radio on in the car while I drive home from work, and I don't like what I hear, I get to change the channel, or turn the radio off!

Now, let me paint a little different scenario. I went out for lunch today, dished up a wonderful plate full of broiled fish and Dim Sum, and sat down to eat. No sooner had I taken a bite, when a rather loud female customer a few tables over spewed out a string of explitives enough to make a construction worker blush. All right, it wasn't quite that bad, but it was nonetheless very foul. She wasn't angry with anyone, it just appeared to be her normal manner of speech.

What were my choices? I wasn't about to "change the channel" and go to the restaurant next door. I couldn't very well shut it off. If I were to ask the lady, however politely, I surmise her response would be another string of four letter words, followed by something along the lines of "free speech!".

But what about my rights? Do I not have the right to sit in a public setting and be free from such foulness? Do I have a "freedom of hearing" right spelled out anywhere?

Freedom of speech, as my good wife so readily points out, was intended not for the public in general, but for political speech and freedom from tyranny and oppression by an over-bearing government when speaking out against them, whether in the press or in private.

So how do we elevate society back to some standard of decency in public settings? Can we, even if we wanted to, restore some measure of public decorum- public settings where the last thing we have to worry about are ourselves and our children being subject the foul rantings of a classless society?

You tell me...

Mixing religion and politics...

This article in the Salt Lake Tribune discusses the mixing of religion and politics, and whether or not the LDS Church wields an unreasonably big stick when it comes to matters of morality and legislation.

Personally, I believe that politicians who happen to be members of the LDS Church act in such a manner as to conform to their personally life style, and when they vote on any particular issue, it is based on what they hold as personal moral convictions. It may be true that those convictions mirror the teachings they have learned at Church, but is this any different than a politician who has learned a particular conviction at say, the university, and then carries that conviction into his or her political leanings? Of course not. Yet, there are those who will be quick to call foul and seek a separation of Church and state, but completely ignore the opposite. Many will call for a complete withdrawal of any religious leaning in government, allowing for a more one-sided view, that of secular humanism.

Does religion, and religious conviction on the part of politicians have place in government?