An excellent resource for any Religious Research is the Instituition for Religious Research.
The best research of all is to read the religious text yourself. Quotes mean less if you do not know what inspired them or what context they are being used. For most religions words are not interchangeable.
I have come off the high of confrontation and now I am attempting to move back into my normal patterns or abnormal patterns would be more like it. At any rate the past two days have been most interesting. I had to republish this entire blog to erase the deflamatory comments left by one misguided soul. I still think one of my friends saw what she posted though.
I did not think there were rules to this. I thought this cyberspace was free to us all to release ourselves of the statements we hold hostage. The most important thing should not be who reads it and whether they like it, but it should be getting it out. No statement can be heard without it being said. We will work on understanding it once its born. Even the process of deciphering the message can be used to bring people closer together. It creates dialogue. And doesn’t dialogue create understanding? Understanding creates tolerance. Tolerance breeds acceptance and acceptance is peace.
What I said about not wanting to be like the adults was simply in reference to all the bickering. I have seen enough of that in 24 years to last me a life time. If all you can do is insult me then I really don’t have time for you. We can discuss what you don’t like about me or what you think I did to you. Allow both parties to bring their point of views to the table and the circumstances which reenforces them but do not sink so low as to point and go ‘nah nah ni nah na’.
By far I do not want to seem like a saint, I am far from it. Right now I am having major issues with the fact that I know a friend who I do care for deeply, read on these sites some things I wrote about her religion. If nothing else that would qualify as deceitful. Which was not my intent. My intent was to get the issues that I was having accepting her belief foundation out of my system without going to her and seeming as though I was questoning her specifically. I knew she would see it ebentually and I think thats a good thing. But I wanted her only to see my remarks not those of outsiders criticizing her, she gets enough of that as is. My hope was that one day we could sit and go over all the things here on her terms. I say on her terms because she gets defensive if you bring things to her. I am a fairly patient person so I can wait for the conversation to simply arise.
I know in my notes I define the difference between honest and truthful and right now I am not being honest. But how can you be honest with someone who expends so much energy in hiding from the truth. She can hate me if she chooses, that’s nothing new. I have made people hate me before for a lot less. As long as it poses the question ‘This is where I am and this is what got me here. Am I happy about this?’ I can’t lie to myself about that question. There is no way to do so. When you try to fool yourself into thinking you are really happy thats when you get that slight pang in your chest of dry air. It’s inescapable.
Changing your lifestyle or way of thinking can be the hardest change to make because it causes you to examine not only yourself but those around you. Everything has to go under a microscope even the one thing you thought you knew for certain. We are slaves to our mentality. So something or someone has to come along to pull us out of that mindframe for at least a second. Otherwise we would not ever see anything beyond what we have accepted. I wouldn’t be able to say it had I not been thru it.
I believe everyone deserves to be happy. Even when their happiness impedes on my personal comfort or warrants me expendable from their circle. I can deal with that, its not about me (as much as I would like everything to be 🙂 It’s about a common goal within all of us: to survive in this world and to do so under the best physical, mental and emotional conditions. Am I being presumptuous? Of course!
As for the ‘haters’ I find them flattering. I learned the hard way that I can not please everybody. I don’t write about things that already make sense, that would be redundant. Redudancy can not be original and original is all I know how to be.
The past 12 hours have been quite adrenaline packed; on and off the computer. I learned after Freshman year not to attempt to defend myself to someone who has you persecuted. Its a waste of time. They already have it set in their minds to see the worst in you. Surprisingly I actually learned that lesson.
I will be the first to admit I was more interested in Band than English in Junior High a folly that I am now attempting to correct. No my grammar isn’t the best but its the words that I am concerned with. Still I give credit where credit is due. I do need to make sure Punctuation is a class that I am registered for next semester.
On the B side of things, I am infected. Yes, infected. I am infected with these pangs of needing to relieve the angst of being so damn understanding. Hence my personal blogs. As humans we all deal with emotion in different ways. My way is to find an interesting way to write that emotion. Even when it comes out as babble. At the time of writing I am not expecting anyone to read it but me. Yes, I could write it on paper but the simple fact that I don’t have to settle for paper means I can explore all the options available to me and choose the one most adequate for the thought or emotion being expressed at the time. Simplified: different things come out different ways on different surfaces. Regardless of whether you are an artist or living human being.
Even though I take the bulk of insults lightly while charmingly smiling and returning calm but observative and reflective refutes, I am still quite human. And some people, well, some people will drive you to cussing. Fortunately the blood of Generation X flows thru so most tension is released with five small but powerful words: I don’t give a fuck.Seems rather infantile but it proves to be quite effective. As with any lie, if you say it to yourself enough times you actually begin to believe it.
I guess I could give an explanation for the abundance of religious material on the sites. No I am not a mormon myself but someone very close to me is. In an effort to understand them better I wanted to read the scriptural text for Mormons, which is primarily (other than the Bible) the Book of Mormon or the BoM (not to mention Doctrines and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, Journal of Discourses, Book of Moses, Book of Abraham, kinda sorta…etc). The BoM opens with testimonies and an account of the Prophet Joseph Smith (translator of the BoM) and his trials in receiving the message of the Angel Moroni. The story is a good one actually. At any rate, Mormon is one of the prophets who ascended to Heaven and became an angel. Moroni is his son who was also a leader of the righteous tribe in America. (Take into effect that this is grossly generalized for the sake of making this brief)
I think one of the biggest misconceptions with Mormons is thinking that they don’t believe in Christianity. Quite the contrary. They believe themselves, by definition, to be the true Christians. I say by definition because you have to have an understanding of the faith in order to appreciate why they feel that way.
At first I couldn’t get past the first few chapters. I wanted to cry. I was confused. Not spiritually but mentality. I could not understand how my friend could be so taken by what I thought was so fabricated. I was torn between calling out what to me seemed like such a falsehood and respecting the belief system of someone I cared for. I am known for my objectivity, I can give anything the benefit of the doubt but this was going too far. Too understand you would have to have a better understanding of me and my friend. I will say I accomplished one goal, I definitely was able to understand my friend better.
We were chatting one day after she had read a post I had written on Blogcritics and she asked, excitedly I might add, how far along I had gotten in the BoM and what I thought. First of all I dont like discussing books until I have completely finished them. And I mean completely. Usually I look up additional sources and then read reviews. But this time I had stopped in the middle of reading the BoM to do this. I had looked up accounts of ex communicated Mormons and their stories. I read several biographies on Joseph Smith to get an idea of what kind of young man he was(he was only 14 at the time of his vision). I read any text referenced or mentioned about or around the BoM. Of course Ifelt no need to tell her this. My friend feels better when she’s confident. I didn’t want to just throw all that I had learned at her and seem like I was judging so I just asked that we discuss it later.
We ended up meeting at the local Barnes and Noble one night just to chat as we sometimes did. And she ended up asking me about the BoM again. So we discussed it or rather I asked general questions and let her give detailed answers. I was alright until she said ‘I’m sure you don’t know anything about this but…’ Why include that? Then when I said something else she said ‘Oh you’re reading stuff from the internet’ And? She doesn’t see how thats judging. Then to top it off when I as casually as possible said I didn’t see what she saw, she scoffed at me. She said ‘If my family didn’t like of course I’m ok with my friend not.” Valid point but unnecessary.I mean I understand it was a major sacrifice for her to let go of her family, but I’m sitting here fighting against myself to remain objective and you basically shrugging me off (<—yes I really am that selfish…lol) As much as I was bothered it wasn’t new, thats her defence system, shruggin any type of vulnerability off, and yes she’s good at it.
I had always known she was Mormon or more correctly a member of the LDS church but I had not known what being Mormon entailed until I read the book, doctrines and scriptures. At first I was hurt. I really had to pray. I was disgusted with myself for judging someone else’s belief system but I felt like someone needed to point out the holes. Who appointed me that person? Noone so I kept my opinion to myself.
The notes you see that pertain to Mormonism come from me. Normally if I am reading and I come across a scripture or think of a question I have to put it down immediately or I will forget. It is only because I have had this blog a week or so that the majority of the notes are about Mormonism. That and I was in the middle of reading the BoM when I started this blog. Give me a few months and you will see a vast range of temporary obsessions. Yes, obsessions. I have a big issues with proving my point. Most of the time, its me proving them to myself and not others. I deal with criticism better as long as I know or feel as though I have the answers. (yes I am that narcissistic)
I think, no I know,thats why when she said ‘I’m sure you don’t know anything about this but…’ I got really heated. I know she tries not to judge people but she does it subconsciously. I asked her what did she consider judging and she could only answer ‘I judge myself’. That wasn’t answering the question. For instance we were discussing politics one night and I asked what party did she belong to (I’ve known her over 2 years and never knew)? She is a republican and I am democrat and when Bush was brought up she asked: ‘And why didn’t you vote for Bush, cause he’s Republican’ Do you see the judgement or do I need to point it out. Playing dumb has its benefits, being perceived as dumb is not one of them.
At any rate. I am still very much into the Mormon debate and even though I told her I wasn’t interested I think I may just set up an appointment with the missionaries to hear their pov. As for my friend she is die hard in her beliefs. Which I can appreciate because we all should be. But sometimes I have to ask if it isn’t just for believing sake. Even though she says we wont have that conversation again, I know we will, its inevitable, if for no other reason than she reads my blogs (she knows even if I dont say it, I have to write it.) My concern is the context of the conversation. You cant effectively discuss a belief systems without discussing the influencing factors. (See the circle?) I know how much she hates feeling like she’s being judged and I can not see us discussing religion (hers or mine) explicitly without throwing in some judgments.
Have you ever had a conversation with someone where you are discussing one central thing but you never name that thing? Those are interesting conversations to have especially since you can always come back and say ‘I didn’t say that’ There is no accountability in a conversation like that. And you know what I’m on one of my tangents this would have been better on a note but its 4 in the morning and I really dont care about notes right now:-)
I think religion (or any moral belief system) is a very important Blog topic it is the basis by which we make our choices(i.e critiques). But I think in order to really reflect we have to pull away and even question our belief system, regardless of the religion creed or color.
She calls it ‘My Father’s unconditional Love’ I think this account is clearly an exception and not the rule but it was interesting to read her frame of mind.