Friday, November 6, 2015

"Suffer the Little Children..."

At the behest of several friends who are seriously struggling with the leaked new instructions from the Church's Handbook of Instructions (A policy guide for local leaders), I'm going to venture a response to the announcement and its implications. 

First, by way of open disclosure, you should know, Dear Reader, that this blog entry is an attempt to deal with a difficult, complex, and largely misunderstood issue intelligently, fairly, and reasonably... so if you are looking for fiery emotional vitriol, you will be sorely disappointed.  And if you LEAVE fiery emotional vitriol in the comments, you will be sorely deleted.

Some have suggested with varying degrees of hysterics, histrionics, hand-wringing and not a small amount of weeping and wailing that the Big, Bad Church is now not only hateful and homophobic, and but is Satanically Cruel in denying salvation to little children of gay couples.

Here's a news flash. 

The Big, Bad Church has ALWAYS  decried homosexuality as a serious moral sin.  Always.  That's never changed.  The only thing in that area that HAS changed is that a) the Church has made their love and concern for those affected by Same Sex Attraction much more clear and noticeable, and b) their alarm over the increasing acceptance of this practice in our society... something which would have been unheard of even 30-40 years ago.

"But condemning innocent children and babies?  Seriously?  How cruel and heartless!   Those little children didn't do anything wrong!"

This is where the proverbial wheels fall off the critics of the Church who are attempting to turn this issue into a rallying cry for wholesale apostasy.  This announcement has nothing whatsoever to do with "punishing" children of same-sex parents.  In fact, it's exactly the opposite.

The reality is that baby blessings are not salvific in nature.  In other words, a baby blessing has nothing whatsoever to do with babies being saved or not.  It is an opportunity for the father of that child to give it a father's blessing, and to announce the baby's name as it will appear on the records of the Church as a "child of record."  Being a "Child of Record" is not the same as being a member of the Church.  That only occurs when the child is baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints... just like everyone else.

The prophet Moroni made it very clear in the Book of Mormon that babies are saved in the Kingdom of God, as they are innocent.  That hasn't changed.  They are still pure, precious, and entitled to Celestial glory should they die before the age of accountability.  Nothing in this announcement changes that.

So what changed?  Children of same-sex couples (who, by the Lord's standard, are living in serious moral sin and if married, apostasy) cannot receive this blessing, and when eligible, have higher standards to meet for baptism because of the circumstances of their home environment... just like a child of polygamist parents, which the Church also considers to be serious moral sin, and apostasy.  

The concern is that the influence of parents living in serious moral sin may have created beliefs and attitudes in the child that are contrary to the Lord's standards of righteousness.  This is the situation with children of polygamist families as well.  Since gay marriage has now become the law of the land, it is no surprise that this policy has been extended to them as well.

For those who question why innocent children "should be held to a higher standard" regarding baptism, there is extensive scriptural precedent.

Throughout history, particularly as documented in the Old Testament (see, for instance, 1 Sam 15), innocent children were actually slain "for the sins of the fathers," presumably because had they been left to grow up in the toxic and unrighteous environment they were in, they may have been worse than the parents who raised them in rebellion against God... and taking their lives as innocent children, where they were assured of salvation, was actually a blessing for them and a merciful act of a loving Heavenly Father.

While this is not the same situation in severity, of course, and no one is advocating mercy killings of children of same-sex parents, it very much is in principle... and the concern is reasonable and prudent.

Let me try to put this in a secular situation that might make more sense.

Let's say that a certain employee, who has worked for General Motors all their career, decides to go to work for Ford Motor Company.  During all of their years at General Motors, they have been taught and indoctrinated about how evil and deficient Fords are.

The hiring manager at Ford, knowing of the employee's background at General Motors, might reasonably be more cautious and probing in the hiring and interview process no matter how much they wanted the employee to join them, perhaps even referring the hiring decision to the CEO for approval, to ensure that Ford's interests are not being compromised by someone who might believe that Ford Motors is, in fact, evil and deficient.  They are not rejecting the employee from being hired... they are simply being cautious throughout the process.  Without this caution and due diligence, the employee might have caused serious damage to Ford from within, and may have poisoned the reputation and quality that Ford may have worked long and hard to create.  The employee could have caused serious damage to other employees, "poisoning the well," so to speak, regarding the other employees commitment to Ford.

This is precisely what the Church is doing with children being raised (and perhaps indoctrinated by) same-sex parents... just like those children being raised (and perhaps indoctrinated by) polygamist families.   The Church has not only a right, but a sacred obligation, to protect itself and its members.  No one is denying salvation to anyone.  Rather, the Brethren, in an action that they had to have known would cause negative emotions, had the courage to do what the Lord directed them to do to protect His Church, rather than take the "easy way out" and do nothing.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Allodoxaphobia. Say THAT Three Times Fast.

For those not familiar with the subtle nuances of the Wide, Wonderful World of Phobias, Allodoxaphobia is the "fear of opinions."  And it seems that this particular phobia is growing at an astronomical pace in this country.

For those burdened by this phobia, the very idea that others could hold an opinion (much less a valid opinion) that differs from their own is terrifying and, in fact, soul-crushing.  It threatens their very existence, and all that they hold to be sacred.  The very existence of such a differing opinion implies that their own opinion might not, in fact, be de facto truth.

Because of this irrational terror, those suffering from Allodoxaphobia spasmodically label anyone with a different opinion to be a "hater" or in a master stroke of Transference, as having a <fill in the blank here>phobia themselves... e.g. "transphobia," "homophobia," etc. 

Those suffering from this malady have a compulsive need to silence any and all others that have differing opinions in order to give their own more credence.  Indeed, anyone embracing a different, contradictory opinion is a serious threat to the emotional and mental well-being of the Allodoxaphobic, and must be immediately marginalized, minimized, trivialized, and demonized in a desperate attempt to invalidate the offending opinion, dampen its terrifying nature, and reduce the chance that it might just hold some validity.  If there is one thing that Allodoxaphobics can't deal with, it's admitting that a differing opinion might have even a modicum of said validity. To do such would necessarily weaken the inerrant, exalted, and unimpeachable status they have arrogantly awarded their own personal opinions.

This explains why those that have a differing opinion on whatever issue has been blessed as the cause-o'-the-hour cannot be allowed to simply disagree.  They must be crushed.  They must be silenced.  They must be eliminated.  They cannot be allowed to exist.  Resistance is futile.  We are One Of Many.

To Allodoxaphobics, Free Speech is not a fundamental liberty at all, but a conditional liberty that the Left only affords to themselves, as they have already judged those who reject their progressive agenda and liberal ideals as being unworthy of that particular freedom, and, as the Gate-Keepers of All Things Rational, they believe that only they have the inherent natural right (Nay, DUTY!) to deny basic rights and freedoms to the stupid, moronic mouth-breathers who are too colossally dumb to remain in lock-step.  Such are clearly not thinking rationally, and therefore have forfeited their right to speak freely.

Those who disagree must be portrayed as "hating" the object of their disagreement, as such a negative and emotionally-charged word MUST demand that having a different opinion is a Very Bad Thing, and those that have the bad form to embrace such different opinions are Very Bad People.  And, as we are all acutely aware, Very Bad People cannot be trusted, and their opinions don't matter.  After all, everyone knows that if you HATE something, you are automagically WRONG.  And BAD.  And EVIL.  Did I say "Bad"?

Of course, the alternate to labeling all who disagree as "haters" is to claim that such have some sort of irrational fear of the target of their disagreement.  In the minds of Allodoxaphobics, it is literally impossible to have a valid disagreement with their opinion.  It simply cannot be.  One who claims such has a serious mental defect, as no sane (informed) person would disagree.  Again, the object is to reject any semblance of validity to any differing opinion and to strongly demand that anyone harboring such a differing opinion is mentally ill or otherwise untrustworthy.  Therefore, anyone who disagrees MUST be petrified of the awful and indisputable reality (truth) thrust forward by the Allodoxaphobics.  No, when Allodoxaphobics speak, the "thinking has been done."  All that remains is to get in step with their official pronouncements.

One recent example of this bizarre and disturbing phenomena was the article released by Dr. Paul R. McHugh, the former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital and its current Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry, author of 6 books and 125 peer-reviewed journals, in which he states that "transgenderism is a 'mental disorder' that merits treatment, that sex change is 'biologically impossible,' and that people who promote sexual reassignment surgery are collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder."

Of course, the Left instantly had an apoplectic seizure, refuting Dr. McHugh's opinion with such erudite and stunning intellectual gems as "And so's yer old man!" "Moron."  "Mentally imbalanced hack" and many other equally-substantive and well-reasoned responses.

Dr. McHugh (and those that agree with his conclusions) are not simply those with differing opinions, they are Very Bad People.  And they must be silenced.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Sleepless on Mother's Day

Tylenol PM has been a trusty friend to me over the last few months... and rarely lets me down.  Until tonight.  Instead of a deep, peaceful sleep, blissfully sucking air out of the C-PAP machine purring quietly in my nightstand, I'm sitting at my computer, restless, with a ponderous weight on my mind.

It's Mother's Day, 2015.  And this may surprise you, but this isn't about my mother.

No, it's about another mother.  The mother of my children.  My sweet wife.

Later on this morning, while mothers the world over are being pampered, indulged, and showered with love and attention, my sweet wife has yet one more annual reminder of the mean-spiritedness and vindictiveness of her oldest two children... another opportunity to wipe tears from her eyes and pretend that her heart is not permanently broken.  For reasons only known to the Almighty, my wife's oldest children have turned their backs on her and have shut her completely out of their lives.  For over 14 years now.

It would be understandable if she were able to point to some huge fight, tragic event, or life-changing incident to explain how this could possibly be, but neither of us can.  It is nothing more nor less than selfish vindictiveness, cruelty and spite.  It is evil and Satanic.  And utterly unforgivable.  And every year, we unwillingly are forced to relive this particular train-wreck in all of its technicolor glory and emotional gore.

A little back-story might help.

When my wife and I married in March of 1997, she had five children by a previous marriage.  The oldest daughter, Michele, was 14.  A strong-willed, intelligent young woman, Michele had happily and eagerly settled into the role of quasi-parent after my wife divorced her then-husband, a mean-spirited and abusive husband and father, who would later commit suicide.   My wife had just completed court reporting school, and Michele took on a significant amount of responsibility after her parents divorced.

And that's when it all started to go South.

When my wife and I married, all of a sudden Michele was no longer in the "inner circle" of parenting... and became deeply resentful and angry.  This anger seethed under the surface until she left our home around 4 years later.  Even though her anger smoldered over the next several years, my wife was still invited to be a part of her life.  Then, almost out of the blue, Michele changed her mind about having a relationship with her mother.  Apparently, she decided that her mother should be "punished" for replacing her as a quasi-parent with a real one.  For no apparent reason, she shut her mother out of her life completely, and to this day refuses to speak to her, or to allow her mother to see or have any relationship with her grandchildren.

I've agonized over this over the years... a lot... trying to wrap my arms around how a grown child could be so cruel to their own flesh and blood for no other reason than to "get even" for a perceived slight this ridiculous.  And I've failed.  I just don't get it.  It's beyond my comprehension and experience.  It's foreign territory.

In my world, families stick together.  They get mad, angry, bent out of shape, butt-hurt, whatever... but time heals all wounds, and the day invariably comes when things are made whole again... apologies are extended, forgiveness is granted, and feelings are mended.  Not in this case, however.

There is nothing in the world more difficult, I don't think, than watching someone you love grieve and suffer under the constant, oppressive pain of being rejected by their own child for no particular reason.

As I settle into my annual analysis paralysis regarding this travesty and what to do about it, I invariably draw a blank.  I'm a typical guy who likes to "fix things," and to make things right.  And yes, I'm well aware that "It's not about the nail!" for those who have seen that rather painfully accurate Facebook video.  But I have no clue what to do about this.  I'm out of my league here.

My wife and I have been married for 18 years now.  And tonight, as I have every Mother's Day for the last 13-14 years, I sit here agonizing over how this could possibly be, and why a child could be that emotionally abusive to someone who doesn't deserve it, and who sacrificed everything for them.  How can any rational person find nothing wrong with inflicting unspeakable pain on those who love them... just for spite?

Tomorrow, life will resume.  We will bustle about, tending to our jobs and family, and life will go on.  But for right now, in the quiet of the butt-crack of dawn, at O' Dark Thirty, my heart breaks again for my sweet wife and what she has been made to endure.