Monday, May 25, 2009

Love is all you need.

God, Love of

1 Ne. 11: 17 God loveth his children.

1 Ne. 11: 22, 25 tree of life represents love of God.

1 Ne. 11: 25 waters are representation of love of God.
1 Ne. 17: 40 the Lord loveth those who will have him to be their God.
2 Ne. 1: 15 Lehi1 is encircled eternally in arms of God’s love.
2 Ne. 4: 21 God hath filled me with his love.
2 Ne. 26: 24 the Lord loveth the world, layeth down life.
Jacob 3: 2 feast upon God’s love.
Mosiah 4: 11-12 if ye retain in remembrance the greatness of God ye shall be filled with his love.
Alma 14: 14 God has made gospel known to Lamanites because he loves them.
Hel. 15: 3 the Lord has chastened Nephites because he loves them.
Ether 12: 34 the Lord’s love is charity.
Moro. 7: 47 charity is pure love of Christ.
D&C 6: 20 be diligent and I will encircle thee in arms of my love.
D&C 18: 10 worth of souls is great in sight of God.
D&C 20: 19 God commanded men to love and serve him.
D&C 34: 3 Christ so loved world that he gave life.
D&C 41: 1 God delights to bless his people.
D&C 76: 25 Father loves Only Begotten Son.
D&C 76: 116 God bestows Holy Spirit on those who love him.
D&C 95: 1 whom the Lord loves he chastens.
D&C 133: 53 in his love the Lord redeemed men.
D&C 138: 3 love made manifest by Father and Son in coming of Redeemer.
Deut. 5: 10 shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me. 
Deut. 6: 5 (Matt. 22: 37; D&C 59: 5) shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart. 
Deut. 7: 8 (Deut. 23: 5) because the Lord loved you. 
Deut. 7: 13 he will love thee. 
Deut. 10: 15 Lord had a delight in thy fathers to love them. 
Deut. 10: 18 He doth . . . loveth the stranger, in giving him food. 
Ps. 31: 23 love the Lord, all ye his saints. 
Isa. 63: 7 mention the lovingkindnesses of the Lord. 
Jer. 31: 3 I have loved thee with an everlasting love. 
Hosea 11: 1 When Israel was a child, then I loved him. 
Mal. 1: 2 I have loved you, saith the Lord. 
John 3: 16 God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten. 
John 5: 42 ye have not the love of God in you. 
John 10: 17 doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life. 
John 13: 1 he loved them unto the end. 
John 13: 35 ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. 
John 14: 15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. 
John 14: 21 he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father. 
John 14: 23 my Father will love him, and we will come unto him. 
John 15: 9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you. 
John 16: 27 Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved. 
John 17: 23 world may know that thou . . . hast loved them. 
John 17: 26 love wherewith thou hast loved me. 
Rom. 5: 8 God commendeth his love toward us. 
2 Cor. 13: 11 live in peace, and the God of love and peace shall be with you. 
Eph. 3: 19 love of Christ, which passeth knowledge. 

It Don't Matter if You're Black or White!

One of the main purposes of this blog is to help me overcome my black-and-white attitude.  

For too much of my life, I thought I was avoiding the "appearance of evil," which really meant becoming too bland and uptight and missing out on innocent fun.  There  was a period where I didn't even listen to music (gaaaaaah) because I started getting suspicious of "hidden meanings" behind vague lyrics.   I can't believe now that I went that far and cut out something that is so dear and important to me.  

I cut out music after a comment made by my YW president: She said that she felt much better and more spiritual after listening to almost no secular music and instead listening to hymns.  Instead of thinking, "Well, that may work for her, but I don't think I need that," I thought, "Well, if my YW president is suggesting it, I should do it."  I soon became terribly frustrated after cutting out music and growing so hyper sensitive about the meaning of lyrics (when I started looking for risqué meanings, I found them–even if they weren't there.  If you look for something hard enough, you'll find it, even if it doesn't exist).  I finally broke down and cried when I read an article in the New Era urging youth to trade pop music for church music because it would be uplifting and helpful.  I felt resentful that this magazine was telling me what I was doing was right when it was making me miserable.

I really was trying to do the right thing, but since I am black-and-white and perfectionistic, I usually went completely overboard.  It truly was startling when I finally realized that I didn't have to apply every talk, every lesson, every New Era article to myself; that maybe, I was doing a fine enough job already and didn't need to work on that.  For the longest time, my reaction to every talk really was, "Oh!  I definitely need to work on that!"  I would feel bad for being critical of a talk and chide myself, thinking, "I have to get something out of this!  I'm prideful if I don't think their message is good, and I'm rationalizing my behavior if I think this doesn't apply to me!"  That is so wrong.  So so so wrong.  I think a big reason why I was like that for so long was that I got nothing but praise and positive reactions to that attitude; leaders and other adults in the ward would gush about how sweet and humble I was, and one man even said that I was "floating above and ahead everyone else."  Well, I wasn't happy inside, but it took me awhile to realize that.

Being black-and-white makes you gray, that is, bland and boring.  I do, however, want to be gray in the way that I accept the middle ground instead of an extreme view.  

This subject reminds me of the Michael Jackson song, "Black or White."  And that reminds me of a lovely cover version of the song I heard in a German class.  It began with a bit of the original song, then a German woman (in a thick accent) yelled to her husband to turn that music down.  He replied (in a thick accent), "But I like this funky music!  I like this funky music!"  And then the polka music came in!  The man proceeded to sing the song with an oom pah pah backing in heavily accented English.  I can still hear him saying, "If youah sinking 'bout my baby it don't mattah if youah black or white!"  

Sunday, May 24, 2009

the Mormon Poster Child

For years, I aspired to be a Model Mormon: which to me meant a member who dresses conservatively (skirts to the knee, buttoned shirt buttoned all the way up*

, sleeves, no extreme or even different hair styles), is attentative in class and always volunteers to read and gives knowledgable, spiritual answers, is polite and kind, always smiling, and always helpful.  

I don't want to be that anymore!  And I don't like the dramatic (line break and dramatic one-liner), so I'm adding another sentence.

I don't like that teachers preach messages of conformity and  treat any degree of deviance as the threat of sin creeping into your life.  If your form of deviance is building an altar to Satan and worshiping it, OK, that's not good.  But if deviance to you is dying your hair pink, I think you're fine.  But there are some people who would judge you for it and think you're not a good Mormon.

A couple weeks ago, my institute teacher mentioned that we should use technology for good and to spread the message of the Gospel.  He spoke derisively of people who go online and use the the internet to criticize the Church and told us we must not do that.  He would probably disapprove of my blog, but I don't think I'm criticizing the Church; I'm criticizing its members who preach falsehoods.  I find this blog is good for me, even though the circulation (that I know of) is about three.  I'm just happy knowing that somewhere out there in cyberspace is my opinion that anyone can stumble upon and read.

*I was watching the BYU channel once at a hotel in Utah and listened to part of a talk by some lady.  I don't remember who it was; it could have been Susan W. Tanner, but I don't think it was.  This mystery woman was talking about modesty and about young women who had really internalized the message and were completely modest.  She said that we (young women) should all button our button-front shirts all the way up to the top–it was like securing the final chink in your armor.  As she said this,  there was even a visual of a young woman standing in front of the mirror, buttoning up her shirt to thte top and smiling.  I  did think her exhortation was a bit odd at the time, but I thought that she must be right; after all, she was giving a fireside or devotional and was on BYUTV!  I started wearing my button-up shirts all the way to the top for awhile until I realized it looked dumb and was a little extreme.  Subtley extreme, but extreme nontheless.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Top responses to "I Have Depression."

Happy one-year anniversary to me of having depression!  Yaaaaay.  It started last summer, got  worse Fall semester, then spiraled out of control Winter semester.  And that's my story so far.  Here are my favorite responses I've heard when I tell people (at church) about my situation:

1. Everyone has their ups and downs.

2. What made you so sad?

3. Pray and read your scriptures/conference talks and you will get through this!

4. This is very common.

My responses:

1. Yes, everyone has sad and happy times in their life.  Did you honestly think I didn't know that?  The thing is, not everyone has the same challenges.  Not everyone has clinical depression.  Just because it has emotional symptoms does not mean it's not a medical disease.

2. A chemical imbalance in my brain that not even science has figured out yet.

3. Praying/reading scriptures/any other gospel activity will help the same way they will help you during any struggle or problem: they provide perspective and comfort, for example.  But they do not cure depression.  They could also help someone with diabetes feel better, but it's not going to take away the diabetes!  I think this is the misconception that makes me angriest: Depression is purely emotional, so it can be cured the way other negative emotions are cured.  If you're sad or mad, reading the scriptures can make you feel better, so naturally reading them can get rid of your depression.  

4.  You're nothing special.  Quit complaining.  Lots of people get really sad (see #1).

In short, people who respond this way mean well (I think), but what they really are is dismissive.  They're not trying to understand how I feel; they're just trying to patch it up and make it better.  But you can't fix something if you don't know how it broke in the first place and in what way it's broken now.

Do you know why, as someone with clinical depression, I identify with those who are Mormon and gay?  Because a similar misunderstanding exists and similar excuses are made.  Depressed people don't deal with nearly as much stuff as gay people do, but I do see similarities, such as:

Both groups are living contrary to God's law.

Depressed people are obviously still living with some sin they haven't repented of, or they wouldn't be so sad!  They are probably not reading their scriptures, praying, going to church, paying tithing, fulfilling their callings, etc. enough!  Being happy all the time means you're being righteous all the time!

Gay people are just plain wrong.  They should stop liking the same gender and switch to liking the other one.  Duh.

They could be cured if they just have enough faith.

If you still have depression, you must have not had enough faith so far to be healed.  It's all up to you.  This is not an actual "medical" disease that needs to run its course at all!  You're just sad!  Really sad, that is, but still–it's just an emotional problem.  See above for why you are so sad.

Homosexuality is a temptation nigh unto a disease.  Have faith and you will be cured.  If you haven't been cured already, you must not want to be badly enough.  Even though it is a temptation, just ignore Paul's bit about having a thorn in his side that was never taken away even though he prayed for it.  Paul obviously wasn't faithful enough!  Yes he was an apostle, but. . . .let's change the subject.

Blacks = Gays?

It's very hard to try and rectify seemingly conflicting principles and values, but I'm trying.

On the one hand, there's the idea that the same arguments against gay marriage were made against inter-racial marriage.  Fair enough.  But on the other hand, aren't race and gender separate issues?  Isn't it said that race is a social construction?  But then on the other hand, couldn't you say then that gender might just be a social construction too?  But the Proclamation to the World says that gender is a part of everyone's divine identity, so it wouldn't seem that gender is just a social construction.  But then what does that mean for gay people?  

And then my head hurts.

P.S. As a straight white person, I am ignorant of the monikers people who are homosexual or of African descent prefer: Homosexuals?  Gays?  Gay people?  / Blacks?  Black people?  African-Americans?  

Proposition Eight

I do not support Proposition 8. Let me clarify: I do not support bashing gay people or looking down on them or calling them the f-- word or making fun of them or lumping them all into one category and calling them all intolerant hateful and morally loose. Some people apparently think that this is what supporting Prop 8 means, which gives the rest of us a very bad name. 8 doesn't have to be h8.

What it comes down to is this:

The anti-Prop 8ers say that Prop 8 is intolerant.  The pro-Prop 8ers say that tolerance can't only go one way and that you need to respect dissenting opinions and not just label them as "intolerant."  But the thing is, the anti-P8 [I'm tired of typing it out already!] are saying that the pro-P8 are intolerant of gay people, not necessarily of themselves.  They're not saying, "You don't agree with me (that gay marriage should be legal), and therefore you are intolerant."  They're saying, "You are denying others rights because you don't agree with their identity and their lifestyle, and that makes you intolerant."

Now I'm embarassed and sad to say this now, but I did originally support Prop 8, and I am very sorry about it.  I know that sounds kind of lame, but please believe me.  During a special Prop 8 fireside, that principle about tolerance not going just one way was mentioned.  Yes, that's true many times–e.g. Jimmy says, "I like blue," but Jane says, "I don't like blue." If Jimmy then calls Jane intolerant, then yes, Jimmy does not understand that he is being intolerant of her opinion by calling her intolerant.  But if Jane beats Jimmy up and threatens to do soevery time he wears blue, then she is truly being intolerant.  This is what I see Prop 8 doing: it's not just disagreeing with someone, it's working to prevent them making a decision you don't agree with.

Really, this whole "You're intolerant!"  "Well, then that means you're intolerant!"  "No, you're intolerant for calling me intolerant!" mess is ridiculous.  Please look up Freud's theory of projecting, because this is a classic example of it.  Really, it just becomes a war of semantics and what it means to be "intolerant" (does it automatically make you intolerant yourself if you call someone else intolerant?), and as much as I like linguistics, it's just dumb.  Intolerance gives me a headache.

It also comes down to this:

Gays and those who support them are either in the right or are sinners living in denial that what they're doing is wrong.  I mean, I have thought about it from that perspective: what if being "tolerant" of others is really just excusing sin?  But then I try to think of another example, and everything else seems so extreme: Would you be tolerant of bank robbers and not make robbery illegal because they have the right to steal?  Should homicide be legal because we're being intolerant of murderers' choices?  Of course not!  But I'm not about to compare being gay to being a murderer–that's just ridiculous.  It doesn't work.  

And most importantly:  Wanting to get married to the person you love is motivated by. . .love, of course!  I don't understand it; do people think homosexuals want to get married to spite straight people?  Or spread evil?  Or just make a statement and be unorthodox?  I don't think so.  [Sure, whatever, some could; but so could straight couples.]  Those who want the right to marry love each other.  

A compromise?

Domestic partnerships/civil unions should at least have the same legal rights as a marriage.  For starters, at least.  


I think people's misconceptions about the gay community stem from not actally knowing any gay people.  If you are one of these people, at least read some blogs to try to understand others.  I would recommend "MoHo" blogs (written by gay Mormons).    I think being gay and Mormon carries the stigma that you "just don't have enough faith" or something, and that's why you haven't been "cured."  Views like this are harmful, hurtful, and truly intolerant.  


I really feel inadequate trying to describe the situation gay Mormons are in (since I'm not in it), but I really want to express it well and continually learn and understand more about this predicament.  Gay Mormons are in a weird situation: to keep the Law of Chastity, they can't have any physical relations with members of the same sex.  But that's who they're attracted to!  If you are straight, just imagine not being allowed to get married or have a physical relationship with the person you love dearly.  I can't even image it.  It sounds confusing and like an agonizing decision to make.  It sounds like you would feel as if you're living in a whole different paradigm, a whole different world with a different set of rules, but others are trying to force their own rules on you.  


Think.  It makes sense.