Category Archives: Life

My Depression Speaks

I sit here at the keyboard and I don’t really know where to start.  The title is “My Depression Speaks” and my depression doesn’t want to talk to you.  It doesn’t want me to talk to you.  But I’m going to.  I might do this more than once.  Or I might delete this whole thing before posting it.  I don’t know.  But I’m going to write down what my depression is saying to me:

Nobody cares what I’m telling you.  Nobody wants to hear it.  People have their own problems.  They don’t need to hear about yours.  They’ll just think you’re a loser.  They already think you’re a loser, but this will make it worse.  Someone will probably unfriend you if they even bother to see it now (or hide you) so they don’t have to see any more of your whiny nonsense anymore.

You’re not going to make it.  You’re not ready.  You can’t do it.  You can’t do anything.  You can’t finish anything.  Anything you do finish isn’t good enough anyhow.  I don’t see why you even bother to try.  All your ideas are dumb, anyway.  You’re just a loser doing a job nobody wants, nobody wants to look at, and you’re probably going to lose that anyhow.  And then you’ll be stuck — nowhere to go.  You can’t even get by on what you get from it.  And there’s no use trying to find anything more or better — money is too tight everywhere, and you don’t fit anybody’s idea of who they want to hire.  Nobody wants to hear your ideas or your solutions — they wouldn’t work, and nobody would go along with them anyway.

What a waste of space and time.  Nobody can rely on you — you always flake out and let them down if it really matters.

So, now you’re wallowing in self-pity.  Anything, as long as it doesn’t matter.

It goes on from there, and it gets meaner.  It trashes you as well, since you’re reading this.  Sorry.  I’m done with this for now.

Constructively Responding to Child Molesters

This is a response to a friend’s discussion thread on the merits of executing child molesters on the grounds that this is a crime that, once proven, the molester is never forgiven for it by society, giving them an effective life sentence, and that execution is more honest and humane than this.  Having pointed to problems with this as a matter of policy, I was asked what my solution would be to the problem of molesters.  This is what I said:

Solutions — It is a wicked and adulterous generation that thinks it can find solutions for every problem.  Hubristic as well.  We have found solutions for practically no criminal behavior which prevent them from happening, but we are supposed to be able to solve one of the most repugnant crimes perfectly without taking the time to really understand it?  Let me rain on that little parade here and now — it won’t happen.  No matter what we do with the law, we can not stop people from choosing to do wrong in whatever way they decide to preemptively.  It is a power God has not chosen to exercise, so why we think we can escapes me completely.
Continue reading Constructively Responding to Child Molesters

Homosexuality and Mormons

This is something I just submitted to my Mormon.org profile, but which has not yet been approved.

What is the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ attitude regarding homosexuality and same sex marriage?

The Church teaches that sexual morality is very important, and does not teach of any context in which homosexual sex is moral. The Church does not recognize same-sex marriage, and does not approve of any sexual behavior with anyone other than one’s heterosexual spouse. I’m not aware of any equivocation on these questions from any official source.

That having been said, the Church also teaches that we are to love everyone, which does not have an exception for anyone based on their sexual orientation. Priesthood leaders have the responsibility for determining the worthiness of an individual to join the Church, to receive the Priesthood, to hold a calling or enter the Temples. Individual members do not have the duty to judge others’ worthiness, nor are they authorized to do so. Whatever the nature of our struggles in life, and the difficult paths we have to walk, we are all children of God; brothers and sisters who need to serve each other and receive service from each other.

Jesus taught we should love our enemies. If so, we should *also* love our children, brothers and sisters who are gay, and ought not be their enemies. We need not fear that sexual orientation is so plastic that exposure to the idea of homosexuality will make otherwise straight people gay. Most straight people have been exposed to this idea while remaining straight. Letting go of our fears with regard to this and the controversy surrounding it will help us show forth the love we are commanded to.

There is going to be a Christmas letter.

A Christmas letter will exist.  It will be posted here.  And it will be password protected.  This lets me make the letter widely available, while making personal details about the lives of my close family members subject to mining by anybody who might stumble onto it.  I will be adding the password as a comment when I post a link to the letter to Facebook, so FB-friends will have access.  If anybody else is going to be interested in it, leave a comment here with a valid email address that reaches you, and I’ll send it to you (unless I don’t know who you are, or you are very evil, or something like that).

Watch for the Christmas letter between now and the end of January, with highest probabilities between now and Three Kings Day (Day 12 of Christmas).

My letter to the General Conference audio team

I just sent this through the feedback system at lds.org.

The category I needed was “gratitude for work well done.”  Specifically for the team involved with preparing the mp3 files from General Conference.  If you can forward this along to them for me, I will have gratitude toward you as well.

I have been making use of these mp3 files for about as long as they have been available.  I have seen the process you’ve used improve from one requiring days for the files to be made available, to the present time where they are available within hours.

There was a time when I would download the full session file to get the music and the reports which were not available, and when I would download the podcast version from KSL to get the music in higher bitrates than the 64k which was adequate for the spoken word.  Today, as I’ve looked thoughtfully at what’s available in the zip files for each session, I see no need to do either again.  Not only are all the reports and the music available in that file, with the music at a higher bitrate than the podcast version, but the file-names provide an easy way to play the whole session in order, or to separate out the music from the talks with some simple command-line work.

And there was a time when I was unable to listen to the proceedings of the Priesthood session, due to work.  Now, I am able to include those talks in my listening pattern.

These things don’t just happen without considerable effort, I am well aware, so I wanted to thank all responsible for their efforts, and to let you know that somebody out here noticed them.

I’m not certain what I think of the new interface.

Thank you,
Blain

Thoughts on the Prison System

This is a comment I made on Slashdot on a thread titled Building Prisons Without Walls Using GPS Devices, particularly a comment that said  “How about a compromise? A touchy-feely hippie ultra-authoritarian regime that prevents rape, gang fights, and drug dealing while providing education and therapy.”

A system that prevents rapes, gang fights and drug dealing while providing education and therapy would be hugely labor intensive, and would consume a huge proportion of people of very high moral character available in society, if there was a way to reliably identify them, if you had an incentive for them to want to do this. It would explode the costs of staffing prisons by whole number factors, when the existing system costs more than states can afford. Most of that increase would go for your first three criteria — stopping rapes, gang violence and drug trafficking. Continue reading Thoughts on the Prison System

Remembering Pam

Night before last (early 12 July), Pamela Fleetwood (Beaulieu) passed away. I met Pam my second quarter in college, in Bob Winter’s Introduction to Poetry, both the class and the Honor’s Seminar attached to it, where we not only studied poetry, but wrote some. The miles and years since then have stretched quite long, and there was no way then of knowing how significant and lasting that intersection of our lives would prove. At the end of the quarter, we put together a little chap book titled Cæsuras, and the following are Pam’s poems preserved there. I really haven’t much of anything of Pam that I can offer back to her family, but I have this. I hope it can be some comfort in this time of pain and sorrow.

Continue reading Remembering Pam

From CNN Belief Blog’s thread on the Vancouver Temple

Some of my comments to this thread, in case I want to use them later.  They also discuss quite a few anti-Mormon claims you may have seen or heard in the wild:

1.  In response to a comment listing a bunch of Mormon “beliefs’ and “facts,” including the abundance of Masonic symbols in this (or, presumably, any) temple:

Interesting claims. I’ve been in that specific temple a dozen times, and will be back there next Tuesday and Wednesday. Please inform me of the many Masonic images to be found there. There’s the compass and the square, but then what? Two hardly qualifies as “many.” Continue reading From CNN Belief Blog’s thread on the Vancouver Temple

Not Temple Day in Canada As Planned

I have scheduled my departure for my Temple appointment for 90 minutes before the session starts.  This gives me a 30 minute cushion, since I’ve found it takes about 60 minutes from the time I pull out of my driveway until I leave the New Name Booth.  Making plans remains a great way to give God a good laugh.

With one thing and another, I ended up being about 8 minutes late getting into the car.  No big deal — that leaves me 22 minutes of cushion, and that’s what the cushion is for.  Then, there’s a flagger on my way to the freeway, which adds a couple more minutes to my trip — 20 minutes of cushion left.  Then, habit gets in the way, and I take the southbound freeway exit rather than northbound (I only go north once every two weeks, because the only thing I go north for is the Temple, so it’s very out-of-habit for me), which eats about five more minutes of cushion — I’m down to 15 minutes of cushion.

But now I’m northbound, everything’s fine.  I get to the (Truck) crossing, and there is nobody in the Nexus line in front of me.  The border person looks at whatever comes up on the screen, glances in the back seat, and says “Thank you.” and I’m through in record time.  It’s almost like it was too easy.

He looked in the back seat, which brought to mind that that’s where I leave my temple clothes — right behind the driver’s seat.  And then it hits me — I forgot my temple clothes.  I can’t do the session without my clothes, and it’s now exactly an hour before the session starts.  And it takes 15 minutes to get from my house to the border.  Which wouldn’t be a problem if I had 30 minutes of cushion left.  But I don’t.  I have 15 minutes of cushion.  So I complete my shortest visit to Canada where I was admitted into the country, have a short and genial conversation with the US Customs lady, and go home.  All dressed up, and no place to go.

However, I’m lined up to go to the youth Temple trip tomorrow to help out, so I’m still going to get some templing into my week.  I’m frustrated.  But it’ll be okay.

Temple Day in Canada

So, the plan was to be at the 1:30 session I had the appointment for.  I wanted to get some initiatories done for the 17 names I had reserved (the boys).  I wasn’t sure how this all might work, so I got there a little over an hour early.  I got the cards printed out and checked, and asked at the office about initiatories.  They told me to talk to someone in the locker room.  So I asked at the locker room, and got some confused looks.

Turns out that, after being open for a whole week, they don’t have everything figured out yet.  It’s like they’re learning or something.  Lots of guys in white jackets holding laminated cards and looking, well, confused.  And others wandering around, either wondering where they’re supposed to be or where the guy is who’s supposed to be where they are.  Confused High Priests can be really cute, actually.  So, after surfing the learning curve for a while, I learned some stuff, like: Continue reading Temple Day in Canada