Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Marriage in our Human Society

Yesterday, Peter Danzig invited me to join the Facebook group LDSApology. I have been trying to sit on the fence on this issue for quite a while, while I learned more. I've spoken with members of this unfortunate group of humans, each time I've encountered the tremendous troubles that they have had, both personally and with legalities. While their legal inequities are certainly great, and possibly enough to gain my vote on this issue, it is their personal struggles that most influence my decision on this matter. I remember reading Carol Lynn Pearson's book Goodbye, I love you back in the eighties, and discovering many of my high school friends from drama and choir were gay (after I left highschool). This morning, I read Stuart Mathis' struggle on the subject (pictured here) when the Mormon church supported California Proposition 22. I recalled the tremendous local effort put forth by the church (as I lived in Santa Rosa California at that time).

I wrote my letter to ldsapology@gmail.com :

While I am neither gay, nor mormon (as of last week), I can no longer sit on the fence on this issue. The church remains stoically quiet while the GL community has made its point. Humans need each other. We need each other more than anything. Marriage is THE accepted symbol of our society to make our commitment to another human being. To refuse one class of human beings this right, is to deny them society in fellow humanhood.

Please add my name to your petition.

Kind Regards.

Brent Fisher
I hope you will join me in this petition as well. Let the title of Carol Lynn Pearson's recent book, "No more Goodbyes" work on you for a bit, and lastly, remember the closing remarks given by Stuart Mathis' Bishop in his heart felt requiem:

In his famous meditation on death, John Donne wrote, "Who can remove from that bell [for the dying] which is passing a piece of himself out of this world? No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. ... Any man's death diminishes me, ... and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

The bell that tolls for Stuart Matis tolls for us all, for we are all diminished by his passing.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Currencies of Life & Religious Bankruptcy

After waking from a small nap, my brain began to consider the struggles that some people have mentioned to me upon discovering their religious investments going bankrupt. Many become upset at me, or others that may expose their empty account balances by opening up their minds to the inconsistencies and deceptions within the fundamental doctrines and premises of the Church. Their lives were so easy before that! They had all of the answers to life then. They knew exactly how to live, think, raise her kids, daily activities, all of the things that are needed to produce true and everlasting happiness in this life and the next. No wonder they become upset when exposed to the holes in the story.

Upon waking though, I thought about money as a metaphor for that existence. If somebody would give you money your whole life, tell you where to get the money, how to spend it, etc. You may very well be happy. But lets suppose, for just a moment, that is no such thing as 'free' money. Nobody is out there to give you money to pay your mortgage. Let's suppose that you were, however receiving that money, from somewhere. You need money to feed your kids, buy your new sneakers, watch a movie, etc. You've been receiving this money, your whole life, but you didn't actually do anything to produce this money. In fact, you weren't producing wealth at all. Unknowingly, you had been 'borrowing' this money the whole time, until finally, one day, your creditor goes bankrupt, and your account is now closed. Now you've got to find out how to get money for yourself. This puts you into a very serious, and precarious position, because not only were you dependent on this money, but you were supporting a family on this money as well.

You would probably find yourself hungry, and tired right away since having not trained in any money gaining profession, having not apprenticed in any trade, having no tradable business entities, the only gainful enterprise you could qualify for, until attending trade school, or something business school, or university, would be minimum wage jobs, and what if the economy was suffering, as it is now.

What if your leaders had allowed the leading financial institutions to fall into ruin by mortgaging their investors funds and losing the lot of it? The economy might be so bad that you wouldn't even be able to work for minimum wage. You would be homeless and destitute.

Few common folk, like myself, expect anyone to simply give them money everyday for living on. We expect to have to produce some good or service worthy of recompence. We expect to receive no money when we don't. We would not be surprised one bit, if we quit our job, or closed our business, that no more money would come in. We have come to grips that getting money is an everyday struggle. Instead of becoming upset about it, we encourage each other to become proficient at earning it. We encourage each other to learn ways of earning money that we actually like and enjoy. In deed, some of us find that earning money is fulfilling, and we resent nor blame no one for life's requirement to do so. Money is one of the currencies of life.

One of the other currencies of life is knowledge and wisdom. Interestingly enough, there are plenty of those in the world, willing to offer up their produce in this areas, and there are many of us in this world, content to receive it without the expectation of the same daily struggle we accept to receive our daily bread.

So, we go for years, believing that our coffers are full, only to realize one day, that we have accumulated, not a wealth of this currency called wisdom, but a debt of it.

This debt of wisdom can not be repaid quickly, and we should not be surprised if we must suffer greatly from the weight of it. This debt of wisdom comes from all of the decisions made for us while we did something else. Many of us were so happy to pay others to do this work for us that we happily traded currencies such as our time and dollars to continually fund this massive insurance policy on the wisdom nest egg we need for retirement. What fools we are! We can't believe it when we discover that our insurance company isn't keeping our interests in first place.

We ask, how dare our insurance company come up bankrupt! Surely our insurance company is far too important to fail! (Where is President Obama when we need him?)

But the investments that this insurance company was founded on were based on fabulous speculation, rather than reasonable humanity. Like Ponzi's fools, we threw our wealth after that fabulous promise, rather than ask along the way if it was too good to be true. All of us decided that if it was simply a Ponzi scheme, or a comforting promise backed by no sound financials, surely one of the other investors, much smarter than we, would have discovered the truth long, long ago and called the proper authorities to shut it down. All of these people couldn't be mistaken at the same time, could they?

Some, even after discovering their investments to be failed decide to pretend them sound. They imagine that if they continue the program as if it were sound, then it must be sound. They console themselves with the view that so many others continue to join, and apparent happiness abounds, so why not maintain the wonderful, comforting plan, for now. And this goes on, and on.

Those who decide to withdraw from the plan find that those currencies they 'contributed' are not fully transferable to the other markets of life, receiving only a fraction of of their contributions back to help them make it day to day. The Insurance Company promises to pay them out, in full, and more in the future... far into the future, although, the company admits, it can not demonstrate even one testimonial of an investor portfolio reaching maturation. The Company insists that the payout will come in the future, but that the investor will receive nothing now, should premiums stop now. At this, many decide to wait and see. Many decide to postpone their judgment on the validity of the Insurance Companies claims until after which time it would be impossible to have any ability to do anything about it.

The currency of wisdom doesn't come free, or easy. The human being must struggle on a daily basis to earn it. If you have been relying on someone else to provide it for you, then you have been increasing your debt for it that you must repay before you can begin to build any sort of wealth of it. Those who promise to provide it for you should be considered with as much careful skepticism and due diligence as any financial instrument, company or portfolio. Those that promise freely provide their 'financials' for study and investigation can begin to gain the public trust. Those that refuse to provide the information necessary to prove their investment worthiness should be avoided in favor of those that do.

At first, the struggle will be very, very difficult, and one may even resent it. However, after working at it, and gaining the tools necessary to produce in this currency, it may become easier.

You may become as accustomed to trading in its currency as buying groceries at the store. You may even get out of the debt you find yourself in.... someday. But only if you decide to spend wisely. You must spend within your means, and repay those debtors to eventually begin to build real wealth. You should carefully choose where you will invest your wisdom currency, refusing to put credits with traders that refuse to reveal their books and past history.

Begin to understand, manage and take control of your own currency, accept no new debt, and soon the burden of that debt will lift and life's beauty will begin to open in ways you may never have even dreamed before.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Why People Leave the LDS Church.

One of the principal reasons I started my blog was to help others understand the reasons why I couldn't go to church anymore. I recently posted the following video produced by an active member of the church, aimed at helping fellow members of the church understand how to help us wayward members. It received quite a few responses from facebook, including one comment:
People leave churches because they no longer wish to keep commandments they find restrictive in their lives. Perhaps you could resolve issues with God by using a KNEE MAIL.
Which is one of the stereotypes this video tries to remove.

If you have members that are in transition, and you want to really help them as a friend, instead of taking an hour to watch Seinfeld or Conan O'Brien this evening, take an hour to watch this video, and I'll think you will agree with me.

People leave churches because of cognitive dissonance much more than they ever leave because they no longer wish to keep commandments.

In fact, Wednesday evening, I spoke with a fellow who's cognitive dissonance became so disruptive in his life, that he began treating it with pain medications, rather than work it out, eventually leading him to prison.