....and I begin, with letting out a very long sigh.
Today is Leap Day. Wednesday, the 29th of February. A date that only comes once every 4 years. Many think this to be a lucky day, a fortunate day, a day of change. I have had an interesting morning, and as such, feel I should write some things down, to clear any misunderstandings, insure that there is no guessing or assumptions going on.
I read so much, and I love to read about everything. I am particularly fascinated with history, and biographies, and religion. These all intrigue me, because they all have a direct affect on our lives now. What has happened, what took place, events, philosophies, books, migration of civilizations, wars...all have happened and brought us to the present time. I blog a lot about religious topics because they are the articles that I find when reading, and most are compelling enough to me that I want to write something down. It has been suggested that I have projected "religious attacks", which is completely off the grid, and not at all what I have tried to do. Therapy is friggin expensive, and blogging is free. This, is how I vent, how I deal, how I cope. Some feel the need to go to a building and pray for their comfort....I write.
I was raised in an extremely dysfunctional household, much like a giant chunk of the worlds population, and I was also raised Catholic. For years, and years, I went to Mass on Sunday, Catechism after mass, (Catholic Sunday School), CCD, a Catholic youth group, and sang in the choir. I had my First Holy Communion, at age 8, and my Confirmation, at 14. Catholicism has been around for centuries, and these rites of passage are familiar to anyone who grew up in the Catholic church. Many of the "newer" religions that came along later, adopted and developed the same practices, renamed, arranged, and basically, took them into their churches for their own. During these years of Catholic education, my parents were at home, sleeping off the Crown Royal and Blue Nun (white wine) that they had overindulged in the night before. Not once...never, did they attend church with us. The first time I remember, was when my Grandmother Mills passed away, and we had a Mass for her funeral. My Dad literally broke out in a sweat, and was a nervous wreck. Even at my brothers wedding in Colorado, my Dad had to get drunk before the wedding, because it was in a Christian church, and a very religious ceremony. It always bothered me that we were forced to go and attend something that scare the living hell out of my Father. I have always held a great deal of anger about this.
Later, as I started to branch out of my messed up home life, and broken divorce, (too long of a nightmare, but if you know me...you know.) I began to read up and sometimes even attend many different churches. I have always been fascinated with religion, and why people believe what they believe. Some, were just beautiful services, rich with tradition, (Jewish, Catholic,Greek Orthodox...) singing, praying, reading, etc. The tradition of it all, knowing that these ceremonies have gone on for centuries...was amazing. I can understand why many stayed, followed, believed. I got that part. What puzzled me, was why I wasn't allowed to ask questions. Why is it that we are told that God is merciful, God is good, God is bountiful...but in the same paragraph, God is jealous, God will strike you dead, God is vengeful. Really? God, the all knowing, all powerful, has measly, petty human emotions? I thought he was "God".
Just that sentence would get me attacked.
When I was 7, I attended a Mormon service with my much adored neighbors and their 4 children. I loved the Andersons...they were so kind, so gentle, so sweet. Miss Darlyn was just about perfect in my eyes. I never met a woman so loving. I was thrilled to be with them, and then....
During the very long service I sat in the "Baby room" with their daughter Tammy and many other small children. There was a window over looking the church, and speakers inside the room. Kids were playing, crying, laughing. Not so bad. After a couple hours though, I was completely bored. I really didn't understand why we had to be there so long. Mass was only 45 minutes most of the time, and the time passed very quickly. (Stand, sit, kneel, pray, stand, sing, kneel, pray, stand, receive communion, pray, sing...go home). I said to Tammy that I was bored, that I preferred my church. This one wasn't fun at all. How come no one was singing...my favorite part. The service ended, and a man in a suit pulled Miss Darlyn to the side. He spoke to her sternly, pointed at me. I felt like I was in a lot of trouble, but confused. What did I do? We got in the van to go home, and Miss Darlyn took me to my parents. I was not allowed to return. What ever I, a 7 year old, had said was so bad that I was not welcome. You don't forget something like that.
In my years of adulthood, I have had multiple questions, and then, I seek the answers on my own. I do not rely on anyone else to tell me how to think, or what to believe. I have read extensively, and formed my own opinions. I feel absolutely no connection what so ever to organized religion, and many, to me, are simply brainwashing factories, scaring the hell out of people so that they will not question, not think...just do as they are told. No. I refuse to be a part of that.
So, what have I learned? Catholicism and it's forceful attitude that Priests cannot marry has caused multiple accounts of sexual abuse. The "new" Christian Mega churches have shown that money and power brings about some really disgusting human beings that tell you that you are a sinner, take your money, then go snort coke and pay for a hooker. Mormonism is so afraid of people discovering their ceremonies and beliefs, they create this cloud of secrets, and the giant bubble that incloses most of the state of Utah. Veiled hints of direct racism, and keeping women under that thumb. Do not question, do not disobey. Muslims have now had the radical insane murderers that use, just like EVERY OTHER FAITH HAS, the Muslim faith and Koran as an excuse to kill innocent people for their assention to Heaven. All in all, more people have died, been brutally killed and tortured, and families destroyed, all in the name of God. Like it or not, reality is, organized religion is always about power, control, and money. You may shake your head, and say I have it wrong, but the truth always comes out. Power is the drug that men just can't deny.
I do not "attack" religious beliefs. I state that I don't care for them, or that some are upsetting. I have every right to agree or disagree. My beliefs are that being a good person is much more important than giving money to a church so they can get rich and be tax exempt. Caring for and loving my family. Supporting my husband and my children in their every thought, every decision, and insuring them that I am completely accepting of them in every possible way. Filling my life with diversity and change, so that I don't miss out on one experience in this life. I do NOT believe in spending every moment preparing for "after death". No one, not one single human being on this planet, knows for sure, with absolute authority, what happens when we die. They will say that they do...but the TRUTH is that we don't know. They say there is a Heaven...there is a Hell. Really? What could possibly be worse than this Earth? Innocent children are ABUSED, tortured, killed. Animals are tortured, starved, abused. People are killed, neglected, abused, tortured, starved.....Hell is worse than this? No...I doubt it. I don't believe in Hell. I truly believe that it was made up to keep people in line. Fear is a very powerful medium. Used correctly, it can be a tool to rule anyone.
I am offended by those that are selfish. I am offended by those that lie, especially when it is emotionally. I do not care for those that marry for money, or security, or anything other than they completely love and adore their spouse. I am offended by those that hate for no reason. I am offended by those that cannot think for themselves, but have led their entire lives by anothers beliefs. Living in the past is a waste of time. You cannot change it, and it is a waste of emotions.
My husband lost his Father last week. How many of his family members have called him to see how he is doing? One.
Thank you Tori.
I will never be accepted by some, and that's fine. I am not living my life to please others, as they are definitely NOT living to please me. I am fortunate enough to have a husband that shares the same values and morals and beliefs that I do. He is a very resilient man that has overcome insurmountable situations and I am constantly baffled as to how he turned out so loving, and so kind. He is my hero in every way. My thinking and my beliefs are MINE, and I am asking again, please, no one, not anyone, make choices for me that I can make for myself. You are selfish in doing so, and not doing me any favors. I lived in fear and control for 26 years of my life, and as such, completely refuse to ever do so again. I am not a bad person because I am strong, and opinionated. I am simply free.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Go ahead, say how offense THAT is. Ha! Words offend you, but not the fact that you are invading a person's personal wishes and beliefs, and inflicting them with your own. Oh, that's not offensive, because you are doing it in the "name of God". What a bunch of bullshit. Millions, billions of people have lost their lives for centuries "in the name of God". There is nothing holy about it. It's all smoke and mirrors. Bullshit...it's all bullshit.
Some of the worlds most important and peaceful individuals have recently been post humously baptized into a faith that they did not follow, did not care to join, and did not believe in. It is such an appalling act, such a disgusting practice to take some of these people, most who symbolize peace, love, understanding, tollerance, and FORCE them into a religion that is so damn crazy and insecure it has to gain members through death...because no intelligent human being would join in life, knowing that they do such a thing.
I know that in writing this, I am risking total alienation from relatives that are in the Mormon faith, but this is just the breaking point. I am sick of religion in general, and acts such as this baptism crap is exactly why. Religion is about as far as you can get from "Godliness, being good, moral, intent on the best for mankind." Religion is about CONTROL, ask no questions, do not challenge, shut your damn mouth and do what we say. Excommunicated? So what? That's your threat? Who the hell cares? Tell ya what...think of it this way. If all of us "sinners" are going to this hell that you spend, no WASTE, your life fearing, then hey....be happy. There will be more room for you, right? Don't worry your crazy, delusional little head about me...or the rest of us sinners. "Do you, Boo Boo...I'ma do me...do YOU." I know what I feel, I think, I believe. Don't try to do it for me dammit. That's why I got divorced in the first damn place, alright?
Secrecy and ridiculous ceremonies, telling you to keep quiet or you will go to hell, just help to make me more secure in my decision. If your faith is "the true way, the only way", then why in the hell all the secrecy? If you are gonna do these ceremonies for people after they are dead, wouldn't it make MORE SENSE to allow them to know of the "handshakes, secret names, etc" while they are here?? What in the hell are you trying to pull?
First version: February 2012
In all the extensive media coverage of Mitt Romney, much of it discussing his religion, not a word have I seen about the secrets of Mormonism, the secrets of Romney's life-long beliefs and practices. The reason, of course, is obvious: nobody can talk about a secret unless they are in on the secret. And few journalists or Christian ministers or anti-Mitt politicians are in on the secret. Only Mormons know the secrets, and they're not going to tell. And former Mormons, like myself, who were initiated into those same secrets, and afterwards left Mormonism - we know the secrets. Should we tell?
Journalist Frank Rich, in his January 29 article "Who in God's Name Is Mitt Romney?" in New York Magazine, subtitled it: "His greatest passion is something he's determined to keep secret." And that secret is the details of his beliefs and practices as a faithful, life-long Mormon, the same secrets that all good Mormons have vowed to keep secret, even though their life depended on it.
And why does Romney (and his church) want to keep people from knowing those secrets? Most Mormons will claim that they are not "secret," but merely so "sacred" that they cannot be discussed. That is a quibble, since Mormons hold any number of other aspects of their religion to be "sacred," and yet they don't hesitate to discuss them (for example: baptism, conferring the gift of the Holy Ghost, ordination to the priesthood, etc.). In my day, when Mitt and I were initiated into the secrets, we were specifically instructed that we were under "the greatest obligations of secrecy." Nowadays, the Mormons simply take a solemn oath that they will "never reveal" anything about the rituals. That sounds like a secret to any ordinary person, doesn't it?
All right. I am going reveal those secrets, since nobody else seems willing and able to do so.
The biggest secrets involve the special lengthy rituals (the Mormons call them "ordinances") that take place outside of public view in the Mormon temples. The most important of these rituals is called the "endowment" - lasting several hours and taking the Mormon through symbolic washings and anointings (in my day they were actual washings and anointings on the entire naked body), then clothing the Mormon in special clothing and robes (including the notorious "magic underwear," which Mormons call "the garment"). The Mormon then watches and participates in long dramatizations of key events in the coming of the gospel, beginning with the creation of the world, showing Adam's fall, the coming of the Christian gospel (but not the crucifixion and resurrection), and ultimately the Mormon's being admitted into heaven, represented by "passing through the veil (of the temple)." When Romney and I first went through this ceremony, it was a ritualized dramatization with live temple personnel. Nowadays it's a movie. Yes, the most sacred worship service in Mormonism involves watching a movie.
Why is that so secret? you may ask. What aren't the Mormons supposed to reveal? What do they hold so sacred that it's secret? Quite a lot.
Part of the endowment ritual instructs the Mormons in the four "signs" and "tokens" of the Mormon priesthood. Each also has a "name" (or password). The Mormon must make an oath that he (or she) will never reveal these, outside the temple. The purpose of the signs and tokens, according to Mormon Prophet Brigham Young, is that they will be needed to pass the angels guarding the gates of heaven. The tokens are various handshakes, copied largely from the Masonic initiation rites of the 1830s, when church founder Joseph Smith was initiated into Freemasonry. The signs are various positions of the arms and hands (right arm to the square, for example, is the "first sign of the Aaronic priesthood").
Before 1990, when Romney and I first went through this ceremony, we were taught that each of the first three signs and tokens also had a "penalty" associated with each one, and we had to mime various ways of taking life to represent the penalty to us if we were to reveal the secret signs and tokens: slitting one's own throat, ripping open one's chest, disemboweling oneself. Yes, folks, this was part of the most sacred ritual in Mormonism: pantomiming your own bloody death.
So Mitt Romney, and all other righteous Mormons, can be confident that they know the secret passwords and secret handshakes to get into heaven. Do you see why Romney and his church are reluctant for "unworthy" people (the rest of us, including Mrs. Romney's parents) to know about this? As Deborah Laake put it in her autobiographical book Secret Ceremonies, (New York 1993):
The actions that were going to guarantee my entrance at the gates [of heaven] would have nothing to do with love or charity or the other teachings of Christ that I'd been raised to believe God valued. In fact, I hadn't heard a single one of those words spoken today, the most primary day of religious instruction in my entire life. No, I was going to burst into heaven on the basis of mumbo-jumbo. ... The mysteries of life were fraternity rituals. ... Did all the white-suited glorifiers in the room unquestioningly accept a ritual of nutty gestures from the pseudo-occult as a sacrament? Those were the first moments when I viewed Mormonism with suspicion.
Or as summarized by a young Mormon missionary:"If we told investigators [prospective converts] about that, they wouldn't join, because it's too weird!"
But wait! you are saying. You haven't revealed anything. You've just told us that there is stuff to reveal. So reveal it!
Right. The four secret passwords that will get you into heaven:
The first one is the "new name" that you get with your garment. Mine is "Enoch" and you can borrow it when the time comes. The angel won't know. If you're female, you can use my ex-wife's new name: "Mary." (She would kill me if she knew I gave her sacred new name away!)
The second password is easy: your own given first name.
The third password: "The Son," meaning "the Son of God."
The fourth one is so sacred that you don't get it until the very last moment in the ceremony, at the veil, from God Himself (or an old guy standing behind the curtain who is pretending to be God). And it's very long, but you have to memorize it or you don't get in:
Health in the navel, marrow in the bones, strength in the loins and in the sinews. Power in the priesthood be upon me and upon my posterity through all generations of time and throughout all eternity.
(If you watched "Big Love" faithfully, one episode showed this part of the ceremony.)
And what about the secret (oops! that should be "sacred") handshakes? Rather than describe them, I will suggest you simply do an Internet search for "mormon handshake" images. They'll be right at the top.
Anything else? Yes, there are more secrets.
During the endowment, Mormons are required to take secret oaths that they will obey various "laws." The "law of obedience" requires them to obey "the law of God and keep his commandments." They don't specify what the "law of God" is, but Mormons understand that the Mormon church is the only true source of God's law and commandments. So they are taking an oath to obey their church.
The "law of sacrifice" requires them to "covenant to sacrifice all that we possess, even our own lives if necessary, in sustaining and defending the Kingdom of God." Mormons understand "the kingdom of God" to be the Mormon church.
The "law of the gospel" is accompanied by a charge to avoid "evil speaking of the Lord's anointed [church leaders]" as well as avoiding "light-mindedness, loud laughter, taking the Lord's name in vain" and every "unholy and impure practice" (not specified).
The "law of chastity" is to abstain from sexual relations except with one's lawful spouse. That one does make sense. That's one of the Ten Commandments, after all.
The last law is the "law of consecration." It requires the Mormons to
...consecrate yourselves, your time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the building up of the Kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion.
A couple of terms need explanation. The "Kingdom of God on the earth" and "Zion" mean, to Mormons, not just their church, but ultimately the theocracy that will replace the non-religious civil government. They believe, of course, that Christ will come to run this government, using faithful Mormons as administrators.
The pressing question for Mitt Romney, and for the Mormons who are supporting his candidacy, is: Would Romney consider the Presidency to be something that God had "blessed" him with, and which, pursuant to his secret oath, he should "consecrate" to his church for establishing a theocracy? If he is elected, will he kneel down and thank his God for blessing him with the presidency? And what is he supposed to do, according to his secret oath, with "everything" God has blessed him with? That's right: he is to use it for the benefit of the Mormon church.
Now wait a minute, you may be thinking. It doesn't really mean that! The Mormon church doesn't expect that from its members, does it? Oh, yes, it does! Remember California's Proposition 8? The Mormon church pulled out all the stops to pass that proposition, which would forbid same-sex marriage, and it called upon all Mormons to cough up and donate, even those who were not California voters. Those who were hesitant to do so (often the amounts demanded were thousands of dollars per family) were simply and subtly reminded of their "temple covenants." And they all understood that the church was calling in the chits on the oaths to obey, to sacrifice, and to consecrate whatever the church demanded of them.
How would a President who was also a good Mormon obey those secret oaths?
It wouldn't even take a phone call from church headquarters to the White House. Mitt, being a well-trained Mormon, knows "in his heart" what God would want (which is the same thing that the church wants, of course) and doesn't need to be told. That's the way it works already in the only American theocracy in existence today (Utah). The Mormon politicians who run that state - the judiciary, the legislature, the executive branch - don't have to ask church leaders for direction. They know what they should do, without asking specifically (usually).
The question for American voters is: knowing that Romney has taken this secret oath, that he is a faithful Mormon, do you want him to answer the question "Would you feel bound by your sacred oath to obey the law of consecration that you made in the endowment ceremony?"
Should it make a difference to you, the voter?
How scary is it that the "man behind the curtain" wasn't just a movie....The Wizard of Oz is REAL, and lurking in the Mormon Church. What the hell?