The FACT is….

This was a comment. Now it is a post. I felt like it needed it.

Dear Joshua and all,

1. Fact. I inadvertently published Joshua’s email address. When I cut and paste comments from the comments queue of my dashboard, it includes their email and ISP address. I did the cut and paste, and then when Joshua emailed me a few hours later realized I had not cut it out, as I always do. You can go back and check the past, if you need. You will rarely find email addresses in the comments I post on the blog. This was a mistake I made, and a mistake I corrected.

2. Fact. Shortly after I realized I had published his email and full name, I removed it. Probably before anyone ELSE could ever realize it was there. And in fact, Joshua himself included his email address and a LINK to his blog, which means he was supplying THIS to be made public. Otherwise, WHY put it?

3. Fact. Shortly after that, I sent an email apologizing to both HIM and the other email commenter, and let them know that the mistake had been fixed, and that it HAD been a mistake, and that I was not trying to expose him to ridicule. Joshua HIMSELF has done this, with his blog, MORMONSSUCK.com. It’s a public blog. It is NOT hidden, or password protected, which negates any claim he might make.

4. Fact. The FLOOD of emails came AFTER I corrected my mistake. I could post THOSE emails, and prove it, if necessary. I received 18 emails after I corrected the mistake.

5. Fact. In honesty, I responded to many of those emails. I was not always nice. However, I was NEVER blatantly rude or derisive or condescending, as Joshua has repeatedly been to me, mostly because HIS God, apparently, is better than mine in the God hierarchy.

6. Fact. Joshua accused ME of starting the name calling.

7. Fact. I proved him wrong, with the emails, WHICH I still have saved, which show he started the namecalling LONG before I called him an arrogant idiot, which, many might say, was deserved. (Want proof? Read the emails. Uh, with HIS permission of course.)

8. Fact. I have never met anyone who worshipped me. And that is as it should be.

9. Fact. Joshua has the RiGHT to consider me a bigot. That doesn’t change the FACT that he is wrong, but hey, let’s give him that. He has been wrong in many things. It would just take a little look at his emails for you to ALL realize that.

10. The bottom line fact. Joshua is a little immature, and a lot impulsive, and his attack has led to a lot of damage to his Church’s PR and “warm fuzzy” outer image.

In fact, Joshua has proved what many before him have started to show, but then wisely walked away from. He has done no favors to the Mormon Church, because his attitude is an on-the-surface exposure of the realities of Mormonism. My God is better than your God, and it doesn’t matter what YOU do, because you don’t have the authority of God. How sad.

How sad that YOU think your God trumps everyone else’s God. Why don’t we ALL share the same God?

Why is that Joshua? Why is that Todd? Why do you NEED your God to be better than my God? Why is that so important? Furthermore, why is it just as important to me that my God NOT be better than your God? Why do I NOT need to best you?

Maybe you should ask yourself that.

Or maybe you should just cover yourself in ignorance and continue on.

Maybe.

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About Natalie R. Collins

Natalie has more than 30 years writing, editing, proofreading and design experience. She has written 20 books (and counting), has worked for the Sundance Film Festival, and as an investigative journalist, editor, and proofreader. She embraces her gypsy-heart and is following her new free-thinking journey through life. Follow her as she starts over and learns a bunch of life's lessons--some the hard way.
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30 Responses to The FACT is….

  1. Joshua Skains says:

    FACT: I never said my god was better than anyone elses God.
    FACT: I called you a bigot as an address of your actions.
    FACT: You went a lot further
    FACT: MORMONSUCKS.COM does not have any email addresses of mine publicly exposed.
    FACT: MORMONSUCKS.COM is mostly harmless.
    FACT: It doesn’t even say much about Mormonism, nor does it say it is better than anyone elses.
    FACT: I bought MORMONSSUCK.COM from another bigot like yourself.

    Admit it, Natalie. Your immature because you have to slam on a religion to make your money, which makes you a bigot. END OF LINE!

    Like

  2. Joshua Skains says:

    Also, FYI….. I am me, Joshua.. That’s it. I am not a PR person for the Church. This dumb retort of how *I*, an independent human being, is causing some massive PR crisis for the church is childish.

    And I am the immature one..

    Like

  3. Kirk says:

    Natalie:
    Joshua has exposed himself for who he is – and most can see right through him. As a member of the LDS church for more than four decades, it sickens me that he, and people like him are able to hide behind computers, attempt to defend their positions by being ignorant, arrogant and accusational. Amusing as it might be to push him around a bit on your site, he really doesn’t merit your efforts.

    Don’t waste your time on him Natalie. He has proven to be small minded and angry.

    Kirk

    Like

  4. Joshua Skains says:

    Well, Kirk… The irony of your post is quite amazing. It seems your projecting. Anti-Mormons like yourself also could be said to hide behind computers, trying to defend their positions, being ignorant, arrogant, and accusational.

    And from the looks of it, Kirk, your far more small minded and very very angry.

    🙂

    Like

  5. Kirk says:

    Not angry at all Josh, just growing weary of “defenders of the LDS faith” coming across as idiots. Seriously Josh, if you had any real idea of the image you project through your writings, you would change your tone. But, that concept might be completely foreign to an illogical mind – so, my guess is that we can all expect more of the same from you. Your anti-Mormon label doesn’t fit with me as nicely as you perceive.

    Arrogance and ignorance are always barriers to truth. I will admit that I don’t know you, or anything about you. Unfortunately, the only point of reference I have is through your dialog with Natalie. And you should be embarrassed.

    Kirk

    Like

  6. kittywaymo says:

    psalms 63 “Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words: that they may shoot in secret at the perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not. They encourage themselves in an evil matter: they commune of laying snares privily they say, who shall see us? They search out iniquities… but God shall shoot at them with an arrow, suddenly shall they be wounded.,So they shall make their own tongue to fall upon themselves, all that see them shall fless away.. and all men shall fear, and shall declare the Work of God, for they shall wisely consider of His doing. The righteous shall be glad in the Lord, and shall trust in Him and all the upright in heart shall glory..”

    Show me ONE happy exmo, post mo, anti mo.. just One….I have yet in my 10 years on the internet met one, successful in life, happy exmo..

    Like

  7. Kirk says:

    Come on “Kittywaymo”:

    Kittywaymo??? Need anyone add to this? “One happy exmo, postmo, antimo?”

    Not even certain if this possibly can be a serious post.

    Kirk

    Like

  8. Joshua Skains says:

    Not angry, Kirk? You continue childish insults. Calling me an idiot, saying I don’t understand logic, all the while trying to claim a high ground.

    Irony is a word lost to you, aint it?

    JMS

    Like

  9. Kirk says:

    I repeat, “not angry” Joshua.

    I will reveal something of myself – just to give you a little perspective on my comments. I am the director of a children’s foundation. We work with impoverished, underprivileged children worldwide. Recently, while in meetings with Peruvian health departments, we were discussing some of the more positive influences that organized religion offers through charitable efforts. Quite by coincidence, the topic of racial intolerance surfaced; and a colleague of mine, familiar with some of your writings on different LDS themed topics, proceeded to produce printouts of your recent dialog with Natalie. I won’t bother to print your words – mainly because they should not be in print at all; either to prove a point, or argue metaphorically. You should understand that there are words that need not be spoken. Even taken in context, you crossed boundaries of goodness, common sense and sensitivity. Joshua, I respect open dialog spiced with a little edginess and humor. I have even appreciated some of your viewpoints over the years. But you need to know now that a deep, sincere apology is needed.

    I won’t apologize for calling you an idiot. You have acted like one, and if you were standing in front of me, I would repeat it to your face.

    Your diatribe of hate mail to Natalie displays an emotional immaturity that needs to be addressed.

    Kirk

    Like

  10. JMS says:

    Kirk, first off, drop the armchair pop psychology. Emotional immaturity? Please.. Natalie has her own involvement and certainly doesn’t have clean hands.

    And keep telling yourself, Kirk, that you are not angry, but when you drop to the level of calling people “Idiots”, well that’s mostly stems from an emotion…. That emotion is anger. You would say to my face I am an idiot? That smells far more of emotional immaturity, and one would ask you to address your anger in a management course.

    As I said, Natalie started the namecalling. Being a bigot is a reference to action. She demonstrates bigotry by insulting a group of people for profit.

    And I don’t believe your exchange, nor do I believe that your this great soul working for children. People who do that don’t go around calling people idiots.

    Finally, the emotional tantrum your throwing over the *N* word (my assumption), is ironic too. You mean the word that the Black community uses in comedy, social situations, and in dialog?

    You need to look in the mirror sometime.
    JMS

    Like

  11. JMS says:

    As a followup, yes the comment was intended for shock. It also wasn’t intended for public consumption. It was intended to address a point with someone who is so blind, she can’t even SEE why she is a bigot.

    Like

  12. JMS says:

    Anyways, I am done. Natalie and her followers will do or say whatever you folks want. Another reason I thought her using my email (which is illegal) was wrong. She manipluated it so it can be taken out of context.

    You people continue your natalie worship. Amazing that modern bigotry still exists. Too bad Anti-Mormonism gets a free pass….

    Goodbye.

    Like

  13. PMP says:

    Joshua – Kirk did not call you an idiot per say, he said you come across as an idiot. Just stop already. You are stomping your feet and throwing a tantrum like a petulant child and it’s embarrassing to watch. A quick google search of your name – that you provided through your comments – speaks volumes for your character.

    Like

  14. Kirk says:

    Much more than the “N” word that is offensive Joshua. And you know it. References to ethnic foods, angry stereotypes etc..

    You have lost credibility and honor – and yes, we know that instead of retracting what you said, perhaps apologizing, you will go on having your little pissy tantrum.

    Glad that you are gone. I would also encourage you to be careful what you say on public web sites. You should already know this, but apparently forgot during your angry little fits of rage. Like PMP mentioned – a quick Google search speaks volumes about not only who you are, but also what you do.

    Like

  15. azteclady says:

    I’m still waiting for a lawyer to confirm that publishing an email address is illegal in the USofA.

    Was there a full name, physical address, phone number and/or other identifiers in your email address, “Joshua”?

    Was there anything in the body of the email, as Natalie posted it, that would allow anyone to identify “Joshua” as you?

    Hmmm, seems the answer to both those questions is “no”–so again, good luck proving the ‘illegality’ of the matter.

    Then again, I wouldn’t know how you could prove intent to harm from Natalie’s posts when you yourself provided name, initials and last name in public comments here.

    Like

  16. Kris says:

    GAWD. This is why I have become seriously disenchanted with members of my own church! I believe, I really do but it is the MEMBERS that make it really hard for me to go. Get a life Joshua. Move on.
    K.

    Like

  17. JulieAnn says:

    Ugh. Okay I’m going to say it: I’ve never met a happy Mormon.

    I know, the stupidity of that statement is mind-boggling, isn’t it? Yeah.

    Just needed to address the ‘stupid’.

    Am I an angry ex/post/anti/Mo? Dunno. But I am a human being and it *feels* and seems like people forget that fact when they write to each other on here.

    Have a little faith, oh ye Mormons who waste their time visiting this blog; little ol’ Nat isn’t going to thwart “the plan”. And if she does? Outer Darkness, baby! Why don’t we let God do the judging and stuff, and you guys read something like the scriptures–you know, follow the commandments of YOUR church?

    Just a thought.

    I know Cele, I know….BACK to writing!

    Like

  18. Kirk says:

    Not stupid JulieAnn,

    Although I believe most LDS folks are good, just like the rest of “most” of humanity, their perceptions of God, life after death – life on Earth for that matter, are so very different than other’s, it is difficult for us on the outside to understand. I spent more than four decades on the inside, and believe that I understand why it is so difficult for LDS faithful to leave. Way too much (emotional, financial, perceived spiritual – let’s be honest here – almost everything they believe about life, God, heaven, death etc. etc. etc.) is at stake once one decides to leave such a dogmatic religion. Most LDS folks that I know are able to separate the dogma from the practice, as I was able to do in my life for so long. A point is reached where that is no longer acceptable. For me, it came along about the same time my children were born.

    Quick story here: Twenty or so years ago, I was camping close to Lake Illiamna in remote Alaska. An elderly Inuit Indian lady (my guess here is that she was in her eighties) was describing the meaning of an ancient tribal painting on canvas that was encased in a crude frame made from whale bones. As most Inuit paintings it told a story. At the base of the painting there were paintings of grotesque monster-like creatures with large fangs, red eyes and very sharp claws. Just above these, and apparently supported by the monsters was an Inuit infant newly born. The progression went from there, to a mother and father tenderly looking into an older child’s eyes, and handing over a book of some kind. Then came a picture of a proud, strong teenager – holding a spear in one hand, and the book in the other. The expression on this face was one of fear. The painting then transitioned into an older man, with one foot supported by the monsters and the book, with the other stepping out of the clouds and into the sky. The very next sequence in the progression of pictures showed a very old, wise, smiling Inuit man close to death. The look on his face was serene and calm. The last image on the very top of the painting was that of an Eagle with wings lifted, ready for flight.

    The woman explained to me that infants and young children rarely have the ability to perceive danger. They boldly tread into areas that unsafe. In their little minds, they are invincible. They crawl and walk onto thin ice and are frequently in mortal danger. Cautions and pleadings from adults often go unheeded. So, an “ice monster” is created by adults to scare children into doing what is necessary to keep them alive. If the children wander too far from the Igloo, the ice monster will get them. This fear is very affective until the children are a little older and wiser. About the same age that children in the lower forty-eight states figure Santa Clause out, Inuit children need other incentives to help guide them to a happy life. Parents then present them with other forms of guilt and fear. If they lie, cheat, steal – or forget the honor code among the tribe, they will by punished with eternal sadness. They will not be allowed to walk among family members or tribe members in the great wilderness of heaven. (Sound familiar)

    At the end of the discussion, she explained to me that their belief system allows, that only after a lifetime of obedience and learning, can one shed the illogical guilt and fears of older generations in order to truly fly like an eagle as a man. Motivations become pure. Love becomes innocent and magical. No longer are false incentives, or disastrous punishments used as motivations. A form of self-actualization is reached.

    I ignorantly told her that we, in the lower forty-eight have no ice monsters. She informed me that the devil is our ice monster.

    You know what Julieann? I think that she is right.

    Best in all you do.

    Kirk

    Like

  19. Jack says:

    It was said – “Get a life Joshua. Move on.”

    Seems an easy assessment to make when it isn’t your religion on trial and in this author’s crosshairs.

    Like

  20. JulieAnn says:

    Kirk, thanks for the eloquent comment.

    I still think there are some things that are inherently true: I think a statement that an entire group of people is unhappy is an ignorant and stupid hyperbole. I know you are actually agreeing with my tongue-in-cheek statement, but bear with me.

    There are plenty of Mormons who are happy and plenty who are not. Religion may or may not have anything to do with it. The point is, there are too many variables in the human condition to make a statement such as ‘kittywaymo’ made. She states that in ten years ON THE INTERNET (is she not aware the Net is not the actual, real world?) she has never met a happy ex-Mormon. Okay. Well I think that is an incredibly ignorant statement. I happen to have days when I am incredibly happy. And days that suck. But my lack of Mormon influence has nothing to do with either condition.

    This comment is for clarificatin, Kirk, not anything specifically directed toward you. :0)

    Peace
    JulieAnn

    Like

  21. JulieAnn says:

    No, Jack it is an easy statement and an easy act. Your religion is not on trial. The only person who needs to believe in it is you. If others feel the need to tear it down, why have a tantrum? Why let it affect you?

    My personal opinion is that many people who profess to “know” actually….don’t. That’s why other opinions are such a threat. That’s why once a month everyone at fast and testimony meeting has to stand up and “know”. Because they don’t.

    I mean, if someone came up to me and told me that I was a horrible shade of purple, would I have a tantrum? NO. Why? Easy… because I know I’m not purple.

    In order to get someone’s panties in a bunch, there needs to be a grain of truth in the criticism.

    My opinion, nothing more.

    JulieAnn

    Like

  22. Rick says:

    …And a VERY valid opinion, if I do say so myself!

    It reminds me of the case where a man (I’m terrible with names…) was an activist in a community helping to catch and convict child abusers. He would show up at the court, testify against many of them, etc.

    A bit later he was convicted of child abuse himself and later committed suicide because of the guilt he had towards his own pedophilia problem.

    Think about it — if a person comes up to me and tells me I’m a graying, balding, aging old man, I might take offense to it, because there is some truth to it, and I might not like it.

    If they say I’m a terrible cricket player, I laugh it off because I couldn’t care less (even though it’s true, I’m sure…). One person might be offended by being told he is a terrible singer (because he thinks he’s the next American Idol), while another laughs it off knowing he can’t hear a pitch!

    Point is, we strike back when we care about what another is criticizing us about and there might be truth to it. Many religious apologists/defenders react aggressively because religion is claiming divine intervention in much of our life circumstances — where there’s not an ounce of good evidence supporting it.

    That’s enough to get any religious person’s gar…I mean, underwear in a bunch!

    ~Rick

    Like

  23. Todd says:

    Rick,

    I’m intrigued…

    Please explain further what you mean by religion “claiming divine intervention in much of our life circumstances.”

    What would you consider “good evidence” supporting it?

    Todd

    Like

  24. Rick says:

    Todd,

    I don’t really know what you’re asking. It seems that the religious people I know attribute much, if not most, of our daily events as being a result of “God’s doing.”

    For example, if a person is driving along an icy road, slides and barely misses an accident, it’s said “God was ‘watching’ over him.” And taking it a step further, there is a further “conditionality” in Mormonism wrt the scripture “there is a law irrevocably decreed….” that attaches blessings to events based on obedience to certain “laws.”

    Perhaps these seem so obvious to LDS members that it is hard to fathom another paradigm. But I see the event above as a simple event that the person hit ice, then by the laws of physics, slowed to a point that appeared to almost collide with another vehicle, and simply avoided the accident by coincidence.

    My reasoning is that we don’t see any different number of “accidents,” nor “miracles,” within, or without. a person’s religious affiliation. or activity. In other words, if we assume that a person that is religious (LDS or otherwise) is “blessed” more than those that are not, it would be statistically measurable in some way. There is no statistical difference that I have ever seen, so there is no evidence of God’s intervention, and subsequentially, no evidence of God behaving the way many “prophets” have told us “he” does.

    I’m not saying this “proves” there is no divine, but there is certainly no evidence that this divine is as many “scriptures” claim he is.

    ~Rick

    Like

  25. Todd says:

    Rick,

    Thanks for the thoughtful answer. I’m actually “with” you on this one, and most of the “religious” people I know would probably agree with you. I firmly believe in God, but don’t believe at all that there is a direct and immediate relationship between actions and blessings. One’s behavior, for good or ill, doesn’t ring some bell in heaven that causes an immediate response from God. It’s silly to believe that it would.

    Accidents happen to “good” as well as “bad” people. The sun shines on everyone equally.

    My experience has been that most “blessings” are realized over a long term, after consistent and sustained effort. But, to your point, even that is more or less a natural process. If I practice, for example, honesty; over time, the attendant “blessings” are realized (such as the trust and confidence of others, etc.).

    To me, that’s the point of faith. At first glance, honesty doesn’t seem like such a good policy. Afterall, I could lie, cheat, and steal and get rich. It’s only until much later that I realize that everybody hates me, including me; the money doesn’t adequately compensate; and I’m really miserable.

    Of course, that’s a very simple example with which most people can relate. But what about some of the harder “commandments” like tithing or temple worship. Those aren’t so easy to reconcile from a cause-and-effect perspective. In fact, they almost certainly run contrary to what you would expect. Yet, the “blessings” that come from sincere and sustained effort on those fronts are easy for me to see now. Had I known at the beginning what I know now, adherance to those “commandments” along the way would have been much, much easier.

    I’m not saying this “proves” there is divine, but the knowledge and insight gained by this consistent and sustained effort is evidence from my perspective.

    Kindly,
    Todd

    Like

  26. JulieAnn says:

    I think the tricky thing is, we don’t live parallel lives. There isn’t one JulieAnn out there living the principle of temple worship, tithing and being a faithful member, while the other JulieAnn is here where I am, doing what I do. Although I can’t think of anything better than being where I am, being married to the man I am married to and having the life I have.

    So there really isn’t any way to look back and say “Yup, over the long haul, I’m glad I’ve given all that money to the Church; lookie how blessed and fortunate I am.” Bottom line is, you don’t know why you are as fortunate or unfortunate as you are because you have no frame of reference other than your experience. Frankly, I think that goes to a person’s mind-set, but that’s another discussion for another time!

    It’s like me telling you what it’s like to be female. I can tell you my experience, but in order for me to know–TRULY know “female” I have to know male–the opposite. And, despite what you ALL might think, I have never been male (ha ha). That’s why the saying about knowing joy because you have known pain is so applicable here.

    There are certain things that, as Todd astutely pointed out, show themselves to be good repercussions for certain decisions (trust of others, esteem, health etc) I think that’s right on. But the things that have led us to where we are have been a collaborative effort, in my opinion, between happenstance and choices, not on the divine intervention of an all-knowing being.

    How would god choose whom to bless and whom to try? Doesn’t that seem completely unfair? Two men. both diligent in the faith: one is fortunate and healthy and happy because his heat is on, his bills are paid and his family is well. The other man? No money, no family, wife died, he has cancer….I mean how can anyone attribute this scenario to a god? There are so many variables to a person’s life and circumstance. One would be hard-pressed to say that just because there is no proof god doesn’t intervene, god DOES intervene on some level. I don’t think I could swallow that theory.

    *Waving wildly* Hi Todd and Rick!

    peace,
    JulieAnn

    Like

  27. Kirk says:

    Hello Todd,

    Me again. I have been away, traveling for a while, but have recently returned. Bet you’re overjoyed to hear this.

    Interesting conversation you are having here with Rick. My personal interest is really piqued by this topic of divine intervention. As you are already aware, this topic is extremely important in daily LDS theology. Since the inception of the church, personal communication with God is encouraged. Further communication through direct inspirations and feelings is promised faithful members through interaction with the “Holy Ghost.” Prayer boxes are set up inside LDS temples so that names of people in need of special prayers or blessings can be mentioned in group prayers. Through priesthood blessings that are administered by worthy, priesthood endowed male members, God’s blessings are invoked in behalf of individuals desirous or needful of these blessings. Rituals and ceremony are strictly observed. “Holy” oils that have been specially blessed for this purpose are used. Very specific words must be used in order for the blessings to be effective.

    LDS folklore is rife with “faith-promoting” stories of lives saved, dangers averted, disasters avoided and a litany of great tales of LDS faithful that would have been otherwise harmed (both physically or mentally) if it weren’t for God’s direct, timely involvement. In this same line of logic, special garments have saved people from all sorts of physical trauma; including, but not limited to burning, drowning, falling from the sky, etc. etc. etc. I’m not implying that the church necessarily sanctions these stories. But I am saying that they are a direct result of faith-based belief system that through it’s practice and encouragement, recommends daily communication with God, either through the Holy Ghost, or direct communication through prayer. I must also add here that this folklore is not unique to Mormonism. They have just perfected the art. A major problem occurs when these stories are told from LDS general conference pulpits. Paul H. Dunn, an apostle for the church was my favorite story-teller as I was growing up. Too bad that his stories were fabricated.

    My professional and personal life bring me into almost daily contact with people from all parts of this wonderful world. One very important point that I observe is that most religious people believe that after a lifetime of service, study and prayer – they are learning important lessons that will enable them to become worthy enough for God’s presence. LDS folks believe the same. Rituals, performed over a lifetime, become powerful motivating forces.

    I will paraphrase a comment that I made earlier. I believe that the world today is a very dangerous place, due in large part to religion’s conception of a “chosen people.” It is my opinion that we can spend a lifetime arguing over which set of rules will get us back to God. It is dangerous and divisive to repeat the words, “I know that my concept of God is correct.” It is dangerous teach this to our children. By definition, when we “know” something is true, anything that teaches concepts contrary to this “knowledge” is not from God. Thus, we get statements like, “believe as you will, but as for me and my family, we will follow the Lord.” – or – “your belief system comes from man, mine from God.”

    I will admit that I simply don’t know the answers. I don’t know who God is or what he looks like. For me, the mystery is part of the wonderful journey.

    Kirk

    Like

  28. Rick says:

    Todd,

    Yes, we’re probably mostly in line with this topic. This is an area where I’ve observed less “intervention” claimed by LDS than traditional Christian. I mean, just watching football games will show us that “Christians” apply God’s hand in everything from touchdowns to who wins the games. We don’t really see that much with BYU (except that Austin Collie comment last year against God’s true “U”niversity, but he paid for that this year..); I have to laugh with the concept that God is sitting on his throne in the sky, maneuvering his football men around like a chess game….!

    Another concept that we’re probably closer in belief than apart, is the idea that “God follows natural laws.” Even back in my Mormon days I believed that if God did intervene, he did so following (more advanced) natural laws. I remember discussions that when the “Gods” came to say “hey” to Joseph, they came on a really cool laser beam — you know, the kind we all saw on Star Trek shows.

    My current belief is that HP (Higher Power) is an energy. “He” exists in all things, and somewhat concentrated in living organisms. It is the unifying force that bonds us together. So when traditional religious believers talk of “God,” I can be okay with it as most concepts fit well with my paradigm. It is, by definition, natural law. It is love. From that perspective, we are all fingers of the same hand…unique but the same. In fact, it humorously reminds of the concept of “God” mentioned (at least 15 years ago) by the preacher in the temple film. Humorous because it is quite close to my understanding of “Him” today.

    Anyway, as such, probably the best way to explain to a Mormon how my life has changed since leaving the church, is that my “locus” has changed from external to internal. My “God” is in my heart. My prayers/meditations are exercises that focus my intentions/thoughts with love and to/with what I desire in my life. I really don’t believe anybody else has any “authority” more than I do…or I more than they. There are events and activities that bring me more in “tune” with HP. Religions have learned many of them, and they have the same access — no more, no less.

    This is why I repeat the Golden Rule principle as a way to live by. It IS my moral compass. I try to follow it “religiously” and find that when I do, I feel “spiritual.” I know many might view it as only a partial step to happiness. I find it to be a totally satisfying and peaceful way to live.

    But maybe that’s just me.

    Again, thanks for the conversation!

    ~Rick

    Like

  29. K*tty says:

    Rick says, My prayers/meditations are exercises that focus my intentions/thoughts with love and to/with what I desire in my life. I really don’t believe anybody else has any “authority” more than I do…or I more than they.

    Rick, well put, and I whole heartily agree. Even before I left the church I had a hard time with the concept of why it was just not enough for God to listen to my prayers, and even more so, because I am female. Why did I need the priesthood to pray for me? Because I tend to be a little on the irreverent side, I once asked my home teacher if he needed me to pray for him when he was sick, like he had asked me a month or so earlier when I was sick. Can I just say, he was not amused.

    When we get into this discussion of God divinely helping some and not others, the double bind of faith and worthiness just screams, “wake up!”

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  30. Rick says:

    Hi all,

    I enjoyed a lot of the comments. Like Kirk, I also enjoy the mystery of God that is the journey…well put. It reminds me of another part of my evolution away from religion.

    Recently there has been an emphasis by some spiritual gurus on living in the now. Eckhart Tolle’s last few books are powerful in teaching us how and why to live in the moment. There is a clear contrast between my previous life and today in this regard.

    While “religious,” my life was geared towards doing things today that would “earn” me a better tomorrow. Many suggested lifestyle choices are aimed at sacrificing today for rewards tomorrow. The paradigm made sense, and has many real-life analogies…we must suffer pain in exercise to eventually get into shape, put in long study hours in college to get a degree, eventually living a better life (supposedly….) later, etc..

    Then there’s the guilt and remorse principle. We all “make mistakes,” and when we do, there is the confession/repentence process that is supposed to cause sufficient grief to “pay” for our wrongdoings. I call all this the shoulda-coulda paradigm.

    Tolle (and others) teaches a few contrasting principles from this. His book that I read many years ago that drilled this concept in was “The Power of Now.” And it IS powerful. When we face a decision about what we are to do, consider that this moment is all there is. Live it with gusto, and without the expectation that there will be a tomorrow. This helped me amplify the joy I feel while hiking in the mountains, or with my children, and even at my crazy karaoke parties where we all think we’re the next American Idol!

    Another principle is that “everything is okay.” What we may consider “wrong” is really okay. Yes, it may be hurtful to one or many, but the person is doing the best they can with what they have been given. And it’s all okay. This concept brings amazing peace to daily life. When we spend much energy thinking about what a person should do, or be, different(ly), the focus of the energy is always negative, because they…AREN’T! In AA they call that “acceptance,” and it helps alcoholics get sober.

    Anyway (getting long, I know…), I believe that true spirituality is attained when we are comfortable with ourselves and others as we are. It is a bit of an eastern way of thinking, and I think we can learn much from our Buddhist friends.

    Just a few of my ramblings for the monent….

    ~Rick

    Like

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