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Meerkat

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About Meerkat

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    Member: Moves Upon the Waters
  • Birthday 11/07/1948

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    Male
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    Woodland Park Zoo
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    Many
  1. I think your advice is excellent. I've thought of it for others. I don't know why I didn't think of it for myself. Someone dear to me was surprised by divorce in her happy family at age 14. Her mother left her father for someone else. All those many years of seething anger at the interloper, of being ignored by her mother, the years and years of tears in the night (even as an aging adult child,) of never being asked by her mother "How did the divorce affect you?" "I'm sorry," or other healing words, if healing words there may be. Reading about your situation, I can relate to your dad, who saw himself as an "ultimately content and independent man." That's how I see myself, and have seen myself through all the vicissitudes of my life. At the same time, I always felt compassion and empathy for others, especially if they were outside my own family. Maybe I felt they (my family members) were an extension of me, and what I felt were my strengths and attitudes. For whatever reason, I had a blind spot for all of them, for a good long time. I can tell you it was not out of lack of love or commitment. I see it as a blind spot caused by being trapped in my own brain and perceptions. I asked the woman, whose parents had divorced, if she thought about having a conversation with her mother. Her response was "She would never hear or believe me. It would be all about her, how she did her best, how I couldn't know what her life had been like," etc., etc. "She could never come around to considering what my life had been like because of her choices. It would be too hurtful for her to imagine." How many of us are trapped in our own view of things? Probably most of us. It takes a real shock to the system, a time of desperate soul searching and fearless taking of personal inventories to pull us out of the box we are in. For us, it was seeing two of our loved ones become trapped in addiction, and seeing our once happy lives fall apart. No sleep. Difficulty managing simple daily duties due to concern for our loved ones. I went to the family support twelve step meeting first. My wife was too embarrassed to attend. After a few months, she did, cautiously. It was there, we began working on ourselves. We could see ourselves begin to move from a state of excusing ourselves and blaming our beloved addicts, to a state of considering their perception of things and how our actions and attitudes made them feel like they couldn't open up to us. We went from private self congratulation, justification and blaming to trying to understand better, and only being concerned about loving, understanding and encouraging our loved ones. It's not like turning on a light switch. It takes time-- years to work our way out of that box and into the light. So I'm not surprised when I hear about a parent who clings to the mantra "I did the best I could" rather than allow their children to express their unhappiness without judging them. What if we (parents) did cause an offense? What if they have a point? Can we be open to It? If so, they may find healing. We may save our relationship. I'm not so concerned about being right anymore. Love seems to overcome all that ego. Our loved ones, who we have been estranged from for nearly four years, are reaching out to us and we to them now, in love and desire to understand. Yesterday, I spoke with one of them on the phone for about an hour. It was wonderful. And I don't care about my privacy anymore. I'm not embarrassed about any of this. I wouldn't hesitate to discuss these things, without naming names out of respect for their privacy, in front of the ward if asked. There is no need for families to suffer in silence, in the dark miserable box of their own misperceptions. Yet most do. The divorced mother could not hear what her actions had done. Her walls of self protection have been built too high and thick, and are impenetrable. And it's almost too late to broach the subject. So like you, we just love her and try to be as protective and understanding as we can be. It's not easy. It's not perfect. I like words from Reinhold Niebuhr's poem The Serenity Prayer: "Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful worldas it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things rightif I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this lifeand supremely happy with Himforever in the next. Amen." And That's the way I see it. Thanks again for your wonderful story and counsel Calm. It was welcome and appreciated.
  2. Okay-- I recognize some of the descriptions you put out there. I think a lot of us, men and women, are oblivious to the things we do and say and their impact on people. We have a wonderful daughter that we leaned on during the years my wife was bedridden with a very difficult illness. We thought our daughter was sent to our family because she had a gift for organizing, efficiency and getting things done. When she was 14 she had enough, and let us know we weren't treating her fairly. She was so effective, she could do in five minutes what it would take a day or two to get the other children to take care of. We learned, when she dug in her heels, that the rest of the family was getting a free ride on her labor. Had we realized, we would have acknowledged that fact and either worked out a compensation that would have made it fair, or we would have backed off to where it was fair. There were other forms of abuse that we were oblivious to. One was spending too much time in Church callings, not being willing to delegate or take a day off when the family had special needs. The same daughter once told me "If I had a flat tire by the side of the road, and someone else did too, I believe you would have helped them first." That's a sad burden to carry. But it is what it is... a learning experience. She's an adult now with teenagers of her own. Hopefully, her experiences growing up have taught her to be a more sensitive Mom. Actually, I would feel a lot better about it if she could let it go and acknowledge that we had a lot of love in our family, and support for each child. But forgiveness isn't easy for her, and probably rightfully so. Some things just take time to sort out. At that point, we can hopefully learn to accept a sincere apology, and maybe even give one. That would go a long way toward peace in a relationship, and personal peace, I believe. She is a faithful and active member of the Church. But she still occasionally reminds us that growing up in our home was not easy. Ouch. I wish we had known early on. But we didn't recognize our failing in that regard until after the fact. On another topic, today I heard that 1 in 6 children (or something to that effect) would be sexually abused in one way or another during their lifetime. More than 95 percent of the perpetrators are men, according to the report I heard. If that is true, that means a lot of the men we come in contact with every day have participated in some activity that another person would consider abuse. Joseph Smith said "I was left to all kinds of temptations; and, mingling with all kinds of society, I frequently fell into many foolish errors, and displayed the weakness of youth, and the foibles of human nature; which, I am sorry to say, led me into divers temptations, offensive in the sight of God. In making this confession, no one need suppose me guilty of any great or malignant sins. A disposition to commit such was never in my nature." In light of the recent conversations, I wonder if many during a self centered time in their lives "did not recognize," as you say, that their behavior could be considered offensive to anyone. I wonder how many men have hurt or offended people unaware, thinking their behavior was welcomed or reciprocal. Years ago, I read about President Kimball. I think he was in a hospital elevator, or maybe he was having his car worked on and someone used profanity. He responded with a rebuke "Please, don't use that name like that. You are talking about my Lord." The result was that the offending party apologized. He said "I didn't realize that what I was saying was offensive. I'm sorry." Hopefully, the conversations we are having will raise all our consciousness to know how we should treat one another. There are no excuses for rudeness or abuse. I think if people thought about it, we would be more caring and protective of everyone in this very challenging world. I hope I'm not too far out there in my comments. I think it's a conversation that needs to happen somehow. There needs to be some acknowledgement that wrongs have been done, lives can be lived with fewer regrets if one takes a moment to think before they act.
  3. Why public disclosure? If they comply with the tax code with private audited disclosure, which they do every year, what's the problem? Your question strikes me as a political witch hunt, no offense intended. Society benefits from non profits. They are accountable to the people through the taxing authority. We saw what happened to conservative groups seeking tax exempt status. IRS Director Lois Lerner pled the 5th amendment twice over allegations that the IRS had “targeted conservative nonprofit groups for additional scrutiny of their applications for tax-exempt status.” She was finally removed, with pay. I'm not saying the Church is conservative. It"s a mixed bag, as I see it. When private information gets into the hands of people with an agenda, rights are trampled. We saw what happened to Prop. 8 contributors when their contributions were illegally revealed. Bad people used private information to do criminal things. I say leave it alone. The Church is already accountable to the IRS. Move on to something productive like tax reform, tax simplification, etc. and let currently law abiding citizens and organizations alone.
  4. Scrutinizing general conference

    Some things aren't black and white. Many years ago, an LDS friend of ours gave birth to an hermaphrodite. Counseling together, the parents and doctor decided the best thing to do for the child was remove the male plumbing. They would raise a daughter. The daughter grew up strong and faithful in the Church. One day, a handsome returned missionary came along and proposed to her. Her parents were very happy for her. They gave her strong encouragement to marry the young man. But as she considered the proposal, she realized that she could never love him as he deserved. She turned down the proposal and lived out her life as a very faithful single person. She died about twenty years later. Does God make mistakes? Or are there other influences that impact our birth and desires? In the early 1960s, a drug "Thalidomide" was prescribed for morning sickness. Many children were born without limbs, and experienced other deformities. Whether we can attribute any of this to God or the mistakes of men, things happen. We decide how we are going to deal with them, and live our lives accordingly. I try not to judge people's choices. The prophets and scriptures do color my world. I try to live within that framework. My path involves faith in Jesus Christ and following living prophets who I believe have been chosen by Heavenly Father to guide us. If there is to be a change, I wait on them. I enjoy the lively discussions we have here. I appreciate the tone I see for the most part in these posts. There is much to learn and understand these days, and I believe most on these forums have a sincere motivation to help each other understand our differing views. In the end, one of the great teachings of the Church that prevails for all of us is our 11th Article of Faith: "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may." Probably most of us lay down at night strengthened in our own positions. But maybe we understand the things our brothers and sisters wrestle with a little better. I hope so.
  5. Scrutinizing general conference

    It may seem like an impossible challenge for LGBT people in a conversation like this. I can't say for sure how I would feel if I was told I couldn't spend eternity with the person I loved, if they were of the same gender. But I hope my testimony would carry me through with strong enough faith that God would resolve my future with maximum joy. When I consider the thousands of faithful single men and women who remain abstinent due to their faith and testimony, I believe I could do it. They expect the Lord to help them work things out in eternity. Regardless of sympathy, when we take the scriptures and latter day prophets into account, I see only one workable path-- faith in Christ and abstinence.
  6. Scrutinizing general conference

    Thank you for your excellent post. I loved the way you expressed your thoughts here. They resonate with me. I would buy your book!
  7. Scrutinizing general conference

    I understand Rain's request to stay away from this. I posted prior to reading that request, and know my full post has been sent directly to Rockpond. When we suggest that the Brethren fail to offer anything to our LGBT brothers and sisters in the gospel, I believe we are missing the very real promises that are available to everyone. He offers what God offers to all of us-- a Celestial reward for the obedient, as hard as that life may be-- and it is a hard path for everyone. I agree it would appear harder for some than for others. This is what President Hinckley said, introducing the Family Proclamation: “With so much of sophistry that is passed off as truth, with so much of deception concerning standards and values, with so much of allurement and enticement to take on the slow stain of the world, we have felt to warn and forewarn.”9 I testify that the proclamation on the family is a statement of eternal truth, the will of the Lord for His children who seek eternal life. It has been the basis of Church teaching and practice for the last 22 years and will continue so for the future. Consider it as such, teach it, live by it, and you will be blessed as you press forward toward eternal life." That was a quotation from Elder Oakes' talk. That is the hope that I have. That is the hope that is available for all of God's children who will do their best to keep the Commandments and not act on the sinful enticements that come to each of us. That includes everyone, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation. We live in a fallen world. We can't ignore sin and try to call it something else. If we do that, we become Korihors, Nehors and Sherems ourselves, and we do it at our own peril. Yes, Rain, we do need to be sensitive to all good people who struggle with their faith and temptations. We need to be loving and forgiving, if that is what we want for ourselves. This is our time to work on overcoming our fallen natures. With the help of Jesus Christ and His great Atoning sacrifice for us, we can. No offense is intended for anyone. I'm a sinner just like you, Rockpond, and your LGBT friends. Our goal is to become Holy, as He is. In our family support group, we recite the full version of Reinhold Neibuhr's "Serenity Prayer." I love the entire prayer. But the second stanza is particularly meaningful to me. I see it as a formula for living and overcoming our sinful natures. I see it as a pathway to hope and Eternal Life in the Celestial Kingdom: Serenity Prayer God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next. Amen. --Reinhold Niebuhr
  8. Scrutinizing general conference

    My black friend who was baptized before the 1978 proclamation didn't believe the Church was racist. He accepted he couldn't bear the Priesthood at that time. He testified that he had been given the comfort and assurance he and his family would one day enjoy the blessings of the Temple, which they did about two years later. I'm sure he's glad the timing was sooner rather than later for him. He had a testimony that Jesus was the Savior, Joseph was a prophet (as were those anciently,) and the Book of Mormon was true. But the Priesthood issue was not a deal breaker for him. It is, after all, God's priesthood. If it needed to be withheld for a time, the fact the Church was true was all that mattered to him. Withholding it was a mistake was corrected by the 1978 revelation. The sacred Temple ordinances are now available to all who lived faithfully through that unfortunate time. Gay marriage is different altogether. One's race isn't a sin. According to Romans 1:27 and Lev. 18:22 and 20:13, actual homosexual behavior is a sin. It's not that some members of the Lord's Church don't want it to fit in, as you say. Apparently Heavenly Father doesn't want it to fit in, according to the scriptures. The scriptures and all the prophets are consistent on that. Gay behavior thwarts God's plan of families and, if unrepented, may bar one from the Celestial Kingdom (if one believes the Gospel.) One's race has no such impact on the Plan of Salvation. I can see it being a very difficult doctrine for some to accept. But the scriptures are very clear and unambiguous on the subject of gay behavior or marriage. I don't see how one can wrest the scriptures and all the prophets on that subject.
  9. Scrutinizing general conference

    L It bothered me yesterday as I prepared for some auxiliary training. I felt as if my faith had been weakened a bit by his remark. But I needed the Lord's help for my preparation. I prayed, and received the help I needed, as I usually do. I mentioned my concern about the remark to my wife. Listening to it, she said "It makes sense when taken in context of the question he was responding to. The questioner was having difficulty making prayer more conversational." Actually, my prayers are usually a one way conversation that is accompanied by feelings of approval, comfort, enlightenment, etc. especially when followed by scripture study or pondering conference talks, journals or other Church materials. I don't recall ever having a conversation like I am having with you where there is give and take in sentences and paragraphs. President Eyring' s response was accurate and edifying to me, when considered in that context.
  10. Scrutinizing general conference

    I've received many spiritual insights and answers to prayers that I didn't know I had in my heart, from President Eyring. That leads me to believe he prays, just as he explained, then wrestles with the scriptures until the Spirit speaks to his heart, much like giving a priesthood blessing. And when people like me hear it, we are fed spiritually, as if a prayer was answered. I got the impression from the video that President Eyring and Elder Holland had at least two different processes of connecting with Heavenly Father. Mine is altogether different from theirs. But it works for me, and since I experience a great deal of gratitude, it must be okay. At least I don't worry about my style of praying, and feel entitled to my own revelation on how I do it. In other words, I'm comfortable in my own skin with regard to how I pray. President Eyring's description didn't resonate with me at first. I believe he recognized he wasn't as clear as he wanted to be. As he continued, he filled in the gaps a bit. Fortunately the two of them together communicated to me that its okay to have my own style, and find my own way of connecting with Deity. I liked Elder Holland's comment (paraphrased) that sometimes we need answers right away, or comfort or healing. God can do that. I believe the intensity of our need and faith can bring answers when we need them. My children are all different. None of them communicate the same. We adapt to each other, and learn as we go. I feel more distant from some. I think its because they are in the process of finding themselves, their self confidence. I enjoy a lively communication with the older, more mature ones. Yet I love them all pretty much the same. I say "pretty much," because I enjoy communicating more with the ones who are kind and respectful to me and others. My love for the rude ones doesn't feel as intense as the others yet. Thats a failing I'm trying to come to terms with. I'm trying to be patient in that area Prayer seems to me a learning process where I'm playing with the pieces of a puzzle, praying for God's help to pull it together. Every now and then, I see how the pieces should fit together. Piece by piece, my prayers seem to be improving over time.
  11. Scrutinizing general conference

    Perhaps you could make a difference there by showing them how to love rather than telling them? I would say all of our behaviors betray that we live in a fallen world. Aren't we here to learn charity and love. I have attended many churches and never found one that did a better job fostering love, compassion, service and a desire to do right by God and their fellow beings than the LDS Church. I'm sorry to hear you live in a ward of cold hearted people. In my ward I feel the warmth of love and fellowship. Actually, every ward I've lived in has been like that. And many with families who have left the church seem to me to have a special gentleness and love about them born of the sanctifying influence and emotional pain of rejection. They are the "rejectees" for the most part, not the "rejectors." I've lived in several wards over the years and attended many more, never a ward like that. It's unfortunate that your ward members want to pretend the problem rests in everyone else.
  12. Scrutinizing general conference

    That is a good encapsulation. My experience has been exactly that-- believe and live it, and enjoy a relatively happy life. The blacks and the priesthood issue, for example, never bothered me. I always saw all races as my brothers and sisters. A black friend I baptized told me "I don't know why I can't hold the priesthood. All I know is the Book of Mormon is true and I have the assurance that, someday, my family and I will enjoy all the Temple blessings as anyone else." About two years later, he and his family were sealed in the Seattle Temple. I was content looking for ways that issue (and others,) could fit into my world view. Christ taught that the Gospel would be taken first to the Jews, then the Gentiles. Remember the woman in scriptures who wanted the Gospel, but her time hadn't come yet? I saw the blacks falling into that category. Turns out I was wrong. But the Brethren, for whatever reason (revelatory or societal,) corrected it. I trust them to continue to do the right thing as they become aware of it. In the mean time, I was able to prove many other principles to my satisfaction and enjoy (what seems to me) a very happy and purpose filled life.
  13. Scrutinizing general conference

    Maybe some of it is your fault. I've read the controversies over the past 40 plus years and was not surprised by any of it (except the Book of Abraham, which doesn't bother me.) I didn't see the importance of discussing much of the anti information out there with my children. When they were confronted with it, two relied more on the authors' interpretation of the history than other possible scenarios and left the Church. I now see my mistake. I believe the Church (led by human beings who also continue to learn line upon line, precept by precept,) has reached the same conclusion. Hence, the Church emphasis on the Joseph Smith Papers, Church white papers, transparency and acknowledging our mistakes.
  14. Scrutinizing general conference

    I guess its in the eye of the beholder. As one with two loved ones outside, and their devastated families, the meme is truly ironic, descriptive and a welcome break from sadness. No offense, Stem, I take the meme as from one who IS "We're in this together." It's not us who want sides and fighting. They can leave the Church, but they can't leave it (or us) alone.
  15. Back in the Seventies when I had gained a testimony of Jesus Christ, my wife and I searched for an acceptable church. It was frustrating and confusing. When we found the Book of Mormon, the confusion left. The Spirit that had testified of the Savior testified that the Book was true. With that knowledge, not only was it logical that Joseph Smith was a prophet, the Spirit also testified that he was. That was the significant difference between the LDS and all other churches. It was clear to us that this was the church we had been searching and praying for. Our purpose was, as with many converts including Joseph Smith, finding where God would like us to worship Him. Upon hearing the Joseph Smith story, it rang true because his process was identical to ours. The only difference was that now, because of Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon and the Holy Ghost, there was a place on earth, approved by God, for us to worship Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon is the "Keystone" of our religion, as stated by the Prophet Joseph Smith. I have gotten nearer to Christ by reading the Book of Mormon than any other book. When Ezra Taft Benson said "When we read the Book of Mormon, we cleanse the inner man," he was right. I have experienced it. And the purpose of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is, in my opinion, to cleanse the inner man and prepare us for exaltation. Perhaps conferences have gone more to preaching Christ rather than Joseph Smith because the conference is preaching to the choir. Most of us know the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith was a prophet. We want to hear about how to bring Christ into our hearts and lives from the Book of Mormon and the Bible. That said, I never tire of hearing the Joseph Smith story and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. My favorite talk from conference was Tad R. Callister's "God's Compelling Witness: The Book of Mormon." https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/10/gods-compelling-witness-the-book-of-mormon?lang=eng
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