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Several nights ago I was in my bedroom brainstorming a dialogue on this forum. I forget the thread but ion so doing I recalled this story. Obviously I did not post this story on that thread and before I forget to do it once again, I decided to sit down and get this story posted here.
Tim Zaal is a former skinhead who in his teens always looked for a fight. You can say he coveted fighting. One night Zaal and 13 of his friends cornered a young gay male and severely beat him down. That person was Mathew Boger. Zaal nearly killed him.
Thinking they had just killed a kid, Zaal and his friends drove away. Zaal put all his past in the back of his mind and moved on in life haunted over the idea that he probably killed someone. Zaal began to give talks about his past and about the need for peace. As fate had it, Zaal was asked to speak at the museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. There Taal began to talk to the operations manager and accompanying speaker to Taal. That person was Mathew Boger.
Ex-Skinhead And His Victim Form Unlikely Alliance
The two made amends and joined together to regularly talk about their past. I do not know if they are currently together but the fact that these two joined to tour and talk about peace is to me an amazing story of forgiveness. I see Borger as having shown extraordinary forgiveness to accept Taal as his co-partner in their quest to help bring peace. I also think Taal showed great courage to leave his violent skinhead past behind and move onwards.
Here's the news video I saw from which I learned of these two.
I hesitate, somewhat (though probably not enough), to do this. (Fools rush in ... ) Though names, locales, other identifying details, and surrounding circumstances have been changed for dramatic purposes, real-life, flesh-and-blood people are involved, and perhaps this cuts through the flesh to the muscle, and through the muscle to the bone. Some time ago, I wrote a piece of "faction" ... factual fiction ... about a relationship in which I was involved once, and about the metamorphosis of a young lady for whom I once cared a great deal. Though we're no longer as young as we once were, and though she long since has moved on, on some level, I care for her still. I've tried hard to move on, too, and I'm not really very big on "pining" for anyone. Hopefully no one gets the idea that that's what this is about. I'm posting this in General Discussions in hopes that it attracts broader attention and wider traffic before the Mods decide to move it to Social Hall.
Love and marriage figure somewhere in here, of course. It is a romance, after all. I'm not necessarily interested in focusing more than in passing on those topics. Hopefully, we can also avoid turning this into yet another thread about gay marriage. I'm more interested in exploring broader themes of repentance, of forgiveness, of change, of metamorphosis, of what it means to recognize our identity as Children of God with a divine heritage and potential, and so on. Anyway, without further ado, I give you the first chapter/installment of Deanna: A Story of Love and Change.
This is my journey, my story, my path. I believe that if anywhere were a safe place to confide, this would be it.
In 2008, I made a brave decision to leave a mentally and emotionally abusive marriage. My dad bought me a train ticket and I had a close friend of mine drive me to stay in a bus stop for the night until the next morning when my train would leave. He wound up refusing to leave me there and bought me a hotel room and stayed in one adjacent to mine.
Three days later, I was in a new place. Somewhere cold and somewhere I had never dreamt of living. My dad took me on as his assistant and I took phone calls for all of his real estate clients. He paid me, but letting me live there was honestly payment enough. Although, having a few extra bucks made me feel somewhat independent.
I was 19, young and naïve and ready to start fresh. I'm not going to lie. I was depressed and wanted no social life for nearly 6 months. Then, one day while my dad and his family were out and about, there was a knock on the door. An annoying knock that forced me out of bed and when I opened the door I was a mess. And the young gentlemen that gazed upon me could tell I was in need of saving. I had been crying, I hadn't showered in days and honestly, wanted nothing to do with them. But, the southern hospitality in me let them in and offered them a glass of lemonade.
My dad wound up giving me a car and that Sunday I was at a new church with new people and I was way under dressed. Despite the way I looked, everyone welcomed me in. The missionaries I met were there and they introduced me to Bishop Pippo and the two gentlemen that would guide me spiritually and unknowingly change my life.
After my baptism and Confirmation, I enlisted into the united states military and in 2013 I married my high school sweetheart and best friend of almost 10 years. I have known him since 2005. His brother and I have been friends since 2002.
So, while this is my path to God, I guess it is only fair to admit that from June 1, 2011 until now I was distant from the church. I got into another bad relationship for a few months and let myself down the wrong path for a while. Now, with my life finally going well, I want to continue moving in a positive direction. Because that is the word I use to describe my life now, positive. And I honestly feel that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the place I need to be. The place I always needed to be. Everyone is always asking for a sign, a knock on the door and I literally got mine. Granted, yes I followed, I also took a wrong exit and headed down the same road that I needed to escape from.
My dear and beloved Father in Heaven,
I ask that you guide me in a positive direction of your seeing.
I ask that all I do and all I am reflects you.
I ask that the burdens of my past be lifted.
I thank you for all the blessings in my life.
I am so unbelievably grateful for everything you are. Everything you have ever been.
My dear and beloved Father in Heaven,
your forgiveness has washed over me lord and I truly believe that spirit within me will guide me towards you.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen
In another thread, teddyaware said:
Poor Alma, I wonder if he's up in the spirit world grinding his spirit teeth at the way we've distorted what he said.
We teach an unmarried couple that their intimate moments are second to murder?
Corianton had done more than the chapter heading's simple, broad category of all and any "sexual sin."
(2)... "did not give so much heed unto my words"
(2)... "thou didst go on unto boasting in thy strength and thy wisdom."
(3)... "thou didst forsake the ministry"
(3)... "did go... after the harlot Isabel."
(9)... "(went) after the lusts of your eyes"
(11)... "great iniquity ye brought upon the Zoramites"
(11)... "when they saw your conduct they would not believe in my words."
(12)... "lead away the hearts of many people to destruction"
(5)... "Know ye not, my son, that these things (plural) are an abomination in the sight of the Lord; yea, most abominable above all sins"
(12)... "command you, my son, in the fear of God, that ye refrain from your iniquities (plural)"
(13)... "lead away the hearts of no more to do wickedly"
(13)... "acknowledge your faults (plural) and that wrong which ye have done."
(14)... "Seek not after riches nor the vain things (plural) of this world."
So Corianton, son of the prophet and called to be a missionary is sent preaching to the Zoramites. Because of all his (plural) actions they won't listen. He may be married, so he may also be commiting adultery. He went after the lusts of his eyes which, in Alma's warning, includes riches and the vain things of the world.
So why is Corianton warned that his actions are "next to murder?" He effectively causes spiritual death. Almost as bad as actual murder or spiritual suicide (denying the HG). All of his actions which lead to the iniquity brought on the Zoramites are collectively referred to in that way.
Also remember he was under the law of Moses at this time. We are not.
If a high profile church leader did all of the above, they might be guilty of "spiritual murder." But if a teenage couple, or a boy in his bedroom, or newly baptised but unmarried (previously intimate) couple commit a sexual sin, is it really responsible to elevate them to the circumstances of Corianton? I believe not.
I will teach my children chastity. But I will not use Alma 39 to do it. Like the old, now removed, 'coins' in a chapter heading, I think 39's heading has also got it wrong.