Monday, March 30, 2009

An opportunity to culture oneself

Just a bit of advertising....

This Wednesday (the 1st of April) is the Spring Festival of Nations in the WSC/Wilk Ballroom. There are several international bands doing a pre-show at 7:30 and then the show for reals starts at 8. The show is a bunch of dances from around the world, and admission is $2.

If you come, you just might see me up there in the second number doing the Mexican Polka with my folk dance team... Maybe ;-)

It should be good show, so come!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Nature of God

Members of the Church often emphasize the importance of having a correct knowledge about the nature of God--a correct idea of His character, perfections and attributes. Perhaps the testimonies about: knowing that God lives; that He is a corporeal being; that He not a trinity but instead multiple and distinct beings--come from this emphasizing.

But I've been noticing that though perhaps they say these things on an intellectual level, that most of the people I have met do not truly understand God.

A question I ask any time I get the chance is, "What would you do if you were to meet God right now, this very instant? How would you feel? What would you think?"

I have yet to get an answer that does not fall among the following lines:
-I would be embarrassed.
-I wouldn't be prepared or ready.
-I would be frightened.
-I didn't repent this morning, I can't meet God!

Bottom line, it doesn't sound like a pleasant experience for them.

That makes me very uneasy. It is so wrong. I don't think that all those people have any real bearing on the true nature of God at all.

Let me give you a little history on my path in coming to understand what I call "God" in my life. All through high school, with my various self-esteem and self-image issues, I think I was terrified of God. I felt I was not acceptable to him, that I was broken and I was in that same boat of being scared with the idea of meeting God. I was filled with guilt and saw myself as a sinner.

One day (the third Sunday of 2008), I was sitting in my dorm room at about 11:30 at night, and I just broke down. I slowly began to cry, which turned quickly into sobbing. This was unusual, for I couldn't remember the last time I had dripped even more than just one tear. At the risk of being embarrassed by being seen by my roommates, I ran outside and sat underneath the bell tower. There, I just sat and wept for a long time. It was a total catharsis. Somewhere during this time, I suddenly felt filled with the love of God, and his grace.

On the one hand, I had these rules that the Church had told me that made me feel like a bad person and then suddenly being so overwhelmed with the love of God and feeling, for the very first time in my life, that I was alright in the eyes of God. I could be loved and accepted just as I was. Somehow, all those Church rules didn't seem to matter. I was in the middle of this experience that made me know I was okay as a person, and the Church had never made me feel this way. I had previously only felt judged and condemned and that because I didn't line up in a certain way that I was not okay.

Suddenly it was clear that the love of God was bigger than all of that. God's love is simply enough. It was an incredible transformation. For someone who is feeling so lost and so much self-loathing, it is so sublime to know that nothing matters except that God loves me, and that alone is enough.

Does God live or does he not? Does God have a body or not? Did he appear to Joseph Smith in the Sacred Grove or not?

Do those questions really ascertain the truly important aspects of God's character? To me, no. I find them terribly dissatisfying.

What good is "knowing" that the corporeal nature of God doing for them? OK, so maybe it gives them support for the belief that man can become god, or whatever. But really on a deep down transformative level, what good has it done them? Has it brought on this transformation that I was able to experience? Has it allowed them to know that God loves them?

I feel that I should be seeking to develop my mind and have more compassion and treat my fellow man with more charity and be working on these larger spiritual matters, not being focused on keeping all the rules like so many Church members do. All those little things can be wiped away in a second.

Now if I were to ask myself, "How would you react if you were to meet God right now?" I can say: All I know is that He would take me into his arms. (If he does indeed have a body ;) ) Say "I missed you, I've longed to see you, and I love you." And that in that moment I would be okay. I would feel whole and complete, and all of those other little things--have I repented of this?, repented of that?, could i have done more of this and less of that-- those things would not even come up on the radar. Because the power of the grace of god is too often overlooked in the Church, exchanged for the importance of works. I would not be nervous. I would be completely at ease, and I would look forward to finally getting to ask God some important questions.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Frosty Eliotonians

Ok, I have some posts I want to get out, but first need to give the other side of the Frost discussion, because a friend called me out on it. "The Figure a Poem Makes" begins with: "Abstraction is an old story with the philosophers, but it has been like a new toy in the hands of the artists of our day." --A stab at people such as T.S. Eliot, who were pretty into abstraction and having unclear meanings. Frost's poetry is usually pretty clear and accesible in its meaning, which is fitting for an American Modern. Eliot is not as clear, which is also fitting of his High Modern-ness. (I am so going to take a class on Modernism. It's fun.)

Eliot ends his poem "Hollow Men" with:

For Thine is the Kingdom
For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

See what I mean about the abstraction? Frost can be fairly well interpreted with one reading, this takes more work. The reference to the Lord's Prayer is a side note to the text of the poem itself. The fragmented and incomplete segments of it that follow say, unlike Frost, that maybe there isn't any "momentary stay against the confusion" at all. The thought is never completed, the clarity never found. That unlike those bits of wisdom that Frost says a poem is to convey at the end (and fairly clearly, too), maybe things just happen because they do. The end of the world is trivialized and made into some thing that sound's like a song children sing as they hop and skip about. (I know I am ignoring the wartime implications and context of this poem but it doesnt really fit into my discussion. It is an important application though. I also know I am not fully fleshing out my ideas, but this is my blog not a classroom!)

Often Eliot and Frost are put into opposing camps, a sort of scholar vs. artist mentality. I think they are more reconcilable though.

Sometimes when reading poetry, (or just as I go through life) I do exactly as Frost says and get knowledge "
cavalierly and as it happens in and out of books." He relates it to walking through a field and then noticing all the burrs one picks up along the way. I think there is value in that. We are allowed to informally explore ourselves and learn about life, no pressures.

But I dont think we can always learn like a piece of ice that is just melting randomly on a hot stove.

There is also great value in learning through "conscientious thoroughness along projected lines of logic," or the scholarly approach. It might not be as delightful to learn this way, which is more regimented. It forces us to evaluate things in a different way and lets people criticize our work and look for holes in it, which in turn makes us be more careful. This way, we can be sure our ideas have merit and are supportable.

Why do people feel the need to join one side or the other? Why cant we learn both ways? I know sometimes I come upon an idea the Frost-y way, and then take a deeper look at it the Eliot way. Sure, some of our works can unfold in a surprising and almost revelatory way, but some must also be reasoned through.

Well, there it is. I'm off to play on a friday night!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Bummin' around

Just to warn those who will be in the library bright an early tomorrow--

Chances are there is a homeless lady sleeping in there tonight. A bunch of people saw her go in and none saw her go out when the library closed. My crew at work helped security scour the library for her, but it is a huge place and there were no signs of her.

Aaaaand, I forgot to turn my key in when I clocked out. So I'll be in trouble tomorrow.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Figure a Poem Makes

This is an excerpt from Robert Frost's "The Figure a Poem Makes."

It should be of the pleasure of a poem itself to tell how it can. The figure a poem makes. It begins in delight and ends in wisdom. The figure is the same as for love. No one can really hold that the ecstasy should be static and stand still in one place. It begins in delight, it inclines to the impulse, it assumes direction with the first line laid down, it runs a course of lucky events, and ends in a clarification of life-not necessarily a great clarification, such as sects and cults are founded on, but in a momentary stay against confusion. It has denouement. It has an outcome that though unforeseen was predestined from the first image of the original mood-and indeed from the very mood. It is but a trick poem and no poem at all if the best of it was thought of first and saved for the last. It finds its own name as it goes and discovers the best waiting for it in some final phrase at once wise and sad-the happy-sad blend of the drinking song.

Is that not the story of us all, or at least shouldn't it be? to tell ourselves how we can. We all do the best we can to find our identity and to be able to express it. I think the passage speaks for itself, but my English professors would smack me for not adding some context and interpretation. (And excuse my excessive commas) This is pretty rough though and the real profundity is found in Frost's own words.

Poetry, like love, (and like our lives) has always has a first line, a starting place. It doesn't matter where this place is, but it provides a direction for us to move in. Frost argues that no one can be static and really live life, we must move and experience things. From there, things run a course of events and eventually we find that we have some clarity. Though we may begin in confusion and carry on in our journey in confusion, eventually we will find some respite, albeit a "momentary stay."

This wise bit of clarity does not have to be grand. Religions and cults found themselves on what they see as "great clarifications" of life, but that is unnecessary here. It can just be a small, but momentous, bit of clarity that just barely allows us to have to have the faith to keep moving in life. We find, as we continue down our paths, that all these bits of insight, these pearls, were totally unforseen however seem to have been predestined and planned from the beginning with the very first line. It is only with retrospect that we can see the wisdom in it all.

The best things in poems are not these insights that are obtained at the end, things that are known as the poem begins and saved till the end to be revealed. The best things are found as we wind through life and discover things. Just as finding our identities is a lifelong process, Frost says the poem "finds it own name as it goes."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hump Day (Wednesday)

Wednesdays are intense. They exhaust me.

Today, I got up at 8:13am (my normal time) after going to bed at 3am due to working on a research paper.

I continued working on it after getting up, and went to dance class at 10. Then I went straight to the library and kept working on my paper until 4, skipping 3 classes in order to have enough time to do my homework. (can you say ironic? I can. Ironic) I rushed home, got some food and rushed back for an obligation from 5-7. Had another class from 7-9, and worked from 9-12:30am.

Still a few hours of work to do on this paper, which is due tomorrow morning at 9:30.

In spite of this, I am so happy right now.

As I was driving back to campus today, I was thinking about all the stressors that are present in my life. Not dwelling or feeling sorry for myself or anything necessarily, just thinking about them.

Then I thought, "And on top of all this, it is a beautiful sunny day. I have a car I love. I am wearing a cool shirt. I love my friends. I love my roommates. I have things in life to look forward to. I enjoyed my topic for my research paper." and after that for the rest of the day, I would spontaneously start repeating this list, adding new things as I thought of them.

Instead of being completely drained by this time, I feel sleepy, but invigorated and happy. I've been rather smiley.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post, I'll be referring back to this.

I adopted the word succisive from Save the Words today. "I hereby promise to use this word, in conversation and correspondence, as frequently as possible to the best of my ability."

succisive: of spare or extra time.

Tomorrow, if I can find any succisive hours, I plan to take a nap. The likelyhood of me actually finding some succisive time is slim. The chances of me taking a nap anyways are good.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Substance and proper blog self esteem

I have been thinking a lot lately about why I just post random snippets of stuff on my blog but never really take the things that are on my mind and flesh them out into a coherent or truly worthwhile post.

Granted, most of this is just based on me comparing my blog with others (and as Chris & Becky have pointed out, blogs aren't necessarily supposed to be holistic representations of our characters), so I don't suppose it holds much water in the end.

I post what I feel like posting on here and express what naturally comes out at the time. No boundaries, rules, or formalities.

And that is just fine with me.

I like having a casual blog. It suits me. I like knowing that this blog is always here for whatever I feel like posting on it. If profundity flows, then that's fine. If its simple (or even trite), that is fine too.

I just need to quit letting myself be so influenced by my perception of what others are looking for in my blog or what they think it should be.

It is what it is.

Ecclesiatical Endorsementations

First of all, I'd just like to give a shout out to this weekend being my one year anniversary of officially coming out. (Can I give a shout out to an abstract thing like that?)

Second, I set a record with 6 whole comments on my last post. I am saying it is caused by the profundity of Wit (W;t) and not my empty ramblings.

Third, I got ecclesiastically endorsed today, which was a bit of a relief. I honestly feel perfectly worthy of continuing my education here at BYU if I so choose and that I am a contributing member to the student body. My Church attendance, sadly, has been less than consistent this year though.

It was a good experience overall, though. After the normal talky-talkiness, the Bishop started asking me an augmented form of the temple recommend questions. Seeing as how honesty is one of my core values, I knew as I walked into his office that I would not be able to lie to him. In the past, the interviewer just goes down the list of questions and I would just answer "Yes." (Sometimes throwing in "I do" or "definitely" for varation) This time, if I felt I could answer the question with a "yes," I would do it, and then explain a little of the context around which my "yes" was based. However if I couldn't, for example, say: "Yes, I sustain Thomas S. Monson as
the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and as the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys," then I wouldn't (and didn't). I would explain why the issue at hand was a hard thing for me to accept.

The Bishop was good about it and still felt comfortable signing my endorsement with full knowledge of the reservations I have. I was slightly hesitant to sign my agency away to that document once again, but didn't really have any other option (besides, of course, packing my bags). I was sincere when I told him I didn't have any issues in my past that I felt I still needed to resolve with or confess to him.

I made my amish friendship bread today and it is delicious. The only big assignment I have on my plate for school this week is a 10 page research paper, which is manageable. It beckons me now.

Till next time...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

death, thou shalt die

I saw a few clips of the film "Wit" several months ago, and have wanted to see it ever since. I just watched it, and it was amazing. I just might have to purchase it.

This segment is one of the clips I saw, and it directly led me to becoming an English major (which is going splendidly).

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

God in the Macaroni

Found this quote on another blog. I agree with it (largely).

“A person who goes in search of God is wasting his time. he can walk a thousand roads and join many religions and sects- but he’ll never find God that way. God is here, right now, at our side. In order to find God, you have to only to look around.”
(By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept)

Also, I just made macaroni and cheese with tuna for dinner. I added some tabasco sauce to give this orange death a little more flavor. Needless to say, I think I put a wee bit too much in! Whew!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Minty Glory

Can I just express my new-found but never-ending and undying love for

It's rocking my world! And my wallet.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


How does time go so fast?! No idea.

The past few weeks have been really super amazing for me. Sublime too. I'm not ready to talk about any of this in such an open an public way, because a lot of it is me. It's not even that I have been doing cool things, for my life has been as mundane and school-work filled as ever (minus a few exciting trips to Salt Lake). Rather, I have been realizing a lot of different things about myself and my happiness. I have had mystical experiences and am learning so so much about who I am and what I believe in.

Long story short, and the point of this post, all of this has led me into this state of high happiness. I should have been having an emotional/nervous breakdown with how much I had to do for a while there, but I didn't. I was as filled with peace as I can ever remember being. In the Counseling Center here at BYU, every time you come in you fill out a little survey about how well you have been doing the past week, which is then translated into a number, with a score of 60-something or above being indicative of a significant amount of distress. When I first started coming in, my scores were in the 70's. Yesterday I was in the 30's.

Things are good. I am working on finding a place within myself from which I can base my happiness and peace in life on. I found, in a profound way, that place last week (and still). Life is still ordinary, and perhaps hard times are coming, but I can always know this place is within me and I can work on getting back there.

I have written about 20 pages this week in my life notebook about how I got to this place and what it feels like. I am hoping that when hard times come I can go back and read that notebook and be able to return.

I have so much more I could explicate on but feel I may have already said to much. I just thought I'd let everyone know that I am quite content and happy with life right now.

If you aren't happy, watch this video. I liked it at least