Wednesday, April 18, 2018

I'm worried about my dear wife. This morning as I was earlier writing she came and sat beside me and we engaged in some light conversation. The nature of that conversation is what has me worried. She asked if I remembered when her mother, Lennie, had passed away -- no problem, I don't remember exact dates very well myself, but it was quick and easy to look up in family records so I got that information for her. Then, she asked if her mother was still working full-time just before her death. No. And Glenda should have known that. Her mother had been retired for many years and had traveled quite extensively prior to her death. Then the question that really gave me pause: Who was her mother married to when she died? Oh, my stars! Lennie was married to Gerald Eisenhauer at the time of her death; she had been married to Gerry for many years and Gerry was well known to Glenda. Glenda is fond of her step-father.

Glenda's memory has been troublesome of late but that has been mostly short-term forgetfulness. This scares me as it's the first time I've seen something so fundamental slip from her longer term memory. My two eldest siblings both slid into Alzheimer's-like memory deficits in their '80s as did my mother. I expect that will be my fate, as well, but Oh! how I hate to see Glenda moving that way so early in her life, and if we both go, who will care for her? Will I also be a burden on our children. How I hate the thought of being a burden rather than a blessing in my children's lives.

Trying to make the eternities EZ.

5:00 A.M., April 18, 2018. The outside temperature is 68 F., humidity 60%; soft breeze out of the East and I'm sitting poolside in my bathrobe pondering the mysteries of life, the universe, and the eternities. The sky is mostly cloudy, so no stars are in view in the heavens. I'm trying to quiet my lizard brain so I can hear any message the Universe may want to send me. In particular, I would like to know (1) what it is I am to learn from this life, and (2) what, specifically, I should do to be of service to others.

What is the nature of sin? From what I can understand from lectures, sermons, and scriptures I believe that the bedrock of sin is selfishness. Putting oneself before all else and failing to respect others, failing in controlling our emotions. If we look at the 10 Commandments we find that mostly they ask us to recognize and respect a higher power, to respect others, and to bypass that that we may want so as to not harm others. The first four, in particular, seem to me to ask us to recognize and respect that higher power. (Note: The quotes of the Commandments that follow are taken from a New English Version of the Old Testament.)

1. I am the Lord thy God, thou shall not have any gods before me.
2, You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything.
3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
4. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.

Number 4. I think we need to remember that Jesus pointed out to us that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath, and that the "violation" of the Sabbath law he was accused of was reasonable, logical, and therefore not a violation. Seems to me we need to be careful to not become Pharisaical giving obeisance to the letter of the law and overlooking the spirit of the law.

Number 5 is all about respect; respect the person, respect their property (and thus the time and effort it has taken to obtain said property):

5. Honor your father and your mother.

Number 6 asks us to control our emotions (especially anger and jealousy) and to not use violence to eliminate an obstacle to what we may want.

6. You shall not murder.

Seven, eight, and ten ask us to put others before our desires and to respect persons and property. Number seven is specific to persons (your spouse and others' spouses). 

7. You shall not commit adultery.

Number eight is all about property:

8. You shall not steal.

Ten lumps them all together: 

10. You shall not covet your neighbor's house, wife, or property.

Nine seems out of order to me: I think it, in asking us to be honest, really goes back to respect and thus should follow close on to five. Or, it may be that the motivation of one who would be "tempted" to lie should be considered: Is the lie to selfishly protect ourselves from the results of a guilty action? Is it to get an obstacle to something we want out of the way? So greed, pride, and fear may all fall into line here.

9. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

The nature of sin. Human nature. The natural man is an enemy to God; thus an enemy to us all? Christ brought us a "higher law" than the Ten Commandments and the Mosaic Law -- he came to fulfill that law and charged us to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. It seems that actions in line with the Ten Commandments would naturally flow from learning and living that love.

This morning, I've also pondered the nature of Perfection and with it, the nature of God. Scriptures teach us that God is Perfect. LDS doctrine teaches us that eternal progression is the law of heaven and to be barred from that eternal progression is akin to being sentenced to Hell for the eternities. If God is Perfect, how can he progress? Could it be that we as humans do not have an eternal understanding of the word perfect? Or could it be that our translation of scripture is less than perfect? We've lately been taught that when we are commanded to "Be ye therefore perfect..." in Matthew 4:48 what we are really being told is to come to Christ; know Christ; love Christ; follow Christ, and through his grace we will be perfected. Perhaps the true concept of perfection is beyond human understanding.

That's probably enough for today. I'd still like the spirit to whisper to me what, specifically, I should be doing to be of service to my fellow man each day.  

God bless!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Social interactions with morality are not EZ

This post is in regards to the recent enactment in the U.S. of FOSTA/SESTA and the legal actions resulting in the Website Backpage pleading guilty to human trafficking in Houston, Texas.


This is an extremely complex social and legal issue with intended AND unintended consequences. While I consider human trafficking to be an abomination (and I donate to O.U.R. to fight it); AND I generally appreciate Rep. Mia Love (cosponsor of FOSTA/SESTA) I'm convinced that pimps, mobsters, and madams all over the U.S. are celebrating the shutdown of the adult sections of Craigslist and Backpage. While the referenced guilty plea by Backpage certainly casts shade on their operations and intent, the libertarian and self-agency parts of me would rather see adult men and women able to safely and consensually manage themselves rather than having to rely on often-abusive "others" to ply their trades, even if those trades are less than innocent. Since we know that prostitution has existed since at least prior to the time of Judah and Tamar, prior to Joshua and Rahab, I doubt that our laws are going to eliminate that evil, as defined by our Judeo-Christian morality, but, rather, will force practitioners back into the shadows where they are prey rather than consensual practitioners.