Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My Resolve is like Iron

My New Years Resolutions:

Temporal Education:
Finish my BS in Political Science
Take the GRE
Apply for Graduate School at Brandeis University

Spiritual Education:
Read the D&C in its entirety
Read the NT with the complete Joseph Smith Translation

What resolution isn’t complete without goals for physical self-improvement?
Physical Goals:
Obtain my B09 in Foil or C09 in Sabre
Run a 5k without slowing down or stopping to catch my breath
Run a 10k.
Workout at least twice per week

Professional Goals:
Get a Job working with either FMCNA or nGenera

Service Goals:
Clayton Musical (Peter Pan)
2 hours a week of Community Service

Orientation Goals:
Come to peace within myself within the Gospel and Homosexuality and the Church.
Visit the temple as often as I can.


My New Years Resolutions:

Temporal Education:
Finish my BS in Political Science
Take the GRE
Apply for Graduate School at Brandeis University

Spiritual Education:
Read the D&C in its entirety
Read the NT with the complete Joseph Smith Translation

What resolution isn’t complete without goals for physical self-improvement?
Physical Goals:
Obtain my B09 in Foil or C09 in Sabre
Run a 5k without slowing down or stopping to catch my breath
Run a 10k.
Workout at least twice per week

Professional Goals:
Get a Job working with either FMCNA or nGenera

Service Goals:
Clayton Musical (Peter Pan)
2 hours a week of Community Service

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Lost in Translation

Recently I had a thought while watching the news footage of the Marriage ceremonies performed before the passage of Proposition 8. I noticed that there was a gay couple performing a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony complete with the breaking of the glass and a Rabbi. I thought about this and then a few days later the thought hit me, "Wait, Jews believe in gay marriage?" This thought led me to rediscover the bible and good old Leviticus, the one scripture upon which hinges all other scripture and modern revelation concerning Homosexual activity. As I began to research in depth the KJV of Leviticus another thought hit me, "Why am I studying the English translation of the Latin translation of the Greek translation of the original Hebrew? After all don't we believe the Bible to be correct as far as it is translated correctly?" So I went back and looked for the Hebrew Jewish interpretation of Leviticus 18. What I found was that Judaism is a split religion with many differing branches of observation, but that in all of them, the original Hebrew word for abomination was "to'eba" which doesn't really have a direct english translation, but instead had a meaning that lay closer to idolatry, or ritualisticly unclean. To'eba is the same word used in describing the dietary violations (ie no Pork) not the same word used for outright sin. I decided to check this out and recieved individual confirmation from an LDS bibe scholar and master of both greek and Hebrew as well as other languages who I shall keep anonymus for his protection.
After discovering that the act of homosexuality as stated in Leviticus 18 was not an aboninable sin, but more of an idolatrous impurity, I went back and reread the entire chapter looking for the meaning of Moses using the context of Idolatry. I encourage all of you who see this to re-read Leviticus 18 and see how the entire chapter seems to make much more sense. Moses is refering to the Idolization of each of those acts listed as they had become idolized in Egypt and Cannan, and Moses condemns the acts as idolatrous. To me this scripture resonates truth and I wanted to share it with those of you who read my blog.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Juxtaposition of the Future

Don't you just love it when two completely random occurrences happen right next to each other, or one right after another? Today while at the Grocery store, I was waiting in line to check out. Directly in front of me was this woman, shopping with her three kids. Being typical kids, they were being rebellious and jumping on things and asking pretty please if they could get a soda. I love kids. I want to have kids of my own someday. Seeing this family for some odd reason hit me a little bit with that desire. Then directly in front of her and her kids, was a gay couple. They were reserved and not drawing attention to themselves, but I could see it. That is the other thing that I want in Life. I want to be in a loving relationship with kids, or looking to have kids in the future. And there, right in the grocery store were both of my desires standing directly in front of me, so palpable that I wanted to reach out and grab a hold of my desires. I don't know how my family will take it when I tell them that I plan on getting married to the man of my dreams and raise a family with him, so I shall hold off on that for now. It isn't really a great Christmas present for them. It just strikes me sometimes how often we see what we want right in front of us.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Justification for Working with a Wild tree

James 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
James 2:22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
James 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.
Job 13:18 Behold now, I have ordered my cause; I know that I shall be justified.

I believe that my work (as defined by aiding others, raising righteous children, spreading my love for the principles of the Gospel) will demonstrate my faith to the Lord, and that through that work, my faith will be made perfect and then my works can justify me just as Job was justified.

I believe that regardless of what others think, Though I might be tried, I can not deny my story, though the ends of the earth shall hate me, and though some might try to harm me, to take my life, I will never be ashamed of what I know. I know that I am meant to raise a family in righteousness, that I was designed to be who I am for a reason, that I have a lesson to be learned, and that that lesson is how to love for I feel myself faking my emotions, my love with everyone around me, I must learn how to truly love someone far more that I love myself. I know this with the same feeling that I know that the Lord lived and that he lives, and that he suffered for my sins, lived through my pains, and experienced my sorrows.

And so like Job, I feel justified. Justified in being a sinner who brings forth good fruit. I am as the wild olive tree with tame branches grafted in, and by my fruits, not by anything else shall the Lord know and judge me. And so I am determined to bring forth good fruit even if I myself might be wild. I know that it can not happen alone, and that it will take effort on my part and a partnership with the lord, but I plan on striving to bring forth good works.

My New Philosophy

In 1972 Boyd K. Packer said the following: “Someday you will hold a little boy or a little girl in your arms and know that two of you have acted in partnership with our Heavenly Father in the creation of life. Because the youngster belongs to you, you may then come to love someone more than you love yourself. This experience can come, insofar as I know, only through having children of your own or perhaps through fostering children born of another and yet drawn close into family covenants. … Through this loving one more than you love yourself, you become truly Christian. Then you know, as few others know, what the word Father means when it is spoken of in the scriptures. You may then feel something of the love and concern that he has for us. It should have great meaning that of all the titles of respect and honor and admiration that could be given him, God himself, he who is the highest of all, chose to be addressed simply as Father.”
While Elder Packer was saying this concerning the beauties of a traditional marriage, I believe that the principle that the only way to love someone more than yourself is through the raising of a child, and that the act of loving someone more than yourself is when you become truly Christian. I believe that loving someone more than ourselves is the true embodiment of the second great commandment, “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” and is one of the only ways to follow the example of Christ’s selfless love towards all men.
The desire to raise a child that I love more than anything, more than myself, is what motivates me to live righteously, yet in order to provide a loving home for a child I must go against the desires of the Church. I do not believe that I myself could provide a loving home for any child. I do not believe that were I to pursue a traditional marriage, that it would be strong, and filled with enough love to raise a child in. The only possibility for a home loving enough for me to raise a child in is in one that I love my companion almost as much as I love our children, and it just happens to be that I see my companion as being my husband.
The Church has said, “Like other violations of the law of chastity, homosexual activity is a serious sin. It is contrary to the purposes of human sexuality (see Romans 1:24–32) It distorts loving relationships and prevents people from receiving the blessings that can be found in family life and the saving ordinances of the gospel.” I believe that my homosexuality will not distort any loving relationships that I have, the only way it will do that is if I try to get married to a woman. And while it may prevent me from receiving the blessings that can be found in family life and the ordinances of the gospel, if I remain celibate, those blessings are withheld, as are several of the ordinances of the gospel.
I can understand how homosexuality, in current practice and understanding today, can be viewed as contrary to the purposes of human sexuality. But If we were to legalize civil same-sex marriages, that is, rendering unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and allowing for all legal, civil rights that are bestowed to opposite-sex marriages, be granted to same-sex marriages, that there would emerge a new class of people. These people would be homosexuals who seek after a family more than sex, a class of people who seek to strengthen the bond of marriage rather than make a mockery of it like Brittany’s 55-hour “just for fun” wedding. These would be people just like me who want to settle down with the person they love, raise children to be great and righteous individuals.
I plan on getting married to the man of my dreams one day, raising children to live righteously with him, and growing old with him. Eventually we will die, and we will have succeeded in drawing closer to the Lord than had we remained single and a lone and because our marriage will have been a marriage of this temporal world, it will not be binding in Heaven (see Mark 12:25, D&C 132:15-16). The Church publication, God Loveth His Children states that, “However, the perfect plan of our Father in Heaven makes provision for individuals who seek to keep His commandments but who, through no fault of their own, do not have an eternal marriage in mortal life. As we follow Heavenly Father’s plan, our bodies, feelings, and desires will be perfected in the next life so that every one of God’s children may find joy in a family consisting of a husband, a wife, and children.” (Emphasis added) We will through the promise given by the Lord be able to gain an eternal companion with whom we can create spirit children. I will be able to draw from that love that I learned here in this earth life in the raising of my spirit children.
Because Homosexuality is a byproduct of this fallen world, and since it did not exist in the pre-earth life, it will not exist in the afterlife, but my experiences and knowledge that I gain here on this life will exist in the next life. So I choose to have the focus of those experiences be towards knowing and loving my God, and towards loving others more than I love myself. For Christ was the most selfless of all. That, I believe, is His greatest characteristic, His selfless love of all. If I can gain but a small part of that, Is that not a life well spent in following the Lord, even if I would be living in sin to do it?
After all, we are all striving for perfection, we each have our own sins that preclude us from immediate transfiguration, perhaps homosexual behavior will be mine and over time, I can repent from my sins, but to me, a life spent focused towards that perfection and focused inwards rather than towards others can not be repented of.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

About Me

I am David. I am 19. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I am Gay. I enjoy the values and principles of the Gospel. I don't smoke, drink, do drugs or live promiscuously. I have a dry and very random sense of humor. I Love CS Lewis as he is a fountain of knowledge and wisdom that has guided my life at times. I love reading. I enjoy Orson Scott Card, Hugh Nibley, Tolkien, JK Rowling, Stephanie Meyer and pretty much everything else I get my hands on. I have only not finished 3 books in my lifetime after starting them. They are The Work and the Glory, The Garrity Test, and The Golden Compass. I have since read the Golden Compass, but the others remain unread. Admitedly I haven't read all of my school textbooks. I follow a lot of random TV Shows, Heroes, Lost, Desperate Housewives, Chuck, Smallville, House and Numb3rs. I have a brain like a computer, I can recal the most trivial information ad nauseum and yet when you need to find something specific it takes a little while. I Love Musicals and if I had more confidence and less concern for financial stability would try to pursue a carreer in singing and acting. I am an avid Fencer and have competed on the national level and at the Junior Olympics. At one point I thought I wanted to spend my life in the Air Force Intelligence. I once passed out 9 times in 18 months with the best explination being acid reflux. I was onced suspended in 5th grade for giving another student a paperclip. I was expelled from High School one week before graduation, but was still able to graduate and walk for graduation, but I couldn't sing with my choir. I have an eclectic mix of Music on my iPod because I don't really like bands. I think that outside of the Beatles and the Beach Boys, no band has ever produced more than 7 or 8 great songs. So I seek out those songs and enjoy them, with little or no love for the band. I have only been to one rock concert and that was 6 months ago. I moved 9 times before I was 16, 6 of those before I was 7. I want to have kids someday. Kids that I can raise in the gospel of the Lord and watch in fear and anxiety as they grow up and face there own problems. Although I know I could be, I am not afraid of being bashed. I have never had hair longer than a missionary haircut until now. I love Dancing. I can Fake my way through most conversations. People turn to me for advice on crazy random things, relationships, counseling, philosophy and religion and I have given it out for so long that I think that I might be decent at it. I feel like a 24 year old stuck inside a 19 year old body. I wish respect was given regardless of age. I believe in meritocracy not nepotism. I enjoy Sun Tzu, Musashi, Macheavelli and Marx. In a past life I lived in the 19 twenty's and died of influenza in the 1930's. In another past life, I took part in the crusades. I love ancient civilizations. I love technology. I marvel at the fact that we have access to more information on a 2 GB flash drive than was house in the Library of Alexandria, and that if we had 25 GB's we would have more information than Jefferson had access to throughout his entire life. I have crappy handwritting and my typing skills aren't that much better. My life is housed on my computer, but if it blew up as well as any other hardware I owned, I would be OK becasue I compute in the Cloud. I will have completed 8 years of school in 6 by skipping my senior and freshmen years of High school and college respectfully. I am known to over extend a point even though I myself hate it. So that is me in a nutshell, Fell free to ask me anything because I feel that I am pretty open and tolerant to most any question and if I am not, you will never know.


My Story

My name is David. I am 19. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I am also Gay. Trying to live both is a paradox. Eventually one must give way for the other and when that happens I feel that one of my twin souls, my Yin or Yang will be ripped from me, leaving me broken and useless. I know that I am not alone, and there are people on both sides of this paradox who are happy and complete with who they are. I am not yet one of them.
Being raised in the church, I grew up expecting to go on a mission, go to BYU, get Married, produce 4 kids, and live happily ever after. Looking back on my life, as early as the age of 7 I can remember feeling attracted to boys rather than girls, but I knew how I was meant to be, I knew the plan as described above and so I figured it would pass. I pushed those thoughts, those feelings to the back of my mind and forgot about them. I can remember distinct times when I felt I was gay, but those too I repressed. The first time that this idea of the perfect life for me was challenged was when I was 10. My parents started to fight and I realized that starting a family wasn't "happily ever after." At 12 I started looking at things differently, but I still hid the fact that I was gay from myself under many different layers and guises that I am still attempting to fully unravel and expose. just before I turned 13, my parents got divorced and I became and adult. (See here 1:38-3:00) At this time I began thinking like an adult, I comforted my mother, and my life became dedicated towards someone other than myself, and the repression got much deeper. At 16 I left home and moved back to Utah to finish my senior year of high school. I then, at 17, Went down to BYU, where free from the responsibilities of any adulthood that I had experienced prior, I started my adolescence. I started to rebel against all I had known in the church and yet still I repressed the knowledge that I was Gay even though my actions said otherwise. At 18 I eventually felt the guilt that was inevitable from my actions, and I confessed everything I had done to my BYU bishop, who told me that I wasn't Gay, just misguided, and then he let me finish out the week/semester at BYU before promptly throwing me out to my home ward and with no back up plan for school. I scrambled fast and left BYU, just barely getting into the University of Utah for fall of `07 I went to school there while working with my Bishop and former scoutmaster who is great, but who saw my problems differently than they really are. For a Year, I was the perfect member, I went to every meeting, read my scriptures, said my prayers, fasted, did my home teaching and was the most studious in my Sunday School class. I still hoped to go on a mission, get married, and have the whole picket fence with kids in the yard. I knew that my mission would be postponed, and so I extended to one of my best friends from BYU, a convert with very little in material wealth, an offer to pay for his mission. So did another family and so I was even covering the mission of one of my friends at the age of 19. One year after being removed from BYU, I was doing great, I thought I had everything on track, I would graduate in the summer of `09 and then go on my mission. I was headed for an internship in Washington DC when on the plane, my electronics batteries failed me and I was left to introspection. It hit me that It had been about one year and so I saw where I was before and presently. I realized that the motivation for coming clean to my bishop was the lack of feeling the spirit in my life, I still had yet to feel the spirit within that one year and I came to see that in actuality all I had learned was self-mastery. I hadn't really improved at all. After further introspection I realized that the problem was how I was looking at it. I saw 4 fingers because I was lloking at the problem when I should have seen eight by looking beyond the problem. I finnally realized I was Gay. I then over the course of 2 months spent some time coming out to anothergay intern who helped me appreciate myself and realize that I wasn't evil. I struggled with the paradox offered by this situation, and sought out help groups like North Star, but things didn't feel right. I rollercoasted between going to clubs and avoiding all contact with any gay or gay friendly person. I decided that I needed to come out to my parents and so I did and my Dad is very supportive of me being happy no matter what I chose, but my mother's opinion whose I value a lot, was such that she believed that I thought I was gay, and that even if I was, I still had to remain chaste and that was that. We still haven't talked me that much and I think it is best to hold off a little right now. She has a lot on her plate at present. A week before Thanksgiving I saw that things weren't working at all. I would try something and then fail, so I would try something else and fail. This created a vicious negative feedback loop that just kept building. I saw that whichever way I turned, A key part of me would be torn out and I kept tieing myself into a Gordian Knot. I created it in such a way that I saw the only way out was to slice the knot and to not choose between the two. This led to me taking some pills and ending up in the Psych ward. There I met a great shrink who actually listened to my situation and tried his best to understand the paradox of my situation. He touched upon a concept that got my mind working, and then My roommate, a devout Mormon RM who is great, said something that really put my mind into overdrive in seeing a way out. I do not remember what he said, but it got me to the point of realizing that I don't need the church and religion to worship God, that I can follow the 11th Article of Faith. This has put me in an interesting spot because I begin to see a disconnect between the Church and the Gospel. I am still in the process of assesing where the differences in minutia appear, but in seeing them I have begun to appreciate myself and my Lord far more than I ever have. I feel that this framework of worship that I am developing for myself is right for me. I feel this truth with the same feeling of rightness that was felt in knowing that the Lord lives and that He Attoned for me. I feel so strongly about this that I am staking my exhaltation on this. I know that I am lucky because once I realized that I was gay, I was okay with that, I was comfortable with that fact and although there are somtimes that I wish that I wasn't, I have been for the most part, free from the agony and anguish associated with discovery. I know that I have a long and uneasy road ahead of me and I hope to weather the road with as much sanity as possible. I hope to use this blog to connect with other MoHos regardless of where they stand on the issue of religion in their lives. I also hope to use this blog as a tool for those who are struggling out there with this, I want you to know that you are not alone, and that you are a good person, and that while it might feel so at times, there is never any reason to take your life, It is just NOT worth it. It is for that reason that I hide nothing about my identity here. This is my primary email address and the link to my facebook is my primary facebook, I am who I say I am and I want you to know that you don't need to suffer or struggle alone. If anyone ever wants to contact me, feel free to shoot me an email, I will respond and will try to offer my help as limited as it might be.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Archaic Internet Superstitions

This is one thing I really Hate. When people assume that because of their age they know more about everything than someone obviously younger than them. That said, Here is the Story:

I am sitting here in the public atrium of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, A place that offers free Wi-Fi, tables, a cafe, and an overall great place to work on my research paper. I have been here for about two and a half hours with my laptop plugged into a power source right next to me, and connected to their free internet. I am pounding away looking at different topics, while rocking out to my iTunes, when all of a sudden a security guard comes over to me and immediately thratens to remove me from the atrium if I do not unplug my laptop. Me, being the social rebel I am have to know why, so I ask her, here is her response. "If you have your laptop connected to our power, then you will overload or system... with a virus" It took all I had not to bust out laughing when she was afraid of me transmitting a virus to the Smithsonian institute through my power cord. Now that I know the reason for such assinine rules as to why I can't have my power for my macbook, I try to fight it. I try to explain to her that it is physically impossible to overload her system by being connected to a power source. that in order for a virus to be transmitted all I would need would be to connect to their free wi-fi and hack my way in past their lacking security. She is not ammused with my logic and decides to raise her voice, during a choir performance i might add, to say "Look I am not going to argue with you, all I know is that you will crash our system if you stay plugged in, so you either unplug right now, Or you leave now." Seeing that this will not get me anywhere, I unplug and get back to work. But of course, this is not the end of the story.
about 3 minutes later, the security captain and his second come over and tell me that I can't be pluged into their power system. I explained to him that I understood their archaic concerns and that was why I was still unplugged and had not plugged back in. I decided to try my logc case once more on this higher ranking official explaining that the reason I was given was that I would crash their system with a virus through my power cord and how that was an impossibillity. His response was true to form. "Well actually that's not why, It is because there are so many little children running around that we don't want them to trip and hurt themselves over your powercord." ( My cord was plugged into the wall that I had my chair against and so impossible for anyone to trip over) This one got me and I really wanted to argue further, but I could see their contempt for my youth and I knew that they would not listen to what I say so I put in my headphones and got back to work. I find it ironically hillarious that in America, the Meritocracy that we are, everyone is so ignorant to everyone elses position because we all see that we are the absolute fountain of knowledge. I know that I fall into this category often, but in this case I obviously knew more about the physicall limits on viruses being transmitted through power cords and yet I was ignored and discriminated because of my apperance. Well my paper calls and so I shall leave you with this nugget of knowledge.
"Any kind of royalty, however modified, any kind of aristocracy, however pruned, is rightly an insult." Mark Twain

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Wisdom of the Crowds

“Why are Zagat restaurant guides so popular? Partly it is because they are a convenient guide to all the restaurants in town. But their real power derives from the fact that the reviews are the reports of volunteers – of diners who want to share their opinions with others. Somehow that represents a more compelling recommendation than the opinion of an expert whose job it is to rate restaurants.” – Tipping Point Malcolm Gladwell

What happens when we compare this principle to massive amounts of reviewers rather than just a handful? We start to gather the wisdom of the crowds. If we can get several “Mavens” to contribute their knowledge, as well as the long tail of other collaborators, then we can, through the law of large numbers, end up with a better sense of Wisdom rather than a sense of intelligence offered by the opinion of one person. If you can harness this power you can create far more than any one person alone could. Think about this, We all know that "Two heads are better than one," but yet we are reluctant to continue this principle into any realm of politics, or any other situations either. We are content having one leader make the decisions when collectively we are smarter than he, I wish others would see that we can and should start colaborating more on every project.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Founding Fathers Were Incomplete

Our government can not just be a mass of people "digging" up and down like the Romans gave thumbs up and down at the Colosseum, but it must be a forum for discussion and debate. Democracy is much more than just the power of the vote, as citizens, it is our right to engage in a political debate, and that we must.
The founding fathers saw the American people, very similar to that of the Roman populous. The technology was very similar, the religion was a little bit different, and we had a little bit better technology and learning, but not all that much. Therefore, they relied on the Roman system to provide the backbone of our government. Now however, we have grown exponentially smarter and far larger than the Founding Fathers ever imagined us to and yet we still have virtually the same document guiding our lives. We have clarified a few things, and changed some clerical issues, but largely our government has remained unchanged from the original model.
We can download more information in one day than Jefferson had available in his lifetime, and yet we are still relying on the wisdom of our ancestors who have no clue what we are dealing with, and had no way to predict it. We need a change in the current system of governance, but rather than scrap the old and start from scratch, I suggest that we shift our reliance away from the wisdom of the Fathers, and onto the wisdom of the crowds. The wisdom that has brought us Wikipedia. In 1776, everyone was a "Troll," Those with experience were the outlier, but now, only 2-3% of the Internet make up consists of "trolls" (Eric Schmidt - CEO of Google, New America Foundation)
The Founding fathers pooled their knowledge together in order to form a more perfect union, and they succeeded, but it is time to increase that perfection and get out of this quagmire of bureaucracy and red tape in order to have a Government that is Of, By, and For the people.
Obama's has started to do that by providing all their material with a Creative Commons Copyright, Promting open discussions through a great system that can track your participation and thus promote those who participate more, by providing a response to these comments in video format, and though there are some things lacking from a perfect system, It is leaps and bounds above any other .gov website, I believe it is a step in the right direction.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Don't take NO for an answer.

In his newest book, Malcolm Gladwell illustrates the point, that studies have shown, that there are only two different types of parenting styles. Parents who tell their kids what to do, what to think, what to say everything, and the parents who tell their kids how to do, how to think, and how to say everything. The kids whose parents teach them obedience are often the same ones who have a harder time in life because the system is pitted against them. The children of the parents who teach them self-reliance, on the other hand, are brought up being taught that there is more than one way to skin a cat. These kids are taught to speak their minds regardless of any social hierarchy. They are taught that they can always get what they want, if they just apply themselves to finding a way to get it. These are the kids who figure out to start a lemonade stand to get the bike they want because their parents told them that it cost too much money.

My parents happened to be of this latter sort and have taught me that regardless of my situation, I could always get out of it if I just applied myself hard enough, and If I failed to get what I desired, It was because I didn’t try hard enough, or smart enough. This mentality had been so ingrained into my thought process that when I took tests in School, If I had a debate between two answers that both seemed plausible, I would pick the one with which I could defend my answer after the test was graded. This mentality allowed me to take Math class at the local High School while still in Middle School, take AP classes in my freshmen year, graduate from high school 1 year early, and to end up graduating with a bachelors in Political Science by the age of 20. The best story I can think off that taught me this mentality growing up was when I was in fifth grade.

Now let me preface this with some history of me in the fifth grade. The Fifth Grade was when my life started to tear apart. My 1st Dog died, my parents were separated, I had a panic attack, I realized my parents weren’t the end of all information. My world as I knew it was coming to an end, and that was when my childhood started to end. I started acting out a little bit, but not outside of reason.

In my fifth grade bathroom there was this little panel that was padlocked. I was there when a group of fellow fifth grade boys decided to try to get past the padlock and into the area beyond because I mean face it, we were fifth graders and the world was ours to command. So 11 boys decided to try their luck, and I decided to join them because I desperately needed friends. I wasn’t completely addled and I knew to keep away from actually picking the lock, because in the unlikely chance that we got through I didn’t want my hands on the crime. After several recesses spent trying to break through, one kid decided to bring his pocket knife to school and try to pick the lock that way. As soon as I saw the knife, I got the heck out of dodge because I knew that knives were against school policy. After the knife failed, one of the other kids, Owen, (Names have been changed) asked me for a paper clip to try and pick the lock with. I decided to give him one knowing that a fellow fifth grader could not pick a Masterlock with a paper clip. Owen failed like I knew he would. All of our attempts failed to get into that panel. Then one morning after about two weeks of recess spent on that lock, we arrive at school early one morning to find the lock open. One of the kids took initial credit for it, but he didn’t kick open that master lock. In fact, I still don’t know how it opened unless someone unlocked it in order to snare us into a trap. That morning, using Owen’s flashlight I climbed up the vertical shaft to find the entrance way into the rafters above the auditorium. It wasn’t much, but to fifth grade boys it was fantastic. News quickly spread and within three days, every male member of the fifth grade, except for two, had been up into the rafters. On the morning of the fourth day, there was an announcement on the PA right before recess. Our principle, Mr. Herr (Name NOT changed) informed the entire school that the entire male fifth grade population was to report to a particular room for recess that day. So we all knew that the game was up when we walked into the room to be greeted by four policemen decked out in all their regalia, complete with nightsticks, handcuffs, and guns. This thoroughly freaked us out. Mr. Herr then told us that he knew about our escapades and that what we had done was called breaking and entering and would end us up in prison. He then decided to bestow mercy on us by letting us get out of it by putting our name on the list if we went up into the attic. We all started to sign and then he realized that it would take too long to accomplish and so he decided to switch it to have us all right down on a sheet of paper who had NOT gone up into the attic. We identified the two people and then he let us go while he decided our punishment. He realized he couldn’t logistically punish the entire fifth grade male populous and so he decided to go after the “ringleaders” which he defined as those who tried to pick the lock. When this news was broken I was relieved because I knew I hadn’t tried to pick the lock at all. Through his informants, he had obtained a list of those that he deemed “ringleaders,” and they were all supposed to meet in his office right away. I was shocked to find that my name was on that list. Me, a ringleader. I was the loner, the nerd, the kid who until recently was considered an angel, I hadn’t tried to pick the lock. Mr. Herr interviewed us each in turn to get the full story and when I got my chance to voice my concern, he had already decided my guilt in the matter and would not listen to reason. By this time our parents had been called and were championing our causes and were abhorred by his use of intimidation and sternness with their children. Mr. Herr decided to delay the sentencing of us until the next day. My parents, shaken at what I had done, still were on my side that he was out of line considering me as a ringleader. They then taught me that even when the authority is getting you down, you can beat them with the facts if you are true. We called up each of the other ringleaders and recorded their audio statements and asked them for written statements to the effect that I never tried to pick the lock, all I had done was watch and give Owen a paperclip. In one night we gathered all of these statements and my parents and I went into Mr. Herr’s office to plead my case that I know felt was airtight. We presented the evidence, citing examples of when I had left the bathroom when the kid with the knife (NOT one of the ringleaders) had pulled it out. We had some of the kids recalling the fact that I climbed over a wall to get out of the area of that knife. Mr. Herr however would not budge and he decided that because I gave Owen that paperclip, I was to be punished with the rest of them, because I knew that that paperclip would be used to pick the lock. Mr. Herr obviously lacked the logic skills necessary to see 1. Me giving a kid a paperclip was nothing compared to someone providing a knife, and 2. I was smart enough to realize that Owen could not pick a Masterlock with naught but a paperclip. Needless to say, my pleading failed. I was sentenced to in-school suspension (Thank you fellow parents for arguing the punishment down) and I had to write an essay about what I did.

While I believe that this taught me a valuable lesson, which was Mr. Herr’s intent no doubt, it was taught to me not by Mr. Herr, but by my parents. And they taught it so well, that I am just now fully recognizing it. They taught me how to stand up for myself, how to gather evidence to support me, how to not be afraid in the face of my enemies, how to use logic and reason to get me out of anything, and most importantly they taught me so subtly the lesson that has helped me the most through out my life. That lesson is best phrased by Archimedes and that has been re-taught to all of us through Disney’s Pirates: With enough leverage you can move the earth.
(But you can't move the Germans)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Is a Prism a Prison or a Purifier?

In this era of instantaneous communication and endless information, you can get your information from anywhere. Traditionally in the broadcast era you obtained your news and other information through the filter of the news networks. You chose to view your news based on your political preference, CNN for the Left, and Fox for the Right. But in this era of Screen Fluency, where we see information on screens more than read it in print, we have the ability to eliminate those filters that interpret the news for us and can now draw conclusions for ourselves, based on the raw data, images and information. During the Democratic National Convention for example, you had the ability to watch from CNN, Fox, ABC, CBS, or you could log on to the DNC Website and obtain the live, uninterrupted video of the event. Personally I believe in going to the primary source when seeking for the truth and the answers to my questions. This is why I now see Religion as a filter that can be used as a tool to obtain the truth for some much as people watch the news on CNN or Fox. We each might have our own views on which filter to choose, which religion to follow but, in my mind, they all are distortions of the truth. They each can provide the facts and information of truth, but it has passed through a filter much like white light through a prism, being split into multiple colors.

You can never fully remove the bias from any source as what it does and does not show you is a very essence of the subtle bias that they show you. You can however choose to recognize that bias and to choose sources that have similar underlying biases as yourself rather than swim into a cacophony of counter-intuitive, contradictory information. For this reason I choose to follow the subtle bias of the Lord and not the bias of Satan, but I choose to do it by finding the true source, not through the trappings of religion. I will carry many aspects of my religion with me as I live my life, and I know that I have been shaped by it for my own betterment, but I find that If I am to be forced into a mold, I would rather have that be the mold of perfection in Christ rather than the imperfection of human religion.

I will maintain and carry much of my moral principles imbued in me by my family and church. I will not smoke, drink, do drugs, or alter my body in any way because I was made in the likeness of the lord and who am I to challenge that? I will continue to seek for the Lord in my life, and seek for his guidance in all that I do through continued prayer. I believe that all religions have some of the truth and that when that truth is expressed, is when its members find the joy of Christ. I seek to find that truth for me, in my life wherever I might find it. I find myself in a time when extremism confronts me on all sides and I have been taught that the most assured way to be wrong and to fail is to be an extremist. I plan to take all things, all life experiences, all activities in moderation for an excess of one thing is just as likely to lead to malnourishment as the lack of something.

To those who know me and fear that I am making a rash decision based on hurt emotions, confusion, naivety, or any other fallacy that you can conceive, know that this is something that I have spent many long nights contemplating and feeling for an answer to my question of truth. Know that I believe that this is the path that will bring me the greatest happiness in the long run. Know that I have been on the edge of death while seeking this path and I believe very strongly in it and any attempts to delineate me from my path will be met with hurt from me for your lack of respect to my decision. Remember that while our opinions may differ, I will not try to force mine upon you and all I ask is that you do not try to force yours upon me. That is NOT to say that I am against hearing your concerns, fears, or ideas on this new path of mine, BUT do not expect me to change my path very easily for just as you believe that yours is the true way, I too believe that mine is the true and narrow path.

I am NOT an atheist, I believe very strongly that God exists. I am not Agnostic, believing that God exists but not caring much about Him. I am instead a child of God, whom he loves. I am one who cares very much about my connection with God. I hope to have my life directed by the Lord, to the truth. I will try to find this truth not only through the standard ways of seeking for him in the great works of religious and philosophical thinkers, but by seeking, obtaining, maintaining, and utilizing a direct connection to the Lord. The source of all truth.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Finally Someone is fighting Global Warming ... With Fire!

Finally the tragedy of Global warming is being seen by variant groups and they have seen the need to change our current downward spiral. I am talking of course, about the Pirates in Somalia.

Avast, If ye look at this carefully prepared graph you will see that over the past years, the earths temperature as risen in strong correlation with the dwindling number of pirates (the seafaring kind not internet trafficking kind.) Thus as Somalians concern over global rising has increased, they have taken it upon themselves to help bring down the temperatures of this great planet. I don't think these pirates should be punished, I think that they deserve the Nobel Peace prize for their deep concern on the climate crisis. Now if only this didn't effect the financial crisis...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


One of the primary reasons I supported Romney was because of his economic prowess--something that would be invaluable today given the state of our economy. This Op-Ed, published this morning by the New York Times, and which has been a major topic of discussion today, represents well the thorough knowledge base Romney has of socio-economic matters.

Let Detroit Go Bankrupt

I think that in this era of economic downturn that Romney would have been the better man for the Economy than Obama, while I think Obama has succeeded in restoring our national image which I think is another huge issue that I care deeply about. All in all, I think that Obama could become a great president and is planning on surrounding himself with great people to help him rebuild and retool our nation for the times ahead. I agree with Romney, that Detroit needs to be retooled, remanaged by an entirely new group of people from a different field, however I think that the new management would require some money to stay afloat in the interum and them staying afloat will help keep American jobs.

Wouldn't it be great if Obama had the bipartisanship to appoint Mitt Romney to the position of Secretary of the Treasury? I mean it really is what Mitt has made his company out of. Taking defunct budgets and retooling them to yield higher profits, which in this case, means better services for the American people.

So Mr. President, do what is needed and ignore party lines, You want someone who disagrees with you why not pick one of the GOP candidates who can help America better than anyone I know.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Meaning for an Individual Life

In Shadow Puppets by Orson Scott Card, there is an interesting dialogue on the meaning of life and here is the condensed text version of that dialog for all to see. I think that this is so true, that it is a gem of truth in this sea of uncertainty that we call life.
"Here is the meaning of life: for a man to find a woman, for a woman to find a man,the creature most unlike you, and then to make babies with her, with him, or to find them some other way, but then to raise them up, and watch them do the same thing, generation after generation, so that when you die you know you are permanently a part of the great web of life. That you are not a loose thread, snipped off. Even men who do not desire women, even women who do not desire men, this does not exempt them from the deepest desire of all, the desire to be inextricable part of the human race. It’s hardwired into all of us. Not just sexual desire – that can be twisted any which way, and it often is. And not just a desire to have children, because many people never get that, and yet they can still be woven into the fabric. No, it’s a deep hunger to find a person from that strange, terrifying other sex and make a life together. Even old people beyond mating, even people who know they can’t have children, ther’s still a hunger for this. For actual marriage, two unlike creatures becoming, as best they can, one."
"I’m talking about a trait that the human race absolutely needed to succeed. The thing that makes us neither herd animals nor solitaries, but something between. The thing that makes us civilized or at least civilizable. And those who are cut off from it by their own desires, by those twists and bends that turn them in another way – like you, Bean, so determined are you that no more children will be born with your defect, and that there will be no children orphaned by your death – those who are cut off, they are still hungry for it, hungrier than ever, especially if they deny it. It makes them angry, bitter, sad, and they don’t know, they can’t bear to face the knowledge."
'This life wish had to be present in all living things for any species to continue as they all desperately struggled to do. It isn’t a will to survive – that is selfish, and such selfishness would be meaningless, would lead to nothing. It is a will for the species to survive with the self inside it, part of it, tied to it, forever one of the strands in the web'
"I kept my sanity by fencing myself about with lies, and believing them. But you know the truth. If you leave this world without your children in it, without having made that bond with such an alien creature as a woman, then your life will have meant nothing to you, and you’ll die in bitterness and alone."

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Blessings of Christ, Perfect People Only

Have you ever felt abandoned by the Lord? Ever felt like you have messed up so much that there is no recovery? Well Remember that the Atonement of Jesus Christ can only aid those who are already perfect. NOT!!! The Atonement and it's blessings are bestowed upon us all if we but turn to christ and repent. Take for example Jonah. Jonah received a direct commandment from the Lord and outright refused it and fled the other way. The Lord could have given up on Jonah and sought someone else to spread the gospel to Niniveh but he didn't, He instead allowed Jonah to become humble and then he forgives Jonah. Another great example of this is found in Alma 17:14-15. The Sons of Mosiah are discussing the Lamanites and are heading out to go and teach to them and Mormon ads this commentary about them.

14... [The Lamanites were] a people who delighted in murdering the Nephites, and robbing and plundering them; and their hearts were set upon riches, or upon gold and silver, and precious stones; yet they sought to obtain these things by murdering and plundering, that they might not labor for them with their own hands.
15 Thus they were a very indolent people, many of whom did worship idols, and the curse of God had fallen upon them because of the traditions of their fathers; notwithstanding the promises of the Lord were extended unto them on the conditions of repentance.

These Lamanites were described as scum of the earth evil. Yet the promises of the Lord and the blessings of the Atonement were open to them and are open to use "On the Conditions of repentance" No matter what, We are never to far gone that the Lord can not save us if we but call out to Him.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Chisels, Hammers and Sandpaper

"Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it." - Michaelangelo

We are all slabs of stone, some are large and grandiose, others strong and stout. We all entered this world as a "Tabula Rasa" A blank slate with which the Master sculpture was to create out of us, masterpieces. He was slated with the task of making us all perfect. A refiner can make silver perfect through the purity of the fire, the Master Sculpture makes a slab of stone into a perfected work of art not by adding more, but by taking away that which does not meet the qualifications of perfection. How would you feel if you had a chunk of yourself removed? It would hurt and it would be painful and you would ask Why? The Master looks and sees that we have the strength to bear the shearing of stone, but that in removing our imperfections, by cutting away and smoothing down and polishing us, we can become great works of art. We all too often are content to settle for something we created, but would it not be better to be touched by the masters hand and have the beauty to show for it?
Rather than settling for being a work of the human mind.

As we all struggle in life, we must focus on what the divine has in store for us, not for what the world has in mind and that as we stay strong for the Lord, He will create truly perfect beings out of our crude matter.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Rough-hewn Divinity that Shapes Us All

"There's a divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them how we will." - Hamlet

There is a grander picture that we can't see. We are staring at a square inch of tile, we know not what it is because we are deeply involved and invested in that one square inch. If we were to take a step back, we would see the beauty that is the sistine chapel. In this life, we are all connected and everything happens for more than one reason. While we have our own individual freedom within our section of that square inch, it will not effect the grand scheme, and it will only reflect poorly upon us to whom the stewardship of that inch was given. So why not listen to the master and learn from him and create a piece of mastery that has been touched by the masters hand. When we step back we will see that we are not a jumble of unconnected dots, but rather a picture of pointillism that is beautiful and funny and good. We must needs follow the plan of the master no matter how much we might desire something for ourselves because he is not a God of pacification, or soothsaying, but a God of Truth and Purity Much like the Furnace within which the impurities are removed until the master refiner can see his reflection in us.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Open Source Philanthropy with a deadline

Many of you know about which is a United States based nonprofit organization that provides a way for people to donate directly to specific projects at public schools which is where i believe the most good can be done.

Members Project is a program from American Express to award 1.5 million dollars to the charity that it's members choose in a contest. The contest ends today and so i need your help to make donorschoose, which is in the top five, gain the last 2000 votes it needs to gain 1.5 million dollars to invest in Education.

One click here today can give 100,000 students $1.5 million for education. Each of us has that one influential teacher who touched our lives. Imagine if more teachers had the reasorces to touch other's lives. Click and you can help them. But do it before midnight tonight because that is when the contest ends.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Butter, Moths, and Flies

"Growing up, I remember playing on the escalators at the mall. My favorite thing to do was to try to run up the escalator that was heading down. I am sure I was not alone doing this, but just in case you don't remember, the problem with doing this is that if you stop to catch your breath before you reach the end, you start losing ground. As I look at my life now in retrospect, I realize that I taught myself a good principle all those days on the escalators. I taught my self that in pursuing good, that stagnancy is death. If I stop doing good, I start doing bad. I find that this is true in almost all aspects of life, and it has been staring us in the face for years. Many years ago, Yoda said "Do or do not, there is no try." This is the same principle. We must constantly seek to improve our lives, or our lives will be worse of than we were before. CS Lewis once stated "It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad." While this quote deals with other issues, the last part applies to what I am saying. You can not go on indefinitely remaining an egg, you must move on and progress, or rot. We must have constant vigilance and continue going on, if we do not we will fail. We must endure until the top of the staircase. This reminds me of an African story.

Every morning, when the sun comes up in Africa, a gazelle wakes up.

It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed.

Every morning a lion wakes up.

It knows that it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death.

It doesn't matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle.

When the sun comes up, you better start running.

We had best start running, and keep going until we have finished the race or suffer the consequences of stopping. "

I wrote this last year and recently revisited it. I want to know now is what happens when you discover that the race you thought you were in doesn't exist, or that while you thought you were a participant, you discovered you didn't have the necessary qualifications to compete halfway through the race. Should you push yourself to the end of the race, which you are not enjoying, for nothing, or should you drop out of the race and go and do something you enjoy. I guess it all comes down to a cost benefit ratio and sometimes it is troubling to discover the effects and results of that ratio. What do you do to something when the cost far outweighs the benefit, logically you should drop it and focus on something with a higher cost/benefit right? I am in amongst that debate now and even though it would drastically change my life, I believe that the cost far outweighs the benefit in my situation and I, being the logical person that I am, am most likely going to change my lifestyle soon. I do not know what form it will take and what tendrils to my old life will remain, but I am going through a metamorphosis right now. Lets just hope that I emerge as something useful and productive that I can agree with and be happy and proud about. Because as Pete Rose says, "You owe it to yourself to be the best you can possibly be - in baseball and in life.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My Dream Line

The following is a list of things I would like to accomplish with my Life. They are listed in no particular order except the order that they have come to me since I thought about writing this list. I plan to accomplish all of these things at some point in my life. There is no deleting from this list, only adding, no editing, only accomplishing. I encourage everyone to write such a list of their desires, hopes and dreams and refer to it daily to see what you have done that day to reach one of your goals.

1) Become fluent in at least these seven languages;
a) Mandarin, Japanese, Spanish, Italian, German, Arabic and Hindi.
2) Participate as an athlete in the Olympics
3) Skydive
4) Scuba Dive
5) Base Jump
6) Own and read the entire set of the Classics of the Western World
7) Become a massage therapist
8) Attend Graduate school in History
9) See the World, starting with;
a) India, China, Egypt, Greece, Italy, England, Germany, Machu Pichu, Teotihuacán, Istanbul, Mecca, Spain, Australia and New Zealand.
10) Drive on the Autobahn
11) Own an Austin Martin DBS
12) Become a professional Photographer
13) Work for a cruise line
14) Swim 10 miles in one day
15) Run a Marathon
16) Bike Logan to Jackson Hole (LOTOJA) or similar bike route
17) Obtain and read the entire CS Lewis Collection
18) Write a book
19) Meet the President of a Nation
20) Meet the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
21) Visit all of the Smithsonian museums
22) Sing on a professional stage
23) Create a YouTube channel, Blog and Facebook page to document my Bucket list activities
24) Learn to play piano effectively
25) Meet with Thomas Friedman and discuss Globalization
26) Swim the English Channel
27) Swim the Panama Canal (if possible)
28) Visit all 50 states
29) Perform in a play on a major stage
30) Obtain first editions of the Chronicles of Narnia
31) Secure the financial well being of one of my true friends
32) Learn to Snowboard
33) Go Hang Gliding

Saturday, August 30, 2008

DC Life

So here I am, a 19 year-old Senior from the University of Utah after one week in DC, what do I think about it, well, I say that DC Rocks my Socks! I am Loving it here, I work for Fresenius Medical Care of North America in their Government Relations Office with 3 other people. I live at the Consulate Apartments off of the Van Ness Metro stop. Here are some Photos of my room.

Our Family Room
My Bedroom

I have spent this week at work doing everything, from simple office slave, to receptionist, to copy boy, to courier to researcher, to IT guy and to Assistant Lobbyist. My Boss is Great and she likes me in fact she said "David I don't know what I'd do without you." After only 3 days of work. She has already hinted at the possibility of a job and I might be willing to take her up on it.

My Room Mate is Mitch Dumke, from SLC, an RM from Calgary who is working for Reuters.

My two other flatmates are JJ Vandette, from the World, a traveling man who works for the Department of Energy, and Tyler Anderson, from Park city who is working with the Foreign Affairs Committee.

We all went to a Nationals Game last Tuesday and it was great, here are a couple of photos from there.
Here is the View from 3rd Base, quite an impressive stadium.

Here is the Giant scoreboard from the other side of the stadium, high quality crisp screen.

I have done a lot in my first week, and will put up more at a later date. From the experiences my first week, I have come to learn that DC will challenge me, and that it will be a great opportunity for soul searching.