01 March 2010

Vent

Most of the time your humble correspondent here manages to maintain a pretty even temperament. A calm demeanor. Working for the last year at a very high-pressure high-profile major technology company in the Bay Area where they think they're the ones with the real work ethic, my Southern California laid-back surfer boy attitudes, mannerisms and language have not gone unnoticed or unremarked.

And yet, this evening, walking back to the office from the local watering hole and reading a couple of other blogs on the iPhone, I realized I had reached a boiling point. I wanted to take that phone and throw it against a tree and jump up and down and indulge in a torrent of cursing. Mark Twain was right when he said sometimes profanity affords a relief that even prayer doesn't.

So if you heard what you thought was a hurricane from the US West Coast within the last hour, it wasn't. It was just me ranting outside about what Sarah described as the worlds of difference in how local Mormon leaders interpret things and administer or withhold privileges, and Twinky Chink's report of a senior Mormon leader who preached to his flock that Boticelli's Birth of Venus and Michelangelo's David are pornography. It was just me yelling at those Mormon leaders, saying things I'd never said to them before. Like WTF! And "Just shut up already! You've got innocent trusting people who think you're telling them the truth all the time, ex officio! Just shut up!"

And of course, my natural predilection to look for cosmic principles in minutiae led me instantly to think of all the other incidents I've seen or heard of like that where local leaders preached the most staggering idiocies as if they were unquestioned gospel truth. And more senior leaders blithely backed them up or didn't lift a finger to stop or correct. Damn, I hate priestcraft. No matter the location or packaging. For non-Mormon readers, that word comes from the Book of Mormon, which basically defines it as men setting themselves up as a "light to the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world," at the expense of truth and honesty and other things that really matter.

Sometimes it really really sucks to be a gay Mormon boy. But sometimes I'm glad I am one. Know why? Because the Mormon theological tradition has some principles that other Christian denominations don't focus quite so much on. Like this one: because the Savior redeemed all of us from the fall of Adam, we are "free forever, knowing good from evil, to act for [ourselves] and not to be acted upon" (2 Nephi 2:26). Or this one: we should be eagerly "engaged in a good cause, and do many things of [our] own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness" (Doc. & Cov. 58:27).

So I'm gonna put a little different spin on those scriptures. Like 19th Century Mormon leader George Q. Cannon said, don't trust anybody just because they're a church leader (in any church), "though he be a bishop, an apostle, or a president. If you do, they will fail you at some time or place, they will do wrong or seem to, and your support [will] be gone."

Be strong and think for yourself. Read, study, get smart about the things that matter so you can make your own decisions for your own life. Learn from others who are smarter and wiser than you. Study whatever books you accept as scripture or inspired or wise or whatever, seek inspiration and guidance from whatever divine source you may believe in. But don't abdicate to anyone else your own responsibility to choose your life's course. Don't listen to fools like the people Sarah and Twinky Chink talked about, wherever you find them. They're wasting your time. Just laugh them off and go on your way.

Listen to what Steve Jobs said over there to the left in my "Words to Live By": "Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others' opinions drown your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."

3 comments:

santorio said...

You know, South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation process? That's going to happen with us, too. I'm sure of it. Vent, confess, forgive, but from the bottom up, not from the top down.

Gay Mormon said...

I was riding my bike along I-80 this evening and this terrible wind came out of nowhere blowing in from the west. It took me surprise and nearly swept me off the road. Now I know from whence it came!

P.S. I couldnt agree with your thoughts on the matter more.

Other Species said...

I've got the thinking for myself part pretty good, though what really is a hardship is the loneliness that results from it.