Thursday, March 31, 2005 

Tradition! Tradition!

I would just like to point out that I have had the song “Traditions” from Fiddler on the Roof in my head ALL WEEK LONG. I don’t mind telling you that it gets on your nerves after the second day. It is now the fourth day. My nerves are shot.

The good news is that I have so many traditions that surround my family, both immediate and extended. But as I’ve been thinking about all the traditions, I’ve realized that not all traditions are good ones. There are some vicious cycles (or traditions) that can carry through generation to generation. On my mom’s side of the family, the only tradition I could come up with is that when we’re all together, we speak ill of my grandmother. Granted, my grandmother was…was…was…a Psycho-Hose-Beast who’s choices in life caused much angst and scarring for my mom, her sisters and those that love them, but still…that’s not exactly a reputable tradition. It’s a good thing we spend so much MORE time laughing and talking and loving each other, despite the ugliness that happened in the past.

My dad’s side of the family, although not without their own share of imperfections, has much more fun traditions to discuss. For the past 35+ years, our family has shared a unique tradition that is Pomegranate Weekend. Yes, a pomegranate is a fruit…but this dear family has a tradition of each October or November spending the day (used to be weekend) seeding and juicing pomegranates to make juice and then jelly. There’s also a tradition of making homemade raviolis. We are not Italian by any stretch of the imagination…but we make ROCKIN’ Raviolis!

But what really is on my mind are my girls. What traditions do I want them to grow up with and have fond memories of? Some of those listed above are important for them to grow up with. (The bad-talking about grandma REALLY shouldn’t be passed on.) But the family trips to the ocean…a FAVORITE of our traditions; I want my girls to remember that. The way my in-laws and my family come together for Thanksgiving…the HUGE dinner we have with everyone. I want my girls to remember that. The INSANE Christmas routine we have of spending Christmas Eve with Hubby’s family (opening presents at midnight or so) and then getting up early and head to my mom and dad’s house to spend Christmas Day with them. As crazy as that is, I want my girls to cherish those times.

I guess the bottom line is that my life is constantly crazy and on the move. But I know that I don’t want Paige and Abby to remember only that. Heck, I don’t want that to stick out in my memories either. What I want us all to remember is the good stuff. I want us to all remember the traditions that make us happy. I want there to be more traditions that mean so much to us. I want the scales to be tipped…but to have the traditions and good times outweigh the stress and craziness.

Oh, and also…less talking bad about people. I want that too.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005 

Tradition Partition

The two sides of my family are wildly different... and the traditions on each side vary just the same. Some of these "traditions" aren't exactly things done on purpose, but they do seem to happen over and over again. This might mean that they're not traditions, but they're the closest thing I've got.

My Dad's Side
Southern, alcoholic, and super disfunctional is how I'd describe them. Yet, my grandmother and grandfather made major efforts to celebrate holidays when we were kids.

Each Christmas Eve my grandparents' three boys, their wives and all of the grandchildren would have dinner together. The kids would be treated to a visit from Santa Claus who passed out gifts. We would all open our gifts from my grandparents together.

It wasn't just Christmas, either. There were egg hunts on Easter, fireworks for the Fourth of July and every Thanksgiving was spent in their kitchen.

As we got older, the visits from Santa stopped, but we still got together. Then, when I was 15, my grandfather passed away. This changed holidays forever for me. They were not changed just because I missed my grandfather who I loved a great deal, but because my grandmother lost part of herself.

She stopped taking care of herself. She sunk deeper into alcoholism and addiction to tobacco. She certainly didn't clean.

For the first few years after grandpa passed away, the grandkids would come over the day before a holiday and clean her house so that it was acceptable. By the year I went to college, these efforts were abandoned as impossible since she kept indoor pets afflicted with fleas and made no efforts to exterminate the cockroaches that filled her cabinets.

My Mom's Side
Although my mom's side of the family is the "Mormon side," most of the holidays, even the religiously based ones, were not celebrated there. The one exception was Christmas Day.

Each Christmas Day the entire family gathered together. My mom has five brothers and sisters giving my grandparents 17 grandchildren. Together we would have a nice dinner, play with our cousins, visit and always there was a session of picking on someone by my parents.

Invariably, I was the target of this "picking" session. I know that it was just teasing, but I always hated it. I don't know why I didn't flee the scene. I tried to stick up for myself, but it never worked out. Eventually, I'd just call attention to the fact that someone else hadn't been picked on today... and the focus would shift to them, instead.

The family gets together once each summer these days, when those who live out of state make an annual pilgramage home to visit their mom (my grandfather passed away while I was in college). We don't make as big a party as we might, since many of the grandkids don't make it to these gatherings. Nevertheless, I do like to get together with my Mormon family... and see whose turn it is to be picked on.


I know that holidays are important to kids. They are a way to mark the changing of the seasons. They give opportunity for fun and social interaction. I certainly plan to carry on the tradition set by my paternal grandparents of making holidays a fun time for my family. I hope that it won't end the way it has for my grandmother.

Although I viewed it as getting "picked on" at the time, I now realize that those conversations at my maternal grandparents' home were actually a great way for them to get to know us better. My parents were actually just goading us into talking about ourselves... they were so successful (I certainly never stopped talking about myself!).

I see these two sides of my family as two important parts of a tradition... ceremonial trappings & the heart that goes with them. I'm glad to have balanced it out, in the end.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005 

We Are Family



That is my family. Aren't we cute? This picture was taken a while back as you can tell by my girth and the absence of my sisters current husband. But, for the most part there we are. The "Marinara's" in all of our glory and splendor. I love my family very much. We certainly put the "fun" in disfunctional, and to be honest, I like that about us. We are an odd group, a group that I don't think would have come together any other way than to be born into it. As my dad likes to say, we are worse then the mafia, you can't even die to get out.

Traditions in my family are far from formal. On your birthday you get to pick what you want to eat for dinner and what kind of cake you want. Christmas presents are opened Christmas morning, the Easter bunny stops at our place, etc. etc. I never thought we did anything out of the ordinary tradition wise. But the word tradition doesn't just apply to our actions at holidays. It also is defined as a thought pattern passed on from one generation to another. That is often stronger than when you open presents and which events are a big deal in your house. The way of thinking that is passed from parent to child, the values that are infused into us from the cradle on. Those are the things that matter most.

My parents did a lot of things that I hope to replicate with my children and many that I pray I will not.

When we were very small my mother would have us lay on her bed and listen to classical music. Then, as we listened she would have us close our eyes and tell the story the music was telling us. My younger sister and I would tell her tales of wolves and little lost children, we would tell her about mermaids and ponies and running through the jungle. Those were the first stories I told, the first ignition of my imagination, those were the first visions of other lives that passed through my head. Not long after those afternoons in the golden light of that old bedroom I would begin to write those visions down, something I haven't stopped doing since I knew how to string letters and words and sentences together.

We were read to. And not just little kid books, but novels and scriptures. I remember watching my mother read and knowing how important her books were to her. She taught me to treat books, words and language well.

We always said "I love you." Both of my parents grew up with parents who didn't verbally express their love. My parents made a point of always telling us how they felt. Even now, I can never get through a phone call or conversation with them without them telling me how much the love me at least twice.

There were always multiple birthday cards. My mom could never decide on a birthday card for us. There was the funny one, the sentimental one, the silly one and each one was perfect in some way. So instead of choosing, she would just buy them all and write a different message in each. Both my sister and I are horribly guilty of this behavior. We are compulsive greeting card buyers.

There are many, many, many things I do not want to take from my family experience. I want to leave behind a lot of the ugly things that have happened to me in my life. But despite those ugly things, so often at the hands of those I loved so much, I would rather have gone through those experiences with the people I call my family than with anyone else. They have molded me, sometimes gently and lovingly, other times with great harshness, but either way I have been shaped by them. When I pull my own children from the clay of paternity and attempt to make them into good people I will follow in the tradition of my parents for some things and blaze new trails on my own. Just as my mom and dad did. Just as their parents did. That may be the finest of all the traditions we have. The tradition that is change - making better for our children what we can while preserving those things that shaped us into the men and women we are now.

Monday, March 28, 2005 

A Day of Rest

This is an interesting topic to land on Easter. Today I met up with my closest girlfriends for a very nice Sunday Easter brunch which we combined with a 30th birthday celebration. Parking was worse then usual because it was Easter Sunday and people were lining up for church, something that the majority of these individuals don’t do each Sunday, but instead something these families do as an Easter tradition. I observed a lot of other peoples traditions today. More people then usual were dressed up and almost every lady was wearing an Easter hat... it was like the Kentucky Derby along Union Street this afternoon. The street was closed down for pony rides and a parade with clowns and Easter bunny’s and an Easter Bonnet contest. We even saw cows on roller skates... quite a day.

When I was little girl my parents made us all Easter baskets, my sister and I always had a new dress for church and we always ended the day with a ham dinner. But now it is just me and what is tradition if you don’t have anyone to share it with?

My family had many traditions as I was growing up, but as we got older many of our traditions changed, or died away. For example, when I was a little girl my mom made all of us children Christmas PJ’s. Every Christmas Eve we each were able to open one present and each year this one present was our Christmas Eve pajamas. We would put on our pajamas, my parents would take a picture of us in our home made pj’s in front of the tree and then off to be bed all four of us went. Now that we are all grown and everyone but me has children of their own the Christmas eve present has changed from pj’s to cook books for the adults and children’s book for the grandchildren. I am glad that my parents recognize the importance of adjusting family traditions to meet the changes of the family unit.

But what family traditions will I carry on? I don’t really know. I imagine that I won’t carry on any if I don’t have a family to share them with. But if I do become a wife or a mother I know that I will carry on my families tradition of Sunday being a day of rest. I have often wondered how I would raise my children to understand the importance of family without raising them in the Mormon Church. Years and years ago I decided that Sunday would be my family day just as it was while I was growing up. I’ll spend Sundays with my family having picnics and bike rides and brunches and hiking and reading together and enjoying in one another’s company and building our relationship as a family, as a single unit. I will make sure that Sunday is a family day, one we spend together resting, not working.

I don’t know if my family now would consider Sunday’s a tradition, but I do. Almost every Sunday my parents cook Sunday dinner for all of their children and grandchildren within driving distance. I love coming home to visit and knowing that come Sunday my whole family will be sitting at my parents table sharing stories, gossip, telling jokes and just enjoying being with one another. I want to make sure that what ever traditions I carry on in my own family they will create the kind of bond that my parents created with us, the kind of a bond where even as adults we long to all be together come Sunday.

Saturday, March 26, 2005 

A Reluctant Invader of Privacy

I love a good story, who doesn’t? I like, no, LOVE to know the who, what, why, where, how, & when… I like to stand where SOMETHING happened, something important and eventful; like at the old temple site at Nauvoo (now an actual temple which I haven’t seen, but the actual thing, while exciting, cannot be as mysterious as the empty lot with the exposed foundation…), the grassy knoll in Dallas, and most recently, the street corner where Biggie Smalls was gunned down in front of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

While I might be strange, I know I’m not the only one who loves the gritty details…the only one who wants the inside scoop.

I think “The Executioner’s Song” has cured me of that.

This last week, in preparation for my blog, I went out of my way to drive past the Best Western on 3rd South in Provo TWICE. I rounded the corner and tried to guess which house belonged to Vern Damico, to imagine Gary Gilmore walking down the street and trying to stash a gun in the bushes. I even made Todd drive me up to 175 East 800 North in Orem to see the Sinclair station bathrooms. I went as far as to take photos that I planned on posting with my blog to put you RIGHT THERE. To stand in the spot…

But I have changed my mind.

Reason #1: I had to stop reading the book. I am a person who must read the book from cover to cover, and I just couldn’t do it; I got to page 361 and then skimmed a few more pages at the back. The book was affecting my mood.

Here’s what I liked: Mr. Mailer is a good writer. I appreciated the occasional insertion of vernacular, not in quote, but in description of common things.

For an outsider, I thought he treated our peculiar community with objectivity and with occasionally beautiful insight. For example:

“[Colleen and Max] were going to be married in time and eternity, married not only in this life, but as each of them has explained to many a Sunday School class, married in death as well, for the soul of the husband and wife would meet again in eternity and be together forever. In fact, marriage in other Christian churches was practically equal to divorce, since such marriages were only made until parting by death. That was what Max and Colleen had taught their students. Now they were marrying each other. Forever.”

This is not derivative of Mormon sealings, but tender and accurate; intentionally, if not physically, juxtaposed against Gary and Nicole’s doomed, carnal, and death halted relationship.

I was also really intrigued by some of the issues brought up in later pages; about the death penalty, the penal code, and Hollywood’s hunger for story rights…but I just couldn’t get past the first few hundred pages. I seriously needed a simple synopsis, not a psyche evaluation and a history of sexual dysfunction.

Reason #2: Everyone’s blogs this week made me see my position in a new light, almost daily. But Cameron put the last nail in the lid of the coffin. I owe it to everyone I know who has had a rough go, and who has been gossiped about (even by reporters and the media), to just let the story be.

While Mr. Mailer’s story is compelling, it is not, CANNOT be reality, even if it says “Literature/Current Affairs” on the spine. I won’t propagate the legend, I won’t take to heart the falsehoods, I don’t want to know the why’s so badly that I become one of a million invaders of someone else’s private story. I said it all in a comment on Cameron’s blog.

This story is too fresh to be made up quite yet. The blood has barely soaked into the ground. I’m not ready for the sordid, excruciatingly EXACT details. Some of the people in the book are still living, and grieving. If they want me to know about their true grief, I’ll have to let them tell me.

I’ll wait for a story where the blood is dried, turned to dust, and long, long gone. I need the sterilization of passing time.

It’s not that I don’t want to know, I just don’t want to know just yet, I feel like an invader…

Friday, March 25, 2005 

Go Jazz!!

Well this is going to have to be short this week. I intended to write this last night but I ended up with Jazz tickets and it had been about 10 days since my last Jazz=Hell night so I decided to go up, of course they lost. Of the dozen or so games I have been to this year I think they have only won once when I am there, I am a curse to the Jazz.

Now as to the book, I really think I would rather talk about the Jazz and their 9 game losing streak. 1000 Pages come on ladies; I can barely make it through a Laffy Taffy Joke. I would be lying if I said I read all 1000. There were parts as Becca said that drug on, and on, and on.

I would like to focus on a little something from everyone’s posts this week. From Becca’s blog I would like to mention the bird, I mean the second part issue, completely agree, that’s where pages started getting skipped.

Sarahs writings were a little too personal for me to be able to say I agree or disagree. I can say that what she said about loving some one in spite of everything is an important message, also I agree with her about the recommendation, I am not giving this my “Cameron’s Seal of Approval” (You would be surprised how many people rely on my seal of approval.)

From Kaycee I had similar thoughts about how Mailer could have obtained so much information and could “talk about people’s motivations, secret desires ….” The only thought that kept coming to my head in answer to this was the book Jay’s Journal. If you are not familiar with it, do not become familiar with it. It’s a based on a true story. I have met some of the family, and heard the real story, and the load of lies that were told has ruined the family. It was a number one for 30 weeks or something like that. So apparently it was well written and was indicated that it was the “truth”, but I know there was a lot of it made up for the sake of the story. That’s what I kept wondering if Mailer had done. If he had taken the liberty to “fill in the blanks”

I think I agree most with JP. I only wanted to be done with the book, and I kept thinking how glad I was that I had not bought the book for my personal collection.
There is too much negativity in the world, too much anger, and hatred, the Beatles really had it right, “All you need is love”, but not the kind Gary expressed. The word selfish was mentioned a couple of times, and that’s what I kept thinking. Gary may have been clinically messed up in the head, but he really was selfish and evil. Having grown up in Provo I have heard the stories, never in such vivid detail though. I can honestly say I wish I had not heard them so vividly now.

So to anyone who read it, I say smile and remember that there is a lot of good in the world! And have a great weekend!

PS Pardon the spelling I am in a rush today and have not had time to proof-read this, or even send it to my editor.

Thursday, March 24, 2005 

Too Much to Take

When I was younger, I often would get in trouble for reading. Well, I wouldn’t actually get in trouble so much for the reading as I would for not putting down the five books I was reading at one time to do what I was told. However, never in all my life have I ever been grounded from a book. That is until I started reading The Executioner’s Song for this month’s Book Club selection. All it took was one phone call to my mom, dumping out all the ickiness that was in that book and in this world, for her to say, “JP, put down that book…and do not pick it back up. You can tell everyone your mother grounded you from it and that prevented you from finishing it.” Now, that excuse may be right up there with “my dog ate my homework” or “my cat unplugged my alarm clock” but it’s very much a true story. And for what it’s worth, I decided to listen to my mother.


I internalize A LOT. I’m very sensitive to many, specific things in this world. I worry about the craziest things. I worry about the poor guy stranded on the side of the road and hope that his day gets better. I worry about the lady in the mall who is scarred so badly, I cringe at the pain she must’ve felt that made the scars. I worry about the kids walking to or from school, by themselves, in the pouring rain. I worry about the dorky kid that probably gets made fun of and thrown in a trash can because that happens sometimes. I worry about all those crack babies that don’t have a chance…or the babies that don’t have enough to eat and go hungry to school everyday. And don’t even get me started on the worry that goes on for the little girls in Cambodia. I try not to watch too much news on TV because that just starts an entire downward spiral of worrying. You can see why each day I read from The Executioner’s Song, I walked away from it feeling so yucky inside that my mom actually grounded me from it.

Norman Mailer has an amazing gift of giving the reader the insight of each of the characters in this book. Without even finishing the book, I know more about Gary Gilmore than I EVER wanted to know. He is demented, evil, selfish and ruined so many lives, even his own. As good of a writer as Norman Mailer is, I still just cannot fathom taking another life. I cannot identify with a person who intentionally ruins another person’s life…and who does it repeatedly. The more I learned about Gary, the more it made me sick to my stomach.

Learning more about Nicole was no different, to be honest. I think learning more about her made me just as ill, but in a different way. Her actions and decisions are so far out of my realm of possibilities that I can no more identify with her than I can Gilmore. I felt so sad that the young girl had settled for a life of poverty, drugs, abuse and living with so many men that did her constant harm. I felt disgusted by her complete disregard for her children and their safety and well-being. How could a mother put her children in such danger? What part of this life led her to believe that all was okay? THESE TRUE-LIFE PEOPLE MADE ME NOT ABLE TO FINISH THIS BOOK!

This book (the parts I did read) was theoretically well written. I say “theoretically” because that man is a talented writer, but I couldn’t stomach the actual words that were written. Mailer wrote this book in a strange, detached way that makes some reader able to read with somewhat of the same detachment. Apparently Mailer just wasn’t a good enough writer for me to be able to do the same. This book attached itself to my spirit and just wouldn’t let go until I put the book down and away. I'm sorry, but I just couldn't do it.

But someday, let's talk about Norman Mailer's hair.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005 

Unanswered Questions After 1000 Pages

Gary Gilmore was selfish, immature, a psychopath, and apparently prone to child molestation. I'm more comfortable with him being dead than alive.

This is what Norman Mailer's account taught me, but it also shared the motivations and emotions of every person mentioned in the account. The detail of every single aspect was astouding, and exhausting, but never boring.

The detail, while exhuastingly thorough, left two questions for me: 1) Was Gary Gilmore ever molested? and 2) How did Norman Mailer get into every single person's head (and was that part of it truly factual)?

Toward the end of the book, and the end of Gary's life, he is questioned repeatedly about if his mother beat him or who messed him up. He defends his mother vigorously and continuously, but there are psychological results that you can't argue with. He only liked very young girls. He confessed to having a kissing relationship with a 13 year old boy when he was 23. Nicole, his love, was very young looking and he constantly focused on her youthful appearance (calling her "elf").

You don't become a child molester unless you've been abused. (At least that's what Law & Order: SVU has taught me.) But Gary just wouldn't admit to being abused.

But the burning question to me as I read was, "How did Mailer do it?" He talked about people's motivations, secret desires, unspoken thoughts, etc. at every turn in the way. There have to have been at least 50 "characters" whose background information was delved into throughout the course of the book.

Because of Mailer's research and detail, you got a sense of why the players in the story did the things they did, things which I would normally have found to be inexplicable. For a moment, I even thought I understood why Gary killed the men he shot. But really, I still don't understand that part.

I guess for all of the exhaustive detail and background information, I wish Mailer had been able to tell us what really made Gary the way he was. And I wonder if being the son of Houdini's illegitmate son had anything to do with it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005 

There Was No Way Out That I Can See

I have been trying to write something about "The Executioner's Song" for three days.

For three days I have written, edited and finally deleted PAGES of words.

I talked about how I felt about capital punishment (I'm against it 100%), how I feel about the prison system (it doesn't work), how I fell about the legal system (it's not a good feeling), how much I wanted to take Nicole and SHAKE SOME SENSE INTO HER (I really did want to), etc. etc. etc.

But none of these ended in a coherent post, and perhaps this won't either, but it's Tuesday and I have to write something.

As I read this book, I could help thinking about my brother. My brother has been in prison three times for a variety of reasons. He went in the first time when he was 21 and got out for the last time when he was 29. He spent almost a decade in the prison systems. It changed him profoundly. It changed our family profoundly. It changed how I feel about a lot of things. He's been out for 4 years now, is finally off of parole and, I think, getting his life together. He has a wife and a daughter who he adores, a good job, and just bought a motorcycle. He has something to be good for now. He's growing up a little bit. I'm really proud of him for that.

As I read this book, I couldn't help thinking about the first time my brother went to prison. I was 14 years old. He was the person I loved most in the world, and he was leaving me because he couldn't make good choices. With perfect clarity I remember my 8th grade graduation. I remember singing a song as JP, Jaimee and one of our favorite teachers translated my words into American Sign Language. I sang my heart out, I sang that song to my brother who sat in that audience and wept. Two weeks later he went to prison for the first time. He left me when I needed him. He left me when I was starting high school, when I needed a brother to tell me how to be cool. He was the first man to break my heart.

I think more than anything I know how Gary's family felt. You don't stop loving someone because they screw up, you don't stop wanting only the best things for them, even when they do things you find morally repugnant. That sounds so funny, but it's true. Despite the fact that Gilmore murdered two people in cold blood, his family couldn't stop loving him, they couldn't be okay with him choosing his death.

I understand that. I understand loving someone so much that you don't care about the mess ups, the blunders - that in spite of everything you just keep loving them.

As for recommending this book... not something I think I will be doing. It's definitely not a book for everyone. But I'm glad I read it.

Monday, March 21, 2005 

The Executioner’s Song.

I loved The Executioner’s Song because it was short and about such a light topic that I was able to breeze right through it and read my other book for my other book club and then some books of my own choice on the side. Oh wait... that is all lies.

If number of pages tells how good a book is then this one scores a 1072, not bad. That being said The Executioner’s Song leaves a bitter taste in my mouth for the simple reason that it monopolized too much of my time. Fortunatly I am a fan of true crime and this was its saving grace (what is the fascination so many of us have with evil and evil people?).

The Executioner’s Song is a true story about Gary Gilmore who basically grew up in the prison system. Once released he robbed and killing two men in cold blood and was returned to prison. Gary became the first person executed in the U.S., executed in Utah by firing squad, since the reinstitution of the death penalty. By not fighting his death penalty sentence Gilmore launched a national debate about capital punishment.

Mailer does an incredible job letting us understand who Mr. Gilmore is, often making me uncomfertable. The author shows us who Gilmore is by detailing his daily life and his interactions with other people and those peoples reactions to Gary Gilmore. It is was absolutly chilling the more and more I entered the mind of Gary Gilmore, this man was without a doubt insane.

The first half of the book is much better then the second which takes us into the legal appeals and seems to drag on forever. And then of course there are a few things that I am not sure I agree with, for example Mailer’s potrayal of small-town Utah life, but really what would I know. And then, while I think Mailer does a great job recounting the story I don’t know that it was Pultzer Price worthy. Not so sure.

And finally, earlier this evening my brother told me he had to get off the phone because a bird had entered the house and kept flying at his head because the cat was chasing it. Do you think he was providing the worst lie in the world to get me off the phone? I wonder...

Oh yeah... I give it an 7+ out of 10 (really could be shorter, especially that second half). I recommend it to the reader that that has time on their hands.

Saturday, March 19, 2005 

I Was Ostracized Yet Approachable

As I have been writing this, I have been getting more and more sick to my stomach… This is an awkward topic for me. Proceed at your own risk of comfort…

I had the same rules that pretty much all Mormons did about dating: absolutely no even numbers of boys and girls until October 11, 1990 or, the 16th anniversary of the Mormon’s birth). Even when I went to run errands with a guy friend on behalf of my mother, she made a sibling come along as chaperone. No worries, I totally understood, even if I thought it was a little eccentric.

My religion had a BIG affect on my social life. I did not get asked out on ONE date from someone at my high school. (With the exception of one time which wasn’t really a date because I went with a friend knowing that I was the substitute for the other friend who couldn’t go.) I’m not bitter. I knew why…

I went to a predominantly Catholic high school; near Boston…EVERYONE was Irish or Italian (maybe a few Poles). Mormonism was still seen there (in the early 90’s) as a quaint but strange religion. And people knew my basic standards: no drinking, no smoking, no fooling around.

I had crushes on boys at school, but I was also painfully shy around boys; I still am. In fact, I can’t believe I ever got married. But my strangeness made boys think that I wouldn’t be good on a date, and truth be told, I probably wouldn’t have.

I went to a couple of dances, but since no one from school asked me, I always asked boys from church.

Senior Prom
Senior Prom 1993. I'm in the back row in the irridescent peach number. It was $20.

This was fine because the boys from church were good guys who were fun and were like brothers to me. Occasionally I would get a crush on one of them, but it never lasted long. It was never a good idea to date seriously within such a small group of people. We did A LOT of informal groups dates. It was more like just like hanging out. It was fun and comfortable and always a good time.

Newport, RI
Good friends and good times in Newport, Rhode Island visiting the mansions. It was the first time I went night swimming in the ocean. Fun but a little freaky.

I did have a boyfriend (from church) from the time I was barely 16 for over a year. It was serious, and we really liked each other, but I just couldn’t stop being shy, even after a year. I just couldn’t get comfortable, so I broke things off. (I have to say that it briefly improved my social life with boys at school. My boyfriend was the star soccer player on the rival school’s team. I think the guys at my school were a little surprised that #1 I was dating ANYONE, and #2 that I was dating HIM!)

There was no such thing as creative dates in my teenage realm of dating. That is a purely WESTERN philosophy. I would hear stories from cousins in Utah and friends in California about the productions and schemes and pageants they created to ask someone to a dance or how they got asked. I was SO grateful I did not have to partake in that behavior. I NEVER would have gone to a dance.
Dance with Dad

Daddy daughter dance hosted by the high school. My dad was thy only dad escorting THREE daughters. He was a good sport the whole night. He didn't get to sit out a sinlge dance.

And it seemed that no one was intimidated by me. So that wasn’t the reason I didn’t get asked out. Even the most NERDY, awkward, Asberger’s Syndrome guys (not kidding) felt comfortable asking me out. Is that mean? It may be, but it’s true.

I have literally gone out with the craziest characters (because I was/am a nice Mormon girl who can’t say “no”.) I wish I had photographs, but these are the exact types of dates that you NEVER want documentation of.

I have made a commitment to myself to assist my children in the arts of dating. I plan on teaching them principles from “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” I want to make sure dating is something that is timely (appropriate age and all) AND fun. I know that no matter what I do, my kids will feel the pressure to date and have girlfriends/boyfriends and to get married (not before 25 please). I just don’t want them to agonize over it any more than they have to.

But to end on a good note: I had great friends in high school.
with Mutton on the lawn
We really cared for each other. I could always count on my "church friends" to be there for me and to sympathize with the issues of being the only one of a few Mormons in their schools,
Tara and Steve
and I had great school friends who never pushed me or ridiculed me, but treated me and my values with repect, even to the point of protecting me or sheilding me from things they knew I didn't do.
Vicky, Kim, and Susan
I have been blessed.

Thursday, March 17, 2005 

I HATE DATING!

Yep that's right people, I HATE DATING. Be it "Mormon Dating” Or what ever other type of dating there is. I actually have not dated too many non-Mormons. I must confess Mormon girls are pretty darn cute. So there is really no reason to stray to far from the flock.

I wanted to discuss my "dating packages". But since there are females that read this that have been on one of the packages I will not devulage to much info on my Date Package #1, #2, #3 or #4.
To the girls, they seen really fun and spontaneous but to me it was the effort of several years of planning and modifying. I made sure they went beyond the average "BYU Date". I really aimed to please. Of course most of my creativeness came through something to do at Sundance.

BBQ's hiking, riding the chairlift Mt Biking. So my dates really were not that original, they were just doing something I wanted to do.

I tried to avoid the typical Mormon date thing as much as possible. I did get sucked in one time. I had just returned from Brazil, and ready to go in life. One of my companions in Brazil had suggested that I take his sister out. "She's really cute, and really fun, and she is very funny. You two will get along so well".
If you have been to BYU you realize that as a freshman your life focuses around getting married. So of course, with no thought, or follow up questions I went. We were doubling with her brother. After arriving at her house, I realized I was to be in HELL for the rest of the evening. This came from the fact that in the first 15 minutes she said nothing to me.

We walked to the car, I was driving my 1981 Oldsmobile Omega, I called it the Omega Supreme the Dream Machine. The ladies just called it Dreamaga!(Just ask Becca, she has been in it before). A little background info: In my family we were encouraged to enjoy other aspects of life besides dating and girlfriend/boyfriend relationships till after we were out of high school. The only dating I did in high school was a few school dances. So this being one of my first official dates, I was a little rusty on the do's and don’ts of dating. Well apparently there is a do of opening the door when the girl gets in and out of the car, why? I am not sure; does she not know how to open the door? I guess not. So I got in started the car, and realized that she was still standing outside. So I waited, and waited. And finally got out of the car and let her in. Well by the end of the evening I was so annoyed with her, that I actually got up and walked away and left her in the car. She sat there for about 5 minutes and finally opened the door. Hooray for her, she finally figured out how to grab that little handle and pull. Of course I now know that the whole door thing is mandatory, (however I refuse to get out of the car and open the door so she can get out of the car.) Well the date ended, and I never heard from her again, and I really did not care. I had learned my lesson, BYU dating sucked, and for the next 5 years that was my attitude (and still is). Because lets face it in the Mormon culture, the date is nothing more then a job interview. The job of course is as provider, protector, husband, and father. Apparently I have not done so well in the interview. Showing up late to the interview, not dressed right for the interview. Finding out that that is not the “company” I want to work for early in the interview, etc. etc. etc. That’s how you become 32 and a single Mormon, bad interviews. Of course I have to say that most the interviewers are holding on to an ideal far beyond that which is real. And I just keep failing to find the right interviewer who has finally given up hope and has realized that the perfect candidate just aint out there.

So ya’ll have a great weekend, and go on a date and do something fun!

 

My Very Lame Dating Story

I'm sorry for the VERY late post. I put WAY to much faith in Blogger and then have been at an appointment all day. My bad...so sorry.

I’m almost appalled that I don’t have a good Mormon dating story. I kind of feel like a dork to actually admit this, but I really never was asked out a whole lot. My family had the same rules as most Mormon families…absolutely NO dating until you were 16. But I didn’t do a whole lot of “dating” once I reached that magical dating age. A few months before I turned 16, I started…liking(?) a guy in my ward…and he “liked” me back…(okay, yes…I had a boyfriend.) but then he moved away at the end of that year and it was back to square one. I mean, my friends and I did a lot of group things, but it certainly wasn’t a “group date.” A friend’s boyfriend once told her that guys were intimidated by us and therefore were afraid to ask us out. But that just made me feel like I went to church with a bunch of Woosie-Boy Jerks that needed to grow cahonas. But maybe that’s a story for a different time.

But to prove that I actually went on ONE date (besides those times I had a semi-serious boyfriend…and then the serious boyfriend I ended up MARRYING) I will recount the one time Jaimee, Regan and I took matters into our own hands and planned a really fun triple date and invited some guys in our ward. We didn’t ask these guys because we were “in like” with them. We asked them because they were cool guys and thought we’d have fun. It was also the first “group date” for Regan, as she was new to the church and we wanted her to have fun. So, we had the crazy idea that we would plan a Sunrise Date. We forced those guys to wake up BEFORE the crack of dawn and we drove out to Folsom Lake to watch the Sunrise and have breakfast. Okay, so we ran a bit late and got to the lake AS the sun was coming up. But it was the thought that counts. And even though these guys weren’t the Dream Boats we all imagined ourselves with…we had a REALLY GOOD TIME. We were just six FRIENDS hanging out (and an insane hour in the morning) having FUN.

I have to say that I hope my daughters have more fun dating that I did. I hope that I can help, in some way, to just go out and HAVE FUN. All the focus on FUN. Well, and that’s to balance the fact that even thought they are only seven and two, my husband already has his rules completely planned out. I don’t mind telling you that his rules include a full on interview with any boy that wants to date our daughters.

Maybe I don’t have to worry about them dating after all.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005 

I almost WET MY PLANTS!

Like many other young Mormon girls, I could not wait to date. Once I started dating, I couldn't get enough of it. I was somewhat atypical in that during high school, I dated mostly non-members, but that was mostly because they were the ones who asked me out. This caused me to behave in the most peculiar fashion on dates, a condition which only intensified upon becoming a BYU student.

I owe it all to these two books:
Up-Date-A Guide to Successful Dating by Dee W. Hadley ("766 Great Date Ideas")
update

and
Creative Ways to Ask for a Date by Barbara B. Seegmiller
creativedating1

The ideas for dating contained in these two paperback beauties are ridiculous beyond words. Up-Date lets you take a quiz to determine your datability rating. After I dug this book out of a box, I noticed a piece of paper with a lot of numbers on it, which Sarah immediately identified as a quiz. Turns out she was right... and the score I got made one step above, "You need serious help." But this quiz was horrible. You had to give yourself between 5 and 25 negative points if you had a physical disability, depending on the severity and how it would affect you dating.

Dee W. Hadley... you might be realistic... but you also might be going to hell for that one.

Here are some of my "favorite" ideas of the "766 great date ideas."
#2 "Six people go to a drive-in resturaunt. Don't take a car, but pretend you're in one. Position yourself as if in a car. "Drive" into a parking spot and order. Be very serious. When finished, back up and skid out of the driveway."
#3 "Dress up in pioneer clothes. Take a box lunch a go to visit old trains."
#48 "Wash stop signs."
#68 "Play basketball in formal wear."
#74 "Have a shoe-shining party."
#244 "Gather pinenuts."
#286 "Visit a hog farm."
#310 "Try to catch a greased pig."
#400 "Visit a humane shelter."
#427 "Visit a sewage processing plant."
#440 "Have a smile contest."
#457 "Go through your junk drawer together."
#466 "Help a farmer bed his turkeys or milk his cows."
#573 "Have a miniature dinner on doll dishes (Cornish game hen, little gelatin molds, birthday candles for the centerpiece, little pies).
#609 "Build a grandfather clock from a kit."
#637 "Sew matching shirts."
#760 "Picket your home for higher allowance."
#766 "Prepare your income taxes together."

I know what you're saying... those ideas are G. R. E. A. T. !!!!! But how will I ask them out? Well, I've got some suggestions for you from the pages of Creative Ways...

plantdating

In case you can't read that, it says, "I was so excited about asking you to the ____ that I almost wet my PLANTS!"

Or how about this one:
garbagedate
"I think it's a bunch of GARBAGE to have to do dumb things like this to ask for a date."

But for all my mockery, I can't claim innocence. I actually used idea # 83 to ask a boy named Cory to Preference (a "girls' choice" homecoming type dance) during my freshman year at BYU. The following shameful diary excerpt was written by me at the age of 18 (even though I sound more like I'm 12).
"I had Brian deliver my Preference invite to him (Cory). It was a block of cheese with a note that read, 'Cory, you might think that this is kind of cheesy, but I was wondering if you'd like to go to Preference -Kaycee'

Yeah, it was cool!"
My sophomore year... it happened again... another invitation to Preference gone geeky. Another diary excerpt:
"So they day after the caves, I asked Dave to Preference. Now, at BYU you have to ask creatively. So, I delivered a box of brownies to his house with a note that went like this: 'Dave, Wanna go to Preference? If "YES" eat the brownies and bring back the box. If "NO" eat the box and bring back the brownies. -Kaycee'

Yeah... I thought it was cool, too."
Nothing I say ever again after these admissions is going to matter very much, but I think it's safe to say that Mormon dating is unique and altogether embarrassing.

*Thanks go to Sarah's scanner, without which you might have been spared visualization of these things.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005 

It's All Downhill From Here

When I tell my non-member friends about my "Mormon Dating" experiences, they often look at me with a mix of digest and slight disbelief. The thing is... I ALWAYS TELL THE TRUTH! Real life is much stranger than fiction when it comes to Mormon dating. I know, because at 26 years of age and an active member of a singles ward, dating is something I have to deal with more often than I would care to.

When my now six year old niece was four, she spent the night at my house and then attended my singles ward with me. During Sacrament meeting she looked around and then whispered in my ear, "Auntie, how come no body here is married?" "Well," I responded. "They are trying to get us to marry each other." She looked around again and the said, "It's not working out really well, huh?" I kid you not, my girl is observant.

For me dating is one horror story after another. My list of good dates is short. Actually, there are two. One with a boy I didn't know and never saw again ever, and another with a boy who then never spoke to me again. See, even my good dates haven't been so good. But for the sake of this blog, I will share with you my best and my worst Mormon dates.

THE WORST

Honestly, it was hard to choose which among all the horrifying dates I've been on was to be called "the WORST", but really, after chatting with my friends and family about it, the hands down winner was a date I had last fall.

In October my roommate Jilly, and her then boyfriend came into my room and stood at the foot of my bed. Jill was at the time the Relief Society president, and her boyfriend the Elder's quorum President. A truly frightening combination if you ask me. So, there they stood, at the foot of my bed with smiles on their faces that let me know there was trouble a'brewing. I looked at them with suspicion and asked them what they wanted. "Well," Jill began. "There is a boy in the ward who wants to go on a date with you." I looked at them long and hard, had my bed suddenly turned into a time machine and I was back in the 6th grade? I looked around my cluttered room. Nope, still 2004, still 26 years old, roommate still telling me Johnny wants to be my secret boyfriend. I took in a deep breath and asked, "Which boy?" Their smiles widened and a cold chill went down my back. EQ Pres. says, "We'll tell you after you agree to go." Now, I know what you're thinking, you're thinking SARAH DO NOT AGREE TO ANYTHING! But, the idea of a free dinner has a big effect on me people. I was weakened by this prospect. I agreed to go on a date with some random boy in my ward without knowing who it was because they promised me I could pick the restraint. I AM AN IDIOT! It was after this deal with the devil was made that the name of the boy was revealed to me and the blood curdling scream had to be held in my chest because I am too polite to damage other people's hearing. The boy that I had agreed to spend an evening with was Aaron*.

Aaron is a nice enough guy, don't get me wrong. He's tall and skinny, going to school, etc. etc. BUT Aaron is 22 years old, lives with his mother, doesn't own a car, is unemployed and also has ADD, OCD and Turret's Syndrome. Now, we all know how mentally unstable I am, so I am never one to judge a person by their diagnosis. I will however, judge a person on their behavior. Aaron's behavior is a bit on the frightening side sometimes... okay... ALL the time. These are the kind of men that are attracted to me. Men with diminished mental capacity who live with their mothers. I'm serious... you should meet my ex-boyfriends. Anyway, I had made a promise to go, and Jill and the boyfriend promised to double so, the date was set and my blood ran chill. I KNEW this would not go well, but I tried to have an open mind... really... I did.

The night of the big date came. We were going to go to Macaroni Grille for dinner and then with any luck, HOME. I was scheduled to have my gall bladder surgery four days later, so I wasn't feeling too hot what with my infected gall bladder and all. But I was going to get as hot as I possibly could in such poor health. Jilly was helping me curl my hair and I was applying the beginnings of my makeup when the doorbell rang. We were sure it was Jill's boyfriend, just being early and helpful. But no, thirty minutes before the date was scheduled to begin, Aaron had shown up on my doorstep. I was half dressed, half make-uped, half curled. This was not a good way to start things. Jill let him in, he sat in the living room while we finished getting ready. The official starting time of the date came and went, and Jill's boyfriend had yet to arrive. Jill and I made our way to the living room, and sat and had awkward conversation about science fiction novels with Aaron. Boyfriend was almost 20 minutes late. Boyfriend got a rather nasty glare from two very good looking women.

So, Aaron announces that he is going to drive us to dinner even though he has no idea where the establishment is located. I throw a worried look at Jill, but she just smiles and scoots me out the front door. I climb into the car, silently praying that he is a good driver. It was a prayer that would go unanswered. I was supposed to be navigating, but for anyone who has ever been in a car with me, you know that I'm a much better driver than navigator. I just know how to get places and I'm not especially good at telling others how to get there. Nonetheless, that was my duty for the night, direct the directionless. I failed at my duty when I missed the street we were supposed to make a right hand turn onto. I said to Aaron, "Well, if you just go up to that stoplight, you can make a u-turn and we can come back to the street we need to turn on." Did Aaron listen to me and go up to the light? No, no he did not. Did Aaron make a u-turn INTO ON COMING TRAFFIC? Yes, yes he did. When the car he nearly hit head on honked at him, Aaron raised his fist in the air, began shaking it mightily and yelled out, "I WILL DESTROY YOU!" all in the middle of a rather busy street. I almost started to cry.

By some miracle of faith, we made it to Macaroni Grille with no harm or accident befalling us. There, of course, was a wait to be seated. Aaron looked at me and said pointing to Jill and Boyfriend, "I'm not much of a conversationalist, so if you want to talk... you're gonna have to talk to them." I shook my head in disbelief, and then looked over at the bar. I would have taken a shot of rubbing alcohol at that point. We were finally seated, and ordered our food. Jilly, Boyfriend and I were coloring on the paper table cloth with the provided crayons but Aaron was hunched over, furiously scribbling something down. He remained that way for most of the night, hardly joining in the conversation other than to complain that the food was too spicy, mostly he sat writing with a blue crayon on the paper table cloth. Then, suddenly he sat up, looked around the table and announced that he had written a poem and would like to read it to all of us. I KID YOU NOT! He then read aloud his poem that was about a panther (yes, a panther... the jungle cat). The poem rhymed and was generally the worst thing ever in the history of bad poetry. To this day I kick myself for not taking it with us when we left.

After dinner we walked over to a nearby bookstore so I could buy a book before my surgery. Aaron walked in, grabbed two graphic novels and then plopped himself down in a corner and read for the hour we were there. I started to feel rather yucky due to the whole infected gall bladder thing, so we were ready to leave but couldn't find Aaron. Finally Boyfriend tracked him down. I asked that we go, Aaron looked at me and said, "Can I finish reading these first?" CAN HE FINISH THE NOVELS THAT HE'S READING???? That would be no. He was rather disappointed. But I was on the verge of vomiting. I just wanted to go home.

So, we made it back to the house sans any traffic accidents or threats of distraction. I jumped from the car before it came to a complete stop and ran into the house trying my best not to vomit in front of the group. When I emerged from the bathroom, Aaron was standing in the kitchen. I stood in the living room, leaning against a wall, pale and sweating I was in so much pain. Aaron just stood there and looked at me, stared at me really. I had NO IDEA what to do. Finally Boyfriend said, "Aaron, it's time for you to go." He left. I cried for an hour and told Jill and Boyfriend I never wanted to speak to them again.

That was the worst. I'm sure, there will be worse someday. How sad is that?

THE BEST

The best date I ever went on was right before I moved back to California from Provo. Aubrey had a massive crush on a boy in her psychology class all semester. On the day of the final, he raced from the testing center to ask her out. She gleefully agreed. The boy had a roommate who would like a date as well, could she invite one of her roommates along? SURE SHE COULD! She came screaming up to my door minutes later, screeching about Cute Boy asking her out, and how I needed to be ready in a hour because I was going on a date with his roommate.

I don't even remember the guys name, couldn't tell you what he looked like if you paid me. But I had the most wonderful date ever. We went to Frontier Pies and ate free pie (they had coupons) and drank hot chocolate. We talked about movies and books, things that had shaped us. We went for a drive through the Provo hills to look at Christmas lights and then ended up back at Aubrey's watching the last 5 minutes of "Anne of Avonlea" so the boys could properly understand why most women were looking for their very own Gilbert Blythe. There was no kissing, no hand holding, a hug goodnight was enough. But I wasn't uncomfortable once that night. I never worried about how I looked or what he thought of me. We laughed, we had a good time, it ended well. If all dates could be like that, I would go on a date every weekend.

Sadly though, Mormon dating seems to carry a level of intensity that can overwhelm and squash any level of fun that might have been there. There seems to me that there is more pressure in Mormon dating, more pressure to find out if this is someone you could marry - and this is just the first date! I think the best thing anyone who is single and LDS and actively dating can do is to RELAX. Don't worry about this person and the possibility of your eternal companionship, just have fun! I mean, you gotta enjoy this single thing while you can.

Monday, March 14, 2005 

When You’re Sixteen

The big years are 8, 12 and 16, right? Not 21 because nothing exciting happens when you are 21… it is just another year. I looked forward to 8 because when I was 8 I would be baptized and finally old enough to get my ears pierced. 12 was exciting because 12 means moving from Primary to Young Women’s and being part of the cool girl group that I idolized AND if we had still been enrolled at The Carden Lee School I would have been able to include the plaid pleated skirt in my uniform options over just the plaid jumper. I still regret Carden closing before I was 12 because I never did get to wear the pleated skirt.

BUT SIXTEEN? Well 16 was the biggest year to look forward to. I would get to drive AND date. I looked forward to dating more then I did driving. I loved boys, I loved flirting, still do and always will. I couldn’t believe that I couldn’t date until July. I had to actually wait until the very day I turned 16, no exceptions whatsoever. What harm would a few months or even a few days before the actually day I turned 16 cause? But it was the rule in my house and in almost all of my friend’s homes as well. I couldn’t go on a date until the very day I turned 16. Not even when a really cute, really nice, soccer player that was a Junior asked me to his Junior Prom when I was a fifteen year old sophomore. Not even when the same really cute Danny asked me to go bowling with he and his friends (even amounts of girls and boys), not even when he asked me to the movies… not at all until I was 16 years old by birth certificate standards. He could come over to my house with his friends and hang out in our living room where we had to keep it down because my dying grandmother was living in our family room, but that was it, that was the most I could do before I was 16.

The following school year this same Danny asked me to Homecoming in the most impressively creative fashion but it happened to be after a different individual asked me to the dance, one I was less interested in attending the dance with. It was explained to me by my parents that I had to tell Danny no and say yes to the boy I didn’t want to go to the dance with -- no ifs, ands, or buts. Tears and begging didn’t get me the Danny date I so desired. My mom had rules, the same rules that almost all of my friend’s moms had, and that was you WILL go to the dance with the first boy who asks you, regardless of how much you really don’t want to OR you won’t go at all.

Recently over at Kulturblog the question was asked, “Is Napoleon Dynamite a Mormon Movie?” Susan Molmrose provided a list of reasons why it could be considered a Mormon movie. My favorite explanation she provided, that I think is right on target for this topic, is “There’s a popular girl who was too nice to turn him down for a date—obviously, she was Mormon.” Or like me, your mother won’t allow you to turn down the dates with the Napolean Dynamite’s of the world.

So what is Mormon dating? It is being between the age of 16 and 18 and being required to creatively ask and answer to dates, to say yes to the first person to ask and then to plan a date that includes such things as pudding Pictionary and matching shirts and Ties that have been made from the remnants of Christmas dance dresses. It means having never fully finished that Christmas dance dress because you were too busy making the matching tie and your mother having to staple you into the dress because there was no time for the zipper (something I believe brought her great comfort and pleasure).

And if there are a lot of you out there that are Mormon and don’t identify with what I have written… well then I feel like a complete ass.

Saturday, March 12, 2005 

Someday, when I'm drunk

The Word of Wisdom is one of the great touchstones of mormonism, along with the Book of Mormon and polygamy. So, when it's gone, what will you drink first?

D&C 89 began as special counsel for our day, and has morphed over time into a kind of Christian Kosher. Someday, we may have official Talmudic intepretations of the law, perhaps finally justifying why we may drink Coke but not coffee (though Jim F. has thoughts on that topic). But I don't view the Word of Wisdom is a permanent fixture, nor do I believe that it directly concerns issues of morality the way our other commandments do. As a result, I frequently get the impression that the WoW will not continue in its present state.

D&C 89 is addressed to us particularly in the Latter Days, "in consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist." This suggests to me that it is a reaction, a protectionary measure rather than a series of eternal laws. In particular, the section responds to concerns of poisoning and of indebtedness to Gentiles for alcohol (much has also been made of the folk legends involving chewing tobacco at the School of the Prophets). When these concerns are no longer an issue, will we see a return to the use of, say, alcoholic beverages within the Church, using "wine of our own make" (moonshine)? Would it affect the heart of D&C 89 if current interpretation permitted the drinking of a glass of wine a day, for instance? No -- in fact, this would go with the overall message, that of moderation.

The WoW has impacted my life for good and bad. I suspect that I will never enjoy cocktail parties or hanging out in bars. I had the pleasure of being the designated driver every weekend in high school. I also linger in the coffee aisle in the supermarket, sniffing the forbidden beans. Living in France was challenging, because smoking and drinking are national pastimes. Lately, my drinking, smoking friends can still run faster and further. I run and am weary. But yes, there have been treasures of knowledge I've enjoyed, being free of chemical dependency and being set apart from the world. It's been a great choice.

What does that choice mean? Does the Word of Wisdom involve issues of moral gravity like other commandments? I think the answer is no. Drinking coffee cannot be compared to adultery, theft, idolatry, or any other commandment. I believe the closest cousin to WoW transgressions are those of Sabbath-breaking, which seems a commonplace sin (a "péché mignon," as the French would say). It seems odd to me that it can keep you out of the Temple, because I don't see how those dietary rules affect our souls in the same way as these other laws. The best answer I can come up with is that D&C 89 is a very effective measure of how we obey laws we do not always understand. It is an Adamic form of sacrifice in that respect.

If we are to look for eternal structure within the Word of Wisdom, I would suggest that we should look to its spirit of moderation and the counsels of a healthy diet. I feel that it is pointless for us to talk about tannic acid or biblical fruit juices or caffeine or mitichlorians or any similar rationales for the diet as currently interpreted. We do these things to try and form a solid, immutable structure around a commandment that was given in our day, and was shaped and moulded by revelation -- but D&C 89 remains inherently a matter of practice rather than of theological intepretation.

Others here have highlighted how the WoW has afforded them health, strength and spiritual confidence, and I believe the promises made in the WoW are true. That said, in my opinion the particular diet mandated by D&C 89 is not an eternal concept. The scriptures indicate that Jesus will return to partake of wine with his disciples, so we can say that D&C 89 will not last indefinitely in its current state.

Anyways, what this boils down to is this: I keep the Word of Wisdom because it is a commandment, and part of the practice of a believing Latter-Day Saint. I don't know why we necessarily need all of it, outside of the general principles it contains, but I obey it and enjoy blessings from obedience and from a healthy lifestyle. And when I can drink, I plan on drinking this.

And here is a link to some amazing anti-alcohol posters from the Soviet Union. They are an artistic leap ahead of Mormonads, yet a mere half-step away from For the Strength of Youth.

Steve Evans

 

“I Can’t I’m Mormon”

So with the exception of my intentional experiment with coffee (at the age of five, pre-baptismal…) I have never “experimented” with the big no-no’s of the Word of Wisdom. However, I have experimented with the sleeping longer than is needful and eating fruits and vegetables out of season.

Basically, I’ve had too many negative second-hand experiences with the forbidden substances of alcohol and tobacco to make me want to have first-hand experiences.

The thing I appreciate about the Gospel is that it is equal for everyone. Everyone has the same set of rules. For instance, take our ordinances, like baptism; everyone has to be baptized in the exact same way, with the exact same words, by someone who has the correct authority. Same for everyone; no exceptions. It’s the same with the sacrament or with the temple sealing. Same words, exactly.

The Word of Wisdom is another equalizer. Some people can hold their liquor and function and drink only in moderation and can behave like a human being. Some people turn into jerks or, worse, monsters that can wreak havoc upon anyone and anything in their path. Some people could handle a pleasant smoke for relaxation and others cannot, and become dependent and risk their own health and the health of others.

It has to be the same for everyone. By eliminating the things that could potentially divide us (the liquor holders from the non liquor holders) God creates a lowest common denominator that EVERYONE can safely abide by.

Did God give Joseph Smith the Word of Wisdom to punish the Saints? I don’t think so. Is it given to keep us from having fun? Not where I’m from. Is wine (and rum) sometimes tasty? Oh, I’m sure… Is it relaxing to have a few drinks or to have smoke? I’m positive it is…

But it has to be the same for everyone…and everyone is not able to comply with the “in moderation” part. And we haven’t even begun to TOUCH upon the problems of addiction. If my mission taught me ANYTHING, I made me grateful for a healthy body that wasn’t dependent upon “certain substances” both legal and otherwise.

PLUS…

There is a cleanliness factor to all of this as well. “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” the old saying goes. If anyone of you have ever felt the difference between living in a filthy house (I’ve got that one down) and a clean house (I’m working on that one) it is not difficult to see how following the W o W can enhance and protect our bodies as well.

And, I have to add, that with all the fad diets that bombard us with unusual restrictions alternated with certain foods to horde and shun… I feel confident that through scripture, the Lord has told us how to take care of these magnificent bodily “temples” that he so graciously provided (thanks in partnership with our parents) for our living pleasure.

So how has the Word of Wisdom helped or affected me personally? I have certain addictive behaviors to pursue physical pleasure from partaking of fatty and salty substances. I have several other vices of a physical nature that indicate to me that I may not be one of those who could hold my liquor. The Word of Wisdom creates a boundary for me, a much needed boundary.

I am grateful to be my own boss; to be the boss of my body. I sometimes feel a weighty (pardon the pun) responsibility to my flesh. I get one shot at this body thing. While I am grateful and hopeful that the resurrection will make me perfect (and hopefully more proportional), I am determined to live a healthy life. And the Word of Wisdom sets me on a good path.





And for those of you who STILL love the coffe taste and want to hold on to that recommend...I recommend equal parts of Postum, cocoa, sugar (or Splenda), and coffee creamer in hot water with a spplash of milk......mmmmm Mockaccino......

Friday, March 11, 2005 

Run and Not Be Weary!

How has the Word of Wisdom affected your life?

This is a very easy topic to talk about. How has the Word of Wisdom affected my life? It has kept me clean and happy. It has made my life go by pretty easy. Barring a few health issues, I can say that my life has been blessed by abstaining from those things that clearly do damage to the physical body, (except cheeseburgers)

I love waking up in the morning and not being dependent on a drink to get me going. I love not having to drink alcohol to enjoy myself at a party. The freedom afforded me for living the Word of Wisdom is invaluable. I can recall several instances in my life when I have had my commitment to living this law of health reaffirmed. I would like to share a few of those with you know.

I grew up as a competitive swimmer. From the time I was a little kid I was in the pool. By the time I was in 6th grade I was practicing from 5-7 in the morning and 4-6 in the afternoon. Our Saturdays were spent in city swimming pools around Utah. Swimming is not a huge sport in Utah, so you get to know all the kids, especially if they are some of the top swimmers. There was one swimmer I can remember that I used to look up to. We will call him Tom. Tom was well on his way to the Olympics. He was always a National Level contender, and basically dominated the local swimming scene. Tom was killed because he decided to get stoned while rock climbing and fell of a ledge they were working off of. He never made it to Olympics; he never was known as one of the great American swimmers, (which he could have been).

I have an acquaintance that drinks, a lot. He took the life of a child because he was driving drunk. Luckily the family was a very Christian family, and they easily forgave him. He did his time, and now he has to live with the fact that there is a family who never got to know the full joys of that child because he was taken so early.

My friend “Amy” was the smartest girl I know, or I should say knew. I was always baffled by listening to her because of the level of intelligence she had. She pretty much just skis these days because she can not get a real job because she fried her brain during her college years. Its annoying talking to her these days because the genius she was is gone, and now she is just a blank stare who works in a restaurant as a waitress.

I could go on and on about people I know who have screwed up their lives because they choose to have “fun” in this life and let themselves become enslaved to a substance. I am sure everyone out there could share similar experiences. I can think of no good that comes from disobeying the law of health that the Lord set worth called the Word of Wisdom.

As for me living the Word of Wisdom, I can say that I have been able to accomplish a lot in my life because I have kept this simple commandment. I have never had a drink, I have never smoked, I have never taken drugs. I love being active in life, I love being able to compete in Triathlons.



When I come staggering across the finish line and people I do not even know are yelling and cheering me on I get a better rush then any drug could ever provide. It’s great knowing that I set a goal to do a certain triathlon, trained to the best of my ability and then I finished. I have never won a triathlon, I took third in my division once, (there was four of us), but I do not care, it’s the fact that I am outside enjoying myself, and accomplishing something that I spent a lot of time training for.

Would the world be a better place without drugs and alcohol? I think it would be. Would the world be happier? After that first month of headaches because you did not get your coffee, yes, people would be much happier.
Be good, and keep this simple commandment!!!

Well I am off to Moab for the Half Marathon (No I am not running it, just watching this time) I hope everyone has as great a weekend as I am planning on having! Love ya all!

Thursday, March 10, 2005 

High School...or Something Like It

It’s a funny thing, high school. When you look back on all of your experiences and friends and lessons learned, you start to realize how those four years shaped your life. The more you think about how those four years shaped your life, the more you start to think about how you even got there in the first place.

I can’t think about my high school experience without thinking about Jaimee and Sarah and our survival stories. Now, we had many other friends at our school besides the three of us (a big shout-out Kaycee, Erin, and My Hubby and all you other poor saps that had to go to THAT school!) but the three of us guided each other through high school. The three of us stuck together for whatever the world threw our way.

The three of us girls were also known as the Mormon Girls. (We may have been known as the Wacky Mormon Girls – who knows.) Everyone seemed to know our standards which pretty much meant (to them) that we didn’t drink, smoke or do drugs. In a medium sized school not exactly known for many Mormon kids, once you were labeled – it stuck.

And I really don’t think that the three of us would’ve had it any other way.

Not once in all four years did I ever get invited to any of those “typical” high school parties. Not even once. And not once in those same four years did I ever care. I had my peeps…my gals…my bosom buddies and we had THE BEST of times and the most FUN any sober, non-smoking, non-drug-users could ever have. We always had fun! EVERYONE thought we were so much fun, even if we were a little “square” in their book. We always had such a good time without any added substances. Well, unless your definition of substance includes gummy worms, Reece’s Pieces or…or…SODA! But it was almost like all those other kids were envious of what we had…but they just couldn’t figure it out. HOW ON EARTH COULD THOSE GIRLS POSSIBLY HAVE SO MUCH FUN WITHOUT BEING TOTALLY WASTED??!!

We just did, people...we just did. And they even let the three of us graduate…together…totally sober.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005 

All Things In Moderation

We are the Mormon Girls
We wear our hair in curls
We wear our skirts below our knees
We wear our daddy's shirts
And we're the biggest flirts
We are the Mormon Girls

We don't drink, smoke or chew,
We don't date guys that do...
We ain't got no boyfriends.
-Girls Camp Ditty

I was never a true "Molly Mormon." My sins of choice came in two varieties... boys & pride.

Alcohol, Tobacco, Coffee and Tea... they never held any mystery for me. I never really wanted to try them, so the whole Word of Wisdom was easy for me to keep and defend to those who challenged it.

But having followed the Word of Wisdom up until I was 23 years old, I have experienced life differently than some of my peers. My coworker and former roommate, Em, attend UC Berkeley at about the same time I was at BYU. Whenever I tell a story about college [like the time we played "Capture the Flag" in the quad (pre-library renovation)] she sarcastically says, "Yeah... we did that, too, after we were stoned, drunk and someone had puked on themselves."

Personally, I'm okay with never having vomited alcohol on myself, but I still feel like I missed out on the normal college experience. As someone who now drinks socially, I regret a certain lack of stories that start with, "This one time when we were really drunk..." because those stories are HILARIOUS.

I'm not advocating anyone who believes in the LDS Religion trying alcohol... but for an uptight girl like me... it has a very liberating effect and I enjoy the silliness that descends upon me after a couple of drinks.

Mixed with that enjoyment, though, is a certain wariness. I am the child of an alcoholic.

Since the topic is "How has the Word of Wisdom affected your life?" I'm going to tell you a little bit about my early childhood that I usually don't talk about.

When I was very young, infancy through about second or third grade, my father was a drunk. Not just any drunk... a mean drunk. He didn't ever hit us, but he was still terrifying to me as he yelled and threw objects inside of our house. I'll never be able to forget the time he threw my mom's rocking chair against the living room wall, breaking it. My dad was scary.

At some point he realized what he was doing and decided to stop. He and my mom decided to go back to church and he stopped drinking alcohol, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. All at the same time. Cold. Turkey.

My dad is tough. I'm grateful that he is and that he made that decision. I'm grateful that he and my mom went to the LDS church and that our lives were put onto a positive path again because of it and because of the Word of Wisdom.

It might seem strange that even though my life was positively affected by my parent following the Word of Wisdom that I choose not to. One thing is for certain... my dad and I are not the same. Because we're not the same, and we don't have the same reactions to things, I don't think that I will become the kind of person alcohol made him.

Still, though, I always carry a little bit of fear around that I might turn into an alcoholic one day. It makes moderation in all things a goal--a healthy goal--for me.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005 

I Get So High When I'm Around You Baby

1 A WORD OF WISDOM, for the benefit of the council of high priests, assembled in Kirtland, and the church, and also the saints in Zion—

2 To be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint, but by revelation and the word of wisdom, showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days—

3 Given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints.

4 Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation—


If you've ever read anything I've ever written before, I think it's pretty clear that I am weak. My flesh is strong, and daily I work on making my spirit stronger, but the flesh wins out a lot more often than I like to think about. So, when I read D&C 89, I know it's meant for me, the weakest of the saints. I know myself well, and I know that I would be a drunk smoker who occasionally dropped E with her morning Starbucks if I wasn't LDS. And despite my Mormonism I have dabbled in almost all of the above. In my dabbling, I learned that there is a lot of wisdom in that section of the Doctrine and Covenants. I know that the things that are warned against are warned against for a reason. So, I don’t partake. I leave it alone because I know I would rather not leave it alone. I let my spirit win this battle.

Despite my weakness, and KNOWING that it is a weakness, I ALWAYS walk down the coffee aisle when I'm grocery shopping because I love the smell so much, I never ask a smoker to move away from me because I like the smell (especially if they smoke cloves), I go to bars and night clubs and I love watching my friends get drunk and laughing with them about whatever happens to be so hilarious we can't breathe. I haven't always been that way. For a long time I was a near Nazi about everything that had to do with the WofW. I wouldn't dare associate with someone who broke this commandment, but then, rather suddenly, those people who were breaking it started to be members of my family and friends I had had for decades and people who loved me just as I am. I realized that you could still love the sinner but not the sin. I don't care if someone I love drinks a margarita or a glass of wine, I don't care that they smoke (though, of everything, this is what I wish they wouldn't do the most because, dang it... lung function is a GOOD THING!). I don't in any way advocate the taking of illegal drugs, and would never so myself (though, the thought of Ecstasy has always intrigued me), but I understand that some people have taken them. I think it's just a matter of what works for you, it’s about everyone making their own choices wise or not. For me, the word of wisdom works. I see the wisdom in it. I know that I am weak, I know I would like booze and cigarettes and E too much. So, I steer clear. But, I will buy any of my drinking friends a shot, as long as they toast me first.

Monday, March 07, 2005 

Doctrine & Covenants: section eighty-nine

"Today on the bus ride home a very well dressed older gentleman sat down next to me. He smelled very strongly of the tobacco Grandpa Allen used to smoke. I don’t even know which tobacco that was, but the entire time I sat next to him I tried to breath in as much of him as possible. The smell flooded me with visions of Grandpa, not memories, just pictures of him on the back porch near the bookcase, next to the swing, rolling his cigarettes. It was nice sitting next to this man."
-- April 13, 2004 from the private journals of Rebecca



"Not always, but some days, like today, the smell of brewing coffee takes me back to being a five year old and staying at Grandma and Grandpa Allen’s house in Herlong with my cousin Kimmie. I picture my Grandmother sitting in her flowered print chair, either doing a crossword puzzle or knitting and my Grandpa brewing her coffee. It is just an imagine, not really a memory or a story, but a picture I have of my Grandmother in my head."
-- December 16, 2003 from the private journals of Rebecca



"While we were trying to get on the entrance to the Golden Gate Bridge today a women cut us off. I turned to look at her and noticed that she was smoking her cigarette with a cigarette holder. My Grandmother used a cigarette holder when she smoked. I have always thought my Grandmother was very elegant, very Audrey Hepburn-ish."
-- February 2005 from notes on a napkin shoved in the private journals of Rebecca



I miss my Grandparents. Of course I only knew them while I was young but the memories and images I have of them are all wonderful. I will always remember them as very beautiful people.



In loving memory of Clarence and Julia Allen.



**And as a side note Congratulations to Lisa for being written up in one of those tiny little papers… THE NEW YORK TIMES

Sunday, March 06, 2005 

Self Consciousness: An Ugly Form of Pride, or Just a Result of Being Ugly?

I struggle with self-consciousness in the same ways that everyone else has expressed this week (Cameron, I don’t have “man boobs,” but I do have “man calves,” which is a bad thing for a woman, and which results in an inability to wear flats with short skirts, a real tragedy come spring time). But sometimes I think my self-consciousness borders on dementia: I put makeup on before going to bed at night, just for that split-second before we turn off the light, roll over, and start snoring. I can’t look at myself in the mirror in front of other people (I don’t want them looking at me and asking themselves “why is THAT girl even bothering?”). I write fake emails or make fake phone calls to avoid the embarrassment of waiting in a long line at school only to realize that the phone is busy or I have no new messages (what will the people waiting behind me think? That I’m a loser with no friends, that’s what). I can’t make phone calls most of the time, even to my good friends. I am so self-conscious that even when I am alone in the bathroom, I can only open one eye when looking at my reflection in the mirror. This is so second-nature that I don’t even realize I am doing it. Embarrassing proof of this exists in a picture of me, mouth open, one eye shut, holding a compact, looking in the mirror while getting ready for my wedding. Even on my wedding day, I couldn’t look myself in the eyes (in the EYE, yes, but not the EYES).

These are not reasons to pity me. I only list these few examples as a resume of sorts. I am an authority on self-consciousness, and have been for quite some time. This is why I know that self-consciousness, when it gets bad like this, is not only a choice that we make (as others have pointed out this week), but it is also a rather dark and unexpected form of pride.

Pride would seem to be the opposite of self-consciousness. After all, proud people are the ones who think they are better, smarter, and prettier than everyone else. Proud people exude confidence and self-love don’t they? Self-conscious people exude timidity and self-loathing. But pride, I think, has a more general meaning: it is not just about conceit, it is about selfishness. When we are unduly self-conscious, we put ourselves at the center of the universe. Indeed, we are self-centered. In a very famous talk about pride, given at the April 1989 Saturday Morning session of General Conference, President Ezra Taft Benson said that “Selfishness is one of the more common faces of pride. ‘How everything affects me’ is the center of all that matters—self-conceit, self-pity, worldly self-fulfillment, self-gratification, and self-seeking” (http://library.lds.org/nxt/gateway.dll?f=templates$fn=default.htm). And self-consciousness fits right in with self-pity, I believe.
“What will everyone think of ME?” we ask ourselves. “How will I be perceived?” etc. We worry so much about what people think of us that we stop worrying about how other people feel and are being treated. I know this state of pride well. It is what stops me from saying a kind word to someone I don’t know very well (why would they want to talk to me? And look at how ugly my outfit is today!). It stops me from calling an old friend out of the blue, or from inviting a new person to sit by me in Relief Society. Because I am so concerned with myself, I put the needs of others last. My world revolves around me, and all of the agonizing minutiae that make up my daily life. (See my blog if you are at all skeptical.)

This keeps me from helping others as much as I ought, and it enables me to exist in a cozy state of false humility: “At least no one can say that I think I’m better than anyone else!” True, but am I any better in thinking that I am below others, or in establishing my own self-worth based on what others think of me, or where I am in relation to them? To quote Ezra Taft Benson again: “The proud depend upon the world to tell them whether they have value or not. Their self-esteem is determined by where they are judged to be on the ladders of worldly success. They feel worthwhile as individuals if the numbers beneath them in achievement, talent, beauty, or intellect are large enough.” Isn’t that the essence of self-consciousness? Isn’t this what makes one “unduly conscious of oneself as an object of notice; awkward or embarrassed in the presence of others”?

So this is why I think I am self-conscious, although I am afraid of what you might think of me when you read this. But there it is: pride (and maybe a little genuine ugliness, because of the man-calves and all).



By Carly from My Misadventures

Saturday, March 05, 2005 

Liberate Thyselves from the Chains of Self-Consciousness!

Self-conscious adj. unduly conscious of oneself as an object of notice; awkward or embarrassed in the presence of others; ill at ease

Insecure adj. not secure; a) not safe from danger b) not confident; filled with anxieties; apprehensive c) not firm or dependable; unreliable

Wow…seeing it all written out like that…it’s all kind of gross and exhausting. Personally, I AM self-conscious about certain things, but I have a lot of confidence, so that helps to balance things out a little.

I am POSITIVE that I rub people the wrong way sometimes, that I come across as obnoxious, vain, too colorful (as in, literally, I wear too many colors all at once…). That’s cool.

Sometimes I relish in the fact that I get stared at for overdressing to go to the discount grocers. This week I got an “Oh, boy…” from a girl who probably thought the high-heels and Chanel shades were a bit too much for the produce section. Maybe I am a closet attention seeker. That’s OK.

I seriously feel like I am just balancing out the universe for all those people (male and female) who go grocery shopping in pajamas. Sending out a little good fashion karma… I PRAY that I have a husband, sisters, brothers, parents, and friends who will HONESTLY tell me when I’ve gone too far.

I used to be way/so/terribly/humiliatingly/cripplingly/obnoxiously insecure. I still cringe when I see home videos of myself. My behavior reeks of obnoxious, begging-for-acceptance, attention-seeking youth. Yes, I tend to be hard on the 12 year old Carrie Ann, but I hope that by being hard on myself I have made changes to those things I didn’t like.

I had a life changing moment when I heard a quote by Joseph Smith. I can’t remember how it goes, or where I heard it, nor can I find anyone else who recognizes it at all (so I probably just made it up, but, hey…if it helps…). He said something to the effect that in every harsh criticism, every rumor, or every bald-faced lie there is an ounce of truth. That somehow, he couldn’t blame his detractors from denouncing him. He had to own up to his faults.

You cannot imagine the weight this lifted from my shoulders. “If someone thinks I’m a snob….I just might be a little snobby! If someone thinks I’m fat…I might be just a little fat! If someone thinks I think too much of myself…I just might think too much of myself!”

This quote helps me because:

A) I can own up to my behavior
B) I am forced to be honest with myself (delusional behavior, while fun, can be very damaging…)
C) Either it’s true or it’s not
D) If it’s true, own it, change it, or move on
E) If it’s not true, you don’t have to worry about it…God will set them straight someday….thank goodness for Judgment Day!
F) If it IS true…I don’t have to spend SO much time and energy trying to HIDE it! HA!

The thing about self-consciousness and insecurity is that try as we might to HIDE how we feel about things, it is usually obvious to EVERYone else. So if everyone already knows that I am self-conscious of my big butt…I should just OWN my big butt and carry on…What, like I can’t TELL I have a big butt? Oh, I feel so relieved just putting all of this on the screen! I feel liberated…

But WHY am I self-conscious? Who knows… I don’t really blame the media…maybe I should, but I’m not planning on looking like Giselle any time soon. It’s just not in the cards for me. I can’t throw mad parties like P. Diddy. My nacho parties will have to suffice. I don’t have gobs of money to put into my house like Martha Stewart, I’ll have to rely on D.I. for my “antiques.”

Like JP alluded to and Cameron spelled out, I really think self-consciousness is self-imposed. Heaven knows I impose my own “baggage”. I’m not talking serious stuff here. A lot of people are damaged beyond their own doing. That is something TOTALLY different. That’s why God made costume jewelry, drugs, therapists, shopping, and chocolate-mocha drinks; to help us with the LUGGAGE.

Where does our esteem come from? Mine used to come from everywhere unwholesome, until I decided that the only people I had to please were Heavenly Father, myself, and occasionally my parents, out of love and consideration. This was also a big relief to me. Because I KNOW how to please HF, and the rewards for doing so feel GOOD even when it’s hard. Bring on the blessings!

(Todd made me remove the paragraph about pleasing myself…thank goodness for proof readers…)

And the reward for pleasing my parents, I get unconditional love, awesome dinners at good steak houses, and the occasional knock-off purse… and who doesn’t love that?

Friday, March 04, 2005 

Apples in a bag!!

Why we are self conscious? I do not know. It could come from genetics, upbringing, traumatic events in our life, or just general programming our entire lives by TV, movies and all other media. I have thought a lot about this topic, it’s a far better topic then marriage! I have had some reoccurring thoughts come to my head. Some of you may agree with me, some may not; these are just thoughts, not my opinions.
I would like to discuss very briefly two of these thoughts.
The first is the relation between self image, self esteem and self confidence. I see self image and esteem as the same thing. I believe it has a direct influence on someone being self conscious. I do not think that self confidence has as much an influence on people being self conscious. Self Esteem and Confidence are two things I thing about a lot as I get older. I see the youth day doing very brazen things, they seem to be brimming with confidence, but then you look at them on an interpersonal level, it’s sad to see how little respect they have for themselves. Take Paris Hilton, very confident, but how much worth do you really think she puts to herself. Its great to have confidence, it makes you feel good, and makes you a little less conscious about things. But too many people sell their own personal worth and dignity away to look good in the eyes of the “world”.

I am not sure why we are self conscious, but I really do believe that people need to but a little more understanding to their own personal value. Like the old scripture says: “The worth of a soul is great in the sight of God”. If people believed more in themselves, and less in what the media portray as the great people of this world, I really feel that there would be less self consciousness and more happy people in the world.
The second thought I had and I may be completely in left field but I started getting the feeling throughout the week that the females seemed to worry more about self consciousness then the guys do. I am not saying guys do not worry about it, remember me and the man boobs? I did notice a trend that the ladies seemed to worry more. I find it interesting too that a lot of the things they were mentioning were things that really have no eternal importance, but have been programmed into our thinking, clothing, life styles, weight, man boobs, (Damn Seinfeld) and so on. One thing that I really became aware of this week was a small duty that I have as a male. With all the strides that have been made for women’s lib, and all the independence they have fought for, I was reminded that beyond those strides, I have the role of making sure that the females in my life understand their importance as females. To make sure they all feel special, and that they fully understand their self worth, not as the world sees them, or how the world tells us they have to be to be successful, but as they are. (And I am not just saying that to get dates)

Love you all, and I will talk to you all next week after I am an official homeowner!!
Have a great weekend.

Maybe someday I will explain the title I gave this blog. (email me and I will tell you)

This Week's Topic:

  • The Sabbath Day

Various Authors

  • Monday:
    Kaycee opted out of Mormondom 4 years ago. She calls herself agnostic.
  • Tuesday:
    Sarah is not your average Gospel Doctrine Teacher.
  • Wednesday:
    Carrie Ann comes from pioneer stock, and lives in Provo, but is open minded and fair.
  • Thursday:
    Ned Flanders hasn't been to church in a while, but maintains an interest in all things Mormon.
  • Friday:
    John C. is an academic with a sense of humor and a testimony.
  • Saturday:
    JP's not going to church and feeling okay about it.

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