Tuesday, October 26, 2010

More Political Writing...

This is in response to The Times News editorial on the election for House Seat 25B:

The argument that we should keep Pence as our representative because she is a "rural democrat," is an invalid argument. We should not elect our politicians based on filling minority quotas for the state house. If there is a district in Idaho that has a "rural democrat" whom the majority of people agree with his/her policies, then let THEM respond to this perceived "need."

Representatives should meet the needs of the people whom they represent; having Alex Sutter as District 25's representative, as opposed to Donna Pence would actually give District 25 conservatives at least one out of our three who is most likely to represent our ideals. The constituent’s needs in District 25 for at least one conservative voice trumps any need that The Times News may be promoting for the state house in general.

Alex is a dynamic leader, an articulate speaker who is willing to give of his time to serve the citizens of District 25. He knows what the Constitution is about, he realizes the State’s obligations and duties to its people, he understands how individual and family strength, productivity, and sovereignty is the backbone of our country’s founding. He will be a true leader to rally a people to their obligations both as public servants and private producers in a time of conflict and uncertainty in our nation’s history. He will be a very welcome figure in Idaho politics, and one that will in time by celebrated by the Times News as "one of the most important political figures in Idaho’s history."

Alex Sutter in no way falls behind on responding to the crisis in Education. And unlike his opponent who is a veteran in the obsolete bureaucratic system of American public education, Alex brings fresh ideas and vision for what education needs to become in our changing world. Alex also will be a proponent of agriculture and its responsible growth. His experience has shown him over and over again to be someone who knows how to bring people together and develop solutions that work.

When anyone with a conservative leaning set of values looks at Donna’s record, they can’t help but realize that she absolutely does not represent them. She is a very nice lady who is to be commended on the life work that she has and is accomplishing. But she is not the representative that District 25 needs at this time. Alex Sutter is.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Production, Duction, What's your Function?

(Can some of you remember the cartoon with this funny little phrase I used for the title, only used with "conjunction?"  Those Saturday morning cartoon spots aimed to educate still stick in my head. )

I've been reading and thinking about production lately, especially how it compares to consumption.  I asked my kids the other day, "Remember in Farmer Boy, what was the family always thinking about and doing?"  They caught on that I was trying to point out to them that their whole life revolved around production.  They produced what they ate, what they wore, what they needed for their animals, shingles for their home.  They were always producing.  And when they produced more than what they needed, they traded that production for money (stored production.)  They then could use this stored production to save to purchase more assets.

We compared that to the vast amount of people that we know today, and what they always seem to be thinking and talking about:  what can we buy, where is the next deal, what can I consume?   Ebay, Wal-mart, Craig's list, the coupon craze, sports viewing, restaurant eating, more and more clothes, and baubles, and stuff......it's all the rage.   Consumption is seen as fun and fulfilling.  And yet our homes are stuffed with too much, our garages bare the same fate, and most of our bodies have been the recipients of too much food.  We are all looking for happiness where it doesn't really exist.  Consumption is like a drug:  you may have the high during the process, but soon enough comes the let down, and soon you are looking for more.  It just doesn't truly satisfy.

On the other hand, production is creating, it's adding value, it's giving the world something new, something better, it takes real effort.  And it is so satisfying, and often tiring.  The real value of goods also becomes clear when you are the one producing them.  It gets harder and harder to spend you money (stored production) on anything other than quality necessities.

I think the answer to our national and global economic problems is for everyone to get the producer mentality again.  For families to produce together, communities to add value to their towns and neighborhoods.  This might not all get figured in the GDP, but it will be valuable and we will all be able to find true joy and contentment again.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Why I sometimes Hesitate to Post....

I always have atleast ten ideas floating around in my head at any given time.  I talk myself through them day in and day out.  I compose many essays in my head...and try to follow all these ideas to the end of their logical lines.  So why then do I post so little?

Because I get so discouraged at my own inability to live by the truths that I find.  "If to know were to do...." from Merchant of Venice could probably be the tragic motto of my life, maybe it is the tragic motto of all mortal life.  Thus the need for the Atonement, the dire need for us to lean on our Savior for all strength.  But, sometimes That even seems so locked up, so buried in the clouds of murkiness beneath all crazy hormonal emotions accompaning motherhood and all that is entailed there.

The embarrassment of hypocrisy leaves me without the courage to shout the inspiring ideals.

(Something less depressing soon.)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Comments on the Hunger Game series.

From a discussion at misfitcygnet.com

Post image for The Question of Deception: LDS Ark Culture Embraces the Pornography of Violence

 So many thoughts….

I have read the books. Did I like them? well, I thought about a lot of things, a lot of important things because of them. Unfortunately, there was a lot to consider because of the place we find ourselves historically.

I thought about: the perverseness of “reality” games, control of the masses by the few, survival in harsh realities, making hard choices in the face of adversity, black-markets, semblances of virtue during war, resourcefullness and ingenuity, propaganda, power vacuums, media manipulation, martial law, the rationalization that leads to pragmatism, the ugliness and bitterness and confusion that war causes, that war is not neccesarily “fair” to those fighting for freedom, that messages and ideas easily get twisted for the political gain of the elite, ideas on how you would go about throwing off tyranny that slept on your front door, that public sacrifice is sometimes thrust upon someone, the realities of gross over indulgence both in food and style, that beauty and goodness can be found in the darkest of times…

Could I have found all these things in the scriptures, I am sure that I could have. I think the question is: is it appropriate and/or necessary for those trying to become Holy to read books that show the ugliness of a culture in ways that are descriptive? Should we read 1984, Brave New World, Lord of the Flies? These books are definately not Holy, but we have accepted them because of the idea that they allow evil to show its face for what it truly is. Sometimes, a fictional story well discussed can bring almost an experience level understanding. Just discussing the issues oftens leaves us unchanged as to the horror of the evil.

I know that you were concerned with the “twisting” of the “starving” issue. I have no family experience that would leave me to be sensitive to this. I didn’t find that to be troubling at all, the violence, on the other hand that was so easily displayed by some was troublesome, but it was not glorified in the overall purpose of the book. In fact, those that could figure out how to survive without the horrific violence were the ones celebrated.

I am not really sure what I think. I am not sure I would want to give up the ideas that I mentioned above, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know. I totally agree with the idea that God would fight our battles for us, always, if we would merit his protection. I would be happy to know that I never had to read anything disturbing again, because I would not need that level of understanding. But, for now, in this human experience, I think I will choose to occasionally read something difficult that may lead to a depth of understanding into the human experience.

But of course, I could be wrong.

And Misfit's reply:

Joyful St, thank you for bringing up that viewpoint. I had wanted to address that in my post, but it was supposed to be a post, not a book, and I was already to lengthy, so I’ll tell you my point of view, if you are interested.

I never read 1984, Brave New World or Lord of the Flies. I protested to my teachers that I didn’t think they were worthy of my time and they all allowed me to skip them and read other things. They are not truly redemptive. There are other books about the depth of human experience that are redemptive.

You asked:

I think the question is: is it appropriate and/or necessary for those trying to become Holy to read books that show the ugliness of a culture in ways that are descriptive? Should we read 1984, Brave New World, Lord of the Flies? These books are definately not Holy, but we have accepted them because of the idea that they allow evil to show its face for what it truly is.

I think people have accepted these books because they have been influenced by the zeitgeist, or the culture of our place and time. Reading The Hunger Games didn’t do anything for me. It didn’t cause me to question anything. We already live in a dystopian society–I have the questions you mentioned you had while reading the book on a daily, sometimes hourly basis….

When I struggle with a question like this, I often go to the scriptures for guidance. Did Nephi need to read 1984 to understand or discuss the human experience with Sam or to deal with Laman and Lemuel and their dystopian values? Did Enoch, who was called to enact change and create a perfect society out of one of the most dystopian societies in the history of the earth, need to read Lord of the Flies to understand the people and how to reach them? No. The Lord taught them.

I think we (myself included) all too often rely on the works of man to teach us things that only God can show us in a way that will not be a temptation or allow me to become sullied with sin, depression, or expose ourselves unnecessarily to pornography and violence.

Why have I been so quick to dismiss the depth of understanding of the human experience I could find while making a true study of the Bible? Could it be because I find the works of man more interesting, more titillating, more worthy of discussion? While the inspired (not Songs of Solomon) scriptures speak of the effects of violence and the sexualization of women, these things are not recorded in a titillating, overly descriptive, or pornographic way. And, the spirit of the Lord can teach us things that are not written while we are reading the scriptures.

I have worked with many abuse victims and survivors in the past. I have found that I did not need to read fictional books about the depth of human experience to gain a level of understanding to help them or to become a deeper person…and a few of them, I helped intimately.

You know what they needed for help? The Atonement. All I had to do was ask God, “What can I do?” and He taught and directed me and gave me insight and understanding as necessary. And, some things I did or said or felt, I did not understand. I didn’t need to understand and see or hear everything. And people were healed. Not through me–through the Spirit, which knoweth all things and the application of the Atonement, which encompasses the depth of the human experience.

Your statement:

Sometimes, a fictional story well discussed can bring almost an experience level understanding. Just discussing the issues often leaves us unchanged as to the horror of the evil.

is compelling. I will tell you honestly that reading about the death of a child and experiencing it are two completely different things–no matter how effective the fictional story is. It’s just not the same. I agree that merely discussing issues without the Spirit does little to change us, but subjecting ourselves to the pornography of violence does not truly change us in a good way–it desensitizes us in ways we do not fully comprehend.

Perhaps reading these kinds of “broken” books might have been acceptable 20 or 30 years ago….things were different. Now, however, we must raise our expectations of ourselves and our children. These are man’s ideas, man’s philosophies, man’s interpretations and imaginations of human experience.

Has Suzanne Collins ever been starving? Obviously not. How can we expect to gain an almost “experience level” of understanding from an author who is only using what she has seen on television and her imagination? Has Suzanne Collins ever personally witnessed the gruesome death of a child? No, she is writing about things she has heard about, or seen on television shows, or imagined. She is writing about things she has not experienced, so our “experience level” understanding from reading is not based on reality…it’s based on imagination.

When God teaches us something, it is real. It is truly “experience level.” While books may be a good way to learn about the human experience, I believe the word of God is a better way, and the best way is to be taught by God Himself. If it is necessary for our missions in life to understand the darkest side of human nature (and I do not think it is necessary for everyone), it is God who will show us, at the right time, and we don’t need to seek after it in an uninspired man or woman’s non redemptive book (and I think it is up to us to seek the Lord in knowing whether or not a book’s author inspired).

Which brings me to my final point. Your heartfelt words:

I am not really sure what I think. I am not sure I would want to give up the ideas that I mentioned above, I don’t know, I don’t know…I would be happy to know that I never had to read anything disturbing again, because I would not need that level of understanding.

Your words have caused me to think about this deeply and the words of Elder Holland keep coming back to me:
So a more theological way to talk about Lot’s wife is to say she did not have faith. She doubted the Lord’s ability to give her something better than she had. Apparently she thought, fatally as it turned out, that nothing that lay ahead could possibly be as good as those moments she was leaving behind.

It is easy for me to sometimes think that there is no better way to do things, because I refuse to let go of my entrenched ways. Because I am so entrenched, the Lord cannot show me His way. There is no room, so I cannot learn more.

I don’t know the answers, either…I just wonder if it’s possible that we can ask the Lord if there is another way to understand the human experience…Maybe He will say, “No, you need to read these books.” Maybe some people need to read them and some don’t. I don’t think so, but maybe I am wrong. I often am. These thoughts are just me trying to stumble through finding the answers for myself and my family.

And, thanks again for posting. You always make me think.


Joyful St October 14, 2010 at 10:05 pm

I believe you are probably right. It is interesting to realize how much damage is done to our spiritual sensitivities as we have just been allowed to be a part of the world, oh, and also happen to believe in Jesus.

I use to love to read Sophie Kinsella. Her books are hilarious- and extremely pornographic, crude, wordly. So I was reading one (just a little brain candy, you know) a few months ago, and I was really loving the story line. When all of the sudden the Spirit told me, “DO NOT READ THIS.” I put it down, and only picked it back up to return to the library. I didn’t have that same experience with The Hunger Games, maybe I needed to read it for some reason, but more likely, I wasn’t open to the Spirit for something that “seemed” more tame. I didn’t really enjoy the books, but for some reason I felt obligated to read them. Pressures of culture or Spirit, I do not yet know.

I have started reading 1984, and Brave New World…never could get through them. I guess I am just not that in to darkness. Interesting that our culture does make them “required” reading.

Thank you for this forum….I, like you, am a “thinker” sometimes to my husband’s chagrine. I am glad for a place to discuss things that are real in our pursuit of Zion.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

In answer to "Old Relief Society Lessons"

Have you ever wanted to just talk with someone who seems to be on the opposite side of an issue just to see why they believe what they believe?   These are some comments from the blog:  feministmormonhousewives.org.  As I can see, some of my assumptions about being a "feminist" are probably wrong.  We actually might agree on similar things...(the copy from the blog is in blue and italics)

31.On a side thread of old RS lessons . . .

A RS lesson from 1914 would include

1) Work and business
2) Segment on local, national and political events. One months suggestions included Utah marble for capitol building, school shopping, suffrage methods in Washington, money markets, address by Woodrow Wilson, Ludwig of Bavaria - the new king, treaty negotiations with Denmark, votes for women as an international issue.
3) Genealogy and testimony
4) Home ethics & gardening. Example: personal pride in making one’s own homestead clean & beautiful, our responsibility as citizens in making and maintaining a good water system. Sisters received assignments such as sketching landscapes, or researching reforesting clearcut or how to procure clean water for their cities.
5) Literature, art and architecture. Example: studied for one year the autobiography of Ben Franklin, lesson on the study of the etymology of the word “bungalo” and instructions on how to adapt it to mountain living.
RS history is awesome, and I am excited about the emphasis coming.
Comment by Txgirl — September 30, 2010 @ 9:30 am

32.#31- Oh, I am SO jealous.
Comment by the milk (of the gospel) — September 30, 2010 @ 9:57 am

34.WOW. #31!
Why were those old-fashioned ladies more progressive than us? HUH?!
And why were those old-fashioned ladies ALLOWED to be more progressive than us?
I wanna be old-fashioned! That would be so awesome.
For what it’s worth, military wives, though always encouraged to be feminine and support their man, were also always encouraged and expected to be self-sufficient, capable, and upstanding citizens who pulled their own weight. A la the old-fashioned ladies of Relief Society.
Comment by Michelle — September 30, 2010 @ 1:33 pm

These things mentioned are similar to subjects I study and projects I do all the time, (as someone who considers herself "anti-feminist.")  By "anti-feminist" I don't mean someone who doesn't believe in equality and respect for women, I just mean someone who doesn't want to be a man, but is happy and content being a "traditional" woman.

So why then am I doing these things, and feminists are complaining about not being able to do them?  I have one short, not well-researched thought:

In 1914, people were still thinking in terms of freedom,  free enterprise, liberal education, local government, family enterprising to solve the problems of society.  Everybody's talents and education are vital and encouraged in this atmosphere.

 Now we have had almost 50 years of "dumbed down education," and a tendency to look to the Federal Government to solve our problems, it is now (unfortunately) out of our normal existance to expect ourselves and others in our families and communitees to be able or capable of providing these kinds of solutions.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Thoughts on Womanhood

About seven years ago, I began the journey of feminist to feminine with a beautiful Christian website called ladiesagainstfeminism.com. It made me start to question some of my own erroneous thoughts that I had been indoctrinated with in our current modern culture- ie that I needed to go and accomplish a lot outside of my home if I wanted to be/feel successful. Of course, being a “dutiful mormon” girl, I was “sacrificing” by staying at home with our first three children. Soon they would be able to go to school and I could be free to start my real life.

After that first website, I started to see a different way. And it was like coming home. It was what I should have been hearing. It was truth.

I have since enjoyed books, essays and documentaries from Visionarydaughters.com, largefamilymothering.com, awisewomanbuildsherhome.com, and others.  Even when I didn't fully agree with their applications, the principles they were promoting were amazing and inspiring, and true. But where were the voices like these from the LDS? Why was I having such a hard time having this conversation with sisters in my own ward? Why was I the only one finding peace and beauty in these biblical principles? Was I being misled? Was I not progressing? And then I found out about the “mormon feminist” blogs. These were reported to be the new voice of the LDS women. I read for awhile, but mostly just felt angst and stress, and doubt.

Still, always on aquest for truth: I just asked God to really bless me with understanding through the scriptures. Within a couple of days, I reread Lehi’s vision – notice “Lehi, is at the tree inviting the family to partake, not Sariah, nagging everyone.” Then to the words to Emma Smith – all of her calling was to support her husband.   I had other very profound and personal spiritual experiences during this time.  I decided to put some of these "old-fashioned" ideas into practice.

In my journey, these are some of the ideas that I have adopted and found much peace in through this time of searching, pondering, praying and fasting.

-Righteous Patriarchy is God’s governement. We are either in it, or out of it.

-My husband is my head through Christ. I look to support him in everything he does. I use my talents and gifts to further his vision (in which, he constantly councils with me for direction and advice) for our family. I get to do a lot of amazing and fun stuff within the context of my family and home. It is not at all limiting, but amazingly exhilerating and full of eternal purpose. I sometimes find myself doing things that help our family financially, because my husband has asked me to. We actually try to do a lot of family enterprising, it’s sort of an idea that just comes with being a farm family. It includes everyones, everyone has some gift to offer.

-The most important part of “our” vision for our family is a biblical posterity where children are the heritgage our Father gives us, his most wonderful and eternal gifts and responsibilities to and for us. We are no longer limiting our children, but relying on the Lord for his providence in taking care of them. "Heritages of the Lord," are not just merely provided physical needs, and then entertained so they stay out of the way – they are pondered and prayed over, they are trained, molded, corrected, educated,encouraged, disciplined, and LOVED. They are the blessings that have brought us to our knees in the deepest humility, they are the blessings that have made the LORD more real to us than anything else ever could. Why- because raising children is DANG HARD, and it requires the sacrifice of all.  And He does provide the sanity, and the means, and the health when I am truly willing to submit all to HIM.

-MAKING HOME is the most important earthly pursuit. Everything else that is done, like husbands having to go into Babylon, is only to support the mission of building Zion in the home.

-Modern culture and schooling do our daughters a huge disfavor by giving them the idea that to be successful, they need to be involved in “obtainining money,” and that they need to be stressfully busy all day long. Real motherhood is actually fairly slow paced, methodical, spiritual, ritualistic.

-Submitting to and learning to respect and encourage your husbands brings amazing blessing to marriages, to his spiritual growth, and to your ability to develop that “meek and gentle spirit.”

-Feminism was a “progressive, communistic” propaganda idea to get women out of their homes, so that the government could be the main partriarch of society. Read So Much More by E&AS Botkin. Wonderful book.

I do have a little disclaimer if you want to call it that. I have always been surrounded by men who loved, respected, cherished and protected me. They have all revered my opinion, talents, and gifts. For those who have not been so fortunate, I can understand how these ideas might seem very uncomfortable and scary to you. I have not the wisdom to know what to say, other that that Gods ideals are for everyone, and somehow through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, he can make you capable of living whatever law He has set forth as His standard.

More later.  I have many ideas on this subject.  Some of those ideas I support as absolute eternal truth, others, I am willing to learn and grow and be challenged on.