Sunday, March 31, 2013

You Don't Think Mormons are Christians? Okay.

I was born and raised a Mormon.  I have been taught that Christ is my Savior from day one.  I served as a missionary of my church for two years, and I have continued to serve in my church ever since.  I am not perfect, but I honestly strive to practice what I preach.

I also try to clarify for others when I can.

Recently an acquaintance of mine started a blog to explore all the ways in which Mormons are not Christians.  I responded to her first post about the Trinity and gave her many Biblical citations supporting my view.

It didn't help.  She still said: Mormons may believe in Christ, but they aren't traditional or mainstream Christians.

At first I thought of all the ways I could prove her wrong.  I thought about the name of our Church, the beliefs and teachings and a number of ways that show me we're the very best kind of Christians. 

Then I thought about Jesus, his apostles and his followers and I realized something: None of them were accepted as "Traditional Jews."

They weren't Sadducees, Zealots, Herodians, or Pharisees.  The weren't mainstream Jews.  They didn't live according to all the accepted rules of the time, written or oral.  Jesus and his apostles had a different interpretation of what was appropriate on the Sabbath.  According to other Jews - they didn't wash as they should and they didn't fast when they should.  They believed in new rules, new views.
They also believed they were the realization of ancient prophecy.  Jesus was the foretold King of the Jews and his apostles were to carry forth the Fulfilled Gospel to the world.

But apparently that wasn't "Jewish" enough.  Jesus was told he was a blasphemer and was crucified because of it.  His apostles eventually suffered the same fate.

Jesus was the pinnacle of Judaism, the very Lord and King of the Jews - yet he still wasn't accepted as a "Traditional Jew."

I'm starting to think I shouldn't care so much about how others choose to define me either.  I've been told before that I belong to a cult: that I'm a heretic and a devil worshipper.  I've been told that I've been brainwashed; I'm deluded and deceived.

I've been told I'm not a mainstream or "traditional" Christian.

Jesus' followers eventually accepted the fact that they weren't going to be accepted as traditional "Jews" - as ironic as that might sound.

I'm starting to feel the same way about being called a "Christian."

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Homosexual ≠ Pedophile, Child Molester

To quote Dragnet - Let's stick with "Just the facts."

0.23% of homosexuals will sexually assault a child.    So why are we treating the other 998/1000 like they are all predators?

First: Definitions:

1. Pedophile: This is defined by attraction, not behavior. 
You can be heterosexual and never have any sexual contact with anyone in your entire life - the same is true of pedophiles.  Though they may be attracted, that does not mean they will ever act on that attraction.
 - The psychology definition is : Someone 16 years of age or older whose primary or exclusive sexual interest is toward prepubescent children.
 - The general public definition: adults who are sexually attracted to kids.

2. Child Molester: Defined by behavior, not attraction.
 - Sexual contact between an adult and a child (usually under age 14)

3. Homosexual: Usually defined by attraction, not behavior. 
 - Someone whose primary or exclusive sexual interest is toward those of the same gender.

Using the HHS statistics for 2011: we see some unexpected facts:

53% of all child molesters/abusers/neglectors were female. (I'm guessing most of that is neglect, but that's just a guess)

There were 508,849 different perpetrators in 2011.

The US population that year was 311,591,917.  (I know that number includes kids, but even so, that means that the percentage of perpetrators per capita was 1.6/1000.)

So in 2011: 0.16% of all Americans were convicted of child molestation.

NOW: Looking at data about sexual orientation of those who molest children:

91% of all Child Molesters are heterosexual.  Yes, that means that the majority of men who sexually assault boys are heterosexual. (they're often married as well)

Here's the statistic that would likely get the most press... and also be the most skewed and misunderstood.

Research shows that homosexuals are 45% more likely to be a child molester than a heterosexual.

Doesn't that sound like a huge increase?  Doesn't that confirm and vindicate the fears of all the homophobes out there?

When the likelihood for heterosexual men is about one tenth of one percent, increasing that by 45% isn't much.  If a child were with one homosexual adult compared with one heterosexual adult, the likelihood of the child being molested that year would increase by .07%

My point is this:  Homosexual does not equal pedophile, nor does it equal child molester.

I am a heterosexual male.  I work with the youth groups at my church.  I don't see people watching over my shoulder because "He's a heterosexual male and there are young girls near by.  He probably has no control over his sexual urges and we should treat him like a predator."

I don't understand why homosexuals should be treated any differently.

I hope this has helped clear up confusion, and made you think, at least for a moment, about how you view others.
If I have offended anyone, I apologize.

Thank you.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Eragon and the 12 Steps

That's right - dragon riding magicians and alcoholics anonymous have something in common - at least in the head of a budding psychiatrist.

I enjoyed reading the Eragon series.  (I know it's officially entitled "The Inheritance Cycle" but no one is going to recognize it by that name)

One intriguing part of the book is the importance of one's "True Name."  It is often said that your true name is a word or series of words that truly represents you.  The knowledge of one's true name is a source of great power. 
Throughout the series it's hinted at - but until the final book we never discover what is included in a true name.

At one point Eragon asks an old sage-like Dragon Rider if he can teach Eragon his true name.  The sage tells him he probably could, but "a person must earn enlightenment."

Eventually Eragon spends days out on his own, analyzing himself.  He reviews his history, his life, his motives, his actions.  He analyzes his character, his strengths and weaknesses, his faults and follies.  He fearlessly delves into his own life, to figure out who he really is, who he has become.  He knows his name will not be completely positive, nor completely negative.  It will be absolutely true and reflective of him.  If he is rigorously honest  with himself - he will understand himself and gain great power over himself, and thus his future.

Last week while reading the AA big book I came upon step 4: "We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves."

That's Eragon - that's finding your true name!

The AA book goes on: We want to uncover the truth about ourselves. We want to discover the attitudes, thoughts, beliefs, fears, actions, behaviors, and the behavior patterns - that have been blocking us, causing us problems and causing our failure.
We want to learn the exact nature our "character defects" and what causes us to do the unacceptable things we do - so that once they are removed - we can acquire and live with new attitudes, thoughts, beliefs, actions and behaviors for our highest good, and for the highest good of those with whom we come in contact.

AA gives specific areas to look at during step 4:

  • Self Esteem – How I Think of Myself
  • Pride – How I Think Others View Me
  • Pocketbook – Basic Desire for Money,Property, Possessions, Financial Security
  • Emotional Security – General Sense of Personal Well Being
  • Ambitions – Our Plans – Our Wants – Our Desires
  • Personal Relations – Our Relationships With Other People
  • Sex Relations – Basic Drive For Sexual Intimacy

  • I'm guessing I could go back and read the entire Eragon series again and I could point out where he completed each of the 12 steps.  But that would take a ton of work, and it would be forced - I'd have to make things fit.  This example to me was obvious and was not forced in the least. 
    When Christopher Paolini wrote Eragon he realized a great truth - that to have true power one must fully understand one's self.
    Bill Wilson realized the same thing when he wrote the 12 steps.

    Wednesday, March 6, 2013

    Zero Tolerance ≠ Zero Common Sense

    It was 7th grade.  I was 4'6" and weighed a grand total of 74 lbs. My rap sheet included being the Class President and being a member of the Scholastic quiz bowl team.
    I went to school each day and delivered newspapers each afternoon.
    Back then I still had a full head of hair and one day I saw a comb for sale for $3.50.  It was a really cool comb - it flipped out like a switch blade.

    I bought it with the money from my newspaper route.  I took it to school the next day and after P.E. I took a shower and did my hair with my cool new comb.
    I went to my next class, sat down, and listened to my pre-algebra teacher.

    That's when the school cop knocked on the classroom window, came inside, and asked me to come with her and to bring my backpack.  She stopped in the hallway and asked me empty my pockets.  I pulled out a mechanical pencil.
    She took my backpack and starting searching through it - and pulled out the comb.
    She looked at it and flipped it out.
    "Is this yours?"
     - "Yeah, that's mine, why does it matter?" I answered.
    "Well, if I would have seen you with it I would have pulled my gun on you - so you're suspended."

    That's how zero-tolerance worked for me.

    Now there is a 7 year old boy who was eating his pastry, and eventually decided to eat it into the shape of a gun.
    He was suspended for 2 days.  Here's the story.

    Common Sense apparently is becoming less and less common.  Zero Tolerance is starting to mean zero reasoning, zero intelligence, zero teaching moments, and zero respect.

    Doing stupid things in the name of a good cause just means less people will question you until you've made a complete moron of yourself.

    Let's step off the slippery slope and make rules that make sense.  Let's actually THINK about our rules and how they protect and teach our children.

    Sunday, March 3, 2013

    When Lack of Information and ABC News Collide:

    Below is the ABC News report about an 87 year old woman who collapsed in the cafeteria of her independent living facility.  The facility's protocol states that CPR is not to be started, but to call 911 and stay with the patient until EMS arrives.

    The nurse who worked at the facility did just that.
    She called 911, and that's when the communication went south.  She did not communicate well at all with the 911 dispatcher.  The two basically argued over what to do.
    Both were flustered - I assume this is because the dispatcher thought the facility staff were letting a woman die, and the nurse there had a collapsed woman she cared about on the ground in front of her but was aware of her assigned position - to call 911 and sit and wait.

    The dispatcher pleads with the nurse to start CPR, but the nurse says she can't.  She was following her facility's policy exactly as written, and I assume exactly as understood by every resident and their family.

    I cannot find any reliable reports as to whether or not the collapsed woman had a "Do-Not-Resuscitate" order.  I don't know her medical history, her life expectancy, or really anything about her other than her name, and a statement made by her daughter afterwards.

    The woman's name who collapsed and subsequently passed away is Lorraine Bayless.
    Her daughter, who is also a nurse said she "was satisfied with the care her mother received."

    Given all of that:  Here is the video:

    First - that sounds horrific.  While I listened to it I thought to myself - "Just start CPR!  Why won't you help that poor woman?  You're a nurse, do your duty!"

    Then I dug a little deeper and thought a little longer:
    ABC News edited the 911 tape to make it as sensational and horrific as possible. The entire call shows the nurse at the independent living center to be much more concerned and caring than was shown.

    I also was amazed that everyone is showing this as an example of a nurse failing to help a patient.  They are talking about criminal charges, shutting down the independent living center, etc...
    They aren't talking about a person's right to die.  They aren't mentioning the fact that to perform CPR on a person with a DNR order is considered ASSAULT and carries criminal charges.

    I do not know what happened here:  It may turn out that ABC news is right - and the nurse should have performed CPR and the facility made a HUGE lapse in judgment and will be held accountable.

    BUT - the patient's daughter said SHE IS SATISFIED with the care her mother received.  Apparently the family knew this is what would happen, or they were aware it could.  Who gave ABC or anyone else the right to judge this nurse in this situation.  She may have done exactly what she was supposed to, and exactly what the patient and her family wanted - and she is being reamed for it.

    ABC - Wait for the whole story before you paint people as villains, they may be the heroes.