I Don’t Want to Make This Harder For You

I love you all. This post has been deleted.

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A Poll About Relationships

Look over there >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I have put up a poll about what men need most in a relationship. The objective for me is to find out what people, both men and women, believe about this question.

I’m really not sure what I believe about this question, honestly.

Weigh in! If you have comments, make them on this post.

This will be much more effective if you share this post and poll with everyone you know. Help a brother out?

Thanks!

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Our Default Mode Is Love

There’s a lot being said about John Dehlin and Kate Kelly in Mormon circles these days. You know who these two are: John is the runner of the Mormon Stories podcast and Kate Kelly is the founder of the Ordain Women movement.

People have opinions on what John and Kate are doing. I will say that both of these people have done me a service: they, and the people associated with them, have helped me gain greater empathy, maybe even some charity, for my brothers and sisters. I’m a straight guy in the LDS church. Sure, I’m a convert, but I cut my long hair a while ago. But my experience in the LDS church and Mormon culture has been pretty straightforward, and having that experience disrupted by these folks has been of personal and spiritual value.

I think that is the case for many.

Do I agree with every thing that these two do in their movements? Nope. Do I agree with all of their methods? Nope. That’s not the issue here.

The issue here is that things have come to a head for John and Kate. They’ve both received letters inviting them to join in a council wherein their membership in the church will be discussed. Following that, Kate has in fact been excommunicated and she now intends to appeal that action.

I’m not going to talk about how disciplinary councils function in the LDS church and I’m not going to defend either the church or Kelly and Dehlin. I don’t have the entire story—in fact, I think it’s safe to say that very few people have the entire story.

What needs addressing is how the members of the church are reacting. Particularly my friends on Facebook and other social networks. You might have seen (or said) something similar to what I’ve been seeing. I quote:

“If they don’t like the church, fine. Good riddance.”

“They obviously don’t have a testimony, so why are they even here?”

“They need to find a different church that they actually believe in.”

“I’m glad they’re getting excommunicated.”

I brought this up in my Elders Quorum two weeks ago (disclosure: I’ve just been called to be the EQ pres—for the 2nd time) during a lesson. The teacher had prepared a lesson, I believe through great inspiration, on charity. I knew that Peter, our teacher, had been motivated by what’s been happening with Dehlin and Kelly, and many in the group were kind of talking around the issue. I took a moment to see if the Spirit approved and, feeling no reason not to, I decided it was time to say what has been on my mind about this.

Here’s what I said:

“You’ve heard about what’s going on with John Dehlin and Kate Kelly. Approve or disapprove of their questions and/or methods, there is a lot of stuff being said about their membership. Many are saying the church is better off without them. Many are saying they’re happy these two might be facing excommunication. Many are saying good riddance.”

I took a moment and caught some eyes, wanting to make sure I had their attention. This was important.

“No.”

I waited a beat.

“No, no, no. That’s not the spirit of Christ. That’s not the spirit of peace and love. The table of Christ always—always—has a place for them, should they choose to be there. It’s not now, nor will it ever be, our place to judge these two people. That’s Christ’s place and we will trust Him to do that in His own time and place.”

“Our place is to love. Always love. Whether we disagree, agree, are uncomfortable, have our own doubts, or whatever. We must love. That’s our duty. Because Christ said it was one of the greatest commandments, love is our default mode.”

Some silence greeted this. Then a brother said, simply, “Amen.”

We don’t have the whole story. Even if we know these two personally, we don’t really have the whole story. Who knows where lies and truth end and begin here? Not me. I have my suspicions, but I choose to behave like a mature adult and stand ready to get more information as it becomes available.

What I know and will repeat always is the certainty that contention and treating people as if the kingdom of God were some kind of exclusive club, or a popular clique, is not the way of Christ. We don’t tell people His kingdom has no place for them. We open our arms to all.

Or at least we should.

Our default mode, like His, should always be love.

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My Mothers

Of course I’m thinking about mothers on Mothers’ Day. Interestingly, by the way, this was a day originally enacted by women as a protest against war.

In any case, I’m thinking about mothers. I knew my mother. I suppose I spent the first five or six years of my life with her. I guess she must have been responsible for potty-training me. Maybe she was the one who taught me to read.

But I was one kid among around thirty. And by the time I was aware enough of my surroundings to understand things, I didn’t feel part of a mother/son relationship, much less a family. I felt part of a group of cult orphans- children who for the most part were orphaned by the Process/Foundation Faith of God’s demand that its members have one single primary relationship: with the group.

So, in a formative sense, I didn’t have a mother.

I do spend quite a bit of time thinking about my mother– who I never called “Mom” and still can’t do in my head. I am unconditionally grateful for her goodness and her love. I admire her purity of purpose. She certainly didn’t spend much of her life or my life being what I understand now is a typical mother, but I don’t have it in me to bear her ill will for it.

I love her. I’m confused by her. But I love her.

I’ve had the privilege of having several remarkable women fill in for a time as sort of mothers. They filled a gap here or there. They’ve been crucial to my life and I have tender feelings for all of them. Some moms that have made a significant difference in my life– in some ways changing the course of my life:

Susan Garrett. My first look at a mom acting like what I imagined a mom would be. Her protectiveness and fierce support of her daughter, my lovely half-sister (and my only sister so she’s my sister, period), helped me understand a little bit about what parenting should be. That Susan was also a mother in many ways to me, showing me love and support and kindness and teaching me, usually indirectly, about family is huge. I love my step-mother. I wish money and geographical distance weren’t in the way of our being closer.

Bridget Lester. She was in the cult with us and she became the teacher of my age/grade group in the Foundation’s little school they called Faith School. She made things fun at times. Looking back, I can see how seriously took what she was doing- and today that is very affirming. I can see she was looking out for us. I remember a time on the porch of the building we held Faith School in when she was expressing disapproval of some books I was reading. I kept reading them, but that she felt I was important enough to have her take that time is comforting. I wish I’d appreciated it then. I love Bridget for her having my back.

Bev Willis. Bev was friends with my father and Susan when they left the Foundation and started a regular life in Kanab. When I moved in with them, she adopted me as a friend and I think she saw me as a project. I was godless, arrogant, directionless, but overall a good kid. She gave me unconditional affection and love and hospitality. She still does on the rare occasions I see her. I think her husband is mildly amused at the way Bev does this adopting, but he’s also an example of a good, service-minded, righteous life. I’ll always love Bev for her invitations to her home and church and for her ceaseless cheerleading for me.

Donna Casebolt. Donna was the drama club teacher. She was fun, demanding, creative, determined, sweet, loving, adorable, and she raised extraordinary children. How she had space in her heart and life for me I don’t understand, but she also gave me unlimited love and was always deeply supportive and good to me. I’ll never stop appreciating her goodness and example.

Cherry Owens. Cherry is the mother of some dear friends and her home regularly was filled to bursting with a bunch of loud, smelly, mess-making gamers. Cherry has passed on and the world grew slightly dimmer when she did. She could tolerate and accept the most insane behavior and some truly weird people. And she did it with love, kindness, and warmth. Her home felt like home. One of the first truly comfortable places I’d ever spent time in when I was young. She raised creative, original, strong-minded individuals. I’ll always love this woman for her unflagging support and hospitality.

Dianna Hintze. Dianna has seven daughters. Her sixth daughter is named Annemarie. Annemarie is incredibly smart and has an insatiable thirst for knowledge. Dianna supported that and made sure Annemarie had the opportunities she needed to spread her wings. Annemarie went to Japan on an exchange right after high school, followed by moving to Provo to attend BYU. I met Annemarie at BYU and fell in love pretty fast– although I only understood what was happening several months later. I love Dianna for raising the woman who is my wife. And I love Dianna for being the only person I’ve ever called “Mom.” She is fiercely devoted to her family and has welcomed my family into her home on countless occasions. I have a great mother-in-law and I love her and the incredibly family and legacy she’s built.

Annemarie Hintze Garrett. Nothing I write can capture how much I cherish this lady. When we met, I was an immature kid still trying to find my way into thoughtful faith. I’ve done a lot of growing up since then. I’ve spent the better part of my adulthood with her. She’s been a mom for over 14 years and I can truly say she is awe-inspiring. She doesn’t hesitate to put our kids first- a fact of our lives that I’ve seen since she first got pregnant. Seeing her and being a part of the relationship she has with our kids is part of what makes me wish I’d been able to have a more typical mother in my life. If I were a kid, I’d want her to be my mom.

The family that she and I have created is the living fulfillment of my greatest lifelong dream. This is a family I would not have had with anyone else. She’s fun and sweet and good and strong and thoughtful and mighty and lots more.

So happy Mothers’ Day to all of you lovely women, whether you’re a mother or not. You’re changing lives and lighting up the world.

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What Ceremony Else?

Today is William Shakespeare’s birthday. I’ve been thinking about how life-changing his work has been for me, how he more than anyone else has taught me the power of words and their arrangement. He arranged words in such a way that we can easily distinguish characters, mood, time, and relationships. And he was a magician, a wizard.

Consider Taming of the Shrew. Katherine and Petruchio’s extraordinary exchanges are mind-blowingly crisp, directed, expressive, and at times fun.

But for me, the most powerful scene I have read– I say “read” not “seen” because I’ve seen enough incredible Shakespeare, particularly The Merchant of Venice and The Winter’s Tale and Hamlet, that there is no way I could single one out– is the scene at Ophelia’s grave, starting with Laertes’ opening question.

I love Laertes’ raw, angry, destitute grief. I love how he takes it out on everyone. I love Hamlet’s glorious expression of love, mixed with what has to be a significant dose of guilt.

So the scene is this: Hamlet was shipped off to England to either recover his wits or whatever. Actually he was to be executed, but, spoiler alert: he got the better of Claudius. Hamlet is back in time to see Ophelia, who may or may not have taken her own life, be buried. This is the first time he learns of her death. And Laertes is back from school and is very, very upset.

So when the funeral is to be simple, Laertes’ question is a pointed one. But since Ophelia is believed to have taken her own life, the priest refuses ceremony for her.

Read:

LAERTES

What ceremony else?

HAMLET

That is Laertes,
A very noble youth: mark.

LAERTES

What ceremony else?

First Priest

Her obsequies have been as far enlarged
As we have warrantise: her death was doubtful;
And, but that great command o’ersways the order,
She should in ground unsanctified have lodged
Till the last trumpet: for charitable prayers,
Shards, flints and pebbles should be thrown on her;
Yet here she is allow’d her virgin crants,
Her maiden strewments and the bringing home
Of bell and burial.

LAERTES

Must there no more be done?

First Priest

No more be done:
We should profane the service of the dead
To sing a requiem and such rest to her
As to peace-parted souls.

LAERTES

Lay her i’ the earth:
And from her fair and unpolluted flesh
May violets spring! I tell thee, churlish priest,
A ministering angel shall my sister be,
When thou liest howling.

HAMLET

What, the fair Ophelia!

QUEEN GERTRUDE

Sweets to the sweet: farewell!

Scattering flowers

I hoped thou shouldst have been my Hamlet’s wife;
I thought thy bride-bed to have deck’d, sweet maid,
And not have strew’d thy grave.

LAERTES

O, treble woe
Fall ten times treble on that cursed head,
Whose wicked deed thy most ingenious sense
Deprived thee of! Hold off the earth awhile,
Till I have caught her once more in mine arms:

Leaps into the grave

Now pile your dust upon the quick and dead,
Till of this flat a mountain you have made,
To o’ertop old Pelion, or the skyish head
Of blue Olympus.

HAMLET

[Advancing] What is he whose grief
Bears such an emphasis? whose phrase of sorrow
Conjures the wandering stars, and makes them stand
Like wonder-wounded hearers? This is I,
Hamlet the Dane.

Leaps into the grave

LAERTES

The devil take thy soul!

Grappling with him

HAMLET

Thou pray’st not well.
I prithee, take thy fingers from my throat;
For, though I am not splenitive and rash,
Yet have I something in me dangerous,
Which let thy wiseness fear: hold off thy hand.

KING CLAUDIUS

Pluck them asunder.

QUEEN GERTRUDE

Hamlet, Hamlet!

All

Gentlemen,–

HORATIO

Good my lord, be quiet.

The Attendants part them, and they come out of the grave

HAMLET

Why I will fight with him upon this theme
Until my eyelids will no longer wag.

QUEEN GERTRUDE

O my son, what theme?

HAMLET

I loved Ophelia: forty thousand brothers
Could not, with all their quantity of love,
Make up my sum. What wilt thou do for her?

KING CLAUDIUS

O, he is mad, Laertes.

QUEEN GERTRUDE

For love of God, forbear him.

HAMLET

‘Swounds, show me what thou’lt do:
Woo’t weep? woo’t fight? woo’t fast? woo’t tear thyself?
Woo’t drink up eisel? eat a crocodile?
I’ll do’t. Dost thou come here to whine?
To outface me with leaping in her grave?
Be buried quick with her, and so will I:
And, if thou prate of mountains, let them throw
Millions of acres on us, till our ground,
Singeing his pate against the burning zone,
Make Ossa like a wart! Nay, an thou’lt mouth,
I’ll rant as well as thou.

QUEEN GERTRUDE

This is mere madness:
And thus awhile the fit will work on him;
Anon, as patient as the female dove,
When that her golden couplets are disclosed,
His silence will sit drooping.

HAMLET

Hear you, sir;
What is the reason that you use me thus?
I loved you ever: but it is no matter;
Let Hercules himself do what he may,
The cat will mew and dog will have his day.

Exit

KING CLAUDIUS

I pray you, good Horatio, wait upon him.

Exit HORATIO

To LAERTES

Strengthen your patience in our last night’s speech;
We’ll put the matter to the present push.
Good Gertrude, set some watch over your son.
This grave shall have a living monument:
An hour of quiet shortly shall we see;
Till then, in patience our proceeding be.

Exeunt

 

 

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