Sunday, October 25, 2009
It was a gathering of people who are regular commenters on articles in the Salt Lake Tribune's online edition. Most of us wore little name tags with our online names and mingled about laughing and wondering where some of the "most wanted to see" posters were. My theory is that the commenters who were the solid people showed up. About 35 people showed up both from the left and the right side of the political spectrum.
There was the lady who had begun a nonprofit that supported hundreds of soldiers in Iraq and their families until it took over her life and she gave it up only to feel tremendous guilt for a year.
There were two women who grew up Mormon like me and had stories of so called righteous men who tried to get in their pants. One of them was isolated when the rumor spread and the blame placed on her instead of the perpetrator.
There were people with big hearts who are now friends of mine.
There was an employee of the Trib who went around to hear all of our "who we are" stories. I told him of a conversation I had about the Trib comments with Tony Pierce. Tony, who edits all of the L.A. Times blogs and moderates comments, was surprised to find out the Trib does not moderate comments before they're posted. There IS a word editor that recognizes profanity and edits with appropriate **** but other than that, when to hit "post", your comment appears immediately. he told me that there was initial debate at the Trib whether or not to do the moderation thing and they are pleased at the behavior of commenters who basically police themselves and report some offensive comments from time to time.
People who entered the room with differing levels of bravado and apprehension left with hugs and handshakes and smiles and looking forward to the next time we get together. Most were from the local area but I met one lady who drove from the San Francisco Bay area, and one man from L.A. who came just to be there.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Fall in the hood as seen from my front porch
people ask me why I live so far from work and I tell them they just said the answer. Far. From. Work.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
I was taught the doctrine of the church from my childhood and at the age of 19 I did what every young Mormon man should do. I went on a mission. I know Church history. I know about polygamy. I know how the Mormons of the early 1800's were persecuted and murdered and how the migrated to Utah. I've been through Temple Ceremonies that Mormons hold sacred. And even though I have been inactive for many years, I do not speak of those sacred things. It's just a respect I have of those things. I know of many people who attend church regularly but do not live as they should. I have heard countless stories from non-member friends of Mormons who do not live as they should. I hear criticism of what I do from people at times who then tell me, "and you're a Mormon". My reply to them is that if they are to hold me to some perceived standard, that standard must also apply to them in order for their criticism to be valid.
Now, in what some may consider irony, I live in Utah. Mormon ground zero. Here, the Church makes headlines on a daily basis. Mormons outside of Utah rarely hear all of what makes the news about the Church here. Sometimes I find it quite entertaining. Sometimes it just plain baffles me.
If you are a devout Mormon, Dallin H. Oaks is an Apostle on the same level as Christ's original Apostles. If you are not Mormon, he is one of the hierarchy of the Mormon Church. You would consider him just as Mormons would consider a Cardinal in The Vatican. Dallin H. Oaks is one of The Twelve Apostles. He is also the former Chief Justice of the Utah Supreme Court.
The Mormon Church made national headlines when is supported the repeal of gay marriage in California. The Church was heavily criticized for it's actions even though many now believe it was a poor organizational effort on the part of gay marriage proponents that led to the repeal of gay marriage.
Dallin H. Oaks, in a speech at the Rexburg, Idaho campus of BYU, likened the backlash against Mormons after the Prop 8 battle in California to the persecution of Blacks during the Civil Rights Movement of the 60's.
I have a big problem with that.
I was 10 years-old when Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated. I saw the marches. I saw police dogs attacking black marchers. I saw fire hoses turned on black marchers. I remember when four black girls were killed by a firebomb thrown by a ku klux klansman. Blacks were lynched by mobs. Blacks were beaten by the police. Blacks were denied voting rights.
None of that has happened to any Mormons since the Prop 8 battle.
Dallin H. Oaks spoke to Mormons in Rexburg and most take his words as being inspired by God and Christ. When you're on the inside, you only see the inside. But when you are on the outside like I am now, you see what non-members see. The Mormon Church sends missionaries out to all the world to preach the Gospel. They seek converts. I am on the outside and I wish Mormon Leaders would consider that view when they speak. Mormons need to remember that non-members see the Mormons just as they see Catholics, or Jews, or Muslims, or Baptists. Many beliefs of other religions baffle Mormons as much as Mormon beliefs baffle members of other religions.
Dallin H. Oaks has backed down a bit on his comparison statement but it will always baffle me that a man of his education, experience, and position in the church would fail to consider how his words effect non-members. The members are already on board. It's those who don't believe that an Apostle should be seeking to reach out to. You don't need to convert the converted
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Dad, Grandma and Uncle Leonard
My sister Sarah scanned some old photos. My dad was inducted into the army the day the war in Europe ended. He spent two years as a military policeman in Germany. Although he never admitted it, Sinatra got his look from my uncle.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
Rest in Peace Mamita Mary. I love you very much
My mother-in-law, Mary Paz-Soto passed away on Sunday at the age of 76. I was like a son to her and my wife and I were able to provide for most of her needs in the last years of her life. It was among the best things that I have done in my life. Whenever she saw me she tearfully thanked me for being so good to her. She thanked me for giving her so much.
The last time I spoke to her I told her that she gave me much more than I could ever have given her. She gave me the person who makes my life complete.
I shall miss her tremendously.
Thursday, October 01, 2009
Champions of America
Where have those days gone?
Taken away with the rotted boardwalks
and the big wheeled bicycles.
Blown away with the lacy parasols
and the big hats with bows and flowers.
Forgotten like the five and dime
and the montgomery ward catalog.
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