Thursday, June 11, 2009

Pedestals - I don't want to be on one

I wrote a posting this morning on another blog of mine. Before I redirect you to that one, let me first post a warning.

WARNING: I started my other blog as a place where I could whine about politics and religion, and not offend any of my regular readers on this blog. It's been locked down for a couple of months because someone got offended, but then I realized that you can't please all of the people all of the time, so it's back open again. BUT with that said. If you are an active and faithful member of the LDS Church, it would probably be best for all of us, if you didn't visit it. I'm not one of those anti-mormon folks, and I do still attend services fairly regularly, but things about the organization get my goat sometimes, and you probably don't want to read what I have to say. So you have been warned, you can do with that what you wish. I also believe strongly in free agency, and trust that you can make this decision on your own. I just don't want to hear any bitching if you decide to visit and don't like what you see.

OK, with that out the way...

It's a serious post about pedestals, and how sometimes we place ourselves and others on them. And it generally isn't a good thing.

It's here

I don't want to be one of those parents who puts themselves up on a pedestal to their kids. I don't really want my kids thinking I'm perfect, and I think I may have achieved that, at least with my older couple.

For instance, some words are Dad words, and much hilarity is to be had when Dad says, hell, damn, bugger, bitch and bastard (amongst others).

If you still have any respect for me, you should also know that tonight, I will be shaving my legs. Yes, I'm a guy! And I have my reasons!!

I'm not saying I don't want to be an example to my kids... I most absolutely do, but I don't want to be viewed as a perfect and somehow a supreme being, only to have them realize later in life that I'm just some self-righteous hypocrite.


  1. idealizing one's parents is a natural part of development. Freud said that "the hero first deifies the father, and then defeats him" and I think that's a pretty accurate quote.

    Eventually they reconcile who you are with who they imagine you to be, and hopefully they aren't too upset. I've made plenty of mistakes and I'm hopeful that at least one or two might moderately like me, but who knows. The most important thing for me will be the defeat part. I want them to do better than I, which is the hope of every parent I suppose.

  2. I think as long as it remains a natural part of development, and is not artificially enhanced by the parents, things will probably work out for the best.

    You're right about the defeat part. I'm not a person who like to get beaten, but if my kids can achieve greater things than I, in this life, I shall count as success.

  3. Just be happy if your kids grow up not hating you - it's no fun growing up thinking your dad's an arse.
    As for leg shaving, Mr Brown used to when he raced bikes, I can imagine the regrown itch will be terrible.

  4. So far I'm doing OK with the not hating part - It's that fine balance between friend and still maintaining a position of respect, so you can help guide them.

    As for the legs... The itch only really hit the first few times - barely feel it now. I tried doing the arms and chest as well for a race back in April. Mrs. Koda has hereby banned any further chest or arm shaving, since apparently it's spikey when we cuddle. She started to complain about the legs, but she's guilty of that one too!!

    If you're interested - my buddy KodaFit posted some pics of his kids and him doing various races over on his blog this morning - here and here.

  5. The following is a comment I tried to post on your other blog. I'm posting it here, as I apparently can't comment using my anonymous handle...

    "Mormons may still teach the acceptance of all truth, but I think you would be hard to find a 'faithful' Mormon who actually takes this to heart."

    Did you really intend to make such a blanket statement? Yes, there are those who are afraid to look into truth they feel might contradict their traditional beliefs, but to say the vast majority of Mormons fall into this category is a bit presumptuous.

    Either the ward you're basing your observations on is vastly different than mine, or you're seeing it so much because you want to. It's like the months after I bought my '95 Jeep Cherokee. All the sudden I started noticing Jeep Cherokee's on the road all the time. Subconsciously I was looking for them, or at least taking mental note. Methinks you are doing the same here. You've developed a mental hostility toward the type of Mormon you describe, and now you're seeing them everywhere. I bet if you looked, you'd find a fair number of Mormons who do value truth, who healthily question their beliefs and constantly test them against new knowledge.

    "Any discussion about controversial topics will almost always end up with... 'Well the prophet said this" or "I refuse to subscribe to your intellectualism'"

    Sounds to me like you're wasting your time debating with the wrong crowd.

    "I see similar themes in LDS, Muslim and similar religions which require rigid obedience and prescribed methods of dress and behavior."

    You're comparing Shari'a with the Strength of Youth pamphlet? Come on, now. Compared to Islam, Mormonism is a bastion of liberalism.

    "Something to offer them? I guess is mental slavery is something, then perhaps it does, and I apply this broadly across all the aforementioned religions."

    So your wife is a mental slave? Pray tell, if you truly believe this, why do not immediately request that your name be withdrawn from the church records? Why stay and pretend activity?

    "I just love reading stuff where the author deals with a topic which which theologically sound is not sound logically, and watching as they struggle to try and maintain a balance between the two."

    Is this not the very crux of faith? I accept many things spiritually that completely defy temporal logic. I often imagine how fun it would be to go back in time with my iPhone and show it to people to mess with their minds. You're a first century Israelite-- how logical would an iPhone be? You couldn't begin to wrap your mind around even the basic scientific concepts on which the technology is based.

    The fact that certain principles yet lack logical explanations is not a valid basis for discounting them. It's folly to try to apply limited contemporary logic to eternal spiritual principles. I know it's very tempting for church leaders to attempt to do so, but I argue that there is no need to try and maintain that balance in the first place.

  6. Sorry about that Mr. Sirmize, I suspect when I locked the blog down, I may have tweaked the security settings - When I get done with this, I'll see if I can't tweak them back.

    For anyone else reading this, the original posting to which these comments refer is here. It was a response to an article I read comparing Mormonism to some of the Eastern Religions.

    Alright, my statement...

    "Mormons may still teach the acceptance of all truth, but I think you would be hard to find a 'faithful' Mormon who actually takes this to heart."

    I did intend this to be a blanket statement, and my experience has taught me that in most cases it's true.

    If I may qualify it though... I believe that most LDS people honestly believe that the Church as a whole accepts all truth. However they also believe that the Church has all the truth, and generally do not see a need to look outside. Anything which may appear to contradict the 'truth' offered by Church authorities is generally discarded without thought, out of concern that it might be anti-mormon in nature.

    There are some members who healthily question their beliefs and test them against new knowledge. I been privileged to hear a few of them bear their testimonies about such doubts and search for truth. Unfortunately I've also heard the fall out afterwards, and the murmurs begin about how they are not as faithful as they should be, and perhaps if they are questioning their faith it is due to some transgression or that the person having doubts needs to repent of something.

    I suspect there are wards out there where this is not the case. In fact the ward I attended in New Zealand was quite different from the one I am in now. But that appears to have been the exception rather than the rule.

    In my experience, more often than not Mormons are terrified of looking into anything that might shake their faith.

    My comment... "Any discussion about controversial topics will almost always end up with... 'Well the prophet said this" or "I refuse to subscribe to your intellectualism'"

    And your response... "Sounds to me like you're wasting your time debating with the wrong crowd."

    Ain't that the TRUTH!! I generally try and avoid discussions with people like this if I can. Most theological discussion revolves around abstract concepts and beliefs which cannot be proved or disproved, and hence there is no real point in debating them!

    Moving on... My quote - "I see similar themes in LDS, Muslim and similar religions which require rigid obedience and prescribed methods of dress and behavior."

    Yes, I am comparing Mormonism to Shari'a law, and while I agree that compared to Islam, Mormonism is a bastion of Liberalism, but there are still similarities, just varying in their implementation and enforcement.

    Perhaps if I could share an example, which I've shared before... Our stake had a girls camp last year in the middle of summer. The Stake President commanded that all the girls were to wear long pants at all times, and made them sign contracts that they would adhere to this commandment to do so. On their return from the camp, he explained that he had given them this commandment, and his quote "To see if they would be obedient to me". I honestly believe my wife and I were the only people who didn't smile and nod as he spouted forth that crap.

    If I could pose a question to you... If the prophet were to pull aside 12 of the most diligent young men from the MTC right now. Spend time convincing them that their salvation would be assured and that God had commanded them to hijack planes and fly them into buildings - Do you think they would do it?

    There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that he wields that kind of power of the LDS people. I see that as a huge problem, and an affront to the way I believe a loving Father in Heaven would want his Church organized.

  7. My wife is no longer a mental slave, however at one point I believe she was. I won't go to far into where and how, but LDS woman are commanded and covenant to be obedient to their husbands. I honestly do not believe this is how families were meant to be set up. My wife and I have different roles in our home, and bring different characteristics to parenting. We're equals though - I don't expect or want her obedience, and she neither expects nor wants mine. I'm hoping you have a similar marriage with your wife, and suspect you do. I have however met far too many LDS families, where when the father pulls rank, the discussion is over, and all must submit to him.

    Religion should encourage women to excel, to better themselves and to fully realize the belief that they are daughters of God. While this is taught, in many cases it isn't realized and I believe one of the biggest reasons for the extremely high usage of anti-depressants among LDS women. Again, not true for all LDS women, but in my experience, the vast majority of them.

    You asked why I stay, and it is a valid question that some have asked before. There are several reasons, but primarily there are those whom we love, and those who love us, who have the belief that if we were to leave the LDS Church, our souls would be damned. I disagree with that belief, but it's not really one which I have control over as it pertains to them. They are incredible people, and I would like them to be in my kids lives.

    I believe the Church has a lot of good to offer as well. Our challenge is attending and raising our kids in accordance with that good, while trying to avoid the influence of the bad.

    When it comes down to the question of faith and faith vs. logic...

    Perhaps the key thing here, is that I think you and I have a different take on faith.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I would suspect that you see faith as a positive force which allows people to bridge the gap between the temporal and the eternal.

    I see it as a tremendously powerful force which can be used for good and bad, and generally history would demonstrate that it's use has tended towards the bad. Faith gave us the Crusades, 9-11 and I think if you look at almost any war, it comes down to some belief or concept requiring a form of faith which one group sought to impose upon another.

    My comment was not necessarily directed at things for which no explanation exists, but rather at things where the answer given by a religious authority is at odds with sound logic.

    I don't remember exactly what part of the article prompted me to write that comment, but I suspect it may have been the comment about Buddhism having much to offer woman, and then explaining that they could lose themselves in serving the religion - in effect implying slavery to an ideology as a benefit.