Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Notes on Being Mormon: Lehi's Dream

Recently, Lehi's Dream has been on my mind a lot. I keep thinking, "Where am I?" Meaning, although I think I'm at the tree, having partaken of the ordinances and blessings of the gospel, am I standing there today? 
by Damir Krivenko

I wonder if we aren't always right there, at the tree, basking in the glow of the fruit of righteousness, where are we?

Sometimes, maybe we're visiting the great and spacious building. Maybe we have loved ones who live there and we're bending our standards just enough that they're comfortable with them. Maybe we're looking down our noses at someone who isn't as perfect as we think we are, or who struggles just to get to church. Maybe we like it over there and feel accepted and like we fit in better there.

Or maybe we're somewhere wandering in the mist of darkness, feeling overwhelmed and worn down by the world.

In this talk, Elder Bednar talks about the three groups of people heading toward the tree, and what happens to them. After reading that, I considered whether I was in either of the two less committed groups. Do I wander off the path when things get dark? Do I, after having partaken of the fruit, overhear the mocking and laughter of those in the building and feel embarrassed and turn toward them instead of "not heeding" their words? It's hard. It's really hard. 

We are surrounded by the great and spacious building. You may have people living in your house that are in it, who deride your beliefs, accuse you of being "judgmental" or "hateful" because of your standards, or who simply mock you for your religion. 

I've also been pondering 2 Timothy chapter 3. If you read that and you believe it as prophecy (which I do), how can you not feel some... anxiety about the last days being here? If you look around the world, and especially around the United States, you can't deny seeing almost everything Paul lists: 
  • Men shall be lovers of their own selves (Selfishness)
  • Covetous
  • Boasters, proud
  • Blasphemers
  • Disobedient to parents (each new generation has found ways to pull further and further away from traditions of family, church and hard work, etc.)
  • Unthankful
  • Unholy
  • Without natural affection (which is interpreted many ways by others, but my church defines as "any unholy, unnatural, or impure sexual activity", which makes sense)
  • Trucebreakers
  • False accusers
  • Incontinent (lacking in moderation or self-control, especially of sexual desire)
  • Fierce
  • Despisers of those that are good
  • Traitors
  • Heady (rashly impetuous)
  • Highminded
  • Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God
  • Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof
  • Leading captive silly women laden with sins
  • led away with divers lusts
  • ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth
I imagine the people in the great and spacious building are all varieties of these lifestyles-- but especially our society has become lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. Everywhere you look, this is obvious, and maybe it's the one thing that keeps pulling me away from the Tree of Life. Maybe I really, REALLY love my leisure. I do. I love TV, I love social media, I love playing games and reading and just taking it easy. These in themselves are not sinful, but if I love them (and other pleasures) more than I love God, I am sinning.
These are very much the "last" days. If ever there was a time when all these things are happening, it's now. We're here.

So, in these times of craziness and worldliness-- when perhaps many people we love are leaving or not interested in the path to God, how do you "hold fast" to the iron rod? How do you stay beneath the tree once you've been there and felt God's love? How do you resist the mists of darkness or the noise of the building? 

The standard Sunday School answers are true for me: 
  • Daily read, ponder and study the scriptures and other sources of the Word of God
  • Daily (and constant) prayer- build a relationship with God and continue strengthening it
  • Attending church services and the temple to feed your spirit, renew covenants and participate in opportunities to serve others
  • Get to know Jesus Christ as your Savior, Brother and Friend
  • Love others with charity
 What else would you advise?

Friday, June 19, 2015

In Which My Son Learns That Parenting is HARD!

Yesterday, I took my kids to the local amusement park, Lagoon, with a cousin and a friend, and dropped them off. 

I was very nervous about this. My daughter will be 13 and son will be 16 next week, so I kept telling myself they are old enough to handle this. And I can't really ride thrill rides anymore, so it wasn't worth the $40 ticket to accompany them. This is what they wanted for their birthdays-- to take a friend and spend a day at Lagoon.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Notes on Being Mormon: Opinions, Love, and Truth

In the light of the very public surgical and medical transformation of a famous man into a famous woman, lots of opinions and declarations and words are being thrown around. I don't really want to address the issue of trans-genderism or the current societal popular opinion that gender is fluid. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Anxiety Adventures #14: Free At Last

The experiment with Venlafaxine is finally, FINALLY over. 

It took me forever and forever to taper slowly enough to not have mind-bending headaches, but I'm on my second day with no Venlafaxine, and I feel good. In fact, I feel slightly less fatigued than I have during the weeks of tapering. Yay!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Anxiety Adventures #13: Meds Meds Meds

It's been a while since I wrote anything, so here's an update. I'm slowly tapering off Venlafaxine. Two days ago, I forgot to take my pill before I left the house. I live about 40 minutes from Salt Lake City, and I was heading there when I realized I'd forgotten. Suppressing panic, I told myself I could make it there and back before I felt the repurcussions. I was right, but shortly after returning home I felt overwhelmingly tired and dizzy. Unbelievably, it took me two more hours to realize I still needed to take my dang pill. The rest of the day was spent laying on the couch, trying to calm my brain. I couldn't concentrate, had trouble focusing (mentally and physically) and was so dizzy I couldn't really do anything. It's outrageously frustrating to lose an entire day because of missing one little pill!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

2014: The Year in Review

This is mostly for my personal use in the future, because I can barely remember what happened last week without checking my calendar, and one day I might wonder, "What year did I actually, in fact, lose my mind?" and I can skim through my blogs and hopefully find it. The date, not my mind. That's long gone.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Anxiety Adventures #12: Back to Square One?

It's been almost a year since I started taking 17.5 mg of Venlafaxine (Effexor) for my anxiety, and at first it was great-- it seemed to really help a lot. Then it didn't anymore. About 6 months in, I talked to my doc and she suggested increasing the dosage to 37.5 mg, so I went with that. 6 more months have passed and guess what? Yep. Tolerance, so it's not working anymore.