Magnify Your Boobs

Every now and again a piece of information I pick up connects with another bit of info in my brain and I have an epiphany. Honestly I have no idea if it is a real insight or just a bit of personal confirmation bias, but it does inspire me to write and even draw conclusions that may be correct or mean nothing at all. Either way I figure it might or might not help those that ponder the mysteries of the Fridge and at least occasionally enjoy the bacon kept fresh by the power of freon. Fortunately for me the goal of this church isn’t new converts or even to prove a particular vision is the right thing for humanity. The only goal if there is one other than the commandment to BE NICE is to cause you to ponder, maybe to reconsider how you have looked at things up till now. Shine a new light on an old idea, cast a different shadow, and think about your own process of thinking. In an effort to do just that, this Sunday’s sermon is about boobs.

Yep you heard me right, I want you to think about boobs. What do they represent? I think boobs preoccupy quite a bit of our lives, both for males and females. But why is that? An eighteen year old looks at a nice pair and thinks ‘wow, she’s hot!’ A one year old sees the same thing and thinks, ‘lunch!’ Of course media gives us all sorts of perfect visions and teaches us that size does apparently matter. Any mom will tell you by child number five that those poor things have taken a real beating as they were sacrificed to nourish their kids. It’s no wonder that breasts are both a symbol of sexuality and motherhood.

Enter this bit of info to cross my newsfeed. http://www.totalbeauty.com/content/blog/mormon-plastic-surgery It is an article dedicated a statistic that I hadn’t heard before. Mormon women get a lot of boob jobs. The thesis of the post is that it is a doctrine of perfection that is taught to young women in the church leads them to an outward effort to be pretty. I don’t think it is that simple. (in case you are wondering, this is where the epiphany occurred) I pondered this a bit in light of other thoughts I have had on women and the church, such as the concept that church makes you fat, and the idea the this religion steals female self confidence and ransoms it back for unquestioning obedience. Thoughts about the Ordain Women movement congealed with teachings of magnifying your priesthood and the idea that motherhood equals priesthood. See if you can follow along and share my insight.

Women are taught in the church that there are important male and female roles to play. This is where the your-a-mom-and-can-make-babies that equals the power-of-god-to-make-and-command-universes comes from. Consider what one of the 12 apostles of the church, M Russell Ballard has to say about it, quoted in this article from last April:

“Men and women, though spiritually equal, are entrusted with different but equally significant roles. … Men are given stewardship over the sacred ordinances of the priesthood. To women, God gives stewardship over bestowing and nurturing mortal life, including providing physical bodies for God’s spirit children and guiding those children toward a knowledge of gospel truths.1

Clearly the most important stewardship that a female carries in the church is that of mother. It is literally her God given calling in life. This is such an awesome thing that even in the temple God needs these girls to reign it in as this member pontificates is the whole point of women hearkening to men in the temple instead of God. I hadn’t really thought of this whole hearkening thing all that much2 until recently a female friend pointed out that in the Mormon church God has sons and daughters-in-law, because actual daughters would hearken directly to him. But I digress.

Does it really matter that the church spends so much time teaching the girls how important it is to honor the priesthood and not give equal lesson time to the boys about female power? In terms of this sermon, not so much. What does matter is that even the lessons on priesthood reinforce the importance of motherhood as their calling in life to the young women. As Audra declares this idea in this crowd sourced Mormon FAQ saying:

“As a young girl I remember asking my Mom out of simple curiosity why Women didn’t have the Priesthood. She told me an answer I have never forgotten. She immediately asked me why Men don’t have babies?”

Does it matter that the church teaches motherhood is a calling that is equal to any priesthood calling that the boys will ever get? I think so because all good mormons are supposed to magnify their callings. You heard me right, the girls are supposed to MAGNIFY their calling as mothers.

Is it any wonder why they would get a boob job now?

boobs meme

 

  1. “The Sacred Responsibilities of Parenthood,”Ensign, Mar. 2006, 29–30.
  2. probably because God blessed me with priesthood instead of boobs in my life

Atheism Has A Soul

Religious debates often evolve into a conversation about the soul. The most ardent atheists demand evidence of a soul, believers trot out NDE’s which atheists assert reflect the current belief system of the person experiencing it. To the atheist this proves that the final cough of life is a situation where you enter a dream state and your experiences reflect your beliefs. Some atheists have never felt the type of spirituality that the believer is sure testifies of the next life. In my experience however, most atheists have had similar feelings of enlightenment, they have felt something and they can’t deny that feeling. Ultimately one views it as evidence while the other sees it as a trick of human nature.

letting go
Consider this; if our brain has the logical bug of cognitive dissonance, couldn’t it be that those experiences that seem so real are another type of miss-wire in the old thought noodle? We know our perceptions of the world are all filtered via the hardware of our brain. Maybe, just maybe that feeling of a ghost or some one watching over you is an illusion.

Can it be a comforting one? Sure it can. If it is an illusion, that means that our wonderful experience we call life gets reduced to mechanics. I don’t know about you but my own ‘soul’ kinda rebels at the thought I am nothing more than a biological robot.

Maybe our ability to create meaning out of nothing evolved as a survival trait. At some point in our past our brains closed the feedback loop of full creative consciousness that allowed us to think about thinking. The only problem with those thinker apes living back on the savanna is if they were too busy thinking about why they liked the taste of bananas they would typically end up as tiger lunch. Much better to be sure where that banana came from (god made it) so they could get about surviving for the day and use that creative thinking skill in small doses.

If our spirituality is just something we are making up in our mind, then it stands to reason that we should be able to trigger that feeling. Enter the God helmet. Ironically this is really strong proof that even in our own brain we are amazingly good at making shit up, so good at it that we can hardly believe we are fooling ourselves. Do you want more evidence? I bet at least half of the people reading this right now will start reasoning along these lines:

‘Even though that person was fooled with an electromagnet next to their brain, I am confident my own experience is real beyond my own thoughts.’1

Well your experience is real. By definition all experience makes it to your awareness via your brain. So real to you yes, but real to others? That is where the demands of evidence come into play. It is uncomfortable to consider, the conclusions are things the inner you rebels from. It is for this reason people think atheists don’t believe in a soul. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is a matter of the definition of ‘soul’.

Entering the quagmire of the idea that there isn’t life beyond this is scary, but it is also liberating. Purpose becomes what you choose it to be! Even if you are just a robot, you are one that thinks about thinking and argues on the internet and explores the cosmos. How cool is that? And best of all, there isn’t a damn thing saying that some day we can’t transcend the limitations we currently have, in fact the better we understand the nature of our existence the better chance we have of extending it beyond the century or so we currently get in life. Why can’t the soul be the ephemeral result of complex thinking that drives us to create, to learn and to become more than we were yesterday?  I think even the most militant atheist would agree that type of soul exists. To the believer the soul is what carries on past death. To the atheist the soul of this generation is very much alive in the next. I think there is a lot of common ground between those two view points. Just because atheists are godless doesn’t mean they are soulless.

Oh and speaking of robots, it reminds me of something my favorite robot Bender once said:

“Thanks to you, I went on a soul-searching journey. I hate those!”

  1. The other half will try putting a magnet next to their brain 🙂

Malted Egg Meltdown-continued

I hadn’t done any Easter shopping for my other two young children so my mom and I went out to try to get some treats and toys for the kids for their baskets. Everything was picked over and I couldn’t find malted eggs. I don’t know why malted eggs are such an important tradition except that when I was a kid we would use the waxy coating to make pastel pink and blue and white lipstick and then threaten to kiss our brothers and they’d run scared. I don’t even like the taste of malted eggs but it was tradition so we went to three stores trying to get them. In the end we settled for jelly beans and Starbursts and some chocolate bunnies. It’s embarrassing now to think that I spent such precious hours prior to her death rushing through dollar stores to find cheap candy that I don’t even like in order to fulfill an artificial expectation of an artificial tradition.

That night I slept for about five hours and then helped the nurse give Jasmine a bath and change her into clean warm jammies. Mom helped get the kids ready for church and my ex took them to our ward Easter meetings.

I held Jasmine for a while and noticed that her skin seemed cool and she was quite weak. We put her heart monitor on and she reached up to me with her tiny arms and then her eyes rolled back in her head and I knew at that moment that she was dying. I screamed and the nurse and my mom started to give her CPR. The ambulance came in just four minutes and I climbed in the back with the paramedics while they tried to get a device into her tiny throat. They didn’t have one small enough and so just kept trying to breathe life into her as we careened through town to the highway.

They were doing major construction on the two lane highway and had cut the road deeply on both sides and were only allowing single lanes of cars to go through the 1 mile construction section. Sirens blaring and no where for cars to move out of the way made for a surreal waiting game as our line snaked slowly through the construction. Finally we were at the hospital and they rushed her into the emergency room.

My mom went to the church and picked up Doug1 and the kids and brought them to the hospital but by then they’d been working on Jasmine for 1/2 hr.. I went into the emergency room and demanded that the paramedics and nurses STOP. “JUST STOP! IT’S ENOUGH! LET HER GO!” I demanded. But Doug was not ready yet and told them that I was just too emotional and to keep trying. He and another LDS man who had arrived reached in and gave her a blessing and Doug commanded God to restore her health by the power of his holy priesthood. After 45 minutes of intense effort they finally had her hooked up to a breathing machine and they decided to life flight her back to Cedars Sinai where there were more skilled doctors. I think they just didn’t want her death on their books.

So we drove the 90 miles to Beverly Hills and discussed the situation with the doctors. They told us that all her vital organs were shutting down and that they could keep working on her but the odds were not good. They told us that we needed to make a decision very soon if they were going to keep trying heroic measures to extend her life. We asked them to leave us alone in the room while we made that decision.

I begged Doug to let her go and he reminded me that he was the one holding the keys of the Priesthood and he was the one closer to God and his will. He reminded me that I was too cynical, too full of doubt and not tuning into the blessings that God had for us. I got on my knees and begged him to let her go and after 1/2 hr. the doctors knocked on the door and told us that we had to decide now. Finally Doug relented and said, “Let this be on YOUR head”.

I walked into the ICU and the nurses guided me as I removed the tubes and needles stuck in her spent little body. They weren’t allowed to remove them due to California law but I could. It was so strange, so surreal and the smells and sounds were like something out of a science fiction story.

Finally she was free of the artificial anchors and I held her as she gasped and the air that had been forced into her escaped. In that nanosecond I feared that I had made a mistake and that she was actually still trying to live, but the nurses explained that it was normal and how the body released all that was forced inside during those traumatic hours before her death.

Mom, Doug, and I took turns holding her until rigormortis set in about 20 minutes later and her arms and legs started to splay out and her body stiffened. We had them put her in the morgue and then we came home to our two kids and hugged them close. The lemon and orange trees were blossoming and the air smelled so sweet. We had a Jasmine vine climbing up the front porch and it too was heady with intoxicating sweet blossoms. Finally there was peace. Easter should be about Peace.

eggs meme

  1. The name has been changed to prevent you from finding this guy and kicking the crap out of him for the guilt trip he put his wife on.
    -profet/editor

Sharing Truth not Bias

Do you really want truth? Does anyone really want truth? Maybe you feel this way.

i_want_the_truth

Consider this article:
http://middleagedmormonman.com/home/2013/09/i-am-mormon-and-i-have-questions.html

And consider this one:
http://churchofthefridge.com/2014/01/19/the-glory-of-god-is-intelligence-now-stop-thinking-about-it/

One of these articles clearly discourages free thinking and communication of different ideas. It basically says to stop thinking and be damn sure you don’t tell anyone those scary doubts that creep into your noodle. The other one points out the dangers of shutting off your brain and not questioning the status quo. To steal from MMM’s home page, ‘one matters.’

Which do you think personally is more important? Blind obedience or intelligent introspection? Carefully culled sharing of information or open dialog? I seriously think that most people if given that question in absence of any backdrop of debate would most likely side with the intelligent/open dialog opinion.

Which article gets more traffic? I can’t for sure say how many hits the MMM piece has, but since he recently posted his blog passed 2 million views in about a year, one can assume it was quite a lot. 1 This post on the Fridge door? Comparatively it was read a measly 2500 times.

Possible reason for differences:

1. My writing sucks, very high possibility I will give you that!

2. Getting a major news outlook to carry your post, big coup. Guess it pays to be on the side of the corporation that wants good propaganda .

3.  We seek to confirm our own bias more than we seek truth.

you-cant-handle-the-truth-meme-generator-you-want-the-truth-you-can-t-handle-the-truth-9789dd

I’d say that it is more likely that the second and third reasons are behind the popularity than the first. 2 Why? Because there are millions of people that feel the same way the MMM does. Relatively speaking there are very few that have allowed themselves the freedom of thought that this man does not and thus have arrived at a different conclusion in regards to the religion he is so confident is the one true church of God on the planet. Millions are looking for confirmation of the truth of that which they already hold dear. It is actually something that people will actively do when faced with uncomfortable facts that they can’t deny. In psychology terms this is called the backfire effect.

These days there is much buzz challenging the authority of  religions over the minds of men. Most likely due to the rise of the none’s, militant atheists and a growing secular humanist movement. All this discussion will for a period of time actually enhance the traffic to the sites that willingly confirm bias even when they actively discourage free thought and sharing of ideas.

It also helps that the establishment has funding and influence to promote propaganda that is sympathetic to its cause.  Do you really think a church/corporation that wholly owns a marketing company that brags about its ability to sell you on something using your heart would pass up an opportunity to help you doubt your doubts? 3

The fact of confirmation bias and the ability for a majority to influence a minority, simply via propaganda, means ideas have mass. They don’t just disappear, even when proven wrong. It takes time and patience to replace a falsehood with a truth. The natural reaction of the endangered idea is to band together with other endangered ideas. I think that is why recently Dallin Oaks said the abominal church  “…must be any philosophy or organization that opposes belief in God” This is a far cry from the foundation of Mormonism when Joe Smith declared that God told him all the other religions “…were an abomination in his sight.” Back then it was other religions the idea was competing against, now the biggest threat is no religion. Outdated ideas don’t die easily, they go kicking and screaming.

Religion has an ability to capture the mind of man, we long to believe in a cause that is bigger than ourselves. When mythology is held up as truth via religion it will capture this imagination and desire that is innately human. So how do we change an idea? By understanding the purpose it plays. Don’t forget that religion fills a need inside to be part of something greater, it satisfies a desire for wonder and imagination. So next time a believer asks you what you have to offer, realize that they aren’t just looking for the truth, they also want fulfillment, wonder and hope. Don’t forget to tell them how lucky you feel to be here and now, how wondrous it is that you are a walking talking collection of stardust. Don’t just tell them why their beliefs are mistaken, tell them metaphorically why the Fridge is true and how much more wondrous the world is when you don’t approach it wearing the shackles of preconception. Chances are they will listen better.

 

 

 

  1. I am sure it helped that the Deseret News carried a copy of this post as well… hmmm wonder why that is?
  2. of course that could be my own bias towards my writing 🙂
  3. HeartSell, getting people to do what you want while keeping them from thinking logically about it!