Mourning with France and 100 Other Nations

While I mourn with France today, I have been reminded that I selectively express my mourning for grievous events in Western civilization. I tend to be more emotionally affected by tragedies in Western cultures.

This does nothing to lessen the tragedy of Paris. However, it does help me put into perspective the magnitude. 122 people is a lot of people. But it is small compared to tragedies we see unfold before us in so many non-Western countries. In the last week, how many thousands have been slaughtered by those devoted to religious or other ideologies? In the last week, how many millions (billions?) of women and children have endured a living hell of suppression created by devotion to religious and other ideologies?

My wife and I watched the movie Timbuktu two nights ago. It tells the story of Timbuktu and the surrounding area under the power of religious extremists. That film and my wife’s statement to me last night are powerful reminders to me that while I need to continue to fight oppression and bigotry at home, I need to listen more closely to the stories that come from far away, both geographically and culturally.

The prematurely ended lives, stunted lives, and damaged souls as a result of ideological devotion are everywhere.

I have been thinking locally (speaking culturally) and acting locally. I need to remember to think globally and act globally where I can while I continue to act locally.

I know both major and minor holocausts of ideology are currently occurring in Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Israel, Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia, Chad, Sudan, Nigeria, Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, North Korea, Russia, Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, and I’m sure a few countries whose mention in the news have not perked my ears. And how much of that has ideologically-driven U.S. foreign policy contributed to?

I also know that people are living their own “personal holocausts” of ideology all across the globe, including the U.S. because people are so devoted to ideology.

In the U.S., the continued effects of racism are so much more apparent now that so many have given themselves permission to eschew compassion in the name of ideology. Pay gaps are large, opportunity is clearly unequal, illegal immigrants are being demonized, voting rights are being restricted, and racist statements are being made by serious candidates for President, for crying out loud.

In the U.S., oppression of women appears to be getting worse. The gender pay gap is horrendous, access to reproductive healthcare is being restricted, and representation in leadership positions is atrocious. And that same permission to to eschew kindness in the name of ideology has both a good portion of the populace and serious presidential candidates making sexist statements and getting away with it.

In the U.S., oppression of LGBTQ people is considered OK by so many people on ideological grounds. The permission people have given themselves to be brutal in this arena is just astounding.

And though it makes none of the U.S. problems any less damaging, it is so much worse elsewhere in the world. Can we evolve as a species to accept that oppression and violence in the name of ideology is wrong? Maybe it will take rejection of ideology altogether.

I’m trying to do my part. I reject ideology. I don’t care how much my personal positions agree with a religion, political platform, personal following, or group, I refuse to label myself as a member. I am a non-member of any ideological group. I reserve the right to judge whether my positions need adjustment with new information without regard to what any group says I should believe. I claim and I own that responsibility.

Will you join me?

Calling Evil Good and Good Evil

So all things Mormon have kind of exploded over a new change to church policy preventing kids from joining the church if their parents are gay. Let’s look at scriptural support for this move:

2 Nephi 5 (if it had been written translated in the 21st century):

21 And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a rainbow; wherefore, as they were happy, and exceedingly fabulous, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did pronounce them icky. 

22 And thus saith the Lord God: I will cause that they shall be loathsome unto thy people, save they shall repent of their iniquities.

23 And cursed shall be the child of him that livith with the gays; for they shall be cursed even with the same cursing. Even apostate. And the Lord spake it, and it was done.

Ok, supporters of the LDS faith will quickly point out this restriction is only if your parents are in a gay marriage or a have a gay lover. Because apparently as long as these parents aren’t sinning and totally celibate, it’s all good. But that kinda makes your head spin doesn’t it. I mean, if it is about the sin, does that mean soon they will be banning kids with parents that drink coffee? Where will it all end?

Who knows, maybe current leaders are just speaking as men, you know like they did back when they condemned interracial marriage because they thought God cursed people with a different skin color. Given historical evidence on that front we could reasonably expect all this to be disavowed soon since they were willing to even disavow their own scripture once enough time had passed to make it look like they weren’t just following the whims of society.

There are many people upset by this news, people that will be driven to question the veracity of their beliefs, but some won’t. Take a look at this post seen on social media from a member justifying this church action.

Did you get that? God is helping these kids by not bringing them to the church and all that responsibility that goes with it? This particular justification jumped out at me because of an experience I had on my mission.

We had been knocking on doors one evening and came upon a family with a sick baby. They let us in and eventually we offered to give the child a blessing. We did so. I remember the moment vividly because I felt the spirit so strongly. I was sure this child would be healed and blessed it accordingly. We returned to the family the next day and as we approached the home we saw the pastor of a local evangelic congregation leaving. When we entered we saw a very sick baby who was noticeably worse. The parents were very worried and asked for another blessing.  I reprimanded them for not having enough faith that they had called on a different religion to heal their child but said I would bless him again. This time I had a very different blessing pour forth. I blessed the child that if their parents weren’t gonna be baptized and become members that it would be better if he died.

The baby died a day later. I took that as a sign then of the power of God. But now I have to admit I am kind of disgusted in that younger version of me. I am a parent now, I’ve had kids in the hospital, I have lost a child that was like a son to me. And there is one thing I know for sure that I didn’t get as a 19 year old kid. A loving parent would do anything to save the life of their child. Anything within their power to do so would be worth a shot. Putting myself in their shoes now I can’t even begin to condemn them for trying to save that child in anyway they could… And I chided them for it and then blessed their child to die. I am ashamed of that past action.

The baby I blessed to die was buried across the road in a shallow grave not far from their home in the jungles of Guatemala. I remember standing there staring at the mound of dirt, so sure that little spirit was up in heaven getting its celestial glory. I wasn’t that different from this person quoted above in how I justified a bad thing as a greater good. If it is really so good then why wouldn’t you prevent your own child from being baptized? The illogic of faith runs deep, and we often don’t even realize that it is religion that makes us call good things evil and evil things good. It is actually right there in the scriptures for when you are feeling intolerant. Sure there are things that Jesus said like:

“…suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” – Mark 10:14.

You often get these quoted to you when the religious are talking about how great their moral guidance is because they follow scriptures. But that is the thing with scripture, seems like there is always a flip side you can apply, you know for those days you are feeling bigoted or intolerant, or maybe just confused. Here is one that applies to the way these kids need to act if they want to be baptized:

“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” – Luke 14:26

Here is one I have already seen making the rounds on this particular topic:

“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.” – Matt 10:34-35

The more I check my internal moral compass with that of what I used to believe the more I realize this was a common way I shelved things that bothered me. You work to somehow call it a good thing. Which is entirely possible to do with the scriptures. You just need to you look for it. You can even justify killing those icky gays if you want, look – leviticus 20:13. Similarly you can justify slavery. Even cold blooded murder of a drunk person is condensed in holy writ. Just do a little digging through the scriptures and liken them to the situation however you please.

So if you want to shelve your discomfort at the idea of God keeping little kids from his one and only true church it is actually pretty easy to do. And that is the problem with religion. The brainwash if you will. It makes it easy to set aside your own moral compass, in fact it even threatens you with eternal damnation if you don’t. You wouldn’t want to risk God keeping you out of the CK by calling out his inspired leadership on this right? 1

Personally I hope to all that is cool in the name of the Fridge that this will be a wakeup call. Something to get people thinking about what their faith is really promoting. Is it love of fellow man or is it hate of someone different than you?

Who is really calling evil good and good evil? 

  1. Besides, if you are as old as me you even promised to never speak a single bad thing about church leaders less your throat would be slit ear from ear. There is plenty of damnation to risk by saying the leaders are wrong, that is for sure. But isn’t that the right thing to do? Do what is right and let the consequence follow?

The role of the LDS church in developing torture

Torture_by_eWKn

The brutal “enhanced interrogation techniques” employed by the CIA to extract information from suspected terrorists were developed by two Mormon psychologists, Bruce Jessen and James Mitchell. 1 The techniques included waterboarding, sleep deprivation and forcing prisoners to assume “stress positions.”

John Rizzo, the acting CIA general counsel who met with the psychologists, wrote in his book, “Company Man,” that he found some of what Mitchell and Jessen were recommending “sadistic and terrifying.” One technique, he wrote, was “so gruesome that the Justice Department later stopped short of approving it.”

In fact, the Mormon church provided four key players in  the CIA’s quest to evade the Geneva Convention, since Judge Jay Bybee signed off on memo’s that redefined the term “torture”, enabling interrogators to use more brutal methods in their attempts to extract information from detainees. Rounding out this infamous group is Timothy Flanigan,  deputy White House counsel at the time, and one of five attorneys who referred to themselves as the “War Council”.  2

How is it that a church that undoubtedly preaches love and basic Christian goodness has in its midst four individuals who developed, enabled, and implemented policies and techniques that resulted in the brutal torture of human beings in the almost universally fruitless search for useful intelligence information?

I believe the problem lies with the LDS church’s supreme emphasis on authority. Joseph Smith claimed to have restored God’s only “true church” and proper “priesthood authority”. The leaders of the LDS church continually teach that authority is necessary in all important things, from leadership of the church, to leadership of the ward, to leadership of the home.

There is a clear hierarchy in all things and that hierarchy is to be respected and obeyed.

If two people disagree on something within the church or their families, the individual with the highest authority prevails.

Authority is supremely important in the LDS church.  Talks in LDS General Conference stress that members are not to doubt or question the authority of their church leaders. Leaders are called of God, given priesthood authority through a lineage dating back to Adam, and because of that will not lead membership of the church astray. Members are reminded in ways big and small that if they have opinions which contradict those in authority over them the member is the one at fault, not the authority figure, and that member must bring themselves in line or be in sin.

The 12th Article of Faith states, “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” This in itself is a fairly noble belief. The LDS church does not support anarchy or special privilege of its membership to violate the laws of the land. However, the church teaches that the United States was formed by men inspired of God expressly for the purpose of creating a country with the necessary freedoms in place so that God could return the true and everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth. The leaders of the United States, while highly imperfect, have authority that protects our nation and our freedoms, especially the religious freedoms Mormons value so highly. Once again, the leaders of our land have authority that has an almost divine sanction to it, at least at its origins.

Now, many of you may have heard of the Milgram experiment. In 1961, Yale University researcher Stanley Milgram set up an experiment in which participants were instructed to deliver increasingly strong electric shocks to invisible individuals. The individuals, while not seen, could be clearly heard. While the individuals received no actual shock, the participants believed that they were administering higher and higher levels of shock, and even as the invisible recipient screamed and begged to stop, up to 2/3 of the participants administered shock all the way up to the highest 450-volt level.

Milgram

Participants were more likely to administer the shocks when a researcher was in the same room with them. Results remained consistent across racial groups and genders.

The Milgram study showed that people will do seemingly immoral things when told to by an authority figure, and has served as an important means of understanding the events that occurred in Nazi Germany as well as at other times throughout human history.

Stanley Milgram declared, “A substantial proportion of people do what they are told to do, irrespective of the content of the act and without limitations of conscience, so long as they perceive that the command comes from a legitimate authority.” According to Martha Stout, Ph.D., in her book, The Sociopath Next Door,

Milgram believed that authority could put conscience to sleep mainly because the obedient person makes an “adjustment of thought,” which is to see himself as not responsible for his own actions. In his mind, he is no longer a person who must act in a morally accountable way, but the agent of an external authority to whom he attributes all responsibility and initiative. This “adjustment of thought” makes it much easier for benign leadership to establish order and control, but by the same psychological mechanism, it has countless times rolled out the red carpet for self-serving, malevolent, and sociopathic “authorities.”” (page 63)

A paper recently published in the British Journal of Social Psychology by researchers Professor Alex Haslam (University of Queensland), Professor Stephen Reicher (University of St Andrews), Professor Kathryn Millard (Macquarie University) and Professor Rachel McDonald (University of Kansas) argues that the meaning of the experiment has been misunderstood. 3

Participants in the Milgram experiment were not distressed by their participation, but rather felt happy that they were part of an important contribution to science.

Professor Haslam said: ““This provides new insight into the psychology of oppression and gels with other evidence that perpetrators are generally motivated, not by a desire to do evil, but by a sense that what they are doing is worthy and noble.”

Professor Reicher added: “This new analysis suggests that we may have misunderstood the ethical as well as the theoretical issues raised by Milgram’s studies. We need to ask whether it is right to protect participants’ own wellbeing by leading them to think that harming the wellbeing of others can be justified as long as it is in a good cause.”

So four individuals, from a  religious background that heavily stresses authority and obedience, and who esteem their government as being originally sanctioned by God participate in the development of a scheme of cruel and inhumane torture that they perceive as for the betterment of society and the protection of the (God-given) American way of life

It would appear that is the case, given that earlier this year, James Mitchell defended himself by stating, “I’m just a guy who got asked to do something for his country.”

And as Mormon Studies expert Professor Patrick Mason has told Mormon writer Joanna Brooks,  “Mormonism has “no systematic theology” on issues like human rights or poverty or war. Its view of morality is “highly individualized.””

In fact, within the LDS church there is virtually no discussion of morality. Right and wrong comes from scripture and revelation, usually to those with priesthood authority. Morality, in most LDS discussions, refers to keeping the LDS law of chastity, the Mormon rules for sexual conduct, not to the generalized means of determining right from wrong. Search for the word “morality” on lds.org and this is what you will get.

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 11.22.01 AM

The LDS church is not concerned with the question of morality, i.e., the constantly evolving discussion of right and wrong that has occupied philosophers and religionists for millennia. Rather, the LDS church teaches obedience above all else and defines morality in terms of one specific behavior.

The LDS mentality is a perfect breeding ground for the type of individual capable of doing what Jessen, Mitchell, Bybee and Flanigan have done. It would stand to reason that the antidote would be independent thought, support of reason, and questioning of authority. And those aren’t things you’re going to learn in any Mormon church.

 

The Great Firewall of China and Washing of Brains

In my day job I regularly go to China, an interesting experience to say the least. On my travels there I typically visit Taiwan, Hong Kong as well as the China mainland. One thing that always gets me is the stark difference in information accessibility between China and these other places. Probably because I use the internet for so much of my work. Once you are in China mainland you can’t get on Facebook, wikipedia is a joke and google doesn’t work well because the government owned telecoms literally monitor and control the information flow in and out of the country. Now I’m not saying that there aren’t ways around this firewall, but even those are constantly shored up by the Chinese propaganda machine. You can for example get around the Facebook and google blocking using a VPN, but they are temporary and have to change all the time to stay ahead of the ministry of information control. If you don’t find an alternate path to the information you will never learn about Tiananmen Square or the freedoms that other countries take for granted. Travel outside of the information controlled by that government though and it is a few keystrokes away from discovery.

The rulers of China also understand one of the more subtle concepts of brain washing, something so simple that you hear it in every sales approach. The concept of repetition. They would get POWs to repeat simple phrases over and over, small little ones that weren’t that bad (like the US makes mistakes), but then over time push for stronger and stronger phrasing to the point that when these POWs returned they would tell you that the communist regime had “done a fine job” in China and even vilify the US for their actions towards others in the world.

By controlling the information that people have access to and by getting those same people to consistently repeat the propaganda you want them to they can keep a nation of 2 billion under control. These are powerful techniques, they are also techniques that religions use to do much the same thing, to get their members to act and do what they want them to. I think this experience I have had several times in China might have been part of the reason I recognized similar things in my own religion that lead to my eventual disbelief. For example.

In the LDS conference this weekend an apostle said:

“Next, read the testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Pearl of Great Price or in this pamphlet, now in 158 languages. You can find it online at LDS.org or with the missionaries. This is Joseph’s own testimony of what actually occurred. Read it often. Consider recording the testimony of Joseph Smith in your own voice, listening to it regularly, and sharing it with friends. Listening to the Prophet’s testimony in your own voice will help bring the witness you seek.”
– Neil Anderson

To paraphrase, Read Joseph’s own words from his own testimony…then read Joseph’s words out loud in your own voice and record it…then listen to the recording of yourself repeating JS testimony over and over and over and over…it kind of reminds me of how conservative republican mormons were all wound up about some grade school kids singing something nice about Obama, that is evil brainwashing, but this is good stuff!1

They would seem to be saying that truth comes from repeating things, I think truth comes from questioning things. One of those two certainly fits the pattern of brain washing.

brain washAnother repeated them has been to not research any information on the church outside of the media that they control. How is this any different than the great firewall of China? When I first started reading much of the information about the history of the church that lead to my doubts I searched all over the current websites for explanations and none were there. This was a big read flag to me because 95% of the history that had caused my doubts in the first place were in the churches own history books. Why would the journal of discourses not be available in its entirely on LDS.org? It is a record from the 1800s that is much the same as the Ensign today. Such a big deal that there are thousands of references to it in the talks on the same website.

The only reason imaginable is information control. Of course you can find those documents elsewhere using the internet, just like you can find the truth about China by circumventing the restrictions they put in place. But the fact you can find the information doesn’t mean they aren’t trying to control it. I hear this argument all the time from believers when I point out some fact that you can’t find in the current official statements of church leaders. They seem to think because you can find it on a website outside of the churches control that they aren’t hiding anything.

I say current church leaders because much of the more upsetting historical facts you uncover if you start looking come from past church leaders making very official statements in their day and age. Things that today are not to be found by any official means, if you do find them on an apologetic site or other place and bring them up, well that old stuff doesn’t count anymore because they were just opinions. But if they said it was doctrine then and they have turned into opinions decades later how can we have any confidence that what is declared doctrine today isn’t gonna be opinion in a few more generations?

Nothing drove home more the fact that this editing of information without general knowledge of the followers was condoned that discovering this talk.You see back when I was in high school there was a conference talk given by Elder Poleman, one that apparently didn’t give the church enough credit so it was edited and rewritten. It was even re-video taped and saved in the record in place of the original. Due to the miracle of modern day information we can look at both. 2

Here is the original(look for part 2 in the sidebar on youtube):

Here is the official tape approved by the church’s ministry of information:

If you’d rather just read the differences in text look here. I personally preferred the original at the time I discovered this, it fit far better with my then view point that religions are primarily constructs of men. But the content wasn’t the thing I had to shelve. It was the deliberate act to mislead people that trusted the leadership as divine. Did God really need his seers and revelators to edit and re-edit his words? And if it was just because they were human and screwed up, then why hide the fact? It was all very disconcerting.

Here’s another gem from this recent conference:

“Studying the church through the eyes of its defectors is like interviewing Judas to understand Jesus. Defectors always tell us more about themselves than about that from which they have departed.” -Neil Anderson

The popsicle of the Fridge M. D. Lighted pointed out the deep meaning in this statement. It paints me as a defector. I am a traitor to the cause. The evil apostate that has nothing good to say ever. But why am I painted this way?  Because I showed you the man behind the curtain. In this post above I showed you with video evidence that the leaders of the church are completely willing to pass off an edited copy as the original while never letting on to you they are doing so. I am decried a traitor or defector for telling the truth.

I suppose that next time dear believer when you post a meme degrading the president of the United States for a cappachino salute, that makes you a defector from the US as well then doesn’t it?

Or do you think you are holding the ideals of the nation as a greater standard and judging the leader accordingly? Because if you do think that, then maybe, just maybe if you think about it a while when I say I tell you these upsetting facts of your religion out of a sense of integrity and duty to truth and honesty that I learned from that same religion. You just might begin to understand where I am coming from.

1. Do what is right; the day-dawn is breaking,
Hailing a future of freedom and light.
Angels above us are silent notes taking
Of ev’ry action; then do what is right!

[Chorus]
Do what is right; let the consequence follow.
Battle for freedom in spirit and might;
And with stout hearts look ye forth till tomorrow.
God will protect you; then do what is right!

2. Do what is right; the shackles are falling.
Chains of the bondsmen no longer are bright;
Lightened by hope, soon they’ll cease to be galling.
Truth goeth onward; then do what is right!

3. Do what is right; be faithful and fearless.
Onward, press onward, the goal is in sight.
Eyes that are wet now, ere long will be tearless.
Blessings await you in doing what’s right!

  1. Since I made an edit to correct my mistake of improper quoting, I got to thinking, why tell anyone I made the edit, why not just sneak it by like the church did with the talk in this article? I think it boils down to honesty, if you screwed up, admit it and don’t pretend it didn’t happen. This is a tough thing for guys to do that also tell their followers that God will never lead them astray. The very testimony that Elder Anderson is telling them to memorize is like the 6th or 7th revision of the telling of the story and is far more embellished than the original written by his own hand. Why not tell the members to read that one repeatedly?
  2. This seems like such a sneaky move that you would only make if you thought weren’t gonna get caught. I mean if you were a prophet and could see the future and knew someday both versions would be compared wouldn’t you have at least put a disclaimer on the modified one to give the appearance of being honest and open?

Losing Faith, Finding Hope

Faith transitions can be rough. Especially if your faith was a thing that you clung to in times of need. I remember one of my very first spiritual experiences. I was a young kid, I had lost my dad’s brand new hammer after working on my treehouse with it. Dad was going to be home soon and would be furious, I was scared. My mom pointed out that Heavenly Father would know were the hammer was and I should ask him. I still remember praying fervently for some help, I was pretty scared. I got up and thought to myself, I need to clear my mind and let impressions flow now if this is gonna work. I did my best to clear my thoughts, then my mind wandered back over the events of the day and boom! I knew exactly where it was and I walked right to it.

I was sure my prayer had been answered, I had after all gotten the help I needed, when I needed it. This pattern continued throughout my life. These experiences became an anchor for me and my personality, they helped me define who I was, and certainly instilled a potential for who I could be. Being confident that you can call on the powers of heaven when you need them is pretty ego boosting. It could explain much of the self confidence I felt in my life. I know that in may cases church creates such an expectation of perfection that many people lose self confidence, especially women. But a mildly narcissistic male that tends to overlook his own deficiencies gets a whole different thing out of the faith. You get God’s power to effect change in the world. God’s!!! How cool is that? So when I lost my faith, it  stung. Deeply.

I wondered now that I realized these powers were pretty much all in my head if they would dry up and fade away. What would happen to my purpose in life? To what would I anchor my personality? For a time I flirted with other religious approaches, Christianity, Pantheism. They all seemed to pale from a knowledge perspective, they all showed the same patterns of self deception that I had learned to recognize as I lost the faith of my birth. For a long time I called myself a hopeful agnostic, finally I realized if I was honest my stance was truly an agnostic atheist one.

happiness

But I couldn’t lose hope. Maybe I couldn’t be confident there was a powerful alien being from Kolob keeping an eye on things and watching out for me anymore, but that didn’t mean I had to give up hope in the potential of mankind. Just because I didn’t buy the idea that we were created in the image of God anymore didn’t mean that possibility wasn’t still in our future. This may possibly even happen in my lifetime as we accelerate our technology towards the human singularity. Our capabilities today are already God-like compared to a scant hundred years ago. We all carry a seer stone in our pockets where access to knowledge appears on a glowing rocklike surface at our whims. Go ahead and drop your iPhone in a hat and think about how magical that might have seemed to people in a world without electricity less than two centuries ago. Is it silly to hope for humanity to become Gods even if you don’t think one made us? I don’t think so.

To hope is human I think, to find wonder is normal. Turned out the more I let go of religion the more I became concerned about helping people in the now. I think it is because I refocused my hope. My hope for my posterity and love for the life I have been lucky enough  to experience is higher than it has ever been. I might live to see the singularity, but if not. I am sure that someone in my posterity will make it and they will get there by standing on the shoulders of those that came before. Why not try and do my part as best I can for those future generations? It’s one of the reasons I started this very blog. Unless some pretty big catastrophe’s strike the planet, there is a measure of immortality in my words as they sit forever spread across the information cloud copied and recopied into the future.

Pondering this sense of immortality one day and seeing a friend go through that loss of identity that accompanies faith I had an epiphany. I felt a message that I desired to tell future generations, something I hope my children read and their kids and so on and so on. Is it what I hope are my last words to be shared when the sun goes out? I haven’t a clue since the future isn’t set. But for here and now it is.

Photo Dec 18, 8 32 56 PM

We human’s describe deity on our own terms, God for most of us is the embodiment of good irrespective of what scriptures or leaders might tell us. When we pray and look for guidance, when we hope for something greater that makes the pain worth it. We aren’t focused on the negative, we are reaching for the positive. When faith is lost and you realize that the mythical being you counted on doesn’t exist, it is devastating. You feel like there is a hole where faith once existed and you might want to lose hope as well. But if like me you experienced spiritual awakenings that shaped your life, if like me when the chips were down and you turned inward and carried a prayer in your heart and had it answered. Consider the following:

The answer was real, the feelings were real. The hope and comfort and love you felt were all real. Where did they come from then? god insideThe power did in fact affect your life for the better, it did help you change, improve, strive and overcome. In that sense the results were measurable. If there is no divine guide out there looking out for you, then what?

It means the power to overcome, the power to survive, the power to forgive, the power to love and feel and share, the power of will and the power of hope. In short, all the power that you always attributed to God… it was in you all along.

Ironically you are the divine that you are looking for. You always were.