WindySydney began as an online journal detailing my exit from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Since leaving the Mormon Church, I have come to the conclusion that religion does more harm than good. I have also become an atheist, looking for logic and reason instead of accepting things on faith.
I also blog about things going on in my life. I am learning photography, I have a severe addiction to diet coke, I am a proud vegetarian, and I have two of the cutest cats in the world. Life is officially an adventure without the magical fairy-tale ending. I plan on enjoying it.
ANDERSON, S.C. -- Two young brothers caused an uproar in Anderson Friday morning when they wandered away from their home and into a neighbor’s home.
Neighbors and public safety officers launched an intense search after John and Matthew Farrar disappeared from their home.The boy’s mother called to report the 2- and 3-year-olds missing at about 9:45 a.m.
About 100 city and county emergency workers scrambled into the neighborhood to search for the boys.
Little did they know that the toddlers were next door in the home of a sleeping neighbor, playing out their own version of Goldilocks gone bad.
Angie Lovorn was sound asleep on the other side of the house after working a third shift and said she had no idea the boys were in her house.
"I would have right away looked through my house if I’d known they were missing," Lovorn said.
But she didn’t know. And while she slept, the toddlers ransacked her cupboards, munching on Teddy Grahams, marshmallows and chips.
Lovorn finally awoke and saw the emergency workers outside her home at about the same time searchers spotted the boys coming out her back door.
One of the brothers was wearing a Clemson University football helmet that belongs to Lovorn’s son.
“They even got on the top bunk," Lovorn said.
"These items -- stuffed animals -- were on the top bunk."
From the looks of the house, the boys enjoyed their visit.
"They played for a while, I think," Lovorn said.
The wandering toddlers are the youngest of four brothers in their family.
Oh, dear God.
I am glad the kids are okay, but how the hell do you sleep through two small children tearing apart your home?
I have been following the story of the Craigslist Killer in the news. This young man, studying medicine, engaged to be married to a beautiful woman, had everyone in his entire life fooled. Little did they know the double life he was living... arranging to meet women who advertised their services on Craigslist, tying them up, robbing them, and taking their underwear as souvenirs.
Despite the overwhelming evidence that includes fingerprints, DNA, IP addresses, cell phone pings, guns and video, Philip Markoff's fiance continues to stand by her future husband. She insists that the police are framing him, and that he "wouldn't harm a fly" and "he is a beautiful person inside and out." As of 1 pm on Saturday, she is still planning her wedding to Philip and refuses to believe he could do any of this.
Police have just linked this man to a third robbery in Rhode Island through his fingerprints, and they are publicly begging anyone who may have been a victim of this man to come forward.
The young woman that he murdered, Julissa Brisman, was a beautiful young woman that had her entire life ahead of her. It's tragic.
The whole double life thing got me thinking...
How many Mormons out there believe that Joseph Smith was a good man even though there is so much evidence to the contrary? They truly believe that Joe was a good person, in and out, and that he wouldn't harm a fly. To those of us who know better, its very easy to see the truth. Joseph was a con man who lied to everyone.
People who are emotionally tied to another human being will lie to themselves to keep their worlds together.
One day (soon in the case of this young woman who is standing by Mr. Markoff) I hope that people start taking a step back and being a little more objective. It's just bizarre to believe in something that is so obviously wrong.
I could testify to you all right now that I believe in pink elephants that fly in the nighttime sky. All you have to do is pray hard enough to see them. I see them. If you don't see them, you are not being as good as you can be. Fast for a few days and then look for the flying pink elephants. Pray to know I am telling the truth.
I am depressed. Very, very down in the dumps and depressed. In order to keep myself from wallowing in self-pity, I decided to find some funny photos and videos and put together a little comedy for my readers tonight... I need some smiling time.
I get tons of slack for admitting that I am a reality television junkie. It's not as bad as it used to be, believe me. When American Idol started years ago, I planned my social life around it. Survivor was more than important, Big Brother on CBS was saved to my DVR, and America's Next Top Model was usually the highlight of my television week. It seems like a waste, doesn't it? It's just competitions for pretty people aiming for more money that I might never see in my lifetime...
I have really had enough of some of these shows. Survivor and American Idol are perfect examples...
Survivor is nearly exactly the same as it was in the first season. They try their hardest to change things up and make the contestants think on their feet, like the time they made the two tribes think they were merging and then tipped them off they would be returning to their own camps after giving the other tribe all of their secrets. They have tried having three tribes, they have separated tribes by gender, race... you name it.
Thing is, the reward competitions and immunity challenges are almost always relay races. First person goes through the course, the next person in line does the same... the first tribe to complete wins. If I see Jeff Probst throw his fist in the air and say, "Survivors.... GO!" one more time I might just die. Blech. It's been done over and over again. Not very entertaining anymore.
American Idol used to be huge for me. I loved Kelly Clarkson, and I was all excited when she won in the first season. She is one of the few Idols who have continued with their success. Sure, she has had her career ups and downs, but you can't deny that girl can sing. The other day I saw a clip of her singing the National Anthem and I got all teary... and anyone who took voices lessons like I did knows that the Star Spangled Banner is one of the hardest songs to sing. It's tough.
But again, it's the same thing every year.
A talented group of people sing songs once a week, they pre-tape little sponsored messages or insanely cheesy group number for companies or the show has a tie-in for a movie coming out... you can't forget the Coke glasses that are constantly on the Judges table...
Oh, don't get me started on the Judges...
Damn, I got myself started on the judges...
Okay, Let's start with my favorite. Randy. Randy is a good human being. He is never overly harsh, at least in my opinion... he's laid back and cool, and he doesn't go out of his way to make the contestants feel uncomfortable. I like that.
Simon Cowell is the reason the show became a big hit in the first place. This is a man who is not afraid to speak his mind. He wont sugar-coat things because he refuses to lie to people. I do think he goes way too far at times, giving constructive criticism is an art form, and he is not a master. You can explain something to a contestant without killing them on the inside.
Paula. Oh, dear... sweet... Paula. She is just... um... flippy? She makes my rambling sentences seem coherent. Most of the time I am convinced she is drunk, high, or out of her mind. She says a lot without saying anything. It makes me really laugh every time she says something like, "I really like your outfit!" or "You really look like you are having fun out there!" Blech.
I think I am one of the only people out there who says they really like the new girl, Kara. This woman knows what she is talking about, but I hate how she constantly mentions that you have to be a "package artist." You have to have the look, the style, the haircut, the right management team. It's a singing competition! Who cares about that stuff? Have them sing a song and then tell them how they did. Is that so hard? Hmm...
This year Idol had a last chance for some of the contestants who didn't make it during their first singing performance to make it to the top 12. When I watched this episode, I found myself rolling my eyes that they even bothered to have them sing. The episode was an hour long (if I am not mistaken) and after everyone performed they "deliberated" during a commercial break and picked people they had loved from the beginning. Staged much?
I am not sure where this post is going. How is that for random? Hahah... the shows are just really repetitive now. Boring. Come on Programming Executives!!! Get creative! Please!!!
I have never made homemade french toast before. Can you believe that? It's always been the store-bought-nuke-in-the-microwave type. I found this french toast casserole on one of the many food websites I frequent and I decided to give it a try. I am glad I did!!
First steps is to line your dish with a lot of butter. In the same casserole dish, mix three scrambled eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon (or any other spices you might enjoy... I hear banana extract is a nice touch, or maybe chocolate chips!) and then stir lightly so you don't really mess up the butter coating on the bottom. Add the bread of your choice... all I had was plain old white sandwich bread, it would have been a LOT better with cinnamon bread or maybe even left over pound cake! Let everything sit in the fridge for a few hours (some say overnight) and then pop it into the oven at 350 degrees until the the top of the toast is a golden brown (about 38 minutes in my case).
I added a few more pats of butter, a dusting of powdered sugar, and a light drizzle of maple syrup. Give this one a shot! It's great!
Last week I turned on the television to catch up on some news, and I quickly learned that citizens from all over the country were going to have "tea party" protests. Thousands and thousands of angry Americans went tea bagging... haha... yeah... tea bagging.
Know what I am going to say to someone the next time they ask me if I am Mormon? I am going to say these five words:
I was born a Mormon.
Did I choose my religion? Nope. I had no choice. My Mom had no choice. Those decisions were made for us. We didn't get to research and look into other choices, as we all know that is frowned upon, so we went with the flow. We kept attending, fulfilling callings, and in my Mom's case, paying tithing and fast offerings.
How many people are not born into Mormonism? A lot more people that are born into it, right? These people might be born into Catholic families, or even born to atheist parents. These children are more than likely going to do the same thing Mom and I did... go with the flow and assume your religion has it right.
I believe this is the very reason the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints tells it's members to marry as young as possible and to have large families. Converts to Mormonism are much less likely to stick around as active tithing paying members. The church has more staying power if children are born into the church and forced to listen to testimonies every day.
The return missionary thing is another big contributer to this issue.
A young man/woman goes out into the world for two years. Every single moment of his time has to be accounted for. The rules are strict, and they are not allowed to do "worldly" things like watch television, go on the internet, or just hang out and take a day off. This changes the thought process for this person. They are in church mode 24-7 for 2 years... when they go home, they are told to get married in the temple. This return missionary is much more likely to follow the church's teachings of marriage and children.
I would love to see a study done about converts leaving the church vs. the people who are born into it. Converts don't have as much pressure (usually) to play the game and make the family and friends around them happy.
If someone like myself, born into Mormonism, leaves or decides to be open about the fact that they no longer believe, they run the very extreme risk of drawing a line between them and the people they love the most.
I wish more TBM's would understand that.
We don't leave because we want to sin or because we couldn't hack following all the rules and regulations necessary to make it to the temple, we leave because we have integrity. It's really messed up that church leaders like to point out that we must be offended in some way.
They are right, though. I am offended. I am offended that I wasn't given the truth, the full story, and all the facts so I could make a decision that was best for me. I am offended that blacks couldn't hold the priesthood until 1978. I am offended that women are treated as second class citizens in the church and most of them don't even realize it. I am offended that church leaders hide and cover up things that everyone has the right to know.
But what do I know? I am just someone who spent 2 years studying everything I could get my hands on. Ignore me. Listen to those white guys in white shirts who are clearly more concerned about mega-malls and condos than the well-being of people around the world. Listen to them talk about how they have the right to limit the rights of so many people.
This isn't the entire talk, I edited out the storytelling...
How blessed we are to be led by a living prophet! Growing up during the Great Depression, President Thomas S. Monson learned how to serve others. Often his mother asked him to deliver food to needy neighbors, and she would give homeless men odd jobs in exchange for home-cooked meals. Later as a young bishop, he was taught by President J. Reuben Clark, “Be kind to the widow and look after the poor” (Thomas S. Monson, “A Provident Plan—A Precious Promise,” Ensign, May 1986, 62). President Monson looked after 84 widows and cared for them until they passed away. Through the years, his service to members and neighbors throughout the world has become the hallmark of his ministry. We are grateful to have his example. Thank you, President Monson.
Brothers and sisters, as did President Monson, our children are growing up in times of economic uncertainty. Just as our grandparents and great-grandparents learned vital lessons through economic adversity, what we learn now, in our present circumstances, can bless us and our posterity for generations to come.
I love it when they tell stories about the old ladies Monson helped. Wow, he really did something nice, didn't he? That proves the church is true!
Now, lets discuss these economic things you bring up, Mr. Hales...
First step in learning to be good with money is to keep track of how much money goes where. How much money does the church have? Where is this money going? How much did you spend on the mall in Salt Lake City? Billions, right? I am sure God approves of that, even though there are starving, sick, and abused people in the world. Who cares about them? God needs a new Nordstrom!
Next step is to stop spending on unnecessary things. Tithing comes to mind. If your church has enough funds to spend 2 billion on a mega-mall-condo-complex and build temples with the finest of marble, you should have enough to sustain yourself. Thanks for that! It's nice to have an extra 10% in the budget to feed kids and clothe them. Whew.
Anyway, it's nice to know Monson grew up in the depression and helped out old ladies! What a good man.
When faced with the choice to buy, consume, or engage in worldly things and activities, we all need to learn to say to one another, “We can’t afford it, even though we want it!” or “We can afford it, but we don’t need it—and we really don’t even want it!”
Wow. So do you really need 5 billion temples? You want them, but do you really NEED them? And if you NEED them, why do you NEED the finest of marble and all that Jazz? How about vinyl?
So, in these rough economic times, why are you still building a mega mall? Why isn't that money going to help the members of your church who need it? Why isn't it buying immunizations? Food? Clothes? You *CAN* afford it. Right? Just sayin'.
In addition to our tithes, we should also be an example with the payment of fast offerings. A fast offering is at least the cost of the two consecutive meals from which we fast each month. By not eating these two meals, we draw close to the Lord in humility and prayer and also participate in anonymous giving to bless our brothers and sisters all over the world.
Oh, I thought you were trying to tell us to watch our money?
Let me get this straight... You want to spend money on a mall-condo-disaster, and we get guilted into paying 10% of everything we have, plus fast offerings? How about we just volunteer at a soup kitchen and kill two birds with one stone? Why does it have to be money instead of time? Oh, yeah... you have temples and malls to build. My bad.
I think the Lord groans out loud every time a family's hard earned money ends up in the hands of the LDS Church instead of going where it should go. If you want to claim that your fast offerings and tithing goes right to the needy, I will have to ask you for some proof. Oh, thats right... you don't show your financial records, do you? I will have to pray about that.
Whenever we want to experience or possess something that will impact us and our resources, we may want to ask ourselves, “Is the benefit temporary, or will it have eternal value and significance?” Truthfully answering these questions may help us avoid excessive debt and other addictive behavior.
Give me a break, Mr. Save-your-money-except-for-the-moolah-you-give-to-us.
I am eternally grateful that I don't buy into this BS anymore, and that when I give money to a non-profit organization, I KNOW that money is going where I want it to.
Anyone around my age is very familiar with the game Pac Man. I recall spending hours pouring quarters into this game at my local hangout, and I was pretty damn good if I do say so myself...
Anyway, this is freaking HILARIOUS!!! Sorry the video is larger than the screen size... not sure how to go about fixing that. If you knew what a perfectionist I am, you would understand how much that bothers me. :) The fact that I am leaving it up anyway should show how awesome the video is...
Buddha says, "If you are my friend, you will pick up that blue feather and play with me."
Know something that annoys me? Something that I bring up at least once a month and complain about constantly? That most of my friendships with believing Mormons seem fake and manipulative.
Do they like me for me?
I doubt it.
Do they like me at all?
Are they trying to get be back to church so they can gain points with God?
Every time I have a conversation with one of these friends (some of which read my blog... um... hi, there...) the topic seems to gravitate towards religion, God, church, and death. Death is a big one. If you talk death, and I have talked a lot about death recently, you open the door to wondering if you will ever see your loved ones again. Of course, no one really knows what happens when we die... but they don't see it that way. They have it all figured out. Must be nice.
When I stopped attending church when I was 16, I was instantly popular. Everyone wanted to hang out with me and be my friend because they wanted to get me to agree to attend YW meetings and activities. When I *did* attend, before the inactivity, no one gave a shit.
In the halls in my high school I was approached by a popular cheerleader TBM girl who won every contest she ever entered, Aced every test she ever took, and dated every good looking dreamboat in our teeny-tiny school. She wanted to talk to me? What the hell for? I was just the drama/music geek. We had nothing in common. AT ALL. But suddenly, I was her BFF.
She would leave me notes in my locker inviting me to various church activities, or get-togethers. She would constantly try and find out why I stopped going to church, and I was very honest with her... she just didn't understand. That's fine. Just leave me alone and let me be. Don't try and change me. PLEASE.
As a kid, I remember sitting in countless Sacrament meetings listening to the "every member a missionary" message.
"Befriend non-members and invite them to our services. Tell them about the gospel and share how they can become members of this wonderful church (insert sob here)."
That photo of the temple bed in the Yearning For Zion compound really did a number on me. When I saw it for the first time hours ago, I was sick to my stomach. I couldn't stop thinking about what that bed was for... all the possibilities... and how horrible some of those things are.
I am sad.
I can't comprehend any reason at ALL for a bed to be in a temple. Many people have speculated that the bed could have been for something as simple as a janitor or other temple worker sleeping in the building. That makes no sense to me, but to be honest... none of this makes sense.
If having people go into a sacred building like a temple that are not "worthy," why then would it be okay for the old man taking out the trash to take a nap in a sealing room? That sounds a little disrespectful to me... just sayin'. That excuse for the bed does not add up. Not at all.
So, what else could this thing be for?
Many noticed the hand rails on the sides of the bed... much like a hospital bed. Some assumed the man would lie on the bed while his wives knelt beside him and touched him during the sealing of a new wife. Sure... this is possible... but I don't understand the need for a bed. There are countless other ways to accomplish this feat without the use of a mattress.
The scariest thing, and the first thing that popped into my head, was that the rails on the bed could be used to tie restraints to. I have no proof that this happens/happened in that room, but the image came to me with surprising speed and clarity. I am probably wrong... Gawd... I hope I am wrong.
Here is the thing...
Most members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints look at the polygamous splinter groups as cult members that have nothing at all to do with their church.
They are wrong!!
Heads up, believing Mormons... The polygamous groups are simply practicing what Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and the rest of the leaders practiced!
In one breath, you praise Joseph Smith as a bright young boy who dealt with such persecution (he deserved it, by the way) and in the next breath you say that these groups that practice polygamy have nothing to do with you?
If the United States government didn't force the church to give up the practice of polygamy, we would still be practicing it. As a matter of fact, many members of the church joined polygamous marriages AFTER the manifesto was written. Yep... it's true! They... *gasp* Broke the LAW! Shocking, isn't it?
My ancestors came to America from Sweden to join the church in Zion. There is no doubt that some of these ancestors either practiced polygamy, or were raised to believe it was necessary for their salvation. If the church had no bowed to pressure to conform, I might have been raised like the women in the Yearning For Zion ranch. I might have been married off to a 50-something year old fart when I was 15... or even younger.
I am so ashamed to remember that I once thought I had all the answers. I once thought that Joseph Smith and the church were right and true.
To think that if a different decision was made, that I might really know what happened in that temple bed.
We all remember the Yearning For Zion ranch in Texas that was raided last year after a phone call was placed to authorities claiming an underage girl was being forced into marriage against her will.
The entire media focused on religious freedom versus child abuse. The constant thought was, "Where do we draw the line?"
Well, I am here to say that I am sick after seeing a photo taken inside the Temple on their private ranch. It's not easy to look at. Don't worry, there are no children in the photo, nothing showing abuse, just a single, solitary photo of a bed inside one of the pristine white rooms.
To all those who claim that there was zero sexual intercourse inside this temple, I have one question:
This website is a recipe-sharing, photo-sharing, inspiration-giving, blog-linking haven for foodies like me. My words can't do it justice. I won't even try. Instead, let me share a couple photos from the site (hope they don't mind).
Can I just say how messed up it is to send a little kid a note from his/her primary class telling them they love him/her, miss them, and want them to come to church and have fun with the rest of the class?
Especially when this kid has been to church once, and doesn't know any of the other kids who "love" and "miss" him.