Friday, May 25, 2012

On Jealousy

I was in a room full of people the other day, and the conversation happened upon the subject of jealousy.  I found myself saying "you would ideally want a measure of jealousy in a [romantic] relationship..." and I didn't get any farther in the thought before I was met with immediate disapproval.  Not like I was about to be hanged or anything, just this crowd of "no"s and "jealousy is always bad"s. 

I contended quickly that I meant jealously and not envy, and they totally still felt passionately that jealousy aught to be demonized.  This was curious to me as - I'm sure you've noticed - I hold jealousy in a very different light.

Wikipedia defines jealousy thus:

"Jealousy is an emotion and typically refers to the negative thoughts and feelings of insecurity, fear, and anxiety over an anticipated loss of something that the person values, particularly in reference to a human connection. Jealousy often consists of a combination of presenting emotions such as anger, resentment, inadequacy, helplessness and disgust. It is not to be confused with envy."

Now, if you knew me in real life, you wouldn't expect me to be an intellectual advocate to emotions or drives that are commonly perceived as "negative" such as anger or hate or disgust.  (It should be noted that I don't appreciate envy very much).

But I am.  Most things that are built into the human psyche, I find, have their place - and can also be ill-dignified.  It's becoming clear to me that a lot of.. unpleasant things... are falling victim to the propaganda against negativism.

I'm as optimistic and hopeful as one little butterball of a backwoods intellectual type can be.  I'm also a realist, and I prefer that my information accurately reflects reality.  Also, I'm not expressly here to have happy experiences like the bulk of the post modernist generation is here to do.  I don't try to be happy, I try to be good.  And the best way to be good is to be loving.  And the best way in my opinion to be honest is to consider everything, even if it's inherently unpleasant, to find out if it happens to be inherently good.

(I met an intellectual gal once who would dissociate from all emotions because a person could far too easily become a slave to them.  For an example of the opposite extreme.)

My friend Brandon told me a story when I brought it up of him and his wife during a period where their work schedules didn't sync up.  He said she would tell him stories while they were going to bed about her work day and the people she would hang out with there, and he wouldn't say much back.  After awhile of this, she asked him if he was jealous and he turned to her and said "well of COURSE I'm jealous!  They get to spend time with you and I don't!"

It's all too common for psychology and its therapists to blame the whole of jealousy on trauma, or the symptom of a psychological disorder; resulting in what ultimately amounts to trust issues or an affinity for convincing oneself of the worst at the expense of rationality.

But jealousy is good for the strong long-term partnership.  It discourages desertion, and bolsters the family unit enabling the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health of the young.  We abandon philanderers and futile matches in favor of stable rewarding relationships.  You have to admit, you secretly feel flattered when your lover is mildly jealous.  And catching someone flirting with your beloved can spark the lust and romance that reignites the passion that started the relationship in the first place.

I also contend that in the peculiar sociological and philosophical environment that most Americans in the Northwest have been living in, jealousy - where it's paid attention to most - is ill-dignified.  You think of the insecure folk who become consumed by it, sometimes violently, and who often drive their beloved into the arms of another; the very outcome they feared - the self-fulfilling prophecy.

Helen Fisher PhD asserts this advice:

"So what can you do if jealousy is making you miserable? First, figure out whether he's actually cheating. If he is, you have a different problem: what to do about your relationship. But if you find yourself snooping through your lover's pockets, or reading his e-mails on the sly, stop. This is demeaning to you. Explain that you are working to control your suspicion but would like him to help you by not provoking it. And if you can't stop spying or obsessing (and many of us can't), it's time to consult a mental health professional. Ultimately, though, you may never feel emotionally secure with a flirtatious mate—in which case you might consider some wisdom from Zen philosophy: The way out is through the door."

Now I never intended to write a blog about relationship advice, but I definitely recommend working on emotional security, and perhaps a more healthy approach to jealousy, rather than nixing it altogether.  The main case I'm making is that jealousy shouldn't be demonized, but instead understood.

One more thing worth noting:  The Bible doesn't posit jealousy as a flaw in design either, or even cast it negatively.  Contrarily, God is described as jealous; and we are supposed to jealously guard our hearts.  Just saying.

--J.m. Gatewood
Probability Significator

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

On the Wool/Linen Sin from Leviticus (and why that's there)

"You are to keep My statutes. You shall not breed together two kinds of your cattle; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor wear a garment upon you of two kinds of material mixed together." --Leviticus 19:19 (NASB)

"You shall not wear a material mixed of wool and linen together." --Deuteronomy 22:11

"Today I'm going to violate Leviticus by wearing a cotton/polyester blend. #CherryPickingSins" --George Takei (Twitter)

These are verses that I hear more often from non-believers than from believers.  It's usually to say "Christianity is ridiculous and here's why," or lately "Christianity thinks homosexuality is an abomination.  Here are some OTHER things they think is an abomination."

Mostly, I get the impression that the non-believers that say these things seem to think we're not aware our Holy Scripture says it.  They think they've discovered something in a casual browsing that those of us who attend church week after week and study the Bible in context have somehow missed.

When you hear someone cite these laws or ANY OTHER biblical law that seems silly/no longer relevant/outdated/inconvenient/barbaric, realize that the best POSSIBLE intention for doing so is because they think they are protecting something valuable.  In every instance, what they have placed in priority is either bad for them and they'd like to justify it - or it's good for them and they ignorantly THINK Christianity is against it, so they're trying to justify it.  In either case, the idea is to find one biblical law that even a Christian doesn't think you have to follow and collapse the whole legal system with it.

It would be a whole lot easier and more honest to approach what you're REALLY having hang-ups about, and do a bit of research.  The only thing that makes it difficult is that you're invested in one particular outcome.

So, now that we got THAT out of the way, why does the Bible even HAVE these verses?

"This question often arises when people read Leviticus 19:19 and Deuteronomy 22:11. Today we would call this a "consumer protection law." Notice that these verses contain the basic principle that materials of widely differing character and texture are not to be combined. On the other hand, these verses allow a number of combinations that are within God's laws.

Today's garments are made of two basic kinds of natural fibers. The first is plant cellulose fiber, from which fabrics such as linen and cotton are produced. The second is animal protein fiber such as wool and silk. Because these kinds of fibers differ markedly in strength, washability, absorption, and so forth, they should not be mixed.

However, a garment made of a combination of cellulose materials—a mixture of cotton and linen, for example—is acceptable because the fibers are basically similar. For the same reason, mixtures of protein fibers (wool, mohair, silk, and so on) are acceptable.

What about the mixture of synthetic, man-made fabrics, such as Dacron, nylon, polyester, and rayon, with either cellulose or protein fibers? Many have not realized that a combination of synthetic and either plant or animal material does not necessarily break the biblical principle. Synthetic materials are usually made to have essentially the same characteristics as the natural fibers. Otherwise, they would not mix well. The stronger fibers would cut and tear away from the weaker ones or would not combine well in other ways. In other words, it is perfectly acceptable to manufacture fabrics from a combination of fibers which are naturally or artificially compatible with one another. It is the mixture of fibers with markedly differing qualities which this biblical principle concerns.

It should be noted that such combinations produce a cheapergarment, with respect to quality, than one made with the best grades of pure fibers. On the other hand, a fabric made from low-grade, natural fibers is usually improved by the addition of compatible man-made fibers. Any good tailor or seamstress knows that the best quality clothing is made from 100 percent wool, cotton, and so forth. Nevertheless, one need not throw away or destroy clothing which may be of lower quality or a wrong mixture. Wearing such materials is not sin in itself. Rather, God does not want manufacturers producing shoddy materials in order to take advantage of their customers.

A wise principle to follow in selecting either a pure or mixed garment is to purchase thebest quality one can afford—it will last longer and fit better than inferior, less expensive clothes. The primary reason to do this is to honor and glorify God in what we wear, especially if the clothing is to be worn primarily for church services. However, it is not wise to go into debt buying better quality than one can afford."


Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Message to Gay Rights Supporters

 This message is will contain the following:
1.)    Who exactly hates fags (hint: not me)
2.)    Who you’ve got me confused with
3.)    A clear way to tell the difference in the future
4.)     What responses are not helping your cause to intelligent people
5.)    The science behind the gay gene

This message is intended for gay people, bisexuals, trisexuals, pansexuals, asexuals, atheists, even straight people – just EVERYONE who is in support of the gay marriage agenda right now – IF and ONLY IF you’ve got an ear to listen.  I stand before you as a Christian and as someone who’s got a bit of an issue with some of you.  Some of you read that last sentence and have already decided that you don’t care what the rest of this message says, it MUST be crap because I’m a Christian.  It happens.  I forgive you.  Dumbass.

For everyone else, I’d like to clear some things up in this message, because some of you have been making it exceedingly difficult to believe the things that I believe lately.  Not difficult in the sense that I’m questioning whether or not God is real, but in the sense that it’s hard to be a black person around a racist.  It’s not necessary.  I aim to teach you the difference between a Christian and what I’m going to call a “Homophobic Over-Righteous Nut” or HORN.

The way I see it, there are three camps:
1.)    Those that are pro-gay marriage.
2.)    Those that are against gay marriage.
3.)    Christians.

The mistake is that you’ve largely accepted 2 and 3 as being synonymous.  That’s not QUITE true.  I know what you’re thinking.  “Aren’t there, like, whole Bible verses about homosexuality being a sin?”   There is, and it’s largely this that HORNs stand on when they toot themselves silly about “God hating fags” and whatnot.  They will pull those verses and what little science they think they know something about out as excuses for their political agenda.  And generally they will make themselves look like idiots.  Interestingly I haven’t seen a whole heck of a lot of anti-gays who AREN’T Christians.  Probably they exist.  We’ll call them HORN’s too, for simplicity’s sake.

On the flip side, you’ve got the PRO-gay marriage people.  In this camp I’ve seen people pull what little science they think they know something about out as justifications for their political agenda.  What’s weird about this group, is that its bandwagon has all kinds of people that have NOTHING TO DO with gay marriage.  The “everyone has their own thing” idea shines like candy in the eyes of all KINDS of other sexual behaviors that don’t even really require marriage.   Don’t get me wrong, there are PLENTY of regular two-person committed relationships straight and gay who are pro-gay marriage.  I just want everyone to be aware that it’s not just yourselves that are counting on you.  It’s all of relationship entropy combined.  I think it’s primarily because yours is the camp closer to not harshing their buzz.  :/

The third group is me.  And whoever agrees with me.  Now, I’m aware that there are passages of scripture that discourage homosexuality.  But it’s not like I woke up one morning and said “boy!  I really hate gay people!  I wonder what religion agrees with me!  I’ll join it!  Derp!”   Up until recently I hadn’t even given this issue a second thought.  I’m not really the sort of person who rallies a bunch of people to shout “everyone who does THIS thing is going to HELL!!”  No honest Christian should.  It’s not like anyone’s going to go “I never thought of it that way!  I’m a Christian now, WEEEE!”  After seeing “God hates Fags” written on a cardboard sign.  That’s one way to tell a Christian from a HORN.

So what am I trying to accomplish in this message?

I’m going to tell you the context in which I write this message, to better help you understand where I’m coming from. 

Turn on your television and wait for someone to talk about Christianity at all.  Or get onto a social network like Facebook or tumblr, and have a browse.  I haven’t gone a day in the past two weeks without Christianity being mentioned in secular media, so it shouldn’t be too long.  typically, what is said will be in the form of a jab.  Usually not even a well-executed one.  Here’s one I heard from a well-meaning comedian who was otherwise funny to me: “I don’t believe in a bearded guy on a cloud who grants wishes.”  ßHey!  Neither do I!  That’s not what Christianity is.  (Beard?  Everyone knows God’s rocking the chin-curtain!)  But lots of people eat up stuff like that.  The fact that a thing isn’t accurate means NOTHING, as long as it’s a wicked burn on a group of people who are out to take your rights away.  But to me - a Christian who is in no way your enemy - it just looks childish and moronic.  DON’T GET ME WRONG, I think HORNs are equally childish about it.  I’m not talking to them, though.  I’m talking to all of you who consider yourselves the more open-minded camp.
Tangentially, I saw someone on Facebook post something slanderous towards Christianity that was also totally inaccurate to what we actually believe.  I posted a comment that I wanted to accomplish two things; to correct some damning misconceptions, and hopefully to show that we’re not really as bad as all that after all.  I was met with no open-mindedness whatsoever.   Chiefly, I got angry shock-value sorts of comments.  Most of them more hate.
And I get it, I really do, A Christian or two bit your hand once. Similarly, there were some Catholic Christians in history that even got all messy in a war over religion I hear; in a way that I can safely tell you is NOT scripturally founded.  Think about me and those like me, or your Christian friends and say “these people are one step from sucking me dry like a vampire.”  Ideally, if we’re truly behaving like Christians, we are NOT giving you that impression.  Besides, Mormons already have the market on that (I’ve already posted a Mormonism blog if you’re looking for some fun).

For further context, Christians and I – we – believe primarily on this:
1.)    There is an omniscient designer and manifester of existence.
2.)    That humanity in consequence is part of that created existence.
3.)    That we were given free-will.  No big deal.
4.)    That this creator acts as a Father rather than a puppetmaster.
5.)    That – like a father – He gives instructive rules.
6.)    We have the propensity to disobey.  Free-will and all that.  Whatever, no big deal.
7.)    We sometimes will even act childish when we don’t get our way from God.
8.)    God just loves the heck out of us anyways.  Weird.
9.)    There’s that whole thing where He sent His Son to relieve us of the sin (disobedience to God) that collects on our heads that would keep us from entering His Kingdom (Heaven; the place that is designed to be our eventual and final Home).
10.) The Bible is God’s written word.  It says within the Bible, by Jesus Himself, that every last word is from God.  That means if you’re going to believe ANY of it’s from God, you’ve got to believe ALL of it’s from God.
11.) Most of the Bible does not even mention gays.  There isn’t so much as an example of a gay couple in the scripture.  It mentions homosex, but as an act, or a habit.  Nothing to do with sexual orientations as a lifestyle or identifier.  Categorizing people based on their bedroom habits seems to have slipped everyone’s mind I guess.   
12.) That the Bible mentions all of the sins we could possibly commit and how to avoid them.  A lot of times, it will tell us why.
13.) The Bible says that homosexuality is a sin.  Not more or less sinful than any others, albeit a more habit-forming sin.  Like most sexual sins.  Gosh, sex is so addicting, isn’t it!?

I can see from a HORN’s perspective that a legal movement based on something they believe is a sin, with a lot of atheist and other “everyone’s truth is the truth” jive attached to it looks REALLY bad to them.  It looks less like a bunch of people standing up for a cause, and more like a bunch of demons throwing their environment into the toilet.   Attacks from both sides onto each other serve to escalate the tension rather than convert anyone to their point of view.  (To anyone who thinks that’s the point, I’m going to call you childish right here and now) 

But those Christians who become HORNs over it forget a few things about Christianity:
1.)    Yes, homosex is considered a sin.
2.)    According to the Bible, everyone sins.  Try as they might, no one EVER reaches the Father’s standard definition of “completely free of fault” in this life.  Even Christians.  That’s why Jesus provided a grace-based salvation, rather than a works based one.  Because He just loves us so dang much for some reason.  Weird. 
3.)    Atheists don’t believe in God, so why in the WORLD would they be convinced solely by the Bible one way or the other politically?

So hopefully you’re starting to understand the difference between a Christian believer and a HORN now, so that you might be more inclined to point your hatred in the right direction.  Obviously, some of you are reading this and thinking “but you admitted that homosex is a sin.  I don’t see the difference still.”  The difference is in the priority.  You can actually distinguish one from the other reasonably well in a practical setting.
Those Christian friends you’ve got that haven’t seemed to make a fuss about sexual orientation (the ones that didn’t feel too alienated to hang out with you anymore) are probably not going to Church once every seven days to hear a guy with a pulpit discussing all the ways we Christians should give hell to fags this week.   They have their priorities in order.  Their goal as far as “being a witness for Christ” is simply to set an example of what it means to be in the family of God by trying to do the right thing while not worrying about death.  The idea is that in the event that someone is interested in joining the Family, they might be there for that person and have a leg to stand on about it; or at least they might not be pharisaic.  Unless YOU BRING IT UP, these guys probably won’t trouble you much.  Not that they’ll vote for you either, but they don’t deserve your slams.  What you say CAN get under our skin a bit, and I’ve seen that some of us have started to become gay haters just from the operant conditioning of it all.  Remember: You teach people how to treat you.

Those Christians that DO bring it up, pick an argument, they get all preachy, and offensive, and try incessantly to shove their “religion” down your throat, THOSE are HORNs.  And for the record, we’re not really fond of them either.  They are technically our responsibility, and we tend to try harder to kind of defend them - like you would stick up for your little brother - more than we apologize for them, because hey.. they’re showing an interest.  But I mean, they’re fully grown people, and it’s not like we can control them.  We’re not exactly a well-oiled machine with one human leading from a top-down perspective making sure we’re all acting in line.  Except for Catholics.  Nay, we have reason to believe God tends to deal with those sorts of things on sort of more of an individual basis.


A short rule of thumb: if they’re pointing a condemning finger; if they’re starting an argument, if they’re calling you a sinner or saying you’re going to hell, if they are more politically driven than religiously, they’re a HORN.


Well, you COULD act like a big shot in front of all your friends and slam them like normal.  You could also theoretically link them to this here blog and tell them to take it up with me (cause I said so).   

You could reprimand them in their own language too, like:

“You say you’re a Christian.  I understand that Jesus told you to “make disciples (learners) of all nations,” which is why you’re doing what you’re doing.  But it was my understanding that the WAY to be a proper Christian witness was though loving actions, and not through harsh words (which stir up anger).  Perhaps you should worry less about destroying sin in the life of unbelievers and figure out what your real mission priorities are.  I, for one, do not believe I am sinning.  So the only thing you’re doing by delivering your “God hates fags, gays go to hell” message is painting a picture of the character of God that is not only something hateful that I am nothing but repelled from, but also almost completely inaccurate according to your own Bible.  You are doing a disservice to Christians everywhere by introducing us to your God with this as His first impression.”

There’s one more answer, if you just want out of the conversation entirely.  Nothing disarms someone like an apology and a respectful attempt to understand them.  Like:

“I’m sorry I’m not voting for equal rights.  I don’t believe what you believe, and I’m not going to vote as though I do.”

My Father is not against you, and neither am I.  While I think God can probably take a hit, I’m not sure any humans should have to.  Please pick your battles.

Now, as promised, I will discuss the gay gene.

Because SEE!?  If GOD created EVERYTHING, then he obviously created some people GAY, and so now they’re SINNERS??  Duh, it’s not a CHOICE, if they’re BORN that way!!  So I can’t believe in such a God as that.  And even if he were to pop out of the clouds and say “here I am,” I would hate him!  It’s a legitimate point, or at least it would be if its premise were true.  I’ve already stated the way Christians believe God deals with sin (by sending his son to save us from it).

Lots of people have tried to convince me that homosexuality isn’t a choice, see, and that’s the way it’s painted in the media, and that’s the number one argument against Christianity’s take on homosex, and by extension, itself.  And they always say “it’s SCIENCE.”  However…

There was a study done awhile back, and it’s the closest I’ve seen a scientific study come to defining homosexuality as “natural born.” The data achieved by this study had been accrued by way of polling people about their bedroom habits, and it was mapped out on a curve chart.  I want to tell you the name of the study, but my google search for “distribution of gayness” was answered with pornography, and not the useful kind. 

The distribution chart illustrated people’s homosex tendencies as professed by samples of everyone, and it ranged from “I’ve only ever exclusively swung for the opposite sex” all the way to “I’ve only ever exclusively swung for the same sex” and everywhere in between.  The chart showed a pretty wide distribution for the homosexual tendency, which seems to indicate that there’s a natural occurrence of it. 

Obviously having a predisposition for a behavior that one has to act in free-will to exhibit does not conclude that one has no choice in the matter, or we would have a lot of people stealing other people’s stuff (because EVERYONE has a natural predisposition for the word “mine.”  Ask any five year old ever).   

Here is a synopsis of the rest of the SCIENCE that went into finding the “born this way” factor, as taken from :

“In the debate over the genetics of homosexuality, the data supporting a genetic basis are similarly weak. One study by Michael Bailey, a Northwestern University psychologist, and Richard Pillard, a psychiatrist at Boston University, found that about half of the identical twins (52 percent) of homosexual brothers were homosexual themselves compared with about a quarter (22 percent) of fraternal twins of homosexuals. But this study recruited subjects through ads in gay publications. This introduces a bias towards the selection of overtly gay respondents, a minority of all homosexuals.
Moreover, other results of the study do not support a genetic basis for homosexuality. Adopted brothers (11 percent) had as high a "concordance rate" for homosexuality as ordinary brothers (9 percent). The data also showed that fraternal twins were more than twice as likely as ordinary brothers to share homosexuality, al-though both sets of siblings have the same genetic relationship. These results suggest the critical role of environmental factors.
One study that focussed on an actual homosexual gene was conducted by Dean Hamer, a molecular biologist at the National Cancer Institute. Hamer found a possible genetic marker on the X chromosome in 33 of 40 brothers who were both gay (the number expected by chance was 20). Earlier Simon LeVay, a neurologist at the Salk Institute, noted an area of the hypothalamus that was smaller among gay than heterosexual men.
Although both these findings were front-page stories, they provide quite a slender basis for the genetics of homosexuality. Hamer did not check for the frequency of the supposed marker in heterosexual brothers, where it could conceivably be as prevalent as in gay siblings. Hamer has noted that he doesn't know how the marker he found could cause homosexuality, and LeVay likewise concedes he hasn't found a brain center for homosexuality.
But for many, the politics of a homosexual gene outweigh the science. A genetic explanation for homosexuality answers bigots who claim homosexuality is a choice which should be rejected. But to accept that nongenetic factors contribute to homosexuality does not indicate prejudice against gays. David Barr, of the Gay Men's Health Crisis, puts the issue this way: "It doesn't really matter why people are gay.... What's really important is how they're treated."

--J.m. Gatewood
Good luck.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


To-day I get to talk about Yin and Yang.  We’ve been learning about them in class lately, an “Eastern Theories” class at a massage therapy school.  Wikipedia describes it as “a method with which one can describe how polar opposites or seemingly contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other in turn.”  This is the same way it’s presented in my class.  And it’s driving me SO crazy.  I need to say something, so I’m saying it here.  The problem is that while balance is nice to have in some areas - like homeostasis in health or gender percentage in population – most of the things that are listed as polar opposites under Yin and Yang (and have been for thousands of years based on observation and research) are NOT ACTUALLY interdependent like they mean.

Firstly, it’s almost impossible to give the qualifications for what makes one thing Yin and the other Yang.  You can kind of get a general idea after awhile, as values assigned to Yin tend to be darker like night, and colder, like… uh.. cold… and values assigned to Yang tend to be brighter like day and warmer, like heat.  Here’s a few examples:


West (Sunset)
Flat (like Earth)
More material/dense


East (Sunrise)
Round (like Heaven)
Non-material, rarified

See how the values in each field DO intuitively go with each other, such as light going with dark and so forth.  And you can also intuitively guess what MIGHT be Yin and what MIGHT be Yang.  But then, some of these values seem slightly more arbitrary, such as masculine being Yang while feminine being Yin.  At a glance, it seems like fitting females into the Yin category makes them darker or evil.  But it doesn’t actually say that – in fact the concept of Yin and Yang hinges on the presumption that there aught to be a balance between the values in Yin and the values in Yang.  The premise is that you can have too much of one extreme.  This is my problem.

Eastern Theories like to think that because it’s been around and taken seriously for a very long time means it’s a valid point of view.  It can be that way with intuitive things, but when it comes to categorizations of people, it's really easy for almost any idea a person invents to seem more true the longer they research it.  How can there be so many different maps of energy (Qi) fields, and so many different ways of categorizing personality and body types without them butting heads with each other?  I don't actually have an answer to that, except to say that in my experience, most people have hair, and some of it is blond.

Also, is it just me, or is it kind of a large leap to conclude that heat and electric energy means there is manipulable universal life energy? 

All things ARE made up of differing kinds of energy,in fact, and a lot of it IS manipulable.  But the TRUTH about them is only clear and evident when things are put in their proper place.  I'll continue.

Notice that the Earth is flat while Heaven is round; and also that Heaven and Earth are opposites rather than, say, Heaven and Hell.  This is because what we are actually talking about is perceivable Earth down below our feet where we can reach while bending downward at the pelvis, and the perceivable sky (where Heaven was believed to reside back then) which we cannot reach, stretching our arms up as high as we can. 

Notice next that it seems to imply that light and dark, and heat and cold are dependent upon each other.  We know through science this is not so.  Cold is an absence of heat, and you can therefore have cold without the existence of heat.  You DO want a balance here in order to exist.  But they are not equal forces.  You cannot add coldness, you can only subtract heat.  The same goes for lightness and dark.  You cannot add darkness, you can only subtract heat.  The difference here is that you don’t die in darkness.  Whole creatures live on Earth without eyes or any other way to recognize light waves. 

Notice next that it SEEMS to imply that there can’t be too much good.  What does it mean to be TOO good?  One might say “being too giving of yourself at your own expense,” or something along those lines.  I can make two arguments to this.  One is that being too giving at the expense of your self can hardly be said to be “good.”  It’s not evil, but it’s still a bad thing.  If you plugged right and wrong onto the Yin Yang list (and you could very easily) you could VERY easily accidentally get the impression just from the context that there automatically needs to be a balance between right and wrong.  But that in itself is totally wrong, as is an assumption that wrong and right are interdependent and intertwined.  I WANT to assert that right is the absence of wrong; and that we WANT the complete absence of wrong (or that’s what we aught to want if we only we knew why). 

I started to say that we want an absence of wrong because that’s what’s good for us.  But since I’m arguing against the concept of Yin and Yang within its own context, I’ve become too extreme in the direction of Yang and therefore have invalidated my own words.  Hopefully you can see why that’s a problem.  

My other argument about “being too giving of yourself at your own expense” is the life of Christ.  Christ lived and spoke more extremely in the yang in terms of good and right than I’d ever be willing to, and He proved it by being “too giving of himself at his own expense.”  He gave of Himself to the death, and then – just to push the Yang farther – He didn’t stay down.  He came back to life(yang), granted us all eternal life(yang), then ascended upwards(yang) into Heaven(yang) where He remains active(yang) in the lives of God’s children.  Furthermore, Jesus Christ paid special attention to a character most priests to-day don’t like to even touch because it puts people off: Satan.  He is called evil(yin), the father of lies(yin) and the prince of darkness(yin).  Satan, in scripture, along with Lucifer, demons, and any Antichrists, are very definitely written to be completely one hundred percent avoided.  NOT included in some sort of balance.

In conclusion to this section, balance is a WONDERFUL thing to have.  You SHOULD have a yinyang of balance of your acid/alkaline levels.  You should have just enough heat and not too much.  You should have both rest and also activity.  Moderation isn’t exactly a tight-rope walk, and it’s not a foreign concept.  But the Yin Yang concept is in no way appropriate for all things.  As in most Eastern theories I’ve encountered so far, it needs very desperately to be put in it’s place, and maybe a bit more clearly defined.  Although faith is beautiful in the absence of understanding, confusion is not welcome.

Everything needs to be put in its place.

There’s been a lesbian march here recently, following New York’s green light on gay marriage.  I remember in the good old days when bisexual girls were only bisexuals because they couldn’t get a boyfriend and wanted to do something to stand out.  Now it’s a political movement and bisexual girls are being motivated by a mixture of wanting to be open minded, wanting to be supportive, and wanting to be contrary.  Throw in a little crowd mentality, why not?  Some people are actually attracted sexually to their own gender.  Some people are even sexually attracted to both.  Hell, some people are attracted to animals.  I've seen the internet.  I'm not ignorant.  I went to lunch at a friend of mine's house who is a lesbian, lovely girl, and their cat started raping the other cat.  She said "a lot of animals are naturally homo."  I said "And apparently also rapists."  We had a good laugh over that.  Lesbians are hot.  Rapists are not hot. 

Some people who claim any level of homosexual tendencies do not actually have that in their nature and are choosing this path.  I'm not speculating one way or another on a possible genetic predisposition for gayness, I'm only saying flat out that sometimes it's very obviously been a choice on an individual's part.  When scripture mentions homosexuality, it only mentions it as an action - not as a character trait, orientation, or lifestyle. 

I don't have a personal problem with any of it, per say, not any more than I have a problem with masturbation, But I DO have to wonder what effects identifying with a bedroom habit (sex) might be having on the individual psychology.   The person whose entire life purpose at a given moment is based on an inherently sexual value allows this to be their master.  If you haven’t already read my blog about masters, you probably should. Sex, and all it's categories aught to also be put in their place as they make a very flimsy god.

As a Christian, it’s important to me that all my brothers and sisters on this planet meet our Father, the creator God, so that they know how to follow me Home.  It’s rather difficult when the established church feels that gay people should be straightened out BEFORE being saved.  Bad move.  Even after a person gets lead to Christ, the rest of his sinful behavior (and EVERYONE has sinful behavior, don’t kid yourself) is between them and God.  Salvation is priority here, no matter what.  What if a guy is a serial killer?  Salvation first.  We have a limited perspective on what death is, so we can't speculate on the severity of the crime of murder, and anyways, it's the authorities and God's job to convict them for murder, and it is Jesus and the rest of God's children to help him find his way Home.

Being open minded is good for innovation, but can be be deadly by way disintegration.  A child can ask you to be open minded about staying up till twelve.  A murderer can ask you to consider his point of view on why the neighbor had it coming.

Someone somewhere has got to use their head.  It matters more that something is True than that it is useful or interesting, and the truth doesn’t lie in a synthesis of truth and lie.  Not all paths lead to the same place – that’s silly.  Going towards the sun leads to the sun, and going away from it leads you away from it.  There is no being open minded about it.

It’s good news, you know, that the right is the absence of wrong.  It means that the world was created good, and what is good will be all that remains in the end. 

Here’s a good one:“if God can do anything, can he create a boulder that even God can’t lift?” 

Here’s the answer: “Obviously if God can do one seemingly paradoxical thing by creating a boulder even he can’t lift, there is nothing stopping him from doing another seemingly paradoxical thing by lifting it.”

--J.m. Gatewood

Sunday, June 5, 2011

What Does Mormonism Teach?

What Does Mormonism Teach?

The doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) are very interesting. Most of the 'odd' ones are not initially taught to potential converts. But they should be. Instead, "they are revealed later as one matures and gains the ability to accept them."  The LDS Church tries to make its official doctrines appear Christian but what underlies those Christian sounding terms is far from Christian in meaning.
Following are the teachings of its officials throughout the years.  Please note that these teachings are documented from Mormon writers, not anti-Mormon writers.
Finally, many Mormons respond that most of the citations below are not from official Mormon writings, as if that disproves the doctrines they teach.  If they are not official, fine.  But, if not, then why have the Mormon apostles and high officials taught them, written them, and why are their books sold in Mormon bookstores?  The truth is, the following is what Mormons are taught.
  1. Atonement
    1. "Jesus paid for all our sins when He suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane," (Laurel Rohlfing, “Sharing Time: The Atonement,” Friend, Mar. 1989, p. 39.).
    2. "We accept Christ's atonement by repenting of our sins, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and obeying all of the commandments," (Gospel Principles, Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1979, p. 68.).
  2. Baptism
    1. Baptism for the dead, (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. II, p. 141). This is a practice of baptizing each other in place of non-Mormons who are now dead. Their belief is that in the afterlife, the "newly baptized" person will be able to enter into a higher level of Mormon heaven.
  3. Bible
    1. "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. . ." (8th Article of Faith of the Mormon Church).
    2. "Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God," (1 Nephi 13:28).
  4. Book of Mormon
    1. The book of Mormon is more correct than the Bible, (History of the Church, 4:461).
  5. Devil, the
    1. The Devil was born as a spirit after Jesus "in the morning of pre-existence," (Mormon Doctrine, p. 192).
    2. Jesus and Satan are spirit brothers and we were all born as siblings in heaven to them both, (Mormon Doctrine, p. 163).
    3. A plan of salvation was needed for the people of earth so Jesus offered a plan to the Father and Satan offered a plan to the father but Jesus' plan was accepted. In effect the Devil wanted to be the Savior of all Mankind and to "deny men their agency and to dethrone god," (Mormon Doctrine, p. 193; Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 8).
  6. God
    1. God used to be a man on another planet, (Mormon Doctrine, p. 321; Joseph Smith, Times and Seasons, vol. 5, p. 613-614; Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, vol. 2, p. 345; Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 333).
    2. "The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s..." (D&C 130:22).
    3. God is in the form of a man, (Joseph Smith, Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 3).
    4. "God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!!! . . . We have imagined that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea and take away the veil, so that you may see," (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345).
    5. God the Father had a Father, (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 476; Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 19; Milton Hunter, First Council of the Seventy, Gospel through the Ages, p. 104-105).
    6. God resides near a star called Kolob, (Pearl of Great Price, p. 34-35; Mormon Doctrine, p. 428).
    7. God had sexual relations with Mary to make the body of Jesus, (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 4, 1857, p. 218; vol. 8, p. 115). - This one is disputed among many Mormons and not always 'officially' taught and believed.  Nevertheless, Young, the 2nd prophet of the Mormon church taught it.
    8. "Therefore we know that both the Father and the Son are in form and stature perfect men; each of them possesses a tangible body . . . of flesh and bones." (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 38).
  7. God, becoming a god
    1. After you become a good Mormon, you have the potential of becoming a god, (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345-347, 354.)
    2. "Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them," (D&C 132:20).
  8. God, many gods
    1. There are many gods, (Mormon Doctrine, p. 163).
    2. "And they (the Gods) said: Let there be light: and there was light," (Book of Abraham 4:3).
  9. God, mother goddess
    1. There is a mother god, (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 443).
    2. God is married to his goddess wife and has spirit children, (Mormon Doctrine, p. 516).
  10. God, Trinity
    1. The trinity is three separate Gods: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. "That these three are separate individuals, physically distinct from each other, is demonstrated by the accepted records of divine dealings with man," (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 35).
  11. Gospel, the
    1. The true gospel was lost from the earth. Mormonism is its restoration, (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 182-185.)
    2. Consists of laws and ordinances: "As these sins are the result of individual acts it is just that forgiveness for them should be conditioned on individual compliance with prescribed requirements -- 'obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel,'" (Articles of Faith, p. 79)
  12. Heaven
    1. There are three levels of heaven: telestial, terrestrial, and celestial, (Mormon Doctrine, p. 348).
  13. Holy Ghost, the
    1. The Holy Ghost is a male personage, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, (Le Grand Richards, Salt Lake City, 1956, p. 118; Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 179).
  14. Jesus
    1. The first spirit to be born in heaven was Jesus, (Mormon Doctrine, p. 129).
    2. Jesus and Satan are spirit brothers and we were all born as siblings in heaven to them both, (Mormon Doctrine, p. 163; Gospel Through the Ages, p. 15).
    3. Jesus' sacrifice was not able to cleanse us from all our sins, (murder and repeated adultery are exceptions), (Journal of Discourses, vol. 3, 1856, p. 247).
    4. "Therefore we know that both the Father and the Son are in form and stature perfect men; each of them possesses a tangible body . . . of flesh and bones," (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 38).
    5. "The birth of the Saviour was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood - was begotten of his Father, as we were of our fathers," (Journal of Discourses, vol. 8, p. 115).
    6. "Christ was begotten by an Immortal Father in the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers," (Mormon Doctrine, by Bruce McConkie, p. 547).
    7. "Christ Not Begotten of Holy Ghost ...Christ was begotten of God. He was not born without the aid of Man, and that Man was God!" (Doctrines of Salvation, by Joseph Fielding Smith, 1954, 1:18).
    8. "Elohim is literally the Father of the spirit of Jesus Christ and also of the body in which Jesus Christ performed His mission in the flesh..." (First Presidency and Council of the Twelve, 1916, "God the Father," compiled by Gordon Allred, p. 150).
  15. Joseph Smith
    1. If it had not been for Joseph Smith and the restoration, there would be no salvation.  There is no salvation [the context is the full gospel including exaltation to Godhood] outside the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (Mormon Doctrine, p. 670).
  16. Pre-existence
    1. We were first begotten as spirit children in heaven and then born naturally on earth, (Journal of Discourse, vol. 4, p. 218).
    2. The first spirit to be born in heaven was Jesus, (Mormon Doctrine, p. 129).
    3. The Devil was born as a spirit after Jesus "in the morning of pre-existence," (Mormon Doctrine, p. 192).
  17. Prophets
    1. We need prophets today, the same as in the Old Testament, (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 444-445).
  18. Salvation
    1. "One of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan and propounded by man is that man is saved alone by the grace of God; that belief in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed for salvation," (Miracle of Forgiveness, Spencer W. Kimball, p. 206).
    2. A plan of salvation was needed for the people of earth so Jesus offered a plan to the Father and Satan offered a plan to the father but Jesus' plan was accepted. In effect the Devil wanted to be the Savior of all Mankind and to "deny men their agency and to dethrone god," (Mormon Doctrine, p. 193; Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 8).
    3. Jesus' sacrifice was not able to cleanse us from all our sins, (murder and repeated adultery are exceptions), (Journal of Discourses, vol. 3, 1856, p. 247).
    4. Good works are necessary for salvation (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 92).
    5. There is no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet of God (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, p. 188).
    6. "The first effect [of the atonement] is to secure to all mankind alike, exemption from the penalty of the fall, thus providing a plan of General Salvation. The second effect is to open a way for Individual Salvation whereby mankind may secure remission of personal sins (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 78-79).
    7. "As these sins are the result of individual acts it is just that forgiveness for them should be conditioned on individual compliance with prescribed requirements -- 'obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel,'" (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 79).
    8. "This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts," (LDS Bible Dictionary, p. 697).
    9. "We know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do," (2 Nephi 25:23).
  19. Trinity, the
    1. The trinity is three separate Gods: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. "That these three are separate individuals, physically distinct from each other, is demonstrated by the accepted records of divine dealings with man," (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 35.).
    2. "Many men say there is one God; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are only one God. I say that is a strange God [anyhow]--three in one and one in three. . .It is curious organization… All are crammed into one God according to sectarianism (Christian faith). It would make the biggest God in all the world. He would be a wonderfully big God--he would be a giant or a monster," (Joseph Smith, Teachings, p. 372).
Some Mormons may disagree with a few of the points listed on this page, but all of what is stated here is from Mormon authors in good standing of the Mormon church.

--As pulled from

Friday, May 6, 2011


Psychoanalysis is suffering recently from a re-emergence into society's psychotherapy field.  I don't know too much about it, except that, although Freud is still regarded as the pioneer of modern psychology, and his research and concepts still permeate the field, psychoanalysis in it's original form has long since been replaced by newer, more cost-effective therapies.  In all of my study in psychology, I have found that the results of therapy tend to dissipate in time after the therapy has ended.  Probably because, like most modern American medicine, it makes quick moves to alleviate symptoms.  Freud's original psychoanalysis was known to take as long as decades, but the symptoms of mental diseases tended to stay gone.

Most of what I know about the human psychology I never have to actually access, with one exception.  A couple years or so ago, I embarked on a behaviorist research project that involved lending council to several single young men in regards to their single-hood.  In return, I received beautiful statistics to plug into a feasible algorithm.  See, I had a problem with the gay community for being SO MUCH BETTER than the straight community at hooking up with each other.  You walk into a gay bar and there's a specific protocol: if I wear a cowboy hat with a motorcycle bandanna, that meant I was a butch who likes it on top and I'm looking for two nights with no strings.  Meanwhile men and women suck at communicating with each other so badly that the institution of marriage is falling apart and my generation's faith in it is all but totally depleted.

I had so many socially awkward single male friends, and I felt genuinely bad for them, and their frustrations.  High School is a place where the general opinion of a person can easily get exaggerated and become stuck like glue to their back as a permanent label.  In this environment, as I found to be just as true in college and later life, being single took on the traits of being in a bathroom - a perfectly natural place to be!  Everybody goes in from time to time right?  Until you're in there just a moment too long, and then people begin to get... ideas.  And the only real problem I saw was confidence and communication.  Usually, because attraction happens in the limbic system in the brain, which is a subconscious and mood-based facet involved in human reasoning, the communication aspect usually took the form of body language that sent signals that said "I'm confident."  So really it was all about confidence.  But I swear I made it a thousand times more complicated.  Here's an example of a common piece of advice I'd give, though I will admit, I don't think this plot originated from me:

"How do you convince her to come home with you after a date?  Well, I'll tell you how to make it a lot easier.  If she hasn't been there before, she will likely not feel very comfortable going there with you.  You should have her meet you at your house at the beginning of the date, then invite her in, saying "I just have to make a quick phone call" or something like that. She will probably be fine with that, and may do a little snooping.  Be sure to have a clean house, and hide the porn.  Leave some things out that are indicative of your hobbies, so she can bring it up over the course of the date.  Then, come down and leave your house.  Now that she's already seen the place, she should not be nearly as uncomfortable following you back to it.  It's not a guarantee, obviously, but it improves the odds almost a whole pie cart."

What I said I wanted to do was get the straight community communicating with each other properly.  What I actually did was log the protocol for being a "player" so accurately that my information made sex-addicts out of everyone I gave advice to.  Not that my advice was "go be sex-addicts." I suppose once most post-pubescent, irresponsible boys learn to stop doing creepy things and behave in ways that send signals to girls that they are ideal valuable partners to consider, it tends to open a can of worms in the "I'm a huge douche" direction.  It was upsetting that I managed to deceive myself into thinking that because they held morally responsible sex lives before meant that I shouldn't include some advice on how to stay that way once the availability of sexual opportunity was present.

The chief problem was that I left Christ out of my whole philosophy, my whole approach.  Once I started thinking about it from that perspective, a couple of other things came to light pretty quickly: you would never find a quality Christian girl on the meat market.  Not only would you never find a woman worth having brought to bed by the players, but you would also never find a women worth having even present in the clubs available for a cold approach.

As I am writing this to-day, I still lend advice to a few close friends, but it's usually biblical - because I've come to SERIOUSLY distrust my own authority on matters of the heart.  I am leaving the wake of quite a bit of relationship turmoil; and indeed, I was going to attempt to compose a blog to address all of the ins and outs of the issues my loves were having, but every time I'd get too far into quoting the Scripture's take on sexual protocol, I became fearful of sounding too preachy and in-your-face.

I would get all the way through why the Bible says that polygamy is essentially one unfaithful marriage and more than one act of adultery, then I'd start to explain that anyone who is sexually active is either married or committing adultery, and the first step to solving any relationship problem that has sex in it begins with first defining which it is. Then I'd explain that once the sex is removed, then the priorities are put back into their natural order.  But that's SO ACCUSATORY. Nobody's going to ENJOY reading that, even if you can't argue with scripture.  I caught myself sounding judgmental rather than helpful.  The reason is that nobody who's relationship isn't in an INCREDIBLY desperate state is going to be readily willing to say "okay blog, I'll become chaste RIGHT now!"  No way.  

Nobody even comes to salvation in the first place without first realizing how desperately enslaved by sin they are, and how much they NEED Christ.  It would take a serious leap of faith.

I haven't made any headway into a relationship blog.  I suppose I'm the wrong person for the job anyways.  I'll let C.S. Lewis sum up what I DO know about it.

"Put first things first and we get second things thrown in: put second things first and we lose both first and second things" --C.S. Lewis.

In other words: If we put our partners first, we not only compress our relationship with God, but with our partner as well.  If we put God first, we do not compress our relationship with our partner, but instead it becomes pulled up with us, and greatly enhanced.  

--J.M. Gatewood

P.S., You probably read this entire post thinking that I'd post about my own sexual experiences.  I have not actually had sex.  I've been saving myself for my wife.  Yes, it sucks.  Yes, I'm still going to keep it up.  Sorry to disappoint. :D

Sunday, April 3, 2011

On the matter of free will

The following was seen as a declaration in the form of a Facebook comment written by Xanderz Boureau, a former probability significator - like myself - turned Christian, in response to the question: So you see free will as only making one choice (that of God or not God), and all other choices flow from that one choice. Have I summed it up correctly?

"Yes :) This is predicated upon realizing the truth after devoting close to six years testing a hypothesis; that is, that the direction of attention is the quintessential act of free will. 

To test this, I constructed a mathematical model of the direction of attention through levels of abstraction. I learned meditation within this system, and arrived at a philosophical and methodical device called probability signification.

Eventually, through pushing this line of research to its logical conclusion, I came to the knowledge that I have shared here.

My stance is that the free will can be summed up as being a choice between masters; God, and not God.
On the one hand, the Theory of Evolution describes with scientific precision the sort of behavior that my Enemy would condone: 

  • survival of the fittest; 
  • tit for tat; 
  • seeking no truth, 
  • winning is all; 
  • horde your resources; 
  • take vengeance on your enemies; 
  • have sex with as many different partners as possible; 
  • trust no-one, 
  • fear your neighbors; believe that you are the pinnacle of evolution, entitled to inalienable "rights" . . . etc.
These choices appear to convey upon their choosers an evolutionary advantage. If you Believe in evolution and trust that natural selection knows best, you've probably given your soul over to the World.

On the other hand, my master has given us everything we need to free us from sin. When you choose with all your heart to live your life for God, the Holy Spirit helps you break out of that self-serving cycle of crap described above.

Make no mistake; I believe the Theory of Evolution is scientific fact. I believe it was revealed to us by God's will to help guide the faithful towards righteousness by describing with scientific precision exactly what righteousness is not.

If we find ourselves justifying our sins by asserting them to be "natural," we've chosen sin as our master. Evolution can help us see how not to fall into that error.

What does this have to do with free will? Everything. We are free to make this choice, every second of every day."