Aug 23, 2008

Today I painted my new house!
Okay, so I didn't paint the whole thing, but I did paint the living room, along with the help of my friends. I shouldn't take all the credit. If I had done it alone, I'm sure I would still be sitting there painting, angry and tired that it was taking so darn long. Either that, or I would have given up and surrendered myself to a bad movie and bag of chips. But fortunately Sara sacrificed her homework for one more day and Jessica's husband is out of town, so they were both there to help. Sara lives there, so she is a little more committed to the cause, but Jessica did it purely out of the goodness of her heart. Good ol' Jess.
Anyway, we painted the living room a golden tan color with one accent wall-- peacock blue. I know, I know, it seems a little extreme. But I think that the colors turned out very pretty. We are now thinking of an entire peacock theme to tie in all of the colors, and our friend Nick is even pitching in, adding some of his art to dress the room up. I'm excited to see it all done in the end. We recently painted the kitchen Sara's favorite shade of green. Nick also contributed a couple of pieces of art in that room, and now we have what I think is one of the coolest college houses of all time.... keeping in mind our limited budget and our bold sense of style.
Over all, I am very excited to be in a house this year. It is very liberating compared to an apartment where you can't really decorate or change anything. Plus, it feels more like a home.
So in conclusion, I just want to say, yay. Yay for paint, yay for artwork, yay for affordable houses, yay for school starting, and yay for life. I feel pretty happy to be alive.

Aug 15, 2008

My God and My Country

Okay, so there is really no reason for me to post this, other than the fact that I am feeling especially patriotic lately. I'm not really sure why, I guess it is just because I've been reading about the elections, and I have been quite disconcerted with all of the phooey that we're being fed. And this is on a daily basis. Why can't we just follow the laws of God, I wonder, and live with the moral ideals and values that this country was intended to stand for? Ah, but it is so hard when so many people are fighting for such a number of varied things. Anyway, I wrote this poem while taking a history class at BYU. It is written in epic style, like the Illiad or the Odyssey, so it may be a little different than what you're used to. I'm proud of it though. It makes me have good feelings about my country and how it was really all meant to be....

This is a tale of a freedom begotten of an ardent yearning for and devotion to

The love of God in a reign of tyranny,

Both in that of politics and religion

Across the world; people massacred for their vehement ideals,

Religious powers eyeing one another with seething suspicion:

Popes excommunicating their rivals, attempting to eclipse the arduous

Religious warfare that was running rampant. God on His throne sat high

Atop the acropolis of the Celestial world, regarding His most beloved creations

With decisiveness, His Eldest Son at His right hand,

Who held the scepter of power, in preparation to carry out His Father’s glorious plan.

The time has commenced, said He to the Son; they sat in reverence

To await the restitution of all truths to men in the one land which was chosen

Before the god of time began ruling over the children of earth.

In the beginning, truths were spread and buried deep

Within the soil of this hallowed land, because it was so loved by God;

Mysteries, these, which lay in wait of the righteous who would toil with fervor

To bring them to the surface. The Son’s face shone with resplendent joy;

He began whispering directions to those faithful ones,

In whose humble hearts a candle of vigor and unsullied hope

Burned, piercing the seemingly stanch darkness.

Both Father and Son took compassion upon those Puritans,

Forced to pay homage to a mortal monarch who sits upon a throne

Of theological icons, proclaiming himself god,

Driven by power and conquest, in defiance of Heaven:

The head of a corrupted tree of vile fruits.

Blooming in the midst of this chaos, the faithful Puritans felt the Truth

Segregate them from the abounding heresy, shedding Christ’s pure light on them.

O, that Mighty God of mercy! He prepared a way

For them to be led to that Eden afore blessed ever to be free;

Outlined a most perfect departure and voyage.

They adhered to the beckon of their God, those faithful ones,

Whose ragged pockets held near-empty purses.

The conservative and small ship called the Mayflower

Set sail on waters of pacific placidness toward the west,

Alas, the Devil in his fury at the miracle being set in motion,

Thrashed about upon the sea violently; terrible winds and waves arose.

The children of this pilgrimage cried out to God:

Why hast Thou forsaken us;

The fragile boat groaned and trembled,

Whilst torrents of waves heaved themselves upon it in madness.

The Father, overlooking His precious children aboard the craft,

Stayed His hand from immediate alleviation

For their distress; That Ever-Wise God! He wished to have them grow in strength

To confront the vast array of unyielding trials He knew they must surely face,

They, and their children, in setting the stones of the nation they would build.

The raging waters surged brutally against the poor boat,

Crashing a beam onto the ship’s deck--grabbing hold of one of the men,

Dragging the poor soul into the uncontrolled waves;

When in sudden speed, God had mercy upon them,

Calming the sea; the people of the Mayflower were again filled

With determination to press forward towards their destiny,

Abandoning all thoughts of fleeing to their former home.

Upon at last reaching the refuge of their destination,

The blessed people found, the rapture and beauty of the land

To which God’s hand had led them was incomprehensible,

The splendor of it calling them to embark upon its shores;

But Ah, God’s beloved children refused this temptation;

They knew an imperative work remained, for God had led them here

For a purpose, which they would not let die. Remaining on the fetid vessel

Which had imprisoned them already for so many nights and days,

The people prayed to that Being, who in His mercy

Had brought them to His most choice land, for a law.

The law was given, and a marvelous compact was drafted:

A covenant man to God, God to man, and man to man,

Which all vowed solemnly to live by.

Father and Son, Creators of the World,

Sat together again, gazing out over the vast expanse of time,

Upon the children who would follow forth upon this land,

Each realizing his own role in the Heavenly plan

Of the salvation of men: A group of men drawn together

In the cause of freedom, to unite all the people of the infant country

Into a single nation of grandeur and power,

By the combining of all laws righteous and just, under God;

Strong men fighting against tyranny, oppression, and a mother land

Whose hand gripped the people with impassiveness and contempt;

To the subsequent man who would, in the midst of a nation

Governed by the statute of Heaven, be able

To restore all of the pure and simple truths of the High Kingdoms

To the expanse of mortal men over the whole earth.

Those first children, unaware of the magnificent future

Of America that lay ahead, began plowing and churning the soil,

Rich with the vital minerals of truth, which had been spread by that God of love

So many eons before; a prosperous civilization began to be sown;

One of the most powerful nations, vied by all others,

Would be reaped in the succeeding centuries: a beacon of freedom and refuge

To those who would embark upon its shores,

Paying homage to the One who reigns over it,

That Merciful God of Heaven and earth.

Aug 12, 2008

Meyer the Moralist

So, I didn't actually think that I would ever get a blog page, because they seem hard to keep up. I'm incredibly lazy, and don't really like to take the time for things like these. However, after viewing a friend's page, I was prompted to voice my own opinion about something he was talking about.
I don't want to add to the millions of reviews on the infamous Twilight series; there are enough people with strong opinions voicing those all over the internet. The series has caused a craze among women that is easy to understand. The books are about a girl who falls in love with an impossibly perfect boy who is not only also hopelessly in love with her, but also happens to be a vampire. Dreamy, right? Well, I'm not going to go on about all the things that I think are wrong with Stephanie Meyer's writing. Again, that is a topic that has been hashed over enough. I have recently learned that, to my dismay, Glenn Beck, who I greatly respect and admire had Stephanie on his show, praising her example of morality for young teenagers in the book. The reason that this is so outrageous to me is not just the obvious sexually explicit garbage permeates them. This is only the most obvious moral problem, but lets not forget the lying, cheating, stealing, etc. that beloved Bella takes part in during her adventures with the Cullen family. I am amazed that Glenn and Stephanie, both of whom are members of a church which has very strong moral ideals, could either "forget" these things, or just ignore them. As I thought about this, I was reminded of a number of quotes given by the General Authorities of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that directly discourage specific things from the books. I will take the quotes just from just one source, the handbook for youth in the Church, to make my point by comparing these to quotes from the books.

S of Y: "Before marriage, do not do anything to arouse the powerful emotions that must be expressed only in marriage. Do not participate in passionate kissing, lie on top of another person... do not arouse those emotions in your own body." “Sexual Purity,” For the Strength of Youth: Fulfilling Our Duty to God, 26
T: (This takes place as Edward and Bella are lying together in Edward's bed) "He pulled my leg up suddenly, hitching it around his hip...His lips moved in the hollow at the base of my throat... before I could even concentrate enough to make sense of his words, he rolled to the side, pulling me on top of him. He held my face in his hands, angling it up so that his mouth could reach my throat. My breathing was loud... Slowly this time, he rolled till he hovered over me. He held himself carefully so that I felt none of his weight, but I could feel the cool marble of his body press against mine..." Eclipse, 186-187

S of Y: "Be honest with yourself, others, and the Lord. When you are honest in every way, you build strength of character that will allow you to be of great service to God and others. You will be blessed with peace of mind and self-respect. When you are honest, you will be trusted by the Lord and by those around you." “Honesty,” For the Strength of Youth: Fulfilling Our Duty to God, 31
T: (This is Bella's dad questioning her after she's returned from a 3 day disappearance to Italy where she had to save Edward from murderous vampires)"'Would you like to explain where you've been?' Oh, crap. 'There was... an emergency.' ... He waited with a distrustful expression... I was scrambling frantically to make this work, to keep it as close to the truth as possible so that my inability to lie convincingly would not undermine the excuse..." New Moon, 543-544

S of Y: "Don’t rationalize that wrong is right, even though many people around you may think there is no harm in being dishonest." “Honesty,” For the Strength of Youth: Fulfilling Our Duty to God, 31
T: (This takes place with Edward and Bella in Bella's room where her dad supposes her to be sleeping) "'Charlie?' I asked. Edward frowned. 'Sleeping. You should probably know that I'm breaking the rules right now. Well, not technically, since he said I was never to walk through his door again, and I came in the window...'" New Moon, 503

S of Y: "Do not have any sexual relations before marriage, and be completely faithful to your spouse after marriage. Satan may tempt you to rationalize that sexual intimacy before marriage is acceptable when two people are in love. That is not true."
T: (This takes place in Edward's room, when Bella is supposed to be having a sleep-over with his sister, Alice.) "'Look Edward... I said I would marry you, and I will. I promise... So there's really no reason to wait. We're completely alone- how often does that happen?- and you've provided this very large and comfortable bed....'"

S of Y: "Your body is God’s sacred creation. Respect it as a gift from God, and do not defile it in any way." “Dress and Appearance,” For the Strength of Youth: Fulfilling Our Duty to God, 14
T: (This is what Bella thinks as she is drowning after stupidly jumping off a cliff just to hear Edward's voice in her head) "I didn't want to fight anymore. And it wasn't the light-headedness, or the cold, or the failure of my arms as the muscles gave out in exhaustion, that made me content to stay where I was. I was almost happy that it was over... I saw him, and I had no will to fight...." New Moon, 361

S of Y: "Even in your most difficult times, you can find much to be grateful for. Doing so will strengthen and bless you." “Gratitude,” For the Strength of Youth: Fulfilling Our Duty to God, 6
T: (Again, this is when Bella is drowning) "I'd forgotten what real happiness felt like. Happiness. It made the whole dying thing pretty bearable."

This is not to mention all of the crap about soul-mates, and how if we don't find them, we would be better if we had not lived.
"'Soul mates' are fiction and an illusion; and while every young man and young woman will seek with all diligence and prayerfulness to find a mate with whom life can be most compatible and beautiful, yet it is certain that almost any good man and any good woman can have happiness and a successful marriage if both are willing to pay the price." Spencer W. Kimball, “Oneness in Marriage,” Liahona, Oct 2002, 36

Now, I don't want to be hyper-sensitive. There are plenty of other great authors, LDS or otherwise, whose writing is not without blemish of sensitive content, the great Orson Scott Card included. And I LOVE Card, he is one of my all-time favorites. But they aren't out claiming to be moral gurus for today's youth. In essence, this blog is not to rant about how horrible I think the Twilight books are, or even Stephanie herself. I simply want to point out that she is not promoting morality in her books, at least not by the standards set by her own church, and it makes me frustrated to think that the youth of today are looking to her as a mentor. And Glenn, good old Glenn, what were you thinking? Did you even read the books?