Why I don’t attend church anymore. My own search for happiness.

This is a tough subject to talk about for myself. I have a hard time speaking some of these things out loud as I get very emotional about them. There was a time when I was quite content and fully active at Church. But as for now and most of the past four years I haven’t been to and don’t plan on going anytime soon.

Let me start by saying that most of what the LDS church does is wonderful. I especially love its emphasis on family and service. It teaches of the truest joy that comes from the love within families. It teaches of the joys of living a clear and haze free life of sobriety, being truly conscious and connected to those around us.  It teaches of service and selflessness. Charity and long suffering. It provides a community of people you can meet all over the world who are all striving for the same goal of growing their relationship with God. Its message is truly a safe haven of light.
It’s a common thing for people who believe something so fiercely to feel a potent mix of being let down and betrayed by the God and institution that meant so much to them. NOTE: These are valid feelings, even if you disagree with them. 

We are hard-wired to want to fit in and terrified at our very core of being different. However being different is also a good thing. 
We have a tendency in the Church to feel a hard-earned sense of moral superiority when it comes to leading life right. Most Mormons I know (myself included), have clocked a lot of hours on knees in prayer, searching for guidance from God as well as at church, in fellow church-members’ homes, in service, etc. We aren’t willy-nilly about our beliefs and that can feel a little bit like we deserve to sit up on a high horse in self-righteousness. The way we talk about our faith is peppered with strong words like KNOW and TRUTH and AGENCY. We don’t realize we do this, I think (I hope), but even when we are trying to be understanding that someone else may have the gall (or lack of discipline/faith/respect/pick your derisive explanation of choice) to come to different conclusions about what they use their agency to know to be true, it is often cloaked in a sweetly smug, ‘Oh, you’ll figure it out eventually. I had doubts once too. And if you don’t get the answer I got, just keep trying. You’ll agree with me eventually…’

Have you ever felt like you have been let down by Heavenly Father (God)? Have you ever felt like God doesn’t love you or show you his love? I most definitely have. Here is what I find so frustrating, for the past 15 or so years, I have been on my knees begging, pleading, making supplications to God. I would do anything and everything I could to receive an answer I have been asking for. I have been asking the same question In many different ways and any kind of way I could think of. But all I receive is silence.
I’ve been so concerned that maybe I was being called upon to wait for answers because I’m somehow too sinful or lack enough faith to receive revelation. I have tried my best to try and be patient and humble. I wrote this in a journal posting a while back:
June 28, 2007
I see others who live and prosper,
And yet here am I, stuck in this dark prison cell.
Please hear my prayer.
Please set in motion Your answer, Your solution.
Why have You abandoned me?
Why do You remain silent?
I’ve waited and waited, yet I am met with silence.
It hard to keep my feelings inward. So this blog post and the other blog posts I’ve written is myself trying to let my inward feelings out, to try and let go of pain. As tears roll down my face it is hard to even write these words as I am truly emotional.

As I attended church I felt like I was there but not really there. I felt for the longest time that I was going for other people and not myself. When I knew while I was there I was truly miserable. I know that most people attend to feel joy and happiness. I haven’t felt that at church in a really long time.
For those that are devout LDS, Christians and other worshippers I fully support you and will continue to support you. My beliefs have not changed as I still believe in the doctrine of the church. I believe that each and everyone of us is on a personal journey, I am trying to find my own path. I am always searching for my own true happiness.

If anyone out there in internetland is going through something like this and wants to talk about it with me, I’m be happy to.

Why I love Star Wars!


Every day my wife will come home to find myself either playing or watching or even building something that has to do with Star Wars.
Loving Star Wars can be misunderstood as simplistic: the love of a sci-fi trilogy – But listen, nerf-herders: it’s so much more than that. Here’s why:

It’s about great stories:

Every culture rewrites its folk tales. Heroes, monsters, prophets and prophecies, and love – these are universal. Religions have risen and fallen on the likeability of their characters. (There is a reason that Thor is a member of the Avengers.) And Star Wars – is one of the best. We adapted it, shared it, venerated it and consumed it, but now it lives inside us, between us, binding us together. Fan or not, Star Wars is part of you, and you are part of it. Like the travels of Doc Brown and Marty Mcfly, the trials of Superman and the heroic journeys of Mario, you can’t avoid it.

The best stories teach us lessons, and Star Wars is overflowing with them. Though the events that unfolded a long time ago involve Jedi, clone troopers, bizarre creatures, and many more elements that seem much more exciting than anything happening in our world, there are several takeaways. Star Wars has taught me many important lessons for my life. Here are a few I have learned!

1. Embrace the traits that make you stand apart. “Size matters not.”

This is a cooler, more complicated way of saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

Even if you’re genetically identical to hundreds of others (which you’re probably not), you are unique. Your beliefs, personality, and struggles aren’t exactly like anyone else’s. Celebrate what makes you special rather than bemoaning being different. 

2. Commit to the life you want to live – and live it!

“Do or do not… there is no try.” – Yoda 

We can spend our entire lives debating this and that, frozen in fear, fighting uncertainty. However, in life, nothing is certain. We can either waste precious time in limbo or make a decision and stick with it!

3. Never say “I have a bad feeling about this.”

If you find yourself in a bad situation or circumstance, do not under any circumstances comment on it. Saying “I have a bad feeling about this” is like saying, “It can’t get any worse.” Trust me, it can.

4. Realize others see the world differently than you do.

Our individual perspective affects the way we interpret the world around us. No one else will see things as you do, and that’s OK. It’s for the best, really. Remember: Just because someone has a certain of point of view that differs from yours doesn’t necessarily mean they’re being dishonest.

5. Every life has value.

If jar jar the bumbling idiot that he was, was able to find his way and play a part in shaping the future of the entire galaxy. Then Each and every human being is playing his or her part in this universe, wether big or small, we all matter!

6. Don’t let fear guide your life.

Fear cripples us from doing what needs to be done. It prevents us from becoming the people we’re meant to be. It isolates us from others and makes us scared of those we do not understand. Historically speaking, fear has fueled many wars, genocides, persecutions, and riots. Inner demons are the hardest kind to battle because they never go away. You’ll always carry fear and worry with you, but you can control how the emotions affect you. Pro tip: Don’t let them drive you to becoming a Sith Lord. Clearly, Yoda was onto something. 

7. All things are true … “from a certain  point of view”.

This is what Obi-Wan tells Luke when asked why he didn’t reveal the truth about Darth Vader. But truth is a delicate and malleable thing: Is Luke Skywalker a freedom fighter or a terrorist? I guess it depends on what side of the Death Star you happen to be on when he blows it up. Each and everyone of us has a certain view point, “right” and “wrong” do not stand subject to universal truth conditions at all; rather, they are relative to the traditions, convictions, or practices of an individual or a group of people. My hope is that we would all listen and try to understand another more.

8. Jedi mind tricks come in handy.

This is something I use on a day-to-day basis. Jedi’s taught us that strength is beyond that of physical power, but also found in the power of our minds. “These are not the droids you’re looking for”. The power of suggestion. Not every battle needs to be fought with a lightsaber. 

9. Good vs. evil isn’t just in the movies.

One of the most important lesson that Star Wars teaches us is that there is a hero and villain in each one of us. The ever present theme throughout Star Wars is the presence of a good force and an evil force. The light side and the dark side. Right vs. wrong. Hey, sounds a lot like life, right? Figuring out what to do in tricky situations where you have a choice between doing the right thing and doing the wrong thing, is always the toughest choice we have in this life. 

10. And finally, “Use the Force”. Discovering how to channel the force (our consciousness), is what makes our journey. The greatest lesson “Star Wars” teaches us is that the hero is within.

Star Wars, thank you for teaching me that even though it isn’t always the easiest choice, honesty, truth, and virtue are worth the sacrifice. There is goodness us all!

Addiction: how I understand it!

Addiction – When you can give up something any time, as long as it’s next Tuesday.

I understand addiction! I’m not crying out for help, but I am sharing my experience in the hopes that readers will get something out of it. I’m not the one who gets to decide what that is, if anything. I’m just starting the “journey” if you will, so I can’t possibly know yet what the “message” of my life really is. I only know what has happened so far, and how I’ve felt up until this moment. I agree that reading about the pain of others is concerning when they are still hurting and in the same situation as when they wrote about it. But what can you do? You can reach out, ask how you can help and be there to listen. You can’t save someone who doesn’t want to be saved. You can’t love someone who doesn’t love themselves enough to take care of themselves and stay out of bad situations. Believe me, I know this.

Every habit a man (or woman) ever had is still there in his body, lying dormant like flowers in the desert. Given the right conditions, all his old addictions would burst into full and luxuriant bloom. How could a man (or a woman) do something so self-destructive, knowing that they’re hurting not only themselves, but the people they love? It seemed that it would be so incredibly easy for them to just not take that next drink, not take the next smoke, Just stop. It’s so simple, really. But as so often happens with me, my arrogance kept me from seeing the truth of the matter.
Even as a child I could see that I had a addictive personality. I would carry around a ball as a child and wouldn’t let it go (don’t know what I called it) mom? I may have a mild to severe addiction to Dr. Pepper 😊, and I am sometimes seen chewing on strings and such, (sorry Kim). But on a more serious note as a high schooler I was addicted to porn. Pornography fosters a lifestyle of secrets and deception, pornography diluted my mind, made me think terrible things. I am incredibly ashamed of all the thoughts and things I have seen. I would always try to minimize my addiction or just simply try and cover it up. To minimize this behavior is to embrace several of the myths about porn, namely that it is harmless, that it only affects you, and that you can control it and all of these are not true. It causes quite a bit of harm, it never only affects you and you definitely can’t control it.
As a young adult I sought after a different sort of thing. Gambling, this too I became addicted to, It took me for a rough ride that I will ever be ashamed of.
Every day, I would tell myself it will be the last. Every night, as I’m falling asleep in bed, I tell myself that tomorrow will be a better day, a new day a different day.
And then the addiction takes me
This cannot end well. That’s the crux of the matter, I’ve been down this road before—you know I have—
Tomorrow I will stop delaying the inevitable. Tomorrow I will quit lying to myself. Tomorrow is a strong word, it’s a word that can and will hurt you.
When you can stop you don’t want to, and when you want to stop, you can’t…
What about today, you ask? Today it’s already too late.
Just one last time, Just one last fix. That’s all I need. Both addictions are always there, always in the background, and they always will be, unfortunately.
I am a work in progress, I will always be a work in progress, I m not perfect but I strive to be a better person everyday.
And that is why I understand addiction.

Bullying: “I would rather be a little nobody, then to be a evil somebody.”

Bullying is emotional for the victim in particular. The range of emotions a victim can feel is vast, but there are a few that stick out a bit more than the others.
From the a young age to the finish of High school, I was bullied! I hated school for this reason. I was shorter than everyone around me, I was crossed eyed, and I was a late bloomer. All of these things contributed to being picked on every day of my school life. I didn’t understand why I was being picked out of the crowd. Bullies often have subtle, artful ways of making you feel miserable; they seemed to find all my weak points and aggressively attack them. I was always unable to concentrate in classes. I tried joining different groups and trying to be a part of something but was never able to fit in.
Imagine waking up in the morning knowing you will be facing one of your worst fears. It’s like someone who is afraid of heights knowing they are going to be standing on top of a tall building that day. For people who are bullied every day, they are waking up knowing they are going to be encountering their bully (or bullies). They wonder, What will this person do or say to me today that will make me feel awful?
Fear is not a fun feeling to have. When we are afraid, we feel threatened. We feel unsafe. As a result, our mind and body are in constant alert, and it is exhausting. Nobody wants to feel that way ever, let alone on a daily basis, in a place where they should feel secure such as a classroom. I was completely normal and there was absolutely nothing wrong with me, I have found that the only way to overcome bullying is to speak up and develop confidence and interests, Which had taken a long time to figure out.

A young outcast will often feel that there is something wrong with himself, but as he gets older, grows more confident in who he is, he will adapt, he will begin to feel that there is something wrong with everyone else. Bullying builds character like nuclear waste creates superheroes. It’s a rare occurrence and often does much more damage than endowment.
Perhaps the most understandable feeling out of everything is anger. When a victim is being bullied, it is natural for them to feel at least a little bit of anger.
Depression, along with humiliation, are the emotions that tend to lead to suicide in bullying situations. The constant fear, embarrassment, and belittling can wear a person down until they feel trapped in despair. Victims of suicide feel that they will never be free of such awful feelings, which makes it all the more tragic because they can be free of them. Don’t be shameful of being bullied, you have nothing to be embarrassed about. Be proud of who you are and practice habits of happiness and self-confidence.
With supportive and caring people at their side and a strong will to prevail, anyone can come out of even the deepest depression.
Luckily I have always and will always have a strong support system in my life. My loving parents and siblings were always there to protect and strengthen me through the years, and for that I am always grateful. It certainly doesn’t feel good to be bullied. But there is always hope, especially if you have strong will, courage, emotional strength, and a positive support system to help you through it.