Monday, December 31, 2007



I'm further along in school, and I'm happy with my progress with my degree. I got good grades in my classes for spring semester. I enjoyed talking to favorite professors about things that really matter to me. I didn't slack off at work, and I felt helpful around the Writing Center.

I finished my freakin' huge reading list! Also, I finally got around to listening to all those music albums that I could never find the time for. I got into rap and country to see what I like there. I also know (somewhat) what the new U2 material sounds like, since their tour won't start till next year. In addition, I finally finished a couple of screenplays, and got to work on The Dam at Otter Creek.

I've made great new friends. I feel closer to all of them, especially my best friends, and I feel like I'm as worthwhile in each of their lives as they are in mine. I finally made some kind of peace with the friend I lost in 2007.

I've volunteered at an old folk's home, the MTC, and other places where I feel like I helped out and learned more about love.

I'm content with my life. I don't complain as much anymore. I don't need any darkness to help me, because I've learned how to use the light inside of me. I kicked my lifetime bad habits, and picked up some good ones...and some "good" bad ones, too. I've made peace with my past. I have forgiven myself. I can look at myself in the mirror in the eye everyday, say "I love you" ...and for the first time in my life, I can actually mean it.

I'm happy with my choice, and I'm happy with my companion, whom I'm with every day. I make responsible choices about where I go from now on. Those who judge me for my past and my choices are people who I've reluctantly but peacefully cut out of my life. I can honestly say I've never felt so happy.

The call was quiet, almost sudden; nobody saw it coming. By the time most people found out, there wasn't much room for me to become one of those "repentant saint" spectacles fortunate enough to be the ward/neighborhood gossip. I can say with honesty that I didn't go to impress, spite, or amuse a single person. I didn't go out of religous dogmatic duty or reckless peer pressure. I went, simply and plainly, because I wanted to have a good time. And I am having a blast.

I don't want to say, "I finally found what I was looking for." I want to be able to say, "I'm content with the answers I have found, and I'll never stop looking for the truth." The year 2007 was the year seeds were planted, and a year of painful epiphanies. 2007 was paradise lost. This year, 2008, was the year of growth and harvest, and a year of second chances. There was more change, and 2008 wasn't paradise regained--it was paradise found. A lot of my important memories are in 2007...a lot of my best memories are in 2008.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Looking Back On Today


I ran away from home just a few days into the new year. I received the Melchizedek Priesthood. I said goodbye to my best friend for four years. I got into poetry and philosophy. I got into my first real fight with a friend since I was fourteen. I took my little sister to her high school prom. I went to my first rock concert and met with the band in their tour bus. I saw my first R movies and started cussing. I lost one of my best friends, possibly forever. I was homeless for almost eight weeks, and in that time there were days I didn't eat anything, I didn't shave for a month, and I didn't shower for three weeks. I slept on the ground, on couches, and an air matress. I was chased by the police, in a car pulled over by police, got phone calls from the police, and rode in the back of a police car. I climbed a fifty-foot cliff and gotten in a street fight with a mountain ram. I met a famous movie star. I was connected to someone who made front page news. I held secret phone negotiations about five-hundred dollars, and was almost fired for helping someone. I inherited a longboard from a best friend, and the longboard became my first property to be stolen. I got involved with tarot cards. I could've been killed by a car that almost drove straight through a living room I was in. I suffered from creepy hallucinations for a couple weeks. I had a conversation with an oracle using three pennies. I befriended a diagnosed schizophrenic. I talked to radio DJ's about movies. I got involved with drugs - although I didn't use any. I finally mastered the back flip. My family went inactive. I was almost killed by a train for the second time in my life - and in order to save my life, I had to play chicken and run towards the train. I got my first crushes in years with two different people, then got to have them both as close friends.

And in fancy acrobatics, a rainstorm and hillside wildfires, and staring into a vision of my future by looking death in the eyes (literally)...I finally found the meaning of life.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The God I Believe In

Recent e-mail to my friend and co-worker, Whitney:

I finally figured something out the other day...

Even though I've had my doubts all my life on the LDS church, I've never been able to fully shake off the belief in some form of God, or that there is a Christ, and that belief is rooted in an experience I had when I was fourteen. You could definitely call it Pentecostal; I was in a young men's EFY group, and we were having a lesson on the Atonement, when one by one every guy started crying and speaking in powerful tones. Immediately, I felt this...I dunno, I can't describe it very well, it was like every blood cell in my body turned into light or something. It was just this incredible rush, like every part of me was saying "Yes! It's true, there is a Christ who did this for me." It was a sure knowledge, but it was also a weird feeling I couldn't understand at the time.

Now I'm two weeks from twenty, and I feel about as far away from God as ever. I have no idea what to think about the LDS church or Joseph Smith, and I'm confused/afraid for my future. But mostly I'm ashamed of my past and myself. For a long time now, I've been afraid to face God. But I've just realized that if nothing else, God has to be some form of whatever I felt that night when I was fourteen. And in that sense, I realized that that weird feeling I had was love - pure, unconditional love. And if that is what God is like, then why would I be afraid to face that love? So now I'm on a new journey: to find a life where I can have that love a lot more often. And regardless of the "Utah Valley Mormon God", I have decided that when I want to pray or worship, that God of love is the one I believe in.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Memories and the Devil vs. God and John Lennon

I. Hate. Snow.

It's wet, it gets everywhere (like socks, which is no fun) and it's most inconvenient. For example, take today. This morning was looking gray, but relatively pleasant. Then in the space of two hours, there was so much snow that I couldn't see the McKay Events Center outside the Liberal Arts building at Utah Valley University. A co-worker drove me to Barnes and Noble at the risk of her own life, since the car itself seemed horrified of making it up the snow-covered streets. This evening, I was supposed to see a play that I've been looking forward to all week, and the bus was not five, not ten, not fifteen, but almost twenty-five minutes late picking me up due to road hazards. By the time I got to the theater, all the doors were locked. All because of stupid snow.

Needless to say, I was feeling pretty ticked off and dejected by the time I got back to my apartment. And when I'm in a foul mood, certain habits and cravings that I've tried to stop cold are bound to surface; needless to say that I found myself struggling with some familiar demons about half an hour later. I tried concentrating on different things - reading, calling a friend, even the words of a Priesthood blessing I received a week ago. All to little avail. At long last, in the tempest of my subconcious, I recalled (for no apparent reason) the words to a song:

"Oh, I'll be a good boy, please make me well
I promise you anything - get me out of this hell
Cold turkey has got me on the run..."

John Lennon's voice coming to aid a poor, struggling soul fighting addictions on a cold and lonely night...and not just any night, but the twenty-seventh anniversary of his assassination. The irony is not lost on me.

I think that John Lennon's greatness, however, is lost on much of my generation. If I were to question someone my age about who imagined a world without heaven, hell, country, religion, and people living life in peace, the odds are they may scratch their head and reply, "Uh, that one guy who starved himself in China? Whatsisname....Guhndee? Gondee? Somethin' or other. Why does it matter, anyway? Hey, have you heard this new song by Avril Lavigne?" (Is the irony lost on you?) Similarly, the only question I could ask and hope to get an enlightened answer to is if I asked who, out of the Beatles, was the walrus. Of course, that would only be with a grateful culture nod to Ferris Buller's Day Off.

Some people my age are quick to snap at me: "Well, why the heck should I care? He's dead, and the Beatles suck, anyway." Responses like that make me scared about my generation's future. Because I think John Lennon's legacy has far more relevance than rescuing recovering addicts on his death's anniversary night.

There are some who believe that solo artists who break off from original bands are ultimately failures, and I'll admit I'm one of those people. Robert Plant and Jimmy Page were pretty decent when they were apart, and Thom Yorke is a shrug's "all right" on his own. But I think John Lennon's lyrics and music stands apart far from the Beatles in a good way. His lyrics are very simplistic, to be sure, and sometimes to the point of being cliche; you can almost predict what line will come next.

But in a way, that's what makes John Lennon a genius. His music and lyrics was able to communicate human emotion and thought in very subtle ways, ways that keep the power of the song's spirit and deliver it just as well in a shorter amount of time. It's language meant to touch any and every soul, not just those who can decode cryptic wording, or the philosophically minded. That's why I smile when people say that John Lennon and the Beatles get old after a while. That music was not meant for a casual listen on a playlist. It demands your attention; it wants you. And such selfish music is "so" last century.

In fact, a young man of this century will definitely connect to a young man of three decades ago through John Lennon. Whether it's "Give Peace a Chance" or "I Don't Wanna Be a Soldier, Mama" you can feel the emotions and beliefs of a man iconic to his era. I've heard the 70's labeled as something one would prefer not to remember. I think that it's important to remember the past, no matter what. John's voice has a lot of power in it, and a saturation of ego at times, but there's a lot of humanity as well. Listening to his music becomes a personable tour of a revolutionary epoch in the history of America, and of mankind. And all you need is songs like "God", "Instant Karma!", and the incredible "Imagine" to prove it.

So here's my meager cheer to you, John Lennon. From my post-modern electronics and twenty-first century machinations, I raise a proverbial glass to the walrus. Thanks for your freedom and your incredible sense of humanity, truth, and love. And if I sound simplistic or cliche, or you can predict what I'm gonna say next...then maybe that's the point.

Strawberry Fields forever, John.

Friday, December 7, 2007

秋 [Autumn]

The tanka is a Japanese poetic form similar to haiku. The format is 5-7-5-7-7 syllables per line. Here's one I did recently -

(In Japanese:)

Chiisai na
Bishonen wa toki ni
Suru happa de
Aki no kure de
Kango tomodachi no.

As a small,
Beautiful boy
Plays games in the leaves
During the autumn dusk,
I care for my friends.

Notes: The phrase "beautiful boy" (bishonen) is used in this instance for "baby-ish" boys with aesthetically pretty faces. Also, the phrase "care for" (kango) is the same usage for medics tending to the sick. Disclaimer: I'm not sure I'm 100% accurate.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Reply to Ranee

In an email forum I'm on, a young man named Ranee wrote that he was feeling hopeless and staring down the barrel of a gun. He felt that anyone and everyone he'd ever loved was left and leaving, and that the only choice left to him was suicide. This was my reply:

Ranee, please do not take your own life. You will undoubtedly hear many people tell you this. Let me share my personal experience with you: This summer was particularly difficult for me, and not a day went by that I didn't plan some detail about my suicide, or my "fantasy funeral". Many times I seriously considered it. Early one morning, I found myself on a bridge looking down into the water - staring into fate, as it were. I almost felt like jumping, and half-jokingly I asked God to stop me. As I stared and stared, and as the sun rose up into the sky at dawn, my thoughts became clearer and clearer, and so did my feelings. This is what I felt:

Everything is so meaningless, and yet all so meaningful. Regardless of whether you are Christian, Hindu, or atheist, there is one belief that mankind, through the centuries, has always carried at the forefront of human consciousness: This life is the only one you get. It only happens once. You've got one life you get to leave. And frankly, it shouldn't be our choice to end it whenever we want. What should be our choice is what we do with that one life, that one chance. Have you ever been in a situation where you had only one chance to do something, and the moment of it was just so exhilarating? The choice was "Either do it now, or forever wish you had!" Take this life, make it a moment in eternity, and pretend you are back in the premortal life.

In the Book of Job, Job feels he's questioned his life and suffering long enough to call on God and say "Appear before me! I want to take you to court. I want you to answer for why you've given me so much suffering in my life." God's answer is one that baffled Jewish rabbis for centuries: the voice of the Lord comes out of a whirlwind to say: "Job, remember when I laid down the foundations of the world? And all the angels shouted for joy? You were there, Job, shouting with them. You knew that there'd be suffering in mortal existence - you knew about this. In fact, you were pretty excited about it. And now you're questioning me about it? Where were you the day I went over that in class, my son?" (See Job 38.)

That is God's answer to us. Life on earth was just a moment when we were premortal spirits, looking forward to our futures. God was literally saying to us: "You've got once chance to change everything, my children. And this is a one-time offer. It's a one-way ticket to tears, smiles, heartbreak, laughter, misery, peace, and ultimately happiness. That's the end of the equation, and the only way to do it, so it's a one-time offer. Take it or leave it!" A third left, and the rest of us are here. God sent us into the world....and so it's only right that He gets to take us back. Ever see Bill Cosby? He said, "You are MY son. I brought you in this world--and I can take you out!"

What if an angel appeared to you one night and said, "Ranee, guess what? You get to live this same life over again when you die! Every moment you've ever experienced, every sorrow and every happiness, you get to re-live." Would you curse the day you were born and be miserable....or would you clap out of excitement and be filled with happiness? Some say that it's ideal to live a life with no regrets. I say that defeats the should regret times of your life...just as little as possible! Imagine you're standing in front of a mirror, with all your dark and loathsome past raging behind you like a great big cloud. What lies between you and the mirror? Nothing. A dark past follows you around - but there's nothing ahead of you, allowing you to create the future. Don't be afraid. I know you can do it! The courage lies within you. Reach out and take it! Because as it turns out, we are not here to be miserable all the time. As Nephi said: "Adam fell, that men might be. And men are, that they might have joy." You get to step through looking-glass and create the joy - no one can do it for you. And I know you can do it if you try!

That is what I found out that morning, looking at the water. THAT is the true meaning of life. The meaning of life is: there is NO meaning of life. Only the meaning we give it. And frankly, Ranee, I don't wanna be the guy who goes back to the spirit world saying, "I'm so glad to be back home, away from that dreadful place. I'm glad earth life is over." I wanna be the guy who flies in through those Pearly Gates with his hair on fire, his robes torn and tattered, a broken leg or two, screaming at the very top of my ethereal lungs:


Thursday, November 22, 2007


I just had Thanksgiving dinner. My dad stayed on a computer in another room while my mother, my three little brothers and myself sat around a table eating Kraft Easy Mac and some chicken, watching I Love Lucy re-runs. My younger sister did not come home, but remained at her apartment in Provo. My seven-year-old brother (whom my parents refuse to allow baptism) sighed, "This was the worst Thanksgiving ever."

I'm sitting here at my computer, and I'm looking at some books around me. I raided the library this week; a co-worker asked if I was experiencing some sort of spiritual schizophrenia. There's the Bible on my left covered with an old Batman comic, and the Qur'an (Koran) on my right. There's a book by Nietzsche stacked on top of The Problem of God in Modern Thought,Teachings of the Dali Lama, and a Johnny Cash album. A book about karma sits on my floor next to an article on Christianity from U.S. and World Report. On top of my dresser sits my Yankees baseball hat, the I Ching and three coins.

I don't know if you're familiar with the I Ching. I wasn't until the other night when I was in a bookstore and impulsively bought it. I didn't realize it was considered an oracle by millions throughout the centuries, and I'd paid $10 for some sort of divinitation device. I decided that I would try using it, and I tossed the coins wrong the first couple times, getting strange answers to nonsensical questions like "How's the weather?" But then I decided to be serious. In this schizophrenia I'm experiencing, I'm trying to feel out where I can fit in spirituality, once and for all. I've established that I do believe in a God, and in Christ. I believe in the idea of karma, but I won't accept karma itself just yet because it rules out the need for a Christ. This is what independence is, I guess. Living on my own has taught me that I can't take anything for granted anymore, and I'm being forced to re-evaluate my concept of God. I have realized that most of my life, my idea of God was divided into two illusions: a harsh divine dictator who only favors the Mormons, or a mysterious Creator quasi-billions of who knows what far away. I cannot fit the father figure into my concept of God. I never found out who God was for myself, or Christ. I just relied on happy feelings and the testimonies of others. As Nietzsche famously proclaimed, I found that God really was dead to me.

So with anticipation, I tossed the three coins and asked, "What is the relationship of the I Ching to God?" I guess I was wondering how the book would help me in my search for a connection to God. I don't know what answer I was expecting, but I didn't expect the answer I received minutes later. The answer was: "Limitation." That I Ching, the books around me, and many of my choices lately could only help me with so much, but in the end could not get me all the answers I'm looking for. I was limiting myself in my search and growth by finding answers in narrow places. I didn't expect something as mystical as an ancient oracle to admit it was too "limited" to help me find God. I almost laughed out loud.

Because it seemed ridiculous. With everything that had been going wrong lately - from recent relapses, to the loss of friends (one being forbidden by parents to associate with a 19-year-old not on a mission), to family disturbances, to failing at school - I felt like I was standing on the edge of a shore, looking into nothingness. Deciding to find God suddenly felt like a joke and a duty at the same time.

So it's Thanksgiving, and I'm trying to find my blessings, but I see only a wide expanse of oblivion around me. A waste land. And when I try to think about things I'm grateful for, I draw a blank. Everything I was grateful for - my friends like Ammon or Ben or Eric, my family relations, and my testimony...all of that has disappeared in less than a year. I've been completely wasted away to find...what? Memories? My music? (I thank God for U2 and the Beatles, and all my music - and I don't mean that flippantly.) One can be grateful for memories and music, I guess. But they are "limitations." They can't congratulate you, or hold you, or even kiss you.

I don't mean to sound like I'm complaing. I want to say: feeling like the only person in the universe has taught me to appreciate one thing, and be grateful for another. I appreciate love, and I believe I'm coming closer to understanding what love is and is not. As the great John Lennon once said, "In the end, the love you give is equal to the love you get." And I pondered a few times if I made the right choice in not committing suicide over the summer. This is undoubtedly the worst time of my life. But, for some strange reason, I am excited and glad to be alive for it. It's strange...Indeed, in years to come I may look at this year and say "Those aren't my happiest memories, but they're my most important." And maybe, with that mentality, my limitations will act as signs to guide me down the right road. Then, I'm grateful for my limits.

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Left and Leaving

My friend Eric Smith finally left for the MTC, and he'll be arriving in Washington, D.C./southern Virginia shortly thereafter. I didn't plan on it being an emotional farewell, but the last day we were hanging out, I found myself approaching his house very slowly. "If I walk slower," I thought, "maybe...maybe he won't leave as soon." We had dinner, went to see a movie, then dropped me off at my apartment. He gave me his longboard, saying, "You need this more than I do." I said, "Eric...I can't take this. Any time I ride it, I'll think of ya, and then I'll crash into something." He laughed, and then the last thing he said to me was: "Matthew, you are my best friend in the whole world, do you know that? If you can, see that you go on that mission." I nodded, then proceeded to go upstairs, watch a chick flick, and feel depressed for two days. I guess emotions don't get planned.

But assigning me as his best friend only reminded me of another friend, Ammon. He's sixteen, turning seventeen in a month. My twentieth birthday is a month and two days after. I befriended him after he moved into the old house of one of my best friends. We got tight pretty quick, and he started calling me his best friend in the world. Thick as thieves, we were. Then, he got a girlfriend. He gave her all the attention in the world, and planned on marriage and having her wait for him after his mission.

And late at night, I would get in fights with my pillows and scream over it. How could he just move into town, and at a whim fall in love? Just like that? My same-gender attractions drove me to insane jealousy. I cared way too much about him. It's not that I was attracted to him. I was jealous of his ability to love. I saw him happy and blissful every time he brought up his girlfriend, and whenever I looked at myself and saw my empty life - without passion or love - I would go green like a light.

Pretty soon, the tension got us into a fight. We didn't speak to each other for almost a month. After we called it cool, we got into another fight a month later. He was angry I wasn't on a mission, and I was angry he was being sixteen. We didn't talk to each other for three and a half months. We started jamming in a band with a couple of friends. Then we got into another fight about him being immature, and me being different. We didn't talk for almost two months. Then, he broke up with his girlfriend. His depression got us talking again, and finally a few nights ago we hung out for the first time since last spring. Eventually, his parents told me I had to go.

As I left, I reflected on the useless hate I let into my life. And, you know? Most of that hate, I came to find, was aimed at myself. I felt like a failure because my friends were all left or leaving on missions, and I was sitting in my apartment going at it with porn every night. I care too much about everything and everyone but me. And I never get anything back. My heart is too big, I decided. It's not strong, and it's not smart. But it's big. I have a lot of love to give...I do. I just don't know where to put it. I finally got sick of myself. I went out Friday night, and bought a pack of cigarettes. I figured, what the heck, I've been trying to do self-improvement all my life. Maybe it's time to try self-destruction. I took Eric's longboard and skated way out to the city limits, where there are abandoned fields and a cold lake. I sat down, lit one up, and put my lips around the filter.

And that's when I realized....that I have no idea how to smoke a cigarette. And what's more, I was too scared to try.

Which further infuriated me. That I was too chicken to smoke, too chicken to go on a mission, too chicken to change my life. But I wasn't too chicken to walk half a mile to get my wallet so I can buy porn, or not too chicken to jack off in front of a P.E. teacher, or not too chicken to slit at my wrists and cut up my arms with a razor. I looked up at the sky, blasting "Love Reign O'er Me" by The Who, and I screamed: "IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE?!!" ...Reaching up for a hand, any hand, is not an unfamiliar motif for me right now.

Sunday night, I called Ammon to see how he was holding up. He said he was okay, then told me, "Matthew...I'm really sorry...but we can't hang out ever again. My parents chewed me out the other night when you were here. The thing is, they don't want me to associate with a 19-year-old who is not on a mission."

I guess that's what I get for my big heart.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ra-Ra For the Mystery Tour!

(Email to James Wittenbach)

I am SO usual...that I've taken a while to write. Being a bum can create unforeseen inconveniences. Basically, I moved out of my house towards the end of August, then proceeded to be homeless for a month and a half, bumming on couches, air mattresses, floor, rides and food from friends. Things have been major crazy for the past six months. It's a VERY long story involving a police chase, some ugly dogs, front page news, climbing a fifty-foot cliff, getting in a street fight with a mountain ram, meeting a famous movie star, secret phone negotiations about five-hundred dollars, car crashes, hallucinations, fancy acrobatics, a rainstorm and wildfires, and finally finding the meaning of life. It all happened, and it's been the craziest, funniest, scariest and most awesome time of my life.

I've got a terrible headache right now. Never listen to Pink Floyd and psychedelic Beatles while watching Tron and Steven Spielberg films. My friend Eric Smith and I have been having an old movies marathon. Right now we're sticking to chick flicks and Hitchcocks, well-dosed with some vanilla ice cream dabbled with fresh raspberries. Last night was The Philadelphia Story; tonight we're gonna tackle Rear Window or possibly North by Northwest. We're trying to hang out as much as possible in the next couple weeks before he leaves for the MTC. He got his mission call to serve in...drum roll, please....Washington, D.C. The south side. So there's a chance you will meet him - in which case, take good care of him. He's smart and funny - he could reasonably pass for a younger Jim Carrey.

I don't feel that much closer to serving a mission than I did at the end of the summer. I made the choice to do it, and now I am facing the consequences. I realized that I wasn't prepared to bear the weight of that be straight, and to be faithful. Sometimes I just walk around smiling and singing to myself over it, and at other times I crawl up in a corner at work, or I sit in the back of the bus as I start crying. What a wonderful life, eh?

Well, I've gotta get to work. I help tutor students at Utah Valley University with writing. It's fun, except it can be hard to tutor ESL students. Then I'm going to finish with my Halloween costume, so I am ready for a party tomorrow night, and an airsoft game on Saturday. We're emulating 28 Weeks Later; we're taking over an old mining town in southern Utah, and half of us are gonna be zombies. I'll send you some pictures.

I am the walrus! KOO-KOO-KA-CHOOB!!!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Another Korihor

Okay, maybe a lot of people here have heard about this already. But it completely blew my mind. You've gotta see it to believe it.

Growing in Grace: Followers of De Jesus believe he is LordJose Luis de Jesus Miranda, a 60-year-old man from Puerto Rico, is currenly claiming to be Jesus Christ. His early years were spent steeped in heroin addiction and other malingencies. At one point he claimed to be the risen apostle Paul.

Then, according to his story, Christ appeared to him and "merged" with him. Now he is "Christ", come to earth for the second coming. He has created a satellite show and broadcast his message all over the world.

The message? That he is Christ, and that there is no longer any sin. Yeah--you read that right. He is saying that there's no such thing as sin anymore. He preaches that since the Bible clearly states that he died on the cross to take sin away, there is no need of "repentance", and therefore there's no such thing as sin--and in addition, he claims that he is fulfilling the scriptural prophecy that in Christ's second coming sin would be done away with.

Who'd buy this? You'd be surprised--and by how literally. Last year, his "ministry" recieved donations of about $1.4 million dollars--just in the U.S. alone. He uses most of the money on his broadcasting program, but he also spends it on luxurious cars, diamond-studded rings, a Rolex watch, and many other things (probably, in addition, paying his bodyguards). He has millions of followers all around the world who claim that he is indeed "Christ Jesus" and has come back. He tells his many followers to protest against other faiths because of their "lies", even going as far as destroying and burning scriptural canon of other churches. Oh...I forgot to mention...he claims he cannot die. You know, and then people called Joseph Smith mad!

Well, what do you guys think? Yeah, he's obviously another nutcase, but what does this say about the state of affairs in the world? What would one say to one's kids about something like this? It's got Korihor written all over it. If it's not proof of the Book of Mormon and the last days, then I have no idea what else does.

For those who want visual aid, check out this CNN five-minute report and interview, this FOX five-minute interview with a church member, or read this Newsweek two-page article

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

"I Am, I Am Undying"

I am, I am undying
Apart of pain and suff’r’ng
So sick of songs and sorrow
So tomorrow cannot sell my soul.
If deepest bitter can only bring dawn;
How, then, the birds above
Do so carry on!

But in the darkest fire, in the shadows
And fallows of winter,
The salt, so bitter, will yield as honey;
''''''''''' For desire must wax or wan with pain—
Begun by death, by death undone
Can only cry with joy what’s won;
And birth—‘tis burned out of the strain.

So if souls are great dawns of universe,
And if crowns sweat glory in gouts of mirths,
Then I, undying, will wish to fly:
How quick in breath! And so, as I
Seek it–that horr’r, that beauty of what may be,
No heart can stop the beating of passion
Nor start the sea of eternity.
Take what care and what tears may teach,
Find this Crown, this Life–
Reach it! O reach, O reach.

"Veritas" (Winter's End '07)

"This is a world you'll never understand--"

What choice doest Thou expect of me?
Why am I here?
What is innocence?
What do I fear?
Did I fear earth life?

He already knows what choice I am going to make. So why does it matter?

"Because you didn't come here to make the choice. You're here to understand why you made the choice.
"...And you'll always fear what you don't understand."


The only way a heart can be complete is if it has passion.

Passion is strength. It is drive, desire--motivation, inspiration. A heart is only whole if there is a passion.

It's kinda strange, but you'll find that there are as many different passions as there are people. Some people have a desire to never be forgotten. Some people always want justice. Some want to do the right thing. You'll find that, in general, everyone want to always do the best he or she knows how.

But what's funny about that is, one may find that by reversing those passions, there is an underlying theme. Those who are driven by a want to be remembered are afraid of being forgotten. Those who are driven by a sense of justice are afraid of injustice. Those who are driven by doing the right thing are afraid of punishment.

If we were to take the same generalization as we did earlier, then this means that most people are driven by being afraid of failure. other words, it would seem that for the hearts of many, the strongest passion is the greatest fear.

Is that pathetic, or weird? No, it's just interesting.

My heart has never felt complete. I have never felt whole. Only a couple times in my whole life has light so illuminated my soul that for a time it actually completed my heart. Both times, it was Christ. I have let either darkness or light fill that gaping hole in my heart for the longest time. And unfortunately, most of the time it's been the darkness. Kinda funny, how most folks are afraid of the dark.

"...The world's made of light and darkness. You can't have one without the other, 'cause darkness is half of everything. Sorta makes ya wonder why we are scared of the dark."
"It's because of who's lurking inside it."

About a year and a half ago (the seasons "Chain of Memories" and "Where Angels Fall"), I came to the conclusion that I was reluctant to come to earth, and that my biggest fear was pain. Then this last winter ("Jericho Road"), I came to believe that my biggest fear was dying, and being dead. So when I tried to make that apply, I found that I was very insecure inside. I'm afraid of making the choice to move on in life with my darkness, struggling with it from day to day...or overcome it. Why is it that some have to live with it, and some overcome it? I didn't get it. I found out that I don't like to make choices to "be good" because I don't think I deserve to be happy, and I don't understand myself well enough to be secure with myself. I don't trust myself to "stay good" for very long. Was I driven by this sense of fearing myself? And what choice was I meant to make?

"A man who isn't afraid of death, aint afraid of anything."

Then one day I realized something. I am not afraid of "being dead" as much as I am afraid of the means of dying. I'm afraid of needles, car crashes, steep heights, and anything else that spells "long, painful death." I'm also kinda lazy and don't take initiatives to change myself. So I am afraid of pain, just as I always thought.

Except...Why are we here? To evolve, to change. To grow. And the only way to grow is to experience pain. There is always going to be pain in order to be stronger. Life is all about suffering to bring about joy. The Savior suffered the greatest kind of pain in order to bring about eternal life for everybody.

So, I guess what I really found out was, I was never actually afraid of dying. I am really just afraid of living.

That is my personal truth. It's the one thing that I've found that explains how and why I act the way I do. Now that I have this truth, I have also learned that if the meaning of life is very important to you, then you probably fought very hard for it in the premortal life. Because without free choice, there is no meaning of life.

So I probably fought very hard for freedom. And in believing this, I realize that the choice I should make...should not be dependent on what I feel God expects of me. God doesn't want us to be constantly needy on Him. It's a question of what defines us. So my choices should be dependent on what makes me happy, knowing that if it's according to the will of God, that will be the happiest choice of all. I choose for me, and in choosing for me, God lets me be happy because I'm doing what He wants me to do. It's kinda hard to explain.

But this much I know: I can make whatever choice I want. I can be free again. And it's time to have a showdown with the dark. I want my freedom back. And when I understand pain, I will no longer fear it. And when I am not afraid to live, not afraid to live in Christ...I will be complete. I will be whole. I will be....

Alive. Truely alive.


"A far-off memory that's like a scattered dream...
A scattered dream that's like a far-off memory...

I want to line the pieces up. Yours, and mine."