25 March 2006

Approval by Google

I feel somewhat proud that my Google ads. It's nice to know that Google has decided that the center of my ramblings is God and my faith.

Also, I'm doing the Rex Lee Run 10K today. No hope of coming close to winning, but I've never run in a race so this is exciting.

Race Update: Yeah! I managed to finish just ahead of my Chemistry teacher at 75-ish minutes. But to me, the important thing is I finished. I have never run that many miles consecutively in my life. :D

23 March 2006

Listening is not always the answer

In response to Katherine's post:

Interesting, but very party line, Katherine. I mean, "stigma and condemnation?" "Oppression and persecution?" Without concrete examples, these phrases are meaninglessness buzz words designed to generate mindless outrage.

Homosexuality is not a stigma: it's a sin. We have this pretty clearly from the Bible and modern revelation. As a church, not a social club, we are basically required to condemn sin. It comes with the job description. And can you be more specific than "oppression"? What exactly would you have BYU change about our policy about homosexuality?

And although listening is nice, in this case I believe it to be mostly fruitless, seeing as we are working from an essential difference of opinion on which neither side can compromise. The basic premise of Soulforce's agenda goes against what the Church tells us about homosexuality in all the typical ways. True, we can agree with their message that we should love everyone, but how can we possibly benefit from listening to them "make clear the harmful effects of the false notion that homosexuality is a 'sickness and a sin,'" since that is exactly what we know to be true?

I don't see that this group will be able to tell me anything new or enlightening. I've heard the pro-GLBT rhetoric before, and this sounds pretty much the same. I agree that we should be more supportive to those struggling with this problem, but those who want us to just accept this as 'the way they are' simply cannot fit in here at BYU or in the Church. (See blog for more on that.)

The principle argument for GLBT goes against a core principle of the gospel, and of my personal beliefs: agency. When we deny that people have the ability to reason, decide, and do, in any matter, we have given in to hopelessness and can no longer progress. To me, this is a fruitless point of view. Which is perhaps why moral relativists bother me so much: if there is no right, no truth, then how can we ever learn more? We can't just sit around and not choose for fear of offending or being wrong. We must try, improve and correct, and try again.

20 March 2006


Feeling a little better today. Thanks for asking.

On a completely different and less depressing note than yesterday, I've been thinking about how the church deals with homosexuality, especially given this article in the Daily Universe about homosexual in Canada who thinks it's unfair that he's been excommunicated, a recent email from BYU about the visit of Soulforce to the Provo area, and (less recently) my reading of Orson Scott Card's (in)famous article on the hypocrites of homosexuality.

My main question is why anyone who has decided to give in to their homosexual tendencies, convinced they are not a sin, would want to remain in the church. (I won't deal with those who are trying to change; that is a completely different issue.)

First, the church's policy on homosexual behavior is clear, and not likely to change. Homosexual behavior is a sin, and has been declared so by God through scripture and modern revelation.

Second, a believing member of the church must believe in revelation, and thus knows that church policy is not up for debate. A church is not a democracy, open to change and suggestion by mutual concensus, or at least it shouldn't be. By definition, a church is an organization founded because it believes a particular way about God, especially in the case of our church, since we believe in direct, continuous, modern revelation from God to a prophet who leads our church. Any believing church member must commit to this before being baptized

Given these two principles, I don't see why anyone who has decided to be homosexual would want to be a member of the church. By acknowledging either of these statements, they must know that they disagree with the church. The point of being a member of a church is that you believe in the same way as other people in that church. There's not any getting around that. A church that doesn't hold its members to specific doctrines is hardly a church at all, but more of a "feel-good" society. How can a homosexual disagree with such fundamental doctrines of the church and still even want to be part of it?

Perhaps for cultural reasons, but really, the church's "culture" is incidental. Unfortunately, when you have a lot of people who get together every week, you are bound to form some traditions. However, if you don't believe the same as the rest of the church, you really can't participate in its culture: you can't hold a calling, do home teaching, bear your testimony. I guess you can go to church bake sales or whatever, but you're just as welcome to do that when you aren't a member. It just seems so silly and superficial. Really, you aren't part of the church anymore. It's not to be mean; it's just a fact.

(To any random people who find this post: Please keep your comments kind and considerate. Remember that I am entitled to my beliefs as much as you are to yours. I appreciate all people as such, but I happen to think homosexual behavior is a sin. This does not mean I think they are evil people. It means I think they are people, capable of making mistakes and equally capable of repenting of them.)

19 March 2006


Today at church, I realized the main fear I have in my life. Most of the time, I don't think about having fears per say. I mean, I live in a relatively stable environment. Sure, I worry about things, but these are not life-threatening, or even quality-of-life-threatening, things.

But today I was struck with an overwhelming feeling of fear. The fear of being alone. My whole life this has kind of been in the back of my head. I am not a naturally pretty girl, or for that matter gregarious, considerate, or kind. In fact, I would fairly accurately describe myself as a loner. If I go to a party, I have to spend several hours afterward alone to recover from the over-exposure to people. (The exception to this is my family, and possibly roommates, at least sometimes, but that's another story.) I can be perfectly content to spend a week at a time simply going about my business, class, work, homework, eat, read, sleep. No interaction with people necessary. Really, I don't have much going for me in terms of finding someone to spend the rest of my life with.

However, everything I have learned and believe about life teaches me that life is about people. The way the gospel works into this is obvious, but pretty much everything else also points to this. In English, what matters is people, how they relate to each other, what they think, feel, care about. Some post-modernist novels seem so meaningless to me because they deny the ability of people to connect. Not so much in science, except that what is the final point of understanding the universe if not to help people. The mere pursuit of knowledge is simply empty and meaningless. Sheesh, it's even in Harry Potter. Why is Voldemort evil? Because he doesn't care about people. He doesn't have friends and doesn't want them. He doesn't love, only controls, manipulates, learns, dominates. Basically, the one thing the world seems to be teaching me right now is that if you can't connect to people, you might as well not exist.

In my heart, I know and feel this. When I argue issues, I try to always be considerate of the welfare of people over anything else. I am sensitive to the plight of other, to the point of ridiculousness (as my mom says, crying at dog food commercials). And yet, in my life, when I should put these principles into practice and connect, I am paralyzed. Completely unable to find anyone, much less a male, available someone, with whom I can connect. I feel so completely isolated, and I know so many steps I could take to try to get out of it. But I am afraid. Simply afraid. And perhaps a little jealous. Jealous of those to whom this comes so easy. Who can talk to people and actually care what they have to say.

Our high council speaker today read us D&C 67:10:

And again, verily I say unto you that it is your privilege, and a apromise I give unto you that have been ordained unto this ministry, that inasmuch as you bstrip yourselves from cjealousies and dfears, and ehumble yourselves before me, for ye are not sufficiently humble, the fveil shall be rent and you shall gsee me and know that I am—not with the carnal neither natural mind, but with the spiritual.
To me, the important part was the connection between ridding oneself of fear and trusting in God. The solution to this problem is to rely on God. To cast away my fears and simply trust that if I fall, if I fail, He will catch me. And He will help me try again. I am determined that I must at least try. I refuse to let my life be wasted without even putting up a fight.

But it will take time to build up the courage to try.

17 March 2006

Time is Relative; Relativity is Confusing; ergo, Time is Confusing

Ah, so much to write about, so little time to do it in. So let's cut to the chase. First, I got an extremely humorous reply to my BYUSA rant from Mike and Caleb:


Thank you for your email. It is unfortunate that you don't take the time to see what BYUSA actually does. It has been my experience that anyone who has actually taken the time to be involved in it has been changed by it. I know that for me it has been a phenomenal addition to my BYU experience and one for which I will always be grateful. The opportunity to serve and the people with whom I have served have made me a better person in so many ways and, I hope, have helped to make this campus a better place to be.

Mike Maughan
Dude, he totally missed the whole point. :D Being changed as a person by BYUSA is great and all, but that doesn't make it into anything more than a self-improvment organization. I see exactly what BYUSA does, and what it does is not a student government. I see no point to BYUSA Presidents running on a student government-like platform when what they are actually going to do has nothing to do with that. Service is great, and an important part of campus in its own way, but that way is not a student government kind of way. And I don't think we should be disguising BYUSA as something it is not. But anyway, I'm glad these peoples didn't win. I like the other guy's colors better.

But moving on, this week was a week of wonderful holidays. First, we have Pi Day! That'd be 3.14, or March 14 to those who aren't math inclined. We had a Pi/Pie Party (on 3.14 at apt 15 at 9:26 pm (get it? 3.1415926?)), ate 3.14 pies (yes, really), and sang happy birthday to Albert Eistein. It was frankly amazing. Then today was St. Paddy's Day, always a classic holiday in my family, not because we're Irish, but because it's when my parents got married. Aw.

Um, third, here's a random Harry Potter related dramatic monologue I wrote for my British Lit class. Don't worry, we're only graded on participation, but I thought it was funny, and I need to include more Harry Potter on my blog anyway. So, see if you can guess the character and the scene (bonus points for chapter number).

Secretive Riddle

I won’t go! I absolutely refuse!

This place, it’s the only thing I have to lose.

She’s sent you to take me away, that git.

Professor, you call yourself? I doubt it.

I know she doesn’t like me, that Mrs. Cole,

Who’s kept me in this orphanage since I was small.

I’m sure she’s told you her little rant.

But she can’t prove a thing, I know she can’t,

I’ve made sure. You can ask them, they’ll tell you.

Amy Benson, Dennis Bishop. Even Billy Stubbs too.

He’ll swear I had nothing to do with his pet rabbit

Swinging back and forth in lazy orbit

Over his bed that summer Sunday morning.

He was quite shook up (despite my warning).

We played in the cave, Amy, Dennis, and I, nothing worse,

There’s not connection to why they scream for the nurse.

I have done nothing but teach this throng,

No more than get the respect that to me should belong.

So I won’t let you take me to your school diverse.

What? You say that this is magic, not a curse?

Yes, the rhyming is quite terrible, but I still enjoy it. This is one of my favorite scenes from HBP. :D

Oh, about the title: today in Physics we learned about relativity. The universe is just messed up.

08 March 2006

From One Puppet Government to Another

I wasn't planning on doing another BYU political rant so soon, but I just finished having an argument with my roomie over the importance of voting in BYUSA elections. Here are some of my not-unbiased thoughts about BYUSA elections:

BYUSA has no power to do anything on campus: they can't publish teacher evaluation results, add eating areas to the library, "partner" with anyone (that implies they have something to contribute), or even change hours at the weight room. Remember, it's not a student union, it's a student service association. They can't effect any change on campus, so why should we even bother voting for them? One puppet student government is the same as another.

As for what BYUSA actually does (get volunteers, advertise, and run on-campus events): Much as I would like to some of these events change or be consolidated, none of the candidates gives out their specific plans for these events ahead of time. So, really, my voting is a shot in the dark at who plans the coolest parties.

My roomie contends that it's better to vote than not because you are at least trying to do something about it. I believe exactly the opposite. The differences between the candidates are miniscule, so the only choice is whether I vote or don't vote. If I vote, it says that I am fine with the way BYUSA currently represents the students. Voting will accomplish nothing in the long run, simply perpetuate an ineffective system of popularity contests and broken promises.

Instead, I choose not to vote, in the hopes that by not voting I will help increase the administration's awareness of BYUSA's unimportance to students. If I were not-voting out of apathy, I would see my roommate's point that I have no right to complain if I don't at least try. However, I am actually making a choice here.

Oh, and I just decided to mail this rant to both campaigns. How's that for taking action?

07 March 2006

Curse you, Zeno

I just rediscovered Zeno's Coffeehouse, a site that I found by accident when working on a paper on Zeno's Paradox for my Pen and the Sword class freshman year. The site may not look like much--well, it looks like junk, frankly. But the puzzles are really challenging. The most recent puzzle there is pretty frustrating to me. I figure it has something to do with the product of the integers being non-unique. Something like there are two sets of numbers that add up to the sum that multiply to the product.

Or something. I'll keep thinking about it.

Someone help. . . .

BYU's Political Vaccuum

BYU has an interesting political dynamic. Unlike most American universities, the majority of students are white, church-going conservatives, who tend to be staunch Republicans and think Bush is the greatest thing since sliced cheese. They support the war in Iraq, defy the UN, and dare anyone to tell them they're wrong. But the small but vocal Liberal Mormon minority has dramatically increased its presence in recent years. They are vegetarian,--perhaps even vegan--watch R-rated movies and drink caffeine on a regular basis, and are distinctly disappointed in the narrowminded views of their flag-waving fellow students. What they lack in numbers, they make up in their outspoken opinions about their clearly "enlightened" ways.

And in between? There isn't one. There is a distinct void where moderate voices should be on BYU campus. Those who aren't in one of these two camps seem either apathetic or oblivious in the "bubble." If you've ever tried to speak out moderate position, you've probably been accused of being in one of these groups (probably by someone further right or left than you).

Example in point: the BYU Political Review's recent articles on President Bush's wiretapping program (or domestic spying/eavesdropping, if you're against it). In the February 27th issue, we have an article from Dave Lassen, praising the virtue of the government and deriding anyone who would criticize zecret programs. "We have duly elected representatives who the voters have charged with the responsibility to keep our country safe," he says, firmly trusting the government and its current system of checks and balances. Though he acknowledges that the program may or may not be legal, he still insists that questioning the government in matters of national security is wrong, wrong, wrong.

Predictably, the next week, Max Stoneman fires off an article from the LM point of view. His "fears of government surveillance" show a complete distrust of the government reminiscent of the 60s or 70s. He concludes that the only way to be sure the government doesn't initiate some Black-Helicopters-type program is with a constant stream of leaking and whistleblowing.

Both of these articles really bother me. Though both acknowledge they know little about the wiretapping program and aren't sure it is legal or not, they are quick to pull out the standard party lines on what's right and wrong, just in case. Neither complete trust or distrust in the government makes any sense in my mind. Each issue must be weighed individually, and as of yet, the public doesn't have enough information to form any sort of decent opinion on the wiretapping.

And yet we keep forming opinions. I can understand this from career politicians who need to support their ideals no matter their correctness, but I expect better from church members and specifically from BYU students. For a school that purports to put out morally-aware students, we've done a pretty poor job.