Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Mormons and Rated R Movies

While having a discussion about the Oscars with my brother he mentioned that the Prophet clearly stated that we should not watch Rated R movies. This prompted me to go actually look it up and it turns out, as I previously suspected, this is not true.

You weren't having a discussion with your brother?

No, that the Prophet said we're not supposed to watch movies that are Rated R. I have heard this from many different people over the years and I must have looked into it at some point because I always get this feeling it's not true.

So what did the Prophet say?

I could paraphrase, but why not put the actual quote and reference here:

"We counsel you, young men, not to pollute your minds with such degrading matter, for the mind through which this filth passes is never the same afterwards. Don’t see R-rated movies or vulgar videos or participate in any entertainment that is immoral, suggestive, or pornographic. Don’t listen to music that is degrading." - Ezra Taft Benson, April 1986 Conference. To the “Youth of the Noble Birthright”

He begins that talk with "Tonight I would like to speak directly to you young men of the Aaronic Priesthood." This talk was clearly directed toward the young men of the church which is clearly understood to be the Aaronic Priesthood holders 12-18 years of age. This is the first mention of Rated R movies by a Prophet and with good reason too. In the 80s it was becoming cool to be under 18 and see a Rated R movie. I remember my friends that year trying to buy tickets for Aliens, Platoon, Stand by Me and the like.

What about girls?

He left that out for some reason, but that didn't stop people from believing he meant everyone. All the subsequent mentions of Rated R movies I found fall into these categories:

  1. Quotation - This is where the general authority (Seventies) quotes Ezra Taft Benson's talk often only using the "Don’t see R-rated movies" part and omitting the context (Kofford). This implies that the Prophet has said no when he said no to the people who shouldn't see it.
  2. Personal Preference - This is often stated as "I would never watch another R-rated movie again (Bednar)" or "in our family we have decided to not see R-Rated movies." And I applaud them for using their God given agency.
  3. No Reference - This one is almost as bad as #1. The speaker/writer says "the prophets have told us not to" and leaves it at that. The fact that no Prophet has commanded the people to avoid any specific rating of movie eludes them.

So we all should watch Rated R movies?

No, we should stop saying a Prophet commanded us to do so. This falls in line with saying the Prophet commanded us not to have caffeine, chocolate and doctor prescribed drugs. He didn't and I wish Mormons would stop saying he did. This has become part of Mormon culture and it is not a good facet of our people. We should choose for ourselves the good from the evil. Why else are we given the Gift of the Holy Ghost and the Spirit of Christ if not to discern for ourselves?

So, banning Rated R movies is not a commandment?

Nope, and sad is the day when the Prophet says so. It will mean that the membership of the church is incapable of making good content watching decisions for themselves and their families. "For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward" (DC58:26).

Be discerning.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Homeopathic Remedies & Homeopathy

You have heard these words spoken from time to time, usually to help shore up the validity of some product. "My Naturolpathic Doctor recommends homeopathic remedies." "My kid's teacher suggests Airborne®, it's homeopathic." They have an interesting meaning and I think everyone should know.

What is homeopathy?

Good question, it was created by Samuel Hahneman in 1796. It was during a time when bloodletting and purging were still being practiced. With all this bleeding, sweating & vomiting going on there had to be a better way.

Was it homeopathy?

For a time, yes. We should get more into the explanation of what it is. There are four parts to homeopathy: the preparation, miasms, dilution & the proofing.

Well, if they proved it...

Ludicillin, for all your ludicrous problems.That's not what the proofing means. They would test all kinds of things on healthy people and record what symptoms they developed from these substances. So if Ludicillin turned you green and broke wind often they would wright that down and that is a proofing of that substance.

Miasms

So once we know what causes a set of symptoms we know that the substance resonates with those symptoms. What this means is that if someone walks in with green skin the doctor should ask "Do you fart a lot." If the patient asks yes then you should give them Ludicillin (you know, the thing that causes those symptoms).

Surely you don't give them the cause.

Well, actually you don't. One of the things homeopathy was trying to fix was doctors giving poisonous agents to their patients to hopefully cure them. So good ol Hahneman said the medicine should be diluted. And he said the more diluted the medicine was the more effective it would be.

Really?

Well the patients didn't need to know how it worked, just if they got better or not and since it was much more effective than poison, vomiting & bloodletting, people thought it was a good idea.

How dilute?

If you take a gallon of the Ludicillin and put it into 9 gallons of water you get what is called a 1 solution. If you put 1 gallon of the 1 solution solution into 9 gallons of water you get a 2 solution. 1 gallon of 2 solution in 9 gallons of water, 3 solution, etc. So a 1 solution is 10 gallons, 2 solution 100, 3 solution 1,000, etc.

What kind of dilution are we talking about?

For homeopathy, they want 28 solutions and 30 solutions. I've even heard of a 32 solution. So, for a 30 Solution you would have 1 gallon of the Ludicillin in 999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999 gallons of water.

That's a lot of water.

You probably need an image of how big that is. A 30 solution would make a sphere with a radius of 966,811km (1,611,351 miles). That's a ball of water 70% the size of the Sun or 2.5 times the distance to the Moon. Now imagine dumping 1 gallon of your medicine into the ball, shaking it up, and pulling a cup of that out. How much of the medicine do you think would be in that cup? Avogadro put a limit on that.

Avogadro's Limit?

Yes, if you take a 1 part of a 23 Solution there is a 50% chance there will be 1 molecule of the substance in it. So a 30 Solution has 1 chance in 20,000,000 to have 1 molecule in it.

Is homeopathy a sham?

In not so many words, yes. It's fine when people are trying to fix a runny nose or a headache. The placebo effect should help them. It becomes a problem when they claim to fix more serious issues. Homeopathic remedies will never fix any ailment.

Be healthy.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Too Many Mormon Infographics

They keep churning them, so I'll keep posting them: Another installment of Infographics created by the Mormon Church.

Mormon Youth SeminaryYouth Seminary

Teenagers in the LDS church attend Seminary. Where I grew up we would go to seminary before school from 6:15-7:15 am. We'd get out just in time to start High School at 7:50 am. Kids in areas that have a high percentage of LDS people will often get "away time" so they can attend Seminary during school hours. Our High School does just that, and there's a Seminary building right next door. Crazy.

Mormon Missionary ServiceMormon Missionary Service

People always love the missionaries. I know, because I was one. Surprisingly everyone loved me anyway. This infographic covers some cool statistics about missionaries.

The difference between Mormon Temples and ChapelsThe Difference Between Mormon Temples & Chapels

There are a lot of people that have seen our Temples and seem to think that's where we all meet on Sundays. We don't. This oddity breeds a lot of speculation of what we actually do in Temples that ranges from the offensive to the obscene. The truth would disappoint you all.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Marriage Does Not Define Same Sex Unions

This term is what is used to define a union between a man & man or a woman & woman. It is being incorrectly used and I think the gay community should be offended.

Here we go again.

Maybe. It's been on everyone's mind more than it probably should. It has been discussed on this blog more than once. Mostly because this is where I put my possibly offensive political and religious opinions.

So what's different?

Marriage does not define same sex unions.

Nothing, everything. I'll start with quickly defining marriage. It is used to define a union between a man and a woman. The word marriage actually includes both man and woman in it's etymology. The latin "matrem" means mother and the latin "monium" means the action, state or condition of. Together they define the creation of a state where the woman becomes a mother. The word actually defines traditional marriage.

But the world has changed.

Not really. 95% of women on the planet have been married to a man by age 49 (1). That means 95% of women know what marriage means. By sheer volume of understanding, the definition of marriage stands.

But the laws & rulings?

There have been laws passed and rulings made in the last decade that have been trying to change the definition of the word. We can all vote to change the meaning of water, but water is still two hydrogen and one oxygen in a chemical bond and no amount of money and lawyers will change that.

So gay folk can't get married?

Yes. Society has bombarded them with the idealism of marriage their whole lives. Why shouldn't they want to add that label to their unions? They love each other, they want to start a family, they want to be just like everyone else...but they're not.

How rude!

Stop right there. What is wrong with not being like everyone else? They go on parade celebrating their differences. They fight in court to have rights applied to them as a seperate protected group (and rightly so). They have gone out of their way to point out how they are proud to be different.

But they're not?

This argument is much like a stereotypical Feminist demanding to be a man. Not demanding the same rights as a man, but demanding to legally be a man. Not a sex change, that's a whole other discussion. She demands to have her birth certificate say man, her employment records to say man, her tax returns to say man, legally a man in every way, but she's still a woman. A true feminist would find this idea offensive. What is wrong with being a woman that you would need to legally be a man? Fight for the rights not the label.

How does this apply to gay marriage?

They're fighting for the wrong thing. The label does not define them. They will forever be fighting people to agree with their new label when it does not fit them. Just like a the woman above arguing with someone that she's a man when clearly she's not. I think the gay community should be offended.

Well, they are mad.

They should celebrate the virtues that make them who they are. Not try to conform to a label that they can never live up to. The gay community needs to understand this before they find that their victories are hollow.

Hollow victories?

Yes, this is not like slavery. Slavery was about denying human rights to people who are human. Gay marriage is about fighting to obtain a label to define something that label does not define. Many of the rights are already available and more are being won every day without the offending label. So it doesn't matter if you are fighting to call alcohol water, when what you want is the right to drink alcohol.

And can get drunk?

This is not something that goes away with the generations. 100 years from now they will still know the etymology of marriage. They will still know that 2 men or 2 women cannot have children on their own. They will still know that a happy household with a mom & dad produce happier and healthier children. If it looks like a goose, walks like a goose, honks like a goose it's not a duck, but it doesn't mean that geese are lame.

Honk if your gay!

Do not hate your brother's & sisters because they disagree with you. My gay friends are dear to me and I am tired of them hurting over something that shouldn't have hurt them at all.

Be equitable.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Bad News Agencies and Outlets

I'm tired of bad news outlets. They spread misinformation, hate and ignorance.

How to spot a bad news outlet:

  1. Their links are only to their own articles.
  2. The links are only to other extremely similar small news outlets (or sister outlets).
  3. There are no links to the original source (or the original source is #1 or #2).
  4. They clearly have a strong opinion.
  5. They only have articles about a very limited idea scope (ie. all anti-democrat see #4).

Bad NewsPosting things on the Internet is really cheap. These outlets make their money from advertising so they make sensationalistic articles to drive traffic and therefore money to their site. Let's help put them out of business by not giving them the satisfaction.

Says who?

Whenever I see an article posted by a friend, the first thing I do is look for references. What did they base their opinoin on? Anyone can say that unemployment is going down, but without numbers to back it up it's just opinion. So in number 3 above I say always look for references, but you might run into another problem when checking references:

Incestuous Links

I have friends that have strong opinions. They will sometimes say pretty crazy stuff, but I can link to them as a reference to shore up my arguments. My links will make me look more reputable, but in the end I'm just doing what I said in #1 & #2 by linking to my friends and that's not a basis for establishing fact. Link to real data and real data sources! So if the Liberal News references their site and their sister sites like Liberal Monitor & Liberal Factbook, I will probably dismiss them as not reputable. You'll notice they link to similar sites that:

Say what they mean.

I know that seems like a good thing to say what you mean, but sometimes that leads to saying you mean that your way of thinking is the only way. "Being fiscally conservative is the only way to run a government" sounds like their mind is made up and they're only going to use facts that support their pont and none that oppose it. #4 above is a red flag that lets me know to look for #1-3. Since they have a strong opinion they probably have:

Tunnel Vision

Ever notice how someone extremely passionate and misinformed about something begins repeating themselves over and over? The Los Angeles Times, Reuters and even Cracked cover a large variety of subjects which adds to their impartiality and consequently their reputability. Many bad news outlets focus on a very narrow range of subject matter: All environmentalism, all conservativism, all liberalism or all anti-mormonism (gotta have a plug). These -isms should be another red flag.

Read Smarter

As you read around the internet remember these issues when you see a new article. The more you vet your news outlets the better informed you will be and the better equipped you will be against them. When someone who only reads these kind of outlets come to you with an article that "will change your whole outlook." You will be able to ask questions like: "how come they don't have references?" "Why do they only link to their own articles?" "Do you really think Chocolate tastes gross?"

Be aware.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Supreme Court Ruling on Proposition 8

This is a quick explanation of the actual Supreme Court ruling on Proposition 8. Unfortunately it is not actually about Proposition 8, it is about the people's right to defend it.

Proposition 22

In California, voters passed a law (Proposition 22) in 2000 defining marriage. The Gay Marriage community threw money at it until they found a loophole they could invalidate it with. The decision by the California Supreme Court was that since the California constitution did not have any words about Gay Marriage in it, a law containing those words was unconstitutional. Proposition 22 was invalidated.

Proposition 8

Insensed at being disenfranchised by money and lawyers the people of California decided to change California's constitution to include the wording defining marriage as between a man and a woman. The Gay Marriage supporters filed suit to prevent the initiative from being placed on the ballot. The California Supreme Court upheld the right of the initiative to be placed on the ballot. It again passed and the Gay Marriage supporters went to task throwing money at the problem trying to find a loophole.

Proposition 8 Upheld

The California Supreme Court upheld the Proposition 8 as voted. The case was then taken to Federal Court.

The People Fight Back

When suit was filed in Federal Court to get rid of the initiative that was passed by the people...again, the people who were supposed to uphold the law decided not to. It is the job of elected officials to defend the laws voted in by the people otherwise laws mean nothing. Governor Schwarzenegger decided to force his opinion on the people by not defending the case and allowing the plaintiffs to win by default. The people who passed the law asked to defend the law they passed and were allowed to be named as defendant in the trial.

The People go to Trial

The case was heard by the Federal Court and Proposition 8 was overturned because it was not in the state's interests to allow the banning of Gay Marriage. This judgement was from a self identified Gay Judge. It was in his own self interest to have Proposition 8 repealed and I'm surprised this was allowed. The people then appealed this judgement with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals the Federal Appellate court for California. They ruled that the California Amendment to its Constitution was Unconstitutional according to the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution.

US Supreme Court Ruling

The appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judgement went to the US Supreme Court and they made an odd decision. But let's recap first:

  1. Prop 22 passed.
  2. Prop 22 repealed by CA Supreme Court.
  3. Prop 8 proposed.
  4. Prop 8 allowed on ballot by CA Supreme Court.
  5. Prop 8 passed.
  6. Prop 8 Upheld by CA Supreme Court.
  7. Leaders won't defend law in Federal Court.
  8. The people defend the law instead.
  9. Gay Federal Judge repeals Proposition 8.
  10. Ninth Court Of Appeals Upholds Gay Judge's decision.

So the US Supreme Court Ruling today was not to repeal Proposition 8. It was not to uphold the California Supreme Court Decision. It was not to uphold the Ninth Court's decision. What was it you ask?

The US Supreme Court ruled that the People are not allowed to defend a law.

What are we supposed to to when our leaders go against the public will? How are we supposed to defend ourselves? We cannot. Or at least that's what the US Supreme Court ruled today. If the Governor at the time, Schwarzenegger, had actually done his job Proposition 8 would have been upheld and would be in place.

Ramifications

The smart part of their ruling is that it has nothing to do with Gay Marriage. They completely skirted the issue. This will not affect states where the laws have already passed. Nor will it prevent future laws from being passed. This only affects laws challenged in Federal Court where the people with the standing to defend them refuse to do so. I can only hope that the case is refiled and the Governor steps up to do his job. For now:

Be legal.

Monday, February 18, 2013

How Men Are Percieved

I've been very happily married for nearly 14 years. I have four children ages 11, 10, 8 & 5. I've been very active in the lives of my wife and kids. I enjoy their company and I get the feeling they feel the same. Why am I telling you this? This is not how society sees me.

Probably dresses like a freak.

I heard that. No, this is not going to be a post about how society needs to stop judging people by how they look. We've been beaten over the head with that enough.

My head's still sore.

I'm probably going to make it hurt in a different way. Years ago I was out with my oldest two kids at the park, they were probably 5 and 4 and I was out giving their mom a break so she could nap with the third (she cleaned the house instead). My kids are really friendly and when they saw other kids at the park they instantly ran off to play leaving me to watch them in amusement on a bench a little ways off.

Sounds nice.

It was. They were happy, I loved watching them and it was a nice day out. As time went on though I became increasingly aware of moms at the park watching me. A couple of them were whispering to each other looking in my direction. I looked around so see what was going on.

It's the clothes right?

Stop that. I was dressed normally. I didn't think much of it and went back to watching the kids. A homeless man wandered through the park looking through trash cans. One of the moms took this opportunity to leave. That's when it hit me: I was the only other man at the park, sitting alone, watching children with a smile on his face.

Man you're creepy.

That's what they must've thought. I decided to call each child over to inquire on their status. You know: "Are you having fun? Are you thirsty? Do you need to use the potty? Stay away from the mud." The usual questions. After that the moms seemed less disturbed with my presence.

Until that point I was a pedophile. When did the default position on a single man become a pedophile? Now when I go to a park I have a mental timer counting down the time between child check-ins. If it goes too long I can feel my status change to pedophile.

From what?

Good question. Years more of watching my own children with and without my wife has taught me that without my wife I become a "deadbeat dad." That's the next step up. The only reason a solitary man would be at the park with his children is because he must be divorced and cannot entertain the children at his apartment. This is usually aggravated by the fact that I worked during the week and would be out with my kids on a Saturday.

And thus have custody.

Yep, that's my assigned time. While I won't say that Pedophiles and Deadbeat Dads don't exist, I do take exeption to those being my default assignments. I've compiled a list of defaults for men:

  • Man: Pedophile
  • Man & Kids: Deadbeat Dad
  • Man & Wife: Boyfriend
  • Man, Wife & Kids: Cheating Husband
  • Man, Kids & other women have talked to wife: Good Husband

Most single men do not hang out at parks and so they probably are not aware of this social dynamic. Once you have kids, you become painfully aware of how much the world hates you. Try taking your kids for an ice cream at McDonald's. If your wife isn't there: Deadbeat Dad trying to buy your kids affection.

It only costs $1.50/child.

Has the news really jaded us so much that we expect that anyone we do not know is, by default, bad? I grew up an only child and so I didn't have a lot of empathy for other people not like me (though I thought I did). Having children has opened me up to a new set of social graces. They have taught me how to percieve the people around me and I like what they see. Older folks are nice people who know a lot and are trying to help, people your age are potential playmates and younger kids are people who might need help.

Children are so naive.

To a point yes. We can't leave ourselves completely open to harm by others. We can find ways to see the best in others and maybe, just maybe, I'm not actually a pedophile.

Be charitable.