Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Empty Box Faith (by Kurt)

When I was in college thirty years ago, I wrote a paper on the early days of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons), and, though I'd known Mormons before (In fact my great aunt was a Mormon), that was my first exposure to the history of the LDS faith, and it was the first time I'd read the Book of Mormon.

Now one of the first things you come to in the Book of Mormon, before you get to the main text is the Testimony of the Three Witnesses. The Three Witnesses were early converts to Joseph Smith's church who claimed to have seen the gold plates on which the Book of Mormon was inscribed. (According to LDS belief, the Angel Moroni reappropriated the gold plates after Joseph Smith was done translating them into English.)

How did Joseph Smith manage to convince these guys that they'd seen gold plates inscribed with ancient hyroglypics, I wondered.

Well all these years later I have my answer. According to Fawn Brodie, author of No Man Knows My History, Joseph Smith got together with his three converts-- Matin Harris, Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer-- and showed them what was to all appearances an empty box wooden box, and he told them the gold plates were in this empty box. When they said they didn't see anything, he told them it was due to insufficient faith that they didn't see the gold plates, and he ordered them out into the woods to pray. And pray and pray.

And after a couple hours of praying on their knees in the woods in the dark and the cold, they decided that they could see the gold plates after all, and there you have your Testimony of the Three Witnesses.

Now for those of us who don't believe in the founding myths of Joseph Smith's church I think the absurdity of the situation speaks for itself. That's not what faith is, right? Looking in an empty box and seeing something that's not there. That's not the kind of faith we have.

Well, I think sometimes that is the kind of faith we have. I think sometimes we have these empty boxes in our lives, and we want to believe all sorts of things are in those boxes. We tell ourselves "The box is real. So this thing that I imagine inside the box must be real too."

And I think we can see very clearly the empty boxes in other people's lives. I think way back when I first knew Pam, I had a strong feeling that her marriage was something of an empty box. And we had a mutual internet friend, an ex-gay blogger who's since disappeared, and he had this idea that by doing stereotypically male activities with heterosexual men (like remodeling houses), he was going to turn himself into a heterosexual. And boy, did that ever look like one big empty box to me.

So yeah. If the empty box is not part of my life, I can draw you a map and show you right where it is. The Rapture? Empty box. Homeopathy? Empty box. The housing bubble? Ouiji Boards? Pyramid power? Empty, empty, empty.

But where are the empty boxes in my own life? Those I don't see so clearly. But I have a nagging suspicion they're lurking around here somewhere.

View Current Blog

Monday, March 09, 2009

Figuring Things Out


I'm here. Yes. I am.

It's weird. I've received some email in the past few weeks that all have something in common. Every one of them is from a reader who's never commented in all the time I've been writing, but have always been there, just reading. It's touching, seriously touching, to hear from folks that way. Thank you. All of you. You know who you are. :)

Here's another striking thing about each and every email I've received in my blogging absence. They all use the word "insight". They say that they miss my insight. I'm here to tell you, lately, I don't feel like I have much insight at ALL. I guess I've felt a bit devoid of insight for a few months, which is why I haven't written, maybe. Who knows. Then again, it's not like I ever sit down to blog thinking, "oh...here i go with all sorts of great insight to share today". I mostly just write what's going on and tell what I think about it. Go figure.

Not a whole heck of a lot has been going on. Seriously. I mean, I've been Facebooking like a FIEND. I think that's why none of my more regular readers or commentors have emailed; they are friends with me on Facebook and they see me or comment me there. And I've been having a great deal of fun there in Facebookland. I think it's been good for me. Just taking a "break" from being so full of insight and just having fun with imagination, ideas, and quick bursts of words.

I guess you could say that I've gotten down into the nitty gritty of being alone and trying to figure out how to manage that and still feel purposeful about life in general. The graduate classes I'm taking are a bit of a beating at times. I'm constantly reading and writing papers.

I miss the boys so much it physically hurts at times. I miss being in a family. I miss it BAAAADly.

I've had a few attempts at relationships but nothing ever works out. *sigh* But even that doesn't get me down all that much. (ok, sometimes it does but i always get past it.) I mean, I know that something or someone will find their way to me or me to them eventually. And...if not.....oh well. What can I really do about that? It is what it is. One of the things I am most thankful for that came from my marriage to Tdub was that it gave me the opportunity to work on my own mental well-being and sense of wholeness as a person. Yes, I'd rather not be alone. And yet, if I am alone, it's not the end of the world. There are some things I can actually do better alone, if I just get my act together and DO them.

So. Here I am. Still here.

Hopefully this blog entry is the beginning of a new start. Or at the very least, the end of a really long break.

love and grace,

View Current Blog

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Update on Da' Boys

Most of you who've been reading for a long time, particularly those who've read since the beginning and seemed to actually feel the "blow" of the end of the marriage, have emailed or messaged me in some way at some point to ask about the boys.

I've had only one commenter, of literally hundreds, who's ever had the "nerve" to make disparaging comments regarding the boys' progression through what truly has been a hellacious time. All but one of you have known and trusted all along that the boys would come out the other side of this mess stronger, and more full of grace and love for each other and for US, than could probably ever been possible otherwise.

It takes time and patience to weather through this stuff. The bottom-line is that we are family. We love each other. Those boys love each other.

During Christmas break I was able to spend time with all four of the boys at the same time for the first time in almost 2 years. It was incredible. We had lots of time just hanging out at Todd's house, but my favorite thing we did together was going out to eat Mexican food. We sat there reminiscing about some of the good times we've had, and all four of them continued to give me a hard time about the same sorts of things they've always given me a hard time about. Things like my obsession with social networking (Facebook), my phone never ringing when anyone calls (i swear, it rarely rings for me), how I'm rarely on time for anything, and how it's not unusual for my hands and fingers to be stained with various colors of paint or marker. And they still love to laugh and roll their eyes at me when I try and use their hip teenager kind of lingo.

Zach, the high school senior and the oldest of Todd's two, has struggled more than the other three. But even at that, his struggles have made he and Daniel grow closer. All four of them text and call each other regularly. When they talk about each other to friends they refer to one another as brothers. They've all talked about being better, stronger people for what they've been through together. They are amazing.

I know that so many of you have kept them in your thoughts and prayers and I appreciate it SO much.

Da' boys.....are good.

love and grace,

View Current Blog