Tag Archives: Christianity

Faith Without Works is Dead…and Vice Versa!

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The relationship between faith/grace and works/good deeds/ordinances is a complex and intriguing facet of Christianity that has been the subject of intense debate throughout the centuries.  Indeed, entire religious denominations have been torn apart, with new ones being born, due to differences of beliefs concerning this topic (think Lutheranism vs. Catholicism for just one example).

There is more I wish to explore on this subject at a future time, but for now I’ll say that while the New Testament teaches that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:20, 26), I would also go so far to say that works, without faith is likewise dead.

dd

1)  What do YOU think about the relationship between faith and works?

2)  How can you make sure your faith isn’t dead?

3)  What can you do to ensure that your works aren’t faithless?

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“In the course of justice,

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none of us should see salvation.”

-Portia (from Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice’)

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Come unto Christ, and be perfected in him…

and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness,

and love God with all your might, mind and strength,

then is his grace sufficient for you

jj

      -Moroni 10:32

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Resilience is Brilliance; I will rise.

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Resilience is one of the most important characteristics of a true follower of Christ (in my opinion :)). Being resilient means not allowing yourself to be crippled by failure or paralyzed by fear.  It means choosing to be strong and carry on despite any previous disappointment.

I personally have had to be be resilient a lot in my life.  A lot.  It can be difficult to remain optimistic after being let down so many times.  But I try my best to accept hardship and/or criticism with grace, and just put one foot in front of the other to keep moving forward.  I don’t believe it’s healthy to try to smother or mask any feelings of frustration when things don’t go the way I planned or wanted, but still I retain some semblance of hope, some pocketful of sunshine, despite what rains may come.

The Savior is the ultimate example of someone who was resilient; He either vicariously experienced or felt himself every kind of sorrow, cruelty, sin, and abuse imaginable, and yet He still rose to the occasion (literally!) and reached His glorious potential.

I will rise out these ashes, rise.

From the stubble on the ground

and the trouble I have found

I will rise…

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 1.  When have YOU been resilient and risen out of the ashes?

2.  How can you be resilient to any challenges that you might encounter down the road?

Resilience is brilliance.

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A plow boy reading the scriptures?! That’s quite remarkable.

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William Tyndale, religious reformer best known for translating the Bible into English, said the following (when speaking to the sometimes snobbish clergy of his day):

“I will cause the boy who drives the plow

to know more of the scriptures than you do.”  

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.Um, does this not SCREAM of Joseph Smith?!  Wow!

In literature, we’d call this foreshadowing.

In the gospel, we call it a prophecy 🙂

Read more here about Elder D. Todd Christofferson’s thoughts on these issues.  His talk totez rocks my socks!

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…the boy who drives the plow

[will know] the scriptures…

plow boy knows the scriptures Joseph Smith

AWESOME!

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I used to think that most non-denominational Christians were not only church haters, but also were just a bunch of fence-sitting pansies who were too afraid to take a stand (mean-spirited and judgmental, I know!)…

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I do not think that anymore.

Still Christian!

Still Latter-day Saint/Mormon!

I do feel bad that I used to have this condescending attitude toward Christians who choose not to follow or participate in one certain denomination or religious sect.  But here’s the thing:

If my own faith is centered around Christ, with all other doctrines and details being merely peripheral (which is true of the Latter-day Saint theology), why should I doubt the sincerity and piety of others whose beliefs are essentially the same?

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“And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.”

2nd Nephi 25:26

Yeppers, that pretty much says it all.  And even though that passage is Mormon specific, I’ll bet that pretty much all believers agree with its general message.  So sorry I ever thought the way I did, friends.

Hope you can forgive me…

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🙂

*Just a note:  I still do think that it is possible to be too general in moralism and even underly-dogmatic (is that even a word?).  Read Jewish NY Times writer David Brooks’s thoughts on this idea here,  as it specifically relates to the Book of Mormon Broadway musical.

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Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)

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Concerning the topic of AIDS/HIV:

Concerning the issue of HIV/ AIDS:  “We, with others, hope that discoveries will make possible both prevention and healing from this dread affliction. But regardless of such discoveries, the observance of one clearly understandable and divinely given rule would do more than all else to check this epidemic. That is chastity before marriage and total fidelity [in] marriage.” -Gordon Hinckley (said in 1987).

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“Having said this, I desire now to say with emphasis that our concern for the bitter fruit of sin is coupled with Christlike sympathy for its victims, innocent or culpable… We should reach out with kindness and comfort to the afflicted, ministering to their needs and assisting them with their problems.”

-Gordon B Hinckley (LDS Church President/Prophet 1995-2008).

Wow.

Can’t really add anymore to that.

The commandments are for our benefit.

Obey them please!

🙂

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Self-MASTERY

Masturbation is a topic that is highly sensitive, uncomfortable, and potentially embarrassing/ awkward.  Those things notwithstanding, I feel strongly enough about it that I created a short video to express my thoughts on the matter.  And let me reassure you that it is mature, tactful, and even appropriately and gently witty!

President Henry B. Eyring, or any of the LDS General Authorities, will never view this post.  But Justin Biebz and Jaden Smith remind me to “Never Say Never!”  So readers please know that if any apostle/ prophet/ Stake President/ Bishop/ employer/ long-lost cousin/WHOMEVER (!) ever did stumble (thanks Natasha B!) upon this video , I would not be uncomfortable.  In other words, IT’S CLEAN, YA’LL!  Check it stat:

and just a brief explanation of my outfit…

Recapture:

I don’t like this subject.

I am not a yucky girl.

I believe in agency.

I am fully aware that some will disagree with me.

I never intend to be preachy or judgmental.

But most importantly:

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I strongly express that, whatever your religious beliefs/ life philosophies,

avoiding this type of behavior will bless your life!

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Be Ye Clean…

(love this talk by President Gordon B. Hinckley by the way!)

Doctrine and Covenants 38:42

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Do not do anything else that arouses sexual feelings… in your own body.

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~For the Strength of Youth

🙂

Here is a landmark talk by Elder Boyd K. Packer on the matter:

(as it’s title explicates, the address was given for young men only,

but I feel comfortable including it since it is available on LDS.org)

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I love how President Packer is not obscene,

but is still very direct and doesn’t hold back

(boldness, but not overbearance…)

Alma 38:12

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To conclude this post, I wish to bear testimony that,

no matter your age, gender, religion, or beliefs

you will be happier if you keep your mind

and body free of this activity!

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And ask the Master for help if you need it.

🙂

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If you need someone to talk to,

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I’ve got the time.

~G. DeGraw

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Restoring the Sacred Role of Women: A Jungian look at “The Da Vinci Code”

Disclaimer:  The following essay contains ideas that may be misinterpreted as anti-Catholic.  While history has clearly demonstrated corruption within Catholicism, I still know that there are many good people in the Catholic Church who follow Christ.  Please understand that as I write about unsavory parts of Christendom, I do so to reveal truth about gender and religious misconceptions, and not to mock or belittle Catholics.

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Restoring the Sacred Role of Women so as to Unify

Male and Female in Order to Reach Individuation

A Jungian Analysis of “The Da Vinci Code”

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A discussion of gender roles and the separate spheres of men and women has fascinated writers and thinkers for centuries.  Too often, the male and female sexes have been thought of as diametrically opposed to one another, leading to a separation between the two.   But famed Swiss Psychologist Carl Jung believed strongly that the human being’s deepest desire was to become unified, or whole.  (In fact, this fundamental belief is what caused him to split from the views of Sigmund Freud, who believed the deepest desire was to act on one’s suppressed sexual desires).  According to Jung, an exploration of the psyche involves us to look inside ourselves, where we unfortunately see only separate pieces.  But it is not just the unification of the fragmented parts of one’s individual psyche that must occur.  Rather, it also refers to the unification with others, specifically between a man and a woman.  Unfortunately, history has either left women out, stripped them of respect, or even vilified them.  This is most evident in the centuries following the crucifixion of Christ.  While historical Christianity has greatly reduced, even vilified the role of women, certain non-canonical, non-traditional texts give women the respect and honor they deserve, allowing for the union of men and women that is so fundamental for individuation.

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To be clear, it must not be understood that true Christianity does not reduce the role of women.  Indeed, Jung explains that many incorrect Christian doctrines (thus including the importance of women), is “not of the deepest and best understanding of Christianity, but of the superficialities and disastrous misunderstandings” of it (Jung 437).  Rather, it is historical Christianity (specifically Catholicism) that degrades the role of women.

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In Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code (the novel to which this essay will repeatedly refer), the two characters who best embody this idea of distorted Christianity are Silas and Leigh Teabing:  They are both physically crippled:  Silas is constantly engaging in self-flagellation, inflicting himself with pain in the name of God, while Teabing walks with canes to assist him.   But more importantly, they are crippled in the sense that they completely misunderstand true Christian doctrine, as they both commit murder in their attempts to gain access to the Holy Grail.

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There are countless examples throughout the centuries where women have been oppressed and mistreated.  Indeed, the Catholic Inquisition, which warned of the “dangers of freethinking women,” killed an estimated 5 million women” (Brown 125).  Jung explains that this culture of disrespect for women has created a disastrous a role in Western [thought]”, and that “our patriarchally oriented culture is largely to blame” (Jacobi 117).  As Dan Brown’s protagonist Robert Langdon clarifies, it “was man [presumably both human being and male], NOT God who created the concept of ‘original sin,’ where Eve tasted of the apple and caused the downfall of the human race” (Brown 238).

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The only woman that the historical Catholic Church does seem to revere is Mary, the mother of Christ.   Allan Mohl, expert on the impact of religious fundamentalism, asserts, “Catholicism in particular has stressed the ideal image of the Virgin Mary as embodying the maternal characteristics to be emulated by all women.”

But is this not unreasonable?! 

If Mary is the ultimate example of an honorable and noteworthy women, the essence of what other women should aspire to be, it is not fair that she is a virgin, as immaculate conception has occurred (and will occur) only once.

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Indeed, the fate of mankind depends literally and

quite completely on women exercising their sexual power.

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Examples of women being discriminated against, whether explicitly or covertly, are unfortunately not just an idea of the past.  Sadly, women today are often treated in a manner that is inferior to that of men.  In The Da Vinci Code, Bezu Fache dislikes Sophie from the start, claiming that her mere presence distracts the men in his field in their jobs (Brown 50).  He is no doubt aware of her beauty, and perceives her as even a sexual distraction, though she in no way perpetrates this idea by her actions or her words.  Fache is also threatened by Sophie’s intelligence. This is an example of Jungian’s notion of scape-goating, as he is unaware of his shadow, and is thus projecting his insecurity onto the woman, who is a cultural “other.”        

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In an even more overt modern-day example of the subjugation of the female, one needs only to look to the Catholic sect known as Opus Dei.  Brown explains that at its New York City headquarters, men and women enter separate doors; men at the front door, and women at the back door.  Women were made to sleep on hard-wood floors, which is just one way in which they were made to pay for the perceived price of Eve’s sins.  Regarding this, the villainous Silas remarks of Sister Sandrine, keeper of the Church of Saint-Sulpice, “she should not be punished for the sins of others” (89).  This statement is painfully ironic, as neither Silas, nor any of the devout followers of Opus Dei understand the deep significance of his words.

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Christianity as a whole tends to leave women out of the picture as pertaining to historical documentation.  For example, the Gnostic Gospels speaking of Mary Magdalene (namely the Gospel of Phillip and the Gospel of Mary) are notably absent from the cannon. Elaine Pagels, Professor of Religion at Princeton University, contends that the Gnostic Gospels were not included in the cannon precisely because of their positive portrayal of women (120).

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From a Latter-day Saint perspective, there exists a general consensus that we do not even speak of Heavenly Mother, the wife of our God.  Most believe that this is because we wish to respect Her and keep Her name from being profaned.  Though there is no doubt that many are sincere in this belief, no official church statement or words of high ranking church members (apostles and prophets) supports this view.  Therefore, we must question this notion; is it perhaps unfairly patriarchal, once again reducing the role and importance of women?  Naturally, discussion of Heavenly Mother and also the marriage of Christ make some uncomfortable.  This essay does not intend to be blasphemous nor mock things of a holy nature.  On the contrary, it intends to expose what is blasphemous and restore what is sacred- that of the important role of women, and more specifically, the holy union between male and female.

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Another aspect of historical Christianity that is intricately connected with the cruelty associated with women is the vilification of sex.  Reproductive ability was once regarded as a very sacred power, but now it posed a threat to the male-dominated Christendom, and was therefore portrayed negatively.  Mary Magdalene was stripped of respect and recast as a whore.  (Even the 2004 popular Mel Gibson film, “Passion of the Christ” depicts her as such, once again suggesting that we are unfortunately not yet free of these misconceptions)  Likewise, the Baphomet ceremony, once practiced by the Pagans celebrated the creative magic of sexual union, was banned by Pope Clement (Brown 316).  In The Da Vinci Code, Sophie Neveu witnessed Jacques Sauniere (whom she believed to be her grandfather) engaging in a sexual ritual, which Robert Langdon later explains to be a ceremony referred to as Hieros Gamos, which is simply another version of the Baphoment.  This act is not a perversion, but one which the ancients believed helped the male be spiritually complete in his union with the sacred feminine.  Furthermore, Hieros Gamos was practiced as a celebration of the female’s power to give life (Brown 308-9).   Still, by robbing sexuality of respect and the honor which it once held, the szygy, or the union of opposites between a man and a woman, specifically in the physical sense, was lost.

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Before the union of men and women can occur, women and men must have the same level of importance.  In other words, neither Jung, Brown, Pagels, nor any of the other numerous writers on the topic argue for feminism in the sense that women are superior to men, but rather that women must be respected as equals and acknowledged for their significant view.  A source illustrating the importance of women is found in the Gnostic Gospels, specifically in the Gospel of Mary, where the relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene is as follows: “And the companion of the Saviour is Mary Magdalene.  Christ loved her more than all the disciples and used to kiss her often on her mouth” (Brown 246).   This passage marks a distinct contrast with the common interpretation of Mary Magdalene, and further suggests a redemptive outlook for women in general.

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Another source with more prominent ethos which likewise implies a respect for women is in the canonical Bible.  If Christ truly was married, as the novel purports that textual and historical evidence suggests, then He would understand the vital role of women.  In other words, true Christian doctrine seems to rightfully revere the sacred feminine.  Therefore, a close reading of the New Testament reveals a veneration of the female.  For example, the oft-quoted Parable of the Ten Virgins found in the Book of Matthew features women.  Although half of them fail to be prepared for the coming of the bridegroom, the other half are prepared, exemplifying righteous women depicted by Christ himself.  At least two other scriptural examples support not only a respectful view of women, but also specifically a sanctioning of marriage:  In the aforementioned parable, Christ is the bridegroom.  Also, the Gospel of John depicts Jesus at a wedding with his mother.  Surely, Christ would not depict himself as a central figure in a marriage metaphor, nor be present at a marriage ceremony, if he did not approve of the matrimonial union of a man and a woman. Furthermore, is marriage not the ultimate example of the union of opposites, both the man and the woman?

According to Jung, humans are fragmented and can only be reconciled by union. This “union of opposites” must take place within one’s own individual psyche, but it must also take place between the male and the female.  Indeed, the first alchemists believed in conjunctio, or the mystic marriage or the concept of creation that results from mating, an idea that Jung describes as “having preoccupied the minds of [scientists] for seventeen centuries” (Jung 398-9).  Elaine Pagels’s interpretation of another of the Gnostic Gospels offers a view of the necessity of gender union to reach salvation, which can be equated to Jung’s concept of individuation.  The Gospel of Thomas explicitly states Jesus’s explanation that in order to enter the kingdom, “male and the female [must be] one and the same” (129).  This implies that men and women are both equal to one another, but must also be united with one another to reach enlightenment.

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Though not involving a romantic/marital relationship, the central characters of The Da Vinci Code exemplify this necessary union between a man and woman.  The traditional interpretation of the quest for the Holy Grail involves a single male knight searching for the cup of Christ.  Dan Brown offers a different version: Sophie Neveu  and Robert Langdon must work together to uncover the knowledge concerning the Holy Grail, which turns out to be not a literal cup at all, but instead a metaphor for a sacred woman-Mary Magdalene.  Sophie and Robert have different areas of expertise, but their collective knowledge is not at all in opposition, but instead complimentary toward the other.  In other words, the male and the female need one another to reach their purpose.

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Jung explains that “the contrasexual element has sunk so deep into the unconscious” that it is very difficult to disengage ourselves from this patriarchal concept which has unfortunately been indoctrinated into our collective unconscious for centuries.   One may question if there is any redemption for the future, any possibility of restoring the sacred feminine, and thus the sacred union between the man and the woman.  Essentially, is there hope? Yes! In 1969, the Vatican officially (albeit quietly) retracted their view of Mary Magdalene as a prostitute, suggesting an attempt to at least begin to eradicate past damages inflicted upon women (Shoemaker).  Brown’s novel certainly offers hope for women, as Sophie is a woman of royal blood, a descendent of Christ himself.  Likewise, the novel suggests that an understanding of art, both from the past from the works of Da Vinci, and from more modern works such as Georgia O’Keefe paintings, offer a veneration for womanhood.  For example, concerning Da Vinci’s famed painting “The Last Supper,” the novel suggests the idea that the figure seated to the direct left of Jesus is not John the apostle, but is instead Mary Magdalene, wife of Christ.  This idea is supported by many factors:  the feminine-appearing face, the V-shape (an ancient symbol of womanhood) formed between both Jesus and the perceived Mary, and other possible evidences.  Although scholars argue over the validity of this idea, Dan Brown’s inclusion of this significant detail causes readers to ponder the importance of women during the time of the original church, and hopefully begin to understand the need for a revival of the knowledge of the important role of women even (and perhaps especially) today.

 

Overall, women have suffered a tremendous amount of oppression throughout the years, which unfortunately has been done largely in part in the supposed name of God.  Jung would argue that this is done not in the true spirit of Christianity, but rather because of an insecurity of men that leads to a society dominated by the repressive views of men.   Furthermore, this concept of the degradation of women, where they are stripped of respect, humanity, and sacredness, is the very source of so much tension and lack of harmony in both society and within ourselves as well.  True wholeness comes from restoring the sacredness of the female, but also in the unison, or syzgy, of men and women, who are not to be in competition nor opposition with one another, but are instead to be understood as complimenting one another.  Jung, Brown, and other scholars look forward with a hopeful view, one in which women are to be redeemed, then reunited with men, allowing for true individuation and wholeness to occur.

READERS!

1.  What are your thoughts/ beliefs/ experiences concerning these ideas?

2.  How can you personally restore proper female/male balance to reach a sacred union in your own relationships?

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gonna start delving into some of my college papers now…

🙂

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Desperate

It seems to me some fine things have been laid upon your table,

but you always want the ones that you can’t get!

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I HATE the show “Desperate Housewives” by the way (I’ll tell ya why later),

but this post would simply be incomplete without referencing it.

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                  Children’s author Obert Skye claims that, “Desperate times call for:

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“To despair is to turn your back on God.”

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      complicated words slipping off of your tongue

and ain’t one of them the truth...

                                                                       there’s danger in frustration…

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Desperate.

PS.  I thought long and hard about including the picture of the Savior.  He wasn’t desperate in the traditional sense, but I feel that his hell in the garden could rightfully be classified as desperate.

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Bill Maher makes my heart sour.

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Let Ms. Wilkinson give you the low-down

on what’s goin’ on with the fool pictured above:

Recap:

1)  I believe in free speech.

2)  I haven’t seen a ton of Billy’s stuff, but what I have seen is almost always disrespectful, sacrilegious, discriminatory, inappropriate, racist, unkind, profane, rude, obscene, and just overall mean.

3)  I don’t hate anyone except for Satan (although Maher makes me reconsider somewhat…).

4)  I validate people who have concerns with organized religion (or otherwise doctrinally strict life philosophies).  Read more here about this:

5)  I don’t think all atheists are bad people (read more here!).

6)  I VERY MUCH think that Bill Maher is a bad person (and I don’t make comments like that very often!).

7)  I see connections between Bill Maher and the Book of Mormon figure Korihor.

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8)  There are public figures who poke fun at Mormonism (and other religious/cultural groups as well) in a way that is NOT unkind or belittling.  Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart are the ones that come to mind at the moment.

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9)  If you’re dying for a television fix of a gray-haired man, may I suggest checkin’ out Anderson Cooper?  I am a fan of his stuff. And I even wrote him a lil’ poem!

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10)  We may find others’ (religious) beliefs (very) odd, but still we must find the humanity and decency to show some level of respect, even if we do not (fully) agree.

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CLOSING THOUGHTS

I’m not worried about (permanent) damage that Mr. Bill Maher will do to the image of the LDS Church (cuz he can’t!).  No way.  We’re here to say.  And he’ll be left to his own sad life.  (Sorry if this is a lil’ mean-spirited).

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None will molest them from morn until ev’n.

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  ~Now Let Us Rejoice (LDS Hymn #3)

Still, Billy Boy bugs me so much so that I devoted

(a lot of) time and effort to writing this post.

Come on now, Maher. Change yo wayz a lil’ bit, huh?

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BILL MAHER PUTS A SOUR taste in my mouth…

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and if I’m gonna have those particular taste-buds activated,

I’d muuuuuch rather it be because of something like this:

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🙂

PS.  I understand that his last name does not naturally rhyme with the word “sour;”  I twisted it for a stylistic purpose.   Lots of artists do this kind of thing (slant rhyme is the exact term).  John Mayer does it in his song “You’re No One ’til Someone Lets You Down.”  Check it stat!

proud girl!

PPS.  Not gonna lie, I’m quite proud of this post and its plethora of literary/journalistic/celebrity/religious/historical references.  Go count ’em!

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Many people today are hesitant, wary, or even out-rightly opposed to organized religion…

Imageand I completely validate many of the common concerns that go along with it!  Unfortunately, history has shown that many evil and abusive deeds have been done by those professing to act in the name of God.  Imperialism/forced conversion, mistreatment of women, acts of terrorism (of a range of means and magnitude), twisting of doctrine for one’s own purposes (the Book of Mormon refers to this as priestcraft), that kind of thing.  So I don’t think people who “swear off religion” are necessarily bad people AT ALL (unless they are unkind and blatantly mock others’ beliefs).

But we are all looking for truth.

More to come.

PS.  I use such images with intensely great care and NEVER intend to be flippant about abuse of any kind.  Just wanted to express that yet again because I simply cannot emphasize it enough.  Also, I know that there are many good people in the Catholic Church.

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KATH DON’T CARE what Simon Says…

Truths to Consider:

1)  WE ARE ALL ARTISTS! (here’s Prezident Uchtdorf’s take on this…)

2)  We ain’t all gonna make it big (and that’s okay, ya’ll!)

3)  Stem of Jesse (Jessica!) in the scriptures

4)  What insight “The Merchant of Venice” taught me about the HBO filth series “Girls”

5)  My take on “The Great Gatsby” in 3 sentences.

6)  Haven’t yet written about Mark Twain’s  ever famous and influential piece (Huck Finn).  Stay.  Tuned.

7)  What Amanda Bynes (indirectly) taught me about Mormon temples.

8)  “American Idol” certainly has produced some talent, but overall is waaaaay over-rated.

9)  Hozaboutcha take an exodus from this blog and go read about what Moses says about idols? (here!)

10)  Katherine loves wordplay.  And admit it, she’s pretty darn awesome at it, huh? 🙂

ImageSimon Cowell…

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should lose that scowl!

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(muuuuch better, darlin’)

Just sayin’

(Kath, refer to your title in an awesome way that only you can…)

this song is one of the best in recent history.  just sayin’

🙂

So friends please take it to heart, when I say to go make some art!

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Sweet the sin, bitter the taste in my mouth…

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I see seven towers.

But I only see one way out.

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~U2

This song is about a woman seeking recovery from a heroine addiction.  Bono has expressed that he thought the phrase “Running to Stand Still” (the title of this particular song) aptly described the struggle of an addict trying to battle such a powerful drug. 

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“I’ll never, ever let you drown”

Imageeven if you’re going down!

~Travie McCoy/ Jason Mraz

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To err is human;

to forgive, divine.

Image~Alexander Pope

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*I  like that first video A LOT (although the title is misleading).  Also, another BYU athlete was unfortunately involved with a recent infraction of the Honor Code.  Similar to Mr. Davies, this athlete is making amends, both spiritually and academically.  Read a smashing article about him here.

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Abuse is one of the most heinous crimes in the history of humanity,

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and still I forgive Chris Brown.

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I the Lord will forgive whom I will forgive,

but of you it is required to forgive ALL men.”

Doctrine and Covenants 64:10

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Once again, I go over my standard 2 minutes

because it is important for me to express ALL I need to say:

Recapture:

I forgive Chris Brown.

I’m quite sure Rihanna has publicly expressed that she has.

I in no way condone his past behavior as acceptable.

Abuse of any kind is unspeakably evil, ugly, and utterly unacceptable.

I can understand where Miranda Lambert (and others with similar viewpoints) are coming from.

I believe that the Atonement of Jesus Christ can redeem even people who make BIG mistakes.

I believe Mr. Brown when he has publicly expressed how sorry he is.

I expect Chris to be on his absolute best behavior from now on.

I sincerely hope I am not offending anyone who has ever experienced abuse.

And to begin to conclude this post, I wish to share the following LDS Conference Talk concerning this heartbreaking topic.

Read here. 

I pray that you, as one abused or one who has caused it, will act now to avail yourself of the healing power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I testify that your faith and obedience will assure that He will help you. 

Thank you Elder Scott.

READERS!

         If any of you have experienced

or are currently experiencing abuse of any kind,

my heart and prayers are with you.

Remember that you are a child of God

and deserve to be treated as such.

                     , Katherine Anne

katherineannewilkinson@gmail.com

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Do not let your passions

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destroy 

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your dreams.

~Sir LANCElot (from “Camelot”)

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LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson often warns of this temptation

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See that ye bridle all your passions

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Alma 38:12

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READERS:

1) How do these simple and profound truths relate to you?

2)  How can you make sure that you stay in control of your passions so that you can reach your dreams?

provo-mormon-temple2

……….

 

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Plan B

ImageMYTH vs. experience

Image“That original feeling never went away…”

(this is one of Ms. Bedingfield’s best lyrics EVER

in my informed and intelligent opinion)

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Plan B looks like, domino’s pizza in the candlelight

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         ~Phil Vassar

(this is one of the cutest songs of ALL TIME!)

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“The best laid paid of mice and men often go awry.”

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~John Steinbeck

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(read here about my genius connection to this famous American novel!)

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READERS!

1) When have your original plans worked out?

2) When have you needed to move to another letter in the alphabet?

figuratively and/or literally

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“It might be our universities, our outfits, our major life decisions, our relationships, our hairstyles, our blog posts, our careers, or our preferred choice of toothbrush color, but whatever it is, if it didn’t work out the first time, KEEP TRYING TIL YOU GET THE PERFECT LETTER!”

 ~Ms. Katherine

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Sometimes telling the truth is terribly painful, uncomfortable, embarrassing, and inconvenient,

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BUT IT HAS TO HAPPEN!

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“The truth will set you free”

~John 8:23

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“The truth can be ugly beyond imagination,

but concerning such topics as abuse, we simply CANNOT ignore it.

It may set others free as well.  Figuratively and literally.”

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Read more here about an insight that Mr. Mayer helped me understand regarding the Penn State child abuse controversy.

READERS:

How do these principles/ideas apply to YOU?

And I know that they do somehow.

Truth.

🙂

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I used to think that the word “atheist” was (nearly!) synonymous with “murderer” or “rapist,” or at LEAST with “terrible person.”

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I do not think that anymore.

Still LDS!

Still Christian

“I do believe there are some atheists (celebrity and not) who have legitimate morality and goodness, but I still think it is very sad (perhaps even tragic) that there is an overall disregard of faith and belief in our society.”

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If I had to sum up my life in one single song, it would be this one:

Lyrics here

Take all of your wasted honor.

Every little past frustration.

Take all of your so-called problems.

Better put ’em in quotations.

SAY WHAT YOU NEED TO SAY!

I am crying as I type this.  I value writing, expression, speech, literacy, validation, and communication more than any physical object that I have ever owned or will ever own.  LITERALLY!  It is most certainly a sacred gift.  Even my beloved lip gloss doesn’t come close to the joy of freedom of speech.

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Read more here about how writing is a Christ-figure for Katherine…

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Living truth

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is on the earth!

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and Katherine could NOT be more pleased…

🙂

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Slavery need not only be literal.

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Nor does slavery* of any kind need be permanent.

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     “Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ,

we can proclaim our emancipation from the slavery of trials and sin,

and thus (re)gain the freedom that is rightfully ours.”

~Katherine Wilkinson

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Read more here about how I became emancipated from a kind of slavery

through an expression found in a John Mayer song.

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¡Enseñando (teaching)!

1.  What things have you enslaved (figuratively or literally)?

2.  What ideas, resources, people, awesome blog(s) can be a Christ-figure and help emancipate you (figuratively or literally)?

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*Slavery of any and all connotations (but particularly institutionalized racial slavery) is something that makes my heart heavy with pain.  Please know that I never intend to be flippant or insensitive concerning these issues (read more here about how racism is absolutely 100% NOT compatible with true Christianity).

Also, I in no way mean to compare myself to Abraham Lincoln or to the Savior.  And still I am expecting a thunderbolt of blasphemy…

🙂

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Anthony Weiner has most certainly made horrendous mistakes,

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but let us remember that even he is of divine origin.

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The gospel is GOOD NEWS!

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and don’t you dare ever forget that.

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Pain throws your heart to the ground

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love turns the whole thing around...

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It. Gets. Better.

Just watch it, okay? 🙂

(and don’t say you don’t have 10 minutes; You ARE reading this blog, after all!)

In April 2012 I attended a seminar put on by the Sociology department at BYU concerning these same issues.  It wasn’t about marriage/ legal stuff at all.  It was just about what it is like to be gay/ lesbian/ bisexual, but still abide by the laws of God and the precepts of the Honor Code.

There is LOTS to say about the seminar, and I hate to try to “sum up” an event that was very complex, very classy, and very important.  But for now I’ll simply express that I was incredibly inspired by the bravery of not only the 4 panel members (who each told his/her individual story with honesty, tact, and vulnerability), but also by everyone who in any way experiences same-gender attraction, particularly if they choose to abide by the standards of the LDS Church.

Thank you.

God loves you.

I do too.

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The technology today can make it so that Katherine’s blog…

CAN SPREAD LIKE WILDFIRE!

*not tryin’ to be the next big thing (although truthfully there are worse people, right?)

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*if I can share truth, that’s awesome!

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*I REALLY wish we weren’t so online these days, but since we are, might as well make our stuff good!

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These boys (Diddy and Pharell) got to it somehow!

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*I LOVE this song (back to Johnny’s tune…)!

    a little bit of summer is what the whole year’s all about!

*haven’t listened to enough of the new album, “Paradise Valley.”

*there is too much stuff to do with the word “paradise,” must go eat something now…

GO SPREAD YOUR OWN BLOG, TRUTH, BELIEFS TOO!Image

And I think I just found my snack…

🙂

Oh, and also I’m the only woman on this post…

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ADIOS….

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Even Great Artists

ImageNEED A STYLIST!     Image“This is NOT an outfit (picked out) by committee, people.”

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And now I’m about to say something that

I often wish I could shout fiddle from the rooftops.

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Are you listening?

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Okay, here I go:

 

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“I DON’T ANSWER TO ANYBODY,

AND IT’S A LOVELY, LOVELY FEELING!”

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There are of course limits to this philosophy, because I do represent Christ,

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I believe that women can be sexy,

but also ought to maintain class and (line of) propriety,

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and also I am a role model.

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But still “I do what I want!”

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Katherine, get back to John Mayer…

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Read more here about the concert that LITERALLY(!) changed my life…

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(more to come on Johnny’s brilliant monologue/idea)

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And now Lightn’ing strikes for that thunderbolt of blasphemy

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for comparing myself to one of the greatest guitarists/poets of all time…

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But allow me to quote from him once again:

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“I LOOK GOOD CUZ I FEEL GOOD!”

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🙂

4 John Mayer lyrics/links/quotations in one post.  Excellent job, sweet self…

Oh, yah, not only do KW and JM share fashion blunders, we also share writing blunders.  Check it out here. 

PS.  Even if your outfits are occasionally a little whacky, you can still be as cool as me.

“It’s true.  It’s true.  I choose you! (says Sara Bareilles). 

To have an awesome day!

Now GO!

Go fall in love.

Go change the world.

Go help an old lady move.

Go help her carry her groceries.

Go clean your car, (that’s what I need to do).

I need to go do my hair, and a few other things…

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I.  Choose.  You. 

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Protecting the image of the LDS Church…

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is one of the things I take into consideration when writing this blessed blog.  It is certainly not the only thing (duh!), and it’s also not necessarily the most important thing either.  But it still clearly holds clout in the court of Kat’s mind.  It is a priority.  A major one, too.  And it’s not that I’m afraid of being called in to my Stake President for chastisement when I occasionally employ a pseudo-swear or playfully tease my viewers with the exposure of a juicy shoulder.  Not even close (I do not fear excommunication or any other lesser form of Church discipline).  It’s just that I have many different identities.  One of them is Mormon.  One of them is disciple of Jesus Christ.  Those things are not necessarily exactly the same, but there is definite overlap, huh? 🙂  And those particular identities strongly influence (but do not completely dictate) my choices.  And my outfits.   And my words.  And my puns.  And my music.  And my song lyrics.  And my pictures.  And my jokes.  And my videos.  And my topic/subject matters.  And my posts.  And my entire blog!  And although the Church is merely a vehicle through which to fully live/experience the gospel, it is a vehicle we must help keep clean.

(check out that last General Conference link/ talk:  it’s BOMB! and it is heavily influenced (or even appropriately plagiarized) by the Great Mormon thinker Eugene England.  Also, after my vehicle metaphor, I realized I need to vacuum my car this week…)

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“Maybe once a year, I think I’ll clean my car.”

~Gavin Degraw (Listen to this song, too.  SO GOOD!)

So back to the main point of this post.  Just remember this:

Katherine Cares about the Church.

And although I am still pretty new to this whole blogging thing, I am conscious of some of the repercussions I may cause (and am causing!), in whatever small/medium/big (or completely microscopic) way .   Mormonism is my mother tongue, my homeland, and, although I love to travel, when it comes to my faith, I ain’t never leavin!

So hopefully the Church’s image isn’t hurt when I post pictures like this:

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And I think now would be an excellent time to remind you that Mormons no longer practice polygamy (if they do, it’s some off-shoot brand that is not recognized by the Brethren), and also that I wrote a smashing article about a girl who was born into a polygamous family, then later joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Check out the published piece of pie!  Oh, and just so you know, Vilate’s story has gotten even wilder.  Like, out of this world crazy.  In a good way, though.  Stay.  Tuned.

Gotta take Taylor Swift’s example and go burn all my bikini pix now.

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And for my beloved readers, how clean do YOU keep the image of your church (or family name/affiliation, etc.)  How clean do you keep your literal car?  And which is more important (trick question…)?

Watch this video to find out the ONLY church ttopic

I would ever publicly agitate against:

🙂

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Some Mansions

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are better than others.

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Hugh Hefner is not a hero.  He is a ZERO.  He is not someone to be admired.  He is a sad, ugly old man who has made millions from an industry that has destroyed relationships, lives, jobs, freedom, confidence, health, and happiness.  Total loser, if you ask me.

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Plus, his red plush robe only makes him look more like the devil,

AND emphasizes his blood-shot eyes and blotchy complexion.

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And ya’ll know how much I love free speech, but don’t even try to go there with me on this one because I will PULVERIZE every claim you make.  That’s how good I am 🙂  And that’s how bad pornography is.  So let’s hear what real men think of it:

Don’t care about/believe in religion/God/prophets?  This guy doesn’t talk about it:

And neither does this girl:

Pornography is terrible in every way possible!  It’s not sexy.  It’s not hot.  It causes abuse.  It degrades something sacred.  It it highly linked to drug use, depression, crime, and other problems.  Bourne Ultimatum?  I wish we could make it the PORN Ultimatum!  But until then, we just have to try our very best to control ourselves and keep this trash out of our lives in every way possible.  Sound good?  Peeeeeerfect.

🙂

But back to mansions, if we Stay out of the Smut that Satan Spreads, we can party it up at this one!

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In my Father’s House are many mansions... I go to prepare a place for you.

~John 14:2

(and for further reading, I also write about chastity/purity/sex/temples here)

PS.  Think I’ve covered all my bases, ya’ll.  And I don’t even play sports.

PPS.  If you are involved in pornography, there is hope, both professional and spiritual.  Keep fightin’

PPPS.  Even Mr. Hefner could repent through the Atonement.

still considering law school…

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We at War.

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We at war with terrorism,

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We at war with racism,

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but most of all, we at war with ourselves.

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A thousand little wars I have to choose between

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Some of the greatest battles will be fought within

the CHAMBERS OF YOUR OWN SOUL.

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I’m in the war of my life.

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JESUS WALKS.

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Birth

Image  is just a change of location.

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Abortion is a loaded topic, and there is of course mountains more to say about it.  But let’s not overlook this simple truth.  Here is the LDS Church’s official stance.

Also, here’s a VERY powerful video.  It’s not graphic/bloody (no aborted fetuses), but again it’s powerful.

And raw.

And hopeful.

Lyrics here.

(TATW read them!)

What you want? Morning sickness or the sickness of mourning

BRILLIANT phrase-twist, Mr. Cannon.  Wow.

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And don’t be emailing me about your special circumstances

and say I’m judgmental.

I know there are those circumstances.

I know that.

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STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP!

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“Do as the heavens have done,

forget your evil; With them forgive yourself.”

    ~William Shakespeare (A Winter’s Tale)

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“…and though your sins 

[or insecurities/baggage/ idiosyncracies/lips/WHATEVER!]
be as scarletthey shall be as white as snow.”

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Oh, except that when it comes to lips, I prefer red

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over white (LITERALLY) 8 days a week.

🙂

PS.  I am VERY careful about how I portray violence (if at all) in this blog.  So I understand if that first picture is a bit offensive, but I just love how it captures what so many of us do to ourselves.  Britney ain’t perfect, but that’s pretty genius I think.

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The linguistic genius of Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

In October 2008, Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin (an apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) gave an address entitled “Come What May and Love it” in Mormon General Conference.  It caught on like wild-fire.  The address has to do with not only accepting unforeseen circumstances, but also finding JOY in them.  Best part is when he mentions how his daughter’s blind-date went awry.  The address itself is fantastic to say the least, but I think the REAL genius is in the title/catch-phrase.  You see, Elder Wirthlin took a familiar phrase:

AND MADE IT HIS OWN!

(Read the talk here)

And thus he single-handedly spawned many a kitchen plaque and Pinterest Meme…

So that’s the key to making something do so well!  Do a phrase twist!  Take an idiom/cliche that everyone knows well, and add your own unique spin to it!  That way, “that original feeling [will] never [go] away“!

I’ve tried this tactic before; on this blog even!  Here are a few of my examples.

Cleanliness is next to Godliness, but it’s NOT Godliness.

Twitter/Jitter-Bug.

Blog is made for Katherine, and NOT Katherine for Blog.

One is sexy dark chocolate, and the other flaxen gold.

Lessons Plans are made for teachers, and NOT teachers for lesson plans.

(oh yah, and the Biebz has been known to do it, too.  Here’s one example:  The grass ain’t always greener on the other side, it’s green where you water it.)

Of course, I’ll never be able to do it as well as Elder Wirthlin.  Come to think of it, his wife was an English major if I remember correctly.  He probz got it all from her.  And so I guess it looks like my future husband will be an apostle then…TBOB! (thunderbolt of blasphemy)…

PS.  In case you are wondering, this post alone contains ideas inspired by the following:  Elder Wirthlin, Natasha Bedingfield, BYU, Moulin Rouge, Twitter, The Book of Luke in the New Testament, Justin Bieber, Pinterest, and blasphemy/sacrilege.  Well done, Katherine.  Well.  Done.  🙂

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“How in the heck am I supposed to raise seed unto the God of Israel when I can’t even drive my freakin’ car?!”

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He’ll help ya out, that’s how.  With the driving AND with the kids.

PS.  Read more about my driving woes here.  

PPS.  I see a connection to Maslowe’s Hierarchy and to Karl Jung here.  Will explore further in another post…

PPPS.  No, this is not a pregnancy announcement.  It’s not even a wedding announcement.  Darnie.

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My list of countries is so long that they won’t all fit in one screenshot.

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Good problem to have, I’d say.

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SOME MONEY SO FAR…but not a ton 🙂

Don’t want to get into that whole pride cycle thing described in the Book of Mormon.  Although I AM already a Lamanite, right?

I WANT YOU TO BE PART OF MY BLOG!  I am all about collaboration: musical, writing, business, product review, food, sharing of religious beliefs, etc.  No promises, but as long as I feel like it represents myself, my family, my friends, and the Lord well, I’m up to discuss it.  Dead serious.  katherineannewilkinson@gmail.com

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“The Lord answers our prayers, but it is usually through another person that he meets our needs….”

"The Lord answers our prayers, but it is usually through another person that he meets our needs....""The Lord answers our prayers, but it is usually through another person that he meets our needs...."

A few weeks ago, I called my friend Alex ( Alex is gender-neutral, and of course is not his/her real name.  But I double-checked anyways and now publish this with his/her permission).  Alex did not answer the phone, but the following text conversation ensued:

Alex:  Hey!  I’m at work.  How are you?

Katherine: Haha, I figured.  Just calling to say hi!  Call back when you can. No rush, just thought of you and wanted to let you know. 

Alex:  Katherine, I truly believe you were inspired to call me.  Thank you for following through with your thoughts even if you didn’t think anything of it.  When you called, I was in the bathroom crying having a really hard time, but your calling is an answer to my prayers. 

Katherine:  Alex, I’m so glad I could lift your spirits a little.  You lift mine.  I really do hope things get better.  Call/text/email anytime!

Alex:  Katherine, thank you.  You are amazing!

I do not relay this text exchange to brag.  I just want to remind you that you never know what role you are playing in someone’s life.

The title of this post comes from this quote by President Spencer W. Kimball.

Don’t be afraid to reach out.

READERS:  Who’s day will YOU make with a terrific text?

🙂

Oh ya, and save your text messages!

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Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, and Katherine Wilkinson

Jesus Christ had his hell in Gethsemane, Joseph Smith had his dark place in the Sacred Grove, and I had my rough (garden) patch as well. 

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But all 3 of us pulled through to see the light.

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I usually don’t like to state the obvious:

but I just wanna  be very clear here:

If you are experiencing trials, take a lesson from these 3 people:

Although gardening is great and black and white photos can be very beautiful, you want your life to be in Color and NOT in some Secret Grove of Golgotha.

AND IT CAN BE!

Yes I am aware that I just compared myself to the Savior of the World and the Prophet of the Restoration.  And yes, I am expecting a thunderbolt of blasphemy any minute now…

Not gonna lie I’m pretty proud of this one, ya’ll…

🙂

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I didn’t get an email from heaven,

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but I still believe that in a way, albeit perhaps small, the Lord’s hand is in this blog somehow.  And I’d really rather not be tried at the Spanish Inquisition for that potential heresy, if that’s alright with ya’ll.   Burn marks just do NOT look good on this girl’s skin 🙂

“The Bible did not arrive by fax from heaven.”

    ~The Da Vinci Code

*and I just compared this blog to the Bible.

Thunderbolt of blasphemy in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1………………….

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