Wednesday, December 31, 2008


It's been about 2 1/2 years since I learned that Joseph Smith shot 3 people before he died. Learning this sent me down a path of discovering more under-the-cover Church history that entirely shook my faith. Luckily, I was able to find resources like Sunstone, Mormon Stories, and various blogs that helped me navigate the waters of re-figuring out what I believed religiously and spiritually. I feel like I've found solid ground again. Still with a testimony of Christ, His teachings, and His Church, but perhaps with a bit more sarcastic, self-deprecating, genuine foundation. There are plenty of things that I struggle with (ask me about polygamy in the Celestial Kingdom, and I'll tell you about how the idea of love is completely ruined for me), but I find so much comfort in the words of Peter.

At the end of John 6, after Christ gave the Bread of Life sermon, John writes that many of His disciples "walked no more with Him." Christ then looked at His apostles and asked them if they were going to leave Him, too. Peter, acting as the spokesman for the 12, could have just said, "no, we're staying with you." Rather, he says something so beautiful, so profound: "Lord, to whom shall we go?"

Peter's response so concisely, yet so eloquently, encompasses exactly how I feel. While my faith constantly takes punches from history, doctrine, and culture, I know that there is nothing else. No organization more perfect, no community so comforting. There is so much beauty, so much truth, so much deep philosophical doctrine in this Church, and I stand with Peter when we ask, "Lord, to whom shall we go?"

Monday, December 29, 2008

Watch this, now

"One would truly need a great and spacious makeup kit to compete with beauty as portrayed in media all around us."

I love you, Elder Holland.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Finals, home, and next semester

Finals week just about killed me. I did really well on the finals I didn't think I'd do well on, and not-so-great on the ones I thought I'd ace. Oh well, c'est la vie.

I flew home on Thursday. I love being home. Especially since it was 65 degrees yesterday.

I'm taking some pretty sweet classes next semester. I decided that I want to apply to the communications department to major in print journalism (still doing a double major with philosophy). I wanted to do journalism coming into BYU, changed my mind, and recently realized that yes, that's still what I want to do. So I'm taking 3 pre-reqs for the comms department, 1 philosophy class, 1 religion class, and 2 women's studies classes. That along with 2 jobs (Pennyroyal and TA for phil 205/305), teaching Relief Society, and presiding over the vegetarian club. Speaking of which, I have some pretty rad ideas for getting more involvement in the club this semester. I feel like everything is falling into place for this journalism thing, and I feel really good about it, so I'm going for it.

(Although, my hours for the TA lab may/probably will change.)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

More than just somewhat of interest

I watched 4 episodes of one of those paranormal research group shows on A&E today, and got thinking about how I used to be really interested in paranormal phenomena, and for some reason, at some point in time, became disinterested. This got me thinking about exorcisms, and realized I've never done any research on exorcism in the LDS Church. So that's how I've spent my night.

I've found some pretty interesting cases of exorcisms, including this one I found from The Juvenile Instructor, which quotes David O. McKay's personal journal from when he was 25:

3 September 1898, Newarthill, Lanarkshire, Scotland: Went to Newarthill to see the young girl [Charlotte] who is sick. Found her in a nervous or spasmodic fit. Brother Orr said she was possessed of evil spirits, and indeed it did appear that such was the case. She would laugh and talk [and] tell the priesthood to go home and not torment her, ask their name, etc. Sometimes she would try to rise out of bed and although she was but a lassie weighing less than 100 pounds, it was all I could do to hold her and put her again in a quiet position. She seemed to be entirely unconscious when in this state. Her eyes were closed, and when she spoke, the sound came from her throat–not a lip moved. Just before regaining consciousness, her body became rigid, her hands clenched so tightly that the nails penetrated the skin, and her whole body–every muscle it seemed–became stiff as a board. She would lie in this state and then awaken, weak and limp, entirely exhausted. These attacks came on every few minutes, each one lasting about five minutes or more. We administered to her and she obtained peace for about an hour and half, during which time she sat up and talked as intelligently as anyone. She had another spell before we left. (We were then fasting for her relief).

4 September 1898: After meeting [in Airdrie] we walked five miles back to Newarthill where, after a forty-eight hour fast, we were going to rebuke the evil power–whatever it was–afflicting the girl. The fast meeting was held in Sister Major’s house. As we entered, Charlotte was suffering from another attack. She had walked from Brother Orr’s–about a quarter or half mile. As the meeting commenced, the attacks became more frequent. One elder had to hold her all the time. These spells continued until after she partook of the sacrament. She then had peace during the meeting until we were about to unite in prayer before administering to her. Just as we began to consecrate the oil, she went into one of these fits–or had another attack. This was a long one. I told the saints (the house was full) that we would all kneel around her and unite with the one who was mouth in prayer. Taking her in my arms, I took a seat in the center of the room. When she regained consciousness, I told her we were all going to pray for her and asked her to unite with us. She feebly answered that she would. Brother Leatham was mouth. At the conclusion she said ‘I can walk now.’
Interesting, n'est pas?

Upon researching this topic, I've come up with some questions: Usually in movies, and in the most famous cases of exorcism, it's a Catholic Priest performing the exorcism, while the person inhabited by some evil force is restrained in some way. The Priest usually uses holy water and the same prayer over and over again. What is the LDS process of exorcism? In the Old and New Testament, when there is a claim that someone is inhabited by an evil spirit, does it mean that that person is just mentally unstable, or does it mean that person is literally possessed? As LDS Doctrine dictates, the only way something can be done in the name of Christ is through the Priesthood, something which members of the LDS Church believe only our Church holds. If this is the case, how have other people of other religions performed exorcisms? Or have they really? If exorcisms in the LDS Church do happen, how often? And why aren't they discussed very much?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Dante Alighieri

"There is no greater pain than to remember, in our present grief, past happiness."
Divine Comedy: Inferno, Canto V, 121-3

I've come to the realization that growing up means learning how to make yourself do things that hurt.