25 Aug 2005 criswell   » (Journeyer)

It's been pointed out that a post I made a little over a year ago concerning my brother was not entirely accurate. When he passed away, everyone assumed it was an overdose (because of his history of substance abuse) however it was not. He actually had died of heart complications (which is something that us Hart men have a tendency towards). Everyone assumed it was an overdose becuase of his past, but an atopsy proved otherwise. Unbeknownst to most in my family at the time, he had actually confided in one of my brothers that he had been clean and sober for quite a while before his death. This is why the autopsy was requested, because everyone wanted to know the truth. Thankfully, the truth was very good news (not that he had passed away, but that he hadn't overdosed).

I also mentioned that he was a racist in life. I'll admit I hadn't seen him in roughly 5-8 years before his death, so I have no idea if he later on turned around on this subject. All that I do know is tha last time I personally saw him I helped bail him out of jail for getting into a knife fight with a hispanic gentleman over a racial issue. Additionally, growing up I recall seeing swastikas on at least one of his motorcycles and actually getting into a discussion with him over african americans when I either was about to serve or had just returned from my mission to Mississippi.

Now, I want to assume the best with respect to him. I want to assume that he did see the error in his logic concerning racial biases as he saw the problems substance abuse had caused him. I don't know if he did, but I would like to think he did. He ultimately was a very smart man (honestly, everyone in my family is quite smart, just in different ways) and I should think that if he hadn't seen the error in his thinking about racism, he certainly has where-ever he is now.

I want to assume the best about him, as I want to assume the best about everyone (even though I usually wind up being disappointed and angry at people).

There is, however, one thing about my brother that I can honestly and truthfully relate to. He was someone who everyone assumed the worse for. When he passed away, everyone assumed it was an overdose. Like him, I am someone who everyone assumes is unwell.

The simple fact is this: I've never been terribly close with anyone in my family. I grew up an only child with 6 brothers and sisters. And because of this, none of them really understand me, or even can relate to me.

I am liberal-LDS. I am someone who values logic and scientific fact and has managed to reconcile these things with his religion. I have arrived at the amazing conclusion that there is not one scientific fact (or even strong theories, as there really isn't such a thing as scientific "fact" ;-) that contradicts the teachings of the gospel. I have found that when you really look at both science and my religion, and you really understand them, the two are extremely complimentary. In fact, there's more scientific evidence supporting my religion than anyone inside my religion would allow themselves to see.

So, in being liberal-LDS I can relate to my family on the "LDS" level, but very rarely on the "liberal" level. So many of them are indocturnated by their cohorts into thinking that the two mean starkly different things. And while it is by no means the teachings of the church, many of the members misunderstand and think that "liberal" is somehow evil and abhorent. Many members are part of the conservative right... thinking that this is what makes a person Christian... even though the church leadership has really done their best to extoll the fact that this isn't true.

Many of them fail to realize that, if you look back through the scriptures and especially at the life of Jesus, there are some extremely liberal teachings there. I'll not bore you with many quotes, primarily because this isn't the forum for such a thing, however, I can share with you my favorite passage.

It's in John, Chapter 8. Jesus is on the mount of Olives (also known as Mount Olivet, and it is actually a pretty big place). Scribes and Pharisees bring a woman before him and say:
Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned; but what sayest thou?
Jesus instead ignores them and stoops down to write on the ground (method of teaching). They continue to ask him. He finally stands and says to them:
He who is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her
He then stooped back down and continues to write on the ground.

Now, he was the only person there who was without sin. Every other person there had sinned (everyone sins, it's a freaking fact, none of us are perfect). However, he was the only one completely free from it. He said that the person without sin there should cast the first stone. He was that person... and yet he did not cast the stone at her. Instead, he stooped back down and continued his teachings.

What he was telling them was that none of them were without sins, and none of them were in a position to condem this woman.

Is it me, or does this not seem like a very conservative line of thought? From what I read and hear this sure seems contradictory of conservative mantra to me. As near as I can tell (and, not to toot my own horn, but I'm a pretty smart guy) the conservative right is as far away from Christianity as taught by Christ as they can be.

So, at the end of the day, I am left quite alone and often misunderstood by my own family. Because they don't really understand me, and they somehow cannot relate, they assume the worse for me, very much like my brother who everyone assumed had overdosed, even though he had not.

However, I am fine with this. I have managed to work though those issues that had been preventing me from reaching happiness and contentment. I have achieved inner peace and am satisfied with where I am in my life. I've even found someone else who is liberal-LDS to be my helpmate. I continue to love my family in spite of the fact that they may not understand me, and might even be confused about things.

At any rate, I apologize for the introspective rant I just gave. I had something on my mind and I had to get it out before it consumed me.

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