Saturday, November 29, 2008

Andrew and Boba- Happy Birthday Cherished Friend

Today I did several things. I got up late, helped my brother clean his room and took some of his clothes. Then we went to get Boba, got Pho as well. I liked it quite well. Boba is amazing of course. Then we went to Into the Woods and loved it beyond belief. Elise was singing all the way home. All in all, a good but tiring day. After that I came home, ate, visited with Andrew and his friends. Tried mate- liked it somewhat.

I feel happy. Tired. But happy. I can't believe I have to give a talk this Sunday. I can't decide what to talk on. I am thinking about speaking about charity or love or gratitude. I don't know quite what to do. I am still praying, pondering, hoping. Ten minutes is a long time, to be entirely honest. I don't know quite what to do. Brother Jones says he will record it for Andrew maybe. I don't know how to feel about that either.

Got a text from RM- Voodoo doughnuts, laughing. Miss her.

Finally, a wish for my cherished friend, Holly, on her birthday. Thank you Holly for being born and being such a crucial part of my life. I love our discussions, our openness, and will always cherish our friendship. Your influence in my life has change me forever. I appreciate your warmth, comfort, and intellect. Your desire to live the gospel and your valiance impress me. May God bless you everyday as you struggle with whatever you may. Bless you, Holly.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Olive Garden and Cleaning

Today I got up early enough to go to my podiatry appointment. We went there and then we went to Sunflower Market. After that, we went to help my sister Nicole clean up her house. She lives in perpetual chaos, what with a young child who has a curiosity beyond any other child I have met before. We got her kitchen cleaned up. My sister Elise from out of town came and we helped Nicole with Beth, took stuff to the DI and then Elise left to help my other sister Krista with shopping. Then when Kevin came home, we all went out to Olive Garden for dinner. It was ridiculously overpriced. Good. But definitely in need of a price break. Then the mall. Bath and Body Works- glass everywhere thanks to Bethy, black sheep for Eli, etc.

Then I had an interesting discussion with Elise about everything to do with eight. I was very careful- my choice. Sad situation. But, life will go on.

And now I am off to play boggle. What a boring day eh?

Olive Garden and Cleaning

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Shepherd Will Supply My Need- I am not Godless

I was called Godless, in essence today, and let me post a mere fraction of my testimony to prove to all the world that I am not Godless.

He is my King. And here I proclaim that He lives. He lives.


I have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World. Born to Mary, he grew in favor with God and man, went about doing good, healed many, and performed miracles. The blind saw, the deaf heard, the lame walked, the afflicted found comfort He taught a Gospel of peace, love, joy, and happiness. He began to bear the weight of sin in Gethsemane. He was betrayed,condemned, judged, mocked, and crucified. He atoned for our sins upon the cross and in the garden. He died. He descended below all things, raising triumphantly the third day, breaking the bands of death. I have faith that he promises us a bright and glorious future. Because of Him, I can be clean again. Because of Him, I can live with God again. Because of Him, I can be happy for the rest of my life. He is the source of peace, joy, happiness, love, communion, Zion. I have faith that through Him, the mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, I can have all that has been promised to me. His atoning power extends to my sicknesses, my heartaches, all the pains of mortality. He has overcome the world and through Him, I can bear all things. I can endure all things. He's the one who hold us when we cry. I have faith that He is my Lord, my God.

In all the world around me, I feel my Savior's love. From the beautiful sunrise to the smiles of friends who love and care, I know that He created this beautiful world for all of us. Anything edifying or beautiful is of Him. He is Joy. He is Music. He is Love. He is Peace. I have faith that as I offer Him my heart, I can feel His love more abundantly.

I have faith that we have Eternal Parents who sent their Son, Jesus Christ to atone for our sins. God the Father, the author of the Plan of Salvation, helps us through our trials. I have faith that He lives. I have faith that His plan does account for all of us. God's love for us is infinite. He longs to encircle us in the arms of His love. He will never leave us alone. We are not cast off from His love. As we repent and come unto Him, we may feel more abundantly of His love.

I have faith that Christ and God will reign in glory, eternally. Christ will come and reign personally upon the earth. We will see Him face to face, see the nail prints in His hands and the spear wounds in His sides. I will kneel at His feet and weep.

I have faith that Joseph Smith was what he said he was. Despite personal foibles, changing stories, historical inaccuracies, conflicting accounts, and countless other issues, I have faith that he was indeed a prophet of God. He translated a marvelous book of scripture through the gift and power of God, restored many plain and precious truths, and taught doctrine of God. He was not perfect. In fact, most of my faith is based upon the fact that he was not as perfect as many make him out to be. The fact that he was susceptible to human frailties, even in his interaction with the divine, adds to my testimony of him.

I also have faith in Mormonism. I have faith in the principles and ordinances of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have faith that as I express my faith in Jesus Christ, repent, become baptized, and receive the Holy Ghost, I can be cleansed and saved. I have faith in the temple as an expression of an endowment of God's power from on high. It is a sacred place, where covenants with God can be more fully expressed.

I have faith in Church leadership. This is often the hardest of my beliefs to express, as I cannot always see eye to eye with them on issues. But, my faith in them is rooted in a faith in God. I have faith that they are men of God but men nevertheless. They make mistakes but ultimately try their hardest to serve God and act as messengers for Him.


I have hope for a bright future. I have hope that one day, there will be love throughout the world. People will come to see men as they really are, not as they seem. One day, we will see with God's eyes, rather than the frail human eyes we possess now. People will come to love one another in a way that we have not seen before. One day, the imperfections of our own perceptions will be taken away, as we see the struggles of our fellow men. We will weep together, rejoice together, laugh together, as brothers and sisters in Christ.

I have a hope for true Zion. Zion will be established as we strive to create it in our own lives. As we try to give of ourselves, live the law of consecration, and serve God and our fellow men, Zion will be built. I have a bright hope that Zion will come. Zion will come.

I have hope that Christ will come. I have hope that He will heal us all according to the desires of our hearts.


I believe that charity is the most crucial facet of my faith. God has commanded me to show charity. As I try to show charity in my own life, I often focus on how I can express charity in my life.

Charity is more than just simple acts or deeds. It is a genuine concern for others. A hope that others are well, a love for all mankind. Charity is the love our Savior has for us. But ultimately, charity is more than that. Charity is Jesus Christ. Charity is the pure love of Christ. This is two fold- the purest love of our Savior and a pure love of our Savior.

Charity is encircling our arms around the most obstinate of our friends when we feel we cannot love anymore. Charity is loving everyone, even those who you feel like you can't. Charity is a hope and a faith that we can see people the way God sees people. Charity is that smile you give out sometimes, even when you feel you can't smile anymore. Charity is in simplicity.

I love all men. I am trying so hard to do this. Throughout my journey in this life, I have tried so hard to love all people, regardless of their situation. I hope and pray to continue to do this.

My dear readers, if you have read this far, I applaud you. I have borne my soul to you here and today. I remind all of you that in essence, my faith and belief is not simple, but complex. My belief is ever-evolving, always growing. I would like to close with my favorite hymn.

Come, come, ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear;
But with joy wend your way.
Though hard to you this journey may appear,
Grace shall be as your day.
'Tis better far for us to strive
Our useless cares from us to drive;
Do this, and joy your hearts will swell—
All is well! All is well!

Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?
'Tis not so; all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward
If we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take.
Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we'll have this tale to tell—
All is well! All is well!

We'll find the place which God for us prepared,
Far away in the West,
Where none shall come to hurt or make afraid;
There the Saints will be blessed.
We'll make the air with music ring,
Shout praises to our God and King;
Above the rest these words we'll tell—
All is well! All is well!

And should we die before our journey's through,
Happy day! All is well!
We then are free from toil and sorrow, too;
With the just we shall dwell!
But if our lives are spared again
To see the Saints their rest obtain,
Oh, how we'll make this chorus swell—
All is well! All is well!

God bless. In the name of my precious Savior, Jesus Christ.

My friends, I stand as a witness of God here and now. He lives.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

My Poor Jesus

So today, again, was one of those days interspersed with emotions. I wasn't particularly happy with Church today when Prop 8 was indirectly mentioned again in Sacrament Meeting for the 1 millionth time. It was about prophets, prayer, faith. And somehow I wanted to weep. I believe President Monson is a prophet, I know that that is true, but Prop 8 is hurting me, continually.

My best friend here at BYU, my cherished, cherished friend who is always there for me, told me the other day to stop worrying about it. She has a point but here's why I can't really. Let me explain.

All around me I see my temples protested outside of, my people mocked, my people fighting back with ugly words, slurs about being bigots on both sides, my cherished Church under fire, my brothers and sisters, children of God all hurting each other. On the other hand, there are those of us who doubted Prop 8 and its motives and the Church's involvement, but nonetheless tried to support the Church in some ways. And where does that lead me? I can't win. To some I am an apostate who is paving the way to hell, to others I am not tolerant enough. Why can't I ever win? For one of the few times in my life, I feel as if I am being mocked from both sides of the fence. I feel as if my journey through life is more difficult than I am able to bear.

So this comes to my title. Kenneth Cope wrote a song about the atonement and its application to us. It goes from us watching Jesus suffer, an angel in heaven wanting to bear him up, to us, those same angels, suffering in our sins here. Ultimately, I suffer in my heartache over what has happened with my Church. And only Christ knows my heartache. My Poor Jesus died for you and me. He can help me bear this. I know He can. But it will take time. Healing does not happen overnight.

Today, as usual, someone indirectly mentioned it again. Some claim it is good PR for the Church. I don't believe it. During my experience, I felt cut off. It wasn't my Church anymore, it was the Church of Californians. It's not just the Church of the Californian's and their Proposition. It's my Church too. It's my Church too. And how I love it! And yet today, I feel as if I have been slandered. Dragged through the mud. Hurt. Wounded.

To my gay brothers and sisters of the world, may I say how much I truly love you. No matter what happens in the future, I love you. Please know that.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

In Which Jacob Becomes an Hermit

Today was one of those days where most of it was occupied by sleeping, lounging about, showering, Cafe Rio and Jamba Juice, followed by more sleeping. I tried to read Cry, The Beloved Country, but found myself falling asleep while reading it. I don't know why I felt more like sleeping today than usual. I think I am slightly sick but not enough to cause any kind of concern. I am mostly just worn out and ready for a nice break, involving real food- like vegetables and the likes. I really am so sick of eating terribly here. I can't wait to eat well again. I try to eat well, but turns out it is hard to do so everyday. I need to start planning meals, less eating out, more eating in, and less stress. Let's hope I can do it. I think I can. I hope I can. Hermitage today= pure joy.

Anyway, I am going to read a bit before bed and then I will be able to get up tomorrow on time. Last Sunday before going home!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Press Forward with Hope of Thanksgiving- I Will Sing of My Redeemer= Oh My Father

Today was my last day of having assignments! I finished my Honors 150 presentation (we got a 45/50- I was pleased!) and then I came home and "slept" for a couple hours. Got up to have lunch with Rachel Mize and Dani, that was a joy in general. Then I talked to Lauren, Krista, and Ashley in their kitchen-random, got a call from SarahJane, went back to my place to make Swedish Brownies while she sat on the massage chair- love it. We talked, I listened, she listened. Our days- random happenings, etc. Then the movie class with pizza, the TA's enjoyed my brownies, along with everyone else. They were gone in a snap. My friend Krista was shocked how good they were. She loved them. Babettes Feast!- One of my new favorite films I think. I enjoyed it. Came back to hang with Katie and children, excursion to library, sniffing the books. Came back- Dark Knight plans destroyed- no cars!, watched Hitch- a rather interesting movie, not a huge fan but not majorly opposed. Then the Seagull Book Catalog- the mail. I almost died of joy. So much Mormon product. Can't hold in joy.

Anyway, bread calls.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Jacob's Greatest Concern and Would You Consecrate?

So lately I have noticed a change in my interaction with someone. Is it the stress of life? What is going on exactly? Maybe a nice break from school will bring everything back to normal? Was it something that I said? Was it something that I did? I don't really understand. I feel like something is up but I don't dare ask. But things seem fine sometimes? I don't know. People are just very confusing. That's my greatest concern

Anyway, today was one of those acceptable days. I woke up a little later than I thought I would. Showered after revising my paper. Took it to Virginia after a little bowl of cereal. She liked it and I think it is her turn to grade my paper. That will make me smile and be happy. I like Virginia even though she seems tough sometimes. I think she is fair and intelligent. She is always so willing to help too. Anyway... Honors 292R thesis panel- interesting but hard to follow, then library and reading Nibley and finishing up my paper. Then Civ- consecration of books anyone? And Piano- 3:15 rather than 3:00, easier to get to. Talking to Krista and Lauren about it. Katie- it will be tough. Playing with broom. Megan and her BLOBS. All the joy. All the joy. All the confusion and confusion. Tiredness. Jacob is going to take a nap tomorrow, that's for sure.

And now I must sleep.

Sigh. At least

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Before Sleep- A List

Wake up, no shower, no breakfast, late, late, get to class on time, presentations, listen, listen, RM and my concern for her, continual, coming home, talking to Mother about Chelsea's boyfriend and Thanksgiving, etc. SarahJane and I- Lunch at Creamery, candy bar, "studying" in the library, Spanish, Satisfacer, stress, helping SJ with paper, stress, piano, stress, Civ paper, stress, stress, it's almost over, research paper-argumentative, it's almost over, thanksgiving, picture that, picture it, picture it now, writing, food, food, food, sleep sleep sleep.

Be Still and Know

"Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God."-D&C 121:16

What an appropriate scripture as we all face struggles, tests, papers, and general stress in our lives! How often do we forget the fact that God is indeed with us always and that in the end our efforts to become perfect and more like Him? How often do we remember that we will triumph? All these things will be for our good? As I have traveled through life, I am realizing how often I do not realize this. I often complain and ask God why he has given me this load to bear, this trial to endure. How could a loving God do this to me?

I don't know why God gives us the trials we have necessarily. But recently I came to a realization. God gives us trials for one reason: "Because He loves us." This sounded odd to me when I first heard it too. It really did. I did not understand it at all and brushed it aside, only to later realize how much I have learned from my trials. I never wish trials upon myself, I know that they will come and keep coming until the day I die, but I am grateful for each and every one of them in the end. From my struggles with doubt to my struggle to find who I really am, I have been so blessed by God as He has helped me along the path, taught me compassion.

I guess that is my main message. If we desire compassion and seek comfort, we must be the first in line to offer it to someone else. Everyone around us suffers just a little bit. Everyone needs that hug or that kind smile or word, even on the days that we don't feel willing to offer it. Often we don't realize how much that really can mean to someone. That in and of itself, is a manifestation of God's love and desire for us to learn. Fellow Saints of God, I call upon us to rise up. To lift the heads of the weary. To give comfort. To mourn with those who mourn. Proclaim love, peace, joy, and concern for all people. Not just the people we are comfortable with. This means everyone. This means that person you struggle with, that person who you may not agree with on certain issues, that person who you think is living in sin. As you do this, your burdens will be lifted and you will be endowed with knowledge and power from on high.

Now go forth. And do likewise.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tired but Thankful

Today I woke up earlier than usual. I didn't know why but then I remembered that I had to get the sack lunches to Dallin's apt before my Book of Mormon class. I went to BOM and found it to be okay. I was a bit tired but I went to bed earlier last night than I had in the past. It felt amazing. Poor Sam stayed up until 4 or so I was told by Geoff. I felt bad that he had to stay up writing his paper for so long. Mine was finished and ready pretty much by Sunday. My Civ paper is still undergoing revising and other changes.

Today I really felt so thankful for my experience at BYU. I am trying harder to learn. God is helping me along the way as I am learning to balance my social, spiritual, and secular development. It is a difficult path. Straining at times but I am learning to overcome my challenges.

My Spanish test was hard but I think I did okay. At this point any grade will do for me though. I also enjoyed Civ today, an unusual development. And now I am SarahJane's apartment enjoying her company, as usual. We are about to read scriptures together before we say goodnight to one another.

And now we read.

Monday, November 17, 2008

What A Friend We Have In Jesus

Just reminding everyone on this very stressful day and in our stressful time of life with papers due, tests abounding, and thousands of others things on our minds.

What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised Thou wilt all our burdens bear
May we ever, Lord, be bringing all to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright unclouded there will be no need for prayer
Rapture, praise and endless worship will be our sweet portion there.

Let's all put a smile on our weary faces and remember Him.

Prone To Wander

I feel prone to wander. I often feel as if somehow I am wandering from here to there. Searching for purpose and direction. But I am finding it. I really am. So I am happy. I felt a bit like weeping tonight, if only for the reason to just weep. I like to have a good cry once in a while. There is something refreshing about it. Almost cathartic. Scratch that. Wholly cathartic.

Church was okay today. More Prop 8 business. I have to learn to ignore it. But it is hard when I feel like the Church I cherish is under attack and I want everyone to be loving and for the Church to be loved. Unfortunately, this is an unrealistic expectation. Besides Church I felt like playing the piano. The hymns of Zion comfort me. Dinner with FHE sisters was quite good. I was happy about that. Talked to Mother and David. I am so excited to go home and spend more time with them! I really don't think we appreciate how much we love people until we are away from them. Now take that missing/loving and multiply it by 2 years. Ouch. That's going to be tough as I would proclaim in my singing voice.

Sleep. Bread. Happiness. Joy. They all sound good.

Now for the comment thread idea that I feel like I should do today. Tell me your favorite hymn or religious song and why.

Mine is Arise Oh God and Shine because it is so bright and happy and expresses my feelings about God.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Zion Seekers

So today was another one of those "sequester-myself-in-my-room-until-my-homework-is-done-or-until-I-fritter-my-life-away-Saturdays". I couldn't really stand the thought of being social, eating, or anything like that. I am happy. I really am, but I am just so stressed out that I have to withdraw from everything . So I stayed in my room, took my Book of Mormon Quiz- I got a 9/10, thought about my Spanish test, Rough Stone Rolling when I woke up, avoiding tithing settlement, avoiding thinking about BYU religious culture, avoiding Prop 8 backlash- I can't avoid it. It is everywhere, and finally a visit to SarahJane. And now I am thinking that I have to avoid my LSH friends. I am just not in the mood to see them right now. I am tired. And stressed.

In my experience at BYU, I have come to realize that there are essential two motives for coming to BYU. There are those who to come to Utah hoping to find a fellowship of the Saints and hence find what they believe to be "Zion". Then there is the other type. Me. The people who don't know why they came to BYU- besides its stellar academic record and the feeling that they should be here or came here for program x or program y. Tonight I would like to blog about why people who come to Provo, or Utah to try to find Zion need to realize that Utah is Zion, but not because it is Utah, but because we make it Zion.

One of the first "Zion Seekers" I met here at BYU told me repeatedly about their patriarchal blessing and how it claimed that they would marry quickly, raise their children in the Gospel, see God and Christ, and live a cookie cutter perfect life, if they were obedient. I was impressed at first, but then quickly became disillusioned as her view of Utah in general grew to dishearten me. She thought it was perfect how Utah is the way it is, that it is so great to be around so many active Mormons, that this really is the place, along with other oddities in her Mormon belief(people have no right to turn down a calling anyone?) I often get the impression that either I am wrong or they are wrong. Or we are both wrong. But I digress.

Her "Zion Seeking" to me drove me to the point where we could no longer be friends. Had she lived through the pain of my progression from a Utah Hades to a Utah heaven, she would understand my hesitance in her statements. Let me say this straight out: Utah is just as much Zion as anywhere in America- from Oregon to Massachusetts,or from Canada to Russia, from east to west, wherever there are the pure in heart and the faithful, there Zion is. Zion, in our modern conception, is much more of a state of mind, rather than an actual place. Utah has a higher concentration of Mormons, yes. But with that higher concentration also comes a low activity rate, higher rates of disillusion with the Church, and other problems. It is not that Utah Mormons are any worse or less faithful than other Mormons, it is merely the concentration of Mormons that causes the problem. People feel the need to be diverse, different. In my opinion, however, the greatest need for Zion is diversity, not similarity. God never wants us to abandon who we are, he wants us to abandon what our carnal nature would have us be. He doesn't want people who are all the same, He wants all of His precious saints, both black and white, bound and free, straight and gay, liberal and conservative, it doesn't matter to Him. The only thing He asks is that we give our life to Him. If we give our life, our heart and our sins to Him, we have built Zion.

So how did I come to see Utah as Zion? It was a slow progression. I loved then hated and now love Utah. I don't really understand how the progression happened. But I do believe that as I tried to give up my pride and attempted to retain my individuality, I discovered that Zion is what we make of it. I needed a better attitude. I am trying to see past people's imperfections as I try to forgive myself of my own. I forgive people for things they say as I try to remember that I have said much worse. Thus, I found Zion. Or rather, I am finding Zion.

And that has made all the difference.

Friday, November 14, 2008

New Blog Title

I am brainstorming ideas for a new blog title. I loved Jacob's Musings, but sometimes I like a little change of pace. Right now I have it as "Little Town, Full of Little People." But to be entirely honest, I am still thinking of a new title to give my blog. It would better express my feelings about life in general. I like life. A lot. But some days I have to realize that it is only for now.

I feel as if my experience at BYU will be a springboard for a new period in my life. I am a 19 year-old Mormon male, on the verge of going on a mission- God willing. Of course, I won't be leaving until after Winter Semester, but it still approaches faster than I would like it to. I don't feel old enough. I never will probably. Part of me feels like I will never grow up. I don't feel prepared enough to share some of these things. It is not that I doubt, per se, while doubt is very much a part of my religious experience. It is more that I don't know how to express myself and bear testimony. It will be a curious day.

Here's the rest of my day: Woke up and did something I didn't have to do for Honors 150, went to it without showering, visited Jessie-Megan-Stella-Madison-Rochelle's apt to help with finding LDS artist for Madison, found out my Spanish section was cancelled, got a new section, trying to decide if I should take it or what I should do with my schedule, napped, napped, got up, Civ movie lab- too long, Lawrence of Arabia was not in that kind of mood today, leaving early, rice, homework, love sack, wassail, random thoughts, random concerns, listening to music, wasting time,etc. And now I need to sleep. But we will see if that actually happens.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

And Life's Seemingly Simple Hardnes

Life lately has seemed so hard. It is not like I am unhappy. I feel really happy for most of the day, but then the stress kicks in and that doesn't make me terribly happy. Right now I feel like a nice cup of tea and a full nights sleep. I am going to go to bed soon. I am so tired of this day.

Woke up, showered, Book of Mormon- I am not as big of a fan as everyone else, but I still like it, Honors 292R Color Code, talks, Civ stres, Civ stress, Civ Stress, CIV STRESS, Civ presentation, not too bad- A-, Piano- My Poor Teacher! I will keep her in my thoughts, she is really stressed!, Welsh games, thinking about taking Welsh again, coming home after the cougar eat and a stop in the library, eating my delicious salad, watching TV, SarahJane's class hours- since she is a multiple credit class, Catherine too!, The Office, Creamery and Margo, seeing one of my secret crushes- if only she didn't have a boyfriend, saldría con ella, etc, etc. And now I really need to sleep.

But before I do, I want to comment on how life seems so hard but it seems so simple sometimes. Life throws you for a loop too often. It seems so hard but becomes easy and vica versa. I am not really in the mood to be thrown for a loop. Repetitively. But I must admit I like it being easier than I think. I just wish I could decide on Welsh 102 or Civ 202?

I will wait. And watch.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Fiery, Burning Hatred

I am feeling a bit more whiney tonight, so I will enlighten you all with my rant about the fact that Civilization Class, a class that I so frequently attend, is of the red fiery,burning place. Literally. Let me just say preparing for 20 possible 10 minute presentations is about the equivalent of cutting of your hand and then being asked to write an essay on Ante-Bellum French economic conditions and how they impact France to this day and also how this all relates to the purpose of the universe. It is not possible. Not possible. Ever. Even if you had an eternity to do it. This is absurd. I am so upset about this, I cannot begin to express my hatred towards this class. I never will be able to express it. Let it burn. Let it burn again and again.

Here's what else I have to worry about. Great works response, argument paper, Civ paper, BOM paper, Spanish test, Welsh Game, Piano, Laundry, Sleep, Spirituality, God, Love, Homework, blah blah blah.

Today I tried my hardest to work but I found it hard. I did my Spanish mostly and got it. Went to English and Mission prep-Celebration. Bookstore vent- as usual. Then homework. Then I was at SarahJane's and we had good enchiladas. I love how SarahJane feeds me. I want to feed her more. Maybe after things calm down, I will manage to do it. I am just pressing forward til Thanksgiving. That's the goal. That's the hope. That's the plan. Endure until then and you can do anything. Manage time better! Manage it better! RIGHT NOW. Do it or die. That's the only option. No time for socialization when you have the Civ test from hell and the various parts that go along with it. My roommate just came in to complain with me. It was a bonding moment. Seriously the worst test ever. He is dressing up as Griggs. That makes me happy. We have a Griggs sock puppet. In fact, we have many sock puppets.

So here's to the test from HELL. In 10 years, I will remember that time I had that class that was... the BANE of my FRESHMAN existence. That and the crazy Mormons. And that time I apparently offended someone more than they had ever been. But AF is leaving BYU. Disneyworld anyone?

Loving Everyone

I got my editorial published today. It was about bigotry and love. I really wish we could just come to the point of loving everyone. I really wish we could. I don't get the hate. Let's all stop hating. We may not agree with your behavior, but that doesn't mean we can't love you. That doesn't mean we can't cherish you. That doesn't mean we have to spew lies about you and your conduct.

Today was a good ish day. But the stress. And now I want to sleep. And think.

Monday, November 10, 2008

It's All a Blur

Today feels like one of those days that went by like a blur. I remember going to English-waking up later than I would have liked, Mission Prep- companion honeymoon, cleaning, cleaning, homework, Spanish homework, thinking, cleaning. Then I went to a meeting with Toni, my peer mentor, but I had to run to Teriyaki Sticks right before to get some curry because I was starving. Then I went to Spanish- I did okay on the test,I got an 88, and the verb quiz wasn't too bad- I think I got a 100. I also did fairly well on my composition, I got minus nine. I am happy with that class, I like learning Spanish with Professor Fails quite a bit. He is really a good professor and teaches us well. Stressful though? Yes. Very much so. I find myself stressed out all the time because of that class.

Then after that I went to the Creamery, came home, went to FHE, played phase 10 for ten seconds, saw SarahJane, went to the Creamery with her, etc. etc.

Today really is merely a blur and I have nothing insightful to say. I thought about blogging about LDS history, but I am a bit too tired for that as of right now. So, if you are reading this right now, forgive my incoherence.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Whining through Gratitude

So I woke up, not feeling the world, not feeling Church, not feeling anything in reality. Instead of whine about my problems today , though, I will blog about my favorite things today instead, which is Jacob's way of saying: I want to whine right now.

The atonement, God the Father, Holy Ghost, repentance, Hymns, Singing, The Piano, Un Suspiro, Wicked, Mormon Music, Mormonganda, Rough Stone Rolling, Friends, Chocolate, Spaghetti, Pizza, Samosas, Curries, Tofu, Rice, SarahJane, Catherine, Margo, Ceci, Casey, Courtney, RM, the people in my ward, long talks, running water, toilets, shower, ASL, Welsh, Spanish, Honors 292R, pomegranates, blueberries, blackberries, cheeses, bread, bobba, Spanish culture, food, eggs, bacon, doughnuts, maple syrup, chocolate chips, theology, history, American culture, warm sweaters, hugs, kisses, singing at the top of my lungs, Disney music, reading, books, the Little Prince, smiles, pretty girls, Into the Woods, Oedipus the King, good grades on essays, Spanish literature, ASL literature, classifiers, verb conjugations, irregular verbs, friends, friends, friends, gum, CTR rings, Mormon picture books, Reflections of Christ, defying gravity, mymap, Church history, Susan Easton Black, Jack Christianson, Mindy Gledhill, Lactaid, Sangría, enchiladas, cookies, making people smile, making people laugh, giving comfort, flying free, loving everyone, learning about other people's faiths, Wall-E (think E-Llaw!), Welsh translations gone awry, my Welsh prof, my Spanish prof, my writing teacher, my Civ TAs, healing balms, the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, The Scarlet Letter, Death of a Salesman, the Crucible, Seagull Book and Tape, Covenant Communications, Printers, 501 Spanish Verbs, Anti-Mormon literature ( a guilty pleasure), Robert Millet, Facebook, Facebook chat, a quiet dorm, BYU bathrooms, the SWKT, the Maesar building, the JFSB, the JSB, vending machines, kleenex, aprons, hot chocolate, computers, the internet, missionaries- especially the cute sister missionaries, the Spanish Bible, my Mormonganda shirt, my ASL dictionaries, my Spanish dictionaries, my pillow, my electronic shaver, my Mormon CDs, puns, puns, puns, socks, snow, rain, ice, fire, roasted/burnt marshmallows, everything else.

And that's my blog. Read everything and add something to be grateful for in the comments section.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Lazy Day and Love, Emma

Today was one of those days where I really did not feel like being social. I stayed in my room for most of the day, avoiding almost everyone. Last night was fun, but I was a bit worn out. I decided to rest for a day from being social as I found myself rather tired. I went to sleep last night around 3:30 and got up at 11:30, waking up briefly at 5:30 for no apparent reason. I hope to be able to sleep better tonight. I feel quite a bit more ready to sleep.

I did my laundry, tried to do some homework, listened to my loud apartment with S's g.f. here. She is quite loud. Nice but loud. Very loud. They were watching the football game. I showered after a little bit and kept working on my homework, chatting on Facebook, and listening to Legally Blonde and the Emma Smith video repeatedly.

I love Emma. I really do. I don't know why I feel this connection to her that has grown even stronger since I came to BYU. I feel more connected to her than Joseph somehow. Don't get me wrong, I love Joseph and I have a very deep (read very again) connection with him, but on an indescribable level, I feel like a bit more like an Emma. I think it is because I connect with her emotional loss and her decision to not move west. I mean if I were in her position, I don't know what I would have done. Many think Emma didn't follow Brigham because she had apostatized. I really am much more sympathetic to her plight. She had lost so many children, her husband, her whole family. She saw a whole course of struggles that we cannot imagine. She didn't really give up, in my humble opinion. She took care of Lucy Mack. She raised Bidamon's illegitimate child. I tend to think that, as Emma Smith: My Story says, "Strength isn't something you have, it's something you find." I think too often I find myself wondering where Emma's strength went rather than pondering and reflecting on how how perhaps her staying out of the Church was necessary. Brigham Young was not complementary to Emma in the least bit. This does not diminish his role as the prophetic leader of the Church. Brigham just did not get along with Emma, as can be seen from the following quotes.

..."To my certain knowledge, Emma Smith is one of the damnedest liars I know of on this earth; yet there is no good thing I would refuse to do for her, if she would only be a righteous woman; but she will continue in her wickedness. Not six months before the death of Joseph, he called his wife Emma into a secret council, and there he told her the truth, and called upon her to deny it if she could. He told her that the judgments of God would come upon her forthwith if she did not repent. He told her of the time she undertook to poison him, and he told her that she was a child of hell, and literally the most wicked woman on this earth, that there was not one more wicked than she. He told here where she got the poison, and how she put it in a cup of coffee; said he 'You got that poison from so and so, and I drank it, but you could not kill me.' When it entered his stomach he went to the door and threw it off. he spoke to her in that council in a very severe manner, and she never said one word in reply. I have witnesses of this scene all around, who can testify that I am now telling the truth. Twice she undertook to kill him. [Utah Historical Quarterly, vol. 48, Winter 1980, 82]

Joseph used to say that he would have her hereafter, if he had to go to hell for her, and he will have to go to hell for her as sure as he ever gets her. (Journal of Discourses Vol. 17)

Someday I want to meet Brother Brigham. I want to shake his hand and hear his voice. I think he was a hothead, yes. But was he a prophet too. Yes. That's the thing that's so great about Mormonism is that prophets are people too. They make mistakes. God doesn't use perfect instruments. He uses ones with cracks and jagged edges that are not fully in tune. But through Him, they become more perfect. They become more open to the response to the Divine. I see this as a pattern.

We are not a perfect Church. Yet. But we are getting there. Give us some time. I am trying to be like Jesus too. I don't want to hurt people who are different. I want to walk with those who walk differently, talk with those who talk differently. That's my goal. Perhaps that's what my study of Emma is about. She was an example of virtue. She may have had her flaws. She may have wondered about plural marriage. She may have even "apostatized" in the eyes of some. But that doesn't diminish her virtue, her goodness. She tried to show love to everyone, even her 2nd husband, who cheated on her and had a child. Emma to me is a reflection of human nature. We try so hard. We try so hard. We really do. But we often fail. Emma tried throughout her life to gain her Heavenly Father's blessings. And in the end somehow I think she did.

Preference, Bruises, and Naps- The Egyptians would have made good Mormons too.

Today was one of those days where I did not want to get out of bed on time. I would have rather stayed in bed for at least an hour and half longer. But I got out of bed, refused to take a shower, went to class, came back and listened to Legally Blonde for a bit, went to Cannon Center for Lunch with SarahJane. We ran into Carly, Romm, and Spencer, which was delightful of course. SarahJane told me about some happenings in her life that made me so happy. I couldn't even contain myself when I was walking with her, I was so excited for her. That's the best thing about friendships. You finally come to the realization that you love your friends so much that their joys become your joys, your joys become theirs. Also, their sorrows become yours, yours become theirs. I am grateful for friends. Saw Margo and SarahJane.

Then I took a nap. That was nice but I was running late for Civ. Walked there with Krista and Lauren. Griggs lecture was so interesting. I loved it because the Egyptians basically would have been/were Mormons. Three heavens, garments, endowments, baptism, etc. it all fits quite interestingly into the Mormon scheme of things. I think this lecture would have been even better if we were all endowed. I think the endowment will be fascinating. I really love this idea of being gifted with power from on high, mostly because I crave that so much. So I was a fan. Longer than needful, but still good.

Then we went to eat, progressive dinner Cougar Eat. Games, giggling. Ice skating after, dancing, eating, me falling a lot, scared to skate, loving the skating but hating the falling, wishing I could actually do it. Rachel hurting her poor foot. We drank hot cider and talked. I liked it a lot. Rachel is such a good friend, we had such a good time.

Came home. Played some hymns. I needed some alone time today. I needed it. And now I need sleep.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Peace and Solace

Today was a good day. Then again, I have been having good days in Provo lately. Today I got up a little late for Book of Mormon, but I made it there on time. Harriet and Elise (both of whom I promised to mention in my blog- despite their attempts to make me giggle with their limited ASL knowledge) walked in late. Silly children staying up late. Then RM and I went to the MSRB to wait for Honors 292R. I ran into Angela- we talked for a bit. That was nice. Then we went into the lecture room for my favorite Honors 292R lecture that we have had so far.

She talked about selling your birthright for a mess of pottage- becoming frauds in the modern world. People often use excuses and make themselves frauds. People deny the blessings of the Spirit, leave the Church, involve themselves in false attempts to find truths through sex, drugs, alcohol, and thus people make themselves frauds. She told us often God has more marvelous plans than we can imagine. I wonder about this for myself, as I am struggling to discover my purpose. This lecture was very spiritual. I can't quite express it in words. It was a spiritual experience and not an emotional one, as she said people often confuse emotional experiences for. She is behind a lot of LDS produced things- Fourth Witness (shout out to alea- he introduced this to me), the Testaments, the Hill Cumorah pageant, Finding Faith in Christ- the woman with issue of blood was her (? I am not fully sure- she mentioned something about that), and Emma Smith: My Story (with my new obsession with Emma, I almost freaked out when she said that). I loved her lecture. She was quite the teacher. That's what I love about 292R- the exposure to so many different wonderful professors.

A few other highlights from today: Civ-boring, piano-good,talking to Andrew on the phone about the protesters (which I will address in a moment) Welsh-good (I decided to take Welsh 102! I think...),dinner, visiting with my favorite SarahJane and her wonderful roommates Catherine, Margo and Ceci, Wall-E with Katie, Heeje, Peter, socializing, registering for classes (!) and now almost sleeping.

So when Andrew called me I was shocked about the news that people were protesting outside LDS temples but not really shocked at the same time. Prop 8 brought up a lot of emotions. I am saddened by these protests and feel that they are not the best way to resolve the issue. I am saddened in general, however. I love God and all men and harbor no resentment towards anyone. I wish they would pay me and my fellow Saints, even if we are not always worthy of that name, the same courtesy. As an American citizen, I support their right wholeheartedly to protest, but I am saddened that they lay the "blame" squarely on the Mormons who, while major financial bankers, are not the full reason it passed, in fact, they are not even the major reason it did.

I feel for the Saints in California who are trying their best to live like Jesus whether they opposed or supported the Prop. To them, if any of them read this, I offer this simple message from the words of one of my favorite hymns that has carried me through the toughest of times.

Alice Gifford- Where Can I Turn for Peace?
"Where Can I turn for peace,
Where is my solace when other sources cease to make me whole.
When with a wounded heart, anger, or malice,
I draw myself apart, searching my soul

Where, when my aching grows,
Where when I languish,
Where, in my need to know, where can I run?
Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish?

Who, who can understand
He, only One.
He answers privately,
Reaches my reaching,

In my Gethsemane, Savior and Friend
Gentle the peace he finds for my beseeching.
Constant he is and kind
Love without end."

In this lifetime we will have our Gethsemanes. Our Golgothas. But remember, God will help you. Much like the sad Friday when Christ died, we will face days of challenge, heartache, namecalling, and just being hurt in general. But I promise you, like Elder Wirthlin has, Sunday will come. Whether it be here or in the eternities, it does not matter. God will not cast us off. He will send us angels to bear us up. Christ will hold us when we cry. I know this. I have languished. I have suffered. And I felt that healing hand in my life that only Christ can offer. He will succor us, no matter what the situation. In the deepest pit of despair, He will come to us. He may not relieve us of our challenges or even our problems, but I promise that he will come to comfort and bear us up. It may be through someone else. It may be through that person that you never thought you would meet. That person you prayed for for over 10 years in your life. It may be through that friend you thought you would never had. God listens.

God Himself atoned for your sins. Now let us go and proclaim the peace and solace He will bring to all that accept His atonement and come unto Him. All ye that are weary, find that peace and solace.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Chip on My Shoulder

I woke up today to a surprise. Proposition 8 passed. To be entirely honest, I was quite shocked. This is not the end of the fight, I assure you. There will be more legal battles than you can imagine. I don't think Prop 8 will stick but only time will tell. The surprising thing is how close it was/wasn't. I mean it was a dead heat for most of it, but it appears that it passed by enough of a margin to make it clear early on that it was going to pass. I will be curious to see how the 18,000 unions that have already happened will be handled.

Today was a pretty good day. Snow in Provo. Woke up on time to get out of the house by 8:35 to make it to class. Turned in our research papers, watched Obama and McCain's speeches. I was impressed by Obama to be honest, but something about his reminds me of some sort of "rhetrickery". And right now I am having a hard time differentiating between Spanish and English punctuation. I just realized it when I wrote that last sentence. Anyway. I went to mission prep, got confused by Bro. Bott and his view on Prop 8. It really is a testing period for the Church I think. As if the Church needed more testing, right? But in my opinion, I think how we respond in this situation will determine a lot. When we decide to follow the prophet or not, we do not leave our brains at the door. Proposition 8 proved to me that you can be a faithful Mormon and either support the prophet or still sustain the brethren but disagree with them on this issue. Ultimately, I think we have to take our question to the source. I definitely think there is a wise and glorious purpose for the Church's actions even if I will never understand them in mortality. I will press forward either way. In the end, I hope to cause no pain to anyone, but I realize that in pursuit of what I believe to be moral, I cannot always, in every situation be popular.

After mission prep, I wandered to the bookstore as usual. Looked around for a bit. I am starting to think about Christmas. Then I came home and saw that my Facebook note was still attracting many comments. It still is. Over 40 and still counting. Varying opinions, as stark as you can imagine. I stayed on Facebook for a bit then wrote my letter for Spanish. Then I went to the creamery and bought 14 dollars worth of groceries. Came home. Ate pizza. Went to Spanish. Enjoyed it, as usual. Coming along on that minor I think. I can't wait to take more Spanish. I would highly recommend my Prof. I really love Professor Fails! He is great. I would love to take an upper level Spanish class from him. After Spanish, I came home, texting Elise about BYU attitudes. I also texted RM and we had dinner together. Spaghetti, grapes, carrots, herbal tea. It was delicious. We watched the Simpsons.

Then we went to the missionary fireside for my class. It was great. I loved it. I felt bad cause at one point I was texting my friend about Prop 8 and one of my friends turned to me and asked me to stop texting. I wasn't offended, I actually felt way bad and got that guilty feeling I always get. Silly Jacob texting. Silly silly bad child.

Listening to Legal Blonde. I like this Chip on my Shoulder song. I feel like I have a chip on my shoulders at times. But not really. I just felt like that would be a good blog title. Being here at BYU, I feel inadequate sometimes. Everyone is so smart and has done so many great things. Then there's me. At least I have silliness to back me up.

Came home, practiced the piano, thought about how much candy I ate today. Oh well. And now it is almost time for bed.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I am Putting Blood on My Doorposts

Today is election day. After what seems like four long years of campaigning, the 2008 Election has finally arrived. And here again, America is at a crossroads. This election will determine countless things in American history. Will we have the first African American president? Will we have a woman vice president? And possibly on the mind of everyone who is involved in the LDS Church: What will the outcome on Prop 8 be?

Recently I read a blog that likened Prop 22, the other California Prop about gay marriage, to the Children of Israel putting blood upon their doors as they did in Exodus 12:7 to save them from the destroying angel. I rather like this analogy. The Israelites did not know for what purpose they did what they did. They only knew that God had commanded them to do it. As a demonstration of faith, they did it. They trusted God and pressed forward and were blessed.

I have to be entirely honest with everyone here and now. I am saddened by the Church's actions in this regard. I love the Church with all my heart but I feel torn about this issue. It is not that I support gay marriage (in fact I am opposed to it) but I do not like the way that this has been handled. I find myself sick to think that so much mud has been slung and so many people have been hurt by this battle over the legal definition of marriage. On the other hand, however, I applaud the Church for taking a stand on what they believe to be an important issue. Good for them.

But I have my reservations about Proposition 8. I personally am of the opinion that the state should not be involved with marriage at all. Marriage is a religious sacrament, not a state issued institution. I believe that Civil Unions should be established for two consenting parties. Marriage should remain in the hands of the Churches. God ordained marriage between a man and a woman as a religious ceremony. Civil marriages, or those outside of the Temple of God, do not hold in the eternities. Only those marriages sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise are valid in the Kingdom of God. Only those who endure to the end and work with their whole hearts will keep their celestial marriages. All other marriages are just for one brief moment in mortality. So I cannot fully understand why the Church has taken this particular stance. Why here? Why now? Does this legislation prevent sin? I personally believe the Church is more concerned with the acceptance of the sexual sin of homosexual conduct more than anything, but I do not see how passing Prop 8 will change people's inclination to sin.

This being said, I return to my initial thought regarding the children of Israel. God asked them to paint the blood on their doorposts. They didn't know why. Through my interpretation this blood represents the atoning blood of Jesus Christ which saves us from the devil and his angels. But the key facet of this story is the fact that they did not know why they did it, they just did it. The Church provides reasons for supporting Prop 8 that I have heard countless times. I still do not understand why the Church is so adamant on their stance. I may never know. But because I have faith of God's presence in this Church and the divine nature of his leaders while I may doubt at times their motives, or other things. Here and now is where we must take a stand. Since I believe God and try to trust Him, my No on Prop 8 (which I would do most likely without the Church's influence) becomes a Yes on Prop 8. As for right now, I will paint the blood on my door and wait. And watch. And pray.

Lord I believe. Help thou my unbelief.

Bed is Beckoning

Today was a good day. Ish. That is. I went to class, laughed, giggled, got out early, talked, felt the spirit, pondered, etc. I answered Rachel to Preference after FHE, fun game time with sucking up Reese's pieces, etc. I am stressed. Need more sleep. Spanish test tomorrow coupled with BOM midterm that was pain and death and an awful monster. Bro Belnap would be proud that I used that just barely I hope. I am tired of typing.

Praying that election day works out. I am hoping that God will bless all to feel love and peace two of the fruits of the spirit.

Bed is beckoning. Sleep sounds wonderful.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My Day

It's now my turn to blog a bit about my day. Today was my birthday of course. It was a good day. I was quite happy and pleased with it. Let's go through play by play.

I woke up this morning. Earlier than I needed to, of course. Daylight savings time always messes everything up. Sam was getting ready for Church and our alarms went off almost simultaneously. I lay in bed. I missed Elise's phone call. She sang me Happy Birthday on her phone. I showered. Sang. Thought about what I was fasting for. Love, peace, fellowship among the Saints and sinners among us. May the sinners come to a realization of their God and Lord and repent. May the Saints realize their weaknesses and come unto God and forsake themselves of all ungodliness. Church. Sacrament meeting. Good spirituality, no mention of Prop 8. Priesthood is what got me. I can't handle Prop 8 stuff anymore. I became frustrated. I will admit it. I support the brethren. But on this issue, I am torn. Officially torn. If I were in California, I do not know that I would vote Yes on Prop 8. I pray for love. Tolerance. Acceptance of opinion, not of sin. God knows His saints are not about to win any popularity contests. They shouldn't. I know I shouldn't. But I am a softie. I want everyone to feel loved and to be loved so that God can show His glory to them. That way they can change. Become true Saints. Sunday school was good. Got out early. Talked to Katie about things. Prophets and weaknesses- I can't think they are just men in touch with God.

Break the fast. Singing. Chicken, rice, sauce,etc. CES fireside. Rachel and I talking. Laughter. Then. Everything. From the candles in the blueberry muffins to Feliz Cumpleaños cookies. A card with Amy Adams as Giselle. Hooray. Preference asking involving extensive puns.

Praying for my friend. Fasting for her too. All will be well. All will be well.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Today is A Good Day

Today I went to lunch with my family. Not because I was just in town, but because tomorrow (technically today) is my birthday.

I was born exactly 19 years ago. I don't know what the weather was like, or what was going on in the news. I don't know how my siblings felt exactly or exactly what the circumstances of my birth were. I hear bits and pieces of the story. The way Mother felt on Halloween watching my siblings in a Halloween parade, Daddy being in Logan, the story of the nurse asking which of the party to take my mom to the hospital was pregenant, etc. But I really don't know much about my birth, per se. I don't know what purpose I came into the world for. I am still trying to figure that out.

And now I sit in my dorm room in Provo, UT. I don't know what I am doing at BYU. I don't know what my mission here upon the earth is. But something inside of me lets me know that somewhere, out there, beyond my mortal vision, my Heavenly Parents look down and smile upon me. I feel Their love as I try to live, repent, sanctify. Christ also looks down upon me and shows me His mercy. On the day of the anniversary of my birth, I am grateful that I have been blessed with such mercy. I feel His all encompassing love as I try to live the best I can to keep the commandments that He has lovingly set forth. I smile. I really do. For the first time in quite a while, I weep a little too on the day of my birth. But somehow this year, I feel born again. I feel born again.