10 June 2018

Will You Be Found Wanting?

Do you remember this quote?
You have been weighed, you have been measured, and you have been found wanting.
That is classic Count Adhemar from the memorable A Knight's Tale movie. This film was actually in contention to be a "Sunday" movie, a distinction in our family that the subject matter of a film made it appropriate for Sabbath viewing. It never made it to the third drawer (where Sunday movies live), but I find myself pondering the theme of the movie on a Sunday morning.

It reminds me that God gives us standards upon which we will ultimately be judged. I did an essay on this subject a while back.  The movie quote is actually adapted from Daniel 5:27, where the Jewish prophet Daniel interpreted a divine message of doom to the final Babylonian king. God judged the king and he will also judge each of us through something like a weighing and a measuring.  I suppose a good question is this: Will you be "found wanting"?

In the movie, William Thatcher wanted to "change his stars" and do more than his lowly birth allowed. With a fortuitous opportunity and a lot of work, he styled himself Sir Ulrich von Liechtenstein and worked diligently to become the premier jouster. Early on, his antagonist Adhemar found Ulrich "wanting" or an unworthy competitor. By the end of the film, places had changed and the knighted William unhorses the odious Adhemar, winning the world championship. The "Sunday" theme? - You actually can better yourself! In contrast to the new western "virtue" of militantly saying that you are just fine the way you are, it remains far more impressive to others and to God to make needed improvements and to actually become a better person.  In fact, God expects us to improve and warns that a measurement of that improvement is coming.  Again, will you be found wanting?

I will bring up again my foolishly-titled Psychic Proximity Principle essay and the Feeding the Soul of Steve Jobs booklet that expands upon it. God wants you to move closer to your highest potential and he will gently lead you toward it through the concept of weak magnetic attraction. God has a wonderful reward ready for you but you have to be moving forward on the road toward your potential to merit it.

Unlike A Knight's Tale, the effort toward God's reward is not a game with one winner and a load of losers - every participant can meet the standard! You don't have to be amazing or have impressive titles or awards to win the prize. Being smart or fast doesn't count in this race; continuing effort and persistence do count and everyone, no matter your initial abilities or circumstances, can do these. What I am saying is that you can absolutely measure up!

Don't be worried about watching this movie on the Sabbath - it has important lessons that God wants you to learn and to apply in your life. You can most certainly "change your stars" and win the ultimate championship that is beyond price and lasts forever.  Go for the gold!

04 June 2018

Regarding Shayna/Shay/Seamus

Hello, my name is Jason Nemrow and I am the father of the person you may know as Shayna or Shay or Seamus.

Thank you for being friends and mentors to my child!

I see evidence that my child has shared with others the fact that she desires to change sex and that many wonderful people are supportive of this in various ways.  I therefore feel comfortable in contributing to the discussion of this matter and in broadcasting my information sufficiently to reduce any misconceptions. I do this only in the hopes that proper evaluation and effective assistance can be rendered to my child under circumstances of a more full disclosure. I do this without the prior knowledge or consent of my child or other members of the family and I understand that this may ruin any relationship we still retain. I am willing to do this in the hope that others who are more fully informed might help Shayna/Shay/Seamus find the true peace and authentic healing that wasn't forthcoming in the past.

I am concerned that my child is seeking help to alter sex from very nice people while perhaps not being forthcoming regarding past issues with deception. I would not be surprised if my child has told stories designed to elicit your help that feature my terrible parenting, which I am not here to dispute.

I would humbly request that you help my child resolve long-standing and systemic mental health and honesty issues before rendering any further assistance with physical and chemical sexual alteration. My child has had episodes of very-involved deception and I am concerned that she may be using gender dysphoria as a "cover" to avoid dealing with character flaws and other issues.  May I provide a few examples that you may want to address with my child prior to your continuing and generous help with and support for sex change?

(Please forgive my slips into gendered pronouns - at the times of these incidents, my child identified as a woman, which is her biological sex.)

My child spread stories as an adult that I was her step-father who withheld the love and resources that her natural father wanted her to have.  I am her biological father.

My child told an employer that her grandmother had died. At the time, both of her grandmothers were alive.

My child told several people in college that she was losing her hearing and procured a hearing aid to corroborate this. Upon later examination by an audiologist, it was confirmed that she could hear fine and that she was attempting to deceive the various tests being administered.

Although I can provide more anecdotal examples where my adult child masked the truth and intricately worked to substantiate each masking, I can provide documentation of the above facts. I leave it to you to ascertain, by your own means, my child's motivations in deceiving others in these cases and their relevance in the matter of a desire to change sex.

I am not writing to you to discredit my child or perceptions of the past.  Like you, I believe that my child is in need of continuing help and support toward authenticity and I hope my child can find such assistance. My purpose in writing is to implore you wonderful people who only have my child's best interest at heart to proceed carefully as you assist my child and understand that my child's desire to change sex may not be as straight-forward or "honest" as described to you.

I beg you to continue to help my child in positive ways where my family lacked the resources to do so. My only request is that, as you assist my child, proper evaluations are done to establish that a change of sex is an effective treatment for the historical issues to which my child has suffered and may continue to suffer.

Thank you so much for your concern and love so freely given to Shayna/Shay/Seamus.  If I can assist you in any way concerning this matter, I am at your disposal.

27 May 2018

Memorial Day Thoughts

I'm grateful for the opportunity to speak with you this morning on the topic of Memorial Day. I hope not to take too long because you would rather hear from Joshua on some of his missionary experiences.

I recall a tradition in my mother's family of decorating the graves of those family members who had passed on. Although the holiday was established to honor those who died in war, I have no recollection that any of my recent family died in military service. The Church's FamilySearch website lets me know on a regular basis that I have distant cousins that lived in Mexico, crossed the plains with the Mormon Exodus from Nauvoo, and various other events that were well-recorded, so I am certain that someone connected to me will show up one day on some record of US war dead. Although I hope we can settle our national disputes with others off of the warfield, I honor those who give their lives so that our country and our liberty and our own lives can continue.

It brings to mind the event in the Book of Mormon when Nephite descenters led armies of Lamanites into the land, conquering city after city. It was necessary that the great Captain Moroni recruit his countrymen to defend the Nephite people and he devised a way to inspire them:

12 And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it—In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children—and he fastened it upon the end of a pole.
13 And he fastened on his head-plate, and his breastplate, and his shields, and girded on his armor about his loins; and he took the pole, which had on the end thereof his rent coat, (and he called it the title of liberty) and he bowed himself to the earth, and he prayed mightily unto his God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren, so long as there should a band of Christians remain to possess the land—

Sometimes, people must be called upon to defend our cherished values and even give up their lives to do so. Our nation was founded on freedom from oppression and liberty to act by our own wills rather than the desires of others. On occasion, like the Nephites, we have fought wars to retain our liberty and we honor those who gave up their lives in defending that liberty.

On a wider battlefield, God the Father sent us to earth and mortality so that we might all more freely exercise our freedom to choose and to earn an everlasting reward based on our desires and efforts rather than compulsion. The enemy is Satan and those who follow him, determined to take away our freedom to choose eternal life and compel us otherwise. In a figurative, but no less real sense, we fight battles with these adversaries and some fall in the great battle to win exaltation. I have some experience with these losses and you likely do as well. It is tragic to see those you love who fall by the wayside.

In a miraculous way, we are not forever bound to decorate the graves of those who have fallen. Because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and his resurrection, we know that these souls are not lost to us. Our parents and our grandparents, alongside other family members, will be restored to us and, if we seal our families together in the temple and live worthy of it, we will continue to enjoy our familial relationships. We will yet honor our loved ones who gave up their mortal lives for us, not beside their tombstones, but face-to-face and with loving embraces! What a marvelous act of love the Savior has given us of his own choice, that we may live again and do so forever.

For those who have been taken in the larger battle between good and evil, Christ provides another opportunity through his atonement: the ability to repent. Even if you or I or those we love are taken by and follow the enemy of righteousness for a time, we can appeal to Christ, change our course, and be redeemed. There is no loss the Savior cannot restore, no wrong that Jesus cannot correct, as long as we are willing to turn to him and commit ourselves to obedience to his commandments. Nothing need be lost.

So, as you take the time tomorrow to honor those who gave up their lives defending our nation, I pray you will also remember the great sacrifice that our Lord and Savior made to open the way back to our heavenly home. May we keep these thoughts as a memorial and honor them tomorrow and every day thereafter is my hope.

31 March 2018

Alma 44:5 - Liberty and Loyalty from Captain Moroni

I return again to my "gleaning" from recent scripture study.
And now, Zerahemnah, I command you, in the name of that all-powerful God, who has strengthened our arms that we have gained power over you, by our faith, by our religion, and by our rites of worship, and by our church, and by the sacred support which we owe to our wives and our children, by that liberty which binds us to our lands and our country; yea, and also by the maintenance of the sacred word of God, to which we owe all our happiness; and by all that is most dear unto us— (Alma 44:5)
It seems that Moroni, who speaks here, finds that liberty binds up to our lands and country. With the recent spate of immigration away from Syria and toward Western Europe, it is a principle that we see in our own day. Where there is little liberty, there is little loyalty.

Again, It is liberty that binds us to our lands and our country. As social engineers formulate restrictions to individual, family, and group liberties in order to punish perceived racial or political wrongs, the overall loyalty to even “the American country” wanes. For example, in what was once considered only the province of the extreme fringe, secessionist movements are becoming more mainstream through a push toward increased “states’ rights” and a stronger desire for devolution of power from larger centralized parties that see people more as statistical polling numbers to be manipulated.

America itself was always and continues to be an interesting conglomeration. Neither a nation or country based on any one heritage, it could be seen as a modern attempt at a "world" government, or a system that can govern over many disparate peoples. In theory, each family can do "their own thing" and still enjoy the benefits that liberty affords them under the American umbrella. However, that liberty has be be authentic and supported for all, not enforced just for a few "oppressed" groups and denied to the socially-undeserving and "privileged" others.

Liberty for all can and should be fought for at every turn and in every place. In the United States of America, it is traditionally considered the underlying right of everyone. It was the grand principle that God established for all of this children, to facilitate our growth and development.  Let us not so piously battle to suspend universal liberty after it was so passionately enthroned by the American founding fathers and even established by our Eternal Father. Liberty is the higher road and deserves our every loyalty.

22 March 2018

Live and Let Live...I Hope.

After reading some of my posts, I'm sure some people think I am a dirty rotten bigot, a homophobe, a transphobe, racist, and a bad cook. All I can do in response is shrug. I imagine if a cross-dressing gay dude was pointing a gun at me, I would indeed be in fear of him. I do avoid folk that say I don't deserve to draw breath for one reason or another - I don't want any trouble that way. If I do have some sort of "privilege", I guess I have a trailer-trash "can't get ahead" way of not using it.  People must be pretty brilliant in comparison to me - they seem to know far more about me than I have been able to figure out about myself. Apparently, their brainpower gives them the right to legislate and police people like me or ideas like mine out of existence.  I say as I have always done - live and let live.

I have finally gotten to that settled place where I can write what I think. If I think people are being silly in public, I tend to say so these days. If someone is trying to make others miserable, I am more likely to intervene rather than just mind my own business as I commonly did when I was younger. People who express their hatred at a difference of opinion in violence and grand-standing are simply vile and deserve every molecule of disrespect they get. It pains me to see people wasting their time and money on things of no ultimate worth and I'm lately more likely to express that pain.  Unlike some of the up-and-coming generation, I don't threaten the life or liberty of a soul - people can be as silly, loud, obnoxious, and un-respectable as they wish and I will continue to wish them a long and happy life, if they can manage it.

It is a sad time when some people have to move around with security details for simply expressing opinions that others don't agree with. That seems terribly intolerant. I may disagree with you or think you are silly for what you do or think, but I am not going to get violent or threatening about it. I may say that your behavior will lead to heartache and pain, but I am not going to be the instrument to make sure that happens to you.  Life is rough enough and I see no intelligent reason or "right" for anyone to make it any rougher.  I hope my readers see that I am very likely to offer warnings and predictions.  I respect natural consequences enough to trust that I don't have to get involved. Wisdom has a lot to do with avoiding stupid behavior and I feel it is my place to simply impart whatever wisdom I might have to help my fellow travelers.  Everyone can take it or leave it and I won't be forcing people toward my way of thinking through legislation or bullying, just advice.  I hope to say what I think and you can go your own way with no real interference.

If this makes me all those nasty terms that young folks like to fling about, I guess I'm guilty. People can call me what they like with the confidence of knowing that they will have a pleasant tomorrow without having to watch their backs. I hope they are decent enough to afford me the same courtesy. Everyone has their own opinions and, for my part, the best policy available continues to be "live and let live".

23 February 2018

Parents, Consider Schooling Options for the Sake of your Children

There has been yet another school shooting and the media is hard at work to blame guns for this violence. Again, as I have said previously, one solution for these sorts of tragedies is a family decision to keep children away from systemically dangerous "targets" like schools.

Lisa and I made a choice early in our marriage to school our children ourselves as much as we could contrive. Part of our reason to live in the frontiers of New Mexico is the strong homeschooling tradition here and the "hands-off" approach the state government is forced to have about a parent's educational choices for their own children. We were able to take advantage of wonderfully "alternative" schooling opportunities, such as The Learning Center at House Schools, that we were able to find close by. We made conscious choices about the lives of our children and I feel these have paid off enormously.

Please, alongside the mass call for turning schools and communities into gun-free, prison-like "police states", consider the far more personal and responsible choices that each parent can make to better ensure a long and fruitful life for their children. Parents are supposed to put forth their best effort to rear their children into adults that can succeed, even in the dangerous world in which we live. I hope *you* put your children ahead of ideological agendas and don't ignorantly just hand the most crucial part of your child's life (and potentially the end of their lives) over to questionable institutions like public schools. For your child's sake, explore the different educational alternatives available to your family!

29 December 2017

BSD is Short for "Let Me Create in Peace"

There is great power in copyright and its licensing. Careful that your chosen license doesn't take over your life!

I am a BSD or Berkeley Software Distribution license devotee. I am also a classical liberal that just wants to be left alone most of the time. I know, I have met RMS and much of my recent living has been made from Linux, but the BSD license is the license that is most likely to allow me to be creative without fretting licensing defense.

Some attempt to say that their work has been "dedicated to the public domain" to gain peace in the creative act. I enjoy public domain works, but there is no ready way to dedicate something to the public domain now that the Berne Convention insinuates copyright at the time of production. Public domain says there is no copyright, no owner, and therefore no one can grant its lack of license. Public domain work can only be expired from a previous copyright, or a product of the US Government, which was established as a non-owner (apparently). A copyright owner can choose not to "defend" rights to their work, but that doesn't allow people to simply use the owner's work: they still must ask for license to do so.

The BSD license is the grant of license to any comer and use without bothering the original owner for such. BSD acknowledges copyright but provides license to all for any usage outside of stripping away existing ownership. The owner simply says "do what you like with it and don't hold me accountable for it", basically: "Leave me alone".

Some are enamored of the GPL or GNU Public License, supposing that they are providing a license that will cause them to be undisturbed, but that is not so. As the GPL has stipulations, laudably meant to force changes back into the GPL so all can enjoy such, the onus is on the copyright holder to enforce such stipulations, though outside of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) few do so. If honest people want to be able to use a work outside of the GPL, the owner must be sought to gain a further license. If you want something to remain GPL, you, as the owner, must put forth effort to ensure this is done. That sounds like a potential bother to me!

The BSD-type licensing allows a person to be creative and not be bothered by the hassles of copyright enforcement or licensing. This was the essence of such parties as UC Berkeley, various curriculum providers, and software authors, all of whom didn't want to get into the software copyright protection business. It is perfect for a "just let me create" sort of person!