Random thoughts...

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Cruiserdude
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Re: Random thoughts...

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JK4Woods wrote: April 7th, 2021, 5:15 am
Thinker wrote: April 6th, 2021, 8:27 pm Having grown up lds & known many members who have served missions, I only know of 1 that paid 100% her own way because she was older. There could be more that I am unaware of but it seems that the vast majority of missionaries get a free 2 year etc ride because either their parents or others pay for them. Or they pay like 5% but others pay most.

How many would go if they had to pay every cent?

Why is earning one’s own way but not going on a mission more shamed than going on a mission paid for by others?

These comments were interesting:

”Money should never be a motive in sharing the gospel. You dont want people on missions simply because they would have a free vacation and live off the church.”

“It's the ultimate money making scam, huh. Brainwash people, turn them into zombies and keep charging them even for stuff that they give you. Mormons have to pay for the privilege of tending the gardens at their temples.”


I paid every bit of my mission.

I bought my suits, shirts, socks and proselyting supplies on my own.

My Mom had died a year before I was discharged from the Army. I joined the church in 1977 at age 21 and had three years remaining in my enlistment.

By the time I got out of the Army, and into the MTC the next day, I had $5,000 left of my inheritance from my Mom.

I used every penny serving down in Argentina in the early 80’s. My mission started at $220 a month and I wrote a letter to my bank once a month to send me $250.

We lived a sort of law of consecration on my mission. Everyone paid the same amount of rent to the mission office. So those living in rural areas paid a surplus, and those in the city, had the exhorbitant apartment rent sudsidized.

Same went for bicycles. Anyone in a bike area, paid $50/ month for a bike. The mission furnished the bikes to those who needed them, and city missionaries just used the $50 for public transport.

Anyway, hyper inflation soon took hold.. soon the mission climbed to $260/ month, then $320/ month. By the time it hit $450 a month I was freaking out. I did the math and I got real mad about how my money wasn’t going to make it to the end.

I wrote a letter to the missionary department lambasting them for not taking into consideration the high inflation rate of some countries. I mean, the application process asked how much we could afford per month for our mission. We knew Bolivia cost $80/ month, and Japan ran $700/ month. Argentina was $180/ month when I filed my paperwork and $220/ month by the time I actually arrived in country.

Anyway, my letter was forwarded to the student ward Bishop from whence I came out in Manhattan, Kansas adjacent to KSU.

I hadn’t been a student, just an Army guy from nearby Ft. Riley interlopping at the Institute where the student ward originated.

The Student Bishop wrote me to say they would do everything they could to keep me on my mission, and how much did I need per month to keep going?

Well, I felt about two inches tall. Totally humiliated that I was having financial problems, and that I mouthed off about it.

Being I was the only member in my family, and my siblings were irreligious, I had no other means of support.

So I did what we were taught to do: I fasted and prayed. Cried to the Lord about my stress and worry about financial matters, and hoping to make it to the end of my mission.

The next week, the second (or third, I can’t remember) President of Argentina devalued the Argentine Peso by two zeros. All of a sudden my American dollars were worth a lot more Pesos, and I was rolling in cash..!!

Wow, talk about deliverance..!! I replied to the student ward Bishop that I didn’t need any financial assistance, and everything was OK.

So I stayed ahead of mission costs four more months, until hyper inflation kicked in. Some Elders deposited their monthly dollar allotment into local Argentine banks in “dollar accounts”, where they got 80% interest rates. It seemed shaky to me, and it was as the govt. froze all dollar accounts a few months later.

Hyper inflation rose to 400% per year. It drove hyper consumerism. Meaning as soon as anyone got paid, you went out and spent it that day, cause tomorrow the prices would go up.

All the grocery stores resorted to “chalk board” price listing. A guy would daily adjust the prices on everything. We’d buy food in huge lots and cram it in the smallish refrigerators in our apartments.

Everything cost more day by day. Except public transportation. Highly regulated, buses, trains and subway fares would increase, but much slower, usually every couple of months they’d jump in price.

The Peso had two more zeros added, so soon 10,000 peso bills fresh off the presses would be like five dollars, then by the end of the month, two dollars.

It got so bad, we ended up having 100,000 peso bills in our wallets. It was crazy, and the local population were worried sick trying to make ends meet.

By the end of my two years, I was using $625 American dollars per month to maintain myself. I figured out I could make it to the end and get home, because for the last year I stayed ahead of inflation by having dollars which I exchanged as needed into Pesos.

In the two years I was down there, the Presidency of Argentina changed five times..!! These were different Generals in the military Junta that had taken over the govt.

Eventually the Argentine Peso was dropped altogether, and we exchanged them for a new currency: the Austral. They dropped off six zeros with the new currency. So all of a sudden we were using $10 Australs to buy what a million pesos used to buy.

It worked for a few weeks, until it couldn’t hold back the pressure and inflation started again.

I returned home at the end, traveling with a companion touring Iguazu Falls & Sao Paolo, Brazil. Along with Lima and Cuzco, Peru.

Our tickets home were on Braniff Airlines, and they went bankrupt while in the air headed to LA from Peru. We had to beg other airlines to honor our tickets to get home on the final leg. My companion to Phoenix, and myself up to Seattle.

By gosh if that $5,000 inheritance from my Mother didn’t get me all they way thru my mission, home, and setup till I got a summer job working till I started school in the fall on my GI Bill...!!


And the poor suffering Argentines..?!? What happened to them..??

The fifth President tried to start something with Chile. Territorial challenges regarding the Beagle Islands. A few harsh words were bandied about and the press took up the cause. Tensions rose.

Then the Pope told both Chile and Argentina to knock it off! You’re both Catholic counties. What are you doing..?!?

This simmered down that dispute. But the Argentine leadership were under the gun with an increasingly disturbed populace.

A month after I got home, Argentina invaded the Faulkland islands. They were desperately trying to gin up a common enemy to unify the country and push the focus outward away from their inept leadership.

My buddies still down on the mission were locked up into their apartments because everyone thought they were CIA agents gathering and sending information to Britain.

After the sinking of the Belgano by the Brits, Argentines turned roughly against the US too.

By April of that year, my buddies had been holed up in their apartments for three or four months, members bringing them groceries. Like being under house arrest.

In General Conference, Pres. Kimball announced missionary service would be reduced to 18 months effective immediately and most of my fellow missionaries came home in droves from Argentina.

Several conferences after that, the single set monthly missionary cost was announced. Everyone pays $350/ month, no matter where you serve.

Argentina lost the war, and the military Junta was kicked out, and elections held.

It took another decade to pull some semblance of normalcy back into Argentine society.

It was quite a time...
Glad I went.. ;-)
Holy moly I only heard the stories about that part of history!!! You were actually there and lived through it!! I was there late 90s and heard all about those days from the people. Wild times😁 yeah I loved it there too👍

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Re: Random thoughts...

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JK4Woods wrote: April 7th, 2021, 5:15 am I paid every bit of my mission.

I bought my suits, shirts, socks and proselyting supplies on my own.

My Mom had died a year before I was discharged from the Army. I joined the church in 1977 at age 21 and had three years remaining in my enlistment.

By the time I got out of the Army, and into the MTC the next day, I had $5,000 left of my inheritance from my Mom...

Argentina lost the war, and the military Junta was kicked out, and elections held.

It took another decade to pull some semblance of normalcy back into Argentine society.

It was quite a time...
Wow - it sure was quite a time!
You definitely seemed to have it harder than many. And I’m sorry about the passing of your mom. Even though you were an adult, I tend to think moms are needed even into mid 20’s. Still, technically your mom paid for your mission.

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Re: Random thoughts...

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Thinker wrote: April 7th, 2021, 8:12 am
JK4Woods wrote: April 7th, 2021, 5:15 am I paid every bit of my mission.

I bought my suits, shirts, socks and proselyting supplies on my own.

My Mom had died a year before I was discharged from the Army. I joined the church in 1977 at age 21 and had three years remaining in my enlistment.

By the time I got out of the Army, and into the MTC the next day, I had $5,000 left of my inheritance from my Mom...

Argentina lost the war, and the military Junta was kicked out, and elections held.

It took another decade to pull some semblance of normalcy back into Argentine society.

It was quite a time...
Wow - it sure was quite a time!
You definitely seemed to have it harder than many. And I’m sorry about the passing of your mom. Even though you were an adult, I tend to think moms are needed even into mid 20’s. Still, technically your mom paid for your mission.
Yeah, I guess you could say I was funded by my Mom. Even though I had been on my own since age 17 making my own way in the world.

I got her temple work done as soon as possible. Even tho she smoked for many years, and drank, I felt she was receptive to the message.

I remember she told me about a meeting back in the day when a pair of American Mormon missionaries came by, in the southern Spanish town where we owned a small hotel, and ran it as a family.

She received a copy of the Book of Mormon and when I saw it in her bookcase, I recoiled like it was a snake. Never touched it.

Fast forward, and while serving over in Korea in the Army, someone mailed me a Book of Mormon along with several pamphlets about the Plan of Salvation, and whatnot.

Push came shove, and I was baptized in Seoul Korea several weeks before I finished my tour and rotated back to the US.

Over the next three years, I grew stronger in my faith, and with a half dozen other fellow guys we blasted out on our missions with a fevered pitch.

It was kinda weird starting college at 26 on my GI Bill, and graduating at 29. But that’s the way my life unfolded...

So even though my Mom provided the windfall to be able to go on a mission, and I was primed and ready to go, I could have easily just spent in on more flying lessons, or a brand new Checker Marathon.

Luckily, I was surrounded by young members intent to live the gospel to the fullest.

That made all the difference...

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Re: Random thoughts...

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JK4Woods wrote: April 7th, 2021, 11:39 amYeah, I guess you could say I was funded by my Mom. Even though I had been on my own since age 17 making my own way in the world.

I got her temple work done as soon as possible. Even tho she smoked for many years, and drank, I felt she was receptive to the message...

So even though my Mom provided the windfall to be able to go on a mission, and I was primed and ready to go, I could have easily just spent in on more flying lessons, or a brand new Checker Marathon.

Luckily, I was surrounded by young members intent to live the gospel to the fullest.

That made all the difference...
Your experience & the support you received from your mom - even after she passed on to the next realm, makes me think of the need to have emergency savings - just in case - for our children. And you’re right - you could have used the money for so many other things besides a mission - so in that sense it was you funding it. It’s definitely rare. What maturity you showed at such a young age! Do you think the military & mission helped make up for family you missed?

I wonder about the fullness of the gospel... what exactly is it? Based on how many members suffer from depression, anxiety, addiction, child-sex-abuse & Ponzi schemes - the fruits look iffy. Maybe leaders’ insistence on being praised over truth & financial corruption are leading similar who follow the profit.

Gospel: God’s spell, “good news”/good spell

Maybe our inherent subjective human state cannot help but be under one type of spell or another. Better be the highest GOoD type of spell than anything lower. We, the lds, are missing so much! A good friend who happens to be friends with RN, is very intelligent & we’d often have great conversations until I told her how I thought Chinese medicine was fascinating & how acupuncture works independent of placebo. I was so excited but surprisingly, she yelled at me something like “you cannot possibly learn everything - just stick with the church.” Sadly that approach is common but it’s damming - holding people back from learning more. How can that be a fullness? Joseph Smith advised we seek “truth, wherever it’s found.” This implies there is no such fullness. Maybe even the term, “fullness” holds us back.
  • "An egotists will never get anywhere in this world because he thinks he's already there." - MJ Ashton

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Re: Random thoughts...

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Belief is subjective but has objective influence (placebo etc). Life is a series of struggles & crutches are often needed. Grab a piece of peace when you can find it, as long as in doing so, you’re not missing more important things.

Here a little there a little... learning line upon line.Image

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Re: Random thoughts...

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It's been said each of us are like a bunch of snakes - some have their snakes under control more than others. Often you have no idea anyone is capable of such vicious "snakes" until they are under pressure. Then you back off - give them and yourself space - well eventually - maybe after bit a few times. Most people are able to control their snakes at least in public - so at church, eg., everyone looks cool-mo-di. :) Sometimes the worst evil is hid behind mask of pious - it's worst because it hides and therefore can never be brought to light enough to correct course. It's probably a good idea to keep in mind that EVERYONE has snakes - potential for good and evil both. Snakes may serve a purpose - in protecting ourselves, asserting etc. but they can also get out of control.

This bit of the Greek myth is insightful:
  • "Perseus takes the reflective bronze shield from Athena and holds it up to use as a mirror to locate Medusa..."
Image

It also reminds me of this:
  • "Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darkness of other people." -Carl Jung
Jordan Peterson also helped me see symbolic significance of snakes... https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=jo ... &FORM=VIRE

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Re: Random thoughts...

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Discipline weighs less than regret.
Eat well now and exercise - and enjoy future benefits.
Study, ponder & pray as if your life depends on truth - & you’ll less likely pay the price of deception later.
Face truth - even hard-to-take truths - now, & you will make better decisions based on reality.
Repent now - & rather than your weaknesses being stumbling blocks, God will make them strengths!
Speak up in defending truth now - and lies aren’t able to gain as much force down the road for you & posterity.

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Re: Random thoughts...

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Thinker wrote: June 4th, 2020, 8:16 am . . . . . Wow, thanks, Bruce - inspiring words. You have often uplifted me and I’m grateful.

Life is struggle - opposition in all things. And I agree about the need to wrestle with God - grapple within and that limits the external grappling. :) But I realize not everyone is ready to grapple with the core issues. I used to be so lost - I think we all are to some extent (not knowing everything - faith based existence). This morning I thought of some extended family who have hurt me and who I have been so angry with. I got another glimpse of their suffering - how lost they feel. And the scripture idea came to me, “I was lost, but now I’m found.” Each time I’d deny something - it made me more lost to truth, and more insecure. I can see that in others and it helps stir up humility for being so angry and compassion - hoping they can find their way to less suffering, more joy.

This week, I’m teaching my kids about self control (as part of emotional intelligence) and in preparing for it, I realize I need to be a better example. I’m going to try being more proactive - like a good grappler who stands firm and doesn’t get knocked over easily (emotionally). :D

Great scriptures! I do believe our circumstances are appointed us as challenges that we can and need to handle to become stronger. Last week we talked about how internal motivation is more efficient than external motivation. Internal motivation to learn involves curiosity and being challenged. So, though challenges are often uncomfortable, they also can be blessings.

You’re so right to point out that consequences are often not considered when making decisions. We really need to take time to ponder and pray. When I seriously considered divorcing and breaking up our family, I went into nature for a while and thought and prayed & could kind of see likely consequences so I decided against it. My husband & I are very different - I was just telling him how he’s helped me in ways that I lacked. He’s a good guy in many ways and I’m grateful for that. Both of us have strengths and weaknesses as all do. Yet, I’m learning what’s important to me - trust, respect, shared values and reciprocity. I think these are necessary for a good relationship.

Thanks again for all your kindness, Bruce. God bless.
A lot of thoughtful commentary coming from the Thinker. Keep up the good work. And BRGilbert's another one, as are others, here.

Makes me realize why I hang around. Gives me just more examples to aspire and live up to.

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Re: Random thoughts...

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To sum up what I often see when mildly pressed, rather than being Christ-like, is…
Cult-like.

I know there are times of beautiful Christ-like actions, but many times, when push comes to shove, cult-mentality rules.

Many have been living this way not only for many years, but many generations. Most have no clue that they are even seeing and acting from such a paradigm, & will likely never figure it out in this life.

It’s suggested that to avoid contributing to unnecessary suffering, 1 or more of the following must be incorporated: acceptance, joy, enthusiasm (hope/active faith). So, I’m trying to accept others where they are, while asserting myself & my loved ones.

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Re: Random thoughts...

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I’m working on forgiving, knowing that it’s finding a way to release toxic anger so I can move on. But 1st, anger needs to serve its purpose in asserting rights when wronged - otherwise it’ll keep popping up until it’s given its due.

You cannot control others. Just because you assert something doesn’t mean the other WILL honor it. In fact, the type of person to infringe on you, is often the type who refuses response-ability. So, then all you can control is you - and asserting better boundaries is called for - to release anger (which serves to protect against repeated wrongs, but which boundaries can also do). Boundaries for all - but varying based on trust. Like a fortified gate - allow good in, while keeping bad out.

Boundaries are tested - externally by others, & internally by old mental stories. There are multiple possible ways of looking at things - humorous, practical, from one’s own perspective or from another’s, etc. Eg.: Someone lied to you & cheated… choose a perspective:
1) They betrayed you (sounds awful- adding extra “dirty” pain) or
2) They “know not what they do” so forgive… but DO NOT let the blind drive you around. ;)

Blind driver, Deaf helper :) (some cussing)
https://youtu.be/IfIZxQTFhgg

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Re: Random thoughts...

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Heresy is in the eye of the beholder. The following would not be considered heretical to most lds, however, in some parts, people have been beheaded for joking about things like this. Crazy world we live in!

And just for the record, I appreciate Islam & the good I’ve experienced & read of it.

There is an off-shoot of Islam with a funny name - it comes from Brother Michael J. Jackson’s lyrical rendition of 🎵 “I’m bad, you know it!” - or so it is theorized. ;)

Ibadism

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Re: Random thoughts...

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Occasionally I have had strong spiritual messages wake me up - like “the vaccine is 1 of the poisons”, “China,” “broken arrow.” Last night, it wasn’t a word but more idea of oligarchs & a picture of northern South America - Venezuela & where the Amazon meets the Atlantic - or maybe “Delta de Orinoco.” Looked like a delta. Maybe something to do with all the mosquito experiments. Or possibly related to “Russia sends two nuclear-capable bombers to Venezuela” (Dec. 2018 2018 Russian 'temporary' base - La Orchila - now permanent ) & recent mutual affirmation of partnership. Could be surprise discovery of coral reefs hidden deep below Amazon “delta” area &/or how many ships can go far up the Amazon.

These may have multiple possible meanings - to pray for others, to be aware - watch & prepare, with faith that God will guide me through, as before.

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Re: Random thoughts...

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Rant:

Utah leads the nation - by a long shot - in Ponzi schemes. And which Ponzi scheme is the biggest of all those bad boys? The church’s priestcraft demand for members to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to the church - in exchange for worthiness & praises of men (being a member in good standing). And scriptures instruct, tithes are for the poor - but lds leaders admit to not giving a penny of tithes to the poor. What a fraud!

Cult leaders want our youth. They, like communist leader Mao, know that the future depends on the youth, so they are the focus of indoctrination. Missions are as much, if not more, for the solid mind control - cult immersion - of the teenage missionary- than “investigators.” Church leaders & many members lack manners & boundaries… & teach our kids they can’t say no to authority - not a good message in a day when authorities present evil as good & vice versa.

Then there’s the can of blackmail worms of repeated legal cases of the church covering up child sex abuse… probably why church leaders are kissing butt over covid tyranny -even controlling religion, homosexual disorder bs, & other evil.

Everyone has some degree of evil. Evil is in large part, shifting blame/responsibility & willful ignorance. How could someone abuse a child or innocent person? By shutting down their conscience… “They know NOT what they do.” Some - not all - in positions of leadership have high degrees of evil, so more caution is warranted, especially with our children.

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Re: Random thoughts...

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Dear….,
I used to look up to you - I still do in some ways. But mostly disappointed. You should be the one to defend truth - definitely not shame me for defending it. Maybe that was just my illusion of you. Maybe you haven’t changed, I have.
Sincerely,
:idea:

Now what to do with this deflated relating?
With them & others?
Tablecloth pulled out from underneath & a few landed ok but a lot is scattered. Reorganize in new ways, this time eyes open.

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Re: Random thoughts...

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I keep having the thought of, & kind of inside advice to myself to, keep a good spirit.

Maybe that is what matters most & is all we take with us after death. Implied is the need to pay attention to effects on our spirits, not that all negative feeling should be avoided. No, “feelings buried alive never die.” Rather, it suggests doing the inner work to clean house internally - not just sweep it under the rug. And this may mean being selective in what and who, time & emotional energy are spent.

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Re: Random thoughts...

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And now I ask of you on what conditions are we saved? ... Yea, what grounds have we to hope for salvation?

Behold, he changed their hearts; yea, he awakened them out of a deep sleep, and they awoke unto God. Behold, are ye stripped of pride? I say unto you, if ye are not ye are not prepared to meet God. Behold, I say, is there one among you who is not stripped of envy? is there one among you that doth make a mock of his brother, or that heapeth upon him persecutions? Wo unto such an one, for he is not prepared.

if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?

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Re: Random thoughts...

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madvin wrote: October 30th, 2022, 9:53 am And now I ask of you on what conditions are we saved? ... Yea, what grounds have we to hope for salvation? ….

if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?
It’s inspiring in itself to just remember times when I’ve felt God’s love so strongly, and felt love for all - even enemies, and other spiritual experiences.

We are saved by our faith and willingness to take off things that blind us and cause us to be lost. The grounds we have for hope is that God has prepared us & circumstances for this.

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This "change of heart" is the key. Keeping that "change" is the challenge.

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madvin wrote: October 30th, 2022, 12:50 pm This "change of heart" is the key. Keeping that "change" is the challenge.
I agree & appreciate you bringing that to my attention. It reminds me of a ga (paraphrasing…) “We believe in being spiritually born again and again…” It’s not like you have 1 single change of heart, about-face, & you’ve arrived at perfection! Most of us really cannot handle more than line upon line, here a little there a little.

One beautiful concept of Mormonism is “eternal progression.” I don’t hear much of it lately but when I was a teen, I read a book about it that left an impression on me.

As we are designed to crave oxygen, I think we also crave learning, though our needs for feeling safe & comfort may get in the way. I dared pray to know more about myself so I could improve. It was answered & was humbling - not exactly comfortable. So I prayed that I could embrace both my weaknesses (so I can work on them) as well as my strengths (so I feel encouraged).

There is an awesome (I think Godly) idea called, “Growth Mindset.” I grew up learning that any mistake I made was horribly shameful & punishable, & to compare myself with others. Growth mindset doesn’t shame mistakes but encourages them because often we learn best that way. And rather than compare ourselves with others, it compares oneself with how one was in the past & one’s own individual goals for the future.

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Re: Random thoughts...

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Monopoly. The board game. Imagine some insane club who obsesses over the rules, history & every little trivial detail as if it’s real life, when it’s just a GAME…

That’s what it often seems like since seeing the cult for what it is.

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