Friday, June 23

Carnival of the Veil

Carnival of the Veil, the ex-mo blog carnival is being hosted by Heart of Darqueness this week. Go check it out!

Obligatory smaltzy anniversary post


It's been a beautiful four years, and I love you so very much.

You're my sweetie and I love you. Happy Four Year anniversary!


Nah nah nah nah, hey hey hey, Goodbye

There's been lots of talk around the Dallas Diocese about the imminent retirement of Bishop Charles Grahmann. The weekly church bulletin of the Cathedral has been announcing the big mass celebrating his Triple anniversary (75th birthday, 50th as a priest, 25th as a bishop) on July 7th for weeks now. But Bishop Grahmann's service has not been a smooth one; in fact, it's been littered with problems for many years. There's an interesting article in this month's D magazine that discusses the Grahmann issue.

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: Miserere Nobis

This month Charles Grahmann will resign as Catholic bishop of Dallas. Even so, he thinks he’ll stay on for two more years. He’s wrong.

by Wick Allison

On July 15, a birthday will be celebrated that has been awaited by local Catholics with as much anticipation as Christmas. On that day, Charles Grahmann will turn 75. By long-standing protocol, he will offer his resignation as bishop of Dallas to the Holy See.

But before anyone pops a champagne cork, I must report—it is my duty—that there is little likelihood he will step down this year. That’s the bad news. The good news is that he will be replaced sooner than he expects.

Rome has been embarrassed by the good bishop four times. The Rudy Kos verdict in 1997, of course, leveled against the Church the largest judgment ever against a diocese. In 2002, the Dallas Morning News called for the bishop’s resignation when he refused to dismiss Rev. Ramon Alvarez, rector of the bishop’s own cathedral, for sexual misconduct. (Alvarez abruptly resigned this April; no reason given.) In 2003, after even more embarrassments, a large and formidable lay group made national headlines by petitioning the Holy See for his removal. Then last year, there was the district attorney’s investigation. It’s not for nothing that the authoritative named Grahmann one of the 10 worst bishops in the United States.

Full Article

Now, I've only been participating in masses in the Diocese of Dallas for less than a year. The main beef I have with the leadership of the Diocese is the fact that orthodoxy has a tendency to get punished, especially when it involves Latin in the mass. For example, when one priest began doing the Novus Ordo in Latin, he was quickly disciplined by Bishop Grahmann. He went to the Vatican with his case. He was allowed at that point to use Latin, but he got exiled to St. William, a small church in Greenville, TX (on the outer edge of the diocese). I also remember when Fr. C at St. Jude was dressed down for using as much Latin as he did in his masses, and was forced to use no Latin whatsoever or risk being moved from the chapel. He ended up being moved anyway due to health reasons, and the Dominicans completely lost control of the Chapel.

I hope that what the article says is true, and that we will get an orthodox, Latin-loving priest as a Bishop when Bishop Grahmann retires.

Here kitty kitty

Moneybags wrote an interesting post yesterday about Saints and their pets which you should go check out if you're an animal lover. Here's a excerpt:

St. Don Bosco had a pet dog in his youth while St. Philip Neri had a cat in his old age. St. Francis of Paola had a pet fish that was cooked one day. So, St. Francis of Paola raised it from the dead by the power of God.

Saint Brigid even tamed animals. Back in her time, the law stated that if a thief was in a Church no-one was allowed to arrest him. One day a group of hunters chased a wild boar into Church and wanted to come in and kill it. The men said that the Church refuge rule did not apply to animals. Saint Brigid said the rule did indeed apply, and so the hunters were forced to leave. She then gave the exhauated boar a drink and it ended up living on her personal farm with the cows she owned.

Our house is a zoo. We have three kitties (Lance is the white kitty, Lorenzo is the orange tabby, and Arianna is the cute dilute calico above), two figure eight puffers, and a tarantula. We had two little read ear slider turtles that were about the size of a silver dollar and the cutest things you've ever seen, but we returned then when we looked them up online and found out that they'd need either an outdoor pond or a 100+ gallon tank in about two years. We can't have a tank that large on our 100-year old wood floors. They sure were cute, though.

Thursday, June 22


[Middle English, from Old French, from Medieval Latin passi, passin-, sufferings of Jesus or a martyr, from Late Latin, physical suffering, martyrdom, sinful desire, from Latin, an undergoing, from passus, past participle of pat, to suffer. See p(i)- in Indo-European Roots.]

n 1: strong feeling or emotion [syn: passionateness] 2: intense passion or emotion [syn: heat, warmth] 3: something that is desired intensely; "his rage for fame destroyed him" [syn: rage] 4: an irrational but irresistible motive for a belief or action [syn: mania, cacoethes] 5: a feeling of strong sexual desire 6: any object of warm affection or devotion; "the theater was her first love" or "he has a passion for cock fighting"; [syn: love] 7: the suffering of Jesus at the crucifixion [syn: Passion, Passion of Christ]

A blog of a person found in my not-so-distant past wrote a post recently about passion. I won't get into the details of the post, but the post actually got me thinking. The post's definition of passion was something to the effect of "anything that affects [your] life in a large way or occupies even a portion of the majority of the days in any given year." Meaning, basically, you may really like kayaking, for example, but does it mean so much to you that you devote much of your life to it on a daily basis? And what is that fine line between interest, passion, and even love?

I think there's a difference between passion and love. Love is satiable and simply "is", passion is not. Passion, to me, is an insatiable desire to participate and revel in a certain task or thought or person in a way that cannot be satiated. It's like being hungry and never being full. I can understand passion and appreciate it. But then I also think that love is also very rewarding. It's good to feel the emotions from the passion, but love is the byproduct of a healthy passion.

And, of course, it's impossible to think of the word "passion" without thinking of the Passion of Christ. Now, this is different from the noun in quite a symbolic way. I never understood what was meant when I saw the movie title of "Passion of the Christ" before I became Catholic. Christ's Passion was his death for us. Not just his giving up of his life, but the entire process of being condemned to die, his beatings, the carrying of his cross, his nails being driven into his hands, and his suffering for three hours hanging on the crucifix.

I decided to do a little bit of investigating on the Catholic interpretation of Passions when I came across the New Advent definition of "passions":

By passions we are to understand here motions of the sensitive appetite in man which tend towards the attainment of some real or apparent good, or the avoidance of some evil. The more intensely the object is desired or abhorred, the more vehement is the passion. St. Paul thus speaks of them: "When we were in the flesh, the passions of sin, which were by the law, did work in our members, to bring forth fruit unto death" (Romans 7:5). They are called passions because they cause a transformation of the normal condition of the body and its organs which often appears externally.


The chief passions are eleven in number:

* Six in the concupiscible appetite -- namely, joy or delight, and sadness, desire and aversion or abhorrence, love and hatred -- and
* five in the irascible -- hope and despair, courage and fear, and anger.

The moral virtues are to regulate the passions and employ them as aids in the progress of spiritual life. A just man at times experiences great joy, great hope and confidence, and other feelings in performing duties of piety, and also great sensible sorrow, as well as sorrow of soul, for his sins, and he is thus confirmed in his justice. He can also merit constantly by restraining and purifying his passions. The saints who reached the exalted state of perfection, have retained their capacity for all human emotions and their sensibility has remained subject to the ordinary laws; but in them the love of God has controlled the mental images which excite the passions and directed all their emotions to His active service. It has been justly said that the saint dies, and is born again: he dies to an agitated, distracted and sensual life, by temperance, continency, and austerity, and is born to a new and transformed life. He passes through what St. John calls "the night of the senses", after which his eyes are opened to a clearer light. "The saint will return later on to sensible objects to enjoy them in his own way, but far more intensely than other men" (H. Joly, "Psychology of the Saints", 128). Accordingly we can understand how the passions and the emotions of the sensitive appetite may be directed and devoted to the service of God, and to the acquisition, increase, and perfection of virtue.

When I began thinking of my own passions, I realized I only have a few that really affect my day-to-day life. First, I am passionate about being Catholic. I'm passionate about going to church, and reading the prayers, and spending time in contemplative worship. Finding my place with God has changed my life, and the more time that I spend dedicating my life to God, the better I feel in my soul. I love praying the Liturgy of the Hours, praising God and being thankful for all that I have been given. I'm thankful for all of the many opportunities that I have every day to praise God for his goodness in my life, and He rewards me with a peace I have been searching for all of my life. The first thing I do in the morning is rise, set eyes on my crucifix and pray, and the last thing I do at night is to look on my crucifix and pray before I go to sleep. It boggles my mind that this force has been around me my entire life and only now have I tapped into it.

My second passion is the environment, and the world around me. This passion affects many small and large decisions I make every day. I don't throw paper away, I put it in the recycle bin. I walk to the grocery store to save the atmosphere from a few blocks of my driving. I eat organic foods. I buy products that are recyclable or are made from recycled material. I make my own cleaners. I also talk a lot about how important it is to be aware of the daily choices made by each and every one of us. One person can make a difference. These daily actions take up quite a bit of my time, but they have become a part of who I am. In context of being Catholic, I'm going to steal a line from a commenter on an earlier post and say that being a steward of the Earth is something we are all called to be. I take my role as a steward of this planet very seriously.

My third passion is knowledge. I'm like a sponge. I read, I peruse the Internet, I have discussions, I go see films, I listen to what other people have to say. I refuse to stew in ignorance. I also find that being passionate about knowledge goes past simply learning so as to not be ignorant of a topic, but also to learn the depths and layers of a topic. It's one thing to, for example, go to Mass and learn about its meaning. It's another thing to learn specifically about what many of the learned saints have to say about the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ, the Tridentine Mass vs the Novus Ordo mass, Vatican II, the meanings behind the symbolism of Mass, etc. I have been Catholic for less than two months and investigating the Catholic church since October, but I have dozens of books on multiple different topics within Catholicism. It's important for my faith for this desire for knowledge to be fed. I also have bookshelves full of different books about a ton of different topics, and I read on average a book a week, sometimes fiction, sometimes non-fiction. I encourage the pursuit of knowledge with people around me and enjoy learning new and interesting things.

Since converting to Catholicism, I find that my passion towards loving and serving God has fulfilled a need in me that I was aware of but never quite understood. I searched high and low my entire life trying to quench this internal thirst I had. I tried to fill it with passion for music, for literature, focusing this desire on television shows or musicians or boys or hobbies. But it always felt like I needed more. The passions I had were consuming and destructive to me. But that insatiable craving is gone, filled with the happiness I have found in the Catholic church. I know now what I was craving.

Tuesday, June 20

Oddly grieving

I never thought I'd be so heartbroken over the loss of a basketball game.

I need a little time to grieve about it, I think.

Sunday, June 18

Carnival of the Veil

Carnival of the Veil is being hosted this week by Mormon Truth if you'd like to go check it out!

Latin Mass

My Tour of Churches last Sunday let me to the Holy Trinity Church in the Oak Lawn neighborhood in Dallas. It was a wonderful choice for Holy Trinity Sunday.

This Sunday's church experience actually started on Saturday. I have been seriously considering going to a traditional Latin mass, or Tridentine Mass. I've been to Latin Mass on a Saturday before, but I haven't been to a Sunday mass. To make sure I wanted to do this, I first went to the Saturday mass at St. Thomas Aquinas. I got there early enough to be able to go to confession, and had a wonderful confession with the priest. It was very thoughtful and he helped me quite a bit with an issue I've been struggling with. I've been looking for a decent confessor, so I'm extremely happy that I found one.

The Saturday Latin low mass was beautiful, as the previous one was, so I decided I'd take the plunge and go to the High Mass on Sunday. I went to Sacred Heart, my favorite little Catholic bookstore, and got a veil and a little red Missalette. I studied it last night so I could at least get a general idea of what was going on during the Mass.

The Latin Mass for Dallas is held in a small chapel attached to a cloistered Carmelite nun community in Oak Cliff (for more information check out the Mater Dei Latin Mass community home page). I left my house at 8:48a this morning and parked at 9:05a, so I made really good time getting there. The chapel is BEAUTIFUL. It's super tiny, but the altar is super ornate with lots of statues and woodwork. It was interesting seeing all of the other women there, all veiled. My veil kept shifting and I was really self conscious that it was crooked the whole mass. I was amazed at how many children and young parents were there. There were eight (!) altar boys helping the priest and all were in the traditional black and white garb.

I got there right before the Rosary started, and the place was already almost full. By the time Mass started, the church was packed and there were people standing. The mass started, and then the music kicked in ... Latin! Yes! Beautiful chanting by the priest, the choir, and the schola.

There was a LOT of kneeling. I'm going to need to toughen up my knees something fierce if I plan on going to mass on a regular basis. There was also a lot of up and down, which I didn't mind.

After Mass, there was a benediction and a procession with the monstrance and the body of Christ. Oh my gosh, it was beautiful! We all followed the procession, and when it doubled back on itself to go back to the tabernacle, we all knelt on the asphalt in adoration. Other than slightly flashing the people behind me because my foot caught my skirt, I did ok getting up and down. The asphalt hurt

I want to go back again. Bad. I think I might just become a Latin Masser.

I'll need to get a missal, but it's a small price to pay to be able to participate in such a beautiful mass.

"An Inconvenient Truth" - Review

I must preface this review with a bit of a disclaimer - when it comes to the environment, I am a tree-hugger 100%. I have been for as long as I can remember being old enough to make a conscious decision to be one. The environment to me is a very important cause, and I do my best to be informed about issues when I can.

This being said, I would like to heartily recommend the movie "An Inconvenient Truth." Let me get a few things out of the way first hand. The movie is basically a slide presentation that Al Gore has been giving on the environment to groups for years. There's a lot of slides, a lot of charts, and a lot of statistics. It's dry in parts, and feels a bit choppy at times. There's also a few bits about his personal life which if you're not an Al Gore fan, you might have problems swallowing. He talks about his political career, his loss of the 2000 election, and the loss of his sister to lung cancer. He also seems to have forgotten to brush his teeth before filming, as he has a very distracting bit of green detritus in his lower teeth.

Now, once you get past these facts, the movie will scare the living crap out of you. It shows photographic evidence of glaciers disappearing, of Antarctica melting, of drought and floods being brought about by global warming. It shows chart after chart, evidence after evidence of the horrible things that mankind is doing to the planet, and is showing how much damage is being done. He takes the comments that are given by naysayers about how global warming is simply a "theory" and blows them all out of the water, over and over.

The movie only makes one or two comments about the "current administration" and those comments revolve around America's neglect to ratifying the Kyoto agreement and the doctored environmental report that was given to Bush during his first term, both of which are heavily documented and can be easily found with a simple Google search (as my links will attest to).

I don't care if you're a Republican or a Democrat, I highly recommend seeing this movie. It is important in a very global sense. And go out and get some energy-efficient bulbs. And walk to the grocery store once in a while - it's only a few blocks and it's good for you!

Ok, let's try this one more time ...


The A1 Thick and Hearty Burger is BACK!

My husband and I were journeying out to Grapevine Mills mall yesterday afternoon, when I looked over and saw a billboard with an amazing announcement. As I feasted on the beautiful picture in such gigantic proportions, I swear I could hear the angels sing its glory as I squealed in delight .... The A1 Thick and Hearty Burger from Whataburger is back!

If you are anywhere near the state of Texas (or any of the other great states lucky enough), you need to get yourself to your nearest Whataburger and partake of the most artery-clogging unhealthy burgers ever to be combined between two freshly toasted white bread buns. Why is it worth your health, and possibly your immortal soul???

My friends, we are talking about two 100% American raised All-Beef patties, two slices of melted cheese, a mound of fresh grilled onions, three slices of crisp, smoky bacon and a layer of tangy A1 steak sauce, surrounded by a toasted grilled bun.

Yes. It's as good as you could ever dream of it being. It is, quite simply, the best burger on the entire planet.

They only have it available about two months out of the year, and I know they've had it for at least three years off and on. I think there's a cycle where they introduce the burger about this time every year. Last year, during my vegan phase, I was on about Month 3 of my journey, when I saw that the A1 burger was again being offered. All moral fortitude went out the door as I ran as quickly as I could to get a taste of that smoky, saucy goodness.

I'm not kidding. Go, and support one of the greatest treasures we have in Texas - the Whataburger chain of burger restaurants. You can just picture yourself with a burger right now, can't you?

Friday, June 16


I was in San Fransisco once, walking along the Golden Gate Bridge, and I saw this guy on the bridge about to jump. So I thought I'd try to stall and detain him, long enough for me to put the film in. I said, "Don't jump!" and he turns... You've heard of the elephant man. He was kind of like that, he had a, well, you could say he had the head of a horse. And my heart went out to him. I said, "Why the long face?"
He said, "'Cause all my life people have called me mean names like horses-head or Flicka or chess-piece or Trigger..."
I said, "Well, don't worry about it, Ed. It can't be that bad."
He said, "My girlfriend's suing me!"
I said, "For palomino?"
He said, "Why was I put on this Earth?"
I said, "My friend, anywhere else you wouldn't stand a chance."
He said, "Nobody loves me."
I said, "God loves you, you silly ninny."
He said, "How do you know there's a God?"
I said, "Of course there's a God. Do you think that billions of years ago a bunch of molecules floating around at random could someday have had the sense of humor to make you look like that?"
He said, "I do believe in God."
I said, "Are you a Christian or a Jew?"
He said, "A Christian."
I said, "Me too. Protestant or Catholic?"
He said, "Protestant."
I said, "Me too! What franchise?"
He says, "Baptist."
I said, "Me too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?"
He says, "Northern Baptist."
I said, "Me too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?"
He says, "Northern Conservative Baptist."
I say, "Me too! Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist or Northern Conservative Reform Baptist?"
He says, "Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist."
I say, "Me too! Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes Region or Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Eastern Region?"
He says, "Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes Region."
I say, "Me too! Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879 or Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?"
He says, "Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912."
I said, "Die, heretic!" And I pushed him off!
-- Emo Phillips

Of all of the anti-Mormon comments, tirades, and criticisms I ever encountered directly about me to my face, my absolute worst in my entire life was from Emo Phillips.

Emo Phillips was one of my comic idols as a child. I listened to his "E=MO2" album on vinyl so much I pretty much had the entire thing memorized. I was thrilled to see him in a cameo in "UHF" (The "Weird Al" movie from 1989), and always watched him during his TV appearances when I could catch him.

Sometime in the late 1990's, I had a friend of a friend who worked on Emo's web site, and could introduce him to us after he performed at a local comedy club. I was so excited to meet him! I even brought my vinyl album, the one I pretty much wore out in the 80's, to the show to get autographed. Me and a group of friends went to the Improv and waited for the show.

When I was a kid, I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realized that the Lord, in his wisdom, didn't work that way. So I just stole one and asked him to forgive me. - Emo Phillips

The show was pretty good, and afterwards we all waited around anxiously for our introduction to the great Emo Phillips. We were all pretty much lifetime fans. He came over and after some extremely self-depreciating remarks, began having an interesting conversation with us.

At some point, he made a comment about religion and about Mormons in particular, and all of my friends started to laugh. He said, "Is one of you Mormon?" All of my friends turned and stared straight at me, and I could feel my face starting to blush. He said, "You're Mormon? You don't actually believe all that crap, do you?" I said, extremely sheepishly, "Well yes, I do." He then said, "You seem like such a smart and interesting girl, why in the world would you believe such total nonsense?" or something to that effect and then went on a (I kid you not) 15 minute tirade about what a moronic religion that the Mormon church was.

I was walking down fifth avenue today and I found a wallet, and I was gonna keep it, rather than return it, but I thought: well, if I lost a hundred and fifty dollars, how would I feel? And I realized I would want to be taught a lesson. - Emo Phillips

I felt horrible, completely raked over the coals. Now, this was during my NeoMormon phase (1997-2000), so my testimony was still a touch shaky. But it offended me greatly that he would have tore into my beliefs with such gusto, tearing me down over and over until I almost started to cry (I did cry, but I waited until I was outside). It made me feel heinous to have someone put me down so seriously because of my beliefs. And not only just someone, but one of the idols of my childhood, someone who I loved and adored and admired as a comic genius.

I never did get my album autographed.

And the blogosphere goes wild! - New Translation of the Mass

I guess this means we're all going to have to run out and get new missals, huh?

Here's a link to the AP article - " New Catholic Mass translation OK'd.

American Papist has gathered some links together that show what some of the blogosphere's heavyweights have to say about it.

Julie D. fromHappy Catholic has another meta post about the new mass translation hubbub.

Who knew?

What Kind of Cross are You?

You are the San Damiano Cross: Rich in symbolism, this cross was first painted in the twelfth century gathering images from the Gospel of John. Christ is the central figure and is surrounded by the angles, the apostles and the Virgin Mary. The cross became well known because it was the cross in front of which St. Francis was praying when he received the call to rebuild the Church.
Take this quiz!

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Wednesday, June 14


I thought I'd blog this idea with pictures, so I could have the whole thought process documented. My husband and I recently had a flurry of decorating activity in our home, or an Xtreme Loft Makeover if you will. Here's some pictures of the result of most of that flurry (I'll try to take a more recent pic or two tonight and repost):


A couple of weekends ago we got a cool new furry white couch. By the way, we learned REALLY quick that club soda gets out the most stubborn hairball stains on a white faux fur Klippan sofa and ottoman.

We also got a shelf to display our cool Franciscan Starburst dishes. My mother gave us a bunch of dishes like this when we got married. They were her wedding dishes when she got married, and they're a very hot collectable right now. They look like this:

We were eating French Toast this Sunday on our recently rediscovered dishes, when I got to looking at my dishes and realized that the colors in my dishes were really nice looking! I started to brew the idea of possibly painting the walls in my house these two colors - aqua blue and chartreuse. For a while I've been planning on painting the walls chocolate brown and ice blue (like the colors in this pillow), but now I'm thinking I may go with these colors instead. For me, the important thing is that my walls are some shade of blue. Blue soothes me, and makes me happy.

Since all of our furniture is white and even our bedsheets and duvet is all white, we can go with any color we want on the walls and it's going to work. On one of my favorite home decorating blogs, Apartment Therapy NYC, they featured a color on their blog this week called Sweet Pear. Here's a pic:

And the aqua blue color that is in the plates is all over design catalogs this season. Here's a pic from the West Elm catalog:

If we went with blue along the outside curving wall which goes from the living room all the way into the bedroom, we could easily have the bedroom be blue with chocolate brown, and then have the living/kitchen area (in the above pic) be blue and chartreuse. We'd still have the inside wall be white, but we could make it a slightly creamier white like on the dishes. We'd still have to figure out the bathroom, but I think we could easily paint the walls a lighter shade of aqua that would be darn close to ice blue, accent it with a new white shower curtain and white monogrammed towels, and put a black and white pic of downtown Dallas in a black frame on the wall to make it look super sweet in there.

So ... what do you think? Too trendy? Very bold? Super swank? (We're kind of going for swank-retro.)

Monday, June 12

Because this is cheap and sounds like a lot of fun ...

Beat the HEAT Watch Parties at American Airlines Center

What: “Beat the HEAT” Watch Parties at American Airlines Center presented by Sprite; Sponsored by The Dallas Morning News, Quick and ESPN Radio 103.3 FM

Game 3: Tues., June 13, 8:00 p.m. CT tipoff (doors open at 6:30 p.m.)
Game 4: Thurs., June 15, 8:00 p.m. CT tipoff (doors open at 6:30 p.m.)

Where: American Airlines Center

Parking: FREE parking in Official American Airlines Center parking lots

Ticket Info: Tickets to both the Game 3 and Game 4 “Beat the HEAT” watch parties will go on sale to the general public beginning Friday, June 9th at 10 a.m. by phone (800-4NBA-TIX), here on and at American Airlines Center’s North Box Office. All tickets will be priced at $5 and will be sold on a first come, first served basis with specific seat assignments, and there will be a 10 ticket limit per order.

Details: Mavs fans who attend the watch parties at American Airlines Center, will get to experience all the live entertainment that takes place during regular Mavs home games during television commercials. Entertainment will include Mavs Dancers, ManiAACs, Mascots, on-court contests and promotions, and video and animations on the big screen. Mavs fan shops and concession stands will also be open for the watch parties.

“We want to give our fans who might not get the opportunity to attend a regular season or playoff home game the chance to experience what a game night really feels like at American Airlines Center,” said Mavs owner Mark Cuban. “It is the perfect opportunity to bring the family and get together with other fans to cheer on our Mavs.”

Other Info: Mavs fans don’t forget that Dave & Buster’s off 75/Walnut Hill is the Official Mavs Road Game Watch Party destination. All Dave& Buster’s parties begin 30 minutes prior to tipoff. Dave & Buster’s will offer Mavs food and beverage specials as well as giveaways that include merchandise.

Sunday, June 11

Why I Love Mark Cuban Reason #245

From Mark Cuban's Blog, "Blog Maverick"

Finally Game Day…

Tom Petty was right. I hate the wait.

Just got to the arena.

Made sure i first got my protein. Stopped at 7-11 for my gourmet Tuna Fish Sandwich. Dentyne Ice to make sure no one else realizes I had a tuna fish sandwich and a Monster Lo Carb Drink. (Got to alternate between my faves…Kronik and Monster low carb)

Had to talk on the phone to the daughter of one of the clerks while the line backed up. The people behind me in line went from “Go Mavs” to “would you shut up already and let us buy our Big Gulps”. Hey, I can handle the pressure.

As of right now, the lead has been cut to 18 points, but they have taken Dirk out of the game. Go Mavs!

Go Mavs!

The Onion has a great article about the NBA finals featuring the Heat (boo) and the Dallas Mavericks (YAY!!!). The Mavs making it into the finals has actually got people in Dallas caring about sports other than the Cowboys again. Sort of. It's quite exciting, actually. My husband and I have seen most of the playoff games and have been Mavs fans for a few years, so we're pretty swept up in the whole hubbub. (And I secretly have a crush on Mark Cuban, but don't tell my husband.)

Mavericks To Incorporate Machetes Into Hack-A-Shaq Defense

My favorite line from the article:

Enthusiastic team owner Mark Cuban said that, when he was presented with the idea of purchasing machetes for his "boys," he was immediately behind it.

"I thought, 'Great! Avery is finally thinking outside the box!'" Cuban said. "And since then, machetes have been the only things on my mind. Thinking about machetes has taken up every second of every day. Machetes! Machetes, man."

Cuban then purchased a case of machetes, and had each one custom-made to fit his players' size and frame, and engraved them with his players' names, numbers, the Mavericks' logo, the 2006 NBA Finals logo, and the credo "Defense Wins Championships."

Full Article

Saturday, June 10

More quotes from Bruce R. McConkie

I've been talking a lot today about the article "Our Relationship with the Lord". Even though I quoted much of his article in my previous posts, this one is my very favorite quote of all from the article:

Now I sincerely hope that no one will imagine that I have in the slightest degree downgraded the Lord Jesus in the scheme of things. I have not done so. As far as I know there is not a man on earth who thinks more highly of him than I do. It just may be that I have preached more sermons, taught more doctrine, and written more words about the Lord Jesus Christ than any other man now living. I have ten large volumes in print, seven of which deal almost entirely with Christ, and the other three with him and his doctrines.

His humility astounds me. It's amazing how many fun quotes you can find from this man if you just do a little research:

Bruce McConkie states that the conception and birth of Jesus was completely natural.

"And Christ was born into the world as the literal Son of this Holy Being; he was born in the same personal, real, and literal sense that any mortal son is born to a mortal father. There is nothing figurative about his paternity; he was begotten, conceived and born in the normal and natural course of events,...Christ is the Son of Man, meaning that his Father (the Eternal God!) is a Holy Man." (Mormon Doctrine, by Bruce McConkie, page 742.)

"As far as this life is concerned, [Jesus] was born of Mary and of Elohim; he came here as an offspring of that Holy Man who is literally our Father in heaven. He was born in mortality in the literal and full sense as the Son of God. He is the Son of his Father in the same sense that all mortals are the sons and daughters of their fathers" (Bruce McConkie, Mortal Messiah 1:330).

"The Father had a Son, a natural Son, his own literal Seed, the Offspring of his body" (Bruce McConkie, The Promised Messiah, pg.355).

"There is no need to spiritualize away the plain meaning of the scriptures. There is nothing figurative or hidden or beyond comprehension in our Lord's coming into mortality. He is the Son of God in the same sense and way that we are the sons of mortal fathers. It is just that simple" (The Promised Messiah, pg.468).

Bruce McConkie states that God became a God by being saved by obedience to laws

“The Father is a glorified, perfected, resurrected, exalted man who worked out his salvation by obedience to the same laws he has given to us so that we may do the same.” (McConkie, Bruce R. A New Witness for the Articles of Faith. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1985. p. 64)

“Man and God are of the same race, and it is within the power of righteous man to become like his Father, that is to become a holy Man, a Man of Holiness.” (Mormon Doctrine, pp. 465-466)

“This Holy Man, the Father of us all, who reigns supreme and is a saved being , ordained and established a plan of salvation so that his Firstborn and all his spirit children might advance and progress, become like him, have all power, know all things, live in the family unit, having eternal increase of their own – or in other words, that they might gain for themselves immortality and eternal life.” (A New Witness, p. 704

Interesting Antecdote

I knew a man, now deceased, not a member of the Church, who was a degenerate old reprobate who found pleasure, as he supposed, in living after the manner of the world. A cigarette dangled from his lips, alcohol stretched his breath, mind profane and bawdy stories defiled his lips. His moral status left much to be desired.

His wife was a member of the Church, as faithful as she could be under the circumstances. One day she said to him, "You know the Church is true; why won't you be baptized?" He replied,

    "Of course I know the Church is true, but I have no intention of changing my habits in order to join it. I prefer to live the way I do. But that doesn't worry me in the slightest. I know that as soon as I die, you will have someone go to the temple and do the work for me and everything will come out all right in the end anyway."

from “The Seven Deadly Heresies,” in Speeches of the Year, 1980, Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University, 1981, pp. 78–79

The Godhead vs the Trinity Part III - Relationship with Christ?

In my first two posts discussing the speech "Our Relationship with the Lord" (Part I and Part II), I discussed McConkie's assertion of the nature of God and of Christ according to the doctrine of the Mormon church.

After McConkie makes clear the nature of Christ through his 17 points, he then begins to clarify the relationship one should have with the Godhead:

There are yet others who have an excessive zeal which causes them to go beyond the mark. Their desire for excellence is inordinate. In an effort to be truer than true they devote themselves to gaining a special, personal relationship with Christ that is both improper and perilous.

I say perilous because this course, particularly in the lives of some who are spiritually immature, is a gospel hobby which creates an unwholesome holier-than-thou attitude. In other instances it leads to despondency because the seeker after perfection knows he is not living the way he supposes he should.

Another peril is that those so involved often begin to pray directly to Christ because of some special friendship they feel has been developed. In this connection a current and unwise book, which advocates gaining a special relationship with Jesus, contains this sentence:

Because the Savior is our mediator, our prayers go through Christ to the Father, and the Father answers our prayers through his Son.

This is plain sectarian nonsense. Our prayers are addressed to the Father, and to him only. They do not go through Christ, or the Blessed Virgin, or St. Genevieve or along the beads of a rosary. We are entitled to "come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).

And I rather suppose that he who sitteth upon the throne will choose his own ways to answer his children, and that they are numerous. Perfect prayer is addressed to the Father, in the name of the Son; and it is uttered by the power of the Holy Ghost; and it is answered in whatever way seems proper by him whose ear is attuned to the needs of his children.

Now I know that some may be offended at the counsel that they should not strive for a special and personal relationship with Christ. It will seem to them as though I am speaking out against mother love, or Americanism, or the little red schoolhouse. But I am not. There is a fine line here over which true worshipers will not step.

It is true that there may, with propriety, be a special relationship with a wife, with children, with friends, with teachers, with the beasts of the field and the fowls of the sky and the lilies of the valley. But the very moment anyone singles out one member of the Godhead as the almost sole recipient of his devotion, to the exclusion of the others, that is the moment when spiritual instability beings to place sense and reason.

The proper course for all of us is to stay in the mainstream of the Church. This is the Lord's Church, and it is led by the spirit of inspiration, and the practice of the Church constitutes the interpretation of the scripture.

And you have never heard one of the First Presidency or the Twelve, who hold the keys of the kingdom, and who are appointed to see that we are not "tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine" (Ephesians 4:14)--you have never heard one of them advocate this excessive zeal that calls for gaining a so-called special and personal relationship with Christ.

You have heard them teach and testify of the ministry and mission of the Lord Jesus, using the most persuasive and powerful language at their command. But never, never at any time have they taught or endorsed the inordinate or intemperate zeal that encourages endless, sometimes day-long prayers, in order to gain a personal relationship with the Savior.

Those who truly love the Lord and who worship the Father in the name of the Son by the power of the Spirit, according to the approved patterns, maintain a reverential barrier between themselves and all the members of the Godhead.

I am well aware that some who have prayed for endless hours feel they have a special and personal relationship with Christ that they never had before. I wonder if this is any or so much different, however, from the feelings of fanatical sectarians who with glassy eyes and fiery tongues assure us they have been saved by grace and are assured of a place with the Lord in a heavenly abode, when in fact they have never even received the fullness of the gospel.

I wonder if it is not part of Lucifer's system to make people feel they are special friends of Jesus when in fact they are not following the normal and usual pattern of worship found in the true Church.


It is a fine and sacred line, but clearly there is a difference between a personal and intimate relationship with the Lord, which is improper, and one of worshipful adoration, which yet maintains the required reserve between us and him who has bought us with his blood.

from ""Our Relationship with the Lord"

In contrast to McConkie's statements, the CCC is rich in text discussing the personal relationship of God's children through prayer of all types. The entire Part IV of the CCC is dedicated to discussing types of prayer, and to whom to address prayers.

Here's some particularly beautiful passages in the CCC about prayer and how it relates to our personal relationship with Christ:

Jesus hears our prayer

2616 Prayer to Jesus is answered by him already during his ministry, through signs that anticipate the power of his death and Resurrection: Jesus hears the prayer of faith, expressed in words (the leper, Jairus, the Canaanite woman, the good thief) or in silence (the bearers of the paralytic, the woman with a hemorrhage who touches his clothes, the tears and ointment of the sinful woman). The urgent request of the blind men, "Have mercy on us, Son of David" or "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" has-been renewed in the traditional prayer to Jesus known as the Jesus Prayer: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!"86 Healing infirmities or forgiving sins, Jesus always responds to a prayer offered in faith: "Your faith has made you well; go in peace."

    St. Augustine wonderfully summarizes the three dimensions of Jesus' prayer: "He prays for us as our priest, prays in us as our Head, and is prayed to by us as our God. Therefore let us acknowledge our voice in him and his in us."


2697 Prayer is the life of the new heart. It ought to animate us at every moment. But we tend to forget him who is our life and our all. This is why the Fathers of the spiritual life in the Deuteronomic and prophetic traditions insist that prayer is a remembrance of God often awakened by the memory of the heart "We must remember God more often than we draw breath." But we cannot pray "at all times" if we do not pray at specific times, consciously willing it These are the special times of Christian prayer, both in intensity and duration.

2698 The Tradition of the Church proposes to the faithful certain rhythms of praying intended to nourish continual prayer. Some are daily, such as morning and evening prayer, grace before and after meals, the Liturgy of the Hours. Sundays, centered on the Eucharist, are kept holy primarily by prayer. The cycle of the liturgical year and its great feasts are also basic rhythms of the Christian's life of prayer.

2699 The Lord leads all persons by paths and in ways pleasing to him, and each believer responds according to his heart's resolve and the personal expressions of his prayer. However, Christian Tradition has retained three major expressions of prayer: vocal meditative, and contemplative. They have one basic trait in common: composure of heart. This vigilance in keeping the Word and dwelling in the presence of God makes these three expressions intense times in the life of prayer.


2742 "Pray constantly . . . always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father." St. Paul adds, "Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance making supplication for all the saints." For "we have not been commanded to work, to keep watch and to fast constantly, but it has been laid down that we are to pray without ceasing." This tireless fervor can come only from love. Against our dullness and laziness, the battle of prayer is that of humble, trusting, and persevering love. This love opens our hearts to three enlightening and life-giving facts of faith about prayer.

2743 It is always possible to pray: The time of the Christian is that of the risen Christ who is with us always, no matter what tempests may arise.36 Our time is in the hands of God:

    It is possible to offer fervent prayer even while walking in public or strolling alone, or seated in your shop, . . . while buying or selling, . . . or even while cooking.

2744 Prayer is a vital necessity. Proof from the contrary is no less convincing: if we do not allow the Spirit to lead us, we fall back into the slavery of sin. How can the Holy Spirit be our life if our heart is far from him?

    Nothing is equal to prayer; for what is impossible it makes possible, what is difficult, easy. . . . For it is impossible, utterly impossible, for the man who prays eagerly and invokes God ceaselessly ever to sin.

    Those who pray are certainly saved; those who do not pray are certainly damned.

2745 Prayer and Christian life are inseparable, for they concern the same love and the same renunciation, proceeding from love; the same filial and loving conformity with the Father's plan of love; the same transforming union in the Holy Spirit who conforms us more and more to Christ Jesus; the same love for all men, the love with which Jesus has loved us. "Whatever you ask the Father in my name, he [will] give it to you. This I command you, to love one another."

    He "prays without ceasing" who unites prayer to works and good works to prayer. Only in this way can we consider as realizable the principle of praying without ceasing.

Reading the McConkie article in its entirety really opened my eyes to beliefs that I once held that I now cannot believe I held. The main issue I have with the McConkie article is that it says over and over how having a personal relationship to Christ is contradictory to the teachings of the Mormon church.

But it also shows a ton of contradictions that are hard to reconcile in my mind. On the one hand, he talks about the perfectness of Christ, and on the other hand he says not to single Christ out for prayer. He talks about the importance of the Holy Ghost, and then in a later paragraph says "And again, if it were proper--and I repeat, it is not!--to single out one member of the Godhead for some special attention, we might well conclude that member should be the Holy Ghost. We might well adopt as a slogan: Seek the Spirit. The reason of course is that the sanctifying power of the Spirit would assure us of reconciliation with the Father. And any person who enjoys the constant companionship of the Holy Spirit will be in complete harmony with the divine will in all things." That sentence is a web of circular logic and confusion.

I hope I have shown some of the unique differences between the beliefs of the Mormon church in the words of its leaders verses the teachings of the Catholic church.

The Godhead vs the Trinity Part II - More definition of the nature of Christ

In my last post, I clarified the Mormon position on the Godhead, and its comparison to the Christian Trinity as clarified in the Nicene Creed. Next I'd like to talk about the second part of McConkie's speech to BYU entitled "Our Relationship with the Lord". Again, I will add emphasis, and make comments on the primary sources when I feel it adds to the content presented.

The next part of McConkie's speech, after he defines the Godhead, discusses "those doctrines and concepts that a gracious God has given to us in this day and which must be understood in order to gain eternal life". According to McConkie, they are:
1. We worship the Father and him only and no one else.

We do not worship the Son, and we do not worship the Holy Ghost. I know perfectly well what the scriptures say about worshipping Christ and Jehovah, but they are speaking in an entirely different sense--the sense of standing in awe and being reverentially grateful to him who has redeemed us. Worship in the true and saving sense is reserved for God the first, the Creator.

Our revelations say that the Father "is infinite and eternal," that he created "man, male and female,"

And gave unto them commandments that they should love and serve him, the only living and true God, and that he should be the only being whom they should worship. [D&C 20:17–19]

Jesus said:

True worshippers shall [note that this is mandatory] worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

For unto such hath God promised his Spirit. And they who worship him, must worship in spirit and in truth.
[JST John 4:25–26]

There is no other way, no other approved system of worship.

from "Our Relationship with the Lord"

The main problem here between these teachings and the teachings of the Catholic church is that the Catholic church teaches that Christ IS God IS the Holy spirit. The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

83. In what sense is Jesus the Only Begotten Son of God? (441-445, 454)

Jesus is the Son of God in a unique and perfect way. At the time of his Baptism and his Transfiguration, the voice of the Father designated Jesus as his "beloved Son." In presenting himself as the Son who "knows the father" (Matthew 11:27), Jesus affirmed his singular and eternal relationship with God his Father. He is "the Only Begotten Son of God" (1 John 4:9), the second Person of the Blessed Trinity. He is the central figure of apostolic preaching. The Apostles saw "his glory as the Only Begotten of the Father" (John 1:14).

84. What is the meaning of the title "Lord"? (446-451, 455)

In the Bible this title regularly designates God as Sovereign. Jesus ascribed this title to himself and revealed his divine sovereignty by his power over nature, over demons, over sin, and over death, above all by his own Resurrection. The first Christian creeds proclaimed that the power, the honor and the glory that are due to God the Father also belong to Jesus: God "has given him the name which is above every other name (Phillippians 2:9). He is the Lord of the world and of history, the only One to whom we must completely submit our personal freedom.

87. In what way is Jesus Christ true God and true Man? (464-467, 469)

Jesus is inseparably true God and true Man in the unity of his divine Person. As the Son of God, who is "begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father," he was made true man, our brother, without ceasing to be God, our Lord.

from "Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church", 28-29

Next, in McConkie's speech, he gives more doctrines:

2. We love and serve both the Father and the Son.

In the full, final, and ultimate sense of the word the divine decree is:

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy might, mind, and strength; and in the name of Jesus Christ thou shalt serve him. [D&C 59:5]

And Jesus also said:

If ye love me, keep my commandments. [John 14:15]

These, then, are the commandments of commandments. They tie the Father and the Son together, as one, so that both receive our love and service.

3. Christ himself loves, serves, and worships the Father.

Though Christ is God, yet there is a Deity above him, a Deity whom he worships. That God is the Father. To Mary Magdalene, the first mortal to see a resurrected person, Jesus said:

I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.[John 20:17]

All of us, Christ included, are the spirit children of the Father; all of us, Christ included, seek to become like the Father. In this sense the Firstborn, our Elder Brother, goes forward as we do.

4. The plan of salvation is the gospel of the Father

The plan of salvation originated with the Father; he is the Author and Finisher of our faith in the final sense; he ordained the laws by obedience to which both we and Christ can become like him.

The Father did not ask for volunteers to propose a plan whereby man might be saved. What he did was ask whom he should send to be the Redeemer in the plan he devised. Christ and Lucifer both volunteered, and the Lord chose his Firstborn and rejected the amendatory offer of the son of the morning.

Thus Paul spoke of "the gospel of God, . . . concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh" (Romans 1:1–3). It is the Father's gospel, it became the gospel of the Son by adoption, and we call it after Christ's name because his atoning sacrifice put all of its terms and conditions into operation.

5. Christ worked out his own salvation by worshiping the Father.

After the Firstborn of the Father, while yet a spirit being, had gained power and intelligence that made him like unto God; after he had become, under the Father, the Creator of worlds without number; after he had reigned on the throne of eternal power as the Lord Omnipotent--after all this he yet had to gain a mortal and then an immortal body.

After the Son of God "made flesh" his "tabernacle," and while he "dwelt among the sons of men"; after he left his preexistent glory as we all do at birth; after he was born of Mary in Bethlehem of Judea--after all this he was called upon to work out his own salvation.

Of our Lord's life while in this mortal probation the scripture says:

He received not of the fulness at the first, but received grace for grace;

And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness.

Finally, after his resurrection,

he received a fulness of the glory of the Father;

And he received all power, both in heaven and on earth, and the glory of the Father was with him, for he dwelt in him.
[D&C 93:12–14, 16–17]

Note it, please, the Lord Jesus worked out his own salvation while in this mortal probation by going from grace to grace, until, having overcome the world and being raised in immortal glory, he became like the Father in the full, complete, and eternal sense.

In summary, according to McConkie, here are some basic truths about Christ:
  • God and Christ should be loved and served
  • Christ, separate from God, loves and worships God as we should
  • Christ is our elder brother
  • Christ volunteered to be the Savior and beat out Lucifer for this task
  • Christ worked out his own atonement
  • Christ's mortal life was a mortal probation for him
  • Christ progressed while on this earth to become like God

In contrast, according to the Catholic church:
  • Christ, in union with God, came to this earth "in order to save us by reconciling us with God" (CCC, 457)
  • Christ is the incarnation of God in the flesh (CCC, 461)
  • Christ, as the "Word made flesh", came to Earth to be our model of holiness (CCC, 459)
  • Christ, as the son of God, " '... came down "from heaven, not to do [his] own will, but the will of him who sent [him]', ... said on coming into the world, 'Lo, I have come to do your will, O God.' 'And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.' From the first moment of his Incarnation the Son embraces the Father's plan of divine salvation in his redemptive mission: My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work.'" (CCC, 606)
  • Christ's experience at Gethsemene was described as "The cup of the New Covenant, which Jesus anticipated when he offered himself at the Last Supper, is afterwards accepted by him from his Father's hands in his agony in the garden at Gethsemani, making himself 'obedient unto death'. " (CCC, 612) Gethsemene was not the sacrifice, it was the acceptance of the sacrifice to come and the ultimate submission to the will of God.

Next up, more doctrines, and how to worship God.

The Godhead vs the Trinity Part I - Definition of "Godhead" and "Trinity"

During my process of becoming Catholic, and even now, I have a very strong struggle getting my mind around the concept of the Trinity. Three beings in one - this literally blows my mind away. The "egg" analogy and the "Shamrock" analogy and things like that are just not quite enough for me to get my mind around. I accept the doctrine behind the Nicene Creed, but I don't quite understand it. I don't expect to fully understand it in this lifetime. On occasion, I will have a thread of thought that at the end makes me go, "Ok, it's possible", and that puts my mind at ease on a fairly regular basis.

While perusing my RFM boards a few weeks back, I ran across the transcript of an interesting speech given by Bruce R. McConkie in 1982. You might remember him as the author of "Mormon Doctrine", an encyclopedia of basic beliefs of Mormonism. At the time the speech was given, Bruce R. McConkie was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the LDS church. The speech was given to students of BYU and entitled "Our Relationship with the Lord". Reading this, I realized why I struggled so hard to understand the concept of the Trinity. The Trinity and the "Godhead", as Mormons call it, are quite distinctly different concepts.

I'd like to share with you a few choice quotes from this speech by McConkie (emphasis added), and compare and contrast them to concepts taught in the Catechism of the Catholic Church . With this particular post, I hope to show you the difference between the Mormon concept of the "Godhead" verses the Catholic/ Christian concept of the Trinity. Mostly I'm going to furnish quotes from the primary sources, because I think they really speak for themselves. But I will interject from time to time.

McConkie starts with a brief introduction to his words that contains this statement:

Please do not put too much stock in some of the current views and vagaries that are afloat, but rather, turn to the revealed word, get a sound understanding of the doctrines, and keep yourselves in the mainstream of the Church.

from "Our Relationship with the Lord"

When a member of the "Brethren" brings up the topic of the "revealed word", what they mean specifically is that revelations from the current leaders of the church trumps the teachings of previous leaders if they contradict them. Joseph Fielding Smith once said "Now, brethren, I think there is one thing which we should have exceedingly clear in our minds. Neither the President of the Church, nor the First Presidency, nor the united voice of the First Presidency and the Twelve will ever lead the Saints astray or send forth counsel to the world that is contrary to the mind and will of the Lord." When the Brethren speak, it is considered to be the voice of God. This is especially true when the remarks are prefaced with one like McConkie makes in this speech.

McConkie then begins discussing some of what he sees as errors in teaching of other Christian religions:

True and saving worship is found only among those who know the truth about God and the Godhead and who understand the true relationship men should have with each member of that Eternal Presidency.

It follows that the devil would rather spread false doctrine about God and the Godhead, and induce false feelings with reference to any one of them, than almost any other thing he could do. The creeds of Christendom illustrate perfectly what Lucifer wants so-called Christian people to believe about Deity in order to be damned.

These creeds codify what Jeremiah calls the lies about God (see Jeremiah 16:19; 23: 14–32). They say he is unknown, uncreated, and incomprehensible. They say he is a spirit, without body, parts, or passions. They say he is everywhere and nowhere in particular present, that he fills the immensity of space and yet dwells in the hearts of men, and that he is an immaterial, incorporeal nothingness. They say he is one-god-in-three, and three-gods-in-one who neither hears, nor sees, nor speaks. Some even say he is dead, which he might as well be if their descriptions identify his being.

These concepts summarize the chief and greatest heresy of Christendom. Truly the most grievous and evil heresy ever imposed on an erring and wayward Christianity is their creedal concept about God and the Godhead! But none of this troubles us very much. God has revealed himself to us in this day even as he did to the prophets of old.

from "Our Relationship with the Lord"

(Sidenote: Mormons often ask, "Why must you persecute us? We simply wish to have the right to believe as we feel dictated to in our hearts?" But very high leaders of the Mormon church say very negative things about other Christian churches (or at least they did when I was growing up). This is evidence of one of those times where the Mormon church says some very negative things about the rest of the Christian family.)

Here is the teaching of the Trinity according to the Nicene Creed, said during the Catholic Mass and used as a basis for much of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father. Through him all things were made.

For us men and for our salvation, he came down from heaven:

by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered died and was buried.

On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.


CCC, Credo

McConkie then goes to basically create a Credo of the beliefs of the LDS church in relationship to God, which shows the contrast between the Apostle's Creed/Nicene Creed and teachings of modern-day Mormonism:

We know thereby that he [God] is a personal Being in whose image man was made. We know that he has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's; that he is a resurrected, glorified, and perfected Being; and that he lives in the family unit. We know that we are his spirit children; that he endowed us with the divine gift of agency; and that he ordained the laws whereby we might advance and progress and become like him.

We know that God is the only supreme and independent Being in whom all fullness and perfection dwell and that he is omnipotent, omniscient, and, by the power of his Spirit, omnipresent.

We know "the Almighty God gave his Only Begotten Son" (D&C 20:21), as the scriptures attest, to ransom man from the temporal and spiritual death brought into the world by the fall of Adam and to put into operation all of the terms and conditions of the Father's plan.

We know that the Holy Ghost, as a "personage of Spirit," is both a Revelator and a Sanctifier and that his chief mission is to bear record of the Father and the Son.

Thus there are, in the Eternal Godhead, three persons--God the first, the Creator; God the second, the Redeemer; and God the third, the Testator. These three are one--one God if you will--in purposes, in powers, and in perfections. But each has his own severable work to perform, and mankind has a defined and known and specific relationship to each one of them. It is of these relationships that we shall now speak.

from "Our Relationship with the Lord

The CCC says this about the Godhead:

To believe in God alone

150 Faith is first of all a personal adherence of man to God. At the same time, and inseparably, it is a free assent to the whole truth that God has revealed. As personal adherence to God and assent to his truth, Christian faith differs from our faith in any human person. It is right and just to entrust oneself wholly to God and to believe absolutely what he says. It would be futile and false to place such faith in a creature.

To believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God

151 For a Christian, believing in God cannot be separated from believing in the One he sent, his "beloved Son", in whom the Father is "well pleased"; God tells us to listen to him. The Lord himself said to his disciples: "Believe in God, believe also in me." We can believe in Jesus Christ because he is himself God, the Word made flesh: "No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known." Because he "has seen the Father", Jesus Christ is the only one who knows him and can reveal him.

To believe in the Holy Spirit

152 One cannot believe in Jesus Christ without sharing in his Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who reveals to men who Jesus is. For "no one can say "Jesus is Lord", except by the Holy Spirit", who "searches everything, even the depths of God. . No one comprehends the thoughts of God, except the Spirit of God." Only God knows God completely: we believe in the Holy Spirit because he is God.

The Church never ceases to proclaim her faith in one only God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

CCC, 150-152

It's quite easy to get one's mind around the concept of two resurrected, glorified beings. The Holy Ghost is a little more difficult. But God is much easier to understand as three separate and distinct beings (two of which are very similar to myself) than as a glorified essence of sorts. Reading this speech, I was reminded why the Trinitarian concept was not only foreign, but also was so hard for me to believe. My whole life I had been taught of the "heresy" of the concept of God as not being a resurrected being, and now here I was trying to believe that heresy. Of all of the concepts that I've struggled with since becoming Catholic, this one has been the hardest to deal with, and I have no doubt it was because of years of indoctrination from the leaders of the Mormon church about the Godhead.

More on this speech in my next post.

Friday, June 9

"JPod" review on Boing Boing

I think everyone of my generation has heard of the book that named our generation, "Generation X" by Douglas Coupland. I accidentally discovered Douglas Coupland at a Barnes & Noble bookstore years ago. I was broke and looking for a discount book, and found his book "Microserfs" in a discount bin for $3, I think. I read through that book and immediately became a Coupland fan. I own all of his fiction and all of his non-fiction but one book and they sit in a special place on my bookshelves.

He has a new book out called "JPod", and Boing Boing has a review of the book. Here's an excerpt from that review:

JPod is a novel about how the novelty-seeking, irony-soaked, instant-nostalgia, gross-out culture of the Internet can corrode your soul, so that when you crack wise, there's nothing underneath it but more wisecracks. The book made me uncomfortable and sometimes even angry, but I never wanted to put it down, and it made me think hard about my own life and values.

Coupland's earlier books, like 1995's Microserfs, tell the stories of smart, committed young people working their guts out because they believe in the transformative power of technology, because their pure passion for technology unites them. These young people are exploited and have personal problems, but they overcome them by supporting one another -- finding ways outside of "enterprise IT" to use technology to make their lives better. They become entrepreneurs, activists, or artists, finding ways to create change where none had existed before.

But JPod has none of that. In JPod, the little brothers and sisters of Generation X slave away at a thinly-disguised EA Games in Vancouver, where marketdroids reward their slavish labor by heaping menial tasks on them, and perverting the games they make so that they're not even cool. None of these people will be a software millionaire. They are people who work sweatshop hours for lousy wages, burn out young, and go nowhere. They use Google and eBay to scour the globe for anything to make their lives meaningful. They don't find it.

Full text of review

I think everyone finds some kind of media, whether it's an artist or a musician or a writer, that finds a way to touch their soul. Douglas Coupland has articulated many different types of angst that I have experienced in my life and brings them to a clarity that has allowed me to analyze my true problems and feelings. His book "Life After God", specifically, the last short story in that book, changed my life. I know that this paragraph probably sounds overly dramatic, but unfortunately I have discovered in life that when the word "angst" is used in a paragraph, the entire entry gets a very involuntary "Dawson's Creek" type vibe. (I just dated myself, didn't I?) As the above reviewer also states, "... every generation will get a chance to experience some kind of wrack and roll."

I'm totally stealing Closed Cafeteria's schtick

This church makes me think that the architect looked in his son's toy box full of blocks and maybe a toy ship and said, "I think I could use that design for a house of God!"

Proposed Hal-Farrug church
Emily Barbaro-Sant, Mosta

What at first glance seemed to me a cruise liner (I am not being cynical but honest), was Richard England's design for a church for Hal Farrug (May 25), a tiny village with approximately 70 families.

I am in no way contesting the architectural abilities of Prof. England, but I sincerely hope that Mepa will consult the local ecclesiastical authorities before possibly giving its blessing, even though the design of this "Church of our time" won an international award.

Irrespective of Prof. England's explanation of the "Church of our time" (meaning turbulent times), of a "composite structure based on a geometry of rotations, inclinations, oscillations and fluctuations", this is not what matters most in a church. A window overlooking Filfla is not a requisite either. One goes to church to pray, to meditate and meet and adore God, the Creator of all good and beautiful things. Unnecessary artistic constructions will only boost distraction.

I tend to agree that the Church is passing through difficult times. It has always been like that. But we have God's words to Peter quoted in St Matthew's Gospel: "You are Peter and upon this rock I shall build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against you." (16:18-19).

From the financial point of view, I wonder how the rector of the proposed church, if this design is finally approved, plans to overcome the heavy burden of paying for it. I feel it's already a lot for the 70 families or so to fork out the professional fees or commissions.

Very humbly I suggest that the church, designed and described as an anti-order of forms, with an inclining cross, inclining entrance tunnel and all, should remain on paper - a beautiful work of art given an international award - and a simpler, less complicated and less mysterious construction be built at Hal Farrug which will truly provide a place fit for worship.

(Thanks to Celtic Cherokee for the link!)

More on my personal politics

Politics are always a touchy subject no matter where they are brought up. Many liberals bristle at the thought of being perceived as "conservative" and conservatives think very badly of the hippy baby-killing tree-hugging soft-on-crime Liberals.

I'm finding that I am becoming much more conservative on some issues, such as pro-life. I've always been of the "none except for incest or rape" mentality (which has changed since becoming Catholic), but I am also starting to see the importance of anti-abortion legislature, making it tougher for people to have abortions. Even moreso than destroying innocent life, I've always been a believer that it messes up a woman psychologically to do that to her body and that damage alone is worth fighting for less abortion and for people to be more responsible with their sexual actions.

I've also realized recently that I have always been EXTREMELY conservative on crime. If a person breaks the law, they shoud pay the consequences, no negotiation. Ok, so even though pot is as "harmless" as alcohol and is just a mild drug, it still is manufactured and distributed through a pipeline that disregards law, and the drug dealing scene is rife with crime and other illegal acts. Drug dealers are bad news and need to be put away. I don't care if "they'll get their drugs from somewhere else" if the dealer goes to jail, if a person breaks a law they should pay, plain and simple. If we need to build more prisons, then tax me to get more police and more prisons, but get them off the street.

I am still very liberal when it comes to things like taking care of the poor, the weak, the old, and the infirmed. For example, I do believe that the Conservatives have a point that in an ideal world the rich should voluntarily give to churches and charities to help the poor. But I also realize that it will never be an ideal world and I believe that there comes a point when that voluntary donation isn't enough and that the public as a whole, through taxes, should also contribute to the welfare of the less fortunate. I also believe that military, cops, teachers, firefighters and other public servants are the backbone of our society, and a teacher should be able to make more than an entry-level clerk with no college education. And if a person is willing to take a bullet from a criminal or war enemy to save my life, then by Gosh pay the man (or woman) already! I hate taxes as much as the next guy, but I hate getting shot more.

I'm also still, and will always probably be, a Birkenstock-clad recycling making-my-own-cleaners organic-eating tree hugger. I'm all about saving the environment in a very hippy-esque way. I believe I am what might be dubbed a "crunchy con." But I'm also making sure I do research into the "crunchy" businesses I support to make sure that they don't support companies that support causes that I feel are wrong due to my orthodox religious beliefs.

I'll get it right eventually, I'm sure I will.

Carnival of the Veil

The ex-mo/post-Mormon carnival, Carnival of the Veil, is being hosted by Sideon this week. Go check it out.

DISCLAIMER: These blogs are anti-Mormon, but not necessarily pro-Catholic.

Sorry about the comments

I've began moderating comments after I experienced a commenter with views I did not feel like sharing on my blog. He was an anti-"Anti-Mormon" if you will. I have no problem with Mormons posting their side of things, and I actually encourage it. I try to show both sides of an issue even when it's clear which side I support, and I have no problem with the opposite side of an issue being brought to light, as long as no cuss words are being used and as long as common courtesy is expressed. But I'm not too much into "Mormons are right and you suck" comments. I've been out of 8th grade since 1985, and don't plan on going back.

Anyway, this past few days Blogger has been on the fritz (which would explain why my aggregator has been oddly empty of posts), and I haven't been able to post the comments.

I apologize for this error, and all of this mess has really got me thinking about transferring to my own URL. It is definitely a motivation. I'll let all of you know if I decide to change to a non-Blogger blog.

Dead people and vomit

There are two things that I have an exteme aversion to. And by extreme I mean I will scream and cover my eyes and avoid at all costs. The first one is vomit. I hate seeing vomit, I hate thinking about vomit, and I certainly despise being put in a situation where vomit is being hurled out of an orafice. Let me give you two examples that I have come across in my very recent history. I was driving to work about two weeks ago, minding my own business, when I stopped at a red light. Directly in my line of vision, for no apparent reason, there was a young man throwing up into a clump of plants in the parking lot of the downtown McDonald's. I hope that young man is happy because I will never be able to eat at that McDonald's again. This week was the debut of one of the few reality TV shows that I actually like, "So You Think You Can Dance." (This year they even have a nice little Mormon boy in the top 10!) But one of the "Can you believe this horrible dancer auditioned" shots was a girl who danced, and then threw up off of the side of the stage. And they showed this shot repeatedly, both in the "teasers" and as a segment of the show. I don't want to see vomit on my nice, family-friendly TV show. Seriously, I'm not kidding.

The second thing I have a severe aversion to is seeing dead bodies on the news. If Saddam's sons got blew up, great, but don't broadcast the picture over and over and over. I don't want to see. At least they had the sensitivity to hide the pictures of Uday and Qusay behind "sensitive pictures" links on most web sites. But I can't escape the picture of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al Quida who was killed during a US air raid this week. Yes, I know he was a bad man. Yes, I believe that he was killed. But I can't go on any US news site, and I can't go on many blog sites, without seen graphic pictures of his dead face. I don't want to see his dead face. I don't like to see death, no matter how justified that death might be. I didn't even visit my father in the mortuary when he died. I knew what he looked like alive, and that was enough for me. I don't want to see dead bodies piled up after a bombing or a flood, I don't want to see body bags after a fatal car wreck, I don't want to see a father holding on to the limp body of their child. I just don't want to see it. It makes me sad. It puts images in my head that won't go away. Put pictures of al-Zarqawi being nasty on a videotape or something on the news articles, but don't put his bloodied dead face on venues where I can't avoid it. It gives me nightmares.

Rant over.

Tuesday, June 6

When the heck did I become a moderate?

Your Political Profile:
Overall: 45% Conservative, 55% Liberal
Social Issues: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal
Personal Responsibility: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal
Fiscal Issues: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal
Ethics: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal
Defense and Crime: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal

I've always been extremely liberal. To become a moderate, at least according to this little quiz, is very odd for me.

Monday, June 5

Another disappointing mass at St. Jude

These past couple of weeks have been super busy for me. Last weekend and this weekend I've been spending way too much time and money on what I've dubbed "Xtreme! Loft Makeover" of my home. We've gotten a new couch, new shelves, new lighting, a new piece of art, etc. It looks great, but I've been busy.

Since we shopped all day on Saturday, I knew I'd be super busy doing projects all day Sunday. Not the best way to keep the Sabbath Day holy, but I figured I'd do some resting later in the day. I got up early and went to 9:30a Mass at St. Jude Chapel so I would have plenty of time to work on my home later in the day.

That place has gone downhill, for lack of a better word, since Fr. C left. It makes me really sad, because I *really* wanted to go to church there, but I just don't like it. Here are some of the changes that have happened to the Sunday Mass since Fr. C left:

  • No "ringing of the bells" to start Mass (there's no big church bells there, but there's a little set of bells by the door of the sacristy that they would ring to start Mass)
  • No incense
  • No Cantor for either Sunday Mass
  • No receiving of both species of communion, only the host
  • People reading the Scriptures from books other than the big fancy Red one (i.e. from papers or from the Missal)
  • Things left on altar after serving of communion (BIG pet peeve of mine - I'll always remember when Fr. C said to me "The Altar is a place to bring in the son of God, not a bookshelf")

On top of what I consider to be minor liturgical abuses and just loss of the "smells and bells", the priest's homilies are ... well, I just don't like them. He brings up pieces of paper, so I know he's prepared it to some extent, but he just rambles and goes on tangents about "current events" without telling enough about them for those of us who don't know all about them, and things like that.

I'm so sad as to what's happened to St. Jude. I don't necessarily need Fr. C there to be happy there, but when he was there, it was reverent and the homilies were very spiritual, and Fr. C always did the best he could to make sure that the service was the best that it could be. Now the Sunday service isn't even as complete as the weekday Mass I attend at Holy Family. I really wanted that to be my "home church" but I can't handle going there and not being spiritually nurtured. I need a good homily, I need good music, and I really like receiving both species, at least on Sunday.

I think next Sunday I'll go to St. Peter's again. I really liked going there. Great music, great people, nice and small ... it was very nice.

Thursday, June 1


It's amazing how the little things can really be a mood booster.

This weekend, my husband and I invested in a sofa from Ikea, and we were able to give away our futon on Craigslist. We also got a really neat shelf from Ikea so we would have a place to display our Franciscan Starburst dishes that my parents gave us when we got married. It's finally starting to feel like home here, and we've lived here almost two years.

I had a wonderful day. I've been getting a lot done at work, and I've been communicating well with my boss. I'm really enjoying my new work calendar (my boss suggested I get it to "improve my time management" - and it's working). Today I got a new laptop for work, my very first laptop. I was able to get my docking station and dual-monitor setup all situated this afternoon so I can basically walk in the door tomorrow and use my computer at the docking station.

On the way home, there was a gorgeous rainbow that looked like it was ending right in the middle of downtown, right over my loft. We went down to the Press Box Grill and watched some of the Mavericks game and our burger was KILLER. If you ever go there, I highly recommend getting some of their House Ranch dressing to dip your fries in. And when I got home, I had half a pint of Haagen-Dazs Chocolate ice cream for dessert.

Overall, it's been a very good day, and a very good week. I feel all warm and fuzzy. Maybe it's the chocolate.