Prayer, Eulogy and Rock Blessing for Davie LeRoy Kay’s Funeral

NOTE TO MY READERS: This is the Prayer, Eulogy and blessing I wrote for and gave at my cousins funeral. A lot of family members have been asking me for this and I felt that this was the best way to make sure that it got to everyone. 

 

I have been privileged today to welcome you all to this funeral service that is being held to honor, Davie LeRoy Kay.

For those of you who don’t know me I am Chaplain LeRoy Fiscus, I am also Davies Cousin.

As we start this service I want to remind you of a lesson Davie used in his life;

“The glass is always half full, it is never empty.”

 

Opening Prayer: Adapted from the poem “In Life’s Garden” by Anonymous

To something greater than us all:

Sometimes you pick a flower that’s still in full bloom.
And sometimes the flower that you have chosen, we feel it has been picked way too soon.
We ask you, what ever or who ever you are, that you will help us find peace in knowing that in the garden of what is life after death,
you have placed our treasured friend, brother, nephew, cousin, uncle and son.

Davie changed our lives forever, and we trust you to treat him well until we can join him in the garden of what is life after death.

Today, let us all remember and celebrate the flower that has been taken from life’s garden and planted in whatever comes after the journey that we all call life…

At this time we ask you, whatever you are, to be with us as we take this day and this sacred time to walk through the garden that is Davies life.

AMEN.

Eulogy: The Gift He Left Us

Quiet… Shh… … Do you hear that? Do.You.Hear.That? … I do…

I hear the leaves rustling in those trees over there, I hear the birds, the water running through the river… I hear you, I see you… You look sad, angry, hurt?

Don’t be. Davie has left us ALL gifts…

Before I tell you what this gift is, I have some lessons to share, these lessons are the wisdom of Davie.

 

Life Lesson #1

When we were young Davie introduced me to a gun that could shoot down a crow!

Now, this gun was not your normal gun, it was one of those PVC pipe guns. it was one of those guns where you stuck an aerosol can full of flammable chemicals into the back of the gun. When this can was sprayed and introduced to fire it would send a potato FLYING into the air to meet its target.. a big mass of feathers.

Yes, Davie taught me how to shoot my FIRST gun…

 

Life Lesson #2

Several years BEFORE the potato gun lesson Davie was riding his bike down my mother’s steep gravel driveway. At the bottom of the driveway he tried to speed around the corner, but instead his bike slid and their went my cousin… Davie went head first into a large rock, and his head split open. Eventually, Davie healed and after awhile he was back to normal…

Davie taught me that that we heal, that we remember, and that life goes on and always gets better no matter what happens…

 

Life Lesson #3

Twenty Two years later Davie saw a Facebook post of mine and sent me a message. At that time I was about to graduate from college and had realized that I did not know what I was going to do next or where I was going to go in life. Davie gave me some advice that fixed my problem:

“Go to the woods and spend some time alone to think.” He also invited me to go to Alaska with him…

Davie re-taught me a lesson that all Fiscus’s and Kay’s are taught:  “Learn from nature, listen to the silence, and take advice and inspiration from something greater than you.”

Davie reconnected me to nature and to the… “whatever it is up there.”

.. … …

Lets change direction for a bit, let’s look at the lessons Davie taught others…

 

Life Lesson #4

Love the kids. Davie just loved kids. He always treated children well, he always seemed to magically pull candy out of his pocket and hand it to the child in front of him. He picked them up in a BIG hug and would spin them around like the best Mari-go Round Ride they had ever been on. Davies love for kids made him the most popular adult around! …

Davie taught us all to love and respect kids, and to be unselfish in giving them (and everyone) love and affection.

 

Life Lesson #5

No matter what, no matter how hard or difficult things were Davie ALWAYS had a smile on his face. It was that infectious ear to ear shit. ass. grin. You could not help but smile when you saw his smile…

Davie taught us to always smile…

 

Life Lesson #6

Davie loved electronics, sometimes to the dislike of his parents… and like any young man he got in trouble… a lot… and he was sent to his room… a lot…

Davie, not wanting to be bored in his room figured out a solution to the “bored while in trouble” problem… He drilled a hole in his bedroom wall, behind his T.V.. And on the other side of this wall was the Front Room AND the VCR. Davie slinked a cord through this hole and connected his bedroom T.V. to the Front Room VCR.

You may be asking yourself why he would go through all of this trouble to watch a movie? Well, like I said before. Davie got himself grounded to his room A LOT. So, to pass the time when he was sent to his room he would take a detour into the front room, pop a movie into the VCR, press play and would go enjoy his punishment…

Davie taught us all to enjoy life, even in the TOUGHEST of times.

 

Life Lesson #7

Davie liked animals… One time on a camping trip with his Dad Davie decided he wanted to take one of them home with him. He put a kitten he had found in his backpack and snuck it home. On the way back from the campground Davie took care of his new found friend. He laid in the back of his Dad’s pickup, under the canopy and fed this kitten a bag of Doritos.

When Davie got home he stuffed the well fed kitten back into his backpack and took it to its new home, called Davies bedroom. Soon the kitten was found by Davies Dad and his sister was tasked with walking to every neighbor’s house to try and find the kitten a new home. When no new home could be found the cat found that it belonged at Wanda’s, Davies Mothers house…

Davie taught us to love and help animals, to love and help each other, to and to love and help the most vulnerable of us all…

 

Life Lesson #8

My Mom called Aunt Wanda’s house to ask a question and an 8 year old version of Davies sister Jennet answered the phone. My mom said, “Can I talk to Wanda?” To which Jennet quietly replied, “LeAnn is an Ass Hole…” Jennet then set the phone down and went to get Wanda. Wanda soon picked up the phone to hear my Mom say, “I was just called An Ass Hole…” When Wanda approached Jennet and asked if she had called LeAnn and ass hole she blamed it on Davie, who then got spanked. Jennet, who just watched her brothers Ass get beat, felt really guilty and confessed to what she had done.

Davie always was honest in what he did, he taught us to own up to our mistakes and to say sorry when we did wrong to another person.

 

Life Lesson #9

Davie had a good sense of fashion. As a young kid he KNEW that pant’s were SOOOO YESTERDAY, so he simply took them off. Davies parents would chase him around, catch him and then put a pair of pants BACK on his squirmy little legs… However, only a few minutes (and sometimes seconds) later the pants would be where Davie thought they belonged: lying on the floor.

As Davie grew older he found the Fedora, and he knew how to wear it.

He also loved cut off jeans and biker boots.

The combination of cut off jeans, biker boots and fedoras made him a joyous sight to behold.

Davie taught us to be ourselves, to live life comfortably… and sometimes to live naked…

 

 

Now, let’s get back to those gifts that Davie left us.

He left each and every one of us a gift. He left one for you, and you, and you, and yes even you.

This gift is called Davies life. This gift contains all the memories Davie left us and the life lessons that Davie taught us.

Davie left us all amazing gifts…

For those of you here wearing your fedora in honor of Davie, let us tip our hats in thanks for the lessons he taught us, the gifts that he has given us all.

 

Rock Blessing:

Please join me as we bless this mix of rocks that Davie picked out with his Mother Wanda and that have been given by family members:

“I bless these rocks blessed with Davies love, and all who takes one and puts it in their pocket will have Davies love with them forever. These rocks are blessed with the ability to give their holders strength, so that their hearts and souls may be as strong and unbreakable as a loving and comfortable rock.

Amen.”

 

Treat these rocks as you would a worry stone, when you are in need of help, rub them to receive comfort from Davie.

In this box are Davies ashes. In a few moments I will invite you all to line up and pay your respects to Davie and to get your own rock that has been blessed by Davies love. After you have taken your rock please return to your seat for the rest of today’s service. If you are in need of a blessing of comfort do not hesitate to ask me for one.

 

I also want to take this moment to show you this journal. This journal will be available after the service, in the potluck area for you all to write your thoughts and love for Davie in it.

After today’s events this Journal will be put into the box containing Davies ashes so that your love may be with him forever.

 

“Davie is not weighed down anymore, and like a butterfly in flight his soul is set free.”

 

In Humility and Remembrance,

          -ThatBoyLeRoy

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Walking with Autism, Leading with PRIDE

ImageMy first PRIDE was my “coming out” PRIDE. I came out of the “Mormon Closet” as a gay man AND as an LGBTQ activist. This year I come out as a leader who shows those who want to lead, but do not think they can that they can, and that they will! Everyone is able to lead and make a difference in the world if they set their minds to it!  This year I  come out in a different way, I come out as a man who fully accepts himself and who he is, despite his differences from the majority of society that are very much NOT because he is gay…

Up until two months ago, due to high school bullying and social rejection,I hated something about me as much as I hate getting fat. This “Thing” (as I called it) has been with me my entire life, and it will be with me until I die. When I realized that I helped in creating the LDS LGBT movement, and have accomplished what I have accomplished because of this “Thing,” I realized that this “Thing” is what has created EVERYTHING that I love and appreciate about my life and that my “Thing” has put me where I am today. Up until Imagetwo months ago I rejected this “Thing,” but now I love it and I embrace it. I OWN it like a PRIDE Beauty Queen owns her EIGHT inch pumps.

What I now call “Me” comes with its advantages. I can concentrate on a task more than a “normal” person can, I see the full set of consequences that a single action can cause better then a person who does not have this “Thing,” I am naturally honest, I am a critical thinker who’s thinking patters are very clear-cut and extremely rational, I have improved spatial perception abilities (meaning I am a 3D thinker), I am naturally resistance to group-think/orthodoxies and am not swayed by peer pressure, I naturally and easily create vivid and realistic artwork, and I easily learn how to play a musical instrument. These advantages help me in being a strong and productive leader. But I am also disadvantaged, and have to work through these every day and have to pay more attention to how I am perceived than the average activist does.

Some of these disadvantages are awkward and I had to train myself to not do them when I am in public. I have a VERY hard time looking people in the eyes, I am sometimes overbearingly and UNKNOWINGLY prideful in my accomplishments, I have to set a timer when working on projects or I will literally not eat, drink or use the bathroom, I have to write down all of my commitments, I am VERY picky about how my environment looks AND how it interacts with me, I have a hard time being at large parties/gatherings, I sometimes forget that others do not think like I do and I forget to explain why I do some of the things I do (such as why I chose to do a project the way I did or why I chose an abnormal or out of place approach to solve a problem or to complete a task), I cannot learn math in the same way as “normal” people, I don’t like being touched, I sometimes am not as sympathetic as I need to be, I… this list keeps going…

My “Thing,” my “Me,” my advantages and disadvantages go by another identity: I am a High Functioning (or Mildly) Autistic Gay Man.

My autism is me, it is my leadership type, it is my decision making platform, it is my organizational strategy, it is the glue that binds me to the label of a successful human being. My autism is meImage, and I am my autism.  We are one, and as one we lead! My autism is the best gift that I will ever receive.  If it was not for me being a high functioning autistic man I would not be in the position I am in today. Everything I have is because of my autism. I am more than autism, autism is more than just a disorder it is a tool for unique and talented leaders!

For those of you who are afraid to get involved in the LGBT movement because you are autistic or because you have a “disability” that people have told you prevents you from being “normal,” I have some advice:

Use your GIFT to your advantage, allow your gift to take you above and beyond what others think you are capable of, change the world, change your perspective about yourself, use your gift to your advantage. Remember that you see the world differently than others do and that your perspective could be what is needed for progress to happen.

In honor of PRIDE and everything that it represents I come out not as a gay man, but as a man who is a successful high functioning autistic individual who is also an activist for LGBTQ equality, civil rights, human rights and fairness.

For all the autistic people reading this: This year at PRIDE lets let the 3D trend take over, let’s freely think the way we think and show the world how awesome we are!

Walk with Autism, Lead in PRIDE! You are MORE than Autism, you are YOU and you are a leader!

-thatboyleroy

Missionary Work is Often Misconstrued

The Christian society has a split religious identity disorder known as Jesusphrania. It began as one being and split into various “emotions.” These emotions created different personalities of the Christian faith. These personalities then began to bicker and disagree. Some committed suicide, others became depressed, and some became stronger. As history continued these various identities began to become strong and eventually became beings of their own (mostly) Christian identity. In the present day these various “beings” have to face the idea that to continue existing in the modern world they need to start existing in a harmonic manner with the Religious personalities they separated themselves from. If this does not occur then the Christian faith will fail to exist. To do this Christianity needs to require its leaders to act as they preach, to have its churches convert in a non-converting manner, and to create opportunities to interact with other religious entities. Without these three changes, Christianity will become something that God did not intend for it to be.

 Gandhi stated the following about Christianity, “I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” The Bible warns against this type of behavior. In St. Mathew Chapter 23 Jesus warns the leaders of his church that the act of Hypocrisy will have an effect upon those they teach. Jesus says that this type of behavior will cause his followers to reject the very teachings of those who he will send to teach the people (aka, prophets), and in some cases even kill those who he sends. The hypocritical behaviors that Jesus mentions not only ruin the hearts of his followers, but also the reputation of his church.

 The Christian churches reputation is known worldwide as an entity which seeks to convert every human that it comes into contact with. This act of conversion is no longer what it was meant to be. Jesus’s entire criticism of his church’s leaders in Mathew 23 was centered around the idea that it is the example of these leaders which shapes Christianity. These leaders literally have the Christ given ability to make the Church either fail or succeed. Without the positive examples of these leaders Christianity will fail to become what it has the potential to become.

 The main issue of this hypocrisy is the act of conversion. Christian conversion is currently not what it is meant to be. Jesus and his disciples traveled from village to village, with their follower, while teaching and acting in a very Christian manner. They would serve, give a heartwarming speech and go to the next village. They would not seek out people, but give them the option of gaining help through the service offered and by having the option to listen to a teaching(s) of Christ. This type of proselytizing is no longer available. Instead, individuals go door to door with one tool, fear. Christianity has resulted to the tool of Satan in converting its followers. This tool and its effect on the Christian church is shown very bluntly in “Book of Mormon.” 2nd Nephi 22:23 states,

For the time speedily shall come that all churches which are built up to get gain, and all those who are built up to get power over the flesh, and those who are built up to become popular in the eyes of the world, and those who seek the lusts of the flesh and the things of the world, and to do all manner of iniquity; yea, in fine, all those who belong to the kingdom of the devil are they who need fear, and tremble, and quake; they are those who must be brought low in the dust; they are those who must be consumed as stubble…”

This scripture states that those churches who use the tools of Satan to grow will fail. This type of behavior is what the Christian church is seen as today. Its followers may be blind to the way Christianity is presented to the world, but the world is not blind to these behaviors. If the behaviors of “Satan” continue within the Christian church the church will simply fail to exist.

Once these behaviors begin to become less prevalent the Christian religions will need to start reaching out to other religions and offer their hand in marriage. This type of unity and understanding between all faiths is essential in Christianity’s existence. Without this unity the Christian world will chase away current members and those who may convert to Christianity. This act of unifying with other religions will open the doors of interreligious dialogue and other factors which will give back the respect Christianity once had. This will then allow Christianity to continue existing in the modern world.

 Christianity needs to re-become the example it was, it can no longer exist on lies and false personas. These “tools” have created what can be seen as the downfall of Christianity, and if these hypocritical actions do not become extinct then the Christian church itself will disappear as a major world religion. Christ did not intend for his church to fail. This occurrence can only be stopped if its leaders teach the followers how to be Christian through not only Christ’s teachings but through their actions.

-thatboyleroy

Seeking Understanding, not Judgement

  Over the past few months I decided to wear various types of clothing to church,, and church activities. Sometimes i would wear a colored shirt to sacrament, another I would wear a grungy looking shirt to FHE, and I would “dress up” like my normal self. I came to find out that Mormons act very differently if you dress outside of the “Undeclared Mormon Dress Code.” This dress code requires popped collars and nice shoes. And if you are a girl, a little “cancer” bump on top of your head. So, in response to how Mormons judge others I have dedicated this post to this topic (I apologize for the roundabout approach).

 I seek to understand the religions other Human Beings belong to, not judge them. By judging these religions I am not doing the will of God, but that of Satan. I always ask, What does this other Religion mean to me?

I have been taught that it does not matter what religion a particular individual relates to. This is a choice that everyone makes on their own. The famous question of “Why?” just does not matter. All that matters is that the teachings do not skew the beauty of religion (take this as you may). Beauty as a religious factor is everything that makes up the soul. It is not my job to judge those of other faiths based upon THEIR beliefs.

As I look at a faith that is not of my own I literally place myself into the shoes of an individual from that faith. I learn everything I can about the particular religion and seek the understanding needed for me to be able to love the religion as if I was a member of that particular religious group. I have been harshly criticized for using this tactic. However, to learn about other cultures, religions, etc. an individual needs to immerse itself in a particular group until the person understands everything he can about the religion. After the person has done this he is then able to step back, evaluate himself (not the individuals who were teaching him) and change his belief structure into one that includes the religious teachings that will make him a better human being. It is experiences like these which have taught me that LOVE and UNDERSTANDING is the best tolerance for Religious differences.

I will never forget an experience I had while attending a service at the Hare Krishna Temple in Boise, Idaho. After the service was over I decided to linger in the Worship area and listen to the amazing music that was being played. A few minutes later one of the band members invited me to join them and handed me a drum which looked very similar to one that I used to play as a kid during my first Shamanic Journeys, she then showed me how to play the rhythm on the drum and taught me the words to the chant. I held a bit of hesitation in playing in a Temple that was not of my faith and out of respect I said, “I am not Hindu, is it still ok that I join in?” She responded with “You believe in God, this is all that matters.” I then had an amazing time singing and playing a beautiful drum that reminded me of other ceremonies which helped shape me into the religious being I am today.

           In ending, I cannot “view” people of other faiths; I cannot judge them or make them different from me. As a religious being I understand that this is not what God wants.  Consider the following scripture from the KJV

Romans 2:3, “And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?”

 

-thatboyleroy

Mormons and Gender: Cognitive Restructuring

In LDS doctrine gender is theologically important. This is caused by the idea that gender and the separate “life roles” of male and female continue not just during this life on Earth, but after death as well. The theological teachings of gender have created three distinct avenues that LDS feminism has grown into. Each of these three areas has produced their own ethical approaches to issues of gender and their own ideas of what is best for the progression of each individual woman. The three distinct areas of LDS feminism are: Traditional Values, Moderate, and “Liberal.”[1] [2] These three areas wish to improve the life of LDS women by keeping individual and communal autonomy in daily church and personal life. It is important to note that each area of LDS feminism has its own distinct approach to the life of LDS women and their interaction within the world and as a leader of a family unit, especially within the framework of LDS religious life. These varying approaches are an attempt at Cognitive Restructuring reinterpreting the religious/cultural environment and adjusting their response to it[3]- thus creating a new social format for LDS women to base the purpose of their lives off of. As will be seen, cognitive restructuring is the basic starting point when examining how LDS Feminists examine the roles of women today and how these ideas will continue to progress. Cognitive restructuring is the base theory for the cause of social evolution of the Ethics and purpose of Feminism within the LDS religion.

When cognitive restructuring is applied within the three areas of LDS feminism it needs to be critically examined with unbiased theological and cultural thought.  Each area has the same goals, but they have three significantly different approaches of reaching these goals. The area of Traditional Values Feminism takes a very conservative approach to LDS scripture and traditional Christian gender roles to form how the woman should behave, live, and adapt to her environment. Moderate Feminism is an effort to respect traditional and ethical LDS teachings while also respecting modern and traditional feministic cultural ideals. Moderate feminism looks at the role of LDS woman from the position of “reality” in its current state; it is neither conservative nor fundamentalist, but somewhere in between. When the issues of gender are approached from the angle of the Liberal LDS feminist the ultimate goal stems from the effort to change historical (traditional) culture biases that have been formed due to LDS interactions with the wider world and to change the intra-cultural phenomena that have occurred. This approach is, in essence, allowing the woman to become liberated in a manner that still respects LDS theological thought and doctrine while allowing the woman to be free of male dictates in all spiritual and life matters.

As each area of LDS feminism is examined it is important to extract the poles of the various “feminist types.”  By understanding these poles one is able to thoroughly examine why LDS feminists argue for what they believe to be what is ethically, theologically, and socially correct. It is only through being able to understand these poles that one is able to examine why the various feminist thoughts exist.

To begin, the LDS Church has a very clear understanding of what the roles of women are. It has stated what women do in the church and has “implied” the role of women when in a family unit:

“In weekly worship services and classes, women preach sermons, offer prayers in behalf of the congregation, and teach adults and children. They may also serve as missionaries and as presidents of the Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary organizations. Women participate in councils that oversee congregational activities throughout the world. They also perform a vital work in nurturing and teaching in the home.”[4]

The above quote is the middle pole of LDS feminism, EVERY argument stems from this statement. Each area within LDS feminism has gained its views and approaches from what is said above. Everthing comes from what LDS women do and do not do, what they are and are not.

As said above, the basic starting point when trying to understand what is occurring in LDS feminist thought is at the level of cognitive restructuring. The entire relationship between LDS Feminism and cognitive restructuring is a relationship of the woman entity to the wider culture and how the woman entity acts upon the perceived negative culture that she interacts with. This relationship exists between the two major poles of ‘traditional’ social culture and a ‘liberal’ social structure. Both poles, and the area between, use Cognitive Restructuring to ‘modify social culture to fit the wider culture.’

-thatboyleroy


[1] It is important to state that my use of “Feminism” in this paper is relating to the argument FROM women about the rights that the Female Gender deserves. It is my opinion that LDS Feminism is a label placed upon Women arguing for their rights to belong within a male dominated society.

[2] Beaman, Lori G.. Sociology of Religion, “Molly Mormons, Mormon Feminists, and Moderates: Religious Diversity and the LDS Church,” 62:1, pg. 65-86. 2001.

[3] Beaman, p. 2

[4] http://lds.org/study/topics/women-in-the-church?lang=eng. Intellectual Reserve Inc.. 2011

LDS Feminism: The Conservative “More Traditional” Approach

The traditionalist argues that the woman needs to stay within the traditional social culture that her “roots” began in. Traditionalists see this as the woman staying in the house, raising kids, cleaning, cooking, and teaching, all of which are conducted under the dictatorship of the father/husband figure of the household. This approach wishes for traditional family structures to stay intact and that this form of running the family is the only way to create a peaceful society. An analogy that is often used to describe this type relationship is that the Father is the head of the household and the mother is the heart. Heaton[1] describes these traditional values as forming from the commonly referenced metaphor, “Mormons believe in male authority and in a more traditional division of labor between husbands and wives.” (p.88-89) The particular division of gender roles, that is shown through this quote, within the household creates the glue that binds traditional feminism into what it currently is today. However, it is interesting to note how the approach of Traditional Feminism incorporates the abilities that are more prominent within the Female Gender into the daily socio-cultural life of the intra-religious social interactions, and within the culture inside of the religion and outside of the family. The family is seen as the most important commitment to the mother, but offering and giving service to the needy is a close second.  

Even though the traditional feminists are in support of a patriarchal run social hierarchy, these women also recognize that they are an important unit within the LDS social system and within the culture of their respected communities. This can be seen through the actions that are taken by the Relief Society, a philanthropic and educational women’s organization and an official auxiliary of the LDS Church. It is important to note that the relief society is completely female ran. This organization exists within every Stake, Ward and Branch of the LDS Church. Through the relief society LDS Women prepare major service projects which help society and specific needy individuals. Along with this service oriented goal the relief society teaches women that it is their DUTY to keep the males in the church worthy of the priesthood and their children worthy of the sacred covenants that they will gain as they get older. These two separate roles of “Motherhood” create a sense of individuality as a Mother and Wife and a sense of communal responsibility towards the church. An example of this is the following quote from Beamans research. This quote is from an interview Beaman held with a woman named “Martha” who is an LDS Traditionalistic Feminist,

“Martha is a 60 year old mother of 5 children who has always been a full-time homemaker, although she has training as a teacher. Her family has a long Mormon heritage of which she is proud. She is angry about the changes in the church during the past two decades, and is especially bitter about the diminishing of women’s roles and responsibilities in the Relief Society. She has gradually developed a feminist consciousness over the past two decades, and now describes herself as a Mormon feminist.”

Martha’s feministic attitude and approach shows exactly how Traditional LDS Feminism approaches its goals and what these goals hope to accomplish.

-thatboyleroy

 

[1] Heaton, T.B. K. L. Goodman, and T.B. Holman. 1994. In Search of a Peculiar People: Are Mormon Families Really Different?  In Contemporary Mormonism: Social Science Perspective, edited by M. Cornwall, T.B. Heaton, and LA. Young, 87-117. Chicago: University of Illinois Press.

 

The Potential Example of Islam on Mormons: Wisdom, Intellect, Jesus, and the Unfortunate “Sometimes” God of the LDS Faith

The Identity and purpose of Jesus are two things which are contested between the LDS faith and Islam. Between these two religions individuals are faced with approaching either a man, or a divine figure. However, the purpose of Jesus seems to be almost agreed upon between the two religions. By examining Jesus and his mission through the use of “wisdom,” the act of Intellect on the Spiritual Being, and the purpose of Jesus, it can be shown that the Jesus of the LDS faith can coincide with the Jesus of Islam, and that the teachings of Islam can dramatically help the members of the LDS faith. To show this, it is important to first look at scripture.

Jesus was a man of wisdom. Within both LDS and Islamic cannon Jesus uses wisdom as a tool to teach his followers about life and about God. Mormons use a variety of scripture to explain their theology; one of the less known cannons (at least from an outsider’s viewpoint) is the Wisdom of Solomon. Wisdom of Solomon 9:18 says, “And thus the paths of those on earth were set right and people were taught what pleases you, and were saved by wisdom.” This idea of wisdom within LDS theology continues to delve deeper by stating in several various scriptures that, “… those who hearken to the Lords council shall learn wisdom.” (2 Nephi 28:30) In LDS theology it is through obeying the Laws of God that you gain [Spiritual] Wisdom. By bringing us the ‘new and improved’ version of God’s laws Jesus opened the gate to a new treasure chest of wisdom that allows those who worship God to gain wisdom within the realm of spiritual identity and understanding. Due to confusion, many Mormons get confused who is talking in the above scriptures. They often argue whether it is God or Jesus who is talking. These religious arguments are not needed, because all teachings come from God, Jesus is only his messenger. Mormons can learn how to better approach this idea by using Islamic texts and the teachings that they contain.

The Quran states, 43:63-64: “When Jesus came with clear signs he said, ‘I have brought you wisdom; I have come to clear up some of your differences for you. Be mindful of God and obey me: God is my Lord and your Lord. Serve Him: This is the straight path.’” These two verses can teach Mormons to focus more on God, and less on Jesus when examining the gain of “wisdom” from God. By doing this it will put God in a higher place within the mind of Mormons and place Jesus in the seat of, “the Son of God” which is often not realized until late in life. The idea that Jesus is below God is a strict rule that many Mormons ignore, and they can better learn this distinction by examining the connections between God, Jesus and “wisdom” and how these three entities interact with the Human and their purposes.

The Human purpose is often skewed by the intellect of Man. This problem has been recognized and identified in both LDS and Islamic scripture. In Jalaluddin Rumi’s, “The Mathnawi,” Rumi writes about how man forsakes Jesus and how this creates men to be as the ass. By stating this Rumi delves into how men allow their intellect to go above God, and thus ignore God and his teachings. Through this story Rumi places a clear message to man that they need to not let intellect overtake and be placed above their relationship with God. This problem is very prevalent in LDS social circles and often leads to much false doctrine being tossed around. This has become a big enough problem that LDS leaders have created an online interface for Church leaders that communicates which false doctrine are being thrown around and to address this within their congregations. If LDS communities approached intellect and doctrine in the manner that Rumi is suggesting, in “The Mathnawi,” certain socio/cultural issues between religions and within the faith would become extinct.

With problems that arise with the gaining of wisdom through the words of Jesus, and the problem of the intellect of man due to these teachings, Mormons are often faced with several “faces” of Jesus. This is usually due to a lack of scriptural understanding and a lack of respect for God. This respect is what Islam can teach many members of the LDS faith. The worship structure of Islam has many avenues that allow the Muslim to appreciate God and to show his/her love for/to God. This act of understanding God as a supreme being who deserves respect and who is put above all is not fully realized in the minds of many Mormons. In 2 Nephi 33:14 the old LDS prophet speaks about how he treated those who did not show respect to God, Nephi states that he would “…bid(s) farewell to those who will not respect the words of God.” Being taken in a symbolic form (for most actions of the prophets in the scripture stories can be taken as symbolic actions of God) this can be taken as God letting those who do not respect him be on their own, intellectually, until they show respect to God, for God is a Jealous God and will not let anything come above him. (Exo. 20:5)  A lack of respect towards God, due to intellect, can go as far as saying that those who practice intellect in this manner are using intellect as an Idol that they worship. By taking the strict worship structure of Islam, and implementing these values into the members of the LDS faith, much could be gained in the realm of understanding the teachings of God within the LDS faith.

As I stated at the beginning of this post, by examining Jesus and his mission through the use of “wisdom,” the act of Intellect on the Spiritual Being, and the purpose of Jesus, it can be shown that the teachings of the Jesus of the LDS faith can coincide with the teachings of the Jesus of Islam, and that the teachings of Islam can dramatically help the members of the LDS faith. It is shown above how the values/teachings of Islam can help improve the understanding of God and his place within the LDS faith. without this understanding many members of the LDS faith are faced with a false understanding of God, and are putting his teachings and at times, his first-born Son (Abr. 3:27) above that of God, thus idolizing these things and putting God below them, which is a major sin in the LDS faith. By the example of Islam (an ironic statement) this rising cultural phenomena of putting Jesus above that of God can start to enter into a pattern of decline, and God will once again be a God and not something that is less than his own wisdom and Intellect. With Islam’s example the “Sometimes” God can become the God He meant Himself to be.

 

-thatboyleroy