Sunday, May 22, 2011

LDS - Review

Just completed reading The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Mormonism
I figured I'd write a review. Not sure who all has checked out the LDS faith, but it is a compelling faith. I sometimes post things on this blog that are of a religious nature, but not too often. You may be wondering why I decided to pick up this book.

I recently met a person, who in the first 5 minutes, absolutely captivated me. From her countenance and posture to her positive, friendly attitude she exuded confidence. The feeling is probably not mutual, but nevertheless I was intrigued. Well turns out she is a member of the LDS faith, so that's what prompted me to check out the book.

This review is not an attempt to explain LDS faith, per se, but I wanted to point out a few of the things I learned which I am in agreement with, and which I think are positive aspects of the LDS faith. (NOTE: I didn't really find anything I thought was negative.)

First is the concept of Original Sin. This concept holds that we are all born sinners and that man is born pre-determined a sinner. The LDS don't believe this, I don't either. If we were there would be no reason for free will or Christ for that matter.

Second is the concept of free will. With out free will, we could not be accountable for our actions because we had no choice. Free will is a concept embraced by LDS. The LDS focus more attention to the time Jesus spent praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, as opposed to other Christians that wear crucifixes symbolizing Jesus' death. This focus puts primacy on the concept of free will, and the importance of choice. Whether we choose wrongly or rightly, we must choose between a choice of alternatives. There is no getting around this, its the basic axiom of our condition as human beings. When you make no choice, you have inadvertently chosen. Through our actions we demonstrate our values. Whether our actions are in harmony with our short and long term interests is a subject for another posting.

Third is the equality between men and women. The LDS see all people as equal in God's eyes. Men and women may have different responsibilities, but one is neither held in a higher or a lower position. The differing responsibilities are complementary.

Fourth is the concept of eternal family. The LDS place immense value on family. From rearing children, fidelity, etc... In the LDS concept of the afterlife, we will be re-united with our family in God's presence. I didn't have the best family life growing up. I was able to see a lot of the wrongs things to do, and some good ones. For me, the family unit complete with the mother and father, is irreplaceable and a necessary part of raising children.

Fifth is consistency of the Church. The LDS has an established program that promotes stability in thought, worship, and actions so that all members regardless of where they have come to the faith, can feel a sense of togetherness and shared heritage.

There are plenty of gems in this book, I only wanted to point out a few things in this blog posting. If you're interested, I say pick up the book and give it a whirl, you may be surprised.

Grand Canyon Report

Hey y'all. I was supposed to write this a few weeks back, but I've been busy. A whole, big group of us from Austin, San Antonio, Houston, and some other places met up and decided it would be a fantastic idea to run all the way across the Grand Canyon and back in one day, about 50 retards. We all need medication.

Flew out with the San Antonio group, Tom, Kelli, Joe T., and Brian. Had fun BS'n. Waited around the airport b/c Kelli's luggage was misplaced. Finally, Jamie from Houston showed up at the airport in Phoenix about nine A.M. He was traveling up to the canyon alone, so I rode with him.

Stopped and picked up a sixer for myself, since I wasn't driving. Probably about 10AM. Jamie and I rode up to the canyon, hit the grocery store for supplies and a phone charger in Flagstaff, and some more beer. The lady at the Verizon store gave us all the details about the park, she used to be a ranger there. It was like hanging with family! Anyway, went in the east gate, and drove along the canyon up to where the hotel was.

Met up with Naresh who drove in from Cali. Crazy Indian! We spent the afternoon, shootin the shit, and drinking beers. Bedded down about 8 or 9 PM.
About 3:30 AM we hit the south rim trail head, all of the other folks had taken off so Jamie, Naresh, and I began our descent into Hades.

It was dusty as hell, I was in the back of our group eatin dust. The trail has erosion prevention posts all over, I can't see shit. My lights not good. Either bad batteries or I'm just getting old and need more light. Never fell down, but was worried about it as we were running down.

Got to Indian Springs, tripped on a rock which tweaked my ankle, let out a boisterous yell of "mother fucker". I didn't realize there were folks sleeping in tents about 10 feet away. Some guy yelled at me, go figure, it happens all the time. Stopped to fill up my handheld, and drain it. Jamie split off at this point, and it was Naresh and me. Got down to the river (about 7 miles in) as the sun was coming up. Made a few video recordings with my flip recorder.

Naresh was pushing the pace into Phantom Ranch, and then on to Cottonwood. I was having trouble hanging, cause I drank a shit load of beers the day before and had only run once since we were out at the Guads the second week of April. Oh well. I hung back. Naresh paid for his treachery.

I wasn't really into being at the Canyon. The whole time, I was still all compressed from the last few weeks of work that have been running me ragged and have been stressful. Never did get over that. Shit happens.

Once you get to Cottonwood, its 14 miles round trip up to the North rim and back and there is no water till you get back. I was going to turn around and go back, but my ego won the fight. Thanks ego, I was needing a good ass whippin.

Spent most of the time with big Roger. We always have a good chat, when we're running. Naresh was suffering, so I let him suffer on. Too bad, I got my own problems here buddy. Saw all the folks on the turn around, kinda lifts your spirits, when you realize that all you have to do is run/walk all the way back! Yippie!
North Rim was uneventful, except for the huge biting flies and the snow I put into my water bottles. Ummmmm, Ummmmm, good! It wasn't yellow, at least it didn't look yellow. Was having trouble breathing, one b/c we were at 8K feet and the other because I'm about 195lbs, so I'm feeling pretty fat. Especially at 5'6.

Started heading down, grabbed a samwich outta my bag, chowed down. My quads were hurting, so I walked quite a bit. Actually I probably walked 80% of the whole return trip. Most of the day I spent alone, I liked that. Put in a dip of snuff, man it really picks up your heartrate. Ooops. Plus it was hot as hell, about 110 degrees I heard.

Made it back to Cottonwood and filled up on water and grabbed another samwich. Started heading back to the big river crossing. This whole section is runnable, but I didn't feel like running, so I just walked and ate jelly beans. No thoughts really crossed my mind, you know like those "ah ha" moments where you figure out answers to the important questions in life like, "Who moved my cheese?" or "What is the sound of one hand clapping?"

Listen folks, one hand can't clap and nobody gives a damm about your cheese. Hell you'll just throw the cheese out when it gets moldy. I used to think that running would bring me closer to me or some crap. Maybe it did. But I was really having an issue being motivated out there. I came to the realization, that running is just a hobby, something to do. It coulda been fishing, hunting, collecting stupid trinkets and putting them in a curio cabinet or, you name it. Oh well.
The suckie part was, I've still gotta get out of this canyon. Shit man. It was a trek.

SO 21 hours later, boom, I'm at the south rim trail head. One step at a time baby. Kinda like life, one step at a time.