Sunday, October 28, 2012

This week in review

We started working on the Butterfly. I've never felt so tired after a workout. Ever. But my abs seemed a little more tone than normal the next day, so much so I'm going to start taking a day to focus on the Butterfly once a week. Hopefully I'll be able to do it.

Software Development:
My brother gave me an idea for an Android app about a month ago, so right now I'm actively working on that. About 30 minutes a day. I don't think I have much time outside of that. I'm also working on reviewing questions for interviewing. That's for about 15 minutes a day. I'm also reviewing different programming strategies for about 15 minutes a day. Right now I'm focusing on a book called Design Patterns. Erich Gamma is one of the authors. I need to order some books on testing because I think that was a weakness of mine I picked up on during my Amazon internship. That's this week I'm going to do that.I feel like Amazon taught me you need to be consistently working on your skills and applying them on your own time in order to stay on top of the game. We'll see how I do at that ; ).

So my brother's idea included graphing data, but given the context of what the data is used for, I feel like a graph doesn't show the data accurately enough to be useful. I'm going to suggest to him a different data layout where the averages, highs and lows are shown for the statistics he wanted and have a way of accessing the actual data for more details, we'll see.

Spiritual Health:
So I've been rereading the Book of Mormon over the last 6 months or so. Something I think is really awesome is the feelings I get while reading. I don't get them all the time, but the peace and strength I feel when I read it parches a thirst of mine that's hard to describe in words. Next I'll read the New Testament. That's also a good place to read the scriptures and comes with the same sorts of awesome feelings. These sources show how little hate speech there is in religion and how much God loves us.

I believe the tone towards religion has gotten a lot more judgmental of late but I don't think people are remembering all the good things religion is trying to teach us just because they don't agree with a few points. Something that I find frustrating as a member of the LDS Church is people think we're anti-gay because of the whole Proposition 8 thing. What they don't know is that the LDS Church lobbied in favor of civil unions in Salt Lake City, they also lobbied in favor of non-discrimination of gays and lesbians in Salt Lake in opportunities of employment and housing (check it out here) . I think what people forget is that one of our core doctrines is the sacredness and power of the family unit, and how important it is (a good piece of literature on that is here). Prop 8 was about protecting the family, not about hate or restricting civil rights and the LDS Church's record attests to that. And I really wish there was better dialogue between both sides of this issue so a compromise was reached. I'm pretty sure if both sides talked more about what they wanted and what they needed, they could come up with an agreement and if everyone supports it, then it will become law. Look at how fast voting rights for 18-year-olds came in the 70s. The quicker everyone has the same idea, the easier it is to make it law.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

O Toto, we need to find a way back home... (part 2)

So I believe I've already made a blog post about this experience. It's the experience I had that led to me going on a mission, I'm making another post about it because it plays directly into what I have to do now as a temple preparation instructor.

So I remember I used to be really in love with this song called "When Things Go Wrong" by Airwave. The only place I could listen to it was in a video of some gameplay from a game I played. In the background there was a clip from the "Wizard of Oz" being replayed by actors.

One day when I was listening to this song, Dorothy's phrase "O Toto we need to find a way back home" started echoing in my mind. I can't explain why, or what was happening, but it started resonating inside my mind and soul. Suddenly, I remembered that I was a spirit child of my Heavenly Father and that I lived with him before I was born. At the time I had a horrible relationship with my own father, but somehow that memory was powerful enough to make me realize that my Heavenly Father still cared about and loved me, and that His home, the place I belonged was somewhere I wanted to be.

 It was at that moment I realized I wasn't trying to go back home anymore and I needed to change that. When I was praying about what I needed to change in order to go back home, I got the answer that I should go on a mission. I didn't understand it then, but I realize now the reason why I was given that answer was our Heavenly Father wants everyone back home and He wanted me to try to help Him lead His children back home by teaching them how to build a relationship with Him and how to Follow Him.

The reason why this plays directly into my temple preparation class I have to teach is the first lesson I have to teach is on the Plan of Salvation, where I talk about where we were before this life and where we're going. I can't wait to tell my students about my experience! I'm planning on putting a lot of emphasis on the premortal life and Jesus Christ, because it's only through Him that we can make it back home to Our Heavenly Father.

I guess I have a strong conviction of that too, because I realized the more I've tried to follow Him, the closer I've felt to my Heavenly Father, so I know Jesus Christ is also real and his role is central to Heavenly Father's plan.  I'm SO stoked for tomorrow (when I get to teach the lesson I just prepared).

As a side note, the guy who was in charge of calling instructors for classes in the group of members I meet with on Sundays said that he picked temple instructors first, and that my name came out on top. I don't think that's any sort of coincidence given my experience.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Gay Marriage Debate: Can Either of You See How Insensitive You're Being?

I'm sick of it. I'll say it right here. I'm sick of seeing posts for "protecting marriage" and for "equalizing marriage." I'm starting to find both sides of this debate as highly insensitive. Don't understand why?

Okay this comment is pinned at those for gay marriage: How would you feel if it was taught at schools that gay marriage was a sin? You'd be protesting right? You'd be showing how hateful that is, right? Well guess what? You're doing the equivalent to the group you see as your "enemy." They believe that the family is an institution given to them by God for the stability and strength of society. Studies show that even with problems, children in a home where the parents are still together tend to succeed more (even when there's issues between the parents). The conservative right point to things like this to prove that God had society's best interests in mind when he defined the family for it.
What does this have to do with gay marriage being legalized? Well if it's made legal, it will be taught as "normal" and "acceptable" to children in school of people who believe in a different idea of the family based on their beliefs. How is this wrong/bad? It's teaching a religious doctrine to a people of a different religion. It's a form of religious intolerance, just like teaching homosexuality is a sin in school would be. Or like forcefully teaching Christianity to Muslim students would be. In a sense, you're trying to define someone's beliefs for them.

Now to the people AGAINST gay marriage: How would you feel if you were denied rights for loving the person you're married to now? What if you couldn't get married to enjoy those rights? Would you see this as "fair"? What if this sort of oppression was thrown on you by a different religion? You'd be just as up in arms as the pro gay marriage community is now. You'd be bashing that religion left and right. You'd see their religion as ridiculous wouldn't you?

So I'm just going to say this now to both of you: You both are being short-sighted and insensitive towards the other side.

The real solution would be for the state to define something separate that doesn't involve a religious idea, and protect rights of couples (of both kinds) underneath that new blanket. And then if you wanted to get "married" then that was something you did with your religion.

I could see members of the conservative right not liking this, but my question is: Don't you want marriage back instead of forcing it on others? Aren't you sick of seeing celebrity couples like the Kardashians ruin the definition of marriage over and over again? If this sort of change was made, then couples like the Kardashians would be getting "civil unions" and your kids wouldn't have to be taught by bad examples what marriage is, they would see that through your example and your life. The best way to teach something is to live it, right?

To be honest, I side more with the right on this topic. I've experienced things that have shown me there's more to this world than we see with our eyes and limited understanding. I'll even say it right here, God gave us the family unit and marriage is supposed to be between a man and a woman. But I also accept others have had different experiences in their lives and haven't experienced anything to let them know that He exists yet. I wouldn't want to hurt them based on their experiences, but I also expect that same sort of respect in return.

EDIT: Correction to potentially offensive language.