Monday School Blog: GPS to Heaven, please

Welcome to Monday School!  This is where you don’t have to dress up or get out of bed.

Besides being a self-ordained female teacher and believing that females can also lead, there are several other reasons I encourage Monday school.

My lessons will provide:

1) Reasons why you should never put your trust in a Sunday school lesson or any religion that purports to have all the answers—or anyone who says they have all the answers 2) Emphasis on the here and now with earthly rewards and 3) Free-thought.

If there is a heaven, I would like a GPS navigating me.  There are too many religions that believe they have the “true” “one and only” “perfect” map to heaven. I refuse to put my life on hold while I study every religion and set of scriptures out there.  Have you ever had a library of the Journal of Discourses? Read the entire Bible, Torah, Quran?  These scriptures are about men, men, men.  Where are the women?

lots_wife_pillar_of_salt

If I had not grown up in a Mormon family, I could have been a Catholic, Baptist, Jehovah Witness, Scientologist, Christian, Islamic, or a member of any number of religions. I could have spent my life worshipping a false God and bickering with other people because I thought my religion was best.  Or, I could have remained silent and smug.

Although religion is not for me—it is for some people.  The truth is I get anxious making certain I get to work on time, let alone trying to get to heaven on time or navigating the right path to get there.

As I go through life, I choose and pick teachings from various sources that work for me (last week I picked Weight Watchers). Much of my ethics and lifestyle comes from my Mormon background, and much of my wisdom comes from experience.  Mistakes and all.

I remember as a kid in Sunday school learning the importance of scriptures, and how following the word of God was supposed to guide me to heaven.

My Sunday school teacher compared the scriptures and modern day teachings to a roadmap and signs, and asked her class, “Can you imagine what would happen if we didn’t have a map or use stop lights?”

intersection2

All I could imagine was an intersection of colliding cars. I never considered that the stop signs and lights (hateful scriptures I was reading about minorities—including the subjugation of women) were old, and needed replacing.  I never considered that each driver was unique, and may have wanted to use a different route.

As a child, I never contemplated that individuals choose different places to visit and live, and it was perfectly okay to be different.

In early morning family scripture reading, I also remember reading about another journey using the Liahona. This story in the “Book of Mormon” was about Lehi’s family who traveled through the wilderness together with brass plates (important history), so they could reach the Promised Land. The Liahona was a compass given to Lehi from God, which if faithful and obedient guided his family. Some of the family members, the brothers Laman and Lemuel, often acted out and were disobedient. In this particular story, at least the part I remember, one bad apple or unfaithful family member spoiled the rest.  There were treacherous times at sea because when the brothers were rebellious the waters became thrashing waves, nearly drowning the family.  After being humbled and repenting, the sea became calm.  (Finally man was separated by skin color).

liahona

As a young child, the compass story helped reinforce family togetherness, and the importance of God’s chosen sticking together. At a tender age, I never considered that scripture stories could be made-up stories to produce a certain controlled behavior.  I never realized that someday many Mormons, including myself, would walk the plank for asking questions, and not sharing the same testimony.

I can understand—sometimes paths are not the same.  Sometimes forks are in the road, but the path you chose is the right path no matter how hard or difficult.  (I will write about free-agency later).  Regardless, we can still be kind and loving.

The straight and narrow path leading to the tree of life was another map story in the Book of Mormon.  As a child, I believed there was only one way to get to heaven.  I never thought about how my religious leaders, who were telling me how to get to heaven, had never been there themselves.  (Btw: Who hires a tour guide who hasn’t ever been to the spot they advertise?)

narrow path and tree of life

I had always trusted the person leading me. I never considered that the map my teachers were using, the scriptures, were older than a scene from the “Raiders of the Lost Ark”.  I never considered that my religious leaders, who were supposed to be an updated version of a map, were really caught between two worlds—the old and the new. Plus, they were men holding onto the same archaic ideologies they had been taught.

Though the world is filled with people committing horrific human rights violations—I believe we are not going backwards.  I believe we are continually evolving.

This week I watched this You Tube video from a father who composed a song for his daughters. I love this because it represents moving forwards—not only do we have technology to create music videos for the world to see, which can support cultural diversity and send positive messages to our children, it represents the power we each have to make a difference in this world.

Love Yourself

Youtube Video

Mormon Sunday school taught a message of loving your neighbor as yourself, yet the people we really need to love are often the non-neighbor – “those over there” (poor, homeless, needy,  people that are different, etc..).

There are many contradictions in life.

Last week I started Weight Watchers and I am not a fan of Oprah Winfrey.  In fact, I believe she has been very irresponsible when it involves educating the public about polygamy.  No biggie— I will still go to my WW meetings, and look at the Oprah poster on the wall.  (Self-talk) I will separate my personal biases because I don’t have to believe or love everything about Oprah to go to Weight Watchers.  I know the program works.

Likewise, although I am not a Christian, many individuals and families find inspiration from attending church. I went to church a couple weeks ago to listen to some jazz music.  I was grateful for the religious leaders hosting an important event for children, and providing a beautiful venue.  Next month, I am working alongside a church that helps the homeless because I believe in volunteerism and clergy-community action.

There are so many options and choices.

Interesting articles & images this week (topics of future blogposts):

War Criminal

 

 

 

 

Adolf Eichmann

Psychic      Expensive Psychic

Militia

 

Choices and Consequences…..

                                              

 

 

I believe that direction and guidance are very important; part of our human nature is following others.  Unlike many of our non-human friends, we are able to use our cognitive abilities. That is what Monday School is about—learning to control our own life, and not be controlled by others.

M-1441 - MAY 11, 2002 - WALTHAM : Blissfully unaware of traffic, a Canada goose and her young cross busy Winter Street at the intersection of Route 128 , Tuesday afternoon, May 7, 2002 in Waltham, Mass. The very young siblings followed their mother's every move to and from nearby Totten Pond. AP/PTI

Have a nice week!

2 Responses to Monday School Blog: GPS to Heaven, please

  1. Harry Dschaak says:

    I look around and I see a shortage of grown-ups who can behave like grown-ups, and think things through like grown-ups. This blogsite holds promise for me because Vicky is someone with just the right combination of humbling experiences to speak intelligently on a number of my favorite topics. The current events such as the Oregon stand-off have revealed that as a society we are still not able to resolve squabbles amongst ourselves like adults with functioning brains. It’s so disappointing to watch the adults we choose as our heroes (including those we elect or appoint) perform like lousy parents who keep breaking records for coming up with such uninspired plans of action and then waste all of our disposable income trying to counter their short sighted politically correct decisions. Do I think we earthlings can we fix this society?

    Time will tell, folks;

    …time will tell.

    • admin says:

      I often think about the same thing. I am realizing that those things I once thought were important, are unimportant.

      I believe it is up to us to create positive changes in the world (whatever that might be). I do not believe positive change will occur because people have given up. Depression and giving up doesn’t motivate. Waiting for a cleansing to occur, or someone else to come along and fix our problems won’t work because what type of God wants to be a housecleaner? That is way to co-dependent for an intelligent being. And, those humans who are impatient and judgmental, and decide to help in the cleansing process (certain militant vigilantes can be included with suicide bombers, religious zealots, and those who hold a grudge), will never get their virgins in heaven.

      Depression does not motivate, co-dependency does not help anyone, and hurting others damages innocent people too. It is not our job to change the world, or to change others who have no interest in changing. To some extent (some individuals more than others), we can take accountability for our personal lives, and contribute to society (work, obey the laws, pay taxes, etc..) If we find ourselves in a position to help someone, what joy! That can mean playing catch with a child, planting a community garden, going the extra mile at work, small acts–it does NOT mean changing the world by religion.

      Religion is responsible for teaching individuals many backwards ideologies. It also helps to create narcissists and egotists, those who become intent on trying to change the world (judge others) instead of changing themselves. The only help these people give is self-serving.

      Our political system needs an overhaul.

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