Anti-vaxxers have long been a very vocal, very annoying minority within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but with any luck they'll all apostatize soon and start their own church of walking plague bombs.
President Russell M. Nelson, whom most members regard as a prophet, seer and revelator, posted the following on his Facebook page on January 19:
"With approval from our physician, my wife, Wendy, and I were vaccinated today against COVID-19. We are very grateful. This was the first week either of us was eligible to receive the vaccine. We are thankful for the countless doctors, scientists, researchers, manufacturers, government leaders, and others who have performed the grueling work required to make this vaccine available. We have prayed often for this literal godsend.
"As a former surgeon and medical researcher, I know something of the effort needed to accomplish such a remarkable feat. Producing a safe, effective vaccine in less than a year is nothing short of miraculous. I was a young surgeon when, in 1953, Dr. Jonas Salk announced that he had developed a vaccine against the cruel and crippling disease of polio. I then watched the dramatic impact that vaccine had on eradicating polio as most people around the world were vaccinated.
For generations, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has donated considerable resources to making vaccinations available for people in developing countries. Vaccinations have helped to eliminate diseases such as diphtheria and smallpox. My professional and ecclesiastical experiences convince me that vaccinations administered by competent medical professionals protect health and preserve life.
"Receiving the vaccine today was part of our personal efforts to be good global citizens in helping to eliminate COVID-19 from the world."
President Nelson's medical background doesn't make him an automatic expert on every field of medicine or the latest developments, but it does say a lot about his worldview, one that sees faith and reason as harmonious while many try to put them in opposition to each other. It's a real breath of fresh air. So he's not the foremost expert on COVID-19, but I trust his judgment on it more than that of some young mom in Provo who sells essential oils.
Seven other Apostles, including both of President Nelson's counselors in the First Presidency, also received the vaccine. This prompted a couple of equally stupid suggestions from opposite directions. Some Salt Lakers whose lives revolve around whining about everything the Church or any leader ever says or does complained that these men, in getting the vaccine, were being treated with favoritism because of their status in Utah's dominant religion. And some anti-vaxxers within the Church surmised that the unvaccinated Apostles don't share the vaccinated Apostles' approval of vaccinations. To these bipartisan idiots I would like to point out the very simple observation that the vaccinated Apostles are eligible for the vaccine in Utah because they're over seventy, while the unvaccinated Apostles aren't because they're not. As an afterthought I would like to add, duh.
Just to cause even more cognitive dissonance and mental gymnastics for anti-vaxxers, the First Presidency followed up the same day with a statement that carries a bit more weight than President Nelson's Facebook page:
"In word and deed, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has supported vaccinations for generations. As a prominent component of our humanitarian efforts, the Church has funded, distributed and administered life-saving vaccines throughout the world. Vaccinations have helped curb or eliminate devastating communicable diseases, such as polio, diphtheria, tetanus, smallpox and measles. Vaccinations administered by competent medical professionals protect health and preserve life.
"As this pandemic spread across the world, the Church immediately canceled meetings, closed temples, and restricted other activities because of our desire to be good global citizens and do our part to fight the pandemic.
"Now, COVID-19 vaccines that many have worked, prayed, and fasted for are being developed, and some are being provided. Under the guidelines issued by local health officials, vaccinations were first offered to health care workers, first responders, and other high-priority recipients. Because of their age, Senior Church leaders over 70 now welcome the opportunity to be vaccinated.
"As appropriate opportunities become available, the Church urges its members, employees and missionaries to be good global citizens and help quell the pandemic by safeguarding themselves and others through immunization. Individuals are responsible to make their own decisions about vaccination. In making that determination, we recommend that, where possible, they counsel with a competent medical professional about their personal circumstances and needs."
Anti-vaxxers have, of course, fixated on the idea of free agency and the fact that "Individuals are responsible to make their own decisions about vaccination" as a way of ignoring the fact that the highest governing body of the Church unambigously rejected their entire worldview, praised vaccines, and encouraged everyone to get them. Yes, members may choose for themselves. That doesn't in any way nullify the rest of the statement's contents. I said something in a Facebook comment somewhere about these mental gymnastics. An anti-vaxxer replied to prove me wrong by explaining that if the prophet says he likes fishing but he, the anti-vaxxer, doesn't like fishing, that's not a big deal. So I retracted my premature statement. No mental gymnastics there, no sirree.
The Church Newsroom reported on the apostolic vaccinations and the First Presidency statement and added:
"The Church of Jesus Christ has recognized the importance of vaccinations and immunization for decades. 'We urge members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to protect their own children through immunization,” the First Presidency said in 1978.
"Since 2002, through its humanitarian organization Latter-day Saint Charities, the Church has helped fund 168 projects in 46 countries to bless some 116,819,870 people. Latter-day Saint Charities gives monetary support to prominent global immunization partners to procure and deliver vaccinations, monitor diseases, respond to outbreaks, train health care workers, and develop elimination and eradication programming. The results include more immunized children and fewer lives lost to measles, rubella, maternal and neonatal tetanus, polio, diarrhea, pneumonia, and yellow fever.
"Notable success stories of late include the elimination of diseases throughout Africa. In 2019, Latter-day Saint Charities and partners such as UNICEF USA and Kiwanis International helped eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus in Chad and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Late last year, thanks to UNICEF and partners such as Latter-day Saint Charities, Africa eradicated wild poliovirus. And in response to a measles epidemic in Chad in 2019, UNICEF and its partners helped vaccinate 653,535 children between the ages of six months and nine years over a one-week period.
'I’m glad our turn has come to have this vaccination,' President Oaks said Tuesday morning. 'We’re very hopeful that the general vaccination of the population will help us get ahead of this awful pandemic. It’s hopeful, like the light at the end of the tunnel. There is relief and appreciation involved for those who have invented the vaccine and for those who have caused it to be generally available on a sensible priority system.'
Of course, most of these people have been struggling with their faith for a while now. They might have felt a few pangs years ago when the Church endorsed the radical notion of not being dicks to undocumented immigrants and refugees from war-torn nations. But certainly within the last year, they were troubled when the Church acknowledged that racism still exists and needs to be eliminated. They were upset when the Church congratulated Biden on winning the US presidential election instead of regurgitating their lies about election fraud, some of them so much so that they tore up their temple recommends. And they've had to crawl over, under, around and anywhere but through basic principles of logic to ignore the fact that the Church has treated this pandemic as a serious threat and taken precautions from the beginning. It's very obvious that nobody in the church hierarchy believes that COVID-19 is no worse than the flu or that individuals' "right" to not wear masks in public trumps (no pun intended) their obligation to the people and society around them. But sure, keep deluding yourself that "the government" is the reason they canceled every church meeting and closed every temple in the world.
Left-leaning members have struggled with and/or rejected various aspects of church teaching and policy for a very long time, while "faithful" right-leaning members have belittled them for doing so. It's nice to see the opposite becoming so common these days. A true Christ-following religion should have something to offend everybody. I guess I should be sympathetic, but these are such stupid, stupid reasons to struggle with your faith. And also I'm actively rooting for them all to leave the Church and stop embarrassing those of us with functioning brains. So there's that.
I suspect this person is a member - they could be Catholic, since the Pope also got vaccinated, but he's famous enough that I think they would have just mentioned him by name if that were the case.
But do you know what? As much as I hope they all apostatize and stop polluting Deseret News comments sections, I actually agree with the anti-vaxxers on one very important point. I don't think President Nelson's enthusiasm for vaccines or the First Presidency statement encouraging everyone to get vaccinated are inspired. That is to say, I don't think that at any time any of them bothered to ask God whether vaccines are a good thing or not. I don't know that for a fact. But I strongly suspect that they declared it on their own initiative because they're not complete imbeciles.
I have to wait until anywhere from March to July to get vaccinated, or probably longer if the government doesn't get its crap together. Until then all I have to do is constantly avoid the 70% more contagious strain that's about to raise hell in the US like it did in the UK, in a state where people throw literal temper tantrums about their children having to wear masks to school. Easy peasy.
The following text was originally a Facebook post and subsequent comment by my friend Krista Taylor, which she has allowed me to share here for whatever good the meager reach of my blog will do for it. Thus it becomes my first guest post ever. Hailey Allen of "Perfectly Unhinged" suggested doing a blog swap a few years ago, but she's been too busy every time I subsequently brought it up, or maybe she just realized I stood to gain a lot more from it than she did. So this is the first. Would that it were under better circumstances.
If any of you have confidence in the court system it is unwarranted. They have blatantly acknowledged that Bradley (my husband) abandoned the kids and me at my mom’s house after Thanksgiving on Dec 1, 2019. Since he took the car and car seats we had to get car seats from the local police station so there’s a police report to verify that. Nevertheless the courts have still claimed that since it is Utah policy to ‘ensure both parents access to the children’ that Bradley gets custody since I was refusing his visitation.
According to Utah Commissioner Christina Wilson and Alyson Johnson, the children’s guardian ad litem, abandonment doesn’t constitute neglect or any other form of abuse of the children. The court also has a copy of a text that Bradley sent me saying that he had thought about sexually abusing our then 4 year old daughter but that he didn’t think he would because he didn’t want to cause her trauma. He sent that 2 months after abandoning us all. Clearly abandoning her doesn’t constitute causing her any trauma. Apparently spending months convincing the courts to send in a SWAT team to tear her away from her mom and grandma obviously isn’t going to cause her or her two brothers any trauma either.
He also goes on in the text about how beautiful I looked that night and how sad he is that we aren’t together and how he’s been struggling so much and looking at porn but he’s trying to stop. It’s very cleverly put together to elicit sympathy and simultaneously send me the message that if I don’t come back he’ll sexually abuse our daughter and who knows how many other people through his porn use. He had repeatedly claimed that I was supposed to give him sex simply because I am his wife even after he abandoned us and I refused. He had also repeatedly sexually abused me throughout our marriage including manipulating me into having sex prior to going to work by telling me that he didn’t want sex on his mind before he went to teach piano to his students. (Yes he is a piano teacher and if your children are taking lessons from him I would recommend stopping immediately for their safety. Although since he cares a great deal about his reputation I don’t know how far he would take it with a student or not.) But of course the text is carefully crafted so that idea is not explicit because then he might get in trouble with the court. I’m not sure there’s a better example of mental and emotional manipulation and abuse out there.
Based on the text I also asked for a protective order from the Idaho courts here in Rexburg, “America’s Family Community” or “Zion” as many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints like to call it. But Judge David Hunt decided that not only was there not sufficient reason to grant a protective order he turned around and granted Bradley the writ of assistance that required the police to enforce the Utah custody orders. Previously I had shown the police Bradley’s text and they had been refusing to enforce the Utah orders for months because he is clearly a danger to the children.
What could possibly be more manipulative and abusive than subtly threatening to sexually abuse my children? But sure let’s pretend that he’s a safe person simply because the court said so and throw me in jail for daring to stand up for my kids against the court.
But don’t worry the courts told Bradley that he has to keep the kids at his parents’ house so according to the court they’re safe because his parents and sister haven’t reported anything. Never mind that his parents are the ones who have taught him to be abusive in the first place and they have been funding his attorney and everything else all along. They take great pains to ensure that they maintain a good looking but not too good reputation like these kinds of people do. https://www.flyingfreenow.com/liar-liar-pants-on-fire/... But don’t worry as long as things look good on the surface the kids are obviously safe and healthy. Clearly his parents did such a great job raising Bradley that they should be in charge of raising even more kids. And if he’s not really safe for him to be taking care of the kids himself then why in hell should they not be with me? Obviously it’s all for the kids. That’s our tax dollars and justice system at work for us all. They’re really working hard to protect everyone and keep us all safe.
Obviously there’s no reason to suppose that the courts could ever make a mistake about that since they care soo much. Except for more than 600 children who have been murdered by abusive fathers in the last ten years because the courts insisted on visitation regardless of clear safety risks for the kids. But who really cares about them? The court is just another industry to make money and divorce impoverishes women and children and enriches men. So pander to the men because they have the money. How dare I have the audacity to say that Bradley can’t call and repeatedly ignore them or make them cry over the phone as he was doing before I cut off all contact? They sent in a freaking SWAT team and literally ripped my baby out of my arms and carried my other two children crying and screaming out of the house, this while they arrested my mom and I for refusing to hand the kids over to Bradley because he is abusive. So yeah the courts definitely care a lot about the kids. And justice. Oh and did I mention that since Bradley abandoned us if I went back to our house to get my stuff the police told me that I could only take essentials? But if Bradley threw our stuff out on the road the police couldn’t tell him what to do with “his” stuff? But at least the courts wouldn’t like it if he did that. So by abandoning us he stole our house and our things. He did bring some of them back because that makes him look better but he managed to trash plenty of the stuff in the process. He told me that he wouldn’t take the kids away from me. He also told me that the kids are my life. He has spent the last year working toward taking them away from me through the legal system. Yay for him he’s succeeded! But of course telling me that they are my life and then taking them away doesn’t constitute mental or emotional abuse. How blatant can he make it that he hates me? But of course that’s all fine and dandy because it makes people more comfortable to sweep it under the rug than to face the truth. Obviously Bradley and I just have communication issues. Frankly I was stupid to ever marry him after all the bs my mom went through with her divorce. It’s no wonder that so many people are scared of marriage. They’d be naive idiots not to be terrified of it.
Furthermore after seeing and experiencing plenty of abuse throughout my life I don’t know whose “genius” idea it is to force kids to go back and forth between parents in high conflict cases. But when there is abuse even if you haven’t confidently identified who the abuser is sending the kids back and forth just allows the abuser ample opportunity to further abuse the victim and children and potentially frame the victim. That has got to be the most dangerous position for the kids to be in. And it’s all court sanctioned. It’s heinous. “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” -Elie Wiesel The courts have repeatedly and blatantly reaffirmed to me that they will give Bradley custody until I agree to allow him back into our lives. I can not live with myself and do that. I have tried allowing visitation and it was brutal to stand by and allow his mental and emotional abuse of my children to continue. They need to know that they matter and they are worth protecting. They need to know that I will not condone or enable his abuse. I will be arrested and thrown in jail but I will not voluntarily allow him to abuse them. How could any genuinely loving mother do any less for her children? How can we pretend that as long as the parents divorce and the mother can get out that it’s ok for the children to be tossed back and forth between parents and denied any stable home? What has our society come to? Why in the face of such clear abuse were the only choices that I was left with to go into hiding or be arrested and thrown in jail for protecting my children?
If you have the chance to “help” anyone with a custody case or who is going through a divorce please make sure that you are actually informed and listening and genuinely helpful. People need real help not a bunch of lame excuses and pretenses that the courts “care” when it’s really just about money to them too. Whether or not you believe me or care about my case, this is a big issue and it desperately needs to be addressed.
Please pray for my children and please look for ways to help those around you through these horrible issues.
Link about psychological abuse escalating to murder:
Don’t worry the police have thrown big bad scary grandma and mom in jail for trying to set safe boundaries for children. https://www.eastidahonews.com/.../woman-jailed-after.../
Although they suddenly decided to drop her $25,000 bail to zero after she spent two weeks in jail. Watch out! She’s loose on the streets again! She just might do something like tell people about how dehumanizing the jails are and how much of money making industry that they are too. Oh and the police officer who claimed that she landed a strong punch is lying but the newspaper didn’t want to print our side of the story. She attempted a punch but couldn’t see well because they had knocked off her glasses so she missed. I overheard the police officer claiming that it hurt about as much as brushing his teeth.
Please share this. People need to know. #outthem #domesticviolence #domesticviolenceawareness
Addendum: For whatever it’s worth psychologically speaking based on the research that I’ve done as horrible as sexual abuse and other abuse is, neglect is even more psychologically damaging. So to disregard abandonment, which is the ultimate act of neglect, is heinous. Especially since he later claimed that I am physically abusive and then asked the courts for joint custody. What kind of father abandons his children, particularly with someone he claims is abusive and then claims that that person should still have them half of the time?
How in the world am I supposed to figure out how to cope with a society where the police and the courts are the ones kidnapping my children to hand them over to our abuser? Why do “father’s rights” so obviously take precedence over our basic safety? Since when did “father’s rights” include the right to abuse children? Oh and a writ of assistance is used for property. Think about that. What it really boils down to is that the court simply views my children as property.
I don’t know about you but I am really looking forward to when the prophecies about the cleansing of the world before the Second Coming of Christ come true. This society has lost all sense of morality and decency and as a society we deserve to be utterly destroyed and swept off the face of the earth when we treat our innocent children in such a heinous fashion.
Also please keep in mind that sexual predators and abusers routinely pretend to love their victims in order to entrap them and manipulate them. That is how Bradley convinced me to marry him and that is how he has succeeded in getting the courts to kidnap the children for him. How is it helpful to the children to continue lying to them and pretending that he loves them when his actions clearly show what a lie that is? Believing that lie was the most damaging thing that I have ever done. Choosing to continue to believe it in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary nearly made me lose my mind. I spent years of my marriage just trying to get through one more day of that hell. Who benefits from believing that lie? Because it certainly isn’t my children. I’ve been the child in a divorce and accepting the fact that my dad didn’t love me in spite of his claims to the contrary was freeing. Likewise recognizing Bradley’s lies has also been freeing and standing up to them has been immensely healing. “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”
And how many of you will even believe me? How many of you will blame me because it is too uncomfortable for you to believe that the courts and the police are so corrupt?
“We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable.” - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
What will you believe?
Evil and abuse and oppression rely on and thrive in secrecy and a code of silence. Will you look the other way and allow it to grow? Or will you shine a light on it?
Let Spring 2021 Semester Commence
School, and consequently my job, start again on Tuesday. I'm as excited as anyone can be about schools and jobs. I'm teaching two sections of English 1010 this time, and consequently only taking two classes.
Creative Nonfiction Writing Workshop - I have to take this because of my major. We'll see how it goes, since it's from the same professor who did the undergraduate Advanced Nonfiction Writing class that I hated. To recap, I hated it because she made us write "flash" nonfiction, very short pieces that had to make every detail count and incorporate additional layers of meaning beyond the literal events of the text itself, something I was woefully unequipped by nature to do, and during peer review I felt eaten alive by some of my idiot classmates who, for example, couldn't tell when I was joking, because God forbid I ever try to be funny unlike any of them. Nothing against the professor herself, who was a delightful human being, except for how she went out of her way to make me feel singled out and excluded at the beginning of every class when she said "Hello, my beautiful ones!" (See, this is an attempt at being funny. The joke is that she excluded me because she was only talking to the beautiful students and I'm not beautiful. Maybe it's not that funny, but do you understand it, at least? Do you understand that it's not meant to be taken literally? Do you understand that you don't need to assume I'm a moron?)
Folk Art, Traditional Art, and Material Culture - Falling in love with an artist reminded me that I love art, and I drew a lot of pictures when I was little, and in kindergarten I was always the last one to finish our daily project and go play because of my attention to detail (when we made bees, for example, I was the only one who gave mine anatomically correct insect eyes instead of white cartoon eyes), and I might have become an artist myself if my art teacher all through elementary school hadn't been a grouchy old cow. I'm also super interested in anthropology and what it explains about human behavior and religion. It just is a shame that life is too short to pursue every interest in earnest, but college is a chance to take your time and diversify and explore, as long as you don't mind going into debt for the rest of your life. This is, in fact, an undergraduate-level class, but I just have to do some extra stuff and it will count as a graduate-level class.
I still have all my lesson plans from teaching last time and I have some clue what I'm doing this time and I think it will be great and not too stressful. Knock on so much wood.
Because I'm teaching two classes, I don't have to work at the Writing Center. I don't think I ever talked about working at the Writing Center. I enjoyed most of the actual appointments, talking with students about how to strengthen their writing, but preparing for the appointments was a nuisance that I won't miss. Not to mention the stress of trying to get them. I was supposed to aim for twenty by the end of the semester, and I got so far behind that one week I desperately opened eight to nine hours a day on my appointment schedule, more than doubling my appointments and reaching the goal, and then that turned out to be a complete waste because all my normal slots were filled for the last few weeks of the semester and I ended up with way more than I needed. The scheduler was weird too. I had my default schedule, but if I wanted to open up more slots, I had to go in and "blackout" all the times that I didn't want open and then everything else would be open by default. At first I thought that was pretty stupid, but now I just think it's pretty stupid.
Usually when I looked over someone's writing prior to an appointment, I felt way out of my depth, because I was supposed to focus on the bigger picture stuff more than spelling and grammar issues that would be much easier for me to tear apart. I didn't know what to do when an ESL student specifically asked for help with his grammar. As a teacher, I'm not supposed to correct ESL students' grammar because the notion of "standard English" is bullcrap that one group of English speakers codified to make themselves superior to all other English speakers, but as a tutor, I'm supposed to help students with what they want help with. I also had to help with a business major's application to a graduate school in Scotland, and I knew very little about the stuff he wrote about but I would be surprised if anyone at USU has better business qualifications than him. It was his fourth time bringing it to the Writing Center so I guess I was lucky to be at the tail end of it. I also had to help with someone's grant proposal for a study on how to more effectively grow plants in space. She was like, "Is there anything else you think I should include?" And I was like, "How the #$%@ should I know?" Not out loud, of course.
So I had situations like that where I had no idea what to do and then it turned out fine. I had some other science stuff, even though there's supposed to be a separate Science Writing Center that I didn't sign up to do. There was this one guy, I forget what his thing was, but I was doing my introductory spiel and I asked "Have you been to the Writing Center before?" like I'm supposed to, you know, even though I always draw a blank on where to go from there if they say no, but he was like, "Yeah, but not the Science Writing Center" and I was like, "Oh, uh, you still haven't." Not out loud, of course. I'm not that assertive. And he was all apologetic about how he meant to sign up for the Science Writing Center but he must have not. So guess what? One of my colleagues found out that if you go to the website and sign up for the Science Writing Center, it just directs you to the normal Writing Center schedule. Facepalm.
Of course, most of the students I tutored were filling a requirement from their instructors. As an undergraduate I also had to do this as a requirement for some instructors, and I thought it was a hassle but they did give good feedback. I was never obnoxious to the tutors. I only had one student who was obnoxious. The thing he gave me to look over was literally one paragraph of an essay he was supposed to write, and in the sign-up he said he was just doing this because he had to, and where he was supposed to list his concerns for me to focus on, he said he wasn't worried about anything. Based on the quality of the paragraph he provided me, he should have been worried. It was garbage. So we got to the appointment, he made it really clear he didn't want to be there, and he had changed his topic so all the corrections I made to his paragraph were moot anyway. I was more than happy to let him go after two minutes.
I could have still done the Writing Center this semester for some extra money in addition to my salary, but I had to decide by like December 12, so I decided nah.
I have continued to experience joy this week as several more of Trump's domestic terrorists have been arrested. I've heard, and have no reason to doubt, that everyone who carried a cell phone to the failed coup, aka everyone there, will be tracked and arrested. And that's why worrying about tracking chips in vaccines is even stupider than it appears at face value. The only problem is that they want Trump to pardon them, and that raises the question of why presidential pardons are a thing in the first place. As a child I was taught about checks and balances. I was taught that, quote, "A president is not a king", close quote. So why does he have the power to unilaterally erase anyone's legal consequences, not because the person is innocent, but because he likes the person? In this case, because the people were doing exactly what he wanted them to do? Of course, since they failed and he doesn't care about anyone but himself, I won't be surprised if he doesn't bother. I hope security is sufficiently improved this week, and that anyone else who tries to overthrow the government so their god can become a dictator is mowed down on the spot like this last group should have been.
I've just been notified that my childhood home in northern New York, which had stood since sometime in the late nineteenth century, burned down last night. So much for buying it back when I get rich.
On January 6 I asked myself, "Will this be remembered as the day that the United States officially became a third world country?" You know, because the godawful health care system and constant mass shootings (before the pandemic interrupted them) weren't enough. Living through history is so much fun, isn't it? It's made me think more about the thought experiment I started last week, of what I would say to my hypothetical future kids, or more precisely, what I wouldn't have to say.
I'm glad I won't have to tell them that when a narcissist running for president said he wanted to ban all Muslims from entering the United States and bragged about molesting women, I voted for him.
I'm glad I won't have to tell them that when the narcissist won anyway, I spent four years bending over backwards to kiss his butt and defend every indefensible thing he said or did.
I'm glad I won't have to tell them that when he started making crap up about voter fraud and attempting over and over again to subvert legitimate election results and stay in power, I believed him.
I'm glad I won't have to tell them that when the country protested like never before against police officers murdering black people, I defended the police officers and blamed the black people.
I'm glad I won't have to tell them that when a once-in-a-century pandemic hit, I pretended it was the flu and refused to be inconvenienced by it in any way because the only person who mattered to me was me.
I don't have much stamina left to continue being frustrated by the mindless worship of Trump that I see everywhere and which will, unfortunately, continue long after he's been put in his place. And yet it continues to blow my mind anew as if I'm discovering for the first time just how brainwashed ostensibly good people can be. How can they be so very, very blind? Are they living in an entirely different reality than mine? I just recently figured out the perfect analogy to explain how I feel. It's like in "Brewster Rockit: Space Guy!" when the crew puts a bucket on a coat rack and calls it Bucky the Robot and consistently talks about him like he's an actual robot, except for Pamela Mae Snap, who is consistently frustrated by her inability to make them understand that he's just a bucket on a coat rack.
Then I thought a little more and remembered that the analogy is even more appropriate than I first realized.
In Trump's case, though, I would say no, we really haven't. Compared to him, Nixon is practically Jesus.
This riot was an obvious direct result of his incendiary rhetoric for the last five years, his attempts to overturn democracy for the last two months, and of course his goading and lying to the rioters immediately before they rioted. It was provided by entitled white people who were perfectly happy to condemn riots for racial justice, ignore peaceful protests for racial justice, and whine about a black football player kneeling for racial justice, but who melted down like toddlers because a majority of voters rejected everything their god stands for. I never condone riots, but I can tell the difference between ones that stem from legitimate pain (the ones last year) and ones that don't (this one). And I don't believe for a moment the conspiracy theories that left-wingers infiltrated the crowd and tried to keep Trump in office to make Trump supporters look bad. It's laughable that Trump supporters think they need outside help to make themselves look bad.
It's old news now and I don't have much else to say about it. I just think it's funny how police officers "fear for their lives" whenever a black person exists, but when an army of white domestic terrorists attempts an unprecedented coup of the United States government, suddenly they remember how to do things besides violence. And by "funny" I mean "sickening". This is a case where the police would have actually been justified in mowing everyone down like rabbits. This is a case where the police had an actual urgent need to defend themselves. Because they didn't, one of them died and more than fifty were injured. It's a statistical certainty that several of those deserved to be injured, but I'm sure not all of them did. Okay, but it's great that they remained committed to non-lethal force and arresting each of the surviving rioters peacefully over the next few weeks. Arresting so many white people is a good step toward correcting the massive racial disparity in American prisons.
I recently compared the voter fraud allegations to creationist "science" as explained by this cartoon that offended me when I was a creationist because it's true:
The analogy is a good one not just because conspiracy theorists seek evidence for what they already believe, however, but also because they set up the voter fraud hypothesis so it can't be falsified even when such evidence fails to materialize. If the overwhelming majority of biologists reject creationism, that's not an indication that creationism is nonsense, it's proof of a widespread conspiracy. If every judge throws out Trump's lawsuits for lack of evidence, that's not an indication that his lawsuits are nonsense, it's proof of a widespread conspiracy. The same people who constantly deride the government for being unable to do anything right sure have a supernatural level of faith in its abilities all of a sudden. And of course, in both situations, people behave irrationally and reject reality because they feel like their core religious values are being threatened. The only difference is which god they worship.
Thursday will mark a year since I came this close to killing myself, and to be perfectly honest, this week was the first time I felt grateful that I didn't. I've had some happiness since then, of course, but at no point did I think "Gee, I'm so glad I stayed alive so I could experience this damn pandemic and month after month of excruciating isolation even by my standards. This was so worth it." Watching Trump self-destruct like the Hindenburg in his final days of power is the first experience in that time that's brought me pure, unadulterated joy. It's the first experience in that time that was worth staying alive for. Okay, so my joy is schadenfreude, but if getting excited about his comeuppance after he's actively made millions of people's lives worse for four years makes me a bad person, sue me.
If Trump can somehow avoid all the criminal charges facing him as soon as he leaves office - and why not, when he's never faced any consequences for his actions before - his future is still bright. He is, after all, a rabidly xenophobic pathological liar with an anger management problem. I'm sure any police department in the country would be thrilled to have him.
Diaries and Dentists
It's a new year, so yay, everything's better now, yay.
Prior to the long break from work and school, which in my case are the same thing, I checked out Leonard J. Arrington's three volume diary from 1971-1997, comprising 874, 922, and 666 pages (not counting the Afterword, Bibliography, photographs, list of Works by Leonard J. Arrington, and Index), respectively, from the university library. At this time I've only finished the first volume but I don't have to take them back until April so I'm not worried. Leonard J. Arrington was a USU professor of economics who went on to be Church Historian for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and he is fondly remembered for ushering in an era of more candid "warts and all" historical scholarship and facing substantial pushback from some church leaders with a persecution complex. Frequently in his diary he expresses sentiments along the lines of the following:
"[W]e must be interested in obtaining all the information possible about personalities and episodes, even if in the opinion of a current researcher it might be harmful to the Church's interests. If we are anything, we are an organization dedicated to finding the truth about the Church and it shistory and we have complete faith that the Church will in the long run not suffer as the result of this activity. Perhaps this attitude is partly a product of my long years in a university setting, but I do not see how we can successfully counteract anti-Mormon articles and books without knowing the extent to which they are based on correct information, nor can I conceive of persons having confidence in our own publications unless they know that we are pursuing all avenues in the attempt to find out what really happened."
To which I say, amen.
In his diary he isn't shy about documenting the bureaucratic crap that goes on at church headquarters or the human weaknesses he sees at every level of leadership, but his faith in the divine element remains unshakeable. Some of his behind-the-scenes glimpses are fascinating gems, while others - mostly the ones having to do with administrative procedures, the organization and reorganization of responsibilities within the historical department, and budgeting - are very boring and account for my inability to get through more than one volume at this point. Then, of course, sometimes he just talks about his family, and sometimes his entries are just long tangents about his childhood or military service or whatever. One entry starts off with the random and questionable sentence, "As I awoke this morning, I was thinking that it might be interesting to our children to know something about their conceptions and births." Most people, to my knowledge, want to do as little thinking as possible about how they were conceived, but my knowledge is admittedly limited. But now I know that his sons were both allergic to the ammonia in their own urine, so that's a cool piece of trivia.
In one entry he writes, in part, about his dental history:
"Because our family have been impressed during the past few weeks with our new dentist, Dr. Newell Warr and his efforts to get us on a good program of teeth care, I might record in this diary that in the family in which I was reared I do not remember any attention to teeth care. The first time I ever visited a dentist was during a summer leave from the University of Idaho - perhaps between the time that I was a sophomore or junior at the university. I went to Dr. Luke. He looked at my teeth, asked how I could stand the pain, and said I would have to have six teeth out immediately. He proceeded to pull all six teeth at that time. I do not recall that he gave me any instruction on teeth care, but I do know that from that time on I brushed my teeth every morning - not at night. I think I have lost only one tooth since that time.
"My parents appear to have taken it for granted that during his thirties or forties a person would have to get a set of false teeth. That's what we called them in those days. I think people refer to them as dentures today. I remember the occasion when my father had his few remaining teeth pulled and a set of dentures made. I also remember the same with my mother. I was very small at the time so I would think my mother was in her thirties and my father in his forties. I am sure our teeth deterioration is related to our use of water from a cistern filled with water from our irrigation ditch. I am sure that that is also related to our contraction of typhoid fever and diphtheria and other diseases.
"When we went to Logan after World War II, I began to go to a dentist regularly - maybe once a year, and over the past 26 years we have had four or five family dentists, but not a single one of them ever gave us instructions in teeth care and not one of them did more than simply repair our teeth as best they could. Not until our experience with Dr. Warr did any of us begin to use dental floss. Grace for several years has brushed her teeth twice a day and has excellent teeth. She must have had far better teeth instruction than I."
I thought that was interesting for a couple reasons. First, every time he writes about his childhood in rural Idaho I'm struck by how backwards and crappy it was even before the Great Depression hit, and how grateful I am that I wasn't born in 1917 in rural Idaho. It seems like he may as well have been born in the Middle Ages. It seems like God didn't love anyone born before at least the 1950s. Yet I was five years old when he died, so he bridges a gap from this archaic other world to the modern one and that's fascinating. Second, his first experience with the dentist reminded me just a bit of my visit to the dentist last week, when he replaced a filling that I got to replace a filling less than a year ago. He looked at it and asked if I had throbbing pain that kept me awake at night. I didn't this time. Last time, as the filling came loose, I did have throbbing pain that kept me awake at night, recurring every couple days or so. Then the filling came out altogether and the pain stopped.
That was nice, but from my perspective it appeared that half my tooth was gone, so that was disturbing. As long as I didn't touch the inside - a mistake I only made once - it felt fine, but I assumed the remaining half of my tooth was unsalvageable. I called the dentist (a different dentist) and told them I needed a tooth pulled. And I was pretty chill about it. Maybe because I had a positive attitude, or maybe just because this was less than two weeks after the worst day of my life, and thus my spirit was too dead to care. In any case, the tooth was way in the back where hardly anyone would notice, and I'd already learned to chew without it, and I'd get it back in the Resurrection, so this wasn't an ideal situation but whatever. I was only concerned about the cost without dental insurance and whether it would hurt. Then the dentist said he could fix it and didn't need to pull it, so that was nice, until I went to another dentist just recently and he told me the filling was coming out again after less than a year. This time he put on a crown and it cost four times as much, so this time the fix better be permanent.
Both dentists said that I might need a root canal. I Googled root canals because they have a reputation for being very unpleasant, which made little sense to me because this is the twenty-first century and anaesthetic is a thing that exists, and it turns out they're really not that unpleasant for most people and I'm not worried about that anymore. But again, no dental insurance, so I'd really prefer not to have to deal with that. I hate this country.
On the plus side, Brother Arrington's diary assures me that a woman isn't necessarily out of my league just because she has excellent teeth.
I used to receive a lot of encouragement at church to keep a journal. That's like a diary, but more manly, I guess. I never had the stamina to keep at it consistently. This weekly blog has served that function instead, and I've shared more about myself sometimes than prudence or self-respect would dictate, and in the unlikely event that future historians want to know about me this will probably be the first place to look. Maybe my kids will want to read it so they know where to place the blame for their upbringing. To them I say: Hi, kids. Say hi to your excellent-toothed mother for me if she's still alive and hasn't remarried. I know the world sucks and will continue to suck until Jesus returns and burns it all, but aren't you grateful you weren't born in the nineties to live through the age of Trump and coronavirus? Aren't you grateful I never spanked you because I subscribed to the radical leftist notion that teaching children through violence and fear is wrong? Aren't you grateful you've never experienced the horror of dial-up internet? I may as well have been born in the Middle Ages.
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender Christian male, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic and asexual, so you can't, unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.