Medical Marijuana and the LDS Church

Medical marjiuana.jpg

On Friday, February 5, 2016 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints opposed a bill in the Utah legislature brought forth by Senator Mark Madsen that would make Utah the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana. citing unintended consequences that could come with use of the drug.

And I am angry.

I grew up being taught that the LDS church was politically neutral. Every election season a letter is read over the pulpit in every Ward in the United States written by the First Presidency emphatically stating that the church keeps out of politics.

However, this past legislative session in Utah has proven that the church’s long-claimed stance of political neutrality is false. Most people outside the state don’t understand how one religion, no matter how prominent, can have such an effect on state policies. But it does. Most of the state legislators identify as LDS and as any LDS person will tell you, when the prophet speaks, you listen, and you do as you are told. Obedience above conscious.

The reason for opposing medical marijuana?

Unintended consequences.

You mean like people suffering from chronic, debilitating, and painful diseases getting relief?

You mean like people who do suffer those painful diseases not becoming addicted to the opioids their doctors prescribe because that’s all doctors can do legally?

You mean like people being high all the time on THC? NEWFLASH – these same people are high all the time. On opioids.

And because they are having to ever increase their opioid use with no legal proven alternative available, it is leading to some patients becoming addicted. Utah has an insanely high opioid usage rate as well as heroin rate. The Utah Department of Health has noted that Utah has an experienced a more than 400% increase in prescription drug use injuries and death in the last decade. An average of 21 Utahns die a month due to prescription drug overdoses. Utah ranks 8th highest in prescription drug overdose deaths in the United States.

Marijuana isn’t the drug you should be worried about, LDS church.

Heavy opioid use for chronic pain also leads to liver damage, digestive difficulties like not being able to keep food down and chronic, and bowel damaging, constipation.

I’m sure the LDS church leaders believe this is a moral issue, so I have to ask…

What’s so moral about letting people suffer?

No one has ever overdosed on Marijuana.

I could see if this were legalizing recreational marijuana use why the LDS church would be opposed to that and taking a strong stance against it.

But this is about medicinal use in oil form. Mormons love their medicinal oils. I’m sure if doTerra was pushing this, all the prominent MLM owning Mormons would jump at having it legalized.

Luckily Senator Madsen is not kowtowing to the incredible and inappropriate overreach of the LDS church into state politics. He has proposed 8 amendments to the law that he hopes will alleviate concerns to the Bill.

Anecdotally, when my mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer in August 2007. She opted for chemotherapy treatments to extend her life and it was awful. She threw up constantly. She couldn’t keep any food down, thereby becoming dehydrated. She was in constant pain. Her doctor prescribed for her Marinol to help increase her appetite and deal with the nausea chemotherapy caused. Marinol is one of the cannabinoids.

I wish I could sit down with the leaders of the LDS church and describe to them what it was like to watch my mom suffer an absolute nightmarish hell during her last 3 months on this earth. I wish I could tell them what it was like to sit with her in her hospital room watching her writhe in pain, wake up and look at me with panic-stricken eyes that reminded me of a wounded animal, and beg me, BEG ME, her second daughter, someone she called “girl baby” and nursed at her breast until I was 15 months old, BEG ME to go find someone to kill her. Please tell me how you would feel to have your mother, a light and sunshine to everyone she knew, be suffering so much she begged you to find someone to take her life.

You know that scene in Terms of Endearment when Debra Winger is in the hospital dying of cancer and her mother, Shirley MacClaine, goes and screams at the nurses and demands they relieve the suffering of her dying daughter? Yeah, that was me.

Please tell where the dignity is in letting dying people suffer when oil from a plant…A PLANT that God planted in the ground.. can alleviate suffering? Why are those who aren’t suffering constantly asking others to do it when they have no idea the pain that is involved?

On another anecdotal note, I’m old enough now to have several friends who suffer from various chronic, painful diseases:  Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Rheumatoid arthritis, Anxiety, Erytohmelalgia (or Mitchell’s syndrome), and numerous other autoimmune disorders. THC has been proven to alleviate the pain and other symptoms that these debilitating and painful diseases cause. Prescribing people who are suffering ever-increasing amounts of opioids is unconscionable, and I would argue, ammoral.

So I’m begging the leaders of the LDS church to do the right thing. I was always taught growing up in church to do the right thing and let the consequences follow. I was taught to be honest in my dealings. I was taught to put the pain and suffering of others above my own comfort. Please LDS church, practice what you preach. Again I ask,

What’s so moral about letting people suffer?

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How I really feel…

As a child my mother worked very hard to teach me to be an independent person. She came from the era that women couldn’t rent an apartment, buy a house, hold a credit card or bank account in their name without a father or husband’s consent. She wanted her children to be able to take care of themselves once they left her home. My mother and father both had childhoods where they had to work hard and they both grew up with a good worth ethic. They never wanted to have children who were helpless.

It was because of this I learned that when it comes to my actions, my thoughts, my words…I am responsible for myself.

It’s because of this belief that I’m really tired of the lie that gets told in (mostly) religious cultures that says men are so base, vile, and corrupt that they cannot control themselves when it comes to their sexual passions. And because of this we women must cover ourselves up so as to not excite these men because they can’t help themselves. And if they do help themselves, it must be the woman’s fault, right? Wrong.

This idea isn’t new. The Victorians were so proper, a glimpse of an ankle was provocative. In some Muslim countries women are forced to be covered all over with burquas. Apparently in American religious contemporary society, a picture of a teenage girl not wearing a bra on Facebook is so shocking a mother has to write a shaming post about it telling these girls to keep away from her sons. The subtext being these sons are in no way capable of moderating their own reactions and mommy must do it for them.

Am I crazy to think that men are human beings and, therefore, capable of controlling themselves? Millions of men walk around this planet every day who are able to restrain their sexual passions and not act out on every sexual impulse that invades their brain. You’ll have to excuse me for not thinking that all men are just potential rapists waiting for the right trigger. The reason why I give men so much credit is because I know too many wonderful ones who are able to control themselves.

I think there comes a time in all of our lives when we realize that the only person we can control is ourselves. We can’t make people dress or act in the way we want them to. We can’t make them cater to our desires. We can’t make women cover up so as to not entice heterosexual men. Heterosexual men are going to be attracted to women that they are attracted to no matter what they wear. And, if I might add, how very self-centered of anyone to think that everyone else should cater to them.

I hope, with all sincerity that if a mother of teenage sons sees a girl on Facebook posting a “selfie” she finds provocative, she teaches her sons to control their own passions. Once they leave her home they are responsible for themselves. They need to be able to conduct themselves around women with propriety and respect. The way she does this is by teaching her sons that girls are human beings. Like Nate Pyle says, they need to be able to “see” women as human beings regardless of what they’re wearing.

The world doesn’t revolve around one single person (no matter how much Donald Trump wished it did) and we can’t expect people to be perfect and never make mistakes. I’m bothered by anyone who states that someone doesn’t get a second chance with them and then proclaims to be a Christian. I’m so grateful for the people who have given me a second chance. I  know that there are some people who will never give me a second chance, and that’s fine. That’s their loss. But I want everyone to know, you’ll always have a second chance with me. (Unless you continue to try to hurt me or someone I love. I do have boundaries).

“Jesus wasn’t about perfection. He was all about redemption. He said that he didn’t come to save the righteous, but the fallen. He gathered around him the prostitutes, tax collectors, and other ‘broken’ members of society and delighted in their company, not in the company of the self-righteous pharisees who stood on street corners exhibiting to the world how ‘perfectly’ they kept the letter of the law.” -Lorian Franklin Dunlop (someone I’m lucky to call a friend)

There might be people in this world who look at teenagers on social media and judge them as not worth their time based on a “selfie” they posted. They might decide that their sons or daughters shouldn’t be allowed to interact with these people any more. They might decide that these kids don’t ever deserve a second chance. They might feel superior to these kids because “they’re so perfect.” I’d like to remind them of my friend’s Lorian’s words and know that how you treat “the least of these” is a reflection of your character, not theirs.

That’s right, teenage girls who were shamed on the internet this week for daring to take a picture of yourself with pouty duck lips, what anyone has said or written about you is a reflection of their character, not yours.

And so I leave you with this, as my children go out into this world I want them to know that they are only in control of themselves. And if someone can’t get past the way their body looks enough to see the person behind the body, (their sparkling personalities, their wicked senses of humor, the kindness they show to others) and only seeks to make a sexual object out of them, that sin is not on their heads. There is no way that they dress or act that can cause someone else to sin. None. They are only the guardians of their own virtue, not anyone else’s.

Because Jesus.

sunset friends

Book Review – Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of my Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman

Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic RootsUnorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Deborah Feldman’s memoir of growing up as a Hasidic Jewish girl in the Williamsburg district of Brooklyn, New York, is stunningly raw and honest.  The first time I went to New York City, I saw a Hasidic Jewish family at the Toys R Us in Times Square as my friend and I were waiting in line to ride the in-door, four story, Ferris wheel.  I remember wondering if riding a Ferris wheel in a giant toy store was something they were allowed to do.  I had seen Hasidics represented on TV and in movies, but never have I considered or read what their orthodox Jewish beliefs are really about.  In fact, I have to admit, while always being interested in Judaism, I never really thought about the Orthodox Hasidic views until an 8 year old girl was harassed and spat upon in Israel by Orthodox Jews for dressing too “immodestly” on her way to school.  Right after, I saw Feldman on “The View” sharing her story and I was so stunned by her account of the rules she was forced to live by until she broke ties with her religion, family, culture, and husband as an adult.  I had no idea that educating a Hasidic girl past 8th grade is considered a waste of time.  I had no idea that reading books was a crime.  I had no idea that marriages are still arranged.  And their rules governing sex within a marriage are just astounding!  This book was a huge eye opener for me.  It made me keenly aware of the “rules” that I quietly obey without thinking about where they come from or where they originated in my culture.  I’ve since read that Feldman is being harassed online and members of her former culture are creating fake profiles in an effort to discredit her.  All I can say is it takes an exceptionally brave and strong person to cast off the shackles of the past, share your truth with the world, and let the slings and arrows fall where they may.

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Beauty on the Outside counts too, Boys

(This is my response to this article found here….MUST READ FIRST)

Beauty on the Outside counts too, boys
I’ve noticed a disturbing trend among men. On Facebook and in conversations with boys, I’ve heard boys embrace supposed masculine liberation and tell us that they’re handsome no matter how they look. Before I have to dodge a flurry of thrown wing tips, let me clarify: Yes, you are handsome. You’re a son of God, and don’t let anyone try to convince you otherwise. But . . . you shouldn’t let the “beauty on the inside” argument hinder your quest to achieve your physical ideal. Some boys I know tell themselves it doesn’t matter how they look because they’re handsome on the inside, and then they just . . . well, let themselves go.
 
If you are truly happy with the body you have, I’m glad for you. We should recognize that none of us is going to have a perfect body, at least not at this stage in our eternal existence. (Or maybe you already do have a near-perfect body. Congrats. You should still keep reading.) Men, we gals will accept that not all of you are body builder models if you accept that few of us have managed the physique of any of the models in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.

I’m sorry if I come across as harsh. There are also plenty of people who go the opposite direction and become Ken dolls with personalities as bland as the plastic dolls they so resemble.
 
President Kimball said, “How nice and easy would it be if we had a magic wand! But we haven’t. You might take a careful inventory of your habits, your speech, your appearance, your weight, . . . and your eccentricities. . . . Take each item and analyze it. What do you like in others? What personality traits please you in others? Are your pants too short, too long, too revealing, too old fashioned? Does your weight drive off possible girlfriends? Do you laugh raucously? Are you too selfish? Are you interested only in your own interests?”
 
See boys, a prophet of God told you to hem your pants, get with the latest fashion trends, and stop driving off potential girlfriends with those ugly mugs (it’s called a facial…you have no right having imperfect skin). Stop being so interested in only your interests and start being interested in what we women are interested in. Geeze, boys.
 
President McKay said, ‘Even a barn looks better when it’s painted.’” Hear that, men? Paint your darn barns already.
 
Boys, a little regular exercise and some healthy eating habits will be a good start toward becoming that reasonable paragon. Go running. Take a racquetball class. Get off the couch and stop eating Cheetos and instead pick up a book and use it to do some weight lifting. I think you’re capable of filling in the rest of this list yourselves (but if you’re not I’d be happy to offer more suggestions). I really believe that once you set your physical goals on something that we women will approve of and if you work to reach them, we both can be satisfied with the hot stud you’re becoming.
 
What do you think? Am I off base? Do I have unreasonable expectations for boys?