Monday, May 23, 2011


This morning, I came across a very interesting post on the Slightly Moderated Stream of Consciousness blog entitled The Aimless Aim.  One of the topics this blog post discussed was the author's opinion that the value of clichés diminishes over time with their use.  The blogger started off this post by quoting JRR Tolkien's statement that "Not all those who wander are lost," and the first sentence of his post states, "Each time a cliché is repeated, it looses (sic) its rhetorical power."  Presumably, the blogger is tying these two thoughts together, perhaps insinuating that the Tolkien quote might be considered a cliché.

As I said in my comment to this post, while I agree with the Tolkien quote as shown above, I don't agree with the blogger's statement about the diminishing value of clichés.   The value of clichés may change to a certain degree over time, but I don't think their value ever diminishes to a point where their inherent value is ever substantially lost.  For instance, "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater" is a very valuable cliché in that it emphasizes the need to look at situations in an overall sense and not get tied up in details that might skew a person's outlook entirely.  This cliché is similar to not being able to "see the forest for the trees."  And of course, as someone who tends to want perfection out of all aspects of life, I've struggled over the years with the tendency to "throw the baby out with the bathwater" (in a rhetoric sense, of course) as well as getting so tied up in minutia that at times I have trouble "seeing the forest for the trees." 

Of course, there are many other clichés (and/or colloquialisms) that are very valuable in handling situations that life throws at us all.  In my journey away from Mormonism, I found myself struggling to a great extent with the "perfection" aspect of it all (i.e. "baby/bathwater" dilemma).  Some people are able to accept and/or look beyond all the lies, deceptions and cover-ups that the Mormon Church perpetuates.  Having read and heard many explanations for these obvious problem areas, I consider these explanations to be nothing more than rationalizations or delusions.  In my opinion, if you can't depend on a religion to be upfront and truthful about its history and doctrine, then what good is it?  In my opinion, a religion that professes to value truth and honesty should be truthful and honest in presenting its history and doctrine.  It shouldn't play fast and loose with the truth on one hand while professing to value truth, honesty and integrity on the other hand.  As far as I am concerned, this represents a huge credibility problem for the Mormon Church because since they have lied about so much, including its sordid history and questionable doctrine, then how can anything they say be trusted? 

So in leaving the Mormon Church after discovering all the lies, deceptions, cover-ups and contradictions, some may say that I got caught up in expecting too much perfection, that I threw the baby out with the bathwater, or that I tossed it aside because I couldn't see the forest for the trees.  In fact, when I have commented on some blog posts about these types of topics, saying that for me it is "all or nothing," I have been criticized by people saying that all religion is filled with lies and contradictions so why should Mormonism be any different.  That logic is lost on me, and I don't think it makes the lies acceptable.  "Actions speak louder than words," especially when "airing dirty laundry."  

The problems with Mormonism are "all over the map," and I got tired of always trying to "look on the bright side," especially since with each problem I discovered, it seemed like just "one more nail in the coffin."  It all became so "hard to swallow, and I found myself  "at my wit's end."  To me, it became as "plain as the nose on your face" that Mormonism was made-up from the get-go.  But then the philosophy of the Mormon Church seems to be, "Ask me no questions and I'll tell you no lies."  They also seem to adhere to the philosophy that "the ends justifies the means," but I don't think that is the case at all.  And they "gloss over" so much.  I may have been very naive and sheltered in my younger years because of my Mormon upbringing, but I'm definitely no "babe in the woods" now.  And I'm not "dumber than a box of rocks" either.  But although there are aspects of Mormonism that made me feel like I was "banging my head against a brick wall," at least I didn't "blow my brains out" before finally deciding to "cash in my chips" and "call it a day." 

As I'm sure has become very obvious, I could go on and on with the clichés, but I'll spare you any more for now since I'm sure you've more than gotten the point.

As far as the "wandering" part of the subject post is concerned, I was definitely born under a wandering star, so I can relate completely to what was said about that mindset.  Staying in one place for very long makes me feel stagnant, and experiencing the adventures that "wandering" brings makes me feel vital and alive.  As I stated above, I agree with the Tolkien quote that "not all who wander are lost," and with what the blogger says in his post that "the joy is in the journey, not the destination."  That statement may be a bit cliché, but in my opinion, it is a very valuable one.

Of course, in looking back at my life, anyone who examines it closely would see that I have "wandered" a bit.  I was born and raised in Central California (Fresno), went to college in Utah (BYU, Provo), and moved to Los Angeles in 1975.  While living in Southern California for the next 30 years, I lived in several places - first in Pasadena, then in the San Fernando Valley, then in Monrovia, and then in Orange County (Brea, Fullerton and Costa Mesa).  Obviously, in examining these moves, it becomes rather obvious that I was "wandering" a bit, perhaps searching for something.  But in the process of that searching, I had a lot of very valuable experiences that have added immeasureably to my life.

Then in January 2006, I decided to move to Atlanta, Georgia, to live near my brother (since he is my only sibling and our parents are both gone now).  While living in the Atlanta Metro area, I started off living in Peachtree City, and then lived in Kennesaw, Hampton, Druid Hills, Alpharetta and Sandy Springs.  Of course, the major purpose for my many Atlanta moves was because I really didn't like living in Georgia, so I was trying to find an area in Atlanta where I would like living.  But that never really worked because as it turned out, Georgia (and/or the South) and I just don't get along because there's way too much heat and humidity in the summer (which also affects the winters, making it bone-chilling cold); way too many bugs and spiders (of enormous size and proportions); way too much traffic with way too many people who tailgate at high speeds way too much; and way too many drivers who have little regard for pedestrians.  Seriously, people are taking their lives in their hands when they decide to walk around in Atlanta... oh, the stories I can tell...

When my daughter Monica (who had moved to Georgia with me) started talking about moving to Colorado to finish massage therapy school, I opted to join her on her trek back out West.  We have lived in Colorado for a little over a year now, and during that entire year, we have lived in Westminster, about 10 miles north of Denver (since that is where she has been going to school).  Monica has now finished massage therapy school and is graduating this coming Thursday, May 26, 2011 - and I am extremely proud of her for achieving that goal.  And next month, we are moving to Centennial, Colorado, which is about 10 miles south of Denver in an area that seems very conducive to Monica pursuing her goal of being a Massage Therapist. 

But while we are excited to be moving to this area, I became a little disconcerted when I discovered that there is a Mormon chapel just 2 blocks from our new condo (unbelievable!!) - and that the temple in Denver is in Centennial only 1-1/2 miles directly south of where we are going to live.  Oh, well... can't have everything, right?  I just hope they leave us alone... 

But regardless of what happens, I remind myself that "the joy is in the journey, not in the destination."  It doesn't matter what road blocks we might come across because that is part of the journey.  Learning to use those road blocks and detours as life lessons helps to enhance what a person gains from the journey itself.  Life truly is a journey of enormous proportions, and learning from what is thrown in our path is as important to the journey as are the somewhat easier steps we take.  And of course, trying not to backpedal and repeat mistakes is a very important lesson as well. 

So as the blogger from the Slightly Moderated Stream of Consciousness blog said in the closing paragraph of his The Aimless Aim post, "I like wandering.  I like meandering.  I'm in no hurry to meet my final destination.  I enjoy not being at the end, because that's the part where you (and by you I mean I) die."  And I'll end my post there, too.

No comments: