Sunday, December 13, 2015

Let It Snow

     What does Christmas (and the holiday season) mean to me? I've had the question on my mind a lot today, and I've been thinking about my own personal answer.
     One of the first things I decided to do was dissect what it has meant to me over the years. When I was really young, Christmas meant presents. That's what I always thought of. When I grew a little bit older, it started to mean presents and family. Then it changed to presents, family, traditions, etc. It kept evolving but it has only really been the past few years that my list has started to really include Christ. Christmas and the holidays, while presents and family still come to mind, also make me think of my Savior, or worship, or peace and love, of the plan and mission of God and Christ.
     I think one of the best ways for me to explain this change is to talk about snow. Yes, I'm totally serious. Snow. I love the snow. I've heard many people talk about the different things that show them that God loves them. Sometimes it's a sunny day, sometimes it's a warm feeling inside, sometimes it's a rainy day, etc. I've definitely felt God's love from such situations, but for me, I know God loves me when it snows.
     As I've mentioned before in my blog, I deal with depression. My depression can pop up throughout the entire year, but is most prevalent in the winter months. So I guess you could call it seasonal depression.
     The reason snow means so much to me is because when I was in some of my darkest moments, when I felt the most alone, because it happened so often in the winter, I would just sit and watch the snow fall. It was comforting. Snow is quiet, but alive. Watching it fall so quietly, so softly, so gentle made me think of God and Christ. While I often felt so alone in my depression, watching the snow made me feel that Christ was there with me. I wasn't alone. And God was using the snow to show me that even in the hard times, when the world was cold and life was bitter, there was a quiet beauty in the world, and you just had to learn to sit back and find the beauty in the storm.
     Snow, unlike rain, doesn't just wash away. Snow blankets the earth, protecting it under its layers. Blankets have long been a source of security for me. Even as an adult, while I don't carry a blanket around with me, when I go to bed at night, or am watching a movie, having a blanket over me helps me feel safe and calm. Watching the snow fall also gives me a sense of safety and calmness.
     I love the whiteness of snow. It's so beautiful and makes the world so bright. Even at night, the light from the moon is reflected off of the snow lighting up the world, and the brightness is even more-so during the day when the sun shines.  It also makes everything look so clean and pure.
     One thing that happened last year during the winter is that ice would cover my car each night, so in the morning, I'd have to scrape my car before leaving. Usually it's a pain, but last year I noticed that the ice made beautiful patterns on my car. All you had to do was look closely. I took some pictures of some of the really pretty designs:
     I love the snow and I love the holidays. I've definitely been feeling the effects of depression the past few weeks. My depression isn't the same as it was in the past, but it's still emotionally difficult to endure. The forecast for tomorrow calls for snow, though, so I know I'll have peace and comfort being able to watch it silently fall.
     Happy holidays everyone! And whether you like the snow or not, celebrate the life of Christ this season, and remember you're never alone and God always loves you.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

God Still Loves Me

     My laptop that has been having physical issues for months was fixed in seconds by a tiny screw I found on my floor a couple days ago. And you know what? I know that God still loves me.

     I've had my current laptop for about a year now. My laptop has worked great, and has been the main place I work on school assignments, blog, work, etc. I had no complaints about my laptop until about 3-4 months ago when I noticed an unhappy clicking sound whenever I opened the screen, and eventually noticed what was happening. Every time I opened the screen, the hinges attaching the screen to the chassis would separate. They did not separate completely, but spread far enough apart that the screen sat at an angle, and I worried eventually they would split completely.

     I put off doing anything about it for a few months. I didn't think the issue was that big of a deal until I noticed the separation getting worse and worse, and eventually with the prodding and encouragement from my best friend, I decided to contact Dell and get my computer sent in for repair.

     My computer was sent out to be repaired a little over a week ago. When I sent it out for repair, it was my understanding that my computer was still covered by the warranty as I haven't even owned it for a year yet. I believed the issue would be covered by warranty because it was not caused by misuse (unless opening the laptop counts as misuse) and it wasn't accidental damage considering that I've never dropped my laptop, and carry it in a protective case.

     Well, when my laptop finally arrived at the repair depot, I received a call stating that the repairs necessary were not covered by my warranty, as it was deemed by the repair-depot personnel to have been caused by accidental damage. I tried speaking with multiple people at Dell to explain to them that my computer has never been accidentally damaged, and whatever happened to my hinges must have been caused by a manufacturing flaw. My best friend researched the warranty further, and discovered that the necessary repairs should most definitely be covered by my warranty, yet despite multiple calls speaking with multiple representatives, Dell was still unwilling to fix my laptop covered by warranty.

    After much stress and frustration, I got another call from Dell. No, they still weren't willing to repair it under warranty, but they told me they could repair it for $159.... $159?! I don't have that much money to just throw around, and certainly not for a repair that should be covered by warranty. After unsuccessfully trying to get the representatives at Dell to realize that it wasn't accidental damage, and that I wasn't lying to them, I finally decided it wasn't worth it. If I really needed to, I could throw some duct-tape on the hinges and call it good rather than waste hours on the phone with people who can barely speak English and aren't willing to believe me, or spend $159 on a repair that should have been covered. I told them to send it back.

     Well, a couple days ago when I was sitting in my room talking to my best friend, I noticed a small black thing on my carpet. At first, I honestly thought it was nothing but a piece of lint. I thought nothing of it. But for some reason, after a time, I decided I didn't like it, and picked it up planning to throw it away (still under the assumption that it was lint). Well, I picked it up and it wasn't lint. It was a tiny black screw that I had no idea what it went to, but it looked important. I decided to put it on my bedside table in case one day I figured out what it was for.

     Fast-forward to today. My computer arrived back from the repair depot. No, my computer was not fixed. In fact, when I pulled it out, I was disappointed and perturbed... The hinges were worse than when I sent it out for repair. I started to regret not pursuing the phone calls more. Maybe if I had been more determined and stern they would have covered it under the warranty that should have covered it in the first place. Then I even started regretting not paying the $159 they asked to get it repaired. I started thinking maybe the $159 they asked for would have been better than the chance the screen might soon fall off and the repairs associated with that.

     Well, I went through the next few hours feeling concerned, wishing I had done more to get my computer fixed, until suddenly, late at night when I should have been asleep (like right now, I should be asleep), I suddenly had a light-bulb moment. The screw! I had seen one just like it before on the back of my laptop! Eagerly, I flipped on my light, flipped my computer upside down, grabbed the screw, and looked at the back of my computer. But.... both screw holes I could see had screws in them, screwed in securely. A few seconds of feeling defeat.... but wait...

     As I looked at the back of my laptop in defeat, suddenly I noticed two holes near the hinges I hadn't noticed before.... screw holes! And one of them was missing! I stuck the screw in the hole and hurried downstairs to grab the tiny screw driver to screw it in. Success! One screw was missing completely, and the other was loose, so I put the one back in, and tightened the other, and flipped my computer right-side up.

     Nervousness... I start opening my laptop screen, totally expecting to hear that awful clicking.... relief.... excitement! It didn't happen! No click! Close the screen... check the hinges.... they're still connected! Breathe a sign of relief mixed with feeling ecstatic. My computer is fixed! Hallelujah!

     Then my thoughts started to turn to all of the different things that had happened or could have happened. I could have paid Dell $159 to "fix" my computer when obviously the technicians had no idea what the issue was. On all the phone calls, they said my hinges had gone bad. They obviously hadn't noticed a screw was missing.... and when it's your job to know what's wrong with a computer, and you can't notice a missing screw, well I'll let you fill in the blank. After-all, how many people have heard of a $159 screw? I certainly haven't, not even when you count labor involved in screwing it in, though it might be nice to get paid $159 every time you screw in a screw...

     Holy cow, what had happened leading up to this? My computer has been having issues for months, I have no idea what the issue is, I send it in to get fixed expecting warranty to cover it. No luck. Dell is unwilling to fix it without payment. I give up. Send it back. Find a screw in my carpet that I am beyond lucky to not have vacuumed up, lost, or thrown away without even realizing what it was. Get my computer back. Get a prompting. Check the back of my computer. Find the missing screw hole, stick it in, tighten it and the other screw, and voila! My computer is fixed!

     There are some people that might honestly be able to convince themselves that it was all a coincidence. Coincidence that I didn't pay $159. Coincidence I didn't vacuum or throw away that screw that had been on my carpet for at least 8 days (and I usually vacuum every 1-2 weeks). Coincidence that, at midnight lying awake in bed I suddenly have the impression that the screw I had since forgotten about finding anyway went to my computer. Coincidence that etc. etc. etc. But to me, it was not at all a coincidence. This was absolute proof that God still does, always has, and always will love me. Proof that I can still receive promptings. Proof that I still have God in my life.

     Tonight is a good night, even though it's way past bed time. I'm writing this post on my computer that works great now, and feeling so thankful and loved. God is perfect. I love life.

     Oh, and a note to my future self. Remember to trust in God and His timing. Listen to promptings. Remember that God loves you yesterday, today, tomorrow, and forever. Remember that life is good, even if it's hard, and you rarely see the big picture until it hits you in the face at the end. Oh, and remember you can always trust God more than some 'technician'.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Children of Same-sex Couples

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came out with a policy change Thursday that states that underage children of same-sex couples will not be allowed membership until reaching "legal age" and they "disavow the practice of same-gender cohabitation and marriage."
     I first heard about this policy change while driving to work today and listening to the news. I'll be completely honest, when I first heard I thought maybe the media had misinterpreted something the  Church had said, then I thought maybe I was misinterpreting what I was hearing. When I got to work, I looked it up, and sure enough the internet and media had exploded with news articles about it. So it was true, I hadn't misinterpreted and neither had the media (at least about the actual policy, the media almost always overexaggerattes or misrepresents).
     So, still being completely honest, I felt really confused and worried. I even doubted a bit. But I didn't hyperventilate, and I kept calm. Some of the honest questions I had were "why is the Church holding children back for the actions of their parents?" "why can't these children get baptised until 18 and after they have disavowed their 'parents' lifestyle?" "aren't all people welcome in God's Church?". First, I feel it is important to point out that while I was having doubts and seriously considering these questions, I also wasn't immediately jumping to conclusions or becoming closed-minded or bitter.
     After the confusion and the doubt, I started to ask myself other questions. "Do I believe in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Do I trust, follow, and sustain the prophet and apostles? Do I trust in Christ? Do I trust in God?" Etc. The thing is, despite the questions and the doubts, my beliefs I held yesterday didn't suddenly change just because of a policy change. My testimony, while not at its strongest right now, also isn't so frail as to be broken by something I simply don't fully understand yet. I trust in God, I believe in the Church, why should that suddenly change?
     I ended up asking my best friend (who is a fantastic resource for me) about what his thoughts were. One thing he shared with me that totally hit me was that what the Church was stating is aimed at the opposition the Church has, not just to gay marriage, but more especially to adoption in same-gender marriages.
     What he shared helped so much. While the Church hasn't necessary released an "official" statement about this decision yet (as far as I am aware), from what I did read this totally made sense. And you know what? If that is the purpose of this policy change (and I'll personally say that I believe that it is part of it, if not the main reason), then I totally back the Church. Why? Because I myself wished so strongly that during the years of legal battle over whether or not to legalize gay marriage in states or even nationwide, that those looking into the issue would look at adoption and marriage as separate issues. As strongly as I oppose gay marriage, I oppose even more the ability for same-sex couples to adopt children, and I feel it is fair and necessary that children have the opportunity to have a mother and a father. And, because I know there will be backlash from that last statement, let me just say I totally recognize that there are children with single parents because of divorce, death, or whatever. I totally recognize that, and have given my thoughts on it before, but don't feel it is important to rehearse again. In short, I know there are issues on both the heterosexual and homosexual side when you talk about having a mother and father, but it is much easier to have both in a heterosexual family, whereas it is practically impossible to have that in a homosexual family setting.
     But Mitchell, how is that fair to the children? First of all, this policy does NOT mean that those children can't attend Church, they still can! Even excommunicated members can still attend Church. Furthermore, they can still contact the first presidency. This isn't a doctrine, it's a policy. If the first presidency feel it's appropriate, the child can still be baptized, but as a policy it goes through the first presidency. By the way, it's the same situation if your parents are polygamists, including disavowing your parents practice of polygamy. This isn't as unique as you may think, it's not utterly ground shattering. Also, while baptism is an essential ordinance, so are the temple endowments and receiving the priesthood, both of which don't happen until after 18 anyway. So, again, realize that it is STILL POSSIBLE for a child of a same-sex couple to get baptised before 18 years old, it just has to go through the first presidency. They can still come to Church, and if any members or ward kick them out, they are violating God's commandment that all men are welcome to learn of His gospel.
     Ultimately, I believe that the Church is still true. How could something I believe in and dedicate my life to go from being totally true one day, and the next suddenly become false just because they changed a policy they still haven't released an official statement on or explained completely, and that many have misinterpreted and made their own opinions on? The Church is still true. God still loves His children. The world isn't ending (yet). The sky isn't falling. The prophets are still prophets. And I still follow the Church and have a testimony I cannot deny. If you're still having doubts about the Church, I challenge you to really do some introspection. Pray, ask God, review your testimony and what you know to be true, both past and present. Don't let a policy change that we still don't know everything about be enough to change your mind about God or the gospel.
     I have a testimony of the Church. I have a testimony of my Savior. I have a testimony of the prophets. And I know, without a shadow of a doubt anymore, that this policy doesn't make the Church untrue, it isn't evil, and God will keep His promises and reveal all His mysteries in the end if we are faithful.
     I love you all. Don't forget your Father in Heaven. He loves you no matter what your circumstance.

     If you'd like to read an article that explains it better than I can, read this one: 

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015


     The other day, I was doing a brief check up on my blog (looking for any new comments, stats, etc.) When I was intrigued by one of the titles of a post from way back in 2013. I read it, and as weird as it may sound, I became jealous of my "past self".

     As I read the post, I felt inspired, I honestly didn't feel like I was reading something that I wrote. I didn't understand. How was I so good at writing and expressing my feelings back then? How was I able to so quickly and efficiently find peace and happiness even in the midst of trials? How was I so open to promptings and spiritual feelings? How was I......? The list could go on and on.

     I loved the post I read, but I also felt jealous of it. It led to a lot of introspection and questioning. The main question I asked myself was "what is different in my life now as compared to my life in 2013?" I just couldn't put my finger on it. I didn't understand.

     The thing is, in some ways I am doing better in my life than I was in 2013. I have a job now I feel very loyal to, I am enrolled in college through BYU-Idaho (through the Pathway program), I am doing better with my addictions than I was in 2013 (though definitely still not completely clean), I have a calling in my ward that requires me to serve others and actually work, so with all of these good things now that I didn't have in 2013, how did my life seem better then? What was going on?

     I realized a big part of the puzzle on Sunday. Perhaps I was happier back in 2013 not because of a lack of trials or because of high successes, but because I was grateful for what I did have. Back in 2013, I was much quicker to say "thank you" to God than I have been recently. I appreciated the people in my life more than I do now. I found happiness even in the midst of trials. I was closer to God, I prayed and read my scriptures more. I was more humble than I have been recently, partly because of circumstance (being compelled) and partly due to choice.

     So if there were positives and negatives then, and there are positives and negatives now, why the stark difference in happiness and quality of life? I honestly think one of the biggest factors in this has been my lack of gratitude. That's not to say I haven't been grateful about certain things, but I haven't been consistently thankful, I haven't been thankful about the little things. Another big factor is I have been fairly pessimistic. Dealing with depression doesn't make it easy to be optimistic, but I chose to be as optimistic as I could in the past, and I haven't been choosing it as much recently.

     So what can I do? Well, the truth is, I don't know all the answers. I do know, however, that I need to regain an attitude of gratitude (and no, I'm not just saying that because it's November). I honestly need to start thanking God for the big things, the small things, and everything in between. I need to be thankful to and for the people in my life.

     I also need to change certain habits. I need to start praying regularly, I need to start reading my scriptures regularly, and I need to serve others (which is something I've been lacking a lot in recently). While I'll never be the same person I was in 2013, nor should I hope to be, I can strive to regain the good qualities I had back then, and seek to gain new ones as I move forward and try to shape who I am and who I want to be.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Power of Song

Music has the power to do so much good, or so much bad, and I have seen that manifested many many times in my personal life.

Recently in my life I have felt very overwhelmed physically (work, school, etc.), emotionally (anxiety, depression, etc.), and spiritually (callings and responsibilities at Church, personal study and prayer, etc.). In all honesty, my testimony has been pretty weak for the past few months, not in regards to any particular subject, and I don't really have doubts, but just in the sense that I haven't been nurturing my testimony as much as I should. I haven't been saying my prayers, I haven't been reading the scriptures, etc. and so my testimony has weakened a bit, but now I'm working on getting it strong again.

I attended one semester at UVU, but it wasn't working with my work schedule, so I left after the first semester and started looking at other options. I was thinking of online, and had basically decided on an online college when my best friend's mom mentioned something called Pathway through BYU-Idaho that is mostly online, and has weekly gatherings locally. I looked it up, and felt it was definitely the right option, and signed up even though it was 2 days past the deadline, but I got in! While it's only my second week attending gatherings and institute, I honestly feel like it is the right place for me, and the spiritual environment is so important for me right now. The fact that we talk about God and the Church and its doctrines so openly, and apply it to what we're learning is fantastic, as it has helped me stay on track with my faith.

Now, on to the main subject (or what I planned to be the main subject...) of this post. Tonight, after attending gathering through Pathway, I went out to my car feeling a sense of exhilaration and euphoria that only comes from having had a spiritual experience (at least in my life). I felt so good, and I just wanted to share it with everyone. The times I most often get this feeling is after very spiritual experiences or circumstances such as after watching a Church-made video, watching a touching conference talk, watching a great Voice(s) of Hope video, having a great institute class, etc. Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say is I love feeling like that, and it's a feeling that makes me want to tell everyone how good I feel, and how good God is, and that Jesus is the Christ and Savior of the world, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Book of Mormon are absolutely true.

Already having really exhilarating emotions and feelings, I turned on my music while driving home from Pathway, and as I often do, turned my music up fairly loud and sang along. Sometimes when I sing in my car, it's a soft quiet singing, or even sometimes just humming. Sometimes it's more average volume/intensity singing. But when I'm really feeling the Spirit, really on that emotional and spiritual "high", I sing with enthusiasm, confidence, praise, etc. and really pour my heart into my singing, usually singing with so much gusto that my voice cracks, or I start coughing because I don't have water in my car to moisten my throat, or I start crying because I really get into it and it's a very spiritual song. But in those moments, it doesn't matter. I'm singing along to my Christian music, and feel closer to God than I have more recently.

Tonight, I just wanted to share with you all the 4 songs that touched me most on my drive home. The 4 songs that I sang most enthusiastically, the 4 songs that really made a difference, the 4 songs that helped me strengthen my love of God and His gospel tonight.

The first song that played when I got in my car was In Christ Alone by Owl City
(video should show up below. If not, click here)

Second notable song was Stolen by Brandon Heath
(click here if video is missing)

Third is Strangely Dim by Francesca Battistelli
(click here if video is missing)

And the last is Find You On My Knees by Kari Jobe
(click here if video is missing)

(I do not own the rights to any of these songs, or the videos used to show them)
So why do I share all of this? Because I love Christian music. Because I love God. Because I love how I feel tonight. Because I want others to feel this way, too. Because I know how much good music can do, and I want to teach people to use music to bring them closer to God. Because if I didn't share, I would be totally selfish and ignoring the first big prompting I've received in months.

Life has been hard recently. My testimony has been week. But tonight, I got a glimpse of what life could be like, of what I would feel like, if I let God back into my life and I start nurturing my testimony again and living my life in such a way as to invite the Holy Spirit to be with me. Christian music is an amazing thing. Jesus Christ lives and atoned and died for all of us. The Church is true. And while my testimony may not be rock-solid right now, at least I know those two things are true.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Messages, Emails, Overwhelmed.

So.... It's late at night....

I'm pretty tired..... and usually when I'm tired and can't fall asleep, I get emotional and, well, more tired....

But this is a blog post where I wanted to apologize...

With the new calling I've gotten in my ward, I've had to check my emails more often, and realized I've had people emailing me who I, for the most part, haven't been responding to simply because it is so overwhelming to me...

I almost never get on Facebook anymore, but just happened to do so tonight to follow through with some things that had to do with emails.... and decided to check my messages.... and.... well, lets just say I have close to 50 unanswered Facebook messages.... Almost all of them from people reaching out to me because of my blog, or because of my Voice(s) of Hope video....

Many of these messages are from people asking for help and advice, or just wanting someone to talk to. Because many of these people are not my "friends" on Facebook, their messages went to my "Other" box, which does not send you notifications.... and in my "Other" inbox, I found over 30 messages.... some more than a year old that I've never seen or read before....

I am writing this blog post because I want to apologize to some of those who have attempted to contact me in some way and I have never gotten back to you. I truly wish I could get back to all of you, help all of you, be someone to talk to... But right now, life is just too demanding and preoccupying... and so I wanted to apologize.

In all honesty, I don't think I will ever be able to go through and adequately respond to all of the messages I have received.

We are all children of a loving Heavenly Father, and while I wish I could help everyone who reaches out to me personally, I have limits that I can't help.

I don't want this post to be a deterrent either. Please don't feel like you can't reach out to me. If you feel the need or desire to contact me, please try. And I'll do what I can within my limit to respond. But if I can't, please understand that I still love you, and truly wish I could.

Life is crazy, and I want people to know I love them, and that I want to be there for them, but I also need to be realistic and honest about my limits.

So please forgive me for my faults, or if I have ever caused offense or pain because I wasn't able to respond, or never got your messages.

Life is tiring, but life is good. The future is bright, and I'll keep trying my best.

Well, it's late. I should probably try to sleep ;)

God Bless,

With love and appreciation,

Mitchell Clark

Monday, June 29, 2015

To Those Who Think Same-Sex Marriage Won't Affect Them

     This is a blog post (or link, rather) dedicated to those who believe same-sex marriage won't affect them. It is also for those who have told me same-sex marriage won't affect me due to my religious beliefs, and that as such, they believe I should be silent about it.
     Regardless of your situation, I think all Americans should read this:

Friday, June 26, 2015

Supreme Court Legalizes Gay Marriage Nationwide

     The Supreme Court of the United States of America decided today in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges that same-sex marriage is to be legalized in all 50 states, effective immediately.

     Well, it happened. Same-sex marriage is now legal nationwide.

     This decision was one of the first things I saw when I woke up this morning. The one thing I have opposed more than almost anything else in my life has now been legalized.

     One might think this would be crushing news to me. To be honest, I wasn't surprised. I mean, this isn't the first moral failing of United States law. Look at the legalization of abortion, for example.

     Does that mean I'm not upset? Certainly not. I'm definitely upset.

     Today's decision was shaking, but not (personally) in strictly a bad way. Of course, the decision itself is bad. There was nothing good at all about the court's decision. But the decision I read this morning only grounded me more powerfully in the gospel. I realized today that I am definitely on the side I want to be on. On God's side. I realized that, while I'm just one human being, I have power. I have a position that very few people have on this issue. I am gay (as far as attraction is concerned), yet still live a religious life, avoiding any inappropriate, sexual, or romantic relationships with the same-sex. I realize that same-sex attraction is not a choice, but acting inappropriately on those attractions is definitely a choice.

     And you know what? Regardless of how small I may be as a single person, I am on God's side, and I can make decisions in my life that will have an impact, whether seen or not. This fourth of July, rather than wear a shirt with the American Flag on it, I'll wear my Voice(s) of Hope shirt (which is something, unlike my country, that I support wholeheartedly). Thanks to Google's hashtag that appeared on their homepage supporting the court's decision, I am now using a different search engine and boycotting Google. I will also be more conscious of companies I give my business to, and will do my best wherever possible to give my business only to companies with good morals, preferably those who support traditional marriage.

     On a little bit different note, I wanted to bring up some concerns I had about the court's decision that go beyond just morals.

     During my last semester of college, my most educating class (or at least the one I learned the most in), was my United States government class. We talked specifically about the different roles of the three branches. The Supreme Court (Judicial branch) definitely stepped out of bounds with their decision today.

     The job of the Supreme Court is to enforce existing laws (created by the Legislative branch), and to alter existing laws where those laws conflict with the Constitution. Never has it been the Supreme Court's responsibility to enact laws, especially when these laws have nothing to do with the Constitution, or override the jurisdiction of another branch of government.

     The responsibility to create and pass laws belongs to the federal and state Legislative branch. Yet today, the Supreme Court decided to overrule both the federal and state legislatures, and create a law on their own.

     Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts cautioned Americans to "not celebrate the Constitution." because "It had nothing to do with it." The Chief Justice, the head of the 9 Supreme Court justices, stated the ruling had nothing to do with the Constitution, which is supposed to be involved in every ruling of the Supreme Court.

     Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia stated (in reference to the decision) "It is not of special importance to me what the law says about marriage. It is of overwhelming importance, however, who it is that rules me. Today's decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of nine lawyers on the Supreme Court."

     The Supreme Court was designed to be the final say, and has always been the most powerful branch of government (in that sense), but today they showed that they have decided to be our new rulers. Their decision today directly undermined the legislative branch's responsibility.

     It is sad that the Democratic Republic that once defined America has died. We are now ruled by 9 individuals who are not even elected by the people. Instead, justices are appointed by the president, and then approved by the Senate. Justices never go before the public for a vote before being appointed.

     It is unfortunate that the Supreme Court has overstepped their bounds and claimed power over and above all branches of the government.

     Despite all of the bad news, my name is still Mitchell Clark, I am still a son of God, I still have a voice and will still use it, and I still have the power to make a difference. I will, with God's blessing and support, fight the good fight till the end of my earthly days and beyond. I believe in God, I believe in the Bible, I believe in the Book of Mormon, I believe in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I believe that marriage, as ordained by God, is between a man and a woman, and that same-sex marriage as defined by God is sinful and wrong. And, so long as I am living my life correctly and in accordance with God's law, I will keep those beliefs and testimony until the day I die, and beyond.

     I follow what the LDS Church said about this decision; "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints acknowledges that following today's ruling by the Supreme Court, same-sex marriages are now legal in the United States. The court's decision does not alter the Lord's doctrine that marriage is a union between a man and a woman ordained by God. While showing respect for those who think differently, the church will continue to teach and promote marriage between a man and a woman as a central part of our doctrine and practice."

     The laws of men cannot and will not define the laws of God.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Nature of Anger

     I've honestly been wanting to blog more than I have been. I started my first semester of college about two months ago, and with the mixture of school, homework, work, family, friends, Church, etc. life has been really busy. I have, however, been taking an English class in school which I am hopeful will help me become a better writer, and help me feel more motivated and confident in keeping my blog more updated than it has been.
     Until I reach that time, however, I've decided that due to time I will post some of the essays I've written for school that I feel work with my blog. I know that might be lame of me ;) but I have tried to write my essays as similar to the writing on my blog: personal and religious.
     Here is my first post of the essays from my class, and hopefully as I get back into the habit of blogging, I'll be able to write blog-specific posts instead of just copy-pasting assignments.

The Nature of Anger

     I wondered about my experiences with anger as I watched my older sister close off and become angry with her husband after he had done nothing (as far as I could tell) to upset her. I was intrigued because I saw so much of myself in her at that moment, and I've seen it many times since. I have never wanted to be an angry person, and I don't know why I experience anger. The most painful aspect of it for me is that it hurts the people I love most. I have always wanted to be a loving person, and improve the life of those I meet, but my anger complicates things. I have the desire to change, and I've been trying to overcome my anger for years now, but I haven't had much success. Perhaps I have just been going about it the wrong way. Rather than just trying to fix it, maybe I should be approaching it with a different mindset and question: “does anger ever go away?”

     One way to approach this question is to ask a branching question, “is anger a temporary condition?” If this question has an affirming answer, then that would imply that anger can be cured, fixed, or simply overcome. Could anger be a temporary condition? There have been times in my life where I have given my all to leaving my anger behind and never letting it hurt myself or the people I love again, but all those attempts, all the promises to myself, the people I love, and to God did not bring about a “cure” of my anger. Yet still the question remains a possibility. It is very possible that I have been going about it the wrong way. Perhaps anger is temporary, but I have just not found the cure yet.

      Then there is the second branching question, “is anger a permanent condition?” With an affirming answer, this would imply that anger is more along the lines of an incurable mental illness or disease. If this is the case, it means there is not necessarily a cure, and to overcome or manage anger issues I would need to find coping skills rather than seeking a cure. This answer, if true, would imply that I may deal with anger for the rest of me life. I can draw on other issues I deal with that fall under this category of being a permanent condition: depression, anxiety, addiction, etc. None of those conditions have a “cure” or easy fix. They all still affect me, though I have found coping skills and am now able to handle the episodes much more efficiently. If anger falls under this same category, it would mean I would need to find coping skills in order to manage my anger.

      Even narrowing it down to two basic possibilities “is it temporary or permanent?” does not answer the question. There are more factors involved. Because anger, like many emotions, has multiple severities and affects each person differently, it could have almost any answer, no answer, or an answer specific to an individual. From what I have observed, some people rarely experience anger and in situations when they do, they seem to be able to choose when to drop it. With this observation it would lead to the belief that anger is a temporary emotional experience because the person can choose when to “turn off” their anger and replace it with another emotion. Then there are those who appear to experience anger much more powerfully and permanently. These people often get angry at things that would not make sense to observers. Sometimes there is nothing on the outside that even angers them. In these situations the person often seems “out of control” and cannot just turn off their anger. It often takes time for them to come back to reality, and often they have to leave the situation and spend time to cool down. This situation leads to the conclusion that anger is a permanent condition that, to be controlled, would require coping skills rather than a cure.

      “Does anger ever go away?” doesn't feel like a valid question anymore. There are too many variables to accurately answer that question without having to come up with other questions and giving a long answer that both affirms and refutes this statement. It seems that anger is a personal experience, unique to an individual, which leads to a new question for me; “Is my anger temporary or permanent?”

Love you all! Hope to be writing again soon!