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Everything posted by bl8tant

  1. Thanks to all of you for your support and feedback. I really appreciate it. Once I've had a chance to absorb it a bit more I'll probably post a follow-up. For now I think I'm going to go read the talks Ryan suggested. Elder Holland has always been one of my favorites.
  2. This is a complicated topic, so expect a long post. I am really struggling, though, and after all the help I've seen other people receive I'm posting here to get advice and feedback. Summary: I've grown disinterested in the church and everything to do with it. I am profoundly unhappy. My efforts to regain my spiritual strength have borne no fruit thus far. Maybe a timeline will help: 1982-1989: carried on an off-and-on, long-distance relationship with a woman I'll call C. We met in 8th grade, saw each other semi-regularly, broke up a few times.. typical teenage stuff. 1989-1991: dated, then married, a woman I'll call A. 1997: joined the church. 1998: sealed to A and our two (at the time) kids. 1998-2010: faithful service as husband, father, priesthood holder. Baptized all three of our sons; ordained the older two. Semi-regular temple attendance with A. Completely faithful, both emotionally and physically. No porn, gambling, neglect, etc. Christmas 2009: A's old boyfriend, S, contacted her via e-mail. She told me about it, and I wasn't unduly concerned. S turns out to be a militant atheist, the kind that is continually proselyting others to abandon their faith. Apr 2010: returned from a business trip to have A tell me that she wasn't in love with me, wasn't attracted to me, didn't want to be married to me, and had felt this way for nearly 10 years. We went to a counselor (at my insistence) but A was not interested in trying to fix the relationship, so that effort went nowhere. May 2010: A files for divorce (which in our home state is no-fault, meaning I had no recourse). The divorce requires a 181-day waiting period, so it would be final in Nov 2010. Jun 2010: in a burst of frustration, loneliness, and stupidity, contacted C via e-mail. She was in an unhappy and abusive marriage, so she was glad to have someone to talk to. Jun 2010: On a trip to visit friends, A visits S, with our kids. She is at first evasive about it but then admits it, saying they are "just friends" and that S counseled her to do everything possible to save her marriage. Jun-Nov 2010: C and I speak a couple of times daily and texted each other frequently. Our discussions covered a huge range of topics-- she eagerly asks questions about the church and its teachings, gets her own copies of the "Teachings of the Presidents of the Church" manuals and quizzes me about them, etc. We talk about our married lives, our goals for the future, our jobs, our kids, current events, what was on NPR that day, favorite travel spots-- you name it. Nothing lusty or inappropriate. Jul 2010: C, who had already been investigating the church, is baptized. Later in the month, her 9- and 10-year-old kids choose to be baptized as well. Aug 2010: C and I saw each other for the first time since 1989. We met for dinner and spent the night-- completely chastely-- together. No kissing, touching, or anything like unto it. Oct 2010: C filed for divorce, something she says (and I believe) she would have done anyway. We begin making plans to see each other again after her divorce is finalized in December. Nov 2010: A finds out that I've been communicating with C, and that we had plans for her to visit me after her divorce is finalized. She loses her cool, becomes verbally abusive, hits me several times (very uncharacteristic), threatens to try to take sole custody of our kids away if I continue my relationship with C. A said a lot of things during her ranting that stick with me: that I had failed to live up to the standards of a priesthood holder, that I was unworthy to take our sons to the temple (I'd been on two youth temple trips with the older boys over the summer), that there would be no way to ever explain to my kids or C's how we had met, etc. I think the thing that upset A the most was that I had shared details of our divorce process with C, but it's hard to say, as she was terribly upset overall. I wrote C that night and told her that we could have no further contact. I ignored her texts and phone calls over the next week or so until they stopped. I told myself that cold turkey was better and that, in time, she would forgive me. That's where things stand. Since then, I have little to no interest in church. During the nearly 18 months I've lived in my current ward I have never felt connected to it, but that feeling has worsened since the divorce, as many of the members seem at a loss in understanding how to relate to ZOMG HE'S DIVORCED QUICK GET AWAY IT MIGHT BE CONTAGIOUS!!!1! However, since cutting off contact with C it's been worse. I don't feel like communing with the Lord. I stopped wearing my garments, have skipped church several times (something I never did, even once, during my previous membership), and, in general, have no interest in continued membership (though I am still a full tithe payer, yay me.) I feel like my testimony has blown away like a puff of smoke, and I don't know what to do to get it back, or even if I want to. On the advice of my best friend (a member of his stake's presidency) I renewed my efforts to study the scriptures and pray, but that has availed me nothing. I still feel disconnected from the Lord; I still feel unfairly punished despite all my previous efforts to be a righteous husband and father, and I still mourn for the relationship I was hoping to have with C. I miss her every day. I recognize the symptoms of depression in my daily behavior: lack of interest in normally-enjoyable activities, lack of motivation, frequent periods of profound sadness. I know these things will pass, because they're already episodic. Some days are fine; others, I feel like I've been wrapped in leaden chains. I can still function on those days, but it's a great effort. I'm not really sure why I'm posting this. I am confident, however, that all my friends here will be able to make helpful, and actionable, suggestions to help me figure out how to solve this problem. A few notes for those who made it all the way to the end: - we just had a change in bishopric. I haven't spoken to my new bishop about any of this situation. His day job is as a marriage counselor, so I feel odd about going to him with all this unless I'm paying his normal hourly rate. - I've had one appointment with my previous counselor, right after I broke off contact with C. I didn't find the discussion with her terribly helpful. - my kids have no idea, I think, that any of this is going on. A & I are still outwardly cordial and are able to work together effectively as co-parents.
  3. So a bit of a threadjack: we're having an ugly Christmas sweater event at my office and I need help finding a spectacularly uuuugly sweater. Where's the best place to find one?
  4. Some medicines keep for longer than others. Find out which of the meds you need have long shelf lives, then ask your doctor to write you enough scripts to cover them. This may require some effort and persuasion on your part, but I think if you explain it to him as an economic preparedness measure he'll understand.
  5. Happy birthday, and many happy returns!
  6. So, how was the luncheon? Get any good... recipes?
  7. I got a bachelor's degree in computer science, but only after nearly flunking out of my college's aerospace engineering program. In retrospect that was lucky for me, as I have had a wonderful career working as a programmer, writer, and general all-round computer guy. I tend to be biased (duh) but I'd have to say that you are likely to have better career prospects with a degree in engineering or a hard science than if you get a humanities or liberal arts degree. Not that some of those degrees don't have value; rather, the job market places a higher value on more practical applied learning. But kudos on choosing to serve a mission first! The Lord will bless you for it, no matter what career field you choose.
  8. OK, that makes more sense. I'm a firm believer in the "31 flavors" theory so I felt like I should warn you off making any snap judgments based on proximity :)
  9. But Funky's point is a good one: you think she could be "the one" because she's the only one you're interested in? In that case, find some other women to be interested in too. Don't confuse availability with suitability. Trust me on that one.
  10. Yes, quite different. Did you read the article link I posted? It's a note from a US soldier in AFG talking about the differences.
  11. Actually, it turns out that US forces in Afghanistan are prohibited from performing pat-down searches of women and children. Think about that for a second: TSA is using a measure on US citizens, in the US, that we don't allow our troops-- who are daily threatened in ways most of us can only imagine-- to use because we can't afford to offend the sensibilities of the Afghans! All I can say about that is… well, it's a three-letter acronym that's probably not suitable for use in this audience.
  12. There are two reasons people have beef[1] with the scans. One is that they're basically like an X-ray. For frequent travelers, adding extra scans is like going to the doctor's office every week and getting an X-ray or two… whether you need it or not. The other is that the scanners take very detailed photographs. TSA has said several times that they're not stored, but then they've been caught keeping copies of the pictures. (See e.g. this story.) There's a pretty good summary of the issues here. The scans and patdowns do very little to protect against the most significant risks to airline passengers, and by extension the rest of us. I can think of half-a-dozen ways off the top of my head to disrupt air travel or kill people in ways that are undetectable by these scanners, and so can most other security professionals. That's my objection: I don't mind measures that actually contribute to security but I don't want my time (and tax dollars) wasted on security theater. [1] See what I did there?
  13. I pre-ordered a Kinect on the first day GameStop would take preorders. My kids and I have had a blast playing with it, but the best is yet to come-- none of the launch games (except maybe for Dance Central) really show off what it can do. Just wait :) And PM me if you want to play on Xbox Live, too, FTM.
  14. I wish I had an answer for you; I currently just run PAF in a Windows virtual machine. Not a great solution, but it does work.
  15. If you live in the UK, would you mind dropping me a PM? I have a couple of quick questions about UK healthcare that would be best answered by a local. I mean, a native. Oh, you know what I mean.
  16. Ha! You won't get rid of me that easily. Besides, I feel my predictive powers waning… the better Oakland does, the more confused I get.
  17. Having said that, in some stakes there is a concerted effort to get young singles to attend the singles wards. In one area where I served as ward clerk, the bishop encouraged every new young single who moved into our boundaries to attend the nearby singles branch instead. Some did, some didn't; it was never coerced, but it was offered as an option and encouraged. Doing so helps to build critical mass; you need enough singles to keep the ward callings filled and to provide a large enough social pool for the ward to be attractive. Fail to do that and you end up with a ward composed only of those folks who don't want to or cannot go back to their original "home" ward.
  18. Thanks, MorningStar. It's a tough world out there sometimes.
  19. Just to close the loop on this: Riley is back home with her family. Luckily, their efforts to flood the local area with flyers containing her picture paid off after a local supermarket worker saw her and called the family. Although I don't know the family personally, the mother is a colleague at work. The same day, one of my 15-year-old son's friends ran away, and another colleague lost his 11-year-old daughter in a bicycle accident. I couldn't decide whether to hug my kids or lock them in the basement until age 21
  20. PC: yes, the Saints are the official NFL team of the church. They are anxiously engaged in a good cause; they are large of stature notwithstanding being young, and they are experts at enduring until the end. No truth to the rumor that they're moving to Salt Lake, though. Cathyyg, I am sorry that your false doctrine may be confusing others :)
  21. It's not all that new; we had a missionary from our ward who served in Russia from 2006-2008 and he had the same restriction.
  22. Apparently caffeine can contribute to the formation of breast cysts in some women. A few years ago my children's mother had a scare with an unexpected breast lump. Her doctor advised her to swear off caffeine, and she did. That seemed to have solved the problem.
  23. Congratulations! I've got no parenting advice for you, as I have three sons. Boys and girls are different, or so I've heard :)
  24. My STBX had LASIK surgery, which I suppose counts as mostly-cosmetic. She spoke with several people who had similar surgery done to consider whether it was for her, narrowed her choices down to two local surgeons with excellent reputations, interviewed the first one and liked him enough to choose him, and had the surgery done. We both asked lots and lots and LOTS of questions, which is the only right way to do it when your sight's involved. Good luck!
  25. In AA, they teach you to try not to get too HALT: hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. I find that my resistance to temptation is much, much weaker with any of those four. After my separation and divorce, it's easy to get angry, hungry, lonely, and tired all at the same time, but I've worked out strategies to help avoid them, and you can do the same-- that might help.