Cud Chew

I was just ruminating about my time in the Greater Chicago Area 1968-1973. I attended 8th grade and all 4 years of high school there. From half way through 5th grade to the end of 7th grade was spent in post riot era Birmingham, AL.

Born into the Mormon faith, both areas were foreign to me, in many respects. However, they both happen to have created some of my fondest memories!

Why?

I have no idea, specifically. Generally, from Lisle, IL, I have regained connection to a core of high school classmates. It’s an odd mix, from different “cliques”, although some seemed to cross over into more than one or, maybe more accurate, didn’t belong to any. I was an outsider. Always. I was bullied, too, by being an outsider.

Shy and Mormon, I just didn’t fit in! Not comfortably. Not consistently. Mormon youth activities widened the gap by preventing my attendance at school activities, being held, many times, at the same time.

In spite of this, I was able to make friends with some of the other quiet types. Not great friends, just friends.

A couple of them are now very good friends, thanks to Facebook. Okay, they’re great friends!

(Shifts cud to a different set of molars)

The thing about ruminating is that the course is never direct or straight. It meanders.

Ah, you’ve noticed! 😁

None of the friends made in Birmingham persist today. Only a handful of high school classmates and one Church friend (last name Hickenlooper). Connections to the rest have been lost.

But still, I have fond memories. I just can’t put my finger on why.

(Reshift of cud)

As an adult and an apostate, some remnants of the Chicago days are kind of pertinent.

The current “Prophet” and President of the LDS Church is followed in seniority by one Dallin H. Oaks. He’s next in line according to the rules of succession, when Russell Nelson passes away. Russ just turned 95 this month and Dallin turned 87 last month. Who will pass first? Both seem to be in excellent health.

Anyway, the Chicago connection. Dallin was in the LDS Stake Presidency (an LDS Stake is a group of local congregations) of the local area in which I lived. The Chicago South Stake. Eventually he became the President of the Church’s Brigham Young University and then later became an Apostle in said Church. He has risen through the ranks to now be the Senior Apostle and is the President of the Quorum of the Twelve but, owing to his call to be a Counselor to Russ, one M. Russell Ballard is acting President of the Twelve.

Clear, right?

Anyway, Dallin’s brother in-law was my Priest Quorum Advisor in the congregation in which I attended (the West Suburban II Ward in Naperville). I have the possibility of knowing, personally, the probable next President of the Mormon Church.

And he wouldn’t want to admit to knowing me, an apostate! Although, why he, a former prominent attorney, would remain a believer is beyond me. Fame? Adoration? Lifestyle benefits? Who knows! He knows the Church’s warts as well as do I.

(Rumination complete, for now. No answers, just more rumination in my future)

It Should Be Easy, Right?


Proof. Evidence. If it’s important – that thing in which your trust is placed – you’ve got proof or evidence, right? I don’t place my trust in things willy nilly, either! I need proof or evidence that is worthy of my trust if I’m going to give it.

To buy a house, would I forgo an inspection? Would I just buy any house or would I look for what meets my needs? Would I buy one anywhere or would I research the right location? Do I care about the school district? Good shopping? Medical?

And so on.

It takes thought, research, and more thought.

We’re each born into a belief system (or lack thereof), the one to which our parents subscribe (or none). When we’re old enough, why do we persist in that belief system? (Certainly there are some who do not persist and, for various reasons, do change belief systems or eschew then all.) Do we fear disappointing our parents? Maybe it doesn’t occur to us that we can make other choices? Maybe we really believe?

If we really believe, why do we believe?

What…

Is…

The proof…

The evidence?

To be a.c.t.u.a.l proof or evidence, it cannot be strictly internal. In other words, it must be replicable by anyone, with the same (consistent) results. Do you ever wonder why there are so many religions? It’s because results are not consistently replicable by anyone and the “proof/evidence” is internal, i.e. “feelings”. Why would any god operate that way? Wouldn’t consistent results be better evidence of a god, for that god?

Why is it necessary to have faith, if results are inconsistent? Is it a test? Faith doesn’t work. To quote Peter Boghossian, faith is “pretending to know what you don’t know.”

Prove me and Peter are wrong on that concept.

And why must we be tested? Why can’t we demand this god prove him/her/itself to us? If I were to respect some god, there would have to be valid reasons! That god would have to be undeniable, and physically so! No imaginary friend for me.

We hominids have large brains. Why do we use them to persist mythology from eras long gone by, when we were still learning about the world around us? We’ve put men on the moon! We’re learning about the cosmos now, while still peeking into the remaining unknown nooks and crannies of mother Earth! There is no room for these old myths in the 21st century! They serve no real or valuable purpose.

Evidence. Proof. It should be easy!

If you have it, I’m ready. Lay it on me!