Sunday, August 18, 2019

Say a Little Prayer

Today is Sunday when the masses go to mass and pray for forgiveness and then promptly go to brunch to absolve themselves with bad food and drink.

I like to skip both and in turn will go to Yoga where I will work on community and wellness in an attempt to find peace and grace in another way.

But again the news takes a turn for the bizarre when it comes to faith and to how the religious and pious practice said faith.

First up: Exercise ones demons. Yes this is a new way.

Pastor accused of sexually assaulting parishioners said he was ‘sucking’ demons out of them

Rev Dr William Weaver allegedly told victims he needed to exorcise their evil spirits - through their semen

Colin Drury
UK Independent
Friday 19 July 201

A pastor accused of sexually assaulting three male parishioners told them he needed to “suck” the demons out of their bodies, according to court documents.

Rev Dr William Weaver, a Presbyterian minister working in Linden, New Jersey, is said to have performed sex acts on the men under the guise of exorcising evil spirits.

The 69-year-old ordered his victims to place “angel coins” on their head and balance stones on their hands before he got to work extracting demons through their semen, it is said.

All of them had gone to him for private counselling.

The alleged assaults came to light after the men, as well as one woman, came forward to report Dr Weaver to the church’s governing body.

A subsequent investigation by ecclesiastical authorities found credible evidence of “multiple acts of idolatry and sexual misconduct”.

The four accusers have now filed a civil lawsuit at Middlesex County Superior Court. In addition to Rev Weaver, they are suing the Linden Presbyterian Church where he worked for 39 years and the wider Presbyterian Church authorities.

“I refuse to stay silent any longer,” one wrote in a statement. “I need to make sure that this never happens to anyone else ever again.”

Another added how Dr Weaver had “lifted my head up and looked into my eyes, and said, ‘You don’t have to be afraid any more, I’m your protector now’.” He had then kissed the man.

Audrey Pereira, a representative for the chapter, described Dr Weaver as a “a Jekyll and Hyde” character, according to American news magazine Newsweek.

“He did good on one hand,” she said. “On the other hand, he did this evil.”
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The pastor himself renounced the Presbytery on 25 January a day before a church trial was due to start and moved to a gated retirement community in the nearby town of Lakewood.

I am going to just move on past any commentary at this time and go onto the next.

Ed Smart, father of kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart, comes out as gay

Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY
Aug. 16, 2019

Ed Smart, the father of kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart, came out as gay in a letter for family and friends posted to Facebook and said he and his wife are separating, local media in Utah reported.

Smart confirmed to the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune that he wrote the letter but declined to comment further. The Tribune reported that the post published Thursday has since been deleted.

Elizabeth Smart told the newspapers that she was "deeply saddened" by her parents' separation, but didn't comment on her father's sexuality.

In 2002, then 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart was abducted from her home in Salt Lake City and held captive for nine months. Smart was repeatedly raped and drugged by her captors Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee. She has since become an advocate for kidnapping and sexual assault survivors.

In his letter, Ed Smart, 64, acknowledged it was "one of the hardest letters I have ever written."

"I have recently acknowledged to myself and my family that I am gay," the letter states, per the Deseret News.

"The decision to be honest and truthful about my orientation comes with its own set of challenges, but at the same time it is a huge relief," he continued. "Living with the pain and guilt I have for so many years, not willing to accept the truth about my orientation has at times brought me to the point where I questioned whether life was still worth living."

Smart also called his wife, Lois, "loyal" and said she is an "extraordinary mother."

"I deeply regret the excruciating pain this has caused her. Hurting her was never my intent. While our marriage will end, my love for Lois and everyone in my family is eternal," the newspaper reported he wrote.

According to the Deseret News and the Tribune, court records show Lois Smart filed for divorce July 5.

In her statement to the newspaper, Elizabeth Smart said she still loves and admires her parents.

"Their decisions are very personal. As such, I will not pass judgment and rather am focusing on loving and supporting them and the other members of my family," she said.

Ed Smart said his announcement came along with a change in beliefs. While he doesn't "find solace any longer" within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Smart said his faith is still strong.

The church recently changed its teaching on same-sex couples, saying that gay marriage will no longer be considered a sin worthy of expulsion and that LGBTQ parents can have their children baptized.

The reversal came in April 2019, four years after the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said those in same-sex relationships were “apostates’’ who must be banished from the religion.

The church's change in doctrine, however, did not reverse its opposition to gay marriage and still regards same-sex relationships as a “serious transgression."

Smart wrote in his letter that "it is not my responsibility to tell the church, its members or its leadership what to believe about the rightness or wrongness of being LGBTQ,” according to the Deseret News.

He added: "In the end, people are free to say what they will, and believe what they want, but there is one voice more important than any other, that of my Savior, who wants each of us to love one another, to be honest and joyful and find a meaningful life."

And this all follows my interesting discussion with a lovely young woman named Allie, who is from Alabama which we now know is ground zero for crazy share with me her Church teachings and how progressive they are.   Her Pastor has shared with here and the congregation that while he must teach against pre-marital sex and homosexual sex, according to the Gospel, he feels that he is not in the place to condemn such sins as he himself had pre-marital sex and that he knows homosexuals. From this knowledge he realizes that individuals must find peace with God and the Lord by recognizing their sins,  so he feels that they are to find that same recognition with Christ upon salvation.  Which in  turn that is the individuals decision to reconcile their faith with the teachings of Christ with their own values and in turn life.   I am not fully quoting her but it was basically an absolving the Preacher from dealing with the conservative view points that the Evangelical Southern Baptists teach while trying to be somewhat more progressive.  In other words: Pick a Side dude!  Well during this conversation it was revealed that her best friend is married to this Pastor's son.  And when he was young and this is a direct quote:  "He had homosexual sex with men."  

Where do we go from here? Well we know that the son is either Gay or fluid. And in turn he is now in a marriage where at least his wife knows and that in the next few years he will suppress said urges and later seek them out in a clandestine or down low manner or wait until years of marriage and do the Ed Smart.  None of this is good as it is ostensibly living a lie so preach that.

What I find distressing is how religion is almost always the biggest predator of all of this from oppressing sexuality to exploiting it.   I am not sure why other than it is about power and again access and availability.   You have immense access to information about families, in turn you have all the time to pursue and exploit the confusion of individuals and in turn the use of ignorance of how scripture is basically just bullshit fiction and that few to many of these active in religion are that well educated.  When I read the book Educated, by Tara Westover,  it was the primary reason many in her family remained abused and in turn abusing as they knew little to nothing else and that her father who was clearly mentally ill knew as much that with education his control over the family would lessen. She was raised in a cult and it took decades and strong interventions from educated professionals including some who were strong religious leaders in their own right to enable her to see how damaged she was as a result.  She is the exception not the rule when it comes to the power of religion.

I feel that with my former friend Ethan whom I offered last night to have online access to my New York Times account.    He inquired about it but I have not heard back as clearly his again contemplating what it would mean to actually read the news daily and be informed about the world.  I am sure he is discussing this with his father and by father I mean his biological dad whom I am sure is a verbal abuser if not physical (under the guise that corporal punishment for one's children falls under acceptable parenting) which explains the rages and temper tantrums he has under stress.  Not a day goes by where as the abused spouse I feel like where I somehow want to save this kid from the demons that chase him and I suspect once I leave here that compulsion will die as distance and time has that affect on situations like this,  But it is so distressing to believe how you can watch a life fall away and simply walk away without any sense of loss.

I cannot imagine living a lie for decades and in turn feeling that I am serving the Lord by being dishonest and in turn serving my community by condemning others who are living out  loud and being themselves and not doing damage to people via rape, assault and exploitation.  But then again forgiveness is dish served at communion. 

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