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Monday, December 26, 2011

Kill the Apostates!

Jehovah's Witnesses consider themselves a "moderate" religion. However, what follows is an excerpt from their Watchtower magazine, which reveals a truth about them that they might not wish to discuss when they ring your doorbell:

"We are not living today among theocratic nations where such members of our fleshly family relationship could be exterminated for apostasy from God and his theocratic organization, as was possible and was ordered in the nation of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai and in the land of Palestine. 'Thou shalt surely kill him; thy hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. And thou shalt stone him to death with stones, because he hath sought to draw thee away from Jehovah thy God,... And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is in the midst of thee.' (Deuteronomy 13:6-11, AS). Being limited by the laws of the worldly nation in which we live and also by the laws of God through Jesus Christ, we can take action against apostates only to a certain extent, that is, consistent with both sets of laws. The law of the land and God's law through Christ forbid us to kill apostates, even though they be members of our own flesh-and-blood family relationship."~November 15, 1952 Watchtower pp.703-704

So, since the laws of the land forbid murder, Jehovah's Witness members treat Apostates — ones who have left their religious organization — as dead. Yes, my children and my flesh-and-blood brother treat me as dead because I no longer wish to be a member of the family religion. How does one treat another as "dead"? By shunning — completely ignoring — such evildoers.

I have described my experiences in Religion is Manipulative and Kindness of a Stranger.

I speak from personal experience in saying it may be embarrassing for the Jehovah's Witnesses to admit that they shun anyone. Yet, the religion's members are obliged to shun family and friends who they judge as " wicked."

Visit website "Phoenix of Faith" the memoir. Follow on Twitter: _Phoenixoffaith Copyright © 2012.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Caring for the Planet

The letter below was written in response to a letter Mr. Ian Anderson, president of Kinder Morgan, published in the Burnaby Newsleader. His letter has been published here. Below is a letter of response from E. Harrison, published online at the Burnaby Newsleader.

Dear Ian Anderson,

It is with deep sadness that I read of your intentions to expand the oil industry in Burnaby. My fear is that any increase in oil production translates into more pollution of our planet. My heart breaks when I think that my children and grandchildren may not live to see a clean earth.

Burnaby has ongoing issues with the oil industry. Indeed, I lump your companies all together, since I have seen very little accountability from any of you. For example, Chevron has leaking storage issues still unresolved. Also, I’d be curious to know how the neighbors feel who lost their homes when Kinder Morgan oil rained on their community a few short years ago. Recently, oil appeared in the water on the north shore for which no oil company has claimed responsibility. How come private homeowners must pay for removal of small oil storage tanks from their yards, yet big corporations like yours will not take responsibility for massive oil spillages? How many more warnings is Mother Earth going to give us before she gets too sick to sustain life anymore?

Is there anyone in the oil industry with a conscience or a desire to clean up our planet and reverse the toxic pollution problem?  

Any one?

Common practices need to be reviewed. If the city is using tar/oil-based products that result in pollution problems, then we are not living right as a community and as a city. How do we change an entire grid system to eliminate harms to our environment when these are practiced and endorsed by our governments? I read about the billions (yes, billions) of dollars the oil industry budgets to lobby our politicians. Sadly, based on their comments, many of our politicians have already been “persuaded” to support the oil industry. Once corrupted by oil money, these “public” servants become servants of the oil industry, rather than their constituents. We cannot have a democracy or a clean planet if we allow the oil industry to own our politicians.

Yes, Mr. Anderson. Your letter made me feel extremely vulnerable. The only thing I could think to do was go for a nature walk. I cried when I visited the stream and saw a purple and turquoise film on the water. It was raining and the parking lot drained directly into a stream that feeds Burnaby Lake. No wonder the lake required dredging, courtesy of the taxpayers. No wonder the lake is sick. Seeing the condition of the water made me weep. Yet, your desire is to increase oil consumption and make the environment even more toxic than it already is.

I felt a sadness come over me that I have not felt for quite some time. I cried as I approached a walking bridge. The water appeared murky and in the distance, a mist hovered over Burnaby Lake. I pondered what Burnaby’s parks would become now that Kinder Morgan has set their sights on expanding their industry in our beloved community. On one side of the bridge my gaze followed several ducks paddling through the cloudy water. Already the waterways are suffering from pollution. A Tim Horton’s cup bobbed against a bridge support. It seems some people treat the planet as their personal garbage dump. The oil industry has its garbage dump too: Tailings Ponds.

Selfish corporate attitudes toward care-taking of our planet must change.

On the other side of the bridge was a beautiful Great Blue Heron grooming himself. How much longer would I get to enjoy these moments in nature? How much longer before these beloved birds become extinct because of pollution and toxicity?

I recalled Harper’s conservatives affirming they would like to see Canada become a large oil-producing nation. I have seen the “Ethical Oil” advertisements. I wonder if other people recognize as I do that there is no such thing as “ethical” oil.

Canada has not cut back on oil consumption. In fact they have increased their carbon count according to another news article I read last week. The Canadian government has no intention of preserving life on planet earth. The uses that the oil industry deem “safe” are actually harmful to our environment.

It has always been my dream to get off the oil consumption grid. I have no desire to add to the load of pollution already spewing into our water courses. I don’t think in terms of how rich I could become. I think in terms of “nature in balance” and “humans coming into balance with nature.” That clearly is not the direction you have intended for our beloved community, Mr. Anderson.

It is my wish that the oil be left in the ground. If politicians could walk away from the oil lobby money, new sources of energy would soon be discovered and implemented. Sources that support the environment, rather than destroy it. I embrace that concept and I trust it as “my truth.” I trust the answers will come if we really seek a solution to. Let’s support our planet instead of raping it. Let’s be kind to the planet and to each other.

If we know what is good for the planet we will keep saying no thanks to your planned expansion.

E. Harrison

Visit website "Phoenix of Faith" the memoir. Follow on Twitter: _Phoenixoffaith Copyright © 2012.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Men and Emotions

Do you know anyone who seems "stuck" in another decade?

That was one reason why I divorced Jerry* in 1997. Throughout the 23 years of our marriage, his hairstyle stayed the same, his mustache stayed the same, his tee-shirts and jeans—the only clothes he would wear—were worn to a frazzle, yet he would not shop for himself. It was my job to "look after him" along with my two children—effectively, he was my third child. In fact, I had more intelligent conversations with my children during those years than I ever had with my then husband.

Why talk about that now, years after the fact? What's past is past, some might say. Admittedly, it came up again after my attendance at a recent conference in which women called upon men to take a position to end violence against women. With six men in attendance, the effectiveness of the conference is yet to be seen. I have learned that men's blocked emotional issues can erupt in unexpected and unrelated ways. At the conference, it was said that men often rage at their wives and children, those closest to them and who they supposedly love. Yet, their anger has little to do with their wives and children. The source of anger is rooted in men's childhood.

Women discussing violence at men's hands seem to reinforce their victimization mode. The majority of men are absent from such discussions, so have little awareness or interest about owning their part of the problem. Not terribly effective. Meanwhile, violence against women continues. So just how can women let go of their victimization? By getting supports in place? The subject was raised. Admittedly, women do have some supports in place, but these are floundering because of funding cuts for women's groups.

Governments consisting mostly of men would rather divert funds to cut corporate taxes instead of investing in programs to help families who need help with mental health issues. People who have some level of awareness have been writing letters to governments, newspaper editors, and posting on blog sites. Who reads any of these? If you are one who has actually read this far, congratulations on your focus and interest in this most important issue! While publicity is important, who is really benefiting from the publicity? More women? I am really impressed if you are a man who is reading this far down a blog!

So yes, Jerry had a growing anger that was eating away at him. Just because he didn't hit me did not mean he was "nice" to me. For example, while traveling one time, we rolled up behind a car at a stop sign. The car ahead paused as if caught in indecision. Jerry impatiently rammed its rear end once — then again — as if to say, "Get out of my way!" The shocked people in the car must have recognized Jerry's "road rage" and sped off immediately. The jolts were more than physical for me. That action woke me up to just how much anger he had seething inside him. It was about to burst forth.

Only after I divorced him did I discover qualities I had not seen while in the marriage. It became glaringly obvious: he was addicted to alcohol, drugs, and sex. I felt somewhat foolish for having not seen it until after the fact.

Now I understand that addictions are attempts to bury emotional pain. By that time, I had been receiving therapy for my unresolved childhood issues for about ten years. I understood the need to talk things through in relationships by then. Yet sadly, Jerry was incapable of talking about his past. He simply WOULD NOT TALK! Any attempts on my part to communicate turned him into a little boy who disappeared into his cave (the garage) or a bar or some other woman for his solace. Communication was just too painful. He lived in such agony that he could not bear to speak about it. And I, being the "submissive" religious wife, was expected to just "be happy." All the time.

Divorce was my way out of what became a dangerous existence for me. As I was gaining my health through counseling, he was diagnosed with Hepatitis-C. He is dead now, without ever seeking help for his festering rage. So sad.

After the conference I realized that men are being called to deal with the emotional issues of their childhood so that they can function healthily within their current relationships (marriages, parenting, etc.). While most men appear functional in jobs, their careers are often the only area of life where they actually have it together — maybe.

Many women feel blamed when they have outgrown the marital relationship. The only way to "survive" in such dysfunctional marriages would be to go on anti-depressants or other mood-altering drugs. At yet another conference, I learned that women have been diagnosed as sexually unresponsive (pdf format) because they are no longer attracted to the emotionally unresponsive men they married. Again, the responsibility appears to get shifted onto the women. Blame is such a useless and irresponsible stance.

I agree, it's not all men, but many men.

Do you personally see a need to grow?

This is the tip of the iceberg: Men need to start growing their emotions in order to be men that their women can respect.

My son appears to carry a similar mentality as his dad. Before the religious Shunning Order against me took effect, as a passenger in his car, I witnessed how he sped down the city's main drag when an unsuspecting car made a right turn in front of him. My son was forced to slam on his brakes or change lanes. He yelled, "Hey, get out of my lane!" — apparently, he had an effective teacher.

Lately, I have wondered how he treats his wife. Like father, like son? Since I am being officially shunned by the religion, I have no way of knowing the answer to that loaded question. It doesn't stop me from wondering: how much emotional work is happening in his marriage?

I realize I have many failings and imperfections for which to apologize. I had past religious ideals which I now believe destroyed my family. Nevertheless, here is a call to my son (still in the family religion) and my brothers (two of six still in the religion) to begin dialoging about their efforts at emotional work.

*  Not his real name.

Visit website "Phoenix of Faith" the memoir. Follow on Twitter: _Phoenixoffaith Copyright © 2011.