Jesus, let’s grab a beer: Mormons Part I: 1/25/14

This recap was written 2 weeks after the actual date. Serious noting didn’t start until my 2nd visit with the Mormons. I sent a text to the number the “Book of Mormon’s” playbill to receive a free book. One week later, two Elders visited my house.

My initial encounter with Elder Larman and Elder Cheung is exactly how Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the creators of South Park and Book of Mormon musical, describe them. They really look like they’re on the verge of dancing/singing. They are so friendly and polite. I invited them in and they asked if they should take off their shoes. I almost broke out laughing, not because I’m trying to mock them, but because it was so shockingly polite; that uncomfortable laugh.

I respectfully declined their request. They say down with their shoes on and we opened up in prayer; another thing they asked before proceeding with. After, from what I remember, they gave an introduction about who they are and what they do. They’re Mormon missionaries serving in San Francisco, but are from somewhere else and serve almost 24/7. They wear those slacks and ties you normally see, and they share a cell phone. So, whenever I call Elder Larman, I’m calling Elder Cheung as well.

They asked what I knew about the Mormon religion and they seemed surprised that I had decent knowledge about the reason and resurrection of Jesus, the Angel Moronai speaking to big J. Smith, and Smith translating a third part of God’s testimony, now known as the Book of Mormon, from gold plates with special seeing stones…..even though no one ever saw it. They asked what I thought about Jesus Christ. I replied, “I want to view him as a historical figure, and discover more about him, in some context other than a Bible.” Apparently, that’s what the BOM is, according to them in answering my statement.

For the most part, it was very much an introductory sit down and to get information, I’d have to seek out God and their teachings. I showed an interest to keep our conversation going. There’s only one thing that sticks out from this encounter. I asked Elder Larman why he finds Mormonism to be the right religion, as opposed to the others. He grew up in a Christian family, in Texas, and he was at an age of trying to find “answers.” A great meaning to life so-to-speak. He got on his knees and prayed to God to help him discover the truth. It was here, where he felt God tell him, “You’ve always known the truth.”

Flashback: Elder Larman remembered a time where he was briefed about Joseph Smith and the BOM and this moment, is what he correlated with the truth. He felt the “Holy Ghost” tell him that Mormonism was the way to go. Through Larman’s story and him discussing his faith, something struck me. Seeing him describe his life and religion on such an emotional level got me ALMOST sharing his emotions. I felt, “Holy shit! What if he’s right? This is a powerful feeling!” But, after this split second, this moment reminded me of a ceremony I attended at a Christian church when I was younger. At this time, I stopped calling myself religious, so I must have been 17+. The pastor was speaking about the blood of Christ and how being born again is an amazing experience. What I felt here, was the same feeling I had with the Elders.

But it was the emotions that were striking me, not their belief. It’s such a fallacy; appeal to emotions. I’ll touch more on this later. But, what I can say is, if I was someone who was seeking a sense of belonging or answers, I’d probably buy into Mormonism and let me emotions take over and throw out rationality. My emotions and brain would be convincing me that I’m feeling Jesus. This was really the tip of the iceberg. I discovered more of this emotional appeal when I visited them at their chapel.

BUT…….I finally received my free books!

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Jesus, let’s grab a beer: Intro

It has taken me a while to transcribe my thoughts and feelings about these endeavors. Everything I am writing (now and in the future of this “series”) probably won’t be conveyed as well as I hope. I’m sure I will forget minuscule, yet important details. This series, if I bother to keep it going, will include something I hate doing; taking myself serious. 

Before getting to the main point of all this, like everything else, it’s probably important to start in the beginning. My girlfriend and I went to see the musical, “Book of Mormon” and the show’s playbill had advertisement saying “the book is always better.” It offered some number to text, and receive a free copy of the actual book and being a sucker for free shit, I caved in. 

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A few days later, I get a call from Mormon missionaries asking if we could get together. I knew it! There’s a catch! I can’t even get a free book without a lecture. It’s like those time share scams. But, I agreed and they came over. And this is where my journaling started. Being fascinated by religion, I started meeting any religious affiliate I could to not just educate myself, but understand how people believe this stuff. “Jesus, let’s grab a beer” includes my journal entries about my conversations, while including my two cents. 

INTRODUCTION: 

To explain what I believe in takes too long and may sound too vague. I guess you could say I’m an Agnostic deist if we had to use labels.  I do feel like there’s something spiritual out there and if there’s a higher being or creator, he doesn’t give a shit. “You’re a bad game of sims.”-Bo Burnham 

Any religious belief, be it Christianity or Mormonism, the burden of proof is on their end and I have yet to be convinced that what they believe is credible. I don’t dismiss Evolution and I lean more toward science than faith, and why I lean that way is a different discussion and not the point of why I’m doing this.

Whether or not a person believes religion is the heart of evil or the central foundation of a person’s life, I find religion fascinating and want to learn more. I don’t know, maybe it’s my love of fantasy or science fiction as a result of what excites me about religion, as cooky as they are. It’s why I haven’t converted to anything; I want to learn about beliefs on the whole spectrum, but it’s impossible if I have a presupposition about Jesus; then discussion turns to debate. Basically, I can’t be a Christian trying to learn about Mormonism because it wouldn’t be a learning experience; it would be a “No, my fairytale has more truth than yours. You’re wrong!”

I’m not looking for a heated debate nor am I trying to call someone stupid, I just want to talk. The discussion aspect has a tendency to turn to mockery, while religion uses hell and outdated metaphors to oppress gay people. I don’t want anything like that. I did this for myself and I just recorded my own thoughts and reflections.

After spending my last year in college reading Richard Dawkin’s book, or following the late Christopher Hitchens, the debate excited me. I was fascinated with Lawrence Krauss’s discussion on “nothingness” and I watched a lot of Atheist Experience out of Texas. I also laughed every time Pat Robinson and Ray Comfort opened their mouths. I started leaning toward the atheist perspective, but it became a bias and I would just look for anything that would discredit religious beliefs. If I really want to learn about this, and if I’m as “open” about it, I should hear it from other people that aren’t on the internet.

So, my journals encompass my experiences as what they are; learning experiences. I don’t profess to know anything and quite frankly, I understand jack shit about the majority of these topics. These are not meant to really be viewed as anything more than journal entries and if someone decides to read it, awesome. But, come on Jesus, let’s grab a beer.

The Guide To Being A Man?? LOL

How old this column of “advice” may be, I was just recently exposed to it. It is essentially CNBC’s John Carney, who also is behind the @GSElevator twitter account, giving his insight on being a “real man” You don’t know who John Carney is? It is ok. A simple google search won’t clear that up. Anyway, Mr. Carney was kind enough to offer his insight on what it takes to be a “real man” in 2013. But it all it ends up sounding like is a graduated frat boy’s list of how to remain a douchebag, yet, still try appear as an adult. You can check out the original page here. In the meantime, here are my rebuttals to his list. I am just another asshole with an opinion, keep in mind. 

(my responses are in bold)

You will regret your tattoos.- Will I really though? I love my tattoos. Mine are just a reflection of my Norwegian background and my love for Irish music. Mr. Carney, do you have tattoos? Do you regret yours? I’m pretty sure I’d regret my tattoos as well if it was ridiculous font spewing out “Only God Can Judge Me” or having my last name tattooed on my back. Then yes, I would regret my tattoos. I’d also be writing a column on how to be a real man, when in reality, I’m just suppressing how big of a tool I am. 

Stop talking about where you went to college.- This is the first of many words of wisdom that has no correlation with being a man. Yes, someone who talks about their college continuously is irritating, but so are roided out brothers talking about how many handles of no-label vodka they killed. To each its own Mr. Carney. This does not contribute to one’s masculinity, it contributes to whether or not people are going to want to hang out with them. Let people be proud and live in the past as long as they want. 

The best public restrooms are in hotels.-Um, I’ll call bullshit. The best public restroom is the great outdoors. Ever been camping and were in desperate need of a quick piss or poop? Have no fear. You just drop your pants and let your body do the rest. There are no stall lines and you don’t have to deal with the pesky task of washing your hands. I don’t need my shits to feel prestigious, elite or 5 stars. I just need enough dirt to bury my shit in a hole. 

After college, never stay out after midnight three nights in a row… Unless something really good comes up on the third night.-Or unless there is a 3 day weekend. You let me dictate my own sleep pattern Mr. Carney. A real man comes inside when the street lights come on. 

If riding the bus doesn’t incentivize you to improve your station in life, nothing will.-Do you live in San Francisco? Owning a car sucks, and has nothing to do with your station in life. Riding the bus is great! You can drink all the Natural Ice you want and not have to worry about driving home! Why does owning a car make you a man? At $4 a gallon, it makes you stupid. I have professors on tenure or sabbatical and they ride Muni. I would say my professors, who encouraged my growth and learning experience, have a great station in life. Does owning a nice car make you feel better about yourself? Most people just end up making fun of your penis size.  

Time is too short to do your own laundry.-…said the person who doesn’t know how to do their own laundry. But hey, I can’t help but agree. Time is too short to wipe your own ass, blow your own nose, pump their own gas: YOLO bro.  

When the bartender asks, you should already know what you want to drink.- Unless you’re at a brewery bar or speakeasy. Been to one of those? You’re foolish if you don’t take the time to enjoy the different options of the beers or cocktails they offer. But no, you’re right. Just continue having your whiskey or rum watered down with Coke. God damn, what a man! You probably drink Cosmopolitans too. 

You don’t have to like baseball, but you should understand the concept of what a pitcher’s ERA means. Approach life similarly.-Well that’s stupid. Do you understand the concept of icing, cross-checking, boarding or a Gordie-Howe hat-trick? If not, it is probably because you don’t watch hockey and I wouldn’t expect you to know these things otherwise. Speaking of which, if you want to discuss manliness, just look up professional hockey players Steve Stamkos or Greg Campbell, and that will help define your precious definition. The best part about these guys and sport is the humility, which, if we are going to discuss being a “man,” just makes you a decent person; much more than discussing those bitches you fucked with your frat buddies while jerking off on each other. Take notes. I don’t like baseball because it’s stupid, boring and being how unpatriotic I am, I could care less if it is America’s favorite past time. Also, stop trying to sound deep by applying the concept of understanding baseball terminologies to living life. Try this one on for size: If you don’t like something, don’t watch it. Deep, eh? 

When people don’t invite you to a party, you really shouldn’t go. And sometimes even when you are invited, you shouldn’t go.-When people don’t invite you to party, you really shouldn’t go because you weren’t invited. It’s rude. When you are invited, and still don’t go, well then you’re just a flake and most people will stop caring about you making an appearance. Nothing to do with manliness, just being pretentious. You’re on a roll good sir. 
 


When in doubt, always kiss the girl.-Sure, but your mom doesn’t count. 

Tip more than you should.– Also, nothing to do with masculinity. However, a very kind gesture. Anyone in the service industry will certainly appreciate this. So, you’re not completely hopeless. 

When the bouncer says it’s time for you to leave, it is.-Yeah, probably. What’s your manly point? 

Buy expensive sunglasses. Superficial? Yes, but so are the women judging you. And it tells these women you appreciate nice things and are responsible enough not to lose them.-Are you only going for superficial girls? I have Star Wars posters in my room and heck, my girlfriend still likes me. I also have an HD Television as well as a Pearl Export drum set. Both of which are more expensive than sunglasses, more useful, in good shape and I appreciate these nice things a lot. Does that really say anything more than I enjoy my movies in HD and I play music as a hobby? Guess what Mr. Carrey, or is it Carney? Sorry, this got long. Chicks dig musicians! I’ll stick to my Wal-Mart sunglasses while being better at something than you. This doesn’t make me more of a “man” than you; it just shows that I have a passion for something other than being Patrick Bateman. Enjoy your spray tan. 

Do 50 push-ups, sit-ups, and dips before you shower each morning.-You’re health conscious. That’s a great thing. Something that applies to both sexes. You’re so smart.  


Eat brunch with friends at least every other weekend.-Why brunch? Whenever I’ve had brunch, no one has ever walked by and said, “Hey Connie! Look at that man!” Is brunch really the manly meals of all meals? Can’t I just circle jerk with my friends every other weekend instead? It’s cheaper and we still have time to watch the game. 

Be a regular at more than one bar.-Or get a new hobby/past time. If drinking is your main activity of nightlife other than having people make fun of you, you’re stupid. 

No selfies. Aspire to experience photo-worthy moments in the company of a beautiful woman.-You sound like someone who instagrams their food. 

Posting pictures on Facebook from a private jet or Vegas suite let’s everyone know it’s your first time… and probably the last.-Or you can just let them post pictures about their life, when in reality, no one cares. Your pictures serve no more purpose to the general public or your friends than the aforementioned. I’d personally be pretty stoked to be on a private jet. Is being stoked about something you normally don’t get to do make you less masculine? Well then, I lost all my masculine points getting excited over Miley Cyrus’s new jam.   

You can get away with a lot more if you’re the one buying the drinks.-You can also have some money left over for that manly brunch date the next day if you’re coaxing others to buy your rounds. I can also get away with a lot more on the internet. What’s your point Darwin? 

Ask for a salad instead of fries.
-Dressing on the side right? This will make it ok to continue pumping alcohol in your system. Thank goodness for that salad. 

Don’t split a check.-Your server would probably appreciate that. You have some kind gestures littered through here Mr. Corny. 

Pretty women who are unaccompanied want you to talk to them.-…said Captain Douchebag. Have you ever worked in a bar sir? Often times, a pretty woman just wants to read a book (or iPad) and drink their wine. Or did your steroids and spray tan give you the impression everyone likes you? “They hate us, because they ain’t us.”-said every insecure jackoff. 

When a bartender buys you a round, tip double. -I will give you this; when it comes to restaurant etiquette,

 I’d really hope to serve you one day. Your man tips, however, come across as vague. 

Find a Times New Roman in the streets and a Wingdings in the sheets. She exists.-“A day without sunshine is like night.” What’s your point? 

Piercings are liabilities in fights.-Very true. Do you just assume, Mr. Manly, that being a man, means you’re going to fight? Anyone who has the audacity to make this list can have their asses kicked by my sister. (she’s pretty scary though) Pressing your faces close together, resisting a quick smooch, while yelling “What the fuck bro?” isn’t a fight. This is a fight.

Desserts are for women. Order one and pretend you don’t mind that she’s eating yours.
-Excuse me? Have you ever had Chubby Hubby? You’re missing out. You appear to fancy yourself a prestigious fellow. What about those fancy 3 course meals? I managed to have one in Napa, paired with different types of wine. When they handed me the dessert paired with a Cabernet, I didn’t act sexist and respond, “Oh, no thanks! Desserts are for women.” Desserts aren’t like a piece of clothing. 

Buy a tuxedo before you are thirty. Stay that size.
-You sound very health conscious. I admire that. But does it have to be a tuxedo? Girls do the same thing with a pair of jeans or their wedding dresses. The desire to want to fit into a piece of clothing you purchased at 30 doesn’t mean you’re a man; it means you want to remain fit. 

One girlfriend at a time is probably enough.
-Oh man, could you imagine having two? Think of the headaches! Actually, having more than one makes you a dick. 

Throw parties. 
But have someone else clean up the next day.-Be an asshole! Why don’t you have the people who do your laundry clean your house? Do you like Huey Lewis and the News?

Measure yourself only against your previous self.-A good piece of advice for everyone. Still, not applicable to one sex. You suck. 

If you wear a baseball cap in bars, the girls will assume you are balding.-What about beanies? Fedoras? Those cool hats from the 30s? If you wear a muscle t-shirt in a bar, the bar will assume you’re a tool. 

Revenge can be a good way of getting over anger.-Well, good thing I’m writing this.  



If she expects the person you are 20% of the time, 100% of the time, then she doesn’t want you.-No one ever liked you for your personality, did they?

Always bring a bottle of something to the party.

– A very sweet gesture again. There’s a human being in there! I can sense it!

Avoid that “last” whiskey. You’ve probably had enough.-It’s not whiskey if you put Coke in it, pussy.  


If you are wittier than you are handsome, avoid loud clubs.-Yeah, probably. Clubs are stupid and only exist to boost your ego for your mediocre social status. Enjoy your $20 vodka tonic. If you’re handsome and a real man, you spend an hour on WordPress responding to a “Be A Real Man List…” Duh!  


Learn how to speak before a large audience.-That’s what my speech teacher said. That class had more than just dudes in it. Probably a good skill to learn for everyone. 

Do not buy the product insurance.-Just because you said not to, I’m going to. You mad bro?

If it’s got velvet ropes and lines, walk away unless you know someone.-If the line is too long, get a Fastpass, and go on the Buzz Lightyear ride.  


No one cares if you are offended, so stop it.-This whole piece is just ironic then isn’t it, queer? Is that offensive?  


Never take an ex back. She tried to do better and is settling with you.-What are you, 17? 

Eating out alone can be magnificent. Find a place where you can sit at the bar.-It really can. But I thought if someone was alone, it should be assumed that they want us to talk to them. 

Read more. It allows you to borrow someone else’s brain, and will make you more interesting.-Well, if you’re trying to pick up on superficial girls, they can’t read anything else except their iPhones, so the idea of reading is obsolete. Also, reading “The Hunger Games” doesn’t make you more interesting. 

Don’t ever say, “It is what it is.”-You’re a douche. it is what it is. 

Start a wine collection for your kids when they are born. Add a few cases every year without telling them. It’ll make a phenomenal gift in twenty years.Or be a “real man” and build them a treehouse, eh? What if your kids don’t like wine? What a phenomenal waste of time. 

Don’t gamble if losing $100 is going to piss you off.Probably, yeah. I still don’t get where this ties in to the man factor.

 

Holy shit, did you get through all that? If so, here’s a picture of the Emperor.

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Do you also find it funny that I took the time to respond to all of that? So do I. I’m just another asshole with a blog, my opinion doesn’t really matter, but I certainly have fun writing it. Thank you and go with Christ.