Friday, July 14, 2006

Blood From A Turnip

So, here we go onto Round Three. If you are just joining us, please read the first two parts below.

Anon wrote:

Oh Spenny, I am sorry that you have spent soo much of your time trying to defend your actions to those who really know you (as do I). You forgot to mention that you felt the warmth of the spirit while wearing your Mickey Mouse Shirt. The problem that you have and can't escape (because of your upbringing and serving a mission) is that you know and have felt the truth, but you have to make a million excuses to validate why you chose your path.

Well, Anon, I don't own a Mickey Mouse shirt, so I can't really make that claim, although it is called the Magic Kingdom!

Nor can I know if you really know me or not, because I don't know who you are. You continue to provoke without the courage to stand behind your words, to speak with an assumed authority that cannot be tested or validated through the veil of the internet. Not surprising, that.

Really, Anon. You don't "feel" the truth. You learn the truth, by putting it to the test. You choose to reject the the things I have learned in my life and presented to you out of hand, because they do not conform with your own unchallenged beliefs. That is the definition of a closed mind. Not once have you asked me "how do you know these things" or "why do you believe this". In fact, you haven't addressed anything I've said at all, choosing instead to simply reject and attack me, because what I say is not convenient to you. This is exactly the kind of arrogance I was speaking about before.

While I'm on the topic of arrogance, let's deal with your assumption that you know me at all. You may have known me once, that is true. But people change. Hopefully, we grow wiser as we grow older. I certainly feel like I've learned a few things along the way, and I've got a lot more to learn. You, on the other hand, don't seem to evince any interest in learning anything at all. Of course not. You already know the whole truth, right? Lucky you.

This is the self-righteous mindset that destroys people. This is the mindset that leads to fundamentalism. This is the mindset, that when followed to it's natural end, leads to suicide bombings and Sharia law and lynchings and witch hunts and crusades and Oklahoma City and my friend Alice Hoglan's son going to his death on 9/11 and the Mountain Meadows Massacre. It is the mindset of closed knowledge, a hermetically sealed world where all questions are already answered before they are asked, and unanswered questions are rejected out of hand.

I'm not the one who needs excuses, Anon, because unlike you, I am comfortable with ambiguity. I accept that there are things that I don't know, questions that have not been answered, facts that are inherently contradictory. Read the Bible, brother. I mean really read it, not simply the passages that they highlight for you in Gospel Doctrine Class. Sit down and devour the book from end to end, like I had to my Sophomore year in college. If you do, then maybe you will see that contradiction and conflict and ambiguity and confusion and struggle and criticism are all there in the fundamental foundation block of Christianity.

But do you really want to do so? Do you really want to try and think objectively about the things you are told by others to believe? Where could that lead? What if that makes you actually, you know, reject something you come to see as wrong? Isn't that scary?

Look, you may actually care about me, or you may not, I don't know. What I do know is that you are acting like a coward. You refuse to reveal yourself, which is cowardly. But far more importantly, you refuse to listen to me, which is an action based on fear. You won't engage my ideas, you are afraid to engage my ideas, so instead you will only attack me by trying to tell me what I "really" must believe.

Why, Anon, are you so afraid?

BTW, I've taken the time to respond to you because I care about you, not because I feel any need to justify my life. It's a cheap rhetorical trick to to start a dialogue with someone and then criticize them when they care enough to carefully and thoughtfully respond. Would you have felt better if I had just told you to sod off? I didn't, because I believe it's important that we share our wisdom with each other, that we share the things we learn. That's why I keep the blog. You just gave me an opportunity to explain some of the lessons I've learned along the way. The fact that I took the time to do so should not be held against me, Anon. It's called giving a shit, brother.

I guess the next step is when you tell me that you'll be praying for me, right?

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My rounds don't take as much time as your rounds. I am sure I don't know you well now because you will follow whoever is Hot. The Spencer the I did know sat on a Bee at scout camp. The Spencer that I know always swam in a Mickey Mouse Shirt. The Spencer that I know always got out in the first round in Hackey Sack. The Spencer that I know always wanted a Mercedes (Now you have one). The Spencer that I know had a rough childhood-teenagehood because of US not wanting him to be in our group (teenage and Childhood natural behavior).
The Spencer that I know got his name turned into Spenny. The Spencer that I know got a CTR tatoo to see if NOW he could fit in. Then the Spencer that I used to know went off to College and worked at Borders books and then this Blog. Spencer you did have it rough and thats why I believe you took your drugs. Don't go to deep off the deep end.

3:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't have to keep responding to my comments. Drive safely and tell Scott and Craig hello from ANON.

3:09 PM  
Blogger leftcoastbreakdown.com said...

So you are determined to remain anonymous. Alright. Whatev. I won't raise this to the front page since it's not that interesting to anyone else, but I will respond. It's Friday, and I type really fast!

Straight off the bat, if I followed what was "hot" in this country, I wouldn't be writing this blog. My guess is that if they were to describe me in one word, one my friends might pick would be "contrarian". I don't make my opinions on fashion. Mind you, when you are as hot as I am, it's up to others to follow you!

I don't for the life of me remember a Mickey Mouse shirt, but I'll take your word for it. I was that kind of dork. Thanks for reminding me about the bee incident, damn I had forgotten that! And yes, I still have no hand-eye coordination, but these days I play rugby, so that is not really required. I just have to tackle people.

As for not fitting in, was that an apology? Because if it was, you kind of pussed out in the end there! You are right, you guys were kinda dicks. Oh well dude, it happens. Really, when I think back on it now, it was totally to be expected. I mean, come on, I wasn't likely ever to fit in, was I? I was never interested in the same things as most of my church friends back then. Plus, I was queer, I knew I was queer, and that certainly didn't help with the sense of alienation. But it's pretty much what most gay people go through anyway, and I don't think it was particularly rough for me. It helped me to stand on my own two feet and not depend on others. Yes, you guys were incredibly, well, un-Christian to me. But then again, here you are today anonymously flaming my blog and showing nothing in the way of understanding and acceptance, so what has changed? The mindset was there even at an early age, and it was just as perplexing to me then as it was now.

I have this vivid memory. Once, we were going somewhere, the River or some lake, and we had stopped in the parking lot of the McDonalds in Barstow. While we were waiting in the summer heat, we all climbed up into the back of the boat, which was on a trailer behind the van. Next to us in the lot, there was an old station wagon that pulled in. Out of it emerged a family, with several kids, including a boy about our age. I remember that he was a cringe-inducing dork. Obviously poor, he was wearing coke bottle glasses and painfully unfashionable second hand clothes. All of the guys around me started to make fun of him, to throw out nasty comments about the way he was dressed and the way he looked and his worn-out family in their broken-down car. I remember sitting there, trying to do my best not to cry. I was utterly stunned by the viciousness of the moment, by how boys who were supposed to know better, boys who were supposed to be different, could be so cruel. And of course I felt for the poor kid, knowing that next time, maybe it could be me. It was at that moment that it really struck me. This is what a tribe is. This is how people become cruel. You're right, it is natural to hate and alienate those who are different then you. It may be natural, but it should be resisted at every moment.

We're not that different after all, Anon. We are no better then anyone else. The lie of exceptionality is one of the most seductive of religion, especially Mormonism, a powerful tool for making people feel more important then they are. I used to believe this lie. One of my only regrets in life was how long it took me to realize how foolish I had been. I'm just a human being like you, no better or worse, only curious about those around me.

The tragedy is that I did really care for some of my friends back then (not all of them, hopefully you are one of the ones I liked!) and I do miss them, as I miss other people I've lost from other times in my life. But we move on. If you were to open your mind enough to try and renew our friendship, I think you would find that you might actually like me more as an adult. I have a lot more fun then I did back then! And I'm a hell of a lot happier. I hope the same can be said for you Anon, although I don't have a clue how you live out there in that damned desert! Do you enjoy your life? Are you satisfied that, at this age, you have done enough, seen enough, experienced enough of what the world offers?
I'm sure as hell not.

Cheers.
P.S. Most folks don't consider a pint and a cigarette on a Friday night with your mates as drug abuse, Anon!
P.P.S.
No need to say hi to my brothers, I'm sure they have already read what you have to say.

3:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, its good to see you not be so Professor like in your comments. I don't understand you when you talk with all the IQ that you were blessed with.

You really can't remember your Mickey Mouse Shirt. I thought you wore that everywhere for your under shirt.

If your dying to know who I am, then here you go.... When we went to Beaver High Adventure Camp I was one of the guys that didn't go on the hike and stayed back with you and another guy.

4:20 PM  
Blogger leftcoastbreakdown.com said...

Wow, the only things I can remember about Beaver is that giant ball that you could climb onto in middle of the meadow, jumping into the lake from the cliffs, and being too much of a pussy to rappel down the cliff face. And that it rained the whole first day. And it was beautiful. And they had hot showers on the last day.

I vaguely remember skipping out on a hike, but I don't remember who stayed behind with me. We probably had a much better time then they did. Oh, and they had a sweat lodge and they made cobbler in a cast-iron pot. It's coming back to me in pieces. I haven't thought of that trip in years. That was probably the best trip we had. Good times indeed.

Well, I'm still not sure I have you pegged, but my guess is that you are either A.R., J.O. or J.R..

I still don't recall Mickey, but maybe I've blocked all fashion-related disasters out of my memory!

Thanks for the memories. Hey, progress has been made!

4:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alright, I am one of those initials. Lets see if I can give you another hint. Your brother Scott wrote a song for me called Silver.

4:48 PM  
Anonymous Esteban said...

Hey LCB,

Why even talk to someone who does not know how to have a conversation? You have nothing to defend.

Let me be clear, anon is a pussy ... and not in that nice gooshy way.

2:25 PM  
Anonymous adamblast said...

Thanks for sharing your dialog with us, LCB and ANON... It reminds me of all the things I loved and miss about Christianity, and also why I'm grateful to have escaped it with my life intact.

I don't come from a Mormon background (rather a fundamentalist/revivalist one) but having lived in St. George & Cedar City, I've always been drawn to that warm-hearted charm and easy friendliness that the Mormon culture brings. Sad the way that it masks so much compelled conformity and intolerance.

11:52 AM  

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