Wednesday, September 16, 2015

An Agricultural and Humanitarian View of the Word of Wisdom

It occurred to me sometime in the last year that there could be more than just the dietary view of the Word of Wisdom (WoW). It occurred that it could also indicate an issue of world-wide agriculture and the resulting effects on humanity. I have not yet sought the data proof for this idea, but I will lay the theory out in general here.

The concept occurred to me after a couple documentaries played within a week or so of each other. The first was about global disasters caused by changing weather patterns. It linked the 2009 drought in Russia caused by wind changes and then fires to the start, the final straw if you will, of the civil war in Syria, with the obvious current issue of the refugee crisis. After all of the internal troubles the Syrians had dealt with, the impossible rise in the price of bread (supply and demand where 60% of Russia's supply had perished) was simply too much. The people had had enough and war broke out.

The second (short) documentary I saw was about the economy in the area of Africa within view of Mount Kilimanjaro. (There is more than one country border in that area and Africa was the one section of geography I never quite mastered - and I simply have memory problems. I don't remember.) They showed how the economy actually was strong because the fertile lands were used for growing the coffee so many in Western culture is addicted to. (They also showed the local artistic style which I quite liked, but that's beside the point.)

After that second documentary, I was struck with the idea that the list of 'no's in the WoW - coffee, tea, alcohol, drugs,... - are all huge economic industries that use up lots of cropland to produce them. Land and water resources that could be used instead to grow food for the starving people in so many places around the world. The scriptures tell us there are enough resources in the world to sustain humanity if we will use them wisely. They do not say we might just be wasting a lot of those resources.

Consider, then, the injunction to use meat sparingly. By now, most 'first-world' students have heard that much ozone depletion occurs due to bovine flatulence. Whether that's even an issue is beyond my current understanding. But what about other things? What about how much water is needed to keep and feed the amount of animals required for such a carnivorous Western society? What about the living conditions those animals are forced to live in? How much healthier would humanity and animal-kind be if we stopped seeking meat at every meal? There are other sources of protein, and those living in temperate climates do have access to a broader diet than those in the Arctic reaches.  

What if the land used for supporting addictions and the people who thrive off supporting them went to actually growing healthful substances? How much would starvation go down? Especially since so much of that land is in the poorer countries where the baddies can take control more easily! Then the good food would be close to those who need it. Think how that could effect general health and overall well-being? How would that effect local economies, then education, then government and the sciences and the humanities? How many geniuses die with their incredible potential contributions because none of that was available? So not only are we wasting global physical resources, we end up wasting global human resources.

Like I said, I'm not getting into the dietary effect of the pattern recommended in the WoW. I do, however, hope that considering another potential layer of purpose to it might cause you to consider the world and the uses of it. Maybe you will even find some way to help better those uses.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Speak For Me

As much as I dislike the emotional hijackings of pretension I see too often in poetry, I've found myself writing in that form in spurts of collections over the years. The Junior High period (mostly church and people ponderings), the High School period (mostly assignments from creative writing), the Breaking from Home period (fighting my way through abuse to hope), and the Sporadic period (where I write less often, at random, of late). This post is to introduce my opening of a new blog to start sharing the Breaking from Home collection, which I titled Speak for Me.

I wrote these over a period of about four years, from mid 2005 to early 2009. This covers the period from shortly after my mom died, through moving, paternal re-marriage, moving away from home, breaking from home, and moving even farther away from home. It covers a lot of emotions as the ones I couldn't write out in my normal journals would crescendo until they came out in poetry form. They express frustrations, trying to hold on, feeling trapped, mad at feeling scared, and almost always work through till I can find a way to keep hoping for a better time.

Some of the poems have easily shareable themes. Just One Day is the first that comes to mind, and I've already shared that on this blog. They are all very personal and I've been conflicted between pulling it all into a presentable form and resisting actually presenting it. I'm still scared to open this up because a lot of people were oblivious to this part of me and even more people resent the idea that a person can be so extremely traumatized without the socially comprehended forms of physical and sexual abuse.

Sometimes I try to explain the effects of my experiences as brainwashing. Life was often an active battle to simply retain my identity, to not disappear into a mind-less, being-less, soulless slave. The Speak for Me collection is very much my active fighting to survive. PTSD is recognized as trauma that physically threatens ones life and thereby alters the body's reaction to stimulus which recalls the originating trauma. What I survived threatened to erase me, not just my physical body. I believe this kind of abuse is rampant. It is pernicious precisely because it isn't talked about and is ignored when outsiders catch a glimpse. "It's none of my business," is the usual thought response.

How often I wished someone had spoken up and told me I had a right to think what I think and feel what I feel. That what was happening was not ok and was not my fault. That an understanding haven would have been offered where I was wanted and welcome and understood. Instead, I hid in my car because I couldn't face going inside yet and had nowhere else to go. I had imaginary conversations with the closest things I had to friends to try to work through the craziness that was my life because everyone was too busy to want to be bothered by me. I hated looking in the mirror and seeing what I was taught was a disgusting person. I can face mirrors now. I can see me, now. But pictures still make me feel a bit sick. I was left alone, without family, with church as my only refuge, but resented and abandoned repeatedly by people who had no interest in slowing down enough to see that my unusual reactions had a terrible cause. Instead, they just saw them and me as unwanted irritation.

And so, even though I am nervous, I am sharing this because someone needs to start the conversation. Someone needs to say - these are the emotions. And those trapped in the nightmare I finally escaped need to know it can be done, even if no one else decides to notice, care, or try to help. I did it with God by my side, guiding my understanding until I was read to break from home and learn to feel safe in freedom. Speak for Me is my journey during this difficult time.

The scriptures that introduce each poem are almost all the very verses that helped me reach the poems' conclusions I needed to keep going. They were very much my life-line. The afterwords are reflections on the topic or the events which prompted the poems. The new blog can be found at: