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Thursday, August 30, 2012

New Years Day Talk on; SERVICE AND ENDURING TO THE END, part one.

The following is a talk I gave on New Years Day in Sacrament Meeting in front of over 200 members. I didn't know beforehand, that it would set the tone for the entire year.  It went over far better than my wildest dreams. I am still on a high from that day, and the aftermath of this talk that day. Nothing has gotten me back down, not even the Forty-Niners blowing the NFC Championship game a few days later. My confidence and resolve has only grown since then. Since January 1, 2012, I have embarked on a journey of self discovery, that lead to my bell being rung and my total acceptance of myself as a Transgender Woman, and more specifically, a Transsexual Woman. As far as my life as "Bob", one could liken this talk to the iceberg, and Bob as the Titanic.  This talk was the tip of the iceberg, but being a flawed guileful fake, as Bob, was destined for catastrophic failure....He's going down no matter what. What follows is one of the last things I ever attempted totally under the auspices of a male persona:

          In Matthew 9:37-38 we read, "Then saith he unto his disciples, the harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into the harvest." Harvest being good works toward others, missionary work, charitable service to others, building up Zion, making Heaven a Place on Earth, making the world a better place for all mankind, and doing all this here and now. Heavenly Father does not want us all being waiting sheep. He wants us to live our faith, our faith as an action verb, not a noun. We don't have to wait for directives, to move to some compound, to some esoteric notion of Zion in some presumed sacred place, such as was the case formerly with Missouri. We are no longer under the commandment to move to Zion at some distant and vague time, because that made us a Church of waiters....waiting for doomsday, waiting for a second coming. The Church does change, it does become enlightened, and it does progress in alignment with the eternal law of progression. We are a Church of optimists, a Church of workers, a Church that personifies Service,Hope, Love, Empathy and Compassion. We actually have the power to make Zion everywhere, and to include everyone in it, and edify the lives of all humanity, and not to have to acquiesce to the dystopia of social problems, but to serve all humankind to the making of Heaven on Earth, even before the second coming.

There is ample opportunity for all 7.1 billion people to follow Christ's perfect example of service, self sacrifice and endurance, and to be able to return and live with him and Heavenly Father. Jesus gave us the authority to labor in the harvest, to serve others in his name, for the benefit of his flock, which is all humanity.
Thus, the people do have the power, to wrestle the earth from fools, and make Heaven a Place on Earth..

I have the pleasure , this first morning of a brand new year, to talk with you about service, ....service, self sacrifice and enduring to the end.

My Websters Dictionary, Encyclopedic Lexicon Edition, defines service as;   working in or for government, efforts made in the public sector, a public servant, efforts expended in the armed forces, diplomacy, statecraft, the product of human beneficial activities, public worship, or music written for this,; the product of any human activity meant to satisfy human needs, with the other as the primary concern over self.

Some synonyms are:   self sacrifice, co-operation, ministry, altruism, charitable, generous, liberal, equitable, goodwill, kindness, compassion, empathy, mercy, meekness, devotional, courage, forbearance, fortitude, long-suffering, patience, edification, brighten and love.

Its opposites are:   covetousness, egotistical, greedy, illiberal, miserly, stingy, narrow-minded, parcimoneous, rapacious, self-centered, self-indulgent, self-seeking, uncharitable, ungenerous, cruelty, malevolence, inhumanity, indifference, apathy, avarice, impious, profane, narcassistic, vain, hinderance, impediment, succumbing, darken, ill-will, animosity,and acquiescence.

Who we serve is the most important choice of will and agency  we will ever make. In Matthew 6:24 we find that we cannot serve both God and Mammon (mammon being money). They are opposites. Serving Mammon puts our life focus on ones own self, and the acquisitioning of it for ones self.

Serving God puts the focus of our lives on other people. In Luke 22:7 we read, "I am among you as he that serveth".  Jesus set the perfect example, and summed his life up, in the end, that he was but a humble servant. If we desire to be followers of Jesus, we must serve others. Christlike service comes from genuine love for the Savior and of love, empathy and compassion for all other people. It means we are truly happy to be of service to others. We should not see making sacrifices to serve mankind as some sort of a drag, an added burden in  our lives, that, oh what a bummer that I have to take time out from my busy life, to complete my hometeaching, to take the sacrament to someone who is ill, to get up at 2am to give a blessing, to paint someones house, weather or not they are a member of the Church, to put a roof on someones home, to move someone in or out of the Ward, to move a neighbor, to distribute food in needy neighborhoods, work in soup kitchens and myriad other ways to serve.

We do not participate in service because we expect something in return. This is not a "getting your ticket punched", to heaven or a desired degree of glory.  It can be said, that on many service projects, there are the usual suspects. But we shouldn't be doing this to be seen as the usual suspects. There is no such thing as accumulating punched tickets of service rendered. This is not a competition, this is not a contest. We are judged for our hearts attitude, not on attendance, or pounds lifted.

If we truly want to live our faith, service must be seen as the happiest, brightest and most wonderful part of our lives. President Spencer W. Kimball explained that, "God meets our needs through other people". We must engage and help others in a selfless way, if we expect to progress anywhere in this mortal life, and especially spiritually. The most important way to engage and interact with others is to serve them. Some of us ask God to bless the sick and the suffering, to bless the armed forces, to bless this land or that land, to bless this thing or that thing...but then they do little or nothing for them. No real effort is expended to make sure the prayed for desires come to fruition.

We must remember that God works through us. When we help one another, we serve God. One of the most wonderful representations of service exemplified in a life lived, is that of King Benjamin, in Book of Mormon times. King Benjamin makes perhaps the greatest address of all time, as we read in Mosiah chapters 2 to 4.
In Mosiah 2:16-17, we read;  "Behold, I say unto you, that because I said unto you that I had spent my days in your service , I do not desire to boast, for I have only been in the service of God. And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom;  That when ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God."

In Mosiah 3:13 , we read,  "And the Lord God hath sent his holy prophets among all the children of men, to declare these things to every kindred, nation and tongue, that thereby whosoever should believe that Christ shall come, the same might receive remission of their sins and rejoice with exceedingly great joy, Even as though he had already come among them."  We should not be sitting around waiting for this, we the people have the power and authority to build the Zion we so desire, here and now. We accomplish this with service to others.

In Mosiah 4:15 & 19, we read,  "But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; Ye will teach them to love one another and to serve one another; for behold, are we not all beggars."  There are no conditions, no exclusions, no exceptions...we are to love all people, unconditionally, all the time, we are to serve all people, unconditionally, and lovingly, all the time. For we are nothing if we are not in service of others, we are nothing in and of ourselves, we are beggars.  Among the many things asked for here, by King Benjamin, is that we have a duty to labor toward the building of Zion, making Heaven a Place on Earth, and making all people feel as though Jesus were already with us, and not to be waiting;  but search our hearts as to what it would be if Jesus were to be here right now....And Then Make It So.

In Matthew 25:40, we read,  "Insomuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."  We also read in the verses following, that the converse is true, that if we inhibit, impede, withhold or conditionalize our service, we will face everlasting punishment.

We should treat all people, Black, White, Brown, Rich or Poor, Christian, Muslum, Buddhist, Jew, straight, gay, lesbian, bi, or transgender, Democrat or Republican, Liberal or Conservative, active church-goer, less active or athiest, man or woman, boy or girl, and so on....all people unconditionally, As if they were Jesus Christ....For whatever we think towards, feel towards, act towards, whatever we do to anybody else, its as if we actually did it to Jesus Christ himself.

We as a Church have fallen short in our collective treatment of African Americans, toward women, and more recently and currently what is passed off as our collective attitude toward members of the LGBT community.  If we take the scriptures seriously, and I know we do, we cannot be denigrative and bigoted toward members of the LGBT community, because we wouldn't be doing such things to Jesus, so why do it to anybody. I, for one, resolve now to act it ways that rise above and overcome our embarrassing and shameful past in regards to Blacks, women, and the LGBT community. And by LGBT, I mean Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, and Transgender. They are among us here right now. we must decide weather we want to be known as a Church of wall-builders, with guards and bouncers at our doors, or a Church of bridge builders, with greeters and fellowshippers at our doors.  Everyone, including all the LGBT community is worthy of our attention and service, love, and compassion.

         I believe right here would be a good place to break up this talk into a second part and a second post.  Thank you for reading this far, I hope you will join me for the conclusion.

As I was giving this talk, I really felt the spirit move through me, with impressive strength. As I came to the LGBT stuff I made sure to look into the eyes of the congregation. I think they really got it. I even gave signals to my wife and girls, for when I said the word "transgender" I looked at my wife, and into her eyes each time.
I will elaborate more on the reception of this talk at the end of part two, of this talk. I will say, I was so amazed by the response. Let me know what you think so far.    Leah-Loreli.

Who Am I Really?: So You Want To Be A T-Girl?

Who Am I Really?: So You Want To Be A T-Girl?: So on a recent post an anonymous commenter strongly recommended that I/we read the following document:

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Go-For-Throttle-Up-With-Leanorah: FINAL LIFT OFF OF THE U.S.S. NEIL ARMSTRONG , OR, ...

Go-For-Throttle-Up-With-Leanorah: FINAL LIFT OFF OF THE U.S.S. NEIL ARMSTRONG , OR, ...: Somehow this summer has blown by and I haven't got around to getting this Blog Lifted-Off! Well, that ends tonight. I could not let the even...


Somehow this summer has blown by and I haven't got around to getting this Blog Lifted-Off! Well, that ends tonight. I could not let the events of today, and the historical significance of this date to me, pass me by unnoticed. So, here goes My 'OFFICIAL' LIFT-OFF! I had a test fire earlier, but I really do want to start blogging. On, August 25, 2012, I hereby begin:

I just got home from a long day of campaigning on behalf of President Barack Obama, Senator Sherrod Brown, Congresswomen Martha Fudge and Betty Sutton, and many other down-ticket Democrats. This should be your clue that I happen to be a Democrat. But let me clarify. I am an Uber-Liberal. I am among the most Liberal people I know. That's another thing you should know about me...that, as a recurring theme in my life, my usual suspect position is that of an "OUTLIER". I don't think of myself as an extremist, and I never intentionally try, in a rebellious way, seek out the outlier, or far and away position. I can't help it that Americans ideologies happen to virtually all be to the right of me. I'm me...I didn't choose the spot on the continuum I happen to fall, I just think and believe as I naturally do. My absolute natural state has been to wake up every day of my life, without fail, more Liberal than when I went to sleep. This runs in the face of all the so called wisdom I received from my elders, as a youth. That is to say, I was advised that I should prepare to become ever increasingly conservative, the older you get. Well, I have to say, the most conservative I have ever been was when I heard those immature past! I know politics turn many people off, so I wont be talking only about politics. My education and degrees are in Politics and related topics, my lifelong work has been in Political, Community and Service work, and it has provided most of my livelihood. It is very disheartening to me to see so many dilettante's spouting off about politics, statecraft, and government. Virtually all of them, such dour, pessimistic, anti-government, dystopian theorists with self imagined degrees and training in the science, psychology, art, and governance of statecraft. America has been poisoned by these ignorant dabblers of negativity and disedification. Statecraft requires professional training as does becoming a nuclear engineer or architect. I'm not spouting off about how we should be building the next Trident Submarine or a new Temple or Manhatten Skyscraper. It is the same thing when dilettante's spout such ignorance such as politics or government is bad. Politics is one thing and one thing only...PEOPLE...if you don't like politics or government, you don't like people.

Anyhoo...August 25, 1988 is when I met my wife. In a small town in Southern Idaho, "The Worlds First Atomic City", Arco. I was there about a week before the start of my Freshman year of College at the Largest Private 2 yr school in the nation, Ricks College.(The major gossip was that is was about to become Joseph Smith is terribly disappointing that did not happen), a school affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. (some refer to us as Mormons). I was born and raised devoutly in the LDS Church, and felt a horrible guilt for not serving a 2 year mission starting at 19. For reasons I wont go into here (for a later post), I missed out on that highly regarded act of faith and obedience. So, here I am, a 25 year old Freshman at a Junior College where the student ratio is 2 to 1 women.

I arrived in Rexburg, Idaho, home of Ricks College on August 23, late in the day. I took a detour, as I am known for taking the scenic route, from Bellingham, Washington, to Corvallis, Oregon to visit my friend for 3 weeks. That trip to Corvallis warrents a post too...I went through the windshield of a car! So, I'm in Rexburg, waking up on August 24. I went to the campus and immediately looked my friend (wife's name)from Ohio up. It gave me the record that she had completed the Summer term there and was living at an apartment complex. I went there straight away, my heart pounding with such excitement...I could be seeing a dear friend that for some strange reason was fond of holding my hand for hours on end when I lived in Mansfield Ohio.I arrived at the Women's Apartments and knocked. A young woman greeted me and I asked her if a girl named Betsy lived here. She said, "I'm just moving in, but you can come on in and see if you can find her stuff."  Wow, I was just given permission to snoop through the personal belongings of dozens of young women. Did I mention that I identify as a young woman myself...well...young at that time. But yes, it is a most significant thing in my life, which I will explain in much detail another time. I am a Transgender Woman, and subset, Transsexual Woman. I hesitate to use the phrasing MTF, since in my opinion, pretending to be a male was a total falacy, and nothing but guile on my short, even my sister says "I NEVER PULLED OFF BEING MALE", so I never was "M' enough to claim I'm moving from "M" to"F"....but rather "IFtGF" (Incongruent Female to Congruent Female)..I just made that up, so I'm a dilettante.

So, I'm waling from room to room, the young woman comes over to me again and say's,"You're going to have to really go in each room and inspect!" How quaint! I get to be a panty stalker! That's about how I felt. I was being egged on to snoop ever more intrusively, and my couple year advantage on these women was giving me alarm bells finally. Then, suddenly, another young woman comes up to me, "You're looking for Betsy, aren't you?" Yes. "Well, I'm sorry, but you have just missed her. She left with her room mate to move to Salinas, California." Darn. But, oh well, I do a lot of traveling with my reliable 225 slant six, Chrysler Gold colored, Plymouth Valiant, 1975, Straight. I thought to myself, I will go see her next summer.

The next day, August 25, I had a new room mate, in short shorts and flip flops, we called them thongs then. We decided to go for a ride around town. Then, suddenly, I felt the Spirit giving me strong directives to head west out into the Snake River Plains. My roomie complained every mile west I went, but I kept going anyway. 20-30-40-50 miles west. Then, about 60 miles west we came to the little town of Arco, Idaho. I didn't need gas, but I felt inspired to pull over to the left hand side of main street to the Phillips 66 station, not the right hand side to the Exxon station. Routine topping of the tank, grab my 42oz refill mug that costs 25 cents to refill with pop and walk inside the store. While drawing my sugar syrup drink, my back to the outside payment window, when I hear the distinct words....."Bob!, is that you?" I turned around, and you would not believe who I saw filling the little window where you can pay for your gas without going in the store. She recognized me only from my Willie Mays, San Francisco Giants uniform I wore in Ohio, and maybe my blonde curly hair, that was much shorter (I had it 70's glam rock long curly-girly). She came inside the store and we embraced. What a shocking surprise. We went back outside and she had come with some guy. Turns out he was just a friend, and she was datin yet some other guy. This guy was just seeing how fast they could go between mileage markers. I asked her out to the campus dance that night, and she said she had a date already (but so did I, two of them...twice as many girls as boys remember). The guy in the car said to Betsy, "No, don't go with that guy, go with him", meaning me. She said okay....and the rest is history. We saw each other every night, our paths never crossed on campus. If we hadn't met in Arco, I'm certain I would have married someone else. We first kissed September 13th on the Henry's Fork of the Snake River. I knew she went from my friend to my girlfriend and probable eternal companion on Sept. 21st near Victor, ID.  I proposed to her on October 8 on the grounds of the Idaho Falls LDS Temple, and we were married December 17, 1988, at Idaho Falls. Such good times and wonderful memories. This date mean a whole lot to me...just thought you should know.

Throw in that my first Hero in the world, Neil Armstrong, died today, and it is almost too much to bear. I forgot to mention, that the speed demon guy that was driving my future wife around the Idaho Desert, was too cheep to pay the $2 entrance fee to Craters of the Moon National Monument, so he made a U turn and headed back to Arco and Rexburg. You see, The Park is another 15-20 miles past Arco, I was on my way there, Betsy and this guy, were on their way back from the Park. The Park is significant to this story because Neil Armstrong trained for his Moon Landing at this location, because it most resembles the Moonscape, with craters, buttes, rocks, pinnacles..a science-fiction dream world. I wanted to see the park because I wanted to see were my Hero had tread just 20 years prior. After saying goodbye to Betsy, after setting up our dance date, we did go see the park, I did pay the $2 and we saw everything, roomie complaining all the while in his shorts and thongs. HA!

I have always been quite enamored of Neil Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins too.  I had all the posters, decales, and memorabilia. In 1990 I started a Star Trek Club. I was the founder, so I was the Captain. When It came time to name the ship, I definitely wanted, "U.S.S. Neil Armstrong", while anther faction strongly wanted "U.S.S. Avatar". The club almost broke in two over it, until Betsy spoke up and said, "Why would we call ourselves after a Man who thinks he's God?" That changed everyone's mind. Of course, Avatar means something completely different now. So, I got our motto to be something Neil Armstrong had said for the 20th anniversary.."(there are) PLACES TO GO BEYOND BELIEF!" Our club grew from a ragtag lot of 10 geeks to around 100 geeks before we moved back to Ohio in 1995. They never wondered why My Halloween costume was Counselor/Commander Deanna Troi's Blue Mini Dress!  I was Captain Isaak of the U.S.S. Neil Armstrong....with the Maroon and Black next Gen uniform and all the shiny pips. We went out on away missions as a team, and people got all exited. Somewhere out there are dozens of autographs given by me, to those impressed to ask me for them while in STNG uniform.

One last time.....Godspeed Neil Armstrong....May you ever find those places beyond belief, in the Undiscovered Country that is yours for eternity.  Rest In Peace, Neil Armstrong.

Until next time, This is your Uber-Liberal, Transgender Mormon, Little Girl Astronaut Wannabe, Star Trek Geek, Ice Hockey Playing, Tough Soldier Tank Commander, Captain Isaak (w/ killer namesake hurricane), Leanorah-Loreli Shawnamee Grace, Leah-Loreli (LL Hot Pink), signing off. TOODLEPIPS!