B U L L E T I N

Happy New Year!

1. New Year Message - A purposeful life – Huffington post
2. A Note about Sean Hannity, Stuart Varney and Fox News –request
3. Note about Bridgette Gabriel’s comment on Fox News – upon request
4. American Muslims are proud of taking the right step - Link
5. Moderate Muslims Speak out? Link

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

TEXAS FAITH: Has religion lost its bite?


Has faith been boiled down into tenets that mostly make us feel good about ourselves? Or, to put it another way, has modern religion lost its ability to make us feel uncomfortable about parts of our lives?

Texas Faith is a weekly column at Dallas Morning News managed by Editors William McKenzie and Wayne Slater, the material is contributed by several panelists, for all responses please visit http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/2012/07/texas-faith-has-religion-lost-its-bite.html/

Has modern religion lost its bite?

MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism, Dallas


Indeed, the modern religion is reduced to a ritual to be performed as a social obligation to get it over with, rather than what it ought to do to you personally. It is particularly dumped on children as a duty to be fulfilled. The story is similar in most religions, given the space limitations; I will keep it to the Islamic month of Ramadan.

As a part of developing the model for Pluralism in Islam, I am visiting every denominational mosque since Ramadan began ten days ago for the whole month ending on August 18th or 19th depending on the moon sighting. It is everything you wanted to know about Ramadan and more; its politics, spirituality and traditions at RamdanDaily.com. One will appreciate the uniqueness of each of its traditions.

Dr. Allama Iqbal, a great philosopher and a poet wrote a poem in Urdu language, and one of the most famous lines goes as follows;Tera dil to hay sanam aashna, tujhay kia milay ga namaz main. ” Broadly translated, you heart is elsewhere, and so what do you get out of praying or fasting?

What do the Salat (ritual prayers) and fasting do to you, and what is the cumulative effect on you? If it does not bring Taqwa, the spirituality and humility in you, then you have merely performed the ritual without being affected by it.|

Taqwa has many dimensions, one of them is humility, the essence of which is feeling, talking and acting equal with your employee, spouse, family and other members of the society, Muslim or not. How do we measure up?

Arrogance is the mother of all conflicts, whereas humility is the solution to most of them. When you bow, kneel or prostrate at your place of worship, it is an acknowledgement of the invisible superior being, and equality of fellow beings.

Has your religion lost its bite? Look at the ritual practices in your own, most people get it right, a few don’t.

To a few, religion is a powerful tool to manipulate others, or pushing their beliefs onto others. To some it is a social need to keep their status as a church going “honest” family, and some feel sanctimonious when performing the rituals in a Church, Temple, Synagogue, Gurudwara or a Mosque. When they step out of the sanctuary, the arrogance creeps right back in, and the religion loses its bite instantly.

Added

My Professor Dr. Ramachandra, shared a story about the senselessness of rituals. He said, a great Hindu Sadhu (saint) goes to the Ganges to take the holy dip in the river to wash his sins off. As he walked on the edge of the river, thousands of devotees recognized him and decided, that is was time for them to learn from him by observing his rituals.

So the Sadhu places his traditional water bucket on the sand, and goes into the river, looks back at the brass bucket and realizes that it could be stolen, the smart man walks back and buries the bucket in the sand. As he was walking into the river, he realizes that he may not find the spot in the large swatch of sand, so he comes back, and plucks a branch from a tree and plants it on the top of the buried bucket and merrily goes back into the river. When he returns from his bath, he was shocked to see thousands of tree branches buried in the sand instead the one. Many a rituals are formed thru imitations without meaning it.

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Please mark your calendar for Tuesday 9/11/2012, it's a big event in Dallas- details at www.UnitydayUSA.com

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No American has to live in apprehension or fear of the other. There are solutions, here is a trailer of the movie in making: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMXsTo4VYh8&feature=youtu.be

Mike Ghouse is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. He is a professional speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, civic affairs, Islam, India, Israel, peace and justice. Mike is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News and regularly at Huffington post, and several other periodicals across the world. The blog www.TheGhousediary.comis updated daily.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Texas Faith: Obama sparked a conversation about communitarianism v. individualism: Where do you fall?


The divide between individualism and communitarianism flashed to the surface last week during the presidential campaign. It came about after President Obama rather famously told a Virginia audience. ”If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business. you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”

This may sound like an esoteric question, but it really gets at the heart of the discussion now going on within the presidential campaign. Communitarianism or individualism? Where do you fall?

Texas Faith is a weekly column at Dallas Morning News managed by Editors William McKenzie and Wayne Slater, the material is contributed by several panelists, for all responses please visit http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/2012/07/texas-faith-communitarianism-or-individualism-where-do-you-fall.html/

MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism, Dallas
From the moment one is born to the moment life ends, a normal human being cannot survive without nurturing. He cannot birth himself or bury himself. There is always another human to be a part of the support system from birth to death.

We are indeed an individual strand in the web of the community. Whatever affects the web affect us (Chief Seattle), and vice versa. Global warming, mad cow disease and other issues are communitarian in nature, but driven by individuals in both directions.

Everyone’s psyche or conscience is a product of one’s environment, and our morality is a necessity of co-existence.

Strict individualism works well, as long as one is capable of taking care of one’s self. However, no individual is free from vulnerability of accidents, diseases, wars and old age. We are dependent on others to produce or consume.

Religions have contributed greatly towards building the communitarian life where the invincible (lol) and vulnerable both can live his or her life to the fullest extent possible.

Indeed morality is the insurance for the safety of individuals in a community.

Where do I fall?

There is a balance to be maintained in life. Justice is the core value and basis for the success of any given society, without which no society can maintain its social, moral and economic equilibrium.

One can get away with murder or taking advantage of others. But that creates an imbalance and rots the society with insecurity. It also puts the responsibility back on individuals to restore that elusive and dynamic balance.

Individualism and communitarianism can be best understood by looking at the extreme ideologies: responsible capitalism and communism. Individuals have the burning desire to excel and to do well, and capitalism becomes a catalyst for the prosperity of individuals that directly benefits the society, through incentives to the individuals, where as communism restricts growth through forced equality. As capitalists we need to think about our own safety in the long haul caused by inequalities.

If freedom and justice are the core values of a given society, we need not worry about communitarianism or individualism. Both complement each other.
_ _ _

Please mark your calendar for Tuesday 9/11/2012, it's a big event in Dallas- details at www.UnitydayUSA.com

No American has to live in apprehension or fear of the other. There are solutions, here is a trailer of the movie in making: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMXsTo4VYh8&feature=youtu.be

Mike Ghouse is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. He is a professional speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, civic affairs, Islam, India, Israel, peace and justice. Mike is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News and regularly at Huffington post, and several other periodicals across the world. The blog www.TheGhousediary.comis updated daily.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

When Einstein Met Tagore


It was a pleasure to the read the following conversation between Einstein and Tagore and I hope you'd enjoy it too.

The last week’s discovery of Higs Boson, the God Particle was a revolutionary thought. 
Science does not contradict religion, but simply seeks to understand the logic behind Creation, thus creator. God wants us to seek knowledge, and declares that the best among us are the ones who know. Knowledge leads to understanding and understanding to appreciation of the creation and the creator.   

More about Higs Boson at http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2012/07/god-in-flash-higgs-boson-particle.html
It is a joy to read these discourses.  Rabinrda Nath Tagore won the Nobel prize for his poetry, Geetanjali, and he is one who bestowed the Title Mahatma to Gandhi and he also has the distinction of only poet who wrote national anthems of two nations, India and Bangladesh.

Enjoy both the articles.
Mike Ghouse

When Einstein Met Tagore

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/04/27/when-einstein-met-tagore/
Collision and convergence in Truth and Beauty at the intersection of science and spirituality.

On July 14, 1930, Albert Einstein welcomed into his home on the outskirts of Berlin the Indian philosopher Rabindranath Tagore. The two proceeded to have one the most stimulating, intellectually riveting conversations in history, exploring the age-old friction between science and religion. Science and the Indian Tradition: When Einstein Met Tagore recounts the historic encounter, amidst a broader discussion of the intellectual renaissance that swept India in the early twentieth century, germinating a curious osmosis of Indian traditions and secular Western scientific doctrine.

The following excerpt from one of Einstein and Tagore’s conversations dances between previously examined definitions of science, beauty, consciousness, and philosophy in a masterful meditation on the most fundamental questions of human existence.

EINSTEIN: Do you believe in the Divine as isolated from the world?

TAGORE: Not isolated. The infinite personality of Man comprehends the Universe. There cannot be anything that cannot be subsumed by the human personality, and this proves that the Truth of the Universe is human Truth.

I have taken a scientific fact to explain this — Matter is composed of protons and electrons, with gaps between them; but matter may seem to be solid. Similarly humanity is composed of individuals, yet they have their interconnection of human relationship, which gives living unity to man’s world. The entire universe is linked up with us in a similar manner, it is a human universe. I have pursued this thought through art, literature and the religious consciousness of man.

EINSTEIN: There are two different conceptions about the nature of the universe: (1) The world as a unity dependent on humanity. (2) The world as a reality independent of the human factor.

TAGORE: When our universe is in harmony with Man, the eternal, we know it as Truth, we feel it as beauty.

EINSTEIN: This is the purely human conception of the universe.

TAGORE: There can be no other conception. This world is a human world — the scientific view of it is also that of the scientific man. There is some standard of reason and enjoyment which gives it Truth, the standard of the Eternal Man whose experiences are through our experiences.

EINSTEIN: This is a realization of the human entity.

TAGORE: Yes, one eternal entity. We have to realize it through our emotions and activities. We realized the Supreme Man who has no individual limitations through our limitations. Science is concerned with that which is not confined to individuals; it is the impersonal human world of Truths. Religion realizes these Truths and links them up with our deeper needs; our individual consciousness of Truth gains universal significance. Religion applies values to Truth, and we know this Truth as good through our own harmony with it.

EINSTEIN: Truth, then, or Beauty is not independent of Man?

TAGORE: No.

EINSTEIN: If there would be no human beings any more, the Apollo of Belvedere would no longer be beautiful.

TAGORE: No.

EINSTEIN: I agree with regard to this conception of Beauty, but not with regard to Truth.

TAGORE: Why not? Truth is realized through man.

EINSTEIN: I cannot prove that my conception is right, but that is my religion.

TAGORE: Beauty is in the ideal of perfect harmony which is in the Universal Being; Truth the perfect comprehension of the Universal Mind. We individuals approach it through our own mistakes and blunders, through our accumulated experiences, through our illumined consciousness — how, otherwise, can we know Truth?

EINSTEIN: I cannot prove scientifically that Truth must be conceived as a Truth that is valid independent of humanity; but I believe it firmly. I believe, for instance, that the Pythagorean theorem in geometry states something that is approximately true, independent of the existence of man.

Anyway, if there is a reality independent of man, there is also a Truth relative to this reality; and in the same way the negation of the first engenders a negation of the existence of the latter.|

TAGORE: Truth, which is one with the Universal Being, must essentially be human, otherwise whatever we individuals realize as true can never be called truth – at least the Truth which is described as scientific and which only can be reached through the process of logic, in other words, by an organ of thoughts which is human. According to Indian Philosophy there is Brahman, the absolute Truth, which cannot be conceived by the isolation of the individual mind or described by words but can only be realized by completely merging the individual in its infinity. But such a Truth cannot belong to Science. The nature of Truth which we are discussing is an appearance – that is to say, what appears to be true to the human mind and therefore is human, and may be called maya or illusion.

EINSTEIN: So according to your conception, which may be the Indian conception, it is not the illusion of the individual, but of humanity as a whole.

TAGORE: The species also belongs to a unity, to humanity. Therefore the entire human mind realizes Truth; the Indian or the European mind meet in a common realization.

EINSTEIN: The word species is used in German for all human beings, as a matter of fact, even the apes and the frogs would belong to it.

TAGORE: In science we go through the discipline of eliminating the personal limitations of our individual minds and thus reach that comprehension of Truth which is in the mind of the Universal Man.

EINSTEIN: The problem begins whether Truth is independent of our consciousness.

TAGORE: What we call truth lies in the rational harmony between the subjective and objective aspects of reality, both of which belong to the super-personal man.

EINSTEIN: Even in our everyday life we feel compelled to ascribe a reality independent of man to the objects we use. We do this to connect the experiences of our senses in a reasonable way. For instance, if nobody is in this house, yet that table remains where it is.

TAGORE: Yes, it remains outside the individual mind, but not the universal mind. The table which I perceive is perceptible by the same kind of consciousness which I possess.

EINSTEIN: If nobody would be in the house the table would exist all the same — but this is already illegitimate from your point of view — because we cannot explain what it means that the table is there, independently of us.

Our natural point of view in regard to the existence of truth apart from humanity cannot be explained or proved, but it is a belief which nobody can lack — no primitive beings even. We attribute to Truth a super-human objectivity; it is indispensable for us, this reality which is independent of our existence and our experience and our mind — though we cannot say what it means.

TAGORE: Science has proved that the table as a solid object is an appearance and therefore that which the human mind perceives as a table would not exist if that mind were naught. At the same time it must be admitted that the fact, that the ultimate physical reality is nothing but a multitude of separate revolving centres of electric force, also belongs to the human mind.

In the apprehension of Truth there is an eternal conflict between the universal human mind and the same mind confined in the individual. The perpetual process of reconciliation is being carried on in our science, philosophy, in our ethics. In any case, if there be any Truth absolutely unrelated to humanity then for us it is absolutely non-existing.

It is not difficult to imagine a mind to which the sequence of things happens not in space but only in time like the sequence of notes in music. For such a mind such conception of reality is akin to the musical reality in which Pythagorean geometry can have no meaning. There is the reality of paper, infinitely different from the reality of literature. For the kind of mind possessed by the moth which eats that paper literature is absolutely non-existent, yet for Man’s mind literature has a greater value of Truth than the paper itself. In a similar manner if there be some Truth which has no sensuous or rational relation to the human mind, it will ever remain as nothing so long as we remain human beings.

EINSTEIN: Then I am more religious than you are!

TAGORE: My religion is in the reconciliation of the Super-personal Man, the universal human spirit, in my own individual being.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ramadan, the politics, spirit and rituals of ramadan

URL: http://ramadanexclusive.blogspot.com/2012/07/happy-ramadan-what-does-god-really-want.html


Welcome to Ramadan, this column is about the politics, traditions and the spirit of Ramadan.

Like a mother who wants her children to live well, like a teacher who wants his students to do well, and like a chef who wants his patrons to enjoy his food…. God wants every one of his creation to live in harmony and do well.

No one is deprived of God’s love; he has reached every human through a peace maker, messenger, prophet, reformer or simply a wise man or a good friend that brings sense to living. The creator offers a variety of guidance to the mankind, no matter where you live, the guidance is there, the guidance that leads to live in peace, and without fear of the other.

Religion is one such instrument that God guides us through, and there are many of them, at least 250 traditions including a dozen major ones. Each tradition does well for the believer in bringing peace to oneself.

Today, the one tradition I am talking about is Islam, and one of its beautiful aspects that helps build cohesive societies.

Ramadan Mubarak

Welcome to Ramadan, it begins on Friday the 20th
of August, 2012. It is the month of fasting, a month of learning about others, connecting with others, developing empathy with fellow beings and above all reaching new heights in piety and spirituality, Taqwa as it is called. It is to become closer to God and emulate his qualities of unselfishness, forgiveness and love. It is a month of practicing service to fellow beings and developing self discipline to learn to live they way we want, and being conscious of every moment of the day for 30 days.

I am working on an article on Ramadan, which I stopped, instead to write about Michelle Bachman and her tantrums which shall appear at Huffington post tomorrow. Meanwhile here are a few things I have written.

The Politics of Ramadan at Washington Post

Politics plays a crucial role in our Temples, Synagogues or Churches, Mosques are no different. A few scientifically-inclined-Muslims have adopted NASA’s calculations believed to be precise. However, four different traditions are operating concurrently; i) Strictly Calendar, ii) NASA and iii) Sighting with bare eyes and iv) sighting by others in the community.

Muslims around the world will begin fasting from Friday, July 20, 2012 and for a whole month thereafter, however, for some of them it will begin (only) if the moon is sighted. The story is same with the Jewish and other traditions that follow lunar calendar. Rosh Hashanah like Ramadan comes 11 or 12 days earlier each successive year.
Continued at http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/guestvoices/2010/08/the_essence_of_ramadan_is_to_become_humble.html

The Spirit of Ramadan at Huffington Post

The spiritual masters have captured the human gravity towards rituals and have molded it with the art and science of self-discipline in their respective religions. The noble purpose of each one of them was to bring a balance in our lives and a balance with our environment.
Every faith is composed of a set of unique rituals to bring discipline and peace to human life. Fasting is one of the five key rituals that Muslims around the world observe. Rituals signify the milestones of our daily life. Every significant moment of the day is a ritual. It is an unwritten way of measuring our progression, a memory pattern to bring discipline to our actions. Continued http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/spirit-of-ramadan_b_939961.html

The Traditions of Ramadan at Ramadan Exclusive

its celebration time when Muslims around the world anxiously wait for the first moon of the ninth Lunar month to appear on the sky. The families gather in their backyards, or get on the nearest hillock or climb on the top of their homes and wait for the pencil thin moon to appear on the horizon, and when it does, jubilation begins.
Continued at: http://ramadanexclusive.blogspot.com/2010/09/traditions-of-ramadan.html
Welcome to Ramadan at Ramadan Exclusive

Insha’Allah, the first day of Ramadan will begin on Friday, July 20, 2012 and Eid al-Fitr on Sunday, August 19, 2012 per the announcement from ISNA.
Continued at: http://ramadanexclusive.blogspot.com/2012/06/welcome-to-ramadan-2012.html

Quraan says, had God willed, he would have made every one of us alike - then he says, he chose to make us into different tribes and nations from the same couple (or the same source). Then he goes on to challenge us to know each other - he knows that our conflicts stem from not knowing each other, and living with misinformation about others, when we know each other, conflicts fade and solutions will emerge.
Every religion means peace and Justice and that is acceptable to God. He says, you need not worry who you are, as long as you take care of your neighbor, I will recompense you. Each one of us is responsible for our Karma.
He concludes ( Quraan 49:13) that the best among us is the one who knows each other, learns about each other and respects each other. If we take the time, to learn, every religion is out there to bring goodness to humanity.

Be good to yourselves and every one around you. Happy Ramadan.

Mike Ghouse is committed to nurturing the pluralistic values of Islam and welcomes everyone to explore Www.worldMuslimCongress.org and several related sites listed at: http://mikeghouse.net/Sites.MuslimsTogether.IslamTogetherFoundation.com.MikeGhouse.asp . The site www.MikeGhouse.net lists everything about Mike.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mormon Underwear Myth


Every religion has a requirement or the other to be a part of the group. The Mormon Underwear myth has been around, but who does not?

The Jews and Muslims have circumcision requirements and pork is forbidden, most Hindus don't eat meat, particularly the beef; same goes with the Jains. The Sikhs have 5 K's to follow, the hair, the dagger, the bracelet, the underwear... 

We have to learn to respect other's traditions, as we do our own. 

Mike Ghouse

Are Mormon Underwear Magic Between the Sheets?

By Valerie Tarico, AlterNethttp://www.alternet.org/story/156161/are_mormon_underwear_magic_between_the_sheets
To outsiders there is little more fascinating about the Mormon religion than the secret underwear that Mormon temple initiates are expected to wear day and night. As one former believer put it, “I've been an exmo since 1967. All that time, the underwear questions were the first ones I got from people who found out I had been Mormon. A friend brought it up again last week at lunch.” Another former Mormon agrees: “When people first find out I'm exmo, their first question/comment almost ALWAYS is, ‘So what is the deal with the magic underwear?!’ Honest! People outside the morg are spending WAY too much time thinking about garmies!” (DC)

(“Garmies” is insider slang for the sacred undergarments prescribed by the religion’s founder, Joseph Smith.)
Some outside interest may be driven simply by curiosity: Mormons have sacred underwear! What do they look like? Or incredulity: Religious leaders can tell women to wear undershirts with special symbols all the time beneath their bras and people do it?! But that’s not the whole story.

The idea of sacred, secret underwear seems a little kinky, at least to some outsiders. Commenters on blogs and forums confess the attraction. “I tell you guys who grew up taking "undergarments" for granted- WE in the not-know find these items fetching indeed [Here in Idaho].” (Kymba) “Mine had been in the bottom of my closet in a moving box, in a paper bag for 5 years until a couple weekends ago when I modeled them for my boyfriend, he was intrigued by the whole thing and found them to be very sexy.” (Randy) It only makes sense that some subset of us would find the idea of Mormon undies titillating. They are novel, they are secret, they are taboo, and they are in constant contact with genitalia.

But are they kinky to insiders?

It’s hard to get a balanced sample from active Mormons, because the Garments, as I said, are sacred, and catering to the curiosity of prurient outsiders would violate a covenant sworn during the same temple ceremony in which a Mormon gets authorized to wear the Garment. Unfortunately those who have been fantasizing about a romp in which layers of white cotton create the perfect sense of mystery (or bondage), exMormons offer few words of encouragement. Discomfort seems to be the predominant theme.

I was continuously battling wedgies--often in public; how the people would stare as I would try to wrestle crumpled material out of my crack. Lady DB
If you have ever worn the modern ones you should appreciate the distance these have come. When I first got married they came in a one piece get up with a wide neck so you could step into them. The back had a split crotch (not the kind in kinky panties) but this huge wide sloppy split that would separate under your clothes, leaving a draft in your nether region much of the time. The little panel they sew into the ladies special part was so poorly designed that it would roll and twist till you felt like you were skewered by a roll of old toilet paper. Insanad

Of all of the things about Mo-dom, the thing I miss the least is the underwear.Zapotec
Theologically, Mormon undergarments are said to be symbols of a covenant between God and the believer. Initiates pantomime their own death should they violate this sacred trust. The underwear have sacred symbols drawn from the Masonic Order into which Joseph Smith was initiated shortly before he proclaimed God’s desire that people wear the Garment. True believing Mormons avoid allowing Garments to touch the ground. They may cut off and burn the symbols when a Garment itself is worn out.

I thought the kitchen was on fire a few times until I found my mom burning the "sacred symbols" in tin cans before she cut the underwear into dust cloths. I was slapped a time or two for letting them fall or drag on the floor when I did laundry as a child. Cheryl

In Mormon folk religion, Garments have special powers. Stories are told of wearers being saved from bullets or fiery death in a car crash. One story tells of a Mormon soldier during WWII who was killed by a Japanese flame thrower – but his Garment survived intact. The stories go back to Joseph Smith himself, who died in a hail of bullets without his Garment on. His companion, Willard Richards, who was wearing his, emerged unscathed. Mormon historian Hubert Bancroft described the incident in his 1890 History of Utah, “This garment protects from disease, and even death, for the bullet of an enemy will not penetrate it. The Prophet Joseph carelessly left off this garment on the day of his death, and had he not done so, he would have escaped unharmed.”

Today such accounts are not investigated or endorsed by the church authorities. The Catholic hierarchy has an established procedure for assessing claims about weeping statues or a miracle cure, but the Mormon hierarchy largely ignores stories about the real world protective powers of the white underwear. In 1988, Mormon authorities asserted that the Garment serves as a protection “against temptation and evil.” Unfortunately, ordinary believers may take the broader protective power of their Garments seriously, sometimes with painful consequences.

Flame swept up my arm and no clothing burned at all except the entire sleeve and part of the shoulder of the Garment that burned/melted. I was burned where the material melted into globules. I was a good person. They did not work as claimed. I will never ever forget that day. AmIDarkNow
My TBM (True Believing Mormon) father was a radiologist and believed that his garmies would protect him from radiation. Needless to say, the bonehead died of leukemia at 49. Jeebus

Taking off the Garments is a big step for many people leaving the Mormon religion. Some people feel vulnerable when they first abandon the regulation underclothes.

Well, I still remember the first time I took them off. Half wondered if I was going to die in a car wreck. nonyabiz
I was on the look out for the death from no garmies too for a bit!! Oh good Lord!makesmyheadspin

But others experience a sense of freedom:
I cannot believe I let another grown man ask my wife and I what kind of underwear we were wearing and volunteer the information with a cheery smile. What was even more sick is that I believed in a tyrannical God that cared about what kind of underwear I was wearing. Mortimer
My hubby and I were cooking on the grill in the back yard. All of a sudden the wind changed, a flame leaped out of the grill and came straight at my chest. I looked down and saw it hit my shirt and chest, then arch away from me, back in the direction it came from. I looked down, my plastic buttons weren't melted and the shirt wasn't singed at all. I automatically thought in my old morg ways, "my Garments must have protected me!". THEN....I pulled my shirt collar forward and looked down my shirt... I couldn't stop laughing!! I had no Garments on!! This was soooo refreshing and invigorating! I had been "protected" and I had no Garments on!! Kathy S

Sometimes the heart of that newfound freedom is freedom to explore sexuality or intimacy.
When we began to just lay together, skin to skin, and talk to each other; to feel each other’s pulse and breath; to simply feel our physical selves, our body-shame began to dissipate. Waking Up
I remember when I first quit wearing my garments and how feminine I felt. WOW, actually had breasts and a waist. It was very liberating and for the first time in my life I began to feel sexual, not a droid without any sexuality. And even though I didn't fit the, what I perceived as the ideal, weight, shape, looks, I felt sexy and powerful. anonymous

This is not to say that Mormon Garments have no place in the history or future of erotica. You say tomayto, I say tomaaahhhto. Interestingly, the Garment may owe its existence to Joseph Smith wrestling with his own high libido. As recent research on homosexualitysuggests, people who are struggling to contain or suppress their own sexuality may be particularly interested in controlling the sexuality of others. Historians are unclear on the number of women Smith actually married and the number with which he simply had sexual relationships. The list of his wives, first published in the late 19th century, and still debated, includes 27 names. Despite this, Smith preached against polygamy till his death. Was the design of the Garment (then a full body long-sleeved button-up affair) the product of a divine revelation, Smith’s sexual tastes, or his effort to suppress desire? You decide.

Valerie Tarico is a psychologist and writer in Seattle, Washington and the founder ofWisdom Commons. She is the author of "Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light" and "Deas and Other Imaginings." Her articles can be found at Awaypoint.Wordpress.com.
© 2012 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/156161/

 

Texas Faith - God and religion have gone missing in the presidential race?


Is our electoral process better off without the polarizing issues of faith-based politics at center stage? Or does the absence of explicit moral and religious expression impoverish our political debate? Our Texas Faith panel weighs in:

Texas Faith is a weekly column at Dallas Morning News managed by Editors William McKenzie and Wayne Slater, the material is contributed by several panelists including Mike Ghouse, for all responses visit http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/2012/07/texas-faith-is-it-good-or-bad-that-god-and-religion-have-gone-missing-in-the-presidential-race.html/

MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism, Dallas
Absence of faith will not impoverish political debate; in fact, it will enrich it with a focus on the most important economic need of the day: jobs.

Congress, Senate or the President is not in the business of establishing or supporting a religion; their responsibility is to be a catalyst and serve Americans in the pursuit of their happiness and economic freedom.

Faith should not be a factor in this election, as both parties stand to lose; the Democrats worry about the Catholic vote and the GOP stands to lose if they make an issue out of Romney’s faith, it would mean back peddling.

Social issues will be played out by the Democrats; the anti-GLBT-abortion-immigration stance of GOP will be a fodder to the Democrats. The CBS poll in May discovered that 62% of Americans “believe that same-sex unions should be recognized by law.” While we remain divided on abortion, Romney cannot afford to flip flop on immigration.

GOP may not even succeed in carving up an enemy out of Sharia. First of all, American Muslims are not asking for it, and secondly it will not pass the House and Senate, let alone the president signing it. Democrats will hit them hard for squandering public time on a non-existent issue.

GOP’s chorus about repealing Obama care on the first day in office will fall flat on its face, unless both the houses and the Presidency is Republican. The Republicans would risk losing votes of the young people benefiting from insurance coverage of their parents.

As a disclosure, I am Moderate Republican, and when I posted a note on Facebook and my blog congratulating fellow Americas upon Judge Roberts’s decision, an incredible number of Republican men and women came out of the closet and appreciated the decision. Thus we have Obama Republicans now.

Absence of faith talk will not be missed, our nation is operating on Maslow’s hierarchy theory, and Jobs is our priority, food is more necessary than faith, and abuse of religion for politics may not work this time.

I hope the debates remain focused on economy, and for entertainment they can resort to Presidential dogs, vacations, Kissing Children, pipe line, fund raising and the price of rice in China.

MikeGhouse
is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. He is a professional speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, civic affairs, Islam, India, Israel, peace and justice. Mike is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News and regularly at Huffington post, and several other periodicals across the world. The blog www.TheGhousediary.com is updated daily.