Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I'm a Liberal. I'm a Mormon.

It's true. I am a Mormon Liberal. A lot of other Mormons view this as an oxymoron and a few have asked how it works for me to be both. I have two answers for them:

1. Sometimes my Mormon-ness makes me a liberal

2. Others times it's just that I don't understand conservative thought

Then they say, "Lucy, you got some 'splaining to do." (Not really, they're never that funny. They're usually concerned for my soul and don't have time for jokes.)

#1 I often feel that the views of Conservative Mormons contradict my understanding of scripture.

-Conservative Mormon says, "Socialism is more evil than crushing kittens!"

I have noticed that conservative Mormons often confuse socialism with dystopian sci-fi novels. For the record, socialism is:
a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.

Such a society was described in the book of Fourth Nephi:
And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift. 4 Nephi 3

All things were communal, there was no distinction between rich and poor. Sounds like...I dunno...socialism. Actually, it sounds like hard core communism the likes of which no living man has seen. Apparently it's a heavenly gift.

Early members of the church tried to do something similar called the Law of Consecration, a system wherein property became communal and was redistributed as best suited the community. It is argued that this law is not at all like socialism because socialism was invented by the devil so he could control people and the Law of Consecration was based on love. I am surprised people say this because all it does is prove that members of the church don't love each other. The Law of Consecration failed. It failed because people are selfish and greedy. The problem is not that socialism is evil, we are too evil for socialism.

The Christian Socialist, George Lansbury said,
"Socialism which means love, cooperation and brotherhood in every department of human affairs, is the only outward expression of a Christian's faith. I am firmly convinced that whether they know it or not, all who approve and accept competition and struggle against each other as the means whereby we gain our daily bread, do indeed betray and make of no effect the "will of God."
Maybe a bit extreme, but I think he's on to something.
-Conservative Mormon says, "Capitalism is the Lord's way! Hooray money!"
I sincerely doubt it. The goal of Capitalism is to earn money. The more money you make the more successful you are. While capitalism has its merits, it is a system that fosters greed and materialism. The scriptures say, "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." 1 Timothy 6:10. Jesus said, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."

If we were to ask James and Jesus about these statements they wouldn't say, "Oh, that? I was just talking." I'm sure they meant what they said. People can do terrible things to each other in the pursuit of money and possessions. It can easily consume a person and make them turn against others. You may be thinking, "Well, I don't exploit other people just so I can have things." We've all heard the jokes about kids in sweat shops making our clothes. Odds are, someone is being exploited because of the things you own.

-Conservative Mormon says, "Welfare is the Devil's allowance and I would never accept it in any form!"

Some people are in difficult situations, they need food stamps, they need money to get by. People do abuse it, but people also use it as it was intended to be used. I am willing to pay for the abusers because I know for a fact it helps people.

Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just--But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God. Mosiah 4:17-18

I would also point out that you have probably been the recipient of welfare. If you have ever received a pell grant, accepted WIC when you were a starving student with a child, had your children on free or reduced price lunch, or driven on a public road (in Idaho our roads are largely paid for by the Feds, because we can't afford them), then you have received welfare.
If you don't need welfare, good for you. Some people genuinely need it. Don't act like you are better than them. Your farts stink too.

#2 The stuff I just don't get

-Conservative Mormon says, "Don't ever vote for a pro-choice, baby killing candidate!"
Deciding who governs you based on one issue seems unwise. How does abortion affect your life- Have you ever had one? Do you plan to have or fund one? I think most Mormons will answer no to those questions, and if that's the case why are you so concerned about it? Changing the laws on abortion will have little effect on you. I understand that it is offensive-I personally don't think abortion should be used as birth control, but I'm not willing to completely dismiss a candidate just because they disagree with me on an issue that won't change my life. I can't overturn a Supreme Court ruling, but I can vote about issues like poverty, education and government services.

-Conservative Mormon says, "If we let the gays marry, society will collapse into a puddle of sin and rainbows!"

Both the Old and New Testaments have scriptures condemning homosexuality. But I have a secret for you. I don't care if gays get married. If voters approve it, fine. If they don't, fine. According to religious belief, their sin is that they have sex. They're going to do that whether they can marry or not.
It is argued that gay marriage will 'blasphemically' desecrate marriage. My problem with that is marriage offers legal benefits that I think gay couples should have. I feel the government should be in the business of granting rights to its citizens, not preventing citizens from gaining rights. Perhaps it's time the government got out of the marriage business. Let them give civil unions to whomever wants them. If you want to get married, go to a church.

I have reasons for being a liberal. I'm not doing it to be contrary, I don't have a devil in me, it's just how I see things.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hiking to the top of Old Tom

Sometimes my Dad gets crazy ideas. They vary in the quality and quantity of crazy. Last year he ran a marathon. I rank this as super crazy. A few weeks ago he asked if I wanted to hike to the top of Old Tom with him. This wasn't all that crazy and I thought it would be a nice summer adventure.

It started off not so much as an adventure, but as a really confusing drive along the side of the mountain. We had no idea where we were going and it showed. Luckily we ran into a farmer who told us how to reach the bottom of the trail-kind of-we weren't really sure what he said, but we figured it out. He said we could drive up the mountatin pretty far and that would make the hike easier. That would have been true if I didn't drive a Honda Fit. (Note to self: buy a giant truck one day, after a cheap gas alternative is invented) When your car is six inches off the ground it makes rocks, holes and giant puddles seem like a bigger obstacle than they should be. I eventually had to pullover and park because I thought we were going to drown.

That was when the hiking began. At first it was a normal hike up a mountain road. Then we hit the real trail.

There were no switchbacks, the trail just went straight up the mountain. It's a very exhausting way to go. We had to rest frequently on the way up, which I think made us feel embarrassed and sissy-like because many comments like, "I swear I go to the gym, I'm not that out of shape." were frequently said.

However, the exhausting climb was worth it when we reached the top and got an amazing view of several cities and valleys.

Arimo, Robin and Downey


The American Falls Resevoir

The marker placed by the US Geological Survey, proving that we actually reached the top. These are useful because there were several times we thought we had reached to top only to notice another portion of the mountain was higher

In a pile of rocks at the summit, there was an old book wrapped in plastic in which visitors had written messages. It dated back to the 1940's and had a lot of interesting things in it.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Happy Saint David's Day - Dydd Dewi Sant Hapus

I seem to have two themes on this blog. One is food. The other is Welshiness. I guess there is a third theme-stuff that happens. So, I guess this blog is about whatever I want. This blog post will be awesome because it combines the the first two - food and Welshiness, Foolshiness?
St. David (Dewi Sant) died on March 1, 588? He was most known during his life for founding a Celtic monastic community at Glyn Rhosin. He was also the patron saint of Wales during their resistance against the Normans (around 1066). St David's Day is a big deal in Wales. It's a national holiday. Men wear leeks, women wear daffodils, children sing and put on plays, fountain water is dyed red. Also, people eat things. That's my favorite part.

In David's monastery, monks could only eat bread with salt & herbs and could only drink water. Meat and beer were strictly forbidden. I decided I wasn't doing that. Instead I made a bunch of food and invited a bunch of family to partake.

Cawl Cennin (leek soup)
I made this last year and a few times since them. It's a simple kind of tasty.

Swper Mam (Mom's supper)
So simple, so brilliant. There are three ingredients: bacon, cheese and onion. They are put in layers and baked. I highly recommend it.

Wyau ynys mon (Anglesey Eggs)
It's kind of like funeral potatoes meets potato salad. A mixture of mashed potatoes and leeks is placed in the bottom of the pan.

The potatoes are topped with hard boiled eggs.

The eggs are topped with a cheese sauce and cheese and then baked.

Picau ar y maen (Welsh cakes)
I really hate making things that require the rolling of dough, but these were pretty good. the dough is rolled out and cut like a sugar cookie, but cooked like a pancake. Currants give it a nice tangy flavor.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Statehouse re-dedication

Over the last few years, Idaho's capital building was being renovated and remodeled. During this time, the Legislature convened in the Ada County Courthouse. The Court house is remarkable because it reminds of the creepy building from Ghostbusters. I would not be surprised if some Babylonian God came out of it one night to bring doom upon the inhabitants of Boise.

The renovation was finished earlier this month and since Dad was in the Legislature all those years, he got invitations to the re-dedication. I hadn't been to Boise in a while and decided to endure the drive to see the remodel.

They had a pretty nice ceremony. There was a premiere of a piece for band and choir called "Under Eternal Sky" by Dr. Paul Aitken. I am always in support of new music and thought this piece fit the occasion very well. Dr. Aitken did a good job of making the music seem modern without being weird. A good choice, because while I like funky 20th century music, most people don't. There were also some speakers. I wasn’t really paying attention to them. They probably said some things.

I was impressed with the work that was done. A lot of excellent craftsmanship was put into the remodel.

The Governor C.L. 'Butch' Otter, I like to imagine the C.L. stands for Carlheinz Leslie

This reception area used to be some offices (my dad's office was here), this is a return to the original design

One sad loss was the replacement of a pepto-bismal colored elevator, with a newer, more stylish model. The old pink elevator was so absurd and out of place, it made me smile every time I saw it. You will be missed, ridiculous elevator.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Fruitcake can be tasty

I'm sure when you read the word fruitcake, you made 'that face'. The face that says, "Ewww, fruitcake is gross. I would rather eat dog food." I'm here to tell you that it doesn't have to be that way. One day, years ago, I was eating fruitcake and I said to myself,"Hmmm, fruitcake would be good were it not for the disgusting candied fruit."
In order to save fruitcake I did some looking into recipes and methods of fruitcake productionology. I have created a fruitcake that is highly edible and tasty. This is based largely on Alton Brown's recipe.

First, you need real fruit...and liquor.

The liquored fruit must be spiced and sugared

The sugared spicy liquor fruit is then doughified

When removed from the oven the cake is liquored up once again. I spritz it with brandy every few days and keep it wrapped up so it can absorb the boozy flavor. It's a good idea to let it sit because fresh brandy tastes like Listerine.

It's extra tasty and ultra Christmasy. Eat it, sissy.
Here's the recipe:

Edible fruitcake

1 cup golden raisins
1 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup dried blueberries
1 cup sun dried cherries
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
Zest of one lemon, chopped coarsely
Zest of one orange, chopped coarsely
1 cup gold rum

1 cup sugar
5 ounces unsalted butter (1 1/4 sticks)
1 cup unfiltered apple juice
¼ heaping tsp ground cloves
¼ heaping tsp ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1 cup toasted pecans, broken
Brandy for basting and/or spritzing

Combine dried fruits and both zests. Add rum and macerate overnight, or microwave for 5 minutes to re-hydrate fruit - this method will make awesome rum steam.
Place fruit and liquid in a non-reactive pot with the sugar, butter, apple juice and spices. Bring mixture to a boil stirring often, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for at least 15 minutes.
Heat oven to 325 degrees.
Combine dry ingredients and sift into fruit mixture. Quickly bring batter together with a large wooden spoon, then stir in eggs one at a time until completely integrated, then fold in nuts. Spoon into a 10-inch non-stick loaf pan and bake for 1 hour. Check if it's done by inserting toothpick into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, it's done. If not, bake another 10 minutes, and check again.
Remove cake from oven and place on cooling rack or trivet. Baste or spritz top with brandy and allow to cool completely before turning out from pan.
When cake is completely cooled, seal in a tight sealing, food safe container. Every 2 to 3 days, feel the cake and if dry, spritz with brandy.