Critical thinking

Critical thinking isn’t taught in elementary schools.
 
It isn’t taught in secondary schools, either.
 
Students may learn it in college.  After having “Don’t Question Authority” shoved down their throats for over a decade.
 
Assuming they’re ever taught it at all…
 
I’ll define critical thinking for those never learned. It means not assuming everything they hear is gospel truth.
 
Consider who’s speaking.  What do you know about them?
 
Are they trustworthy?
 
What biases do they have?
 
Where did they get their information?
 
Is there other information out there which contradicts the information they’re giving you?
 
Are there any logical fallacies in their argument?
 
Ask whatever questions you can think of.
 
Do your own research.
 
Too many people think “being informed” means being spoon fed stories by some talking heads on TV.
 
They don’t question what they hear if they consider the “news” organization “trustworthy.”
 
They accept everything coming from the network as truth.
 
Too many people will accept what a government official says without question.
 
Maybe not if it’s an elected representative.
 
But if it’s someone from the FDA.  The CDC.  The USDA.  Everything they say must be true and unbiased.
 
Listened to and followed without question.
 
Who died and made them God?

I’m secretive

“People will make fun of me for the music I like.”

“I’m a disgusting porn addict.  If anyone finds out they’ll know how disgusting I am.”

“If anyone finds out I believe in conspiracies they’ll think I’m crazy.  No one will ever want to talk to me again.”

These are just a few examples of thoughts I’ve had.

I’m afraid of ridicule.

Of rejection.

Of confrontation.

So I hide the things I think people won’t like.

I’m trying do undo that now.

Forcing myself to disclose things I think people won’t like.

Maybe I will lose some friends.  I hope not.

But maybe some friendships will grow stronger.

Maybe I’ll gain some friends, too.

Why do you think what you think?

Your thoughts are not you.

Your thoughts may not even originate from you.

Thoughts come and go.

Some are bad.  “I want to hurt/kill/rape that person!”  Don’t be hard on yourself because of them.

Some are good.  “I want to save the world!”  Don’t take too much credit for those.  😉

Some thoughts we hold on to.  We label those our ideas.  Our beliefs.

Some people cling to their ideas without questioning whether those ideas help them or hurt them.

Some people share their ideas.

Some to control others.

Some to improve the world.

What is reality?

Everyone has their own model of realty.  It consists of their ideas and expectations.

This model is always different from reality.

The closer your model gets to reality, the closer your results will be to your expectations.

Some people think they know everything.

They won’t listen to anyone else’s ideas.

They end up frustrated because they don’t get the results they want.

Diversity of ideas is a good thing.  Someone else’s idea may be more realistic than your own.

Don’t try to fit in with the crowd.  The crowd is usually wrong.

When no one is willing to say so, that’s not good for anyone.

Do YOUR best

Your best is not the same as anyone else’s best.

Someone else’s best may be better.

It may be worse.

Doesn’t matter.

Today’s best may be better then yesterday’s best.

It may not.

As long as it’s the best you can do right now, it’s enough.

YOU are enough.

Stop being so hard on yourself.

None Dare Call it Conspiracy

A couple of years ago I liked a Facebook page.

I’ve liked TONS of Facebook pages.

But this one is different.

It’s called Awaken to Our Awful Situation.

For those not familiar, it’s a reference to a Book of Mormon prophecy about the Last Days:

Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up.

– Ether 8:24

I assumed it was an LDS page about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and events leading up to it.

Eventually I figured out it was a conspiracy page.

I wanted nothing to do with any of that.

Later another page I followed shared a post from Awaken to Our Awful Situation.  It was a clip from a talk given in General Conference by Ezra Taft Benson in 1972.

Ezra Taft Benson was President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1989 to 1994.  Like every other President of the Church, members sustain him as a Prophet, Seer and Revelator, and as the official spokesman for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ on Earth.

He had also held a high government office.  President Eisenhower appointed him Secretary of Agriculture, where he served from 1953 to 1961.  If any General Authority had worldly qualifications to know what goes on at the highest level of the Federal Government of the United States of America, it’s him.

And along this line, I would highly recommend to you a new book entitled None Dare Call it Conspiracy by Gary Allen.

– Ezra Taft Benson

I found an online copy of None Dare Call it Conspiracy.  It had some editing issues, to say the least, making it hard to read.  I only made it halfway through the book, but it was enough to convince me.

After that I liked the Awaken to Our Awful Situation page again.

That’s not to say I believe every conspiracy theory.

I still believe Neil Armstrong and several other men walked on the moon.

I don’t think Paul McCartney died in 1966.

I don’t think Barack Obama is the Anti-Christ.

But I am suspicious of anything a government, especially the Federal Government, tries to make us do “for our own good.”

I’m a conspiracy nut

“You’re anti-American!”

“You’re one of THEM!”

“I can’t believe you believe that!”

“I can’t be friends with someone who would say that!”

“I’ll never listen to anything you say again!”

That’s the worst-case scenario.

It scares me.

To be honest, I’m kind of expecting it.

The status quo doesn’t change because there are powerful people making sure it doesn’t.

They make sure anyone who tries to change it looks like a lunatic at best.

Questioning the official story is not allowed.  Anyone who does and gains significant visibility is subjected to all kinds of ad hominem attacks.

The public has been conditioned to reject anyone who rejects the official story as a kook.

So I don’t blame you for not wanting to associate with me.

I hope you’ll surprise me, though.

You have so far.

You’ve accepted me despite my many flaws.  Maybe even because of them.

I hope you can be open-minded enough to hear me out.

There’s nothing wrong with feeling sad.

Ran out of my anti-depressants last Friday.

The health insurance I was on ended December 31st.

Without insurance a 30 day supply is $128.

I don’t have that kind of money just lying around.

I wanted to quit at some point.  This seems like as good a time as any.

They biggest thing I’ve noticed is the dizziness.  I think that’s getting better.

Have I felt sad more often?  Yes.

I don’t feel sad all the time.

I haven’t thought about killing myself.

I feel more irritable than I did before I started taking them last summer.  Hopefully that will pass.

I’m tired of feeling like a robot.  Maybe other pharmaceuticals wouldn’t cause that.

I also worry about side effects.

I’ve read several articles stating that anti-depressants can cause BRAIN DAMAGE.

I’ve read other articles which say many times depression is caused by a lack of proper nutrition.

I’m going to keep taking my blood pressure pills for now.  I’m sure I won’t need those either once I start eating better and losing weight.

Ultimately, I don’t trust pharmaceuticals.

Or the glorified drug dealers pushing them.

“Side effects may include increased bleeding, loss of libido, inability to think clearly, dementia, and DEATH.  In a clinical trial a significant percentage of participants died.  Ask your doctor if ***** is right for you.”

Not what I expected

At first she was going to start living with her parents.  She’d just come back to pack up.

Then she decided to just stay there on weekends.  The boys didn’t want to change schools.

She ended up not going at all this last weekend.

I took my older son to see The Last Jedi.  My younger son was afraid it would be scary.

I don’t know the future.

I’m glad I spent time with my boys.

I know they’ll to be okay.

So will I.

 

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

10 things I can do to help me get to the temple

  1. Read scriptures 30 minutes every day
  2. Pray more
  3. Pray for longer
  4. Get rid of my internet connection
  5. Get to church every week
  6. Start taking the Sacrament
  7. Go to Temple Square on a regular basis
  8. Watch conference talks every day
  9. Watch Bible videos every day
  10. Share the Gospel with others