The Longer Ones

Thursday, November 24, 2016

I was editing for 12 hours straight.

YEAH THAT'S RIGHT!! I'm a videographer too!

It was really fun. As painful and as long as it was, it was a pleasure.

I was only able to film and edit video in sophomore year of high school but ever since then, I always saw it as a fun project. I remember leaving my old high school and not wanting to leave. I was so much in denial that I convinced some teachers to accept me in some junior/senior classes. And though it was difficult for me to do as an underclassman it was a pleasure.

My teacher for writing 150 assigned this digital summary for a paper that we have already written. And the medium that I chose was naturally a video. Almost everyone else chose to just write their summaries as a blog, but look at this try-hard (me) he chose to do a video. In my defense I don't think I was really trying that hard considering that in my head being a filmmaker is one of my dead dreams.

I once had the desire to pursue it. I had the skills to do it. I knew how to be successful at it. But I just chose not to be.

As painful as it might sound, it truly was a pleasure.

Here's the link to that video if you'd like to see
It's about Judicial Activism and I put a Thanksgiving note at the very end. Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Move Forward

Let's go.

Life is hitting me pretty hard right now. With finals, and midterms, and essays, and drama galore; it just keeps on piling on. It's hard I know but I've been through harder.

I've complained, I've rebelled, and I've had my fair share of sadness and regret. But that's over now.

It's time to keep moving.

It's not going to be easy but most things in life worth doing isn't. Oh let my heart hold fast, for this soon shall pass.

I'm not going to let this fall affect me. There's more to me than what people define me as, and it's my time to prove it.

Let's go.

It's Snowing

It's been a while since I felt it fall onto my face.

People came out and started celebrating like something glorious and incredible and white was coming our way.

It was 12:30 at night. And people were dancing outside like the second coming was about to begin. Maybe I'm just being cynical but I don't understand why. At this point I just want to go to bed.

I can't wait for thanksgiving. My family is almost here and I've missed them a lot.

For once i think I just want to keep to myself. It feels darker and colder and there's so many questions that it buries me to the ground.

The Snow's falling. It's blanketing the ground. And it keeps getting darker.

But that's okay. As dark as it may be sometimes...'s always darkest before the dawn.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Am I Overreacting?

Let's do some political analysis on democracy with an emphasis on minority rights.

First off consider all six aspects of our democracy. This includes (1) Separation of Powers, (2) Checks and Balances, (3) Federalism, (4) Majority Rule, (5) Minority Rights, and (6) Judicial Review.

Let's look at the first two and ask a simple question. Are they working? Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances can only exist if there is an opposition by an opposing party in a different branch of government. If we look at the results, Republicans control every aspect of government. So no they aren't working.

A rebuttal to this argument is that not all Republicans support him therefore they won't accept all of his beliefs. Please notice the key word "all." The flaw in this statement is that though that is true, there will be some of Trump's policies that will pass very quickly. If I may list a few:

-Restrictions on or overturning Obergefell v. Hodges (gay marriage).
-Repeal and replace Obamacare (removing insurance from 15 million Americans).
-Extreme vetting for Muslims, refugees, and most immigrants.
-Build a wall (this is a joke, it won't pass but they can deport more people, increase border patrol, and restrict visas which can happen).
-Confirm an alternative right judge (opposite of progressive left, think of the anti-Bernie).
-Say goodbye to privacy and abortion rights (Sorry but under law these are intertwined together, privacy with abortion or no privacy and abortion rights).
-Expansion of corporate prisons and the death penalty.
-Removing equal pay and equal opportunity for women, and LGBTQ.
-Removing or severely limiting affirmative action.
-Creation of more Voter ID laws and voting requirements to restrict Millennials.

And is there anyone able to defend these? No. No there isn't. It'll all go the right with no restrictions. There won't be any compromise. There won't be any mercy. Just swift destruction of progressive policies.

Judicial Review can't help when it's also in control of the majority party. And it's actually worse considering that Chief Roberts is a conservative who practices judicial activism.

With no aspect of democracy protecting minority rights, it is easy to suppress their voice. Therefore I am still afraid.

I Am Afraid

I am afraid.

Truly, genuinely afraid.

I'm at a loss for words at our country has just done.

Politics shouldn't make me fear for my future. It shouldn't make me feel ashamed of where I am. It shouldn't make me fear of expressing my opinion or losing every value I hold dear.

Today 18 transgenders in San Francisco killed themselves. Today 2 Somalians were beaten for the color of their skin. Today Muslims were told not to wear a Hijab. Today 119 women were raped. Today I was called to "go back to where you came from!"

Today I had 4 panic attacks and I'm scared.

People question why there's riots and protests going on right now. They say it's irrational. But at the moment, it's all we can do. Be irrational... and live in fear. Minority rights are under attack and we're scared.

Monday, November 7, 2016

My Days

So college is pretty cool so far.

I'm a statistics major but hey let's change it up to finance major and triple minor with economics, statistics, and management.

I'm an ambitious weirdo. First off that will probably not happen but hey at least I have a goal. Though unrealistic I'm fairly optimistic.

I'm high on life.

The sun is shining, I can keep on smiling, and if you look closeup, life is going up and up.

Passed two midterms.

Made food.

Doing homework.

And as I'm about to leave for school again it hit me.

I looked in my mirror and I found him. Look at that college student in the mirror. That college student. In a new state, with some new strangers, with hobbies and classes he loved. He's an adult. And he seems happy.

I am happy.

Prophecies and Me

Now that we're done talking about the abstract, since I'm a selfish butt sometimes, let's talk about me.

(The last part maybe? If you haven't read the first two parts please scroll down to the beginning of this story 2 posts ago.)

How does one know whether or not to serve a mission? The answer is actually quite simple. You pray about it. 

In the last few weeks I’ve been praying consistently to whether or not I should serve a mission. When I started praying I felt a lot of nothing. As I kept going days went by, soon a few weeks went by and I started to become angry and cynical. I’m at a loss for words, I felt like Heavenly Father was my friend and he left. I cried unto him and I felt like I’ve committed mistakes to the point where I didn’t deserve him in my life. I wanted to ask him where is he? And why wasn’t he answering my question? For a few days I felt lost. I didn’t pray I started to think that prayer didn’t help and it was selfish of me. It wasn’t until I started this assignment that I felt like I found my answer. When I prayed to him one more time I believed I received an answer. I prayed the way that was honest and simple. I spoke informally. I asked him directly and in a moment of sheer silence I felt a calm like he was there embracing me. That same night I prayed again and I asked whether or not I should serve a mission and again I felt nothing. Confused, I decided to ponder that night and sleep to find out what this nothingness might mean in the morning. I woke up, refreshed, prayed one more time and I received an answer. The same one, but this time it was more than that. It’s hard to explain that there was something out of nothingness (the same way Jesus created the world) however at that moment I felt like it wasn’t the right time, and that’s what he’s been telling me the whole time. It’s not that I shouldn’t serve a mission, but right now it is not in the Lord’s plan for me to go. The next day (today), I decided to change my question to something more, “if it is not my mission to preach the Gospel in other places, what do you want me to do? What do you expect of me? What do you want me to pray for?” Fortunately my answer came immediately. I started doing my homework and instantly I felt joy (strange I know). It was at that moment, I felt like he wanted me to better the world in other ways through education by educating myself, and more importantly, helping others through what I’ve learned. From this answer I decided to change my majors/minors I know can benefit others. It won’t be an easy class benefitting just me, it won’t be a class that sacrifices talents for convenience, it’ll challenge me a lot and I’m scared. It’s not going to be easy but I know it’s what Heavenly Father wants me to do, and through him I will find strength to persevere and succeed. 

Now this doesn't mean I'll never serve a mission because it may happen if I feel prompted to go, but what it does mean is that for right now it is not part of Heavenly Father's plan for me to go. 

Oh also I fasted about it today and I think it reaffirmed this answer. If anything, I think this can also be interpreted as trying to spread my roots deeper in the Gospel. 

Let me explain. 

In the Book of Mormon there is one original allegory, which is the allegory of the Olive Tree (Jacob 5). In it contains an image that can be seen as a prophecy that in the restoration the tops of the trees are outgrowing its roots. Meaning though we are baptizing a lot, it is meaningless if they don't develop their own testimonies. Saying that spirituality and intellect should be the church's dominant feature, not a membership count. It is no wonder why we currently have the lowest growth rate in the last 70 years at 1.7%, we are sending young boys who may not have experience to teach strangers about things that seems stranger because they may not even understand it. This is why motivation is important. Because regardless of one's knowledge, their motivation can define how it'll shape the lives of others and themselves.

Huh... Maybe that is my mission. To better help the world, maybe I'm here to strengthen other people's roots and my own. Though not as a formal mission, this place seems as good a place as any to just cultivate our roots. 

Motives to Fly Away

So what are motives to go on a mission?

(By the way this is a part two of the other post but I'm posting it in parts because I believe it would simplify it like segmenting a market in homogeneous groups.)

There are many reasons to go with the most emphasized one being because you have a desire to go and you feel you are commanded to go on a mission. In what I once believed as an ideal world, this is the only motivation to go on a mission and because it is genuinely good, they should go on a mission.

However I was soon proven wrong.

There are other reasons to why people go on missions. For simplicity I will refer specifically to guys (I'm not doing this because I am sexist or anything of the sort, because I'm not sexist, but only to simplify an already complicated topic because of lack of time).

Let's be realistic and intellectual. Other reasons why guys go on missions are because they feel obligated to go, even if they have no desire to go. Peer pressured into going because everyone else is. Going on a mission for husband points because they know it's easier to get married as an RM (returned missionary). They go to other to other nations to run away from their old lives for solace. And flirt to convert others into the church.

Just to list a few.

I didn't know some of these existed until I arrived in BYU. In fact, there are even some who are blatantly lying to their stake presidents (church leader) so that the can go even though most of their friends know they are unworthy. And that's sad... A mission is supposed to be a sacred action between you and the Lord, where you fulfill his work. Confounding His doctrines with the hopes of marriage or to flirt with others is wrong. It's not only sacrilegious but it's also disgusting that they would use something as sacred as this as a strategy to sleep with someone. And unfortunately some RM's pull it off.

Myth: If you're a returned missionary, you're so much more mature and holier than everyone else. Please excuse my language but that's bullshit. Sure it may mean you have sacrificed a part of your life to the Lord and that's honorable but does not guarantee that you are more spiritual than anyone else on campus. It's simply an additional experience. In three months I've met good RM's and ones that I later reported to the honor code office for lewd behavior and sexual misconduct, and others that though didn't do anything explicitly wrong have disgusted me to the core. For instance, I've met groups who degraded women to tally marks, groups who would imagine/brag sexual positions with their female friends for entertainment and one guy who said, "the church should excommunicate anyone who disagrees with me," and, "at first I thought I was an atheist but nah I'm a god."

Of course this does not mean that all RM's are like this, these are extreme examples and we shouldn't base assumptions by extrapolating on outliers. There are a lot of great returned missionaries who I love and are currently my best friends. But regardless of whether or not they served a mission it DOES NOT MAKE THEM EXEMPTED from the temptations and sins in the world.

On a lighter tone others go on a mission because they feel peer pressured or obligated to go. And if that's the case then I don't think that's enough of a reason to go. This is 10% of your life, if you don't feel comfortable going to the church you are only going to feel angry and frustrated with the church for leaving you in a place you don't know. It wouldn't be a fulfilling moment but rather a moment that you'll regret. As awesome as a mission is, if you don't have your own intrinsic desire to go then it is a mistake that will ruin your testimony and it wouldn't convert anyone. If you don't have a strong testimony or desire to go then this isn't a spiritual experience, this is an experience that will only deter one from the truth.

If you do want to go on a mission and genuinely want to go, then it is right for you. It can bring so many blessings to you and generations upon generations of people.


First of all some background. I'm a Mormon (just in case my name didn't make it obvious enough). Anywho in our church we have this tradition when a guy turns 18, where he has the obligation to serve a mission. First off, notice I said obligation. Meaning it is not necessarily required because it is our choice to whether or not we should go. Secondly a mission is a two year trip/quest/adventure where we proselyte and serve the Lord through service and preaching the Gospel.

As most of you probably already know or can imagine, there are criticisms to this action.

Why do you want to go?
What's so important about it?
Isn't that expensive?
You're sacrificing way too much for your God aren't you?
Is it worth it?
What's your motivation?
Is it because you want to or because others are telling you to?

Of course it's easy to dismiss these criticisms however that wouldn't make us a smarter generation only an ignorant one. And I hate that because that means I don't know what I'm talking about.

So let's address them.

I want to go because it's what I'm commanded to do, and I believe it would help generations upon generations to come to the church, while also strengthening my own testimony. It's important because it has the capacity to bring joy, faith, and love in other people's lives that they may not have experienced before. Yes, it is expensive and self-funded but totally worth it. If God gave me my life, then is giving him 10% (of it so far) so much of a sacrifice. And finally the tipping point is the motivation.

Maybe not as emphasized in the church but this is the concept that can destroy an entire mission, a testimony, and the lives of everyone around you.