27 May 2008

Post 131

Last night I watched Intolerable Cruelty with my roommates. It was a good flick; I kinda enjoyed it. The humor was fast and clever but never called attention to itself, so I occasionally found myself thinking, "I think something funny just happened, but I totally missed it." Therefore I feel confident in saying that this movie probably gets better the more times you watch it.

I understand now why Thmazing likes it so much.

More than reviewing the movie, though, I'd like to ramble about some thoughts that've been going round and round in my head of late. [I've never really understood that convention: "of late"? What the heck is that supposed to mean, anyway? Grammatically, I mean. It just seems so archaic. Why do people even use it when we have "lately" at our disposal?] It was funny to me that I had just been out on a long walk, monologuing to myself about a certain topic, and then I came home and watched Intolerable Cruelty, which dealt with that same topic, so now I can talk about it in reference to this movie that I'm pretending to review and no one will know that this movie review is just a pretense and that I'm actually following my own private agenda. Oh! I'm so sneaky.

Anyway, I wanna ramble about the concept of independence. I'ma gonna go out on a limb here and say that the desire to be independent is not a righteous desire, and my comments section is, as ever, wide open for disagreement, dissension, and mudslinging. So. Onward!

In Intolerable Cruelty, Marylin is seeking independence. She spuriously marries wealthy men so she can divorce them and take their money, but she doesn't claim to be a simple gold digger; she says that money means independence, and independence is what she really wants. Marriage and divorce are merely means to get money, and money is merely a means to get independence--and--and--uh....

I give up. Here's what's on my mind:

So many people seem to be driven by a desire to be completely independent, to transcend their reliance on other people and society as a whole, to transcend their reliance on organizations and support groups, and ultimately (in some cases) to transcend their reliance on any sort of Supreme Being. I doubt many readers of this blog would argue that we ought to try to become independent of God, but I think that our delusions of other forms of independence are nearly as crippling.

My parents raised me to become independent--at least, that's what my Mom's always lamenting because, as it turns out, they did a bang up job of it: we kids never come to visit much. I remember a few months ago when a friend of mine told me that she was planning to leave at the beginning of the summer, I was honestly confused.

"Where are you gonna go?" I asked.

"Um. Home," she said, as though I were mildly retarded.

Oh. Why on earth would anyone do that? It just doesn't make sense in my head. I mean, I love my parents, and I'm always happy to see them; I call them every Sunday just to say hello and chat for a while, but I could never go back to living with them! That, to me, would be an indication of regression.

Yet, in the Gospel, we're always talking about sealing all the generations together, and we talk about heaven in terms of families; heck, Joseph Smith said that we'll have the same sociality in the Celestial Kingdom that we have here (D&C 130:2). Furthermore, from a more biological and less theological standpoint, we humans are social creatures; that's our nature even if we are constantly fighting against it.

But I'm not really talking about kids and parents drifting apart. No, it is good and healthy for offspring to leave the nest to build a nest of their own. I'm talking about the lack of trust we have in each other. I know some people who are so guarded that they are little more than a facade; they hide deep within themselves and never let anyone inside to meet them. They build a fortress from the bricks of bad experience with the mortar of pain and set a guard out front. Sometimes the guard is a jester; other times, a brute. Either way, the royal soul inside wastes away, unknown and unknowable. [Little over the top? Hopefully not too much....]

I think I understand solitude better than many people my age. Maybe not, but I like to think I do. My long walks after dark are almost a nightly occurrence; I'm just the sort of guy who needs some alone time on a fairly regular basis. I don't consider myself an antisocial person; I just like my solitude. It's refreshing to walk alone in the middle of the night: my mind clears, I pray aloud, and life starts to make sense.

On the other hand, I know all too well how crippling solitude can be, and I know the pain of isolation. For one who claims to love his solitude, I sure do find myself grappling with intense loneliness a lot, and I find it hard to believe that people who hole up deep within themselves and never let anyone get too close can ever be truly happy. And I worry about those people a lot because I know that, beneath that smooth exterior, a sea of emotion is roiling just below a boil. The thing that scares me most is that, we're all so oblivious to what's inside of people, there's rarely any way to know the time bomb's ticking until it goes off.

I propose, then, that, if we all shot for interdependence rather than independence, we'd all be a lot better off. So, I dunno, like, go give someone a hug, or something, before the whole world explodes.

26 May 2008

Post 130

According to Nephi (whom I deem very trustworthy even if he was a little tactless sometimes), Lehi "dwelt at Jerusalem in all his days" prior to their family exodus into the wilderness (1 Nephi 1:4). So Lehi was born and raised in Jerusalem, raised his children to adulthood there, was prosperous and wealthy, probably very comfortable, and then the Lord told him he had to leave.

It seems to me that that would be a frightening call: to go out into the desert, not really knowing where you're heading--I would be a little hesitant. But Lehi, far from showing any signs of worry or doubt, seems to have never batted the proverbial eye at this idea. In fact, after he had sent his sons back for the plates, when his wife was totally wigging out on him and saying that he sent their sons off to die and that he and she were going to die now too--even at this very low point early on in the journey--just a few days into their decade-long journey--Lehi says, "I have obtained a land of promise, in the which things I do rejoice" (1 Nephi 5:5).

Lehi, you're still a decade away from that land of promise, and your wife is losing faith already because she thinks your sons are dead! You haven't obtained a land of promise; you're stuck in the desert!

But Lehi understood that, when God promises you something, it's yours; even before you receive it, if God says you can have something, you don't have to worry about delivery dates or bumps along the road because you can have absolute confidence that it will be yours.

And, if God calls you to move away from the only place you've ever known, taking you from a life of cold comfort into the scorching desert, and your sons rebel, and your wife complains, and you run out of food--just know that His promises will be fulfilled.

Sometimes God calls us to do things that we don't want to do, things that don't make any sense from our limited perspective. Sometimes He forces us to wait a long time for things that we think we ought to receive now. But I'm sure that He knows best--certainly He knows far better than we can--so just be patient a bit. Go out into that desert; water that burnt offering; "fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them," and all will be well.

23 May 2008

Post 129

They did it! They really did it!

Good work, Mr. Lucas: you finally managed to not screw up. It's been so long....

So, I just saw the latest Indiana Jones. It was great; I loved it. They actually managed to capture the happy, feel-good adventure flick sentiment that we all loved in the originals. And, if you have any grasp on the concept of cinematographic omage, then this movie has got a lot for you.

I'm not going to go through the trouble of trying to sum up the plot for you (but if you like that, Roger Ebert's review is great). But I do wanna say that, when the movie began with Commies forcing Indy to guide them to a box in a government warehouse, I was sure it had to be the Arc of the Covenant--but I quickly figured out that I was wrong. Nevertheless, I thought to myself, "If they let this scene end without at least mentioning the Arc, I'm totally gonna walk." [Sidenote: in reality, I probably wouldn't have walked out because I was on a date, but that was my sentiment.] I was much relieved that they didn't let me down.

There was another scene when I was so sure I was seeing the Breath of God that I almost shouted, "Penitent man kneel!" but I resisted the urge. Also, at one point it looked as though the the crazy lady was gonna try the heart-ectomy a la Temple of Doom on Indy, and I coulda sworn he was thinkin' the same thing, but maybe I was just looking too hard. The one that made me the happiest, though, was the Han Solo bit--that was awesome (I thought; I certainly don't regret saying, "Ha ha ha" loudly while slapping my knee).

Overall, I found the movie quite enjoyable--which is totally astonishing since I probably would've thought beforehand that the sight of a flying saucer coming out of an Amazon temple ruin would be enough to turn me off to any movie.

Anyway, if you like Indiana Jones, I'm fairly confident in saying that Kingdom of the Crystal Skull will probably not disappoint. Sure, it's a little out there, but if you could swallow the other movies, this one shouldn't strain your willing suspension of disbelief too terribly.

Oh, and if you're a Scrubs fan, then you'll be absolutely ecstatic to know that the Janitor makes an appearance, and he totally interrogates Indy--that was a proud moment in Hollywood history. At least, it certainly got this little butterfly squeaking with glee; I had to bottle my shout of "THE JANITOR'S TOTALLY IN INDIANA JONES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" and save it till I got home.

22 May 2008

Post 128


Kay. So. Let's give new depth and meaning to the concept of "suck," shall we?

One of my roommates is a big fan of Scrubs, and we all watch it with him occasionally. I enjoy it; it's usually at least mildly entertaining, and it's often quite funny. Of course, we all love Dr. Cox best of all. Honestly, the writers responsible for fueling that character's scathing wit are a-mazing, and John McGinley pulls it of so well. This is prime-time television at its finest--and it is fine (though Scrubs isn't really prime-time, I don't suppose).

Anyway, a few days ago, I was wandering about in the library with a few of my roommies, and we saw a movie that had John McGinley on the cover, so we picked it up and brought it home. The movie is called Car 54, Where Are You?

A couple of nights ago, I decided to look it up on Rotten Tomatoes. Do me a favor and just follow this link really quickly; you don't have to stay long, just follow it and take a look at that rating. You ready? CLICK HERE!

Did you see that?? That's hard to do! I mean, sure, Rotten Tomatoes can be pretty brutal sometimes, but a zero percent? How bad must a movie be to get a rating like that?

So then I went to the Internet Movie Database because, ya know, Rotten Tomatoes only had 12 reviews, so maybe it just so happened that only 12 bitter people had the motivation to say anything about it, but at IMDb, it only got two stars out of ten--and that was from more than 2000 votes!

Intrigued, I went over to Amazon to see what people there had said, and it was more of the same, so I have decided to compile some of my favorite reviews and publish them here for your enjoyment:

Courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes

David Mills of the Washington Post called it "a stupid movie. Stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid. If you pay money to see it, then you're stupid. I got paid to see it, and I feel stupid." (The full review, which isn't much longer than that, can be found here.)

TV Guide's movie guide said, "[Q]uite simply, it isn't very funny."

Courtesy of IMDb

Terminal Madness said, "I saw this when I was 10 years old and this gave me a stomache ache.... honestly! I'm not kidding. That's how bad it is. Serious."

Other reviews are entitled such things as "This is the worst movie I have ever seen," "THIS MOVIE SUCKED!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!" and "This movie haunts my child hood."

Courtesy of Amazon.com

Larry Cardonick of Philadelphia said that "you'll get more yucks staring at a clock. A stopped one at that. The makers of this mess should be arrested. Avoid at all costs."

J. D Hill of Phoenix called it "Just plain hideously bad," saying that "I probably shouldn't even be acknowledging the existence of this film by giving it a rating."

Donna H. Winchill of Clemson, SC said, "The movie considered to be the worst movie ever is Ed Wood's PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE. That movie was more entertaining than this."

But by far my favorite review came from an anonymous Amazon customer who said, "I was given this by a man who cannot read or do simple math. He lives on the end of my block. I drive him places because he does not have a car. He gave it to me because he said, 'this is terrible.' When a man of that social standing says something's terrible, it is. This is horrible."

So there you go: horribly horrible movie, it seems. And it's sitting in our living room--oh how can we resist?

We can't, frankly--or, at least, we couldn't. Three of us sat down together to relentlessly mock the extreme lame-osity that we were sure would ooze from our screen.

We tried; we really did. Please understand me: we tried. But there was just nothing there! This movie is so terrible, it can't be mocked; there's nothing substantial enough to mock! We couldn't ever say things like, "Gee, that joke was, uh--it was pretty funny, huh guys?" because we couldn't identify any jokes! The movie was completely lacking in funny! It was so devoid of entertainment, so comedically deficient--furthermore, the acting was so poor and the writing so incoherent--I say, the movie was so lacking in every possible way that we could find nothing to ridicule! It was like they weren't even trying! We couldn't finish it. We selected a few random scenes, looking for something intriguing, but there was nothing--nothing--there was nothing to be found.

The fact that this movie exists boggles my mind. Where did it come from? Who supported it? What series of tragic head traumas induced its inception? I cannot imagine....

The craziest thing is that there are so many big names in it. The best we can figure is that these people signed a contract that went something like, "I will participate in the production of the worst excuse for cinema ever to be created in exchange for opportunities for greatness elsewhere later on." Seriously, here is a list of famous people who appear in the movie (not that I'm a fan of all these folks; mostly I'm just trying to make a point):

John C. McGinley
David Johansen (think New York Doll who was a ghost in Scrooged)
Fran Dresser
Rosie O'Donnell
Daniel Baldwin
Jeremy Piven
Penn & Teller
The Ramones
Lee Arenberg (in Pirates of the Caribbean, he played the wooden-eyed pirate's buddy)

So--what went wrong here?

I don't know, but, whatever it was, it went terribly, terribly wrong.

Had I watched it all the way through, Car 54, Where Are You? would definitely be the worst movie I've ever seen. As it is, it very well may be the worst I've never seen--and that's probably saying a lot, given the number movies I haven't seen....

16 May 2008

Post 127

I is a diphthong and so is you!

13 May 2008

Post 126

So, I got an email today from JetBlue that informed me of a promotion that's going on right now, and it is quite possibly the strangest email I have ever received. The rules of the game go like this:

Step 1: Register for the promotion on their website.

Step 2: Between May 5th and 16th, book a roundtrip flight for sometime before June 11th

Step 3: Receive a $50 voucher that is valid toward any flight between September 3rd and October 31st.

Um. I just don't know how many people could possibly benefit from such an offer....

10 May 2008

Post 125

I caught most of The Last Crusade on TV today. Indiana Jones is--I dunno--it's fun; I kinda like it. Something about how unabashedly over-the-top it is somewhat charming. It's the first time in several years that I've seen anything from any of the Indiana Jones movies; I'd forgotten how exciting they were when I was a child.

In The Last Crusade, a bad man shoots the elder Dr. Jones and then demands that Indy go retrieve the Holy Grail. Knowing that the Grail is the only thing that can save his father, Indy goes for the Grail. That made sense to me when I was younger, but today it kinda caught me off guard. I mean, I can understand wanting to save your father's life, but is that really worth granting infinite longevity to an evil man--or any man, really: we were not meant to live forever in this state.

Now, I realize that the question is nearly absurd because this is not a possible situation to have, but the principles of this conundrum are fascinating to me. I can't think of a similar predicament that might actually come up real life, but I think there must be one. I think standing up for what is right when your own life is pretty intense, but to sacrifice the life of a loved one for the greater good--I can't imagine.

I'm sure there's a statement regarding the Atonement to be made here, but I daresn't liken the suffering of the Christ to Indiana Jones, so I'll call this good for now; I prefer raising questions to making statements anyway.

Post 124

Thoughts on Alma 12:

"A Plan of Thine Adversary" (Alma 12:5)

In Alma 11, Zeezrom (a lawyer) tried to get Amulek (a missionary) to deny his testimony of Christ by offering him a ridiculous amount of money (a judge in those days made a senum a day (11:3), and Zeezrom offered Amulek six ontis (11:22), which is equal to 42 senums (11:11-13), so Zeezrom offered Amulek 42 times whatever a judge's daily wage was). In response to this bribery, Amulek totally confounded Zeezrom by teaching pure doctrine. Now that we're in chapter 12, Zeezrom is asking honest questions and Alma is teaching him beautiful truths.

In verse 5, Alma says to Zeezrom, "Now this [the bribery attempt] was a plan of thine adversary, and he hath exercised his power in thee." This is, to me, a fascinating statement. I have often heard the devil referred to as the adversary, but here Alma calls him Zeezrom's adversary. There's a great truth here: the devil is never your friend. No matter what you do to serve the guy, he's never going to support you. (We see this a few chapters later when Korihor (and anti-Christ) is killed by some Zoramites (who were also opposed to Christianity).)

"What Is Meant by the Chains of Hell" (Alma 12:9-11)

In v9-11, Alma teaches Zeezrom that, if a man is willing to obey God and receive His word, he will eventually come to know the mysteries of God "in full." BUT, for those who harden their hearts, "to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell." Might we postulate, then, that

ignorance = chains of hell

I'm not entirely convinced that ignorance is the best word (though it might be made more accurate with a descriptor like "willful"), but I think that the above statement approaches truth (perhaps asymptotically, I don't know). Either way, I think it's safe to say that we should ever seek to be learning, and, if one day we find ourselves no longer learning, then we probably need to repent and change lest we be "taken captive by the devil."

"After Having Made Known unto Them the Plan of Redemption" (Alma 12:32)

Just kind of in passing, Alma says (speaking of Adam and Eve) that "God gave them commandments, after having made known unto them the plan of redemption" (12:32). The plan of salvation (or redemption or happiness or--lots of other things) gives context to the commandments. It's hard for someone to understand the purpose of commandments if they don't have some understanding of the overarching reason for life and existence in general. The plan of salvation is about as fundamental as doctrine gets. I propose that the plan of salvation is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ; if you can think of a "doctrine" that is not some how included in the plan of salvation, then it probably isn't terribly pertinent to salvation (or, worse yet, it may simply not be true).

We, Us, Our (Alma 12:37)

I really appreciate that, in the closing verse of this sermon, when Alma encourages everyone to repent, he doesn't exclude himself from the admonition:

And now, my brethren, seeing we know these things, and they are true, let us repent, and harden not our hearts, that we provoke not the Lord our God to pull down his wrath upon us [...] but lest us ender into the rest of God, which is prepared according to his word.

I really like this about the righteous leaders (both political and spiritual) in the Book of Mormon. King Benjamin labored for his own support (Mosiah 2:12, 24), and Alma, as chief judge, fought on the front lines against the Amlicites and the Lamanites (Alma 2:29-34). This was the typical state of affairs among the Nephites when they were righteous. In Alma 1:26, we learn that

And when the priests left their labor to impart the word of God unto the people, the people also left their labors to hear the word of God. And when the priest had imparted unto them the word of God they all returned again diligently unto their labors; and the priest, not esteeming himself above his hearers, for the preacher was no better than the hearer, neither was the teacher any better than the learner; and thus they were all equal, and they did all labor, every man according to his strength.

And... uh.... Yeah. That's all. Sooooooooooo--[FULL STOP]

06 May 2008

Post 123

Heeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrre we go!

I just saw Iron Man. My opinion regarding fiction has been in an uproar in the past week or so, and my various thoughts, drifting like silt in a tide pool, have yet to settle, so expect some scatterbrainedness in the following review.

I had a pretty good handle on the premise of Iron Man when I entered the theater, and I told myself that, regardless of what the reviewers were saying, if Tony Stark didn't die in the end, this could not be solid fiction. But superheroes don't die--it runs counter to genre rules (at least in movies)--so I didn't go with high hopes for a tragic end.

SPOILER: Tony Stark does not die.


But I really think that the movie would have been solider if he had. I mean, the build up was there from the beginning; throughout the movie, his precarious health is a major issue. I mean, he built the first suit (it seems) because he didn't think that he had much time to live, and he wanted to go out with a bang! Tony Stark needed to die!

But heaven forbid we have a tragic superhero! How on earth can you have a sequel after the hero dies?

Well, there were several options presented in the film itself. I mean, it's always kinda cool to see a sidekick take center stage--makes for a great cliffhanger ending, too. And there's that one scene when Rhodes looks at the original suit and says something whimsical about how he'd like to use it some day. Well, have Tony die and Rhodes take over. It's perfect!

(My favorite option, though, would be to have Tony die and Pepper take over--can you say Iron Maiden?)

Anyway, even though the movie could have been higher quality fiction than what it was, it certainly had its moments. In fact, as far as superhero movies go, this was pretty impressive. I liked a lot of things about it, and I don't think that it would be a complete waste of your time if you went to go see it.

Good enough? Can I stop being nice now?

Good. Because I have more complaining to do....

What was up with the beginning chronology? Was that an attempt at in media res? 'Cuz, if it was, it was a pretty sorry excuse for it! Now, you must understand, I love in media res; I think it's wonderful. I'm all for starting a story in the middle and filling in the backstory as you go. And I kinda like when a story starts at one point and then flashes back, catches up to itself, and move on. Think Hudsucker Proxy: that worked well. Iron Man, not so much. It didn't do a thing for the story. And I have a theory (a bitterhearted theory, of course) as to why.

I'm going through a phase right now that involves an intense disliking for the notion of fiction. I don't like fiction.

Unfortunately, it really isn't that simple because I still like movies. But fictitious books--why on earth would I dedicate the time required to read a book on a book that isn't true? What's in it for me? I really don't think that the cost:benefit ratio is in my favor....

See, I've got this theory--a dream, of sorts--and I hope to one day have the tenacity to pursue it. I think--I really believe--that there are enough obscure, crazy stories in history that, if all we want is whizzbang wow-me's from our books and movies, then fiction ought to step aside. There is no craft in making fictitious wow-me's, and if fiction loses its craftiness, what good is it?

Now, please don't misunderstand. I recognize that aggregate of fiction probably isn't dominated by whizzbang wow-me's, but I fear that sensationalism is becoming too important both in fiction and in the world as a whole.

My discussions on fiction usually end up coming around to D&C 50:23 eventually, so I may as well put it here. The fact of the matter is that I am looking for things that enlighten me and increase my ability to be a worthwhile human being and not for things that simply permit me to escape reality. I have mentioned that I still like movies, and the fact that Charade and Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels are among my DVDs shows that even I enjoy a bit of simple entertainment from time to time, just not all the time.

Now, I realize that my beef may be with the nature of fiction itself. I mean, I assume that fiction has its roots in sensationalism; just look at Beowulf. But fiction has come a very long way from such roots, though I fear that it may be looping back or somehow imploding on itself.

In stark contrast to Beowulf, I suppose, stand the parables of Jesus, in which all story elements are only important insofar as they support the doctrinal message--useful in teaching, yes, but still not really what I'm looking for when I pick up a book from the library.

As I said at the beginning, I am still unsettled on my opinion of fiction; I'm undecided on what I think its place is. But I think that fiction has so much potential that is remaining totally untapped, and it's kinda becoming a lame horse--to me, at least. It seems that human ingenuity is ceasing to be a beast of burden and becoming more like--I dunno--a dancing monkey.

I'm not really that fatalistic--technology boom says human ingenuity is still plenty productive--but I'm just not sure that we create great works of fiction any more. And it makes me sad because, when I want some whizzbang, I never turn to fiction. I have this book that was published, I dunno, like, in the 30s or something. It's called Mademoiselle against the World. It's the autobiographical account of a globetrotting French woman, and it's far more sensational than most over-the-top action-adventure flicks--and it's a true story, which makes it even more sensational! Yet, this amazing story is almost entirely forgotten. Just think of how many stranger-than-fiction stories there must be in the annals of human history! I mean, "identity theft" is a household term these days, but I there are hundreds of pre-1900 instances of identity thieving that are way more exciting than spurious credit card charges--furthermore, I bet they wouldn't be terribly hard to dig up. See, if we just want to be wowed when we walk into a movie theater or pick up a book, writers ought to start probing history for some juicy stuff: just find some obscure story that's really cool and throw it into the public eye.

The task of writing fiction ought to be a lot more demanding than the mass production of cheap thrills--and a lot more meaningful, too. If you're going to feed me a book-long lie, it had better be a good one.

04 May 2008

Post 122

Of all the poignant passages of scriptures in my canon, none is so painful for me to read as are the various accounts in the four gospels of Jesus' crucifixion. But in that most painful story, there is one point that is, for me, the epitome of suffering, and that is Christ's exclamation given to us by Matthew and Mark, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

Jesus suffered a lot--certainly more than this little butterfly can comprehend--but I think that that was the most painful moment. I am sure that His Father had lovingly sustained Him from Gethsemane through His bogus trials and all the way to the cross, but in that moment when the Father withdrew, Christ the Lord, Creator of heaven and earth, cried out to Him from the depths of His soul, "My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?"

I don't pretend to know all the whys and hows of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, so I will not attempt to explain why God withdrew in that moment, but I point to that as a singular experience, one that we can never fully empathize with.

When we sin, we separate ourselves from God. By choosing to do things that He would not have us do, we choose to remove ourselves from His guidance and protection. Thus we may often find ourselves feeling forsaken by God, but such is never really the case; we never have cause to shout, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" but rather, "My God, my God, why have I forsaken thee?"--it's a big difference and an important one.

I know what it's like to be distanced from God. I have been one acquainted with the night, feeling alone and forsaken. But I invariably find that God, in all His unchangeableness, doesn't move far from where I last found Him, and if I can find the strength to get up and return, He will consecrate my efforts to do so.

Change can be hard, but it's always possible. I believe that the Atonement of Jesus Christ not only cleanses us but actually strengthens and enables us so that we don't have to make the same mistakes repeatedly. If we seek God, He'll seek us and help us to find Him. "Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you."

We are only as forsaken as we choose to be. Unlike Christ, who was perfectly sinless but had to be forsaken to descend below all things, we never have to be left alone for He will never forsake us if we cleave unto Him.

I sometimes do things that I know I shouldn't, and I can sometimes feel myself drifting away from God, but I know that returning is always possible and that separation is never necessary. Hope reigns supreme, for Christ has conquered all; we need only to stay as close to Him as we can and all will be well.