Quote of the Week

"I assure you that if you have to wait even until the next life to be blessed with a choice companion, God will surely compensate you."
President Ezra T. Benson, To the Single Adult Sisters of the Church, 1988.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Clinging to my Log

Clinging to my Log
By Michelle Llewellyn

Picture a Mark Twain log raft as an example of the traditional family unit. A man and woman meet with their two logs and lash them together. Children are added with their respective logs and soon a large raft has taken shape. Wise adults understand the importance of a well-constructed raft to navigate the often treacherous river that we call life. The man and woman work to maintain the rope lashings that hold each log in place; ever vigilant that these bonds remain secure. Everyone is kept safely aboard, protected from the dangers of the swirling, perilous water. The log raft floats lazily along in calm waters. All is well.

Until, the unthinkable occurs. The man and woman, through no fault of their own, declare this log raft inadequate for their needs. They regret their decision in coming together. The log unit they created is broken up. Perhaps the woman re-lashes her log with another. The children are left scrambling for their share of loose rope. They manage to hang on and survive the transition but his new, blended, log raft is weaker than the original. Still, everyone keeps insisting the only requirement a good log raft needs are a group of people who like each other enough to commit to creating a raft in the first place.

As the children of this blended log raft grow up, some find their own partners; break away from the log raft they grew up on to create their own rafts. The rest remain, dangling behind the makeshift raft everyone insists is much better than the original.

They aren’t alone. Up and down the river of life, these same scenarios are repeated as men and women constantly break up and re-form rafts. Occasionally they check to make sure the children’s logs are still with them but maintaining their own logs on a blended raft requires more attention. The ties once formed with the old logs from the original raft will never be the same. All they can do, they reason, is set a good example for how to keep a blended log raft afloat and hope, somehow, everything will work out.

In another part of the river, the man who broke away from his original log raft found others to create new, insistently better, log rafts with. Occasionally, he too will remember the children from that original raft and will shout his support and encouragement to his single children clinging to their own individual logs but, like his ex-log partner, maintaining connections amidst his own blended raft are more important. All he can do is hope his children understand how much he loves them and that he will always be there for them, despite the fact there is nothing he can do for them so far away; so completely disengaged from their lives.

On the river of life, it’s every log for themselves. If a log isn’t well connected to a larger family raft it is that log’s own fault. If a log can’t find another to form a strong raft with, there is nothing anyone can do for that log.

The oldest child from that original broken and reformed raft is now a single adult woman. She remains passive, holding fast to her only connection with a blended log raft. No strong, single man with his log ever floated by on the river of life and offered her the opportunity to join their two logs together to create a stable log raft. She is an outlier. She floats alone, determined not to make the same mistakes others have made in their hasty coupling and uncoupling of various log raft experiments. Logs of the same gender never interested her. Her desire was always to form just one raft in her life and she wants it to be the right one, thus securing a better future for the children that will one day come with their respective logs.

As the years on the river have passed, the meager ropes connecting her single log with her blended family raft have frayed. Her mother resents the fact she remains with this raft and has shouted numerous times over the roar of the rapids that it might be time for her to let go and create her own raft and cease this drag on her own. Just settle for the next single log that floats by, at least you won’t be alone. The daughter ignores this advice. She would prefer to be a single log, floating independent and free, than unhappily lashed to someone who felt compelled to join her.

It’s a difficult and frustrating choice. She grows weary of the pressure to either lower her standards or suffer the social stigma of a lifetime of solitude on the river of life. Holding out amidst the growing lack of strong men desirous to form a raft that will last for eternity brings no blessings. The single woman, realizing her lack of worth and value to anyone as an undesirable, single log can no longer be endured. At last, she succumbs and releases her grasp on the only connection she ever had to a stable, albeit shaky, log raft.  

Severing her connection she is carried downstream. Clinging to her log, she knows she is headed toward a waterfall. A single, unwanted woman, going to her death, yet, she is at peace. Numerous times she was told by the experienced river guides that her only hope in navigating the river of life alone was that someone or something better awaited her on the other side of the falls. Her final destination.  

Image result for log raft image

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

36 Questions

Today’s post was inspired after reading this Deseret News National article about relationships. A study was done exploring love and compatibility developed by Arthur Aron at State University of New York at Stony Brook that was published not long ago in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
In another article, someone actually tried this experiment to make herself fall in love and it worked!

There’s actually 72 questions. The study was divided into two “games” where each couple was given a bunch of slips of paper with one question written on it which they were to answer and discuss with each other. The two categories were:
Interpersonal Closeness and Small Talk

It was fun to read through the Interpersonal Closeness questions as I’ve often fantasized what it might be like to discuss such topics with someone I could call my soul mate. Instead, I had to answer them all-by-my-lonesome. Since I have never (either now or at any time in my life) had a partner to share these topics with, I will share them here, with the world, on my blog.

I would encourage anyone reading this to do the same, either with the person they love or by yourself, as I did, as a good exercise in self-reflection and evaluating your personal values.

36 Questions for Closeness-Generating Procedure

1.      Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

That’s an easy one. Those who know me best will recite the answer along with me: Paul “Bono” Hewson, lead singer of U2, of course! We’ll start the discussion on their latest album, Songs of Innocence, which wasn’t very impressive (as thousands of grumbling public voices agreed after hearing their free download on iTunes) and why it might very well be their first “crap album.” Then Bono can listen to me sing his praises about his efforts to use his money and celebrity status to make a difference in the world. The fact he’s always been a faithful husband and dedicated father to his wife and four children has always been more important to me than anything else, aside from the music. Alison Hewson is also welcome to join us at the dinner table. I’m not trying to steal your husband, Ali, I promise!

2.      Would you like to be famous? In what way?

Of course! In our current culture obsession with fame and popularity, who wouldn’t want five-hundred thousand internet followers while the commercial industry beats a path to your door with multimillion-dollar contract offers? These days, if the right circumstances come along, all you have to do is work at Target (if your name is Alex) to achieve such success. As for me, I’d prefer being a famous author as my claim to fame.

3.      Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

Well, this one’s easy enough. Yes, I think all of us have done this at one time or another. Why? So we don’t sound like stupid idiots, of course! I always rehearse, even when I know I’ll be talking to a computer automated voice, I’m determined to be smarter than the machine.

4.      What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

      Hmmm, let’s see. My fantasy of a perfect day is living the life of the now outdated, anti-feminist, 1950’s housewife. I’m sorry, but after twenty-plus years of working my ass off in order to pay my own bills, studying my ass off to obtain college degrees and certifications, traveling, volunteering and babysitting other people’s kids; I’m ready to experience some of those greener pastures for myself. I WANT the stewardship of seeing my breadwinner out the door to his job, spending my days wiping noses, overseeing naptimes, building outrageous models out of Legos, cleaning house, chauffeuring kids to soccer, tending a backyard garden, playing the piano, reading a good book (when I can spare a minute), and looking forward to an upcoming Friday “date night” with my wonderful, eternal companion who is feeling a little stressed out with his job, family and church duties right now and needs me, his all-wise, all-supportive, loving wife to tell him he’s doing great and we’ll muddle through this together. After homework, family dinnertime, family games on the iPhone or some other wholesome activity, baths, prayers and tucking the little monsters into bed, hubby and I look at each other in disbelief that we actually made it through another day and could still remember each other’s name. We then make wild, passionate love until we pass out in exhaustion because, hey, it’s my “perfect” day! Anastasia Steele, eat your heart out.

5.      When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

I caught myself singling along to “Love Runs Out” by One Republic just the other night as I was doing dishes while my iTunes shuffled through my favorite playlist. I last sang to my two-year old nephew, Charlie, at my mom and step-dad’s house at the piano that no one else in the family ever uses. Charlie was doing his best to pound out what constituted as music to his ears, but he finally agreed to let his aunt have a turn. There was an open Children’s Songbook in front of us and since little Charlie is already acquiring a list of favorite primary songs, he requested, “I am a Child of God,” one of Mormonism’s most popular songs, especially among the younger set. He joined me in singing the chorus. I’m glad my sister makes a nightly habit of singing to her babies before tucking them into bed and whenever the opportunity arises, I do the same.

6.      If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

I’d have to go with the body of a 30 year old because my mind is already pretty sharp and I plan to keep it that way. Alzheimer’s doesn’t run in my family (but cancer does). When I think of all the knowledge I’ve acquired over the last 10 years; I wouldn’t want to lose that.

7.      Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

I’ll die an old maid, of course. A wholesome, untouched virgin that plenty of men wanted, but not in the way I wanted. I often speculate who will find my cold, dead body since I live alone in a world where patriarchy is already dead.

8.      Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

                                                      What partner?

9.      For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

My two nephews, Calvin (age 8) and Charlie, (age 2) of course! Both the children of my happily married younger sister. Thanks for letting me be part of their lives!

10.  If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

Ray and Linda Llewellyn won’t like hearing this, but I wish they hadn’t always been such narcissistic assholes. Growing up, it seemed to me they always valued themselves and their own lives and happiness over their five children.
Stepdad, Alan Scholes, was always too disengaged from my life to take any interest in it. He had five boys living outside the home to maintain a relationship with.
Linda Scholes had her new husband to flaunt in my face.
Ray Llewellyn (living in another state) always made sure he had a woman in his life to keep him company.
Who was left to take any interest in MY life?

Gee, this is getting depressing. And we’re not even halfway through the list yet!

11.  Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

I’ll spare you those painful details. However, my life does contain pleasant events. We took fun family vacations to the lake or amusement parks. I’d lead my younger siblings in putting on wild theatricals, make up games to play outside and we’d roam the neighborhood on our bikes as part of those carefree, innocent days of childhood in the 1980’s. We’d go out to dinner and to the movies as a family (both during the years as a biological and blended step-family), attend church together and hold family scripture and prayer study (both before and after the divorce). My best date was in 1994 when my college friend Mandy turned down Roger and set him up with me and we ended up having a good time together. I managed to get a good education, earned enough money flipping burgers and washing dishes to support myself so my life wasn’t the dark, bleak Dickensian life I sometimes make it out to be. I just wish more good had come out of all the effort I put into preparing myself to be somebody’s companion, helpmeet wife and mother but, alas, it was never to be. That pretty much ends my life.

12.  If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

If I can’t wake up tomorrow with the ability to make a good man fall desperately in love with me and want to start a family with me, then I’d like the ability to succeed in a satisfying job or career that paid more than $25,000 a year. Simple, right?

13.  If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future, or anything else, what would you want to know?

I think many of the previous questions already covered this one. I suppose the crystal ball would point out the many superficial faults marrieds enjoy telling singles: I have a bad attitude, don’t make myself attractive enough, should just be patient and keep waiting or that Prince Charming will knock on my door at approximately *blank* time and day. I’m sure the majority would say they’d love the crystal ball to show them swimming like Scrooge McDuck in a roomful of money. You can buy anything in this world with money, except (Mormon temple) marriage.

14.  Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?

Um, because it takes two people (or at least two incomes) to make a marriage, baby, mortgage or even a satisfying career; at some point in all our lives, somebody has to open that door of opportunity for us. Somebody has to make the choice and pick YOU, out of all the other candidates for that dream job or dream date that might lead to marriage and happiness. I’ve done all I can while watching all my dreams fade away…

15.  What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

I wish I could say, “Serving an LDS mission,” or “All the hours I’ve spent babysitting my nephews,” but I have to choose obtaining my two bachelor’s degrees. Even if they never bring me a satisfying career, I worked hard, learned a lot and (for the most part) enjoyed the experience of being part of the campus life at two different universities in the state of Utah.

16.  What do you value most in a friendship?

Kindness. Growing up I didn’t have many friends but those I counted as friends were always the ones who didn’t join the others in bullying or teasing but included the social outcasts like me in their conversations and activities. I always made an effort to return such kind favors so I had friends to help me celebrate birthdays, go on group dates and just hang out.
So, everyone, just be kind. To me, that is real friendship.

17.  What is your most treasured memory?

I’m afraid I don’t have one. Holding my nephew Calvin for the first time in my sister’s hospital room, I suppose. That was the moment Bono got knocked off his pedestal.

18.  What is your most terrible memory?

Ouch! This might get painful. Linda Higginbotham Llewellyn and Ray Llewellyn weren’t immune to the occasional slapping or kicking of the little innocents under their care when they felt justified in exercising unrighteous dominion. Even Alan Scholes slapped my ass once. Then there was that morning in October 1995 when I was nearly raped in my own bed by a strange intruder. Oh, wait, I can only pick ONE?

19.  If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?

This is a good one. Many people would probably make drastic changes in their work schedule to spend more time with their family. For me, there’s nothing I would change. That year can’t pass quickly enough because nothing ever changes for me. I can’t wait to die!

20.  What does friendship mean to you?

Please see my answer to question #16.

21.  What roles do love and affection play in your life?

One of the hardest parts about being single and living alone is that utter lack of physical affection. It’s especially tough if you grew up in a family that didn’t show a lot of physical affection. As I grew older, I’d hug and kiss my younger brothers but they would push me away. Our mom encouraged this. It seems everyone loved reminding me that there must be something hideously wrong with me to be *blank* age and never had a boyfriend. No one is going to associate themselves with someone like that. Love and affection? What are those? I’m lucky to get hugs and kisses from my two favorite nephews; that’s the extent of any love and affection I’ll ever know in this life.
Okay, this is getting depressing. Moving on…

22.  Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of 5 items.

It would be easy to skip this one, since I have no partner. But I suppose I could use my imagination and list the 5 positive characteristics my perfect partner would share with me.
1.      You are smart and witty with a mind like a steel trip. You intrigue me!
2.      You are good and kind with a nurturing heart and desire to love and serve others. I’m grateful to be one of those.
3.      You have so many wonderful gifts and talents: you are like that character in the Book of Mormon who was “mighty in writing,” you enrich our home with your music and homemaking skills. When do I get a cooking lesson?
4.      You’re a scholar of the scriptures. I love that we can hold friendly debates about the physical existence of Kolob.
5.      You absolutely love being a mother to our children. Except when they’re mine.

23.  How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other peoples?

I think some of the previous questions have already answered this one.

24.  How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?
Oh, let’s not even go there! But, I’d always imagined our relationship considerably improving once someone found me attractive enough to date, court, marry and start a family with. Linda Scholes seems to take great pleasure in reminding me that because I’ve never given birth, I can’t possibly understand her point of view on some of our most toxic issues; like why I’m still single, have never presented her with grandchildren and the frustration that I won’t live beyond my meager income and just purchase a home of my own already.

25.  Make 3 true “we” statements each. For instance “We are both in this room feeling…”

                     There is no “we” there is only “I” and I’m feeling quite forlorn.

26.  Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share…”

Um, yeah, pretty obvious, “I wish I had someone with whom I could share…MY LIFE!!!

27.  If you were going to become a close friend to your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.

I have some baggage: childhood divorce, abuse, molestation, insecurity and low self-esteem, but we can work through it. I’m also ready to accept you and all your subsequent baggage for us to work through together. As long as it doesn’t include porn or illegal drug smuggling.

28.  Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.

                                                 What partner?

29.  Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.

When I was a senior in high school, I was sitting with a group of girls before first period started when another girl came up to us who was writing an article on whether or not to allow vending machines that sold condoms on school property. The question was directed at me. Blushing furiously I was forced to admit I didn’t know what a condom was, (remember I’m only 18, it’s 1992 and I’m living in Utah where sex-ed classes haven’t been invented yet!) the others girls began squealing like a bunch of baby piglets exclaiming, “How could you not know…?!” “You mean you’ve never…?!” “Don’t your parents…?!”while I just wanted to crawl under my desk and not come out until graduation.

30.  When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?

I cried in my bishop’s office two months ago over the heartache of reaching the age I’m currently at and still single with no reason to go on living. Just last night, I was sobbing in my room, alone, still struggling over that same question.

31.  Tell your partner something that you like about them already.

                                                     This is getting redundant.

32.  What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

The sexual exploitation of children. Nuff’ said.

33.   If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?

We know what the underlying point of this question is: call someone and tell them you love them NOW before it’s too late! I know this makes me sound like a narcissist but there’s no one I can think of, not even a member of my own immediate family, that I would call and say that to. We’re just not that kind of family. My oldest nephew or my next youngest brother, the one I’m closest to in the family, maybe, but they both know I love them. I’m not worried.

34.  Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?

Right now, at this point in my life, with no family or pets of my own to worry about, I would want to save my computer-my entire iTunes music library is in there! My huge collection of books would be impossible. My USB flash drive with all my Word documents and home movie files might be the easiest item to dash in and save.

35.  Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?

Either one of my adorable nephews, Calvin or Charlie, because they’re still so young and have so much life ahead of them with plenty of family around who love them and are encouraging them to grow up to be good men and contributing members of society. Besides, I’d miss them terribly.

36.  Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.

I’m sure all singles share my problem of how to cope with the daily grind of loneliness but for me, compounded with my lack of career opportunities over the last twenty years of my life that keep dragging me down into the depths of depression and despair, I would love to know how someone in my shoes would be dealing with so many lemons and a shortage of sugar. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The End of the World

The End of the World? Bring It On!

The Apocalypse Will Occur in the Year 2033

By Michelle Llewellyn


I’m not proclaiming myself to be a prophetess. One of the first qualifications is marriage anyway! (Deborah from Judges 4:4 and Anna in Luke 2:36 were both married women.) But my patriarchal blessing does say I was blessed with the gift of vision and the ability to see into the future (Acts 2:17 sons and daughters shall prophesy). I don’t expect fame or fortune to come my way. I don’t follow, nor am I attempting to create an apocalyptic ideology. I just thought I’d throw some of my own ideas and opinions out there concerning THE END OF THE WORLD.


I’ve had plenty of time to study this issue because, let’s face it, boys aren't asking girls out on dates anymore, leaving me LOTS of free Friday and Saturday nights to better improve my mind by extensive reading because the love of men has indeed waxed cold (Joseph Smith Matthew 1:30) leaving single never married women like me to either fulfill the prophecy in Isaiah 4:7 Seven women shall take hold of one man..let us be called by thy name to take away our reproach which I have no desire to do, or wait until the millennium before I finally get that opportunity.


Like the biblical wise men from Matthew 2, who spent years studying the prophecies, watching and waiting anxiously for the big signs signaling the event, I too, have spent years following current events, studying the scriptures and reading many books about the second coming. I have since concluded that this major world event is not happening until AT LEAST April 2033.


How can I be so confident about this?


Because I can back up my theory with both mathematics and LDS scripture.

I’ve also based my list on the book 50 Signs of the Times by David Ridges (2003).


Item #1-The Lord follows a pattern with special events always occurring on important anniversaries.

In the Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 11, the Nephites record that the appearance of Christ took place around 33 years from the time the prophecies of His birth were confirmed by the many foretold signs, such as three days with no darkness. It makes sense that Jesus will come on the anniversary of his resurrection, 33 years after the anniversary of His birth in the meridian of time, 1A.D. For us, living 2,000 years from that period of time, that’s April 6, 2033. Please refer to D&C 20:1 for more information concerning why April 6 is such an important and significant date for Mormons.


Now, I’m not saying grab your food storage, children and family dog and run for the nearest bunker on this date. I’m just expressing as my own personal opinion that by THIS DATE, April 6, 2033, some pretty hefty events should’ve occurred by now, fulfilling some of those famous biblical prophesies and signs of the times signifying that the end is nigh.


So, just when you were about to join the majority proclaiming, “The Lord delayeth His coming!” here are just a few sub-items to be checked off by or before the year 2033:

  1. Jerusalem is going to be nuked and the Mormon church will be a major help in rebuilding because we’re supposed to have a dedicated, fully functioning LDS temple there before the second coming. The prophet Joseph Smith predicted that “Judah must return, Jerusalem must be rebuilt, and the temple, and water come out from under the temple … and all this must be done before the Son of Man will make His appearance.” (History of the Church, vol. 5, p. 337.)
  2. According to Revelation 11: A prophet and one of the members of the quorum of the twelve apostles will lie dead in the streets of Jerusalem. These two men will be known to the rest of the world as one of the leaders of the Mormon church, probably one of President Monson’s successors, (because I don’t think he’ll live that long and as a member of Gen X I’d been counting on the late Gordon B. Hinckley to be that prophet but oh well) or two members of the current first presidency, will spend exactly three years (hopefully starting in the year 2030) presiding over the most exciting mission in the world, the Israel Jerusalem Mission, where YOUR children and grandchildren (my nephews, since I’ll probably never be a wife or mother to the iGeneration who will help usher in the second coming, just an eternal Aunt in Zion) will be serving if they don’t get called to the Shanghai Mission in Red China first. This must happen either before or during the year 2030 because after three and a half years the wars and persecution in this region will become so intense that these two beloved leaders will be killed and their bodies lie in the streets somewhere in Jerusalem for three days until the Savior makes his appearance.
  3. Due to increasing wickedness, the current leaders of the LDS church will announce the moving of the headquarters of the church to Independence, Missouri. Leaders of all faiths agree that definitions of good and evil, of sexuality, marriage, home and family are threatening the freedoms of all. Such wickedness that will prompt this action will include: legalized recreational drug use, patriarchy (the GOOD kind where men take loving responsibility for the protection and well-being of the women and children in their lives) being replaced by a growing acceptance of misogyny, and religious persecution from the LGBT and other civil rights groups mainly in Salt Lake City, Utah, over the Mormon Church’s refusal to recognize certain civil marriages and subsequently denying these groups the right to enter the faith’s holy temples. A general conference bomb threat or mass shooting somewhere around temple square sometime before the year 2030 could also be a strong factor. The Prophet Joseph Smith himself prophesied that there would be at least 15,000-20,000 members of the church participating in this mass exodus relocation. The population of Salt Lake City, Utah currently stands at just over one million, so rest easy members of the church in the Salt Lake Valley, there won’t be a mad rush for U-Hauls because not every member of the church is going to be asked to participate in the BIG MOVE. Just the traditional, married, nuclear families unless a higher order of marriage (polygamy) is reestablished to include the thousands of single, faithful women who don’t currently have the priesthood in their homes. That might stir up some contention too!
  4. A closed circuit streaming sacrament meeting will be held at your local stake center broadcasting a great gathering in Independence, Missouri. There will probably be an app for it, too! For Mormons, this is a huge event. Adam and all the great Patriarchs of the Old Testament to the apostle Peter of the New, right up to the current last days prophet are all expected to be there. Even THE SAVIOR HIMSELF will be in attendance!!! He won’t speak or perform any great miracles but He will be presiding as all the past leaders make their reports. Sometime before the year 2030 but just after the BIG MOVE to Missouri, all worthy members of the church all around the world will have the opportunity to see and hear this great gathering at Adam-Ondi-Ahman,70 miles northeast of Independence, Missouri. Please check with your local stake president or bishop for tickets/passes by admission for current temple recommend holders only. All Mormons, in good standing, over the age of fourteen will be tweeting and instant messaging and streaming their own video testimonies of this extraordinary event on their own handheld electronic devices for weeks afterwards for all non-members worldwide as one of the greatest opportunities to do missionary work.
  5. By the year 2030, everyone: rich, poor, young, old will have access to some kind of electronic hand-held device that streams live events 24/7 over the Internet. We are already seeing this today in 2015 as Internet has pretty much replaced broadcast television. I have no hard references to back me up on this one but I think it is a safe bet to say that when the second coming occurs over in Jerusalem, EVERYONE with a hand held electronic device is going to be recording and simultaneously streaming these images over the Internet of a great, blinding white, brilliant light, descending on the Mount of Olives outside Jerusalem while the rest of the world watches in utter astonishment, probably thinking another nuclear bomb has been dropped (or the Martians have finally landed) in the area thanks to all the confusion and chaos. Someone better set up a web cam on the roof of the Seven Arches Hotel in East Jerusalem, just in case!


Item #2- Do the Math. To pick up where I left off with Item #1 and God’s pattern of important events occurring on significant dates; please refer to D&C 110. This is the account of Elijah's appearance in the Kirtland temple, April 1836, which just happened to be the 1800th anniversary of the crucifixion and resurrection of the Savior as well as the Jewish Passover. It makes sense that God is giving us almost 200 years from the fulfilment of this very important prophecy to get our acts together in preparation for that second coming. I’m telling you, if the second coming hasn’t occurred by April 2036, I promise everyone a full refund!


Item #3 Do the Math. We can also use the story of the apocalyptic destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah to predict when the second coming will occur. I found this online article by Rabbi Leibel Reznick who said:

According to the Talmud there was a span of only 26 years (emphasis added) between a war and ultimate destruction. Sodom and Gomorrah were part of a metropolis assumed to have been located on the eastern bank of the Dead Sea consisting of five cities, each with its own king…According to the Torah, with the help of the patriarch Abraham, the cities gained their independence, though their independence was only short-lived. A few years later, God destroyed the cities in a hail of fire and brimstone.


Let's compare this history to a more recent history of gay marriage in the USA. In 2004 Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage. LGBT groups and their supporters everywhere celebrate their "independence" but if the Proclamation to the Family's last lines (“…we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.”) means anything at all, this LGBT celebration will likewise be "short-lived.” Perhaps 26 years?


Guess what 2004 plus 26 years equals...2030!


Need I say more?


In closing, there is only one downside to my end of the world theory: I cannot see any place, anywhere, and have yet to find any prophecy or scripture that might be helpful explaining where single, never married women (both Mormon and non-Mormon) who desire marriage and children will fit in. Single and divorced Moms can still play a part in last days events by raising strong daughters and righteous sons to serve missions, be great leaders and stand for witnesses of Christ but a woman without a man, who has never born children, will always be an ignored, second class citizen. I don’t care what era you live in, if a woman has no strong family network of support to sustain her, she’s screwed. Nobody cares about her. This is why I’m not a big supporter of the last-days feminist and sexual revolution movements. I see the attack on traditional marriage and the love of men waxing cold to be one of the biggest signs of the times.


Let’s hope we all have enough food storage.


By the year 2033, I will be 59 years old in my post-menopausal years. I don’t know about you but if I’m still a virgin, one of the many victims of a now-extinct patriarchy, sleeping in my single bed with my two years supply safely stowed beneath me, working a minimum wage, low skilled job with my two bachelor’s degrees with my season of dating and courtship that might’ve lead to marriage pretty much over with no chance in hell of bearing any children as a wife and mother, I really, REALLY hope I’m dead and buried by then.

Death by terrorist bullet or weapon of mass destruction notwithstanding.

I already come from a broken, divorced family background. I can already testify that Satan is winning his war against the very creation of families. I know plenty of single, never married women who will agree with me. Single women will increasingly find themselves marginalized to the sidelines as silent observers. If we desire to participate, our only options consist of either volunteering to be surrogate mothers to the gay men creating their own families, or settling for self-destructing cohabitation. Its the lesser of two evils. Living alone and celibate is no fun but what other choice do we have? I'm sorry to paint such a depressing picture, but at least the rest of those prophetic natural disasters such as famine, drought, pandemic, pestilence, global warming or zombie apocalypse should be the LEAST of our last days worries! Let us stay strong and support each other in this very unpopular decision to keep ourselves morally pure while we wait for our worthy priesthood holder to appear.


So, while everyone on this wicked earth in the last days is blowing each other up, (when they’re not participating in porn or kidnapping everyone’s daughters for the sex trade) the sky is red, moon turned to blood, blended cohabitating families huddle together while their family trees burn and everything else is on fire, I’d much rather be alone and single in the more peaceful, restful (not to mention air conditioned) spirit world observing the action; waiting to join the legions of other ministering angels who will be following the red-robed Jesus (Revelation 19:13) down to the earth to usher in the second coming.


I can see myself now, munching spirit popcorn with my date, my husband-to-be in the millennium because I remain ever hopeful that those who were never kissed, asked to their high school prom and pretty much denied any experience in heterosexual romantic dating or courtship in this life because they refused to lower their standards will have ample opportunities in the next (see Alma 40:12). I look forward to joining my spiritual fiancée, watching the events taking place down on the earth in the year 2033 while we wait for a break in the apocalypse to begin our decent to meet our loved ones still slugging it out in the war against evil.


The End of the World? Bring it On!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

I Liked What You Were Trying to Do

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir performs with Santino Fontana and the 'Sesame Street' Muppets during the choir's annual Christmas concert in Salt Lake City Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

The Muppets came to town to perform with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir at the annual Christmas Concert in Salt Lake City, Utah. Always a delightful and heartwarming performance, I encourage all who've never had the opportunity to visit the LDS Conference Center to attend one of these events. I promise you won't be disappointed.

There is a little known story with a Utah connection to the Muppets. The year was 1969 and a young man was struggling to get his career off the ground. He was giving a presentation at a Puppeteers of America Festival being held in Salt Lake City. Using light boxes, music, puppetry and film projectors, it was to be a display of daring innovation that would astound everyone. To the young man's dismay, everything was going wrong. Technical difficulties were making audience members restless and they proceeded to exit the auditorium as fast as they could. Realizing his attempt to put on a show was pretty much over, the discouraged young man began packing up his malfunctioning equipment when he was approached by a tall, gangly, soft spoken artist with an uncanny ability to recognize potential,

             "I liked what you were trying to do," he said.

The man's name was Jim Henson. Caroll Spinney was the man who would go on to create the characters of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch. Jim Henson proceeded to invite Mr. Spinney to come out to New York City and join his newly formed production company.
The rest, as they say, is history.

As we open the door to a new year, it is common at this time to pause and reflect both on the past and the future. Perhaps you've had a milestone event or two in your life occur this past year: graduation from school, buying a new home, landing that dream job, marriage, or the birth of a new child.

On the other hand, perhaps you anticipate many of these events happening in the coming year. You continue to hope and pray that doors will be opened, hearts will be softened, that someone will see your potential and "like what you were trying to do," because when you stop to think about it, so many of those important life events, the ones that define adulthood and signify a rite of passage, are in many ways beyond our control. All of us depend on each other to make our dreams come true.

In this new age of narcissism, when superficial looks, charisma, having the right connections and knowing the right people are the key to success, those who lack in these qualities can only continue to persevere and try their best. We get all the education we can, then pound the pavement, refusing to let discouragement overwhelm us when no guiding mentor comes along to point the way, when the only return we get in our email inboxes for our efforts is:
             Thank you for your interest but we have selected another candidate for the position you applied for.

We do our best to keep the law of chastity, wait patiently for that worthy priesthood holder if you're a woman, or beauty queen if you're a man. That perfect soul-mate who never materializes, or worse, chooses someone else to create a family while you fear you've been condemned to watch from the sidelines for next twenty years or more. You cling desperately to the belief that your desire to fill the measure of your creation will not be in vain.

We try our best, in a world that celebrates marriage equality for all, to drop a gentle reminder that goodness and virtue should never be abandoned on the side of that road.

We try our best to be self sufficient, to be faithful, to serve others without recognition or compensation with the understanding that some of us may not see the fruits of our labors until the next year, the next several years, or even the next life.

Gifts and talents are honed and refined, in preparation to realize our full potential. Like the ability to create children, they give our lives meaning, purpose, direction and joy. When those talents are recognized and appreciated by others, our spirits are uplifted. Hearts swell with positive feelings of hope and satisfaction that we are on the right path to achievement and success. We work and pray and hope the day will come when someone will "like what you were trying to do." We ultimately hope to be invited to bring our gifts and talents and contribute to a greater cause. This could include the invitation to create a home or being hired in an occupation for which your particular gifts and talents are not only valued but necessary for the good of the organization. There comes a time in everyone's life when it is essential to know what the purpose of our life is and where we are going. We rely on other people to help us discover those gifts and talents, find and follow those paths and cheer us on our way.

When no recognition is forthcoming, when no one ever materializes who sees your great potential, when all you receive in return for your hard work and preparation is rejection and negative feedback, that is when this mortal life begins to drag. Instead of welcoming the new year, discouragement and cynicism have already taken over. Like Job in the Bible, you may begin to plead for death to come and put you out of your misery, because nothing ever changes. You may be forced to realize, after all of life's milestones have passed you by, when everything you tried to do has come to naught and no one is in your corner, death can be a sweet release.

Fortunately, the majority of people in this world have found their place in life and have someone to share it with. They are looking at the upcoming year with hope and resolving to try their best each day to be good parents, better people, contributing members of society.

As C.S. Lewis once said, "

“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” 

I hope that all of us, when it comes time to face our maker, the creator of the universe, after we have given an account of all the efforts we made to live a righteous life, we will ultimately hear Him say,
I liked what you were trying to do. Now, let me show you what I want you to become.

Monday, December 1, 2014

It's a Wonderful (Single?) Life


Here's the clip from the movie unfortunately I couldn't link up the scene where George Bailey accosts the spinster librarian who never married but I found this still frame shot from the movie.


Every year my local city newspaper, The Deseret News, publishes original reader-submitted essays about their most memorable Christmas under the subject: The Christmas I Remember Best.
I thought I'd share my own submission to Deseret News of my own memorable Christmas past and the Christmas Future I yearn for. If they don't publish it, it's okay, because I'm posting it here for the entire world!

It’s a Wonderful (Single?) Holiday Life
By Michelle Llewellyn

Dear Father in Heaven,
I know I haven’t prayed in awhile but if you’re up there and if you can hear me, I’d just like to remind you that I’m forty years old now and still waiting for you to either send someone who will lasso the moon for me or lead me to a fulfilling career. Flipping burgers isn’t exactly how I imagined using my two college degrees. Spending yet another Christmas alone isn’t exactly how I imagined my life turning out either.
I’m beginning to wonder what the world would be like without me. The death of a patriarchal society, men shunning their responsibilities with nobody seeming to mind, has left the bulk of community and family service to women. I love being an aunt, the world’s best babysitter, but I’d prefer the title of “Mommy” like all the other women my age. Teaching Sunday school, serving all the married people in my neighborhood because I have tons of disposable time and money on my hands is supposed to fill that empty hole. Well, guess what? It isn’t working anymore. With no offers from a big, strong man courtesy of ldssingles.com to pay my bills so I can be a stay-at-home mom, I’m forever on my own. I’m beginning to think no one will miss me. How long’s it been since a young man asked me out on a date? I fear I’ve gotten senile in my middle age.
Remember that 1984 Christmas when I was ten and all my little girlfriends had Cabbage Patch Dolls except me? I was so happy when I unwrapped my very own chubby, dimpled, pacifier-faced baby girl, beige yarn hair in braids complete with official birth certificate and adoption papers. That was the same year I tried to cheer up my family as my parents were contemplating ending their dysfunctional marriage by getting a divorce. I thought, maybe if I put together a Christmas Eve program with me playing the piano and assembling my younger brothers and sister acting out the Christmas Nativity story, it might postpone the dreaded event that would forever change our family unit. They ended up divorcing anyway but the Cabbage Patch Doll helped.
Well, that’s sort of what I had in mind for this year. Like Ralphie’s Red Ryder, you could surprise me by pulling out an eleventh-hour Christmas miracle for me to unwrap. With all the Mr. (and Mrs.) Potters in Utah constantly passing me over for all those higher paying jobs requiring a degree, maybe I could get that library job I recently applied for. I can just picture myself walking home one evening after closing when a crazy man, claiming to be my long lost husband runs up to me, demanding to know the whereabouts of our children which means he desperately wants to create a family with me. I promise I won’t scream or faint! Instead, I’ll throw myself into his arms so we can start multiplying and replenishing.
Yes, I realize there have been many opportunities in the past to initiate a relationship with a member of the opposite sex. I haven’t forgotten all those blind dates you’ve blessed me with. One-time only blind dates that never worked out because so many single men these days don’t do romance and have tastes that are very singular compared to my high standards and principles that don’t include commitment to an Xbox or another person of the same gender. I’ve tried to live a full and meaningful life, finding happiness in the little crumbs thrown at me but it isn’t easy sometimes.
Please, don’t wait too long to make up your mind which Christmas wish to bestow on me. I must have a career or a husband soon before frustration and flat-out desperation drive me to hook up with Tinder or some other Monster!
How about if you just give me Clarence’s phone number instead? He seems like a really sweet guy. He’s immortal, he can fly, save lives and he likes to read; every single woman’s dream of a potential husband.
If not, I’ll just hasten my way to the next life where I’ve been told every desire of my heart awaits me, including all the Cabbage Patch Dolls I ever wanted. Okay?

 And here's what she looks like thirty years later. The pink "Cabbage Patch Kids" enblazoned nylon jacket is the only original item of clothing left . (Please, don't sue me for indecent exposure, Xavier!) The pink and white striped shirt, blue pants, pink and white tennis shoes, socks and original pacifier were all loved away over the years including the original yarn braids, re-styled, because, honestly, doesn't she look like a Fraggle with that 1984 hair? And, no, I don't mean the giddy owner sitting next to her! 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Is Anything too Hard for the Lord? Yes. Temple marriage

Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. Genesis 18:14 KJV

For with God nothing shall be impossible. Luke 1:37 KJV

Notice both of these scriptures refer to married (or engaged to be married) women with the promise that they will become mothers in the near future.
Why are single women in the scriptures always so marginalized and utterly forsaken by the LORD GOD??? Why do we have to wait until the next life while everyone else and their dog celebrate their new-found freedom to marry each other (even the dog!) and create families of their own???

Here is my own list of

Things that are TOO HARD/IMPOSSIBLE for the LORD:

1. Temple marriage (or the ideal one man/one woman marriage see this article) because not all single women feel this way:

    2. That dream job after earning a college degree (or two) see this article 

3. Just ONE JOB that doesn't involve flipping burgers, substitute teaching or filling orders in a warehouse so I could afford to purchase a small, modest, home of my own.

4. Just ONE DATE on JUST ONE of my birthdays (from ages 16-40)
5. Just ONE DATE on Valentine's Day (from 1991-2014)
           see this craigslist personal ad

6. Admission to the "Motherhood Club" this woman gets it 

I don't care if you're a single, unmarried woman living in 2014 where the general consensus is "We don't need men!" or 1956 when the general consensus USED to be "If the kids are so determined to have sex let's encourage them to date and marry FIRST."
Deep down I know tender-hearted single women everywhere still secretly yearn for this now old fashioned ideal fairy tale ideal of dating and courtship:
                                         The boy initiates the date and arrives to pick her up
                                                 He meets the parents,

                                      The boy and girl spend time getting to know each other
From Fifteen by Beverly Cleary Illustrated by Joe and Beth Krush (1956)

Now, really, isn't that so much better than THIS????

And finally, item #7 on my list of Things that are TOO HARD/IMPOSSIBLE for THE LORD

7. Putting me out of my misery with uterine or ovarian caner so I can finally die and continue my eternal progression on the "other side of the veil" where someone might be waiting to ask me out.

Now that I'm an official 40 year old virgin I celebrated by making my first ever appointment with a gynecologist to determine the underlying cause of my Dysmenorrhea (thanks Pathophysiology textbook from my U of U pre-English major days when I believed I could become a nurse or CNA and work in the Women's Center. Alas, two other girls from the same hospital cafeteria I worked in were accepted for those CNA positions while I was continuously passed over). My anemia and painful cramps that three years ago began to induce vomiting, alas, were not the result of a malignant growth or tumor, just noncancerous uterine fibroids as the transvaginal ultrasound and pelvic exam revealed. Having the doctor insert a speculum into your vagina is LOADS of fun, let me tell you!
They loaded me down with iron supplements and birth control pills and sent me on my way. Now I can be what my mother always dreamed for me to become: a prostitute! Wonder if I should give Romero, that married Mexican immigrant who worked with me in the kitchen at 1800Contacts almost a decade ago who was always trying to get me to have sex with him a call? I've been given the means to be responsible and as we all learned from watching Meet the Mormons one woman's bad choice was magically rewarded with temple marriage. Perhaps I was mislead by all those Young Women's lessons on dating and chastity as the ONLY path to eternal happiness. Where are the freakin' BLESSINGS???

Calling all terrorists! Please just SHOOT ME NOW!!! God's not listening to me. 

And now for the antithesis:

Things that are NOT TOO HARD/NOT IMPOSSIBLE for the Lord

1. Allowing the breakup of families and the subsequential rise of post-familialism
2. Allowing rape and sexual assault/molestation with no reconciliation or justice or answers (Why did this happen to me??? the incident occurred nineteen years ago October 30, 1995)

3. Allowing 40 years of bullying with no reconciliation (Again, WHY DID THIS HAPPEN TO ME???)
              Linda Higginbotham Llewellyn Scholes always treated me with condescension and took the lazy road of parenting. As the oldest child she freely admits she made "A lot of mistakes" with me growing up (child abuse, emotional abuse). I never wanted to be like her. We have never been close because I just can't talk to her about anything. The conversation would ALWAYS revert back to HER. As a result I grew up insecure, with low-self esteem, with the hope if I continued to be a "good girl" being kind, working hard in school and minimum wage jobs so I wouldn't be a burden to her, serving others with a willing and cheerful heart that I would eventually be rewarded with an eternal family blessed by a worthy priesthood holding hubby and children of my own. I vowed I'd never make my children the victims of my own poor choices, like Linda Scholes. Ray Llewellyn was never around and will probably be surprised and shocked reading the following events:

             Sadly, tragically, I have learned the hard way that a girl who was constantly teased and tormented by her peers at school, was never asked to prom and was most recently written up (again) at her food service job would never be blessed with temple marriage. Not after hearing "You're Ugly!" and "Hey, Fish Lips!" throughout grade school, getting paper thrown in my hair in Freshman English Class, returning from PE swimming one day to discover my bra strung between the columns in the girls locker room, (I'd like to thank Saskia Irwin Stallings, Sunny McKell Ence and Robin Gubler who is probably just as happily married as the other two) and received numerous landline (remember those?) phone calls from random unnamed boys "pretending" to ask me out. I'd especially like to thank that Dickhead who asked me to Homecoming my senior year over the phone and stood me up because it was just someone's idea of a sick joke. I'd also like to thank Del Ruesch who would've been my first (blind) date at sixteen but when he found out who he'd been set up with suddenly found an excuse to cancel making me feel like a real princess. 
No support or sympathy from my family either. I hate the holidays. I'm always stuck on the outside looking in while my family doesn't know what to do with me. 
"No one is going to spend that much on you," as my dear (happily married with two boys) sister once told me when I grumbled about always having to purchase my own Christmas gifts, the ones I REALLY want like an iPod or a new expensive hardbound book; things a significant other might take the time and go out of their way to surprise you with because doing nice things for each other is what a good healthy relationship is all about. The kind I can only continue to dream of now and hope I'll be worthy to experience in the next life. 
"We're not YOUR brothers," the brother I'm closest with once told me while I was chocking back tears trying to express my feelings about how much my four younger siblings meant to me, a childless old maid with no real family of her own. I guess we really are "just a group of people who really like each other" as Elder Holland stated in the Ogden Temple Open house video they showed before the tour a few months ago. "You are very plain," this same brother also once reminded me, reinforcing the teasing I suffered as a child.
"What do you do? You READ!" my youngest (and still unmarried) brother once taunted as the reason I was never asked out as much as my cute younger sister, making me feel like a real princess. See, Linda Higginbotham Llewellyn Scholes was ALWAYS comparing me to everyone else. Never failing to remind me of all my shortcomings when it came to looks and popularity at school. 
"We'd prefer you keep your distance from OUR new baby, since you're not married or have children of your own," as my dear sister-in-law sneered while my brother just stood passively by in silent support of this knife being stabbed into the heart of his eldest sister. I wish I'd never witnessed their sealing in the Salt Lake Temple.

Families really suck sometimes.

The examples above prove that superficial popularity and physical attractiveness really DO matter more than whatever is written on your heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Temple marriage, filling the measure of my creation, realizing my full potential either physically or professionally is simply too hard/impossible for THE LORD. Allowing me to experience being a victim, a doormat, an easy target? Not so hard.

Five times I interviewed this past summer of 2014 for English teaching/school librarian jobs and five times was passed over. One more email of complaint about me from a disgruntled associate at the hospital I work at and I'm terminated from the hamburger flipping job I've held for nine years. My new (female) boss loves to micromanage and was quick to label me as "insubordinate and disrespectful" with a bad attitude. Human Resources was equally quick to validate this. IlovemyjobIlovemyjobIlovemyjob   

I don't mean to be all sour grapes. Really, what this all boils down to is my frustration over lifelong unrequited love and the free agency and free will of men. Perhaps it IS the wickedness of men (and women) their lust for power (see D&C 121:39) that has tied the hands of God to prevent him from opening the doors or even the smallest window of heaven to pour out even one teeny tiny little blessing on me regarding dating, marriage and career aspirations. Or maybe, as Linda and Alan Scholes are so eager to remind me aka Biblical Job's friends and family: I've committed some horrible, irrevocable BIG SIN and must go and confess to my bishop, repent and get another makeover and find some new friends. Because that always solves everything.

I wonder what BIG SIN I'm guilty of? General Conference was just another disappointment with no answers, no acknowledgement of the most rapidly growing minority in the church. I'm really feeling forlorn and depressed. Spilling it all out, catharsis-like on this blog has helped a lot. 

Thanks for letting me vent.

Stay tuned for next month's blog post. Maybe I'll have an answer by then. Maybe I'll find a support group for losers like me who just can't fit in with all the married with families of their own normal people. 

To end on a more positive note, at least I can earn money to buy myself happiness and arrange for my own "dates" with myself because if I just sat around waiting for someone to come along and actually ASK me, I'd never go anywhere. My two good friends, Lauralee and Whitney also went out of their way to purchase a thoughtful birthday gift for me last month and are always there for me if I ever need them.

My only platonic guy-friend at work, Brian, also did a nice thing for me this week letting me borrow his City Library copy of the latest U2 (with a bonus disc not included in the free download) album for me to listen to because he knows what a huge fan I am.

My own dear, little sister isn't all bad either. She was kind enough to accompany me on a recent first time trip to New York City, a place I've always wanted to see.
We had a great time celebrating my 40th birthday together and I know she appreciates my willingness to babysit my favorite nephews as often as I can. Those two adorable boys are the greatest joys of my life. Porter would be too, if my sister-in-law would allow it.
Anyway, here's a sampling of the photos I took from the Big Apple, September 21-24, 2014.