In Which I Have A Merry Little Christmas

This year was my first Christmas without Grandpa (and Grandma Alma.) It was…. strange. And not in a good way.

I still had a good time. I got to see and spend time with my 9 year old cousin Kayleigh. It turns out she is a lot like me; a voracious bookworm and an introvert. Almost all Todd women are huge readers, so it came as a surprise to me that her younger sister, Zanny, doesn’t like to read. In our family, that’s an anomaly. Oh well.

The kids were allowed to play with the toys. There was an American Girl Doll (Saige), so guess what one of us ended up playing with. Despite the fact that I have had all year to buy Saige, I suddenly wanted her after seeing the doll. Of course she’s sold out by now, go figure. It’s probably a good thing. I do NOT need another doll. In fact, I’ve kind of resolved not to buy another new one for a whole year…

Aunt Becky cooked for me, as usual, and as usual it was amazing. I ate too much. So did Kayleigh, and afterward we went somewhere private and passed out in a food coma. My presents involved a dolphin figurine and some candy. Grandma also gave me the one doll she saved from childhood, a Toni doll. I wanted to post pictures, but photobucket’s not cooperating. Oh well. In the future I’ll devote a whole post to Toni dolls.

Kayleigh got a La La Loopsy doll, and afterward it was the one we snuck off to play with.

On our way home, we sort of got into an accident, but we didn’t hit anything. We just got out of control and did a 180, stopping just short of hitting the exit sign. The weather hadn’t even been that bad, it just wasn’t the type of weather you did the speed limit in. After that grandma went a lot slower, and I was relived.

I wish I got to see these people more often than once a year.

My birthday is coming up. I will be 25 this year. I just got my new driver’s license. Not that I have a car with which to use it, but, details.

Over the break I worked on knitting a doll cardigan. I wasn’t able to finish it because I had neither circular nor double pointed needles. Now that I’m home I hope to be able to finish it, but tomorrow I have to work. I hope I get enough work hours for next semester. I had a bad dream last night that I only got 4 hours a week. It felt so real that when I woke up, I didn’t know where I was.

All in all, I had a good Christmas with my family. I have to admit, it was a lot more peaceful without grandma Alma around, though I wish grandpa had been there. Alma, though still alive, has gone to live with her family in Georgia. It will be interesting to see someone who has been a part of my life all of my life, for better or for worse, leave.

 

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The Christmas Post (2013)

This year, as I was listening to Christmas radio on Pandora, trying in vain to get it to play Christmas music I actually LIKE (I’m picky about music, and I’m especially picky about Christmas music.) I came across this song. If you have time, I recommend you give it a listen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmF2rsDHOZc

It’s called “Grown up Christmas list.” I’ve actually been wanting to write something similar, but I write stories, not songs. This one is good but… it didn’t quite hit home as much as I was expecting.

Here, in case no one cares to go to youtube, are the lyrics

[quote]

Do you remember me?
I sat upon your knee
I wrote to you
with childhood fantasies

Well I’m all grown up now
and still need help somehow
I’m not a child
But my heart still can dream

So here’s my lifelong wish
My grown up Christmas list
Not for myself
But for a world in need

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal our hearts

And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end, no
This is my grown up Christmas list

As children we believe
The grandest sight to see
Was something lovely
Wrapped beneath the tree

But heaven only knows
That packages and bows
Can never heal a heart ached human soul

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal our hearts

And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end, no
This is my grown up Christmas list

What is this illusion
Called the innocence of youth
Maybe only in our blind belief
Can we ever find the truth

No more lives torn apart
(No more torn apart)
That wars would never start
(Never start)
And time would heal all hearts
(Oh, hearts)

Everyone would have a friend
(One would have a friend)
And right would always win
(Would always win)
And love would never end
(Never, never end, no)

This is my grown up Christmas list
This is my only lifelong wish
This is my grown up Christmas list

[/quote]

I never sat down this year and wrote out a Christmas list, because no one ever asked for it. I figured, no one cared anyway. Besides, none of them could give me what I REALLY want. Oh, sure, they might be able to get me SOME things on *A* list, like this:

Grown up Christmas list:

1. American Girl dolls and clothes and accessories (OG stuff at target is cheaper, for those on a budget

2. Grown up juice (vodka, rum, whiskey)

3. Books, anything but romance novels

4. Sock Yarn

5. Any yarn that’s less than 20% acrylic

 

But, that’s not what I REALLY want for Christmas/Birthday. And if I could, here is what I would put in my rewrite of the “Grown Up Christmas List” song:

1. No more Depression/Borderline Personality Disorder/Insert other mental illness here.

2. A Magic cure for Depression/BPD, so I could have my Triplet (and me, let’s be honest) be well again.

3. No more Dementia or Alzheimers

4. A cure for the above diseases, so I could have my Grandma back.

5. No more Cancer, a cure for cancer, so I could have my grandpa back (from the actual dead.)

6. A Queer Platonic Partner.

7. Universal health care (NOT the Obamacare that we’re getting that’s just pretending to be universal health care.) I am so sick and tired of hearing about families who can’t afford health insurance who are one illness or accident away from sky high medical debt and or worse poverty than they’re already in. My bout with appendicitis, if it had happened a year later, would have put me and my parents in the poor house. (As it is it’s only costing my parents a small portion of their savings. Not the greatest, but it’s not the worst, so we’re not complaining.)

8. Wars would never start (Ok, so, the song and I *do* have something in common. I’ve always hated war.)

9. No more sexual abuse/rape/molestation/sexual assault. Seriously, we’ve had enough of that.

10. Because I like even numbers, I felt like I had to have a number 10. But, um, I think I’ve already covered it, so, um….. yeah. Oh, I thought of one, NO MORE UNEMPLOYMENT. That people would never have the chance to go hungry because we had some way of always being able to feed the poor and or no one would ever not have a job if they needed/wanted it. That the only homeless people would be people who CHOSE to be that way, not because they had to. (I know people think that’s the way it is now, but it’s not, so screw them.)

This is my grown up Christmas list.

What about yours? What’s your Grown Up Christmas List? And, if you don’t HAVE a grown up Christmas list (because you don’t feel you’re a grownup… which, sometimes, neither do I) I still want to know. Sound off in the comments!

 

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The Thanksgiving Post (2013)

November 28, 2013 The Thanksgiving Post

 

As I sit down to write tonight, I’m torn. I know I have much to be thankful for. I could even argue, to an extent, that I have more to be thankful for than last year. And yet, I also have less. I’ve gained a job and a home, but lost one of my best friends. I’ve lost my faith in God, and therefore to a large extent, my campus family. I’ve finally figured out my sexuality and what I want in terms of intimacy, and then realized I’m never going to have it. I’ve found a group of people like me, but I’ve also lost most of my campus family. It can even possibly be argued that I never truly had a family in campus, after the missionaries of 2011-2012 left.

 

Maybe it all evens out? Maybe it doesn’t.

 

I’ve lost my grandpa, and it was so odd to have thanksgiving without him. His wife (not my biological grandma) came. It was so odd, to have her and not him. And it made me wonder what it would’ve been like if he and my grandma had never divorced. If he had been involved in my life more than just the times he played Santa at christmas and occasionally hosted pool parties. And I try not to dwell on it and just add it to the long list of life experiences I’m never going to have. So, this year’s list is kind of skewed. But, since last thanksgiving,

 

I’m thankful that:

1. I have Thanksgiving day off of work

2. That I’m able to be with my family for thanksgiving

3. That I’m finally back on the birth control

4. New dolls

5. New job

6. That I figured out my sexual orientation once and for all

7. That I have at least Queer Platonic Partner

8. New place to live

9. The ability to pull away from the Seventh Day Adventist Church. Some of you are going to be sad about this, but it really has been better for my mental health not to be there.

10. The Go Pass that allows me unlimited bus rides for a whole year

11. Being able to stay on my dad’s insurance for another year

12. Library card

13. My family

14. The few (and dwindling) friends I have left It’s a smaller list compared to last year.

 

I have indeed lost much, and haven’t gained much in return. That last is rather unusual; usually there is a balance. Lately, I’ve lived in fear that all I do have could be taken from me. For now, though, I will enjoy my family, the good food, and the warm safety I feel. After all, who knows what I’ll have this time next year? Help Me

In Which It Would Have Happened Anyway

I woke up at 5am this morning feeling dizzy and lightheaded. Because of this, I decided not to go back to sleep right away, but instead stayed up and read.

I don’t remember if I was reading, or if by this time I had graduated to lying on my back in the dark, staring at the ceiling wishing I could fall asleep when all of a sudden it hit me: it would have happened anyway.

Back when I was in 8th grade, I had what I thought was a major life decision to make: where to go to high school. I had already decided against the public school for personal reasons I won’t post here, so the choice was down to the local Baptist school and GLAA. Great Lakes Adventist Academy. I visited both schools, write down the advantages and disadvantages in a little notebook I carried with me (I still have that notebook, those notes.)

It was at this time that, despite all my previous K-12 SDA schooling, I learned that Adventists have distinctive doctrines. Yeeeeah. 8th grade, for an Adventist born in the church, is a little old for that, but I digress. And so, I chose Academy, because I wanted an Adventist education. I did not want to get confused with wrong teachings.

My first year of Academy, I believed I had it all figured out. In the first few months of 9th grade, there was a week of prayer, preached by pastor… we’ll call him CJ.

Pastor CJ preached for a week about a life of total devotion to God. It was during this week of prayer that I realized something: I was only an Adventist because I was born that way. I had yet to claim Adventism, and Jesus, for my own. I was a cultural Adventist. That week, I vowed to give myself completely to God. To live totally for Jesus. I was no longer an Adventist in name only, I was well and truly an Adventist.

Also, I became a fanatic. I threw myself heavily into it, headfirst. I started reading Ellen White in earnest and put into practice her counsel. But I did so without asking myself why she would counsel such things. I didn’t take into account cultural context, and that things were different now. Cheese was “an article that should never be introduced into the diet?” Well, that wasn’t the reason I became vegan, but it definitely confirmed me in my decision. However, cheese is made very differently now than it was back in her day. It is not safe to consume. I did not know that, then. Ellen White forbade tea? Ok, I’ll give up tea. Not that I drank a whole lot of it back then, but I didn’t understand, in the 9th grade, the difference between the caffeinated tea popular in her day and the herbal mint tea I drank in the 21st century.

As most of you reading this well know, this type of existence cannot continue indefinitely. When a person is living such a life, full of fast and furious devotion to God, when a person has dived in headfirst and taken things way too fast, it cannot subsist forever. Something will happen that will halt you in your tracks.

And so my world crumbled around me, and rather quickly. In 9th grade, I only thought I had been questioning things. Really, I was only looking into why Adventists believed the way they did. I was not, however, challenging it. I was just assimilating their way of thinking without really stopping to question why they thought that way, why they interpreted certain passages the way they did.

The scary part was, when I challenged things, not just researched them but really got into the nuts and bolts of the issue, they weren’t there. The answers, I mean. I couldn’t find them. Actually, that’s not true; I did find answers, they just weren’t the ones I was looking for. Not everything, but a great many things, that I had believed to be true throughout my childhood were revealed to be lies, or at best carefully contrived and shaky truths.

When the foundation crumbles, the whole building shatters. My life, my religion, my world, everything shattered. Great had been my pride, now great was my fall. I will not post it here, but what I did I now refer to as “Candyland,” and have resolved never again to tell another living soul so long as I live.

Back in 9th grade, and even to yesterday, I believed it all happened because I went to GLAA. I believed that, if I’d never gone to GLAA and hadn’t gone through that week of prayer, I would’ve continued to live my life as a cultural Adventist. In 9th grade, I considered this a good thing: think how close I had been to never knowing truth! In years after, however, I Would come to regret it. Sure it would have been far from ideal, but at least that way I was happy. I wished I could go back to living life as a cultural Adventist. It was only in my first few years of college, and maybe not even then, that I resolved to not look back. What happened, happened. I couldn’t change it, so I had to put it behind me. GLAA has caused this, but I couldn’t focus on the cause, I had to deal with the issue.

Last night (or, early this morning, depending on how you look at it) it hit me like a truck full of cement: it would have happened anyway. All of it. Oh sure there are some ways in which my life was forever altered by ways that GLAA and GLAA alone could have done, but the majority of it, the fanaticism, the fall, candyland, my involvement with Campus, my inability to remain an Adventist, all of that still would have happened.

It is possible that GLAA expedited the process. It is possible that, had I gone to Baptist school, things would not have happened the way they did.

But you know what? They would have happened anyway. If not in High School, then College. If not in College, then after I graduated. And actually, if it had to happen, I’m glad it happened in High School, where I still had adults to shield me a bit from the consequences of my actions until I could mature enough not to perform such actions. If I had done the same things in college, it would’ve been a lot less socially acceptable.

It would have happened anyway. Why? Because I’m me. Going to GLAA didn’t cause me to start being me. I had this in me all along; GLAA just brought it out. And you can’t stuff who and what you are down forever. If I had gone to Baptist school, something there would have triggered it. If not there, something in college.

Because when a person has this inside of them, it’s going to come out.

This is freeing. I’ve been beating myself up for that decision, trying to imagine what my life would have been like if I’d never gone to GLAA. Now I know.

There is, in short, nothing I could have done to avoid the situation in which I am now. There is nothing I could have done to avoid being where I am today.

Or, at the very least, if there was such a point, it was not at that particular crossroads.

Help Me

 

In Which I Am Sad

My depression is worsening, but I don’t feel depressed: I feel sad. I’m toying with the idea of posting a full explanation, and I probably will at some point. Right now, it’s a tad too personal. It has to do with me being an aromantic asexual. It sounds like it makes my life easier, but it doesn’t. I’m still coming to terms with who and what I am as far as that goes.

I went out to eat with Marenda today. It was fun. I thought it’d just make me sad all over again, like I was when I saw Lincoln on the bus last week, but it didn’t. I do miss campus people. I miss James’ Potato-ey Potatoheadedness, Bamji’s out of tune off key singing, and Prince’s well intentioned but sometimes insensitive jokes.

 

And yet, even if I went back, I know that most of these people wouldn’t spend quality time with me. They would think that just being in the same building on the same day of the week listening to the same sermon is good quality bonding time.

Time will ease my pain. Experience has taught me this. Time will not fix the other problem, the problems associated with being an aromantic asexual, the main problem.

This is why it is easier for me not to believe in a God. When I consider what I am, and the low probability of finding what I need, I don’t understand why the type of God I’ve always been taught exists would allow it. With one exception, evolution makes so much more sense. And with one exception, Christianity also makes sense. Which is correct? Do I care? Does it matter?

I should’ve gone home to Ken instead of writer’s group. Ken helps me forget, and I haven’t exactly made any friends in writer’s group, though I keep hoping that’ll change.

 

Will I ever find a QPP? Will I ever have what I need/crave? Will I ever not be sad?

Help Me

In Which I Read and Discuss The Coptic Gospel of Thomas

This is one of the gospels I was already aware existed before I even picked up this book.

And I am extremely EXTREMELY glad that it did not make it into the bible, though I am surprised, as it fits in with the other sexist sections of scripture.

The Gospel of Thomas, theoretically, is a collection of Jesus’ sayings written down by Dydymus Judas Thomas. There are 114 of these teachings, and nothing else. There are no stories of any kind, nor does the gospel touch on Jesus’ death and resurrection. It focuses solely on the sayings of Jesus.

Now, I could actually see someone doing this. If one isn’t really a writer but has trouble remembering things other people say, one might keep a sort of journal in which one only records the important sayings of important people. So, just because the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection is not included, that doesn’t mean the gospel is inherently false.

I can see, though, how that would be another reason this book was rejected for the cannon: if you can only compile a certain amount of material, you would want to include only the important stuff. A basic understanding of Jesus’ death and resurrection is a requirement of salvation. Some of the other stuff Jesus said might not be. So if you can only have so much included, I can see why this book would be tossed out.

Some scholars have said that this book is actually closer to what Jesus taught than what we find in the gnostic gospels. I…sure as shit hope not.

I’m getting ahead of myself. Some of this is actually quite familiar to those who’ve read the gnostic gospels.

Example:

Gospel of Thomas verses 9: Jesus said, “now the  sower went out, took a handful of seeds, and scattered them. some fell on the road; the birds came and gathered them up. Others fell on rock, did not take root int he soil, and did not produce ears. And others fell on thorns; they choked the seeds and worms at them. And others fell on the good soil and it produced good fruit: it bore sixty per measure and a hundred and twenty per measure.”

Example 2:

Gospel of Thomas verse 20: The disciples said to Jesus, “tell us what the kingdom of Heaven is like.”

He said unto them, “it is like a mustard seed. It is the smallest of all the seeds. But when it falls on tilled soil, it produces a great plant and becomes a shelter for the birds of the sky.”

So we do see some similarities in the teachings of Jesus. A lot, actually, but to quote them all would make this a really long post, so I’m going to skip over the things we already know.

Now for the awful part. This is toward the end of the text, though I’m not sure if it is the end of the original text, or if only part of the text is quoted in this book.

Gospel of Thomas 114: Simon Peter said to them, “let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of life.”

 

Jesus said, “I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the kingdom of Heaven.”

Sadly, this is not actually an uncommon way of thinking, even today. I can not tell you how often in children’s literature I run into this. I think adult literature does it too, but I happen to read a lot of children’s books. Often, in order to be considered as good as the male protagonists, a female character must have as many masculine traits as possible.

For example, she must not like hair ribbons, dresses, or dolls. She must instead like football, getting dirty, or climbing trees.

Setting aside the fact that a girl can do all of the above masculine AND feminine traits and just be a well rounded person, this trope is disturbing.

I don’t have the book right in front of me, but in one of the Chronicles of Narnia books… I think it was The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe, CS Lewis writes something about how, “Lucy was almost as good as any boy.” The character of Lucy is praised for acting like a tomboy, while her poor sister, Susan, is damned to hell in the last book, The Last Battle, for wanting to be a grown up, and “wearing lipstick and nylons!”

It is therefore disturbing to read it here. It’s bad enough that, in the narrative, PETER says it. He’s a fallible human. On the other hand, here we have Jesus here agreeing with it. If this had made it into the Bible, women would be even more oppressed than we already are.

I’m unsure if the Coptic Gospel of Thomas and the things written therein actually happened, or if it was just someone writing shit and hoping to have it authorized. Either way, at one point and by at least one group of people, it was taken as cannon.

I honestly don’t know what to think. Were these other gospels that were not included in the bible excluded simply because there wasn’t enough room? Do any of these contain truth or are they just lies written by someone?

I think, actually, that that question should be asked of the entire bible. After all, the Gospel of Thomas seems to fit in with the 4 canonical gospels except for that last verse. How do we know what is supposed to fit at all when the whole bible is rife with contradictions?

How do we know that these gospels aren’t real and the other ones fakes?

Regardless of whether or not this gospel should be included or not, I’m glad it wasn’t.

Help Me

The Gospel of the Nazareans

Jewish Christians were widely thought to have preferred the Gospel of Matthew, since that one was written to the Jews too. However, there is evidence that, at least for a particular group of Jews, this gospel was preferred.

When it was written: It was produced somewhere near the end of the first century/beginning of the second.                Intended Audience: probably Jews

Why it was lost: possibly for two reasons:

1. Few Christians in later centuries could read Aramaic. It was actually thought, for a long time, that The Gospel of the Nazareans was merely an Aramaic version of St. Matthew.
2. Early Christians were suspicious of it because it was “too Jewish.” Antisemitism started early, I suppose.

Only fragments of this gospel remain, most of which are quoted in other sources. There’s this guy named Jerome. The author of this book assumes I know who that is, but he is sadly mistaken, and I think a lot of Christians even, and secular people who are curious, probably will not. Anyway, Jerome quoted from this gospel a lot, mostly in the Greek manuscripts of the book of Matthew.

These quotations reveal that, according to this gospel, Jesus was not born of a virgin, but was just a man chosen by God to be the Messiah because he was more righteous than anyone else.

Again, keep in mind that these ideas were highly contested in that time, and until NT scripture was fully formed, no one could really be sure of anything.

Now, on to the fragments!*

 (commentary on Matthew 25:14-30, which is the parable of the talents) For the Gospel that has come down to us in Hebrew letters makes the threat not against the one who hid the master’s money, but against the one who engaged in riotous living. For the master had 3 slaves, one who used up his fortune with whores and flute players, one who invested the money and increased its value, and one who hid it. The first was welcomed with open arms, the second was blamed, and only the third was locked up in prison. Eusebius, Theophania, 4, 22

I think I get what they’re trying to say here, but the way this reads is that the riotous liver was welcomed with open arms, the investor was blamed, and the guy who hid it thrown into prison. Maybe the person who wrote the commentary got it confused and did it backwards? Anyway, it’s an interesting take on the story and, in my head, makes more sense than the canonical version.

In any case.

There’s no context for this next fragment, but I include it anyway for the wtf factor:

But the Lord taught about the reason for the division of souls in the houses, as we have found somewhere in the gospel used by the Jews and written in Hebrew, where he says, “I will choose for myself those who are good –those given to me by my Father in heaven.” (Eusebius, Theophania 4, 12)

I have no idea to what this verse refers: predestination, perhaps? Supporting the doctrine that Jesus has chosen in advance who will be saved, and the rest can all rot in hell? Or is he saying something like, I will choose for myself among the people, and I will only choose people who are good? How is he choosing, anyway, if the Father is giving them to him?

This fragment makes no friggin’ sense. Or maybe it would with some extra context, I just don’t know. And who is Eusebius, anyway? And this Jerome guy is referred to a lot, who is he? I feel like we should be given some background about the commentators so as to understand why these fragments might have been chosen and in what light they were viewing said fragments.

 In the Gospel of the Nazareans… [b]which most people consider the authentic version of Matthew,[/b] the man with the withered hand is described as a mason, who sought for help in words like these: “I was a mason who made a living with my hands; I beseech you, Jesus, restore my health so I do not have to beg for food shamefully.” (Jerome, commentary on Matthew, 12, 13)

Apparently the church fathers, like Jerome (fathers of what church?) thought that the Gospel of the Nazareans was just another translation of Matthew, and perhaps more authentic. Interesting, then, that it never made the canon, and presumably didn’t survive to do so.

I also find it an interesting take on the story of  Withered Hand Man. The fact that he was a mason would’ve made his disease even more dramatic. Perhaps he even hurt his hand by the very work he did to provide for himself, and possibly a family, if he had one. We don’t get to know. Either way, it makes the story a lot more personal and dramatic.

One last fragment I wanted to discuss, because this is the one that really stood out to me the most when I read this:

In the Gospel…which the Nazareans still use today…the following story is told: Behold, the mother of the Lord and his brothers were saying to him, “John the Baptist is baptizing for the remission of sins. Let us go and be baptized by him.” But he replied, “what sin have I committed that I should go to be baptized by him? Unless possibly what I just said was spoken in ignorance.” (Jerome, Against the Pelagians, 3,2)

Very interesting. I’m not sure how to make of it. Is Jesus, in this quote, implying that his ignorance was a sin, or that what he was saying could be in ignorance? Could he possibly have said this before he had a talk with his Father and was told that, yes you DO need to be baptized? Did Mary and Jesus’ brothers ever actually get baptized by John the Baptist? Was Jesus actually with them when he got dunked? We Don’t Get To Know.

Should this gospel be taken as inspired fact? I don’t know that, either. Possibly not. It is, however, at least one group’s interpretation of events, and it does have historical context both in that respect and culturally. For that reason alone it is worth reading. Did Jesus really ever make such a statement? We’ll probably never know that.

I would, however, like to draw everyone’s attention to John 25:21

Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

John seems to be implying that there are other books about Jesus. Even if he isn’t, of course there would have been. Of course more than 4 people would’ve written these things down.

It’s my personal belief that these things are true in some way, because they were taken as truth at one point by a group of people, and so to them it became truth whether it actually was/is truth or not.

Maybe some of the things in some of these gospels are true and some are not. Maybe we have to take these gospels the same way we take ever other history book: with a grain of salt and a lot of other research.

You’ll have to decide for yourself, obviously. But know that wondering these things is not a sin, for if, in studying our holy book, we can only gain. If we find that the whole bible is crap, well and good. If the bible is true, however, such study will stand the test, and we will draw even closer to our savior.

Help Me

*In these post I am not going to quote every single fragment. That would take too long, and some of it’s just the same stuff that’s already in the Canon. I’m just going to quote the stuff that’s different, or note if a lot of it is similar.