Saturday, December 28, 2013

Debate Vs. Argument Vs. Fighting

So some of you may know that I'm in a relatively new relationship.  My boyfriend Joel Bruce is great.  He makes me happy, he makes me feel good, he makes me smile, all that good stuff.  There's just one problem.  He's an Atheist.  Now that isn't, or wouldn't be a problem in and of itself.  I've dated Atheists before, many of my closest friends and family members are Atheist, it isn't a problem for me.  Or wasn't until now.

Like I said, my relationship with my Joel is great, or would be, if it weren't for that one thing.  Why is it a problem?  Because we make it a problem.  We're both intelligent, passionate, and stubborn.  We're set in our beliefs, and neither one is willing to compromise.  The question is, should we?

For those of you who aren't aware, I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, aka Mormon.  I've always believed in what are referred to as "The Articles of Faith" (see:  I've always especially been fond of the 11th Article of Faith which states: "11 We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may."  I truly, and with all my heart believe that, and in doing so, I also respect people's beliefs, non-beliefs, etc.  I respect people religions, spiritualities, or lack thereof.  Again, I believe in letting people "worship how, where, or what they may."  So I'm good where I am, with what I know to be true (why I know it to be true is another long story for another day, but I'll elaborate if asked to do so), and I'm good with my boyfriend being an Atheist.  So the question is, why does is cause such turmoil in our relationship?

I have some ideas as to why, and I'd like to elaborate my ideas, or hypothesis' now.

First, the problem with me (or is it just a problem with me, for my boyfriend?) is that I'm an emotional person.  When I get into a heated debate or conversation, if I'm honestly open with that person, I wear my heart on my sleeve, so to speak.  Sometimes I get upset, sometimes my buttons get pushed, sometimes I get sad, sometimes I cry.  This is a problem for my boyfriend.  He doesn't seem to be able to handle my emotions, even though he expects me to handle his.  That's a problem.  I feel like I allow him to have his feelings and emotions, but I feel that I'm not allowed to do the same.  That's problem number one.

Second, the problem we have is that my boyfriend is very logical, rational, and scientific in his thinking.  The problem lies in that in a theological debate, and in matters of God, things aren't always what we currently understand to be logical, rational, or scientific (even though I believe they are, and that we just don't understand them, or don't yet have the capacity to understand such things).  My boyfriend wants scientific proof of God, proof via the scientific method (see:  The thing is, if God could be proven to exist, we wouldn't need to be here.  We're here to test our faith (see:, and if God gave us all the answers to the test of this lifetime, what would be the point of our being here?  There wouldn't be one.  The purpose of this life would be null and void.  So can the existence of God be proven?  I believe so, but I believe that we're not meant to find out that "proof" until we've, well, passed the test, as it were.

The next problem is, that about once a week or so, we get into some sort of existential debate, which most often turns into an argument, which turns into a fight.  Then we start slinging accusations and blame at one another, until the next thing you know, hours have gone by, and we're both emotionally exhausted, and broken.

Why does it have to be this way?  I don't want it to be this way.  I don't think my boyfriend wants it to be this way.  So why is it?  My boyfriend has often accused me of "thriving on drama".  He's not the first one that's accused me of such.  So I don't know, perhaps I do?  I don't mean to, I don't want to.  By no means is it an excuse, but I do suffer from mental illnesses, including Bi-Polar Disorder NOS (Not Otherwise Specified [meaning I don't fit into type one or type two]).  I've had this illness, which involves clinical chronic depression, for most of my life.  It's controlled (for the most part) by medication and therapy.  For the most part, considering what I've been through (a boat load of more stories, for another time), I would say I do pretty good.  I'm very high functioning, and for the most part a happy person.  I've especially been happy lately, particularly since I met my boyfriend, and those that are close to me have noticed this as well.  Now my boyfriend, on the other hand, says that he wants someone that will take away from and relieve his stress, not someone that adds to it (which apparently I do, a lot).  Personally I try to focus on the 99% of the time that we have together that is good, whereas he seems to focus on that 1% of the time where things aren't very good at all.  Now I understand that this is human nature, that most people remember and focus on negative events over positive ones (they seem to make a deeper impression in our minds), so I understand why he does this.  I just want him to stop focusing on the negative, and focus on the positive.

I think perhaps it all boils down to a communication problem.  We both accuse one another of not listening to the other.  I've come to realize that I don't think this is actually the case, that we are listening to each other, we're just not focusing on the things that the other person wants the other to focus on, and it seems like we're not listening to each other because of that.

So how can we remedy this situation?  Because it needs to be remedied.  It's gotten so bad, that we've almost lost one another because of it, and I, for one, don't want that to happen.

Now as I said, my boyfriend is a very logical and scientific-minded person.  He tagge me in this "Debate Flow Chart" on Facebook the other day, and I "liked" it, and he took that for me agreeing to "debate" following those rules.  The problem is, when the time came for another theological discussion, I didn't have the flow chart in front of me, and apparently didn't follow the rules.  But then again, should I HAVE to follow any rules when it comes to conversing with my boyfriend?  Should I?  I don't know.  Take a look at the flow chart, and see what you think:

(click to enlarge)

Now on most occasions, and for most topics, I would agree with this flow chart, and how it works.  The problem is, when it comes to certain things, I just can't follow those rules.  Theological matters are one of those things.  At the first part of the flow chart is where I get stuck.  It says, "Can you envision anything that will change your mind on this topic?"  The thing is, my answer, if I'm being honest, is no.  That leads to the rule on the flow chart that says, "This is not a discussion. I will not talk to you about this topic.".  Now is this fair?  I don't think so.  I think we can still have a discussion even if I can't envision anything changing my mind regarding the topic.  And for the most part, in the past, we have continued the discussion anyway, which then leads to debating, arguing, fighting, etc.  So lately I've noticed that my boyfriend has been avoiding such conversations, perhaps in effort to avoid confrontation.  The problem is, he still continues to bring up subjects, then I want to talk about them, but he refuses to.  Case in point, the other day my boyfriend tagged me in a post containing this article (, "But I'm a Good Mormon Wife".  He didn't make any comments about it, but since he tagged me in it, I figured he wanted me to comment, so I did.  This is what I said in reply to the article:

I'm sad when I hear stories like this.  Don't people realize that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God's Church, NOT Joseph Smith's Church?  Even if what anti-Mormon media says about Joseph Smith is true, don't people realize he was HUMAN, and as such, a fallible being?  The only thing he, as Joseph Smith, The Prophet?, and President of the Church couldn't do was lead the entire Church astray.  That's all that God said.  He didn't say he was perfect, infallible, unable to be corrupted.  In fact, it says in the scriptures that were a Prophet to lead the Church astray, He would be taken from the Earth.  Maybe that's why Joseph Smith died?  I don't know.  However, that said, I still don't believe what I know to be  lies about Joseph Smith, or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  I would encourage people to learn both sides of the story, instead of just one, and then earnestly pray with a sincere want for knowledge and ask God if it's true or not.  A lot of the information in this article is incorrect, and subjective, not objective.  It's a personal story, by a person (again, people are fallible, corruptible, imperfect, and all that).  There's some things that she talked about as though it was Church Doctrine, that isn't.  That God should come before your spouse?  Actually, as far as I've always been taught in the Church, it's the exact opposite.  As for the Urim and Thummim being a stone in a hat?  What, has she been watching South Park?  It even describes here, in Extracts from the History of Joseph Smith, the Prophet exactly what the Urim and Thummim are..."35 Also, that there were two stones in silver bows—and these stones, fastened to a breastplate, constituted what is called the Urim and Thummim—deposited with the plates; and the possession and use of these stones were what constituted “seers” in ancient or former times; and that God had prepared them for the purpose of translating the book." Nowhere does it talk about a stone in a hat.  So that point right there tells me that the author of this article is misinformed.  Anyway, I could go on, and will, if anyone would like me to, but I think I've gotten my point across.  This blog entry is just that, a blog entry, a personal story, etc.  It doesn't make it true, objective, or right.

Later that night I was talking to my boyfriend online and I said, "So you never replied to my reply about the article you posted."  "What article?," he asked.  "The one about being a "Good Mormon Wife", I replied.  "I don't want to talk about it," he said.  Now this upset me.  Here he had clearly been the one this time (we've argued over who started the conversation in the first place many times), and now here he was refusing to talk about it.  This didn't seem fair to me, or right, and so of course it upset me, and I got a bit confrontational with him.  Once again, it turned into a fight, and it wasn't pretty.  I accused him of not being willing to follow his own rules, but forcing me into it, and he accused me (once again) of thriving on drama, and needing help.  That of course didn't go over well, with either of us.

Eventually I gave up trying to get him to talk about it, and tried my best to smooth things over.  But the tension, even though we were online, was palpable.

Things have gotten better since then, and we haven't gotten into a fight since, but things are still strained.  I'm trying my best to make it work, I even posted the following "10 Commandments of Rational Debate" to him, as a sign that I was willing to follow such rules:

(click to enlarge)

So the questions I have now are, where do we go from here? How do we fix this problem?  Can it be fixed?  Are we willing to change or compromise regarding this subject?

Anyway, if anyone has any insights, suggestions, or words of wisdom, I could really use them right now.  Even if you just tell me what you think about the situation, I would appreciate it.  I don't want to lose my boyfriend.  I love him, and I want him in my life.  So what can we do to resolve these issues?  Thank you for any insight or knowledge you can provide me with.  That's all for now...until next time, I hope all this finds all of you well.

Kindest Regards,

Saturday, December 7, 2013


So before I go any further, I'd like to introduce a rather new, yet very important part of my life.  I know, this is a big shocker, but I have a boyfriend now!  Yeah, me, I've escaped the seemingly eternal depths of being single, and I've allowed my heart to belong to someone else again.

So you're probably wanting to know how it happened.  Well, the story will expose the nerd that I am, but so be it!

So I've always wanted to go to a Comic Convention (Comic Con for short).  The problem is, they've never had them anywhere near where I live, and I hadn't ever made it to one (particularly California's)  Comic Con, like I'd always wanted to.  Then this year they announced that Utah was going to have it's own Comic Con, the Salt Lake Comic Con.  When I heard about it, I was so excited!  But then I realized it was probably going to be expensive, and something I couldn't afford.  So I gave up my wishes of attending, and hoped there'd be another one next year.                                                                                           Then the week that the Comic Con was to occur, I was talking to my parents about the Salt Lake Comic Con, telling them about what it was, and how desperately I wanted to go.  Later that day I was standing in the kitchen, and my dad walks in, and hands me a $50 bill.  I looked at him wondering, and asked him what this was for.  "It's for your thing," my dad replied.  "What thing?" I asked.  "Your Comic thing," he said.  Oh!  I was so excited!  I threw my arms around him, and thanked him for being such an awesome dad, and for affording me this opportunity to attend the first ever Salt Lake Comic Con! 

Later, as I went online to order my ticket to attend the Saturday events of Salt Lake Comic Con 2013, I saw that they were also having an event that Friday evening.  It was, as they described, a "red carpet" opening and celebration of the Comic Con.  It was to be a somewhat formal affair, and costumes, of course, were recommended.  I told my mom about it, and she said, "You might as well go!"  I agreed, and as it was a cheap addition to my ticket, I decided to go.  I ordered my ticket, and got to planning what I was going to wear.

"Hmm," I thought.  "What kind of costume to wear to a red carpet affair..." My mom helped me find my box of formal dresses, and we started going through them, and my costume accessories (I have a lot of them...I love to dress up!), when I came across a dress that I hadn't fit into since I was about 17 years old.  Well, with having recently lost quite a bit of weight, I tried it on, and ta da!, it fit!  It was long, black, with sparkly silver thread  running through it.  Simple but elegant.  I knew exactly what I was going to do with it.  I quickly found my black angel wings, and got to work putting my costume together.  It came together beautifully, and I was transformed into a "dark angel".  I felt like Cinderella going to the ball.  

So it was Friday night, September 6th, 2013, and I was ready to go.  I knew that the Salt Lake Comic Con was being held at the Salt Palace Convention Center, so I figured that's where the red carpet event was going to be held as well.  This is where fate stepped in.  It turns out that evening in Salt Lake City, that a man named Joel Bruce had assumed the same thing. 

When I arrived at the Salt Palace, I parked, and started walking inside.  There were some people leaving from that days events, but it was pretty empty.  I wondered about this, but thought nothing of it.  I made my way inside, and looked around, and to my surprise, though there were a few people there, there was no event going on.  I spotted an information desk, and made my way over there to ask the people at the desk where the event was going on.  That's when I felt a presence behind me.  I looked over my shoulder, and saw a man standing there.  He was dressed nicely in a dark red shirt, and dark trousers, and I found him attractive, but then wasn't really paying attention, as I was still inquiring about the event.  The man behind me piped up saying that he was looking for the same thing.  The people at the information desk told us that the even actually wasn't being held at the Salt Palace, but at a club called The Depot, down the street.  I asked them for directions, and they told me, and I turned and walked back out of the door I had come in.  As I made my way quickly across the sidewalk in the dark, I heard footsteps behind me, and someone call out to me.  "Miss!"  he said.  It was the man in the dark red shirt.  "Miss," he called,  "do you want to look at my phone and see the directions, and walk there together?"  Immediately my walls went up.  You see, I'm used to the creeps the perverts, the no-so-nice people in the world being attracted to me, as if I had a sign post on my back indicating I was looking for such people (I never could figure that out), and I figured this man must be one of those people, if he was talking to me.  Quickly I replied, "No, that's okay, I'm just parked right here, and I'm just going to drive over there."  As I quickly turned and walked away, I heard his disappointed, "Okay.", and something in me told me to turn around.   Now just a note here, usually I don't do things like this, nor do I recommend that anyone else do them, but like I said, something told me to, even prompted me to do what I did then.  I stopped, and turned around, and said, "Hey, would you like to ride with me?"  He brightened up and smiled, and agreed to do so.  

We made our way to my car, and as we drove to The Depot club, we introduced ourselves.  He told me that his name was Joel.  I introduced myself as well, and I was truly glad to meet him.  

We found a parking spot near the club, and he escorted me to the entrance.  They of course (this is Utah) asked for ID, and though I didn't know it at the time, Joel thought I was only a young teenager, and wouldn't be allowed into the club.  Of course that not being the case, I produced my ID, and we were let into the club.  That's when the magic of the night began.  Joel once again escorted me inside, being the perfect gentleman.  He asked where I'd like to go, what I'd like to do, etc.  We made our way inside, and I was surprised to see a station set up with a bunch of art supplies, artists, and models posing for drawings to be done of them.  I noticed a sign that said "Draw With Us", so I decided to do just that, being the artist that I am, and not being able to resist.  

Joel came and went, but we always seemed to end up back together.  Finally we ended up on the dance floor.  There we touched for the first time, and the chemistry and sparks were immediately flying!  An 80's cover-band called The Spazmatics (see: were playing a bunch of old hits, and Joel and I danced the night, and talked the night away.  I completely let go of my inhibitions, and allowed myself to enjoy myself like I never usually would.  I found myself wanting to be near this man, with this man, wanting the night to never end.  Then he kissed me, and I was hooked.  I couldn't stop grinning.  Things like this just didn't happen to me.  I wasn't Cinderella at the ball, this couldn't be real, could it?  At that point I just didn't care, I just didn't want it to end.  But eventually it did come to an end, and I figured that was it, and I'd probably never see my Prince Charming again.  Boy was I wrong!  

Joel and I ended up exchanging phone numbers, and he later texted me.  I still have the text..."Hi Ashley, this is Joel.  I really enjoyed myself tonight."  The feelings were mutual, and I told him so.  We talked about how we were both going to attend the Salt Lake Comic Con the next day, and he asked if I wanted to meet up with him.  I quickly agreed, and couldn't wait for the next day to come.  After such a perfect night, I wanted a perfect day for the next. I got my wish.  

I dressed up all sexy (in red, because I knew from him telling me how much he liked the color), and enjoyed getting dressed up again, this time just for HIM.  

And so our courtship began.  We spent the next several days together, every waking hour.  I enjoyed every minute of it, and just couldn't believe it was real.

That was almost exactly three months ago, and things have been pretty great so far.  We spend almost every weekend together, and sometimes other days.  I just love being with him, and miss him so much when I'm not.  

So you're probably wanting to know more about Joel.  Well let's see.  He's 32 years old, a year and a few months older than I am  He's originally from California, where his immediate family still lives, but he moved here to Utah in 2006 to go to school for Computer Science.  After he graduated with a bachelors degree, he started, and continues to work as a computer programmer.  He's absolutely brilliant, and definitely one of the most intelligent people I've ever met.  He's even quite the scientist, and I'm constantly learning new things from him!  (Which I really enjoy.)  We have so very much in common.  We both enjoy things like gaming (yay, a boyfriend that's so much fun!  We've been playing Diablo 3 together, as well as Skylanders, which he has an entire collection of, and we recently started playing World of Warcraft: Mists of Panderia together.  I bought him the collectors edition for an early Christmas present, and it's been so much fun playing WoW again!), we're both total computer nerds (though he's far more advanced than I am in that area).  He's a scientist, and loves to both learn and teach.  We both love to read.  We both love movies (we even love the same kinds of movies, how cool is that?!)  The first movie we saw together was Riddick: Rule The Dark with Vin Diesel.  It was my first time watching a movie in D-Box, and it was so awesome.  It was especially cool because Joel looks like Vin Diesel, particularly when he shaves his head, and well, is incredibly hot!  
We also both love music (he plays the drums), and has a great singing voice (I don't know that he knows, but I love listening to him when he sings).  We're both totally OCD (I think he keeps me around for my tissues and hand sanitizer, which I never leave home without LOL).  He's a complete gentleman, and always compliments me on the way he likes the way I do my makeup, or what I wear, etc.  He's so sweet!  He's also very chivalrous, opening doors for me and such (which I absolutely adore).

Now everything isn't completely perfect (nothing is), and we have our issues, and both come with our own emotional baggage.  Particularly theological ones.  As most of you probably know, I'm a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (aka Mormon), and he's Atheist.  He used to be very religious, and even studied to be a pastor.  But I guess several years ago, he gave up his faith in favor of science and logic, and no longer believes in God.  That's the one thing we've had a lot of problems regarding.  We get into a heated debate, that turns into an argument, that turns into a fight far too often.  I'm actually working on a blog post regarding this exact subject, so that's all I'll say about it for now.

But other then that, we get along great, and really enjoy each other's company.  (At least I enjoy his, and well, he must enjoy mine as well, either that or he's a complete masochist, or perhaps a little of both, LOL).  I've completely fallen head-over-heels for him, and I love him with all of my heart.  

Anyway, that's it for now.  More to come very soon, so stay tuned!  Thank you for reading, and I hope all of you are well.  

Much Love,

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Blogging Again

So I think I'm going to start blogging again.  I used to do it quite a bit, and have always found it quite cathartic.  I've always written in journals and blogs for myself, but for other people as well.  I guess I have hope that someone wants to hear my stories, or that people are interested in my life, my opinions, etc.  So I wonder who will read this?  If you do, I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions regarding my post (good, bad, whatever, as long as it's the truth), so please feel free to respond if you so desire!

I've always loved the written word.  I love reading (I'm a professed bibliophile), and love storytelling (which I've finally done professionally, yay!)  I also love to write.  In fact, in college, before I dropped out, I was in the process of becoming an English/Writing major.  So that tells you how much I love to write.  Whether I'm any good at it or not, well, that remains to be seen.  LOL.  

Anyway, I've also had a lot on my mind lately, and sometimes it's easier for me to express things via the written word rather than verbally communicating them.  So it's my hope that perhaps I can express my various thoughts, emotions, feelings, opinions, etc. here, in hopes that others might understand them better.  Again, how successful that will be remains to be seen.  My fear is that if I get too personal, that I might upset people involved in whatever I happen to be writing about.  If that does happen, please let me know, and I'll be happy to edit my writing and/or not write about that particular topic in the future.  

So here I go, off on another adventure.  I hope it's a fun one, and I hope that you'll enjoy it with me!  Either way, here goes nothing, as they say!  (Though I never really did understand that should be "here goes something", but whatever. LOL.)