2010/08/12 T

…Unbelievably, I just failed my religion class…  We just had the final test today, the third test.  The teacher sunk me on the second test because I had missed that class for some reason without being aware that the test was being taken, so I had to take it late.  After this final examination, we tallied our final grade along with the teacher (I had given myself a fairly modest 80% on the self-grading portion [note to teachers: do not allow students to self-grade, since the good ones will give themselves lower grades and the bad ones higher]).  To my passing final grade, the teacher added on a quite large 15% grade subtraction because of “over three absences”, which dropped me below failing… 

My major regret is that I spent so much energy on this class, when I now must walk away from it with no benefit.  Again I’m left with a financial deficit to BYU because of under-generous policies, which I feel compelled to make up to myself — I know how it will be, too, since the treasury of this school is intertwined with that of the Church.  Not that any amount of money can make up for ecclesiastical estrangement; but in my heart, I’m not estranged, and in my natural contributions I’m not inhibited.  Only when some bizarre caprice takes money from me unplanned do I have any desire to recover that loss.

Still, then, this is the school for me.  If I have any such issues at any other school, I’ll have no way to recover it except through applying a potential (that is, undetermined) contribution to that school.  With BYU, I still know I will be contributing to its parent entity, the Kingdom of God, for the rest of my life, whatever else I may feel inclined to give to the school directly (and I was not stingy at LDSBC, although it admittedly was connected to my destruction of their unjustified parking counter-measure that one day…).  I surely will end up giving to BYU.  But it will be minus this garbaged expense of the tuition lost on this class… and it will be ensured first through tithing before ever through donation.  Oh well.  I still owe my right ten percent, and feel happy owing it… and I would give more if more were asked.  …But not if it is taken by questionable policies, rather than asked.

Yesterday I came back from a long week-end in Salt Lake.  I brought my bike, and I and Myeong Seon later went to Utah Lake by bike.

Myeong Seon is now here critiquing my journal, and explaining myself to her has made me wonder how I justify “questionable policies”, as if I have a right to “question” any policies.  I won’t here discuss the fallibility or infallibility of BYU; my decision instead comes from my financial strait, the fact that I don’t have enough money to study at a university except by parental patronage, and that until I find a job, I won’t even have enough money to continue living here (which cost has been my own responsibility).  A policy is therefore “questionable” to me if its effect will likely drive me out of this school and possibly out of higher education altogether, not whether I agree or not with administrators, or sustain them or not, or support my teachers’ rights to decide grades or not.  They retain all of my support of those privileges.  If I had done more perfectly in my class, I would not have lost this money and threatened my education; that’s true.

…So… yes.  It seems I’m looking for a loop-hole, and can easily find one.  Disregarding everything else — whether the grading system is inherently evil that gives zero credit to a 59.9% score but full, low-graded credit to a 60% score, or not — I by my own mistake lost money when I would not have otherwise.  And I by my own sense of religious duty also lose money to a church, when I would not otherwise lose it (that is, if I did not have a tithing-oriented religious conviction, I would not, of course, pay tithing at all).  The first loss is a mistake, and the second, in my view, is no mistake.  And now I try to recover from the first mistake by adding a second mistake to myself…  Is it honourable?

Well, legally, even as a BYU student, even as a member, I have no compulsion on me to pay that tithing in the first place…

Yet I have the compulsion from Abraham, and Malachi, and Jesus, and every prophet who has spoken on tithing.  And I have the promise of blessing if I pay it fully… and as far as I have seen, that promise is fulfilled consistently.

So, it would seem an injury to myself to fail to comply with that commandment fully…

…What if that means that I lose my sponsorship, because of wasted money for a now-wasted term?  What if that means I… delay my education, or worse?

But everybody who ever faced a reason to not pay tithing has always feared the alternative.  The responsible ignore the fear, and take what comes to them…

Several hundred dollars is not a killing amount, really.  That’s why I have felt at ease by paying it through tithing, and that’s why I perhaps should feel equally at ease just losing it.  What if it were less?  I paid that unrighteous parking ticket at the U of U that one time, just because it was so affordable… and this loss, which in my small mind is also unfair, is equally affordable when compared with grander sums.  And, it goes to a better cause, doesn’t it?  It goes to this beautiful school…

Well…

If I borrow from anybody, then… or if I add to any debt… I suppose I should add to the debt I already have.  I’ll just owe my mom this several hundred dollars extra.  I already owe her the thousands she has spent on me.

If I ended up with some hundreds extra later in my life, where else would I give it than the Church?  It’s all theirs anyway.  …It’s all “ours”; the Church is us.

Well, in the short term… how can I put extra burden on my mother, because of my mistake…?

I guess the thing to do now… is to find a job as quickly as possible, and see if I can make up that few hundred dollars.  Then the short-term burden could be mine.

Anyway, about Myeong Seon…  I can say nothing one way or the other right now.  In my heart is a terrible fear of making a mistake… and a simultaneous fear of losing my one opportunity for a suitable companion.  I feel at least as old now as I ever have.  I don’t know her well, but my experience so far has been very positive.  She has a very receptive personality…  She has listened to me so far.

I have felt the same with others.  I felt I could communicate well with each of those few I have loved…

I guess I just need to keep waiting, and see what happens.

-Steve

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One Response to 2010/08/12 T

  1. Thankful says:

    Hopefully, the oft time mentioned words of your mother will come to your recollection, that everyone has valuable lessons to be learned and we will be given the opportunity to learn the lesson as often as is necessary

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