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Me as I think I am

Posted: 23 Nov 2022, 10:49
by Watcher
Before posting more, perhaps I should introduce some things I think about myself. Until my mother’s death, she claimed that I was her most difficult child. Though she had a number of miscarriages she claimed that I was her most difficult delivery – I was born with complications that she thought was a divine sign. I was born into a family of high achievers. My oldest brother was (is) considered a genius and has a photographic memory. My parents were prominent figures both in the Church and in the community as are all my siblings (though some of my siblings are not active in the Church). Without a doubt I am the “black sheep” of the family.

I have never intended to be difficult. I do not think of myself as rebellious but for whatever reason I was accident prone as a child. More than once, as a child, I was brought home unconscious by a stranger. At the age of 12 I was lost in the Unita wilderness while on a ward scout camping trip. A few years later, I was exploring and trapped in an abandoned mine by a cave in but was able to find an alternate exit. Throughout all these events, I always sensed the presents of divine assistance and guidance which lead to my deliverance.

I had two impressions in my youth. The first is that I thought myself of great spiritual importance even though I never have risen to any amount of spiritual importance beyond my marriage and family – which I have come to believe is the greatest spiritual achievement of mortality. The second was that as a teenager I was determined to launch something into space. I had many spectacular failures in my rocket attempts. I never had even a single success – all attempts ended in explosions. I have come to believe that I was never legally charged because of my parents – that and I was lucky enough that nothing was ever damaged – with the exception of a large hole in a paved road. I did find out later that the FBI had a file on me.

In school I either got “A’s” or barely passed – I seldom, if ever got a “B”. I have never been able to pass a spelling test. Later in life I learned I am dyslexic. Math and science were what I excelled in the most. I grew up knowing Dr. Harrison and Dr. Tracy Hall – both prominent scientist in the church. I also grew up knowing a few general authorities on a personal level.

In general, it seems I either get along very well with someone or they quickly become annoyed and upset with me. My first mission president and I got along great. My second mission president did not like me much until after my mission when he became a general authority. I have difficulty with feelings and emotions, and it seems to me that some (especially in the Church) think that such things define friendship. I do not like to be touched or hugged – though I have learned to tolerate such. My second mission president was very much a touché feely person.

I joined the army reserves when I was 17 and still in high school so I could serve a mission. This was because during the Vietnam conflict the government would only allow two deferments per year per ward for missionaries. My birthday is in August, so I had no chance in a Utah ward with two dozen others my age ahead of me. I received a release from the military to serve a mission and while on my mission the government lost my military records – because of this and other reason I do not understand, I never received orders for combat even though those orders existed.

I majored in math and physics at BYU. After college I went to work for the Defense Department (anti-submarine warfare department) and lived in the Washington DC area. I did not like the east coast and took employment with Boing’s space and military division in the Seattle are. It was while working on various projects that I learned about my FBI file – which included stuff from my mission. While in the Seattle area I was able to attend the temple dedication in the Celestial room of the temple. The experience was both empirical and spiritual and had a profound effect on me and my relationship to G-d and the Church.

Though I have good relationships with many good people in the Church there are many, even among those in leadership positions that do not seem to like working with me. Usually this is because of my scientific background and because of that background I do not connect to various doctrines. I personally have no problem with those that disagree with me about doctrine serving in leadership positions over me. I do not concern myself with those that I disagree with in the Church or for that matter anywhere else. I believe in and support the agency of all mankind to choose for themselves. I find many choices to be foolish and of little value (even among my own choices) but I believe the greatest goodness and kindness that can be expressed to others is their right to agency; that they choose for themselves what they would make of themselves and what they will respect and allow in others.

I believe that agency is the most important principle of that which is divine. Even more than not liking to be told – I believe that it is greater to learn not to think to tell others what they must do. Though sometimes I think this gets lost when we tell others what we think we would do under similar circumstances. I do appreciate that I am unique and that everyone is different from me. I appreciate when others realize that I am as different and unique as they are or at least that I am as unique and different as anyone else that they know. Regardless of what anyone here may agree or disagree with me personally – I hold to the notion that you have the right to be what you determine to be – not what G-d or anyone else or anything else determines that you be. If you determine to be _________ (you can fill in the blank with whatever you want) I will support your right to do so even if I disagree in the logic you employ to do so.

Re: Me as I think I am

Posted: 23 Nov 2022, 12:36
by Roy
What a fascinating life that you have led. I enjoyed reading about your journey.

Your perspective is more traditional than many of the perspectives that are shared here, but it is welcome.

Elder Wirthlin once compared the church to an orchestra in his analogy that differences are helpful and needed. The same metaphor applies to this website. We can respect one another as we give support for individuals that wish to remain LDS after a crisis of faith.

Re: Me as I think I am

Posted: 23 Nov 2022, 19:32
by SilentDawning
Thanks Watcher. I don't have much to say other than I enjoyed reading your biography. I wonder why you have a tendency to polarize people? I found that part interesting. As I go through life some people really like me, most are neutral and a few haven't like me at all -- usually based on whether I give them what they want...:)

Re: Me as I think I am

Posted: 27 Nov 2022, 20:03
by Watcher
SilentDawning wrote: 23 Nov 2022, 19:32 Thanks Watcher. I don't have much to say other than I enjoyed reading your biography. I wonder why you have a tendency to polarize people? I found that part interesting. As I go through life some people really like me, most are neutral and a few haven't like me at all -- usually based on whether I give them what they want...:)
I have thought about responding to my polarizing people with an example. Around 17 years ago I was working for a publicly held engineering company that had captured 90% of a niche in the automation and robotics industry. Our management, in all their brilliance, decided to expand by acquiring companies in similar markets. They acquired a company without completing a proper due diligence and inherited a 650 million debt. I had been involved in this acquisition to assist in an audit of the engineering department. It was not a well-run company. I was not surprised that the acquired company was deep in debt. Rather than hurt our company stocks the acquired debt was hidden in accounting.

Two years later there was a recession that our government solved by bailing out a few two large to fail banks (older forum members may remember). This recession caused problems in our company. I believe that our company decided to use this opportunity to declair the debt mostly for tax purposes. Our company president and CEO held an all-hands-on deck meeting to explain necessary steps to keep our company solvent. Among the steps would be a 20% reduction in our engineering force, a 15% cut in all employees pay and a 25% cut in senior management (including board of directors) salary. Our CEO ask if there were any questions.

Because of my standing as a principal engineer in the company – I felt obligated to ask a question. I began by introducing myself and my title in the company - even though I knew the CEO personally. I explained that I had been involved in bidding all our company’s projects over the last 5 years and that all our projects had been highly profitable. I also explained that we had several projects booked that would require we maintain our engineering force. I explained that to my knowledge any debt currently owed by our company was not the result of anything done by any of the company engineers. I also explained that we are a company that requires team work to remain solvent and that such teamwork may require all make sacrifices. So, as I then explained, my question was – Would the senior management guarantee to us here in this meeting that these Draconian measured are not for the purpose of senior management bonuses at the end of the ficscal year; that in the past had been as high as 1,000 % or more of their salary. Would he guarantee that there would be no bonuses granted because of employee sacrifices. My simple question tended to polarize our company. Up until that point I was well liked by management.

Re: Me as I think I am

Posted: 28 Nov 2022, 22:46
by Old-Timer
Publicly calling most leaders greedy (or, at least, making that strong implication) in front of their "subordinates" (I hate that term, just to be clear.) will make them angry - even if it is true, and, perhaps, especially in that case. i understand, agree with, and respect what you said, but I know enough about human nature to understand their reaction.

I also appreciate this post and what you have shared. It helps us understand you better, and that is a good thing.

Re: Me as I think I am

Posted: 29 Nov 2022, 12:26
by Watcher
Just a short follow up. My actions eventually lead to my starting my consulting business. Something I should have done much early in my life. In hindsight, had I been more wise, I could have taken a number of other engineers into my consulting business had I acted sooner but I have known since my youth that I am not a head of others type. My dear wife that is such a type and often encourages me to exercise more filtering of what I say to others.

As for the company – It has been sold several times and currently struggles to hold on to their remaining 15%(-) market share. Because of this event and other – I have become convinced that many great leaders of themselves are not so talented as it was that they gather around them great followers. As much as the general authorities are praised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I believe that what makes this Church exceptional is in the strength of the very common but willing members in the front lines filling the almost not noticed and not so glorious callings in much excess of their talents and abilities.

Re: Me as I think I am

Posted: 30 Nov 2022, 05:07
by Old-Timer
Amen - and amen. Well said.

Re: Me as I think I am

Posted: 08 Dec 2022, 10:38
by PazamaManX
Thank you for sharing your story watcher. It certainly sounds like your life has been a fascinating one.

I'll also say I greatly respect you for openly questioning the bosses in front of everyone. I've had the opportunity to do the same before and didn't. Looking back, I wish that I had done what you did.