All About Me

What makes a man? Is it this sum of his decisions? Or the sum of his experiences? Or a sum of the guidance he has received?

It’s probably a combination of the three. Without making this too journalistic, let me try to decide who I am.

I am the oldest of four boys. Then my parents divorced, my dad remarried and they had a boy. I’ve only seen this brother a couple of times in my life, because divorce is ugly. Then my dad remarried again and adopted his new wife’s 5 children. That technically makes me the oldest of 10.

I was raised in San Diego. I’m the only one of my brothers to be born in a hospital (The other three were at home with a midwife). I was 7 when my 2nd brother was born, and that night I was sleeping in my parent’s closet (because I loved being near them). I woke up in the morning and surprised my parents utterly because I’d slept through the entire birthing process. I was, in turn, surprised to see a doll on their bed (which turned out to be my brother Zackery).

My parents were brutal disciplinarians for me (the oldest) and complete slackers on my brothers. That’s not perception; that’s fact.

After my parents’ divorce, I ran away from my mother’s house twice, then my father’s house and struck it out on my own. I healed the rift with my father but will likely never be on loving terms with my mother for the rest of her natural life.

Schooling and Music
I skipped Kindergarten and 5th grades. I could have skipped another but I’ve always been terrible at doing homework. I went to 11 years of private school, the last 4 in an all-boys Catholic high school. I took 13 years of piano lessons. I competed a lot (and won a lot). I loved competing and winning. Piano stopped being fun and just an obligation somewhere along the way. I wanted to go to a nice college (University of San Diego, because I was too young to go away to college) after all of that nice private schooling but my parents never saved a penny for it, I didn’t have the grades for a scholarship, and my parents had no free cash flow when I graduated high school because they were divorcing.

I thus started at SDSU as a piano performance major with a little scholarship. I quickly learned how much fun that degree wasn’t. I signed up for an aggressive 17 credits and failed almost all of them, and did it again the next semester (I had a 0.7 GPA after that first year). Then I signed up for Grossmont College and dropped out. Then I took classes in Korea through the University of Maryland. Then I signed up for Honolulu Community College and dropped out. Then I finished my Bachelor’s in Information Systems at BYU-Hawaii in record time! Then I started law school at USD (where I wanted to in the first place), and decided to get my MBA while I was there. I’m a terrible law student and a decent MBA student so I got both degrees in 2005.

I was raised being taught by my parents that the military is for people who have no options or ambition. I never considered it an option for myself till high school, when I thought I might get the military to pay for college through ROTC. It would have happened, except that I was too young to get into the program and had to withdraw my application.

When I had run away from both parents’ homes, I tried working in a Sony factory. I lasted 3 days. I tried getting and doing other work, but nothing worked out and I was quickly becoming a deadbeat. I was living at a friend’s house, and his dad sat me down and told me I needed direction in life, that I was going nowhere fast, and that I should consider the military.

I made appointments with recruiters from every major service, drew up a spreadsheet outlining the differences, and ultimately chose the US Air Force because it had the shortest boot camp. I spent 2 years in training and almost 4 years in the field as a Korean linguist.

I tired of the military by my 3rd year in. When I finally got out, I was paranoid that I would get called back if North Korea attacked, and did everything I could to rid myself of my Korean language skills. I can sound out words if I see them, but I’m no longer conversational by any stretch.

See all those degrees? I am the only person I know who used every cent of his GI bill – I got $1k/month through the end of my Bachelor’s and for most of my grad school. I’m very grateful for it.

I was raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Yes, I’m a Mormon. My parents were very religious in my upbringing (and again, slackers with my brothers). I grew up very comfortable with the Church and frustrated with hypocrites. So, when I was in the military, it didn’t take a lot of convincing to leave the Church while I was living a life not in accordance with Church beliefs. I came back long enough to get married and have kids.

When I filed for divorce, having resolved never to return to that marriage, I moved in with my new girlfriend. I turned myself into my Bishop, who turned me over to the High Council, and I was excommunicated (for violating my temple covenants). I have married that girlfriend and am working through the steps to return to the Church. I love the gospel, I love my Heavenly Father who through seemingly impossible means has wiped me clean of my sins and made me feel pure again. To feel clean I needed to be out of my old marriage. To feel pure I needed to be freed from my obligations to the Church until my life was in accordance with the rules once more.

Marriage, Children and Divorce
I was married for 12 years. I have a daughter born in 2000 and twin boys born in 2009. I was a good husband. I am a good father.

I am married again, to the woman who will hold my hand for the rest of Eternity. She is a wonderful guide, partner and mentor for my children. She treats me like a prince and something precious. I love her for 100 reasons, and aim for her to love me more at the end of every day. We read scriptures together, and pray more than I thought was possible.

I worked in a factory. I hated it.
I served 6 years in the military. I hated the last half of it.
I worked in law firms. I hated it.
I did lots of things I hated, and then I lost the first civilian job I’d held for awhile. I quickly approached bankruptcy.
My ex-wife thought there was something wrong with me. She never lost a job of any kind in her life.
Then a wonderful friend, Mitch Thrower, connected me with his friend, Scott Dunklee, who took me under his wing. Scott taught me a wonderful trade – executive recruiting. I get to talk to captains of industry about their next great financial and career opportunities. I love every moment of it, and there are an inordinate number of highs and lows on a monthly, weekly and daily basis.

I have started and stopped at least two other blogs. I often stick to very political subjects and say things in ways that infuriate those who disagree with me. I may touch on political subjects here and there, but that’s not the purpose of this blog.

I have formed philosophies of life over the years. You’ll see them unfold in my posts. I believe my thoughts and experiences can inspire some people to avoid my many mistakes, and to embrace and experience my many successes.

  1. #1 by AJ Barlow on November 21, 2011 - 12:25 pm

    Somehow I came across this blog and I’m glad I did. I’m LDS and I love seeing others so openly share important principles. Thanks, and best wishes with everything!

    • #2 by occamzmormon on November 27, 2011 - 6:09 am

      Yes and I particularly enjoyed your letter to God poem. Keep coming back, and I’ll keep posting!

  2. #3 by cjlidua on November 23, 2011 - 9:34 pm

    – it is nice hearing all about good relationship matters…
    – I married at a young age, faced lots of difficulties but ended up still happy with my life….

    • #4 by occamzmormon on November 27, 2011 - 6:06 am

      Congratulations on finding happiness! I encourage you to build up all three pillars so you can keep it!

  3. #5 by WendyUsuallyWanders on November 28, 2011 - 8:12 am

    I can relate to the sort of college and work history you had. I was considered smart in HS and got a NYS Regent’s scholarship plus a few more. I qualified for a 4 year scholarship with the armed services after testing….but flunked the physical. I went to Texas Wesleyan College for environmenta science, the University of Montana for forestry, Syracuse University for food science and Goddard College for social ecology. All together it was 18 years worth šŸ˜® I finally got happy as a CSA farmer and homesteader. But all along it was disability that took me away from continuous college and unemployment. Becoming LDS was the best thing that ever happened to me šŸ™‚ I was baptized October 1st, 2005. I went through a very tough period of my life when I married a Mormon who turned out to be gay. He bilked me of all my money. Then I was homeless and had three strokes. Life is always interesting, huh?

    • #6 by occamzmormon on November 28, 2011 - 8:43 am

      What a story! I certainly hope you find some healing. I read your post about Crohn’s disease running in the family – I called a woman “mom” who had that for many years, and she is gone from this earth now. The rest – quite the adventure, both good and bad! Our Bishopric spoke yesterday from the pulpit about adversity, how good it is for us. I know it sucks when it’s happening, but it mysteriously does make life that much sweeter, no?

      I’m so glad you’ve found love, and from your posts he is taking sweet care of you. Again, the bad spouses/partners make the good one when you find them, that much sweeter!

  4. #7 by beckwithmansion on November 28, 2011 - 8:27 am

    I saw your “likes” on my blog and decided to check out yours. I admire your writing and after reading your “about” post, I have a lot of respect for you. I look forward to hearing about your road back to full fellowship with the saints.

    If you’re ever in Palmyra, please look us up. (Or, for that matter, come stay at the Beckwith Mansion.)

    • #8 by occamzmormon on November 28, 2011 - 8:43 am

      Well that’s an extremely kind invitation, and I may take you up on that some day! I haven’t made my rounds to all the Church historical sites, and Palmyra is high on my list! (We have the Mormon Battalion here in San Diego, and my dad lives near Nauvoo so I’ll see that one someday)

  5. #9 by WendyUsuallyWanders on November 28, 2011 - 9:02 am

    My patriarchal blessing says “Those who are of the greatest worth shall be tested to the extent of their perseverance”. Each time I feel overwhelmed, that helps me to feel loved and keep going šŸ™‚

  6. #10 by the circular runner on November 28, 2011 - 10:30 am

    Hey thanks for reading my entry on Would love you to subscribe–always can use the friends.


    ps. Like others on here, I do appreciate what you’re doing on this site. Thanks for sharing.

  7. #11 by Seti Matua on December 8, 2011 - 10:20 am

    Found your blog and enjoyed your frank thoughts and family, church and life. Thanks for sharing and I hope the road ahead is much more enjoyable than the roads you have already traveled.

  8. #12 by misfit120 on December 14, 2011 - 5:54 am

    Thanks : )

  9. #13 by socialspeaks on December 26, 2011 - 7:12 pm

    revealing, interesting blog. thanks for your forthrightness.

  10. #14 by Otha Millstein on January 25, 2012 - 8:06 pm

    I have not checked in here for some time as I thought it was getting boring, but the last few posts are good quality so I guess I’ll add you back to my daily bloglist. You deserve it my friend šŸ™‚

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