Monday, December 31, 2012

FAQs: Is my ordination real and legal or not?


Can you help me? I am confused... Universal Life Church, Headquarters in Modesto, CA http://www.ulchq.com/ordination.htm says "Please understand that there is no such thing as "instant online ordination." A computer cannot ordain you. Your request must be reviewed before your ordination can be done legally. You cannot be issued a credential automatically by a computer!” What does this mean?  That’s what happened at http://www.themonastery.org/. 
ok I finally got myself ordained here at the monastery.. I guess I initially assumed this and the ULC were the same organizations but was told otherwise. So now I am official here ;) but than I read this and I'm still worried. So…. Is my ordination real and legal or not?  

First off you are comparing The ULC Modesto with the ULC Monastery, and they are two totally separate not affiliated with one another denominations, so they have different guidelines for who they will ordain and how they will do it. They both use ULC in their name, so folks often think they are the same church (I did too when I first found out about the ULC). When Modesto says "no such thing" they do not mean, no such thing "in the USA", but no such thing "in our business organization". In other words, they mean that THEY do not offer an online ordination which the USA considers legal, and if you get ordained through them, it has to be done offline. The Monastery on the other hand, DOES offer legal online ordination through their "business organization".

Neither one is "right" -they're just different. If it's that much of a concern, be ordained through both. I had the same question when I was seeking ordination. I ended up getting ordained at ALL FIVE of the "official" ULCs because I couldn't figure out which was "right" either. In the end, I decided this one felt the most right for me and my life so I stuck with this one. Once you start googling "official ULC" you'll find these are far from being the only two - after the first five ordinations I said to heck with it - I'm not going to get ordains another dozen times just because there are a few dozen more ULC churches out there! LOL! I figure, in the end, it's all about me and my personal connection to my god, and doesn't matter which church ordains me, ULC or otherwise - I got ordained at 4 non-ULC sites too, and also the Latter Day Dude, which I'm still not sure if that's a real church or not! - plus one local ordination from a bricks and mortar church that actually baptized me in the local river as part of the ordination - after about 12 ordinations I lost count :P I was frantic and worried that the ordinations would not be legal and got a whole bunch of them on the theory of "just in case this one's not legal, I've got all these others as back up"... weird, I know, but that's what I did! LOL!

Than it occurred to me, I was starting my own totally new religion anyways, not affiliated with any other religion, and my church wasn't really a church - no building, no congregation - just a shrine, so who needs an ordination anyways? It's just me and my god, that's all I really need.

Remember this: your ordination is only as legal as the priest who ordained you THINKS it is. Any body can ordain you to be anything and the law doesn't care. Technically you do not need ordination to become a minister in the USA. You need ordination to preform wedding services, not to build your own church or to preach. There is no law in the USA requiring a preacher to be ordained in order to preach, the USA only requires ordination for those ministers who plan to preform weddings, because a wedding is a civil ceremony that requires an officer of the law to preform it.

The USA ALLOWS none government/military personal to preform a marriage AFTER the couple has already gone to court/town office and signed the papers legally. In the USA any couple who is married ONLY religiously is NOT legally married, because the wedding minister is just a "ceremonial service" that carries no legal weight in the USA. No religious union is EVER legal in ANY state in the USA, if there was not also a "civil" union with papers signed before a judge/justice/etc. There was once a survey done and they estimated that as many as 75% of all Americans were not legally married because they had a church wedding ONLY. But anyways, this is why wedding officiants do not have to be preachers, and why ANYONE can be legally ordained to marry a couple, without ant pastoral training at all - because in the USA without a court's blessing the marriage isn't legal one way or the other anyways, so it doesn't matter who does the ceremony.

In the USA online ordination is legal, except in a couple of states (I think Hawaii was one, can't remember the other one, Wisconsin maybe?, I don't know, I know there were two states, but I can't remember which ones they were; and also I looked up this info a few years ago - 2008 - so it could have changed by now, so make sure you find out what the current laws in your town/state are!)  in the two states that don't allow it, you fill in the online form, than wait a week or so for you name to be put in the system manually -as is EVERYONE'S at the Monastery - than you have to request a special ordination package specifically for that state - once that arrives than your state considers you ordained). For every other state it is legal instantly - HOWEVER - in MANY towns you have to have physical documents (ordination certificate, letter of good standing, etc) before you can do certain things, like weddings, applying for 501NP, or accepting tithes from a congregation , so be sure to ask at your local town hall to find out what documentation they require before you do ANYTHING - fines for "religious fraud" are astronomical - tens of thousands - it's better to be safe than sorry.

Oh one more thing - in some states (Maine being one, thus how I know this) it is considered fraud if you use D.D., Dr. or Ph.D in your title WITHOUT a PROPER and FULLY ACCREDITED degree from an ACTUAL university (and know that there are only 8 universities which offer this degree LEGALLY - Harvard and Yale being the two most ministers get theirs from at the tuition cost of about $300,000). The fine for "committing fraud" and "masquerading as the doctor" is in the region of $20,000 and 5 years in prison. Also know that (in the state of Maine at least) to be a Life Coach, Pastoral Counselor, Pastoral Family Counselor, Pastoral Marriage Counselor, Chaplin, or Spiritual Adviser REQUIRES a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology. You can get up to 25 years in prison of for "practicing medicine without a license" without it. The law kind of sucks, but once I found out about it I started asking ministers in the area, even Catholic Priests & nuns and Mormon Bishops, and  was stunned to learn that every one of them had Master's degrees in Psychology and than informed me that when you set up a church in Maine, you have to take an exam to prove you actually did attend college, to prove your degree is real! Not only that, but they had to take the same certification exam Psychiatrists are required to take before setting up an office! Don't know if other states have this law or not, but I thought I'd throw it out there to show you you really need to find out what your local laws are before you get started.

Maine laws regarding church planting are supposed to be the toughest in the nation, there was an uprising of "tent revivals" in the 1990s, literally dozens of preachers were coming into the state, setting up circus tents, "doing miricales" than running out of town with tens of thousands of dollars (not all of it donated to them either! They outright stole purses and such!) Maine put a bunch of really harsh laws in place, regarding who can legally preach in Maine after that, that's how we ended up with that weird one about needing a Master's Degree to be a Life Coach! I think Maine is the only state that requires any sort of anything to be a Life Coach. :(

 I found this info on my state's .gov website, if you go to your home state's .gov web page you can find links to all the state laws and ordinances - took me weeks to figure out how to find the info though, they don't make navigating through the "law books" easy at all! Did the same thing for my town's .gov web page as well (even harder to navigate!). I know about the tent preachers because one of them stole $13,000 from my mom - right out of her bank account! They were legally ordained real ministers, but being without a head church, they had no guidelines to answer to, to say what exactly it was that defined them as a minister, so Maine took action to set up it's own guidelines as to what exactly a minister is and is not, and now all minister in the state of Maine have to abide by what Maine says a minister is, even if no other state in the US agrees!





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Ever wonder what it was like to live with Autism? 
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I have Autism. For more of my life I rarely spoke and was considered "too crazy" to ever live a normal life. I communicated via writing instead of vocally. I did not attend school. Psychologists said I would never drive a car, never get a job, never go to college, never function as a meaningful member of society, never be able to take care of myself or live on my own. They said there was no hope for me, I would need full-time care my whole life. 
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My progression was long and slow and very hard. Things other people found easy to do (getting dressed, brushing teeth/hair, walking across the street, etc,) I found extremely confusing and hard to learn. I was prone to wandering off and getting lost (I still am). Driver's ed takes most people a few weeks to learn - it took me 5 years. 
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I determined to prove the doctors wrong, but it was far harder to do, than most people would imagine. I got my first job working at Macy's at age 30 (a very difficult job as I had to deal one on one with customers and I still at that point was not talking in a manner that could be understood by others). I got my GED at age 34. I got my driver's license at age 35. I started college at age 36. By age 37 I had become a Phi Theta Kappa Honor Student and I was finally able to speak to others in full spoken verbal conversation for the first time in my life. 
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Something that people often say to me is: "You don't look retarded, you look normal, you seem to be getting by okay, why is it that you need adult supervision?"
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One of the reasons why an adult with Autism needs “adult supervision” is their brain does not tell them they are in pain. Was just commenting on the FaceBook status of a friend who got hurt, and it occurred to me that a lot of people don’t understand how it is I had 4 root channels awake and without pain meds, or how I also sat through reconstructive surgery on my face, after having my lip ripped off by a rooster, or again when I had surgery for CTS, or how I can go weeks with a broken bone and not know it is broken. Over the years, people who really, really, REALLY know me well, have come to know that if I say the words “I hurt” than, I’m in a state of needing to have been taken to the hospital, several weeks ago, as doctors put it “her propensity for pain is astounding, look at what I’m doing, she’s not even flinching and I haven’t given her anything for the pain”.
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When I went to the dentist, because my teeth hurt, the girl at the desk told him “she can wait, she doesn’t seem to be in any pain” an hour later he was giving her hell for not rushing me to the hospital, because my jaw was so bad I needed surgery to remove my teeth and have a plate put in. (yes, I have false teeth on one side of my jaw) .
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I am thinking of all the times I have required major medical repairs, because I didn’t know I was hurt and it took those around me several weeks to realize, I don’t respond emotionally or physically to pain.  I fell down and hurt my arm last year – did the ice thing: for 3 days, than Ben comes over and asks me “what’s wrong with your arm?”, and I tell him I fell down and it hurts, can’t move it, but I’m okay; he looks at it than next thing I know he’s in a panic driving me to the hospital. Yep, it was broken and I didn’t know it. 
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The doctors where baffled at why the hell did I wait 3 days to go to the hospital, than they look at my medical records “oh, Autism, that’s why”, unfortunately, one of the stranger symptoms of Autism is, a numbing of the senses, the whole being allergic to everything from sunlight to wool to food, means my body is so used to hurting, that when I’m hurt really bad, it doesn’t send a message to my brain telling me I need help, instead my brain goes “ho hum, more pain, so what?” and the chemicals that are suppose to be triggered to tell me “hey, I’m hurt really bad here, I need to go to the hospital” don’t kick in, so I can go for days (or weeks as was the case when I broke my hip 2 years ago) before someone around me notices somethings wrong, and asks “hey, why are you limping”, and I’ll say “oh, got beaten up a few weeks back, hurt my leg, couldn’t walk for the first few weeks”…”why didn’t you go to the hospital”…”it doesn’t hurt that bad”…”but, it’s a broken bone!” … “really?”
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It’s one of the reasons I need “adult supervision  in spite of being in my 40′s, because my brain doesn’t pick up on the fact that I’ve been injured.
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I suppose more frightening than “not knowing” I’m injured is when I have a stroke and continue on my day like normal, but wander around with out a clue where I am or who any one is. I’ve had 3 strokes in the past 3 years, that’s why I keep forgetting things when playing D&D, I mean, I know every edition of this game inside out and I’ll be mid game and suddenly have no a clue what to do. I had a stroke again, a few weeks ago, that week I missed the game session, when I told my friend I wasn’t feeling good, I had spent most of the day wandering around the campus without a clue where I was or what I was doing there, missed my classes that day because I couldn’t find the buildings, I only randomly meet up with my friend and for some reason remembered I was suppose to play a game that night, otherwise I wouldn’t have known to tell her I was going home.
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It’s upsetting actually, to know you are in a place where you should know where you are, but just not recognize anything. I’ve been without “adult supervision” 6 years now, and for the most part I do good, but it’s when I get hurt/injured/sick that I run into trouble, because my brain just lacks whatever it is it needs that would normally tell me to go to a hospital.  I’ve got a permanent injury now from waiting so long before realizing my leg was broken. 
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Autism is noted for being an illness so painful that the brain shuts down and stops registering the pain. This is why Autistics have their strange little jerks, twitches, and jumpy movements - these are times when pain is registered in our brain. The extreme constant pain is caused by over stimulation of things we are allergic to: lights, sounds, touch, most all foods, most all fabrics, tags in clothes, etc, etc, etc. There are so many things irritating our bodies all at once, that the brain doesn't know which pain to go after first, so it just shuts down and tells us to sit on the floor and hum a song until the pain goes away.
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Unfortunately another symptom of Autism is being very clumsy, having a lack of proper balance, and thus fallen down frequently, having extreme difficulty maneuvering on stairs and uneven terrain (all this being a result of the fact that our brain is so out of whack because there is so much pain going on, that it can not focus on walking steady) which means I'm more prone to fall and become injured than the average person, but being so used to pain that my brain ignore extra pain also means that even though I am getting hurt more than normal, I'm also getting treatment for said injuries less than normal because I don't realize I've injured myself (not even when gushing blood, as was the case when the rooster ripped my lip off), unless another person is there to point out said injury, or in such instances as the day I tried to walk away and discovered I could not move because may hand had been shut in the door, which was locked and I had to wait for someone with a key to come along and open the door, by which time my fingers had turned black from lack of circulation - pain ignored - I only noticed my hand was shut in a locked door because I was unable to walk away from the door. This is why I need adult supervision.)
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This is the reality of life with Autism.

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Now you can find out what it's like Being an Adult with Autism

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Good morning Starshine! Liked this post? Looking to connect with me online? I love social networks and am on most of them. You can find me on: BloggerEtsyFaceBookGoogle+Keen, LinkedInMySpaceNaNoWriMoProBoardsScript FrenzySpoonflowerSquidooTwitterULC Ministers NetworkWordpress, and Zazzle Feel free to give me a shout any  time. Many blessings to you, may all your silver clouds be lined with rhinestones and sparkle of golden sunshine. Have yourself a great and wonderful glorious day!

~Rev. Wendy C. Allen aka Empress EelKat of Laughing Gnome Hollow
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FYI: I welcome all email! That includes arrogant, bigoted, rude, ignorant, snide hate mail many uber religious folks enjoy sending my way.  However, be forewarned that by choosing to send me a letter, email, blog comment, FaceBook comments, or any other message from any other means, which falls into any category, you thereby relinquish all ownership rights and responsibilities concerning your letter(s) and comments(s). I will post any and all letters, both positive and negative, that I feel require or deserve a response. If you don't want the world knowing your troubles, knowing you are a hater, or knowing you are a bigoted jackass, please refrain from sending me mail, because if you get really bitchy, I'll go right ahead and use your real name too. Thank you and have a nice day.
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Oh, btw, while you are sending me your question, can I offer a bit of guidance here? LESS Wiccan related questions PLEASE! I am not Wiccan, know nothing of Wicca, and just because a bunch of local Mormons run around saying I am a Witch, and building those nasty slanderous websites full of false accusations about me, don't make me one! *sheesh* I am so sick of "but they said..." yeah, I KNOW what they said, that doesn't make it true. Sending me Wiccan/Witchcraft related questions is only going to piss me off.
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You can be Wiccan all you want, I don't care. But coming to me and asking me for advice on Wicca and Witchcraft is the equivalent of going to a cake chef and asking him for advice on brick laying! You wouldn't go to chef to get masonry advice so what the heck are you going to a Christian to get Wiccan advice? Come on people, be reasonable!
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You got Bible questions, thems I can answer. You got Hoodoo questions, yep, I can answer those too. But Wicca? Paganism? Witchcraft? Remember Voodoo is NOT Vodou. Voodoo and Vodou are two separate and different religions. Voodoo is a Christian religion not a Pagan one, we use a Bible, and God, and Jesus, and Saints, and Spirit Guides (lwa). just because I'm Voodoo don't mean I know shit about Wicca or Paganism  Now I understand you have questions and finding folks like myself who are willing to attempt to answer everything that comes my way are few and far between, but please attempt to use your brain and consider whether or not I am even able to offer advice or even know the answer to your questions before you send them to me? Okay? Good. Thank you.
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This post was written by Wendy C Allen aka EelKat, is copyrighted by The Twighlight Manor Press and was posted on Houseless Living @ http://houselessliving.blogspot.com and reposted at EK's Star Log http://eelkat.wordpress.com and parts of it may also be seen on http://www.squidoo.com/EelKat and http://laughinggnomehollow.proboards.com  If you are reading this from a different location than those listed above, please contact me Wendy C. Allen aka EelKat http://laughinggnomehollow.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=viewprofile and let me know where it is you found this post. Plagiarism is illegal and I DO actively pursue offenders. Unless copying a Blog Meme, you do not have permission to copy anything appearing on this blog, including words, art, or photos. This will be your only warning. Thank you and have a glorious day!                             
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                                                                   ~ EelKat
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