Toxic Perfectionism

Evidently some mormon women suffer from toxic perfectionism. So on top of being the angel in the home, they are trying to be too perfect; keep a spotless home, cook a scrumptious, frugal, healthy meal, raise perfectly coiffed children.

It’s not only mormon women who suffer from unrealistic expectations (of course) – Jerry Hall quipped:

My mother said it was simple to keep a man, you must be a maid in the living room, a cook in the kitchen and a whore in the bedroom. I said I’d hire the other two and take care of the bedroom bit”

Perfectionism is something I’m familiar with. Honestly, when I remember what being a mormon teen was like, I remember feeling like I couldn’t measure up – no matter what I did. Near the end I became discouraged, if I couldn’t measure up – why bother? I wasn’t reading the scriptures enough, I didn’t have perfect early-morning seminary attendance – I fought with my parents and siblings. I was also guilty of sins of omission (does anyone outside mormonism know what those are?) – I wasn’t charitable, I wasn’t kind, I didn’t go out of my way to help poor destitute widows, etc.

So forgive me for being skeptical of this anti-perfectionist movement. Is being a perfectionist an issue for many LDS? Yes. Should that responsibility be fully placed at the individual members’ door? Is it their fault for taking what they hear each Sunday literally?

Heavenly Father is judgmental. This is a major criticism of mormonism from mainstream Christianity. No longer is grace important. Each of us needs to follow certain steps to get to Heaven. You have to physically be baptized, with a prayer said precisely, by a man of a certain age who meets certain worthiness requirements. And that’s just baptism. Everything has to be said just so (I remember the sacrament prayer being repeated four or five times by a stumbling teenager – had to be perfect).

I think of my grandfather who refused to miss church – despite being released from the hospital a few days before. He also fainted doing temple work. I can’t explain why he felt like he had to be at church no matter what. Why he had to serve at the temple despite having health problems – I can’t say. That’s certainly not a message heard from the pulpit. But many quotes can be interpreted that way.

So there’s a measurement stick, and you’re always found wanting (h/t runtu). Even if you follow all the rules; have you been doing your genealogy? journaling? Your home/visiting teaching? Family scripture study? In some other faiths, the idea is that only Christ was perfect. The rest of us have to do the best we can – which includes making mistakes. The journey is what matters, what is in one’s “heart” is what matters; not how accurate certain prayers are said. Not if we had the occasional latte or played with face cards.

I think it’s good that perfectionism and scrupulosity are being acknowledged in mormon culture. But the cultural/doctrinal part of the equation (at least for LDS) cannot be ignored. The need for perfectionism doesn’t occur in a vacuum.

The Church vs. The Gospel

When I began questioning mormonism, my Dad explained that there was a difference between the church and the gospel.  The church was made of people who were human, and the gospel was the kernel of truth within the church. He said that the mormon faith was the closest to being “all true” that there was.  I heard this from other members as well.  It was part of the push for people to distance themselves from saying “I know the church is true” in their testimonies.

This answer was okay for awhile.  It was easy to dismiss certain people/teachers’ opinions directly from McConkie’s Mormon Doctrine, racist beliefs, ignorant statements like “don’t talk to anyone who’s not mormon”.

But what really opened my eyes was the idea that just because the mormon church did something a certain way, didn’t mean their way was the right or only way to do it.  In fact, there are all sorts of churches and faiths out there, and they all have different ways of organizing ritual, strengthening community and fostering leadership.  Just because the blessing of the sacrament involves the same blessing (and same wording) each time, doesn’t mean that’s the only way to bless or take the sacrament.

When I really stopped expecting the mormon church to always do things the “correct” way, it allowed me to evaluate it like I would evaluate any organization.  And to compare the
members and structure with what was in the New Testament.

Does it practice what it preaches?  Does it make allowances (the law was made for man, not man for the law?)

With that said, it also became different to discern what part of mormonism was man made, and what part was from God.  Many of the answers to my questions were “we don’t know why”.  We don’t know why blacks couldn’t have the priesthood and inter-racial marriage was discouraged.  We don’t know why women aren’t allowed to go on missions until the age of 21.  We don’t know why all decisions need to be unanimous.  We don’t know why a physical body is needed for ordinances like baptism or marriage.  We don’t know why women don’t have priesthood authority.

It leads to circular reasoning.  If you don’t “know the truth” of a certain principle, one needs to pray about it to find the answer.  If you don’t find the answer, you need to pray more and make sure you’re living “gospel principles”.  The only acceptable answer is that it’s all true – otherwise the problem is with you.  The problem is never with the church or the gospel.

Is it any wonder that some people step out of this cycle?  Some don’t, they stay because of the “line upon line” principle.  They stay because it’s their community, their ethnicity; because the mormon church is the best answer out there.

Another option is that there are many ways to skin the proverbial cat, and many ways to develop faith and worship God (if at all).

At one point, many mormons were not as able to compare religions, and would know little about the works and doctrine of other faiths.  While the internet has shed light on mormonism, it’s also shed light on many other beliefs.  The mormon bureaucratic way of doing things is not the only way, and it’s not necessarily the right way for everyone.

A MESSAGE TO ALL HOMOPHOBIC PEOPLE AND A LETTER TO MY MOTHER

A MESSAGE TO ALL HOMOPHOBIC PEOPLE

Another 17 year old boy named Jack Denton Reese committed suicide on April 22 in Mountain Green, Utah after being bullied for being feminine and/or gay, the day before his boyfriend Alex Smith spoke at a panel about the bullying Jack experienced.  The panel was held in connection with the screening of the documentary film, “Bullied.” Alex did not even know that his boyfriend had already killed himself the day before the panel convened. “You’ll always be remembered,” wrote a close friend on the mortuary’s guest book. “I know you’re looking down on us all right now, telling us all to be ourselves no matter what people say or how harshly they judge. I know it because that’s all you wanted. I love you, Jack. Love forever in our hearts. You’re amazing just the way you are.” And “I remember Jack when he was in our ward and when he would pass the sacrament,” reads another entry. “What a handsome and dedicated young man!” Jack attended Morgan and Weber High schools. On April 27, Weber High students attended class in their Sunday best in Jack’s honor.

Although I am not personally so affected by personal attacks on me (at least I do not let it show), my heart bleeds and my soul aches with severe pain and extreme anguish when I read these stories; and the tears come gushing out.  Jack and his boyfriend Alex are so cute, cuddly and adorable and innocent looking, that it hurts me all the more and makes the intense pain unforgettable.  It almost makes me want to go out and kill those dam f$&%ing bastards who did the bullying (and I do not care if you pardon my French or Not). I am simply baffled and hurt, and cannot believe that this innocent boy is no longer with us and that his gorgeous and awesome presence will no longer be around for us to see him grow up to be a man.  I don’t just cry, but I bawl every time that I look at his beautiful and flawless face.  How can anyone in this cruel world, possibly want to hurt or tease, or ridicule or in any fashion bully this most wonderful and adorable boy.

It is my greatest hope that those who provoked this beautiful child to kill himself and cause so much pain to his equally gorgeous boyfriend, that they suffer the pains of hell and degradation that only a vengeful God in all his wrath and fury can unleash to their miserable souls.  May they rot in hell and in endless and eternal torment with gnashing of teeth and the pains of eternal damnation and May a Just God grind their souls into the oblivion of “outer darkness.”  God the Father says that I must forgive them, but He, God, does not have to forgive them and it is my wish that he not forgive them as he says he does not have too.  Oh how exquisite and endless will be their pain and no man will know the eternal torment of these dammed souls, only those assigned to the awful pit of hell and the internal endless lake of fire and the smoke that ascends up forever and ever, only they will know the eternal anguish of that dark and horrible place.  Give them all you got Lord God and do not hold back one iota of your eternal wrath, even the endless wrath of almighty God the Father who is quick and powerful and slow to hear the cries of the wicked.  I personally never want to see them again or hear their hatred and prejudice and bigotry and cruel remarks again.

I may have to forgive such people but I do not have to forget and I do not have to wish for God to forgive them either and I certainly do not, hell no!  I may even be commanded to love such individuals but I do not and will not love, condone, or in any way accept their evil actions and intentions for which they will suffer for all of eternity.  God did not say that I could not hate and loathe their damnable behavior for which he God will never forgive or give pardon to.  Christians say “Love the sinner but hate the sin” and that is exactly what I am doing here and I am no hypocrite either. (Thanks for letting me vent).

MY LAMENTATION:

My, my, my how I cry, cry, cry and say why, why, why and want to die, die, die and I hope you sigh, sigh, sigh when you nod good bye, bye, bye to the kid who die, die, die died.

IT’S PRETTY “LAME” ALRIGHT, ISN’T IT?

I will never forget the story of Jack Reese and his boyfriend Alex Smith.  Just another Gay Mormon boy child whose candle went out to soon like a candle in the wind, even before we got to know the beautiful baby or even say good bye!

I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO SAY TO WHOEVER MAY BE INTERESTED:

My comprehension of my own life is that I am a truly wise person; I know this because I have been told by many that I have the gift of discernment and the bible says that all who have the gift of discernment especially at a young age, and I did at the ripe old age of 10 years old, are truly those individuals that will not only have wisdom but will be wise indeed AND NOT BE CONFOUNDED.

A MESSAGE AND LETTER TO MY MOTHER IF SHE WERE PRESENT

So in conjunction with that I wish to say to my Mother, if she were still alive; and she is not:

Hi Mom its Robin Lee Johnson here, your second oldest son who grew up like the oldest because I was the only boy amongst my siblings after my older brother passed away.  I have wanted to tell you that when you clapped your hands over your ears, and yelled at me at the top of your lungs: “Shut the F%$#@ up!!, and don’t ever speak to me about this again” when I tried to tell you that I was being repeatedly and forcibly molested at the ranch; you really hurt my feelings and made me think that you did not love me or even care about me at all.  Not only that, but you did not protect me, and so I was repeatedly molested again and again after that and raped also.  There was no use telling you, because you would not listen to me in the first place.  I learned to be helpless because I was being forced to do something I did not want to do, and no one was there to help me, not you Mom, or Dad either.  Only Cassie my little 5 year old sister tried to help when I asked her for her help, but failed also, in the end, because he viciously threatened and scared her away.  I was hurt badly and still bear the deep emotional wounds of your actions (and lack of appropriate actions) to this day, some 40 years later!

Because I was emotionally damaged for your lack of intervention on my part, I hold you responsible for many of my emotional problems and mental illnesses with their accompanying years of psychological as well as physical pain.

I can only imagine how you would react to the news that I am a faggot, queer or homosexual.  Would you react the same way as when I tried to tell you I was being molested by an ugly 52 year old man when I was just 10 years old?  Would you support your only surviving son, out of the 14 boys that you conceived but never got to raise?  Or would you just hate me for being gay and therefore show to me that it was wise of the Lord to not let you raise my other brothers because in all likelihood some of them would probably be homosexual also.

You were there for my older sister when she got raped at gun point and also for my two younger sisters when they were molested by that “Hell’s Angel” character; and you did all in your power to bring them to justice including court trials in which I even testified at when I was just 12 years old.  Why did you try and help them and not me?  Are you that different in your treatment of girls over boys or are you so homophobic that the very thought of me being with another male disgusted you to the point of holding back your love from me in my greatest time of need?!?

In any case, I forgive you only because I have the capacity to do so, and God has commanded me to do so.  But until I die, I will always wonder if you will accept me for who I am when you know the truth about me; that I am gay as hell!  I always figured that it would be Dad that would reject me for my sexual orientation and even want to go out and shoot me in order to put away that filthy faggot!

Daddy did not really support me being gay, but at least he did not reject me either.  He did not understand me being gay and I suspect that he does not even understand the homosexual people at all, not the slightest clue; because like the Mormon Church, he does not give it the time of day, because he has always believed that homosexuality was simply evil.

I do not blame my Dad for his attitude, because he was taught this attitude by the Mormon Church and other so-called Christian organizations and people.  My Dad was not sophisticated enough to be able to tell when someone was wrong or right, especially not in social and family issues or even matters of the heart.  He was simple, yet he agreed with those he chose to agree with and would say: “to hell with everyone else.”  My Dad even told me that he was angry with the Church leaders, who he said had no right to excommunicate me like they did and that he felt that they were wrong.  In that way I did get some support from my Dad, but I do not know if it was more or less that he usually disagreed with Church leaders anyway, or if it really was just supporting his son over the Church.  Either way, I am glad that he said what he said.  In a lot of ways my Daddy was cool and a somewhat fair man, but a poor man just the same; poor financially and spiritually.  I love my father, so don’t get me wrong, he never tried to destroy us with words like my Mother was always trying to do to us kids.

Also don’t misunderstand me Mom; and think that I do not love you, because I do; and I am not taking Dad’s side over yours either, it is just that you are the one that failed me when I was always loyal to you.  This is something that you did not understand, like the day you permanently exiled me from your life and told me to “get the F@#$%& out of my house, and I hope the door hits you in the ass on the way out too” when I was 17 years old and a junior in high school.  You were the one that got me put in a foster home because you fought with our Landlord about my sister not doing the dishes, and then you, because of your pride, threw our butts on the street, not because the landlord said we had to go, but because you were angry.  And when I tried to inquire as to when I could move back home, after you and my younger sisters had moved back home already, and you asked me first before I could open my mouth, “So when are you going to move back in son” you threw me out of the house because I answered “I don’t know…” (You did not let me finish, either!)

You did this because you thought, I was not sure that I wanted to move back home, because like usual, you did not let me finish talking, for I was trying to say: “I do not know, when do you want me to move back in, because I am ready at any time to move back in, but it is your call.”  Mom, you have always been the boss, no one in this world tells you what to do, that is why I answered the way that I did.  But you assumed that I was going to say something like: ‘I don’t know if I really want to move back in’ and thus you figured that I was not being absolutely loyal to you.

Quite ironic when you think about it though, isn’t it?  The fact that you were the one that was not loyal to me on several occasions and I was never disloyal to you ever.  So if you threw me out of the house when I was a minor child, and did not give me a chance to explain myself, all because I did not answer a question of yours exactly the way you wanted me too, then I can only imagine what wrath you would pour down on me when you discover that, God forbid, my son is queer!  I for one fear your wrath, more than the wrath of Almighty God.  I ask for your forgiveness mother, in advance, if I have offended you in anyway; for you always said that we were a reflection upon you, and that whatever we did either complimented you or were an embarrassment to you.  I can only hope that you are not embarrassed by me because I am gay!

Your Loving son Robin Lee Johnson!

SOME THINGS I HAVE LEARNED BY BEING GAY AND MORMON

SOME THINGS THAT I HAVE LEARNED

One thing that I have learned is: although Gay people are born gay; when gays have gone through the process of: first denial, then self-loathing and other steps, and finally acceptances; then Gay people are ready to move on to healthy relationships.  Another thing that I have learned is: that for relationships to work; each person in that relationship, must learn to deal with all the rejection from family, friends, the clergy, members of their church, and other so called Christians or any religious people and all other haters of gay people.  Along with this, there are the normal problems of a relationship, which for a Gay person, are similar to a heterosexual relationship, yet are different also, and for most gays, even more difficult than it is for straight people to handle, especially without expert help.

The difficulty for us gays to have relationships in the first place, is what I am getting at.  Because it is so hard to have a gay relationship, this is why so many gay people give up and just go to bars to try and “Hook-Up” (have anonymous sex).  But even these gay people still dream of having a wonderful relationship some day.  Now those who diligently strive for a long lasting relationship; if they find one, they are much more appreciative and thankful, than those whose relationship was not so hard or difficult to find or achieve.  This is why I have known gay couples who have been together for 27 years, 30 years, 36 years, 55 years, 63 years or even longer.  The point being, that Gay relationships can last a really long time or even for a lifetime if the two partners work at it and they love one another and are dedicated to one another.

Some gay people used to go from one relationship to another; but since the AIDS epidemic and Hepatitis C, many couples are staying together longer, and many singles are now seeking out a Gay relationship much more diligently than before.  These new Gay relationships stay together longer as well.  However, a relationship lasting longer than 6 months is still considered a long term relationship; one lasting a year, marriage is expected, and 4 years, a full term relationship.  If you pass 7 years, then your relationship is considered to be extremely long term, and finally if you reach and pass ten years then your relationships considered a life long relationship.  Many relationships between Gay couples unfortunately only last for a few short months and then they break up or one partner begins to sleep around.

ANOTHER THING THAT I LEARNED FROM EXCOMMUNICATION

On January 19th 2012, homophobic bishop Bobby W., excommunicated me from the Mormon Church.  Just as I was making plans to go back to church this happens and now I have not gone back.  I attend church at the Church of Christ in Porum, Oklahoma, with Cody and his family.  George’s grandpa is the minister in that particular congregation, which consists of George Allen Circle, his mom Sharon, his step-dad Jaun, his sister Juliana, his brother Roy, his grandpa the minister, me of course and 22 other people.  We sing several songs, we have Holy Communion; except for me of course because I am not allowed, do to the fact that I am not a member; they take collection, and then Grandpa gives the sermon, we then have closing prayer.

Cody and I are very happy together over these past 9 months and I have officially moved in with his family who completely accept me, at least a lot more than the Mormon Church does.  Cody and I share the same bedroom and bed and we have our desk in the back room.  Cody and I are good companions for each other and he is completely devoted to me.  We bring comfort and joy to each other and we share our lives together.  He gives me a sense of purpose and helps me to not be lonely.  I need him in my life and he needs me and we are there for each other.  Cody is my partner and significant other, and I do love him and I do love his whole family.

I miss the Mormon Church, so I went to the LDS church on Sunday just 2 days ago on September 23rd 2012.  I do not believe that I should have been excommunicated.  I still have a testimony of the church, the prophets and apostles and seventy; as well as the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Christ, The Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.  The Church is true.  I do wonder though, why President Benson did not get more revelation about gays than he did (they fear change or did not like what they have heard already).

I HAVE LEARNED THIS ABOUT MY FIRST BLOG

I challenge anyone to prove to me that I “misrepresented” any general authority in my first BLOG.  I had before me several talks by Gordon B. Hinckley, Jeffery R. Holland, James E. Faust, 2 by Dallin H. Oaks, and 3 by Boyd K. Packer.  I read them over and over again, and I marked them with underlines and then I included all the underlined statements in this BLOG and none of them were taken out of context.  I also quoted all the scriptures from some of the talks that were listed and which were supposed to back up the points the brethren were trying to make.  I did not think that all those scriptures related to homosexuality, but apparently the brethren did.  Since the bishop supports all that the brethren say, I wrote that he was saying these things also that the brethren were saying and quoting, by way of agreement.

But I was mistaken about that; the bishop does not agree with all these talks by the brethren or the supporting scripture they used, or else he would not have excommunicated me himself.  I am excommunicated right now, primarily due to a homophobic bishop.  Because I was excommunicated before when I wanted to be, and it was justified; now I may not ever be baptized again in the Mormon Church.  It is very difficult to be rebaptized, let alone be rebaptized a second time.  Brother Bailey my dear sweet Home teaching Companion and church Choir coach was rebaptized twice, but I was told that it was very rare.  Also if I would have received my blessings back, the bishop would not have been able to excommunicate me himself; he would have to get his superior, the Stake President, to do it (and I do not believe he would have excommunicated me the way the bishop did).

The biggest problem the bishop has with this BLOG is that he thinks that I am going against Boyd K. Packer; but it is other general authorities that are disagreeing with him too.  In my understanding of things, if several different people are saying different things, or complete opposite positions about the same subject, then some one is wrong, or they are all wrong together.  There is only one truth out there and I for one do not believe we have all the truth about same-sex-attraction yet.  The Articles of Faith tell us that we believe that many plain and precious truths will yet be revealed to us.  I simply sided with the majority of those general authorities, who spoke on the subject of homosexuality and it is not my fault the bishop disagrees with those talks.

A WORD ABOUT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH’S BELIEFS

The Catholics have the same problem with the Bible; they believe in the “divinity of the Bible,” which means that they think it is perfect and infallible.

I have heard, that when the Bible says that a Priest must be 30 years old to make sacrifice in the Temple; and in another spot says that he must be 3 years old to make sacrifice in the Temple; the Catholics say, both are right, and if you do not understand, they say “just have faith my son”.  I know that one of these Old Testament verses is wrong.  I choose to believe that the correct age is 30, because that is the age that Jesus Christ chose in the New Testament to start His mortal ministry.

WHAT I HAVE LEARNED ABOUT THE MORMON CHURCH

Bishop W., like many other Mormons, believe that our general authorities are also perfect and infallible.  This is not true, because Joseph Smith said of himself, that he was only a man, and that he was not perfect.  One of my favorite general authorities who was a seventy, even Paul H. Dunn who was nicknamed the “great orator,” was later released and all his books and tapes were no longer sold at LDS Bookstores and his works were censored by the Church, because he embellished his stories.  In other words, he lied to the youth of the Church, which was his main group that he spoke to.

If a Seventy can lie to us, then why can’t an Apostle simply be mistaken about a certain subject, or even possibly be prejudice.  Well, I have already been punished for saying these things and I do not know how I am supposed to see it any other way.

This is why the Articles of Faith say that “we believe in the Bible as far as it is translated correctly”.  Mormons say that 2% of the Bible has mistakes in it; and it is not a perfect book, or set of books, like the Book of Mormon is.

Mormons are so against Gay marriage that they spent 22 million dollars to stop gay marriage in just California, and it was all for nothing, because it was declared unconstitutional; I guess then that Mormons are also just unconstitutional in their thinking when it comes to gays.  Mormons wanted equality for women, Indians, black slaves and anyone else, but they draw the line with gays.  They hate homosexuals so much they did everything in their power to get Catholics to also vote against gay marriage.

Mormons believe that you cannot enter the gates of heaven, the Celestial Kingdom of God the Father, if you are not baptized.  But my understanding of this doctrine is, that this is for people who refuse to be baptized in the Mormon Church especially after being exposed to the Church and rejecting it.  I have not rejected Christ and his Church, it is just one man, a bishop in the church named Bobby W., that has excommunicated me and he probably believes that I will never go to heaven now.  I know that he does not want me in the Celestial Kingdom because of his hatred of Gays.  I do not hate brother W., I am just disappointed in how he treated me, when I let him know that I still had same-sex attraction, even though I was still keeping all of the commandments and I was certainly not acting on my gay feelings or participating in any way, in the gay lifestyle for over 14 years yet.

WHAT I HAVE LEARNED ABOUT MYSELF

The time has come for me to stop obsessing about the Church and just be happy with the life that I have right now.  Besides, it would take someone like Joseph Smith to get all the correct information that we need from God.  I just know that I am not evil minded and that I love God and our Christ, and that I did not deserve to be just excommunicated the way that it was done.  But since I am not a member of the Church any longer, I think that I will continue to have an ear ring in each ear, and nail polish on my fingers and toes.  I also wear pants and t-shirts that are really women’s clothes, because they don’t have men’s clothes in pink.  I will continue to be in love withGeorge Allen Circleor Cody as he likes to be called.

I really believe that I would have been much happier in my lifetime if I were born to a family that accepted homosexuality a lot more.  If I could have had boyfriends when I was young, like my present husband has had, and if I had been able to accept my own sexuality then I do not believe that I would have developed so many mental illnesses.  My childhood sucked anyway, for many other reasons as well.

I am now glad that I am gay, and do not want to change myself anymore, like I used to.  I want to get married legally to my husband and spend many years with him.  Cody Pooh is my baby and I love him very much.  I cannot be happy any other way than being gay.  I am definitely not your average Joe; no, the gay life is the only life for me, from now on and for the rest of my life. Gay life is pretty cool when you are accepting of yourself and you are not being persecuted by your peers, family, clergy, neighbors, or just strangers.  Then it is really fun to be gay.

I really like myself now, and because I have got to know so many other gays; intimately and otherwise; I have grown to see that there is not really anything wrong with me, I just love young men and not young women.  I do not need to be fixed; I am not broken or maladjusted in any way.  I feel much better about myself, and I have a much better support system than I did when I was growing up inCalifornia; which is really weird when you stop and consider that this isOklahoma, home of the red man and redneck.  I am not recommending the gay lifestyle to anyone; I am just saying that it is right for me and for anyone else who knows that they were born to be only this way.  For if you are born this way there is really no problem as long as you can accept yourself the way that you are and do not give a damn what all other people think of you.

When I was growing up I thought that God would change me and that I must have done something wrong in the Preexistence to deserve being gay.  I now know that I am not sick nor am I a pervert, or deviant like Boyd K. Packer says that I am.

Because I have publicly stated that I am for gay marriage, I have been excommunicated from the Mormon Church and I will probably not ever be allowed to be rebaptized again, especially since I already was once before rebaptized & now excommunicated again.

Now that I am in a gay relationship I am still affected by my upbringing in the Mormon Church, because I almost never have any kind of sexual relations with my boyfriend.  Like I was saying earlier, we are like a couple who just love to be with each other and share our lives together.  I support him and he supports me and we are there for each other.  Love is what we have for each other, not lust.  Some other Latter-day Saints stay in the Church and deny themselves sex and just join clubs and participate with other members of the same sex in a somewhat intimate way, such as hugs and long embraces and maybe an occasional kiss on the cheek.  It really sounds too hypocritical for me though.  Besides bishop W. took that choice away from me and did not give me a chance.  His contempt for me will be judged by the Lord Jesus Christ and I know that the lord will be sympathetic towards me because he knows how I was living and what was in my heart.  After all, I think that I had proven myself, by the fourteen years that I was either faithful to my wife or celibate and single.  The misery that I was going through, the sadness, the intense loneliness and heartache and the incredible desire for a loving relationship that I was missing are all a testament to my devotion to the Church and it’s principles, doctrines and rules and regulations.

WHAT I NOW KNOW NEEDS TO HAPPEN

I need to put an end to this debate over gay and straight.  Gay marriage should be legal everywhere so that gay people can love each other and be happy; after all, what is wrong with more love in this world anyway.  I believe that straight people need to stop interfering with honest, happy gay couples that are not hurting anyone.  I believe that the reason that straight people do not want gays to marry, is not just because they think that it is wrong, but it is because they do not want us gays to have the one thousand and forty-nine rights and privileges under the law that they have and enjoy, who are already married legally and that is just the federal laws that would benefit all gays in the United States.  Most straight people are not even aware that they have this many (1,049) federal laws for married couples, let alone what they are or what they are entitled to under State laws; they just no way in hell want gay people to have them what ever they are, that is for damn sure.

Like I have said in my first Manifesto; the civil rights of a minority cannot be decided by a plebiscite; for if you allow this to happen, we will all be going backwards and not forward in the arena of civil rights for all minorities.  This is why we have a Constitution of These United States and elected officials to govern us and protect minorities and individuals from the more “immoral” majority.  Especially when a minority has many fellow citizens that hate them and/or are prejudiced against them like our recent past has shown against Indians, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Women, Children, certain religions, Gays, Lesbians and Transgender people.

THIS IS WHAT IS BEST FOR ME

Have I mentioned lately that I am completely happy with my life here with my Fiancé and his whole family. My boyfriend’s dad defends me all of the time and his mother is always kind and supportive of me and his little sister and brother just love me to death, so to speak.  I do like living in a house.  My boyfriend and I have our own dog, Ariel, and my boyfriend’s mother has a dog, Scooby and a cat named Whiskers.  No other pets though, except for a few mice running around.

I feel like I am really married to George Allen Circle, not just because we would have already been married by now if it were legal in this State, but it is not.  But also because we are so settled together and happy at the same time, and we both want the same things out of life.  We both voted for incumbent President Obama because we know that he will continue to fight for gay marriage.  George’s grandfather voted for the Mormon, Mitt Romney, just for the opposite reason; he is against Gay Marriage.

SOMETHING I LEARNED FROM MY FATHER

My father believed that you must suffer the pains of hell here on earth, in order to go to heaven.  The church identifies this belief as one of the seven deadly heresies.  Believing in this doctrine and practicing it only creates bitterness and unhappiness and of course leads to apostasy.  For years, my father was practically apostate, because he did not follow the Prophets and he lived his own way, and he several times said to me, “the hell with the prophet” when I would quote something that the prophet said, he did not like.  My dad was miserable and lonely for years and he thought this would get him into heaven.  I no longer subscribe to this doctrine which is a false doctrine at best.

Robin Lee Johnson

Gay People Do Exist – Coming out to my Grandparents

Gay People Do Exist! Coming Out to My Grandparents

My grandparents were/are committed Christians. They’ve taught 3rd and 4th grade Sunday school for as long as I can remember. On the infrequent occasions when I attended their church, from kindergarten until I was about 12, I always pulled up a chair and sat between them while we were going over the lesson as a class and eat doughnuts my grandma faithfully bought every Sunday. They taught me about God, prayed with me, and told me of God’s grace. We sang songs such as:


“Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

I had a girlfriend of three years before I came out in April of 2008. I was dealt the harsh truth: Jesus loves you unless you’re gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, intersex, or queer. Jesus couldn’t love gay people, because gay people didnt exist!

My first nephew was born nearly a year and a half ago; my grandparents are now great-grandparents! They bask in their new role with zeal and eagerness along with awe and wonder as they babysit him three days a week. They revel the time they spend with him as they play their newest silly game of peek-a-boo.
He giggles with delight as he covers his eyes. At his young age when his eyes are covered, it doesnt matter if his head, shoulders, knees, and toes (eyes, ears, mouth, and nose) are showing — he is invisible to you and you are invisible to him. This is how he understands visibility: seeing = mutually engaged. My grandparents, however, should know that covering their eyes doesnt mean that another person doesnt exist!

Not unlike my nephew, my grandparents cover their eyes and gay people go away; they cease to exist! By association, I ceased to exist. Me coming out as (non-existantly) gay meant that I had succumbed to “the world’s view”! I was defying what God had revealed in the Scriptures.

I am not gay because there are no gay people! Get it? Got it? Good! I am a straight person dabbling in homosexuality. Describing myself as gay belied my lack of faith in what God had told them (sic)! The only thing they failed to do was question my faith in God completely because I, a heterosexual mind you, loves and advocates for the equality of gay people. Completely un-Christ like, I know!

The kicker is this: While my grandma never got so far as to tell me this in this heart-to-heart, fuzzy spirit-filled conversation, she has said she believes THERE ARE ex-homosexuals!?!? So, there are ex-homosexuals, but not homosexuals? It is a logic nightmare!

From this, I learned the simple, unvarnished truth: My grandparents are bigots. While progressive in a couple of ways, their racist views that have since long passed and their current views towards homosexuality are representative (reminiscent??) of many people in their generation who view the Bible as the infallible Word of God and the Scriptures inerrant.

Our three hour talk had somehow strayed into a series of invectives about my character and crescendo'd when it's affect on familial affairs were brought up: I was told that if my girlfriend of nearly three years and I ever got married (never mind that this conversation took place in 2008, and the fact that I lived in California and she in Virginia - at the time it wasn't even a logical possibility) I would no longer be allowed at family gatherings. My grandma said, "Homosexuals are fine as long as it's not in 'this' (meaning her) house."

At this point I knew: I knew that it would only be a matter of time before, as a lesbian, I would be forced to choose between fidelity to my sexual identity and acceptance and approval from my fellow Christian grandparents (and, by extension, the rest of my family). I knew it spiked a fear of further mistrust and oppression. I knew from the intense intuitive emotional reaction I had that the homophobic bigoted view of my grandparents were irrational and unjust.

And unfortunately, I learned the hard way that the divide between the gay and straight Christian community that I grew up in was large and all-pervasive. I was told that gays and lesbians are more depressed, arent normal, and that I definitely was not one. Believing that God allowed me to born with such desires while condemning me to hell/annihilation lead me to a year of suicidal ideations. My grandparents were able to shove me back in the closest, rationalize away my existence and effectively ignore an entire class of people with their childish thinking of peek-a-boo, I don’t see you.

Up until then, I figured my grandparents would always love me. At that moment however, I learned the harsh truth that love is not unconditional. My grandparents claimed to love me, but she only loved the person they thought I was and the person they hoped I would be. My grandparents certainly dont accept who I am, let alone tolerate the possibility of it even being mentioned. I haven’t given up the hope that my grandparents may someday move past their homophobia, but my existence no longer hinges on their acceptance either.

I just wish they would have been more willing to remain a part of this grandchild’s whole life – not just they part that they can accept. I wish they would uncover their eyes and see me, their grandchild, and the injustices I’ve suffered. I want them to know that I do, indeed exist!

[END NOTE: TODAY I DO HAVE A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH BOTH MY GRANDPARENTS AND MY FAMILY. UNSUPRISINGLY, I REMAIN UNOPEN AND ON GUARD. NEVERTHELESS, I DO ATTEMPT TO CONVEY MY GENERAL INDICTMENT OF PREJUDICE BY SPEAKING EUPHEMISTALLY OF “HUMAN TOLERANCE.” I CITE LOVE AS A MOTIVATOR OF KINDNESS, AND I MAKE PASSING REFERENCES TO THE VALUE OF SHOWING UNDERSTANDING AND ACCEPTANCE TOWARD THE FULL DIVERSITY OF HUMANITY.]

Aslongasitstranslatedcorrectly,

~ SoACTing

Memphis station posts four Mormon stories

1) Local Memphis TV news report mocks Mitt Romney’s Mormon beliefs (and ace reporter* Ben Ferguson reminds viewers why some folks prefer to avoid the Bible Belt). The cringe begins at 03:21:

2) Local musical director (and LDS church member) Steve Danielson offers his opinion of the Tony-winning Broadway musical.

3) 89-year old Church of Christ apostle, William Sheldon, explains the origins of the Mormon religion.

4) Meet a pair of Memphis area Mormon missionaries.

*CORRECTION: From comments at Politico:

Benjamin “Ben” Ferguson (born 1981) is an American radio host, conservative political commentator, and author. Ferguson was homeschooled by his mother through the tenth grade.

He was a local talk-radio host throughout his teens. Ferguson was selected by the Bush White House to join President Bush and Ben Stein for a town hall meeting in an effort to educate the public on the issue of social security reform. Ferguson also spends several weeks a year on the road speaking at youth leadership conferences, high schools and college camp uses nationwide. Ferguson addressed the 2004 Republican National Convention. [emphasis mine]

While Ferguson’s anti-Mormon antics may be annoying, that last sentence is downright frightening.

FRIENDLY HEADS UP: In future, anyone looking to poke some fun at Mormons might consider popping round here first and asking MSP for tips on the latest fair target. For example, this qualifies (Sister Kristen M. Oaks touting “The Testimony Glove” for Deseret Book):

Use the glove, feel the Spirit

Blech! You’d think that the wife of Apostle Dallin H. Oaks would be anxiously engaged in something other than helping DB promote their goofy faith promoting inventions (h/t r/exmormon).

Or, if you’re specifically looking to find a reason to get nervous about electing Mormons to public office, this quote from leading Mormon apologist Dan Peterson’s latest op piece in the Deseret News ought to do the trick:

“You may not like what comes from the authority of the church,” said President Harold B. Lee, serving at the time as a counselor to President Joseph Fielding Smith. “It may conflict with your political views. It may contradict your social views. It may interfere with some of your social life. Your safety and ours depends upon whether or not we follow. Let’s keep our eye on the president of the church.”

HIT LIST:
Mediaite: Great Moments In Journalism: Local News Segment Mocks Romneys Mormon Faith
The Commercial Appeal: Fox 13, Ben Ferguson take heat for segment on Romney, Mormons
Commentary: Unbelievable: TV Reporter Mocks Romneys Mormonism
The American Prospect: The Mormonism Question, Going Nowhere
Deseret News: Fox affiliate ‘making fun of Mormons’
Mediaverse: On The Book of Mormon (Ben Ferguson)
Mother Jones: Mitt Romney’s Evangelical Problem
ABC4: Memphis reporter mocks Mormon beliefs
Politico: Making fun of Mormons in Memphis

BONUS REDDIT HEADLINE CONTEST:
r/politics: Memphis reporter sets out to prove how weird Mitt and Mormons are … Pot. Kettle. Black.
r/reddit: Wake-up, Mormons: Broadway & teh gays are much nicer to you than so-called Christians.
r/religion: Local Memphis TV news “report” plumbs depths of Bible Belt anti-Mormon bigotry
r/exmormon: Local Memphis TV news report mocks Mitt Romneys Mormon beliefs. *Cringe*
r/lds: Mitt Romney ought to step up and put these hillbillies in their place.
r/offbeat: What’s weirder: Memphis or Mormons? It’s a toss-up, apparently.
r/Christianity: Do Christians think it’s OK to mock Mormon beliefs?

A Tale of Two Cities (DC and SLC): Marion Barry, H. David Burton and Harry Jackson

And three giants: Bishop H. David Burton, Presiding Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who recently co-signed a letter with Bishop Harry Jackson, Senior Pastor, Hope Christian Church, expressing their shared commitment to protect marriage; Mayor Barry blesses their union with a memorable chant.

A hypocritical example destroys credibility. — H. David Burton

The letter.

Bishop Burton’s recent accolades: Salt Lake Chamber names LDS Churchs Burton Giant in Our City (Salt Lake Tribune) … Bishop H. David Burton to be honored as ‘Giant In Our City’ (Deseret News) … Bishop Burton to be honored as ‘Giant In Our City’ (KSL) … Bishop H. David Burton to be honored as ‘A Giant In Our City’ (ABC4)

Giants? Gah. Watch the full ten minutes.

Gay suicide and Gay futurity – A short history

Are gay youth committing suicide in 2010 more than they were in 1950? Weren’t the 1950s more homophobic than today? Thus, weren’t there more suicides back then — just unreported as gay ones? If not — if today sees more gay suicide — how is this explained?

While a statistical comparison is likely impossible, an historical narrative is not.

Historically, it was assumed that being gay meant you were more likely to commit suicide, that homosexuality (whether or not feelings were acted upon) was a disorder linked to a pathological drive to end one’s life. The basic premise was that homosexuality had no future, and if one embraced it, one internalized this “no future.” Fictional stories reflected this real world belief: characters would give in to “ephemeral,” “perverse” desires, and then die in the end, if not by suicide, then by some other means (such as an accident or murder by a lover). In the 1980s, real life seemed to reflect this “no future” storyline with the rise of AIDS. Conservatives figured nature or God brought AIDS to the world as a punishment for homosexuals, leading to a lack of government response until it was clear heterosexuals were also being infected.

No doubt, in many communities today, including Mormonism, this “no future” attitude persists. Fortunately, people have begun to disconnect homosexuality from making one more likely to commit suicide, per se. Gays in the 1970s sought to prove, and succeeded in proving (to a psychological establishment, at least), that being gay was non-pathological; the “no future” was actually a sign of societal homophobia that leads many homosexuals to believe they have no future (because of an “illness”) and to commit suicide.

People began to see homophobia, even conservative people. In the 1990s, the Department of Health and Human Services conducted studies on youth suicide, and queer activists learned of statistics concerning queer youth. It was at this point that activists decided to take activism into schools by educating teachers, setting up Gay-Straight Alliances, and making sure curriculum did not erase same-gender attraction and gender variance from history so that queer youth could see themselves as having a future based on a rich past. (I actually don’t know if curriculum has changed all that much in most places…there’s also the college-level philosophical conundrum of how to talk about “gayness” in times and places where the notion of sexual orientation is not in use). While conservatives had long linked homosexuality to pedophilia and/or child-recruitment (so that gays were the “abusers” with an “agenda” and children were the “victims”), this 1990s campaign asserted queer youth to be the victims and society was the abuser.

As a result, in the last 15 years or so, we’ve actually seen conservative communities acknowledge homophobia in some senses. In Mormonism, it’s come in the form of “helping” young people with same-gender attraction, and to “love the sinner, not the sin.” At the same time, though, these communities want their young people to still not be “gay” — to be, for all intents and purposes — heterosexual, if not in mind, then in spirit. The “no future” continues to rear its ugly head, and the suicides persist.

So what about the original question? In the 1950s in many places, people of the same gender could be rather intimate (not necessarily sexual, but intimate) and nobody thought much about it because all the talk about the “evils” of homosexuality had not yet permeated throughout American society. McCarthyism of the ’40s and ’50s put homosexuality under a spotlight; homophobia began to flare. Young men ceased bedding together in fear of being thought gay; increased gender policing lead many who actually were gay to be ousted from their communities. I have no idea how many gay people committed suicide during these years, but it is clear that rather giving into the “no future,” a vibrant community formed and mobilized.

Nowadays, conservative Christian communities aim to be inclusive so that no one feels alone — yet also so that people don’t “give in” to the “gay lifestyle” that is “more tempting” when one has no support structure. This has created a complex political terrain in which people actually believe that gay people choose to act on their attractions because they’re not loved enough and so are led astray. This “love” does not resolve the “no future”; it perpetuates it. The “love” is indicative of a kind of homophobia that is very difficult to unravel. In the meantime, folks continue to commit suicide or engage in futures fraught with unnecessary difficulty or unfairness, such as mixed-orientation marriages or lifelong celibacy. They often think of themselves as broken in some fundamental way over 35 years after the American Psychological Association said they weren’t.

Today, the LDS Church asserts that those with same-gender attraction (by which I mean Kinsey 5s and 6s) can have a future in the Church, receive blessings, etc. What does the Church mean by this? What is this “future?” I don’t think the Church knows because they’ve spent and continue to spend so much time and energy on making sure homosexuality has no future.

WWJD vs. WWJSD

Have you ever wondered what the difference would be between “WhatWouldJesus Do” (WWJD) and “What Would Joseph Smith Do” (WWJSD)? If we can assume that the modern LDS Church reflects Joseph Smith’s views, apparently what Joseph Smith would do is tell poor Haitians in Leogane, Haiti that they CAN’T take shelter in the local Mormon Church during a hurricane despite the fact that most of the 1,500 residents in the town were living in temporary tents since they lost their homes in the massive earthquake in January. According to this article, the chapel can hold 200 people and is a modern structure that is quite sturdy. But only Mormons were allowed – 36 of them. And what was given to the actual members? Nothing. They slept on the floor, without any food or water.

What’s the hang-up when it comes making these decisions? Apparently it’s Mormon bureaucracy:

“It’s not simple,” said Matthieu Chrisner, adviser to the bishop, the leader of the local congregation. Letting people take shelter here “is a very complex decision, and a lot of people would have to agree. It’s a chain of authority that reaches the headquarters in the Central Caribbean.”
If I had a group of children right now who needed a shelter?
“For now, we can have members of this church and their parents,” he replied.
If they were disabled?
“I would have to ask at another level,” Chrisner said. “There is a committee. Really, it’s a committee inside of some other committees. It goes through the bishop, then a committee process … then, there’s no way to know if it’s longer or shorter. I can’t tell you how long it would take for an answer.”