Sunday in Outer Blogness: They did it edition!

Yes, they did it. They excommunicated Kate Kelly. For asking questions and for her “tone”. And perhaps John Dehlin will be next. They even have this helpful “steadying the Ark” story from this week’s Gospel Doctrine lesson to back the leaders up on this, and Jesus isn’t as helpful as one might hope for the downtrodden.

The amazing thing is to see people blaming Kate Kelly. Because maybe if she’d groveled a bit and promised to sit silently in the back of the chapel for the rest of her life instead of insisting on this crazy self-respect thing, then she wouldn’t have cruelly embarrassed the church by making it excommunicate her. Fortunately someone wrote a poem about that idea, here’s a taste:

If only she had been more meek

If only she had been more bold

If only her tactics had been this

If only her strategy had been that

If only she had changed the way she thinks

If only she had changed the way she feels

If only she had become a unicorn

And it’s not the only one.

To me it seems astonishing that the CoJCoL-dS can choose to do something completely rotten and stupid, and yet when the church looks bad for doing it, that is somehow magically everyone else’s fault. (And the farce that the leaders welcome your questions is just embarrassing.)

But that’s the way it works: If you believe the church is perfect, then if something goes badly for the church, then it must on principle be someone else’s fault. Basically if you are capable of holding in your head the idea that the leaders of the church are wrong on some particular issue that you can name, then the church would like to direct you to the exit door. They have enough members who will believe the church leaders are right no matter what (and that option has its selling points), so you are expendable — and, really, it’s better if you’d hit the road and avoid giving any ideas to the obedient members.

I was going to say that accountability is just for the young women (and this leadership chart was starting to look pretty accurate), when — in a surprise move — the actual “prophets, seers, and revelators” who are theoretically leading the CoJCoL-dS actually released a statement (obliquely) making reference to the issue at hand! So many people have analysed it.

Meanwhile, the problems persist, unaddressed by those who could do something.

Even if the magic is not real, and leaving and ends up improving your life in the long run, excommunication can be a horrible experience, and the “love” rhetoric adds insult to injury. The church has incredible power to define sins that can destroy people’s lives.

Now, aren’t there other things going on out there? Some mishies committed a crime and signed their names to it. Some more scripture study. Here’s a simple idea for bringing power, water and shade to Navajo country (and elsewhere). More about the life of the real-life gay mishie who performed in the Book of Mormon. Marriage equality returns to Utah. And some very positive experiences bringing a girlfriend home to meet the Mormon folks:

At one point she honestly said, “We were really nervous to meet Leigh but then again we are always nervous when you girls bring anyone home.” (The “anyone” she meant were the boyfriends and son-in-laws that my sisters have brought home over the years.) It was nice that she was not separating my homo relationship from my sisters hetero relationships.

And don’t forget the Sunstone Symposium is coming up! I can’t attend myself, but I spent my afternoon preparing my MAA Books ad for the program (and I’m still not done, grr…). If anyone here is going, please mention it in the comments!

NoCoolNameTom’s 25 new scripture mastery verses

For the first three months of this year, NoCoolNameTom has been translating scriptures into Greek, and giving context around the 25 scripture mastery verses.  Beyond just being awesome to actually see the options for translation, and getting a good feel for which ones are twisted out of context, and which are fairly accurate, he has explored the ideas of “Why this verse” compared to others.

This week, he posted his own suggested list of 25 New Testament scripture mastery scriptures for teenagers struggling to go through Junior High/High school without specific Mormon rhetoric.  I think this list touches the TBM, the NOM, the agnostic and the atheist in illustrating what teenagers need to hear as well as illustrating how much damage the current seminary program does to teenagers already struggling.

Regardless it is thought provoking and worth reading.

Full list here: http://blog.nocoolnametom.com/2013/03/07/scripture-mastery-nt-end/

GAY COUPLE FIND GREAT HAPPINESS AT LAST, DESPITE MORMON BISHOP’S HOMOPHOBIA

I am now, and have been for over 11 months to date, very happy and my depression has become almost non-existent.  I have found out for myself, that being gay or homosexual, is not only right for me, but also can be enjoyed, and bring much joy to the lives of gay people.  Life is beautiful, and God has blessed me abundantly since I came out of the closet for the second time in my life.  Since “wickedness never was happiness,” I must not be all that wicked after all, because I am very happy!  I am happier than I have ever been at this time, in this life of mine, so far now.

I Prayed, back in October 2011, to Heavenly Father for help and understanding, and more specifically, for a boyfriend.  I reasoned with the Lord on the fact that in the Bible, God granted to the children of Israel, what they wanted, even though it was not his will for them to have what they longed for.  The children of Israel wanted meat, and God wanted them to have “Manna” that he had so graciously provided for them.  It was not the Lord’s will that they have meat.  But the Lord did bend his will to the will of the people.  They got their meat in the form of Quail.  In a similar fashion, his children wanted a King, but the Lord was their King, and therefore, it was not his will that they have an earthly King.   However, once again the Lord gave in to the will of the people, because of his love for them.  Granted, certain consequences befell them for this desire, but the point is; the Lord is willing to compromise, if his children desire something bad enough or if their hearts desire for it, is great enough.

In my case, I desired a boyfriend who would be able to love me.  I even asked for a nineteen year old male, so that I would recognize his hand in the matter, if my wishes were realized.  I also thought to myself; if the boy is real cute and likes older men that will be a sign unto me that the Lord approved.  I, in turn, covenanted that I would be a help to the young man in question and help a fellow Gay man, deal with his being Gay.  I did not know that this could happen or not, but I remained VERY hopeful.  You could say I had faith that Heavenly Father would bless me, or at least answer me.

Well, I have had a new boyfriend for 9 months now, and I love him very much and he loves me very much.  He was 19 years old, and is very cute to me.  He is everything that I hoped for and much more.  He is just my perfect type also.  His name is George Cody Allen Circle, and he is gay, but he was suicidal over being gay.  I have kept my part of the bargain, and I have been a tremendous help to Cody.  His mother and step-father really think I am helping him as well, and they really appreciate all that I do for their son.  I have brought Cody from the brink of suicide, to being very happy with his life.  I still have a challenging work to do ahead of me, but I am up to the task.  I will not be doing this alone however; I will use the aid of professional help for Cody.  I am helping Cody with Doctors, Psychiatrists and Medications and getting his insurance squared away.  I also help him with spiritual and emotional matters.  Cody also has mental illnesses, like I do, primarily due to his issues with homosexuality and dealing with the rejection he gets from the world at large, but especially his family and former Church—The Church of Christ, in Muskogee; but his Mother supports him also on the issue of being Gay.  Cody needs more support than this though, he really needs me, especially now that his grandfather rejects him and said that he wants nothing to do with him anymore, even though he helped raise Cody from 3 years old.  His Step-grandmother totally rejects him now that he has come out to them about his homosexuality.  She thinks she will get AIDS from him.  How ignorant is that and so uneducated are his grandparents.

Cody and I met at a critical time for both of us.  We need each other more than we want each other, and we want each other very much.  Our relationship is not based strictly on sexual attractions alone, as I very much knew that it would not be.  Our relationship is based on Love and companionship and all the other attributes that I mentioned in my previous documents.  Our relationship is based also on mutual respect for each other and it sparks much growth for both of us.  Cody was looking for an older, more mature person to have a relationship with, he told me so himself.  I believe with all my heart that God has brought us together for a purpose, and that purpose is good.  Now Cody smiles, which he didn’t do before.  I am like a surrogate father to Cody, and he likes that, especially since his earthly father past away when Cody was 8 years old, and he has no adopted father.  His grandfather does not even try to understand his same-sex attraction, because he’s a minister of the “Church 0f Christ” in Muskogee; and his step-father is very abusive.

I have not been going to Church, because of my homophobic bishop, but now that my depression is gone, and I have become stronger, I plan to go back to Church, but in a different ward.  Other members, like my friend Eddie Yadon, have left the ward also, primarily because of the Bishop, and because of the atmosphere that this bishop has created in the ward.  Most of the ward is happy with the bishop, mostly because they do not like to think negatively about anyone, especially their bishop.  The bishop has, however, created a lot of negative feelings and negative vibes in the ward that continues to go on behind the scenes.  It really is a shame that this is going on.  My bishop and Cody’s grandfather are a lot alike; they both totally reject us because of religious prejudices.  The more devout people are to their religion, the more hate they have for gay people.

Cody and I have more things in common than you could possibly ever realize.   We are extremely affectionate and loving to each other.  I find it hard to really understand why he loves me so much, but of course I love him with all my heart and soul, and he says the same to me all the time.  He means everything to me, and I would not give him up for anything that this world has to offer.  We truly share our lives together, do literally everything together, he even goes to all my doctor appointments with me.  Already, he cannot stand to be without me, and I cannot stand to be without him for any length of time.  For instance, he will walk all the way to Wal-Mart or Big Kmart with me and back, just not to be with me for a couple of hours.  I believe we have a strong interdependency for each other now.  Nothing or no one is going to come between us, or lesson our powerful love for each other.  Cody tells me he loves me, more than 40 times a day or more.   We are extremely close!

We watch movies, play games, play video games together and everything else everyday.  Cody Circleis the boyfriend of my dreams, come true!  My wife told me, that whenever she died, she wanted me to get a boyfriend and be happy.  I know, that she knew, that I could only be truly happy in a gay relationship and not in a heterosexual relationship.  She loved me so much, that her hopes for me were that I find a boyfriend or lover, and get married to him.  Cody and I consider ourselves a married couple, even though that is not legal in this state yet.  However, we had ourselves our own ceremony, and he wears my ring.  Cody likes to think of me as the “girl” in this relationship, and I only see him as a “boy.”

Cody tells me that he thinks that gay relationships are better than straight relationships, because we get along so well together.  The only thing that bothers either one of us is mood swings that we both have, because we are both bipolar.  We both have schizophrenia and depression, anxiety, issues with rage and anger, yet we are always kind and gentle with each other.  The thing that I worry about the most is that Cody tells me that if I leave him, or I die, that he will kill himself for sure.  Also, he wants to go to The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints with me.  This is fine with me, however, he wants the Church to accept his same-sex attraction as normal and love him just the way he is, as a gay man, and us as a gay couple.  In the recent past, when the “Christ for the World” church rejected us as gay, he tried to kill himself, and I had to stop him.  It took weeks for him to recover from depression over this situation.  I just don’t want another situation like this with the Mormon Church.  I have warned him about my bishop, and told him that we will go to another ward, but he wants to show my present bishop that we are a couple.  I do not want to make the bishop hate me any more than he already does right now, so I do not think that is such a good idea, but I understand why he does.

Cody, bless his sweet heart, wants to find a church that will rejoice over our new found happiness as a couple, and not reject us at all.  I know that he will not find this in the Mormon Church, and this worries me.  I do not want to forsake Jesus Christ’s true Church, but I will not forsake Cody and our relationship either.  I have never, ever, been this happy in all of my hard and miserable life, until now.  Now, doesn’t my happiness matter to anyone, or not?  Why should I become miserable again, just to please others, and so they can think that I am doing the right thing, when it is not right for me to do so?  I plan to stay in this relationship and keep it just the way it is.  Cody and I are both very happy right now, for the first time in a long time.  Cody is right for me and I am right for him.  Cody tells me that he has not been this happy with his life in years and years; and I am not going to mess that up at all!

On November of last year, 2010, on the 14th day of the month, Cody asked if he could come over to my apartment and visit.  After he did so, in the evening of the same day, he asked if he could spend the night with me.  I said yes, and he did so.  After that, he has never left my side and did not even want to go home and get his things and he asked to move in with me, and I agreed readily and happily.  He is now on my Lease with the housing authority, and he is my lover, and husband, and as you can easily see, he is very, very happy.       I will not do anything that threatens his emotional health and cause him to become depressed and unhappy again!  We are happy now and that is all that matters to me at this time.  Cody was not happy before he met me; this is what he told me.

We are openly gay, and we are not hiding anything from anyone.  The whole building of 200 apartments knows that we are gay and that we are a couple as well.  Cody wants everyone to know that he is gay, and is ready and willing to “kick anyone’s ass” that has a problem with it.  He is much bolder about his sexuality, and he is helping me accept myself, more than I have in the past.  My self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence have all gone to heights previously unknown to me before.  The Church was never able to do all of that for me before.  That is because the Church members do not accept me as I am and still do not.  I know that it is their rejection of my sexuality and same-sex attraction that make me unhappy and miserable, because I cannot do what they want me to do, or change my life for them.  They do not know how to make me happy.  Their way has never worked for me, not in 44 years now, and I really tried very hard to make it work their Gospel way also.

Brother Marcellus and Patrick L. and Brother Parks came over to my place with the new Elders Quorum President, Brother Ferguson, the other day.  They read in Alma of the Book of Mormon, the story of Korihor, an Anti-Christ individual, who went around bad mouthing the Church, and leading people away from Christ.  I already knew the story (almost by heart), and could have told them from memory, the story.  I do not know if they were suggesting that I was like unto Korihor or not; but it seemed that way.  After we read the scripture, we had a short discussion. This visit, supposedly by persons, who care about me, left me deeply depressed and I was suicidal for about a week following the visit.  It took me a couple of weeks to get over the depression, and mood swings.  All they did was hurt me deeply.  I can’t help how sensitive I am, but they can stop being so insensitive to me like they are.  Patrick was the only one who I knew that loved me.  The others just want to save my soul, by destroying me socially (i.e. break me up with Cody).  They have proven to me, that I cannot trust them with my feelings.  They hurt me, more than they will ever know or admit to.  This is not what I need from the Church right now.  I need love and support and empathy, but I know that I am not going to get this from these homophobic members of the Church.  They never befriend me or visit me socially, just try and change me to what they think will fit with their understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, or I should say, their interpretation of the Gospel as they see fit.  Gordon Bintner Hinckley, former President of the Church taught that we did not choose to be gay and that it was not our fault that we are Gay either.

Brother Ferguson I like, but Brother Marcellus only made me upset and hate myself and want to die.  He says that I choose to be gay. This is opposite of what President Hinckley taught.  Yet he does agree with Hinckley, in that, I should remain celibate my entire life, or at least what is left of it.  This is the man that my friends in the Church, thought would be understanding and help me with my feelings.  How, by destroying me?  Because that is what would happen if I committed suicide, and that is all he caused me to have, is thoughts of suicide and hurt feelings.  He seems to think, like this is all new to me, and discounts the fact that I have been dealing with this issue all my life.  Cody has been dealing with this issue since he was a kid also; like when he was just eight years old, the same age I knew I was gay also.

It does not get better unless you can accept yourself for who you are.  Because this same-sex attraction was not going away, and it never did either; nor do I believe that it ever will.  Like some of the Church President’s have said: it will be settled in the next life.  I am sure the Lord will be much fairer about it, than the Church members are now.  Christ ways are not our ways, and our ways are not his ways.

I hope that I will not become depressed again, from going back to Church, and having to deal with the homophobes.  I believe that I can go back to Church and be happy, as long as my husband goes with me and we are not harassed by members of the Church, or the leaders either.  I do not expect anyone in the Church to understand my relationship with Cody.  I will not be telling anyone about my lifestyle, at least not in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  This way I will not be giving the members cause to further persecute or harass me and my husband.  Neither one of us needs anymore of that in our life.

One thing that I have always wanted to know from the Lord is: why do I have same-sex attraction in the first place, and no attraction to the opposite sex?  I have a good understanding of why, scientifically speaking, but not any real spiritual answers so far.  I have covered that information in my first and second Manifesto, and I will not elaborate here.  I know that many heterosexual people have the opinion that we queers chose to be this way.  They are dead wrong of course, and are not qualified to speak to this matter, because they can not empathize with the gay communities.  The old saying: “it takes one, to know one” really applies here.  My very good psychiatrist’s opinions are very relevant here also, which they said: “only you can know your own feelings and not someone else.”  They were so right, and most people with common sense, also have come to an understanding, that being gay or lesbian, is something that the individual homosexual, did not just decide to become a faggot or lesbo, and that they cannot change themselves from being that either.  It is just the straight Mormons and other churches also who have a lack of understanding about gays, and these straight Mormons are stuck in the dark ages still, on this issue of human sexuality and the gay world.  They do not want to leave their “comfort zone” either.  They cannot empathize or even sympathize with gay’s either.  Some so called Christians are now preaching hate and murder of gays here in the USA and in other countries.  One church holds up signs that say “God Hates the Gay’s” and another says “Death to All Fags.”  I have even heard it in Mormon Church’s also.  Hatred of homosexuals is much higher in the Mormon Church than you might think it is.  Most will not admit this to your face though; just behind your back.

Mormon leaders have the correct understanding about gays, because of revelations to them; see “the First Presidency Letter of November, 14th 1991” for details.  It’s not like these average straight Mormon members, are going to actually study out the issue themselves, like I have already done.  Instead, they would rather hang onto the same beliefs that were believed in, all through the “Dark Ages” regarding homosexual people.  Thus, they ignore, and are in non-compliance with our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the enlightenment that our deities have already provided.  Most members of the Mormon Church are not even cognizant of the revelation given to President Ezra Taft Benson in 1991.  These Mormon members here in Oklahoma, are 20 years behind in their understanding of homosexuality.  This is because, the subject is taboo in their eyes, and not something they care to learn about at all.  They have their own opinions and they do not want to change it.   They should educate themselves.

Straight Mormon members ought to read: “Born That Way” by Erin Elderidge and “Fred’s Story” which are usually available through Deseret Bookstore.  Both of these books helped me very much.  My Stake President Mark Ralph Sylvester, in California, gave me a copy of “Fred’s Story” because it was recommended by Salt Lake Leaders, not only for the bishops to read, but to let known gay members, that they were counseling, read also.  This book was written by a Mormon Psychologist, who studied homosexuality at none other than Brigham Young University, in Provo, Utah.  The book has extra wide margins on each and every page of the book, for the gay individual to take notes, or write personal experiences down, and other comments and thoughts that the information in the book relates to the reader.  I read the entire book and filled every margin in the book with comments and my understanding of the subject back then.  This book helped me and my Bishop, or “Bish” (as we priests affectionately called him), come to a much better understanding of homosexuality, and all the problems I was having with it.  My Bishop valued what I wrote in the Margins so much that he kept the book to this very day.  He would not give it back even though I asked for it many times.  Mark told me that what I had written in the margins had helped him much and that it was helping a lot of others as well that were struggling with same-sex attraction or homosexuality.

This California bishop, counseled me monthly from the age of 15 {picture below} thru the 1½ years while he was my bishop, and the 3 years while he was a counselor in the Stake Presidency, and then for 14 years while he was my Stake President.  He has been my Priest Advisor, My Young Men’s President, My Bishop and Stake Counselor, Stake President, and most of all, my mentor and best friend.  Mark was later called to the High Council, then Scout Master, then Bishop again, and now Stake President again.  The Lord keeps calling him to leadership positions in the Church because of his gentle nature, and his tender hearted feelings toward the members of the Church, especially those he counsels with.  Mark is especially helpful to gay members in the Church.  I told a friend of mine, who was gay, to talk to President Sylvester; and that Mark would be able to help him, and he did.  My friend, Gayland Cook, who was considered the “Black Sheep” of his family, could not thank me enough for recommending he talk to Mark.  Gayland told me that talking to Mark, changed his life for the better.  Mark has now helped a lot of Gay’s in the Mormon Church.

Mark loved me into the Church, got me active again at 16 years old and he then laid his hands on me, and bestowed the holy priesthood on me making me a Priest.  He set me apart as an Elder, and took me to the Temple for the first time; he gave me many blessings by the laying on of hands.  Mark put in my Mission papers and helped me prepare for my Mission, because I did not have a Father to do so.  He was like a Father to me and he said this as well, on my mission farewell, which he spoke at, before I left on my mission.  Mark has done more for my emotional well being, than any other person I have yet encountered in my life so far.

Mark is the one I went to six years after my mission, when I decided I must “come out” of the closet and explore the possibility that I was gay, and that it was not going to change.  At that time, in 1988, Mark said to me: “Robin, I would want for you to be gay, if I thought that you could be happy that way, I am just not sure if you can be happy doing that.”  I told him that I must find out for myself.  I left his house and went to find some gay clubs that I could go to and meet other gay people.  When I found them, I spent 157 hours in the clubs, in just the first month, just talking to and observing other gay people.  This means that I spent as much time, in a gay bar, than a year of church meetings, spent investigating the gay lifestyle.

I found out that I was just like the other gay people, or they were just like me.  Also many of them told me how they had always been gay or thought they might be and how no doctor or psychiatrist, priest or parent could help them change their attraction to the same sex.  Many of them told me that they had been rejected by their clergy, and parents and siblings and friends, and that this was a great source of psychological pain for them.  Like me, their churches had screwed up their lives and caused them to be suicidal, also.  Other churches can be even more brutal than the Mormon sect, to spiritual people who are homosexual or transgender.  My poor Cody cannot handle any church’s rejection of him.

My friend Mark, later Excommunicated me from the Mormon Church, even though he really did not want to, and tried to influence the high councils vote, not to excommunicate me.  Although those 15 men chose to excommunicate me, I never felt more loved at that time, as each and every one of them embraced me with their arms and their hearts.  I felt very loved at that time, and I felt happy and relieved after I left that high council room, still, I drove away from church and parked my car somewhere on the street in town (I was homeless at that time) and now excommunicated, and I cried for 4 hours straight.  And what do you think happened at this time when I was most vulnerable? Some cute guy came by, and saw me crying, and tried to comfort me.  It ended up as a gay “hook-up” in the park no less and I did not feel guilty about it.   However, I was determined to get back “straight” with God and the church and be straight again.  3½ years later, I was re-baptized, one month after I was married to a Sister in the church.  Mark was my best man at my wedding, and although I spent the next 14 years as straight as an arrow, and was completely faithful to my wife for the 9 years that we were married, (until she past away on March 22nd 2006) I was never given back my Priesthood.  Even after 5 very long years (2006—2010) in which I was completely celibate, I am still denied the priesthood and all participation at church.  Even though I felt that if, my wife had not past away 5 years ago, I would still be married and faithful right now; I am denied blessings, treated like a social outcast, and persecuted by my present church leaders, all because I told my bishop that I still had gay feelings.  Now I really feel cast out into the street, for being gay.  I was not sinning by telling my bishop I still had same-sex attraction, after all, I was obeying all the commandments.  I just reached out for help, and in doing so, I was misunderstood and treated with contempt by Bishop Robert (Bobby) W.  Bobby W. most certainly, must be a “Redneck.”

Now it seems that coming out of the closet for the second time, I feel better than I ever have before.  I am not so needy, for the church now; I feel more and more independent from the church.  With a committed and loving gay relationship now and several new gay friends, I am much better off.  Since the church members only make me depressed and unhappy, and have such a huge lack of understanding of gay relationships and such, I will pursue a course that is correct for me and one that will benefit me both spiritually and make me happy at the same time.  Like I said before, I am really happy right now.

Just keep in mind that I will never forsake the Lord and his Church entirely.  But, I also cannot let narrow minded people make me suffer needlessly, especially when that suffering is not creating any positive growth for me in this life.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not have a “plan of happiness” for its gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, and that is not my fault, it is their fault entirely.  Until the Church endorses a real plan of happiness for us gays, that is truly fair and that does not take away someone’s faith; then I will be forced to find my own way along the path that leads to the tree of life.  So far it is going very well for me and Cody.  I am growing spiritually, despite those homophobic members.  I have become a lot stronger than I used to be when I rejected myself.

There is a lot of hate for gays out there and it overlaps into the Mormon Church also.  Where are all the hate groups for the adulterer’s, fornicators, and other home wreckers, and the like out there?  Apparently, the real problem is not just who sins or not, but it is about who is different from us, and who we are willing to accept among us as equals.  The real hate is about, who is black or white, fat or slender, beautiful or homely, short or tall, big or small, gay or straight, republican or democrat.  Heavenly father rejoices over our differences, and we, his children, who are all equal in his eyes, fight and bicker and point fingers at each other, hate each other and even kill one another over them.  We blame all our problems in life, on the ones who are different than we are.  That way we don’t have to blame ourselves or hate ourselves for our own imperfections and mistakes.   If we were all the exact same, then none of us would grow, and we would waste our mortal probation here on earth.  I have always been different from my peers in school and other members of the Church, and people I have worked with and certainly different from non-gays.

Well I am different, and I am not going to be miserable, just so others can justify themselves, and feel better about themselves, at my expense.  The Lord taught us not to be intolerant and to Love everyone, including our enemies.  That means that members should Love the homosexual, not shun them and find endless fault with them.  If you all think that life long celibacy is the answer for all gays, then why don’t you try it yourself.  As for me, I want to laugh and be happy.  I no longer want to be changed from who I am and neither does Cody; we are happy just the way we are.

I can only be happy now, by being left alone, and allowing me to be myself, which is gay.  I won’t tell you how to live your life and you don’t have to tell me how to live mine.  I am no Korihor, I am no Anti-Christ, I do not bother anyone, I do not tell anyone how to live, I live and let live.  I certainly do not try and stop people from believing in Christ, or try and get them to not believe in Heavenly Father. In fact I teach the Gospel all the time to my friends, neighbors and to Cody all of the time, and everyone I know, knows it.  I helped bring more people into the Church while off my mission than I did on my mission back east.  I love all people, and harm no one that I am aware of.  I want a better life for all people, I have never hated anyone, including my enemies of which I have very few.  I am very loving, kind, generous, sweet, and have charity for all people.  I don’t lie, steal, cheat, murder, or commit adultery.  I do not even have sex with my partner, and I do not push my lifestyle on anyone else.  I am not trying to persuade anyone to do anything wrong either.  I just want to be happy the only way that I presently know how to be happy; so leave me alone.

Happiness has been fleeting for me, because of my life long depression and mental illness that I still have.  I have been my own worst enemy all my life, because I listened to all the hatemonger rhetoric, and I have hated myself because of it.  I will hate myself no more, nor will I persecute myself any longer and I will tolerate persecution from the Christian world, not for one more second, either.  I would rather be a Gay Rights Activist and Gay Counselor than anything else.  This is where I have come to at this time in my life.  I recently heard on a Gay Documentary that we gays often expect our straight friends, families and neighbors to accept us the minute we come out to them, when in fact; it took us years to accept ourselves.  She was right, and this is not fair.  Therefore, I will give all people as much time as they need to adjust to the idea, as they need to.  But, I will avoid those who would hurt me, try and change me, and bring me back to my depression.  I believe that I have suffered long enough for this one area of my life.  Enough is really enough!  I am now very content with my life, and I plan to keep it going this direction.  I do not see the point in trying to fix something that is not broke.  I am not busted, do not fix me.

My doctors and nurses have noted a huge growth in me, since I came out this last time, as well as a big lift in my depression.  I do not know how long my relationship with Cody will last, but for now, it is working out very well for me and for him.  No matter what happens in the future, Cody and I will forever love each other, and that love is a gay romantic love that we share.  Call us evil, if you must, and if we are evil, then love is evil.  If love is evil then God is evil, because God is love.  This is how the world makes sense to me, and this is the only way that I can make peace with it.  All those who love us, will wish us the best, and hope for our happiness, just as we hope that the rest of this world has love and peace as well. God bless the peacemakers and all of us who continue to love one another and themselves.

Love to all, love to all, love to all!   I love God with all my heart, might, mind and strength, and I love my neighbor as I love myself.  I wish to tell all my friends, who have stuck by me, through my difficult times, that I love you with all my heart and soul.  May the Lord bless and keep you all.  To all good people everywhere, I hold no ill will or bad feelings, toward anyone who has been unkind to me, because I know that we are all of God’s children, and we are still growing and learning.  The day will come, when all of us will know, all of the answers, to the world’s most perplexing questions.  But in the end, what will matter is, who loved and who did not love his fellow man.  What will matter is, who was kind and who was not, who spread the word of God and who was afraid to open their mouth for their Heavenly Father, who gave of themselves and who did not, who helped others and who did not help, who worked for peace and understanding and who did not.  It will matter who loved God and who did not, who was tolerant and who was intolerant, who had charity and who did not have charity to all people, and who would die for his neighbor and who would not.  In other words, who was like unto Christ and who was not, this is all that will matter in the world to come; not the traditions of each generation and every morel of the day or each leader’s interpretation of what’s right and what’s wrong; many things change with time.

To other gays I would say: what makes you happy and truly brings you joy in this difficult world, is what you should pursue.  Do not listen to the haters and non caring people of this world.  Those people are only selfish and have an ulterior motive for trying to change you to something of their own liking.  God loves you the way that he created you and no one can change you from being gay anyway.  People will always hate and find fault with others, instead of looking after their own life and taking care of their own business.  What matters are your feelings about yourself and what you can live with.  If you know that you are a good person inside, then you do not have to have approval from others, just God.  Pray about it and you will get the same answers that I have gotten in life.  God loves you, and you can know for certain that I love you, even if I do not know you, I know of you and I have been there where you are now.  Also, be sure that you love yourself as you love others.

To all the non-gay people out there, know this one thing, and get it into your stubborn souls, that gay people did not just decide to be gay one day, just to bother you or anyone else.  We gays have an inborn attraction to the same sex, just like you have an inborn desire for the opposite sex.   Our parents did not make us this way and neither did anyone else, nor did we do it ourselves.  It is just part of our natural make up and we cannot change even when we want to, and most of us have wanted to, sometime in our lifetime.    We would change for you if we could, but we cannot do this, so get over it already, we had too.  Just be thankful you are straight.  This message goes double for Elder Boyd K. Packer, who is so hell bent against homosexuality that it is not funny.

The book, “Born That Way” that I bought In Salt Lake City, Utah, at the Deseret bookstore, will tell you the hell that we gays go through with our own selves, let alone the hell you straight people put us gays through. Many gays become alcoholics or drug addicts because we do not except ourselves and then the straight world has the nerve to judge us when they have not spent one day in our shoes.  Many straight people would not last a month if they were in our situation.  How dare they say that we chose this life for ourselves!  The only choice we have before us is to accept ourselves and be happy, or reject ourselves and be miserable.  Mormons say that we have the choice to act on our being gay.  True, but to not act is to be alone without love in your life, something that they themselves would not put up with or endure either.  “…and God said, is it right that man be alone, and Jehovah answered, no, it is not right that man should be alone.  And so they made an helpmeet for man…” I have a helpmeet now, it just happens to be another gay male not a female.

Now I can move on with my life in a positive way and stop hating myself.  I no longer have to figure out what am I going to do with the unhappy feelings that I have had all my life and that other people have perpetuated throughout the years of my life.  I will be 50 soon and probably lived more than half of my life already.  I hope others do not take as long as I did and have as many hardships as I have had in this life.  Now life is great and I love it for the 2nd time “coming out.”  I was very happy the first time I “came out” also; so I do not know why I let others talk me into going back into the closet for 14 more years.  Especially when those people did not forgive and forget like they were supposed to either.  They remained against me even when I was doing so well.  If they will not forgive me in 14 years I believe that they never will forgive me and let me have full fellowship in the Mormon Church.  I cannot get the priesthood back or be sealed to my wife  in the Temple because I am Gay.

When the Good Sheppard comes again in his glory, I believe he will call my name, because I have done the best that I can do to live in harmony with other people as well as the Gospel, and Jesus Christ, my savior and redeemer.  I keep the Ten Commandments and nearly all of 637 other commandments that I have gleaned from scriptures.  I do not believe that Jesus Christ, who is my judge, will hold against me the fact that I am gay or that I have same-sex attraction or that I have mental illness either.  The prophets have spoken on this and they agree with me.

The Mormon Church has completely cut me off, and now no one comes to see me monthly for the last 9 months.  I am supposed to receive Home-teachers each month in my home, but instead my Home-teacher has been released and I do not know who is going to be my new Home-teacher’s either.  Also, I asked for a blessing when I was in the hospital and in ICU, and nobody gave me a blessing at all.  When I moved a few months ago I asked for help to move from the Elders Quorum, because that is what they do; but they all refused to come and help me move.  I was told someone was coming for 3 days straight and nobody came to help us move.  Then I called and told my old Home-teacher that I and Cody had no food for 3 days and we needed help.  My friend Eddie came over the 3rd day and gave us some MacDonald’s food and that was good; but the Bishop would not give us a food order.  This Bishop used to give me food orders from the Bishop’s Storehouse.  After I told the Bishop that I still had same-sex attraction, he stopped giving me food orders, even when I was still active in Church.  It is the Bishop’s stewardship to take care of the poor; however, Bishop Woods refuses to help me at all.  This is proof that the Bishop is homophobic.

I have straight friends, like Kayla Johnson, Ace Pardue, Carol Didway, Carol Turner and many others like Evelyn, Tom, Clarence Richardson and more that accept me and I can talk to about my homosexual feelings and they do not judge me or put me down.  Instead they support me and encourage me and help me. There are also many friendly people here where I live that continue to be friendly even though they know that Cody and I are a couple and that we are Gay.  Some LDS people are supportive but most are not.  My Psych Nurse, Marie Leaf is very supportive, and so is a friend who is a Psychologist, Shirley VanHalen; they both help me a lot with understanding hearts and helping me deal with the judgmental people.

With all the judgmental Latter-day Saints in the Church and their unwillingness to accept people as they are, it’s no wonder that the retention rate is less than half.  Some bishops make you feel guilty for being poor, and therefore many of the poor stop going to church.  I find myself getting help from the Baptist, Catholics and Presbyterians because my bishop will not help me at all.  LGBT have it much worse in the Mormon Church because of these same judgmental members and leaders.  I have been rejected by most members of the Mormon Church just because of the way I would dress, which was more colorful and perhaps feminine also.  I do know that Heavenly Father Loves me and so does Jesus Christ; and that they are more accepting than the members of my Church.  Therefore I can be happy and endure the rejection of the members, no matter what they do to me.

Peace, Love and understanding to all; I forgive you all of any wrongs done unto me, whether perceived or real, it does not matter.  Most of all, please forgive me of my personal weaknesses that I have, and seek only to help me grow in a positive way.  I especially want to thank, Mark R. Sylvester, my bishops past and present that actually helped me, Eddie Yadon, Patrick Lewis and Brother Marcellus for trying to help.  I thank all my friends like Marie Leaf, my friend Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father.  I also thank, David Goodwin, my first boyfriend, for teaching me how to be loved, and Cody Circle, my present boyfriend, for making me feel loved and for allowing me to love them back.  Cody has shown me more love than anyone I have ever known in this life.  Now how can that be wrong anyway?  I did not choose to live here in Muskogee, Oklahoma, but I was sent here by circumstances beyond my control.  Now I know why I came here, God led me here so that I would meet Bishop W. and subsequently meet George Cody A. Circle and become the very happy person that I am right now, so that I can start helping others, because I will no longer be bogged down by my depression, Thanks God for All You Did For Me. —Robin Lee Johnson. LOL (Lots of Love).

Mormon Moment Series on poetrysansonions.blogspot.com

Ahhhhh! The smell of fresh, juicy, slightly wrong Mormon blog posts. It must be Sunday!

I have been doing a series of posts related to Mormon and Post-Mormon issues that seem to be *hot* this year. With more and more people interested in Mormons, and now the change in rules for when male and female missionaries are allowed to serve, the Bloggernacle keep heating up! So, if you missed the first posts in the series (because I was a slacker and wasn’t cross posting) here is your chance to catch up. If you have been catching them on my blog, you will notice they are a little different. Thanks to Kevin who suggested that I should include the topic of the post in the title, and not jsut which post number it is. Ahhhhh, aren’t friends great for helping you see your blind spots? I am glad I have so many friends looking out for me.

I am using the same introduction for each post, both because I think that it helps keep them uniform, but also so I don’t have to try to come up with 20 ways to say the same thing!

What this series is about:

If you are Mormon, you are probably sick of hearing about the Mormon Moment. There are so many people who are suddenly interested in Mormon culture, and there are lots of Mormon bloggers that are cashing in and sharing their stories. Some of the stories end up being kind of silly, but if you are simply trying to get people to read about what is important to you, the Mormon Moment is one way to draw people in.

I do not want people to think that I don’t respect the bloggers whose posts I am sharing. All of them are good bloggers, and most of them write about Mormon topics all of the time. I have no doubt that they would have shared these thoughts and stories at some point, but as one friend told me the other day, “in the race to the election, bloggers are pushing hard to attract new readers before the Mormon Moment is gone.” So, to help you, I sifted through hundreds of posts to share the ones that I still remember. (This group of posts are nowhere near a complete view of Mormon bloggers. All of the bloggers are either Mormons, post-Mormons, or write about Mormon issues, even when it isn’t election time.)

So, what have you missed?

Mormon Moment Series – Part One – Mormon Mind Control?

Mormon Moment Series – Part Two – Ayn Rand and Quirks in Mormon Culture

Mormon Moment Series – Part Three – Modesty, Perfection and Secrets

Mormon Moment Series – Part Four –Why can’t we seem to say what we mean?

Mormon Moment Series – Part Five –Fasting For Followers!

Mormon Moment Series – Part Six – Who is a Mormon?

While it is not officially part ofmy Mormon Moment Series, please take a minutes and check out this post about Mormons, Masterbation, and the story of a teenager driven to attempt suicide, because of his wet dreams.

But for the Grace of God….

This post is about a teen suicide attempt and some of the actions that led to it. The language is not vulgar, but it is specific. Please read only if, it is emotionally safe for you. A few days ago, I sent an email out to several family members and friends about a post on the Mormon Therapistblog. It deals with a sensitive subject, so please understand that this particular linked post is not g-rated, although it will not include any explicit language either. If you are uncomfortable with discussions about sexuality, masturbation, how to teach adults and children healthy sexual attitudes, or the negative impacts of shame, I suggest you skip this post, and not click onto the linked article.”
You can go here to read the entire post, including the responses from TBMs who are supportive of Mormon Therapist’s view, who also explain how the email about this young man touched their lives, and the lives of their children. This is a bold stand from all sides, as Mormon Therapist boldly proclaims, “Masturbation is not sinful behavior in of itself nor is it a transgression.”
We live in a time of great turmoil, and out youth especially need to love and support to deal with a variety of challenges. From masturbation to Coke, homosexuality to the age of sister missionaries, the church is changing or softening on a number of important issues. I believe that we need to support those who are members of the church, who continually ask questions and look for answers. I also believe that current and former members need to find common ground, in as many areas as they can, and work together on those shared goals. Almost every post-Mormon still has family or friends who are members of the church. Almost every member of the church knows someone who has left, been kicked out, or is inactive. While there are very real hurts on all sides, I believe that coming together and being the chance we want to see in our own lives, the lives of our family members, and in the lives of all of the children we love, can make that change a reality.
Whether you are celebrating General Conference today, or are in mourning because of it, there are always ways to find a little common ground, a little place of friendship, a little piece of shared light. We do not have to change our minds about our belief or lack thereof. What we can do is put the first brick into creating a bridge, that will help span the gap between us, and the children and youth who need to know that it gets better, no matter what your sexual orientation or habits!

One last link. If you have a talent to share, leave a comment, and you could be the lucky winner of a pair of pearl stud earrings!

Help? Do I belong here?

How do we help “new bloggers” find their voice?
Are we really a community that does?
I believe we are, or at least can be.

Main Street Plaza is an Internet home for people who care about their thoughts and ideas, eventhough weoften disagree. Wedon’t have the same world view,but it helpsus tobe able toarticulateour point of view, and listen to others asthey express theirs.Disagreements on doctrineor different life choices,does nothave to lead to animosity.I hope that we are making a space for people questioning their faith, lives and community, and to help them feel that they have a “voice” as they work throught those struggles.

An Example of doing it right!

I think that Post Mormon Girl does a great job giving voice to her experiences with the church, and how those experiences shaped her life. Her entire blog is great and some time. when you have the flu or something else, where you have an excuselay inbed,I highly recommendreading through her past posts. She is an awesome person, writer, friend and she has a great way of gently encouraging new readers and commenters to talk, even if they are VERY shy.

Part of what is remarkable about Post Mormon Girl, as a blogger and human being, is that she makes sure to thank each person who comments, or to engage them in some way. When she doesn’t know an answer, she will post that she doesn’t know, and ask her readers whether they know them. She also asks questions that she genuinely doesn’t know the answers to, and at the end of the OP asks her readers to share their experiences.

This is one of her recent posts, that especially hit home with me: (You really should take the time to read the OP and ALL ofthe comments)

http://postmormongirl.blogspot.com/2012/07/in-memory-of-friend.html

The post is touching and masterfully written.Thecomments, thoughts, ideas and personal experiences added to the OPmake it much morepowerful!. PMG is a great writer, who writes honestly and straight from the heart. There is no doubt that her writing stands on its own. While being a great writer is important, her original reasonfor starting A Post-Mormon Life, was to help others who had, were or were going to have some of the same experiences, when they decide that leaving the LDS church, She wanted other people toknow that it is possible to leave the LDS church, andthey can be happy. Mostly, she wants people to ask questions, or leave part of their own stories, so they can be part of the larger narrative of current Mormons, Ex-Mormons, and thosestraddling the fence.

What we are doing now, and howwe can bebetter!

Hopefully, Main Street Plazais creating a space for thestoriesof people who have had the LDS church touch their lives. As a place forexperiencesto beshared, a place of encouragement, and not a place of condescension or condemnation.This is a place that you can hear the words and voices of those whose lives have been different,while you still share some common threads.

Hopefully, you willfind acceptance, no matter where you fall on the living-believing-caring-hoping scale of personal growth.As you discuss, debate, and find common ground, hopefully you will see Main Street Plaza as a place to embraceideas and people who don’t agree with you (or do agree with you) that you respect because of the lives they live and their tollerance and support, no matter how different you may seem at first.

Oftentimes, connecting through blogs has less to do with marketing and more to do with making personal connections, but it is hard to make those first few connections, If someone has posted on a group blog, and they have a personal blog that is in their profile, check out their blog. If theirblog is interesting, and youare comfortable with the content, leave a comment about something you liked, and then ask them to check out your blog.It can be a great was tostart conversations that mightnot happen inlarger forums, with 20-50 comments. There are new and more experienced authors,who offer their advice, when you ask for it. 😉

There are times whenyouneed help now, and you aren’t sure who to ask. So, please, if you are new or have been lurking for a while,
please leave a comment with your question(s) and hopefully between the community members, we will be ableto answer all of them.

Julia 😉
poetrysansonions.blogspot.com

 

**Disagreeing is just as honorable as agreeing, as long as comes from a supportable idea or an experience based insight. Name calling is always an easily throw, like the balls from a Nerf gun. I am asking you to at least try meeting me half way, and stick to only calling me an idiot, AFTER you have shared your “supportable idea.” :-)

BYU in the 1970s

In “The Feminine Mystique”, Betty Friedan wrote about the “problem with no name”. Women (mostly middle class white women) had left the workforce after WWII to work full time at home. And yet some women found themselves unfulfilled and often depressed. Some had lost their identity by devoting their lives to their husbands and children.

It’s been years since I read her work, but Friedan argued that with all the time saving devices available, it was not as necessary for women to say home full time.
Continue reading “BYU in the 1970s”

Taking the Long Term View on Marriage Equality

Intellectually, one can only sustain the orthodox position against marriage equality if one assumes that gays are not fully human or somehow defective. Unfortunately, biology contradicts that notion.

The Church is correct in asserting the freedom for the organization and its members. However, our liberty ends where it begins to take away the liberty of others.

Democracy is no license to discriminate minorities. The founding fathers referred to that as the tyranny of the majority.

If the brethren only spend two hours in the Harold B. Lee Library, they would learn that same gender attraction is a natural phenomenon, which includes species ranging from insects, reptiles, birds, and mammals, including all the primates.

The brethren would also learn that homosexuality is not any more problematic than heterosexuality. Sexuality is a challenge, to be sure, but sexual orientation does not exacerbate these problems in any observable way.

The brethren have tradition on their side but facts are a stubborn thing. In a free environment, this conflict cannot end any better than a struggle in favor of flat earth geography.

If one believes in God the creator then the creation is His most awesome revelation. Ignoring the scientific consensus in favor of debunked tradition puts short term political success ahead of long term self-interest, to say nothing of the suffering that we are causing our children and neighbors.

As disciples of Christ, we have an obligation to tend to the wounded in the gutters of society. The Savior formulated that obligation to illustrate the meaning of neighborly love, which is the very essence of Christianity.

There is no other commitment that can suspend neighborliness without compromising our discipleship.

Liberty as Common Ground for Life and Choice

At Times and Seasons, today’s discussion is about citizenship and Mormons’ obligation to vote.

One of the respondents argues that

Convince the Democrats to stop pandering to the radical elements in the abortion debate and I guarantee you we’d see more members voting Democrat. This has nothing to do with certain Saints being brainless – most of them feel they’re voting their conscience. To them, one party stands for moral values and strong families, and the other doesn’t. They don’t feel like they *need* to think that hard. (Please, nobody argue with *me* over this. I’m describing other people.)

The Saints haven’t lost their will to engage in politics as much as the Democrats lost the Saints.

The fact of the matter is that Democratic presidents have been reducing abortion at much higher rates than George W. Bush. During Bill Clinton’s presidency, abortion declined more than four and five times faster than during the low and high points of the Bush administration.

There are more effective tools to fight abortion than prohibition. When women are free they are less likely to have an abortion. In practical terms, bread and butter issues are a big component of people’s liberty. When people know how to pay their bills because their incomes keep up with inflation, women tend to choose life.

Whenever Republicans govern, the buying power of 40% of Americans declines. As a result, blue collar Americans become less likely to marry and to have children.

If you are interested in impractical symbolism, by all means, continue to vote Republican. However, that vote would implicate you in more abortions. Anyone who wants to reduce the number of abortions, needs to vote for Democrats.

The other element of abortion reduction is, of course, education. Every other western democracy has better sex education and less abortions than the United States. Our irrational approach to sex education is a major contributor to the highest teen pregnancy rates in the developed world.

It seems to me that the religious fundamentalists interference in the biology curriculum has been counterproductive with respect to abortion.