A Desire to Help

I have heard hundreds of members of the LDS Church, when they encounter someone who has left the church who is now critical of the church, say, “You can leave the Church, but you can’t leave it alone” or, more confrontationally, “Why can’t you leave the Church and just leave it alone?” Throughout this post, I’m going to refer to this as the “can’t leave it alone” aphorism.

I can’t say whether this accusatory aphorism was popular prior to Glenn L. Pace’s 1989 General Conference talk, Follow the Prophet, but I believe Pace’s talk may be the source of at least the couplet associated with the aphorism.  Here is Pace’s original quote, “It seems that history continues to teach us: You can leave the Church, but you can’t leave it alone. The basic reason for this is simple. Once someone has received a witness of the Spirit and accepted it, he leaves neutral ground. One loses his testimony only by listening to the promptings of the evil one, and Satan’s goal is not complete when a person leaves the Church, but when he comes out in open rebellion against it.”

Regardless of its origins, what members of the religion are doing when they repeat this aphorism us accusing those who have left the religion of having a preternatural fixation on criticizing the religion.  There are many, many flaws related to this accusation. In this post I will address just a few.

The most obvious problem with the “can’t leave it alone” aphorism is that it is often asserted to be true about everyone who leaves the LDS Church, which is implicitly the case in the original statement by Glenn L. Pace.  That assertion is, of course, patently false. As of 2015, the LDS Church claims 15 million members. Yet, scholars have attempted to verify that number and have found plenty of evidence to suggest that the claimed number is substantially inflated.  For instance, the LDS Church claims close to 1.2 million members in Brazil.  Yet, the Brazilian census, which includes self-reported religious affiliation, only lists about two hundred thousand members of the LDS Church.  This disparity means there are roughly one million people in Brazil who at some point joined the LDS Church but now no longer consider themselves Mormons.  Why bring this up?  If the “can’t leave it alone” aphorism is true, there should be about one million vocal critics of the LDS Church in Brazil.  Admittedly, I don’t speak Portuguese and don’t follow the former-Mormon community in Brazil (if in fact such a community exists). But I would be astonished if there were more than a few hundred fairly vocal former Mormons who publicly criticize the religion in Brazil. I don’t know of any and there were no critical websites in the top 20 search results on Google Brazil when I checked (in July 2015). Even so there are not, most assuredly, a million vocal critics of Mormonism in Brazil.

Collectively, most scholars who have examined the total number of Mormons think there may be around six million people who consider themselves Mormon worldwide.  Even if the number is as high as eight or nine million, that still leaves six+ million people who have left the religion. If there were six+ million people who couldn’t leave Mormonism alone, I would imagine that those people would eventually put together some formal organizations that existed just to criticize Mormonism.  Yet, how many such organizations exist?  A handful, and all of them are run by less than a dozen people, most of whom are now Protestants and want to convert Mormons to their particular strand of Christianity (see here and here).

Are there vocal critics of Mormonism?  Yes. Perhaps a few thousand (see here for a list of blogs by former Mormons). But is the assertion that the “can’t leave it alone” aphorism applies to all those who leave the religion true?  Of course not!  Almost all of the millions of people who have left are not vocal critics of Mormonism. They left the religion and got on with their lives.  Some may, of course, say that this first problem with the “can’t leave it alone” aphorism is a strawman argument because aphorisms rarely apply to everyone in a population.  I agree with them, but that doesn’t mean devout Mormons haven’t made this assertion.  They have (see the original quote, which implicitly asserts this about all who have left).  I have heard them assert this about everyone who leaves.  And they continue to do so.  If you think this is a strawman argument, feel free to tell that to those making the argument that it cannot possibly be true that everyone who leaves the LDS Church becomes a vocal critic.

A second problem with the “can’t leave it alone” aphorism is that it sets up an unequal playing field for any subsequent discussion of Mormonism.  By asserting that those who leave Mormonism can’t leave it alone, devout Mormons are basically saying, “Devout Mormons are the only people who should be allowed to talk about the religion. No one else should.”  A not-entirely-hypothetical example might be a scenario like the following: if a former Mormon is asked about Mormonism, regardless of how knowledgeable they may be about the religion, many devout Mormons will insist that they shouldn’t say anything about the religion because they are biased.  (The thought that devout Mormons have their own biases never seems to occur to them.)  Even admitting that you were once a Mormon is implicitly assumed to be criticism of Mormonism, because it suggests that there may be reasons why someone would want to leave the religion.  Thus, if a former Mormon living in Delaware is at work and a co-worker brings up Mitt Romney’s failed campaigns for President with the former Mormon and several other employees and that turns into a conversation about Mormonism, most Mormons would prefer that the former Mormon: (a) not mention that he/she is a former Mormon and (b) not say anything about Mormonism.  If the former Mormon does either (a) or (b), many devout Mormons will immediately see this as confirmation of the “can’t leave it alone” aphorism.

This is an absurd conclusion, of course.  It’s like demanding that someone who used to be a Democrat but later in life changed her political views and became a Republican should never say anything about politics ever again.  Should Democrats insist that all former Democrats avoid any discussion of politics for the rest of their lives because, if politics come up, former Democrats may be critical of Democrats? Of course not.  But that is exactly what some Mormons insist should happen with former Mormons: they should never, ever speak of Mormonism again.

Ironically, many former Mormons tend not to walk around spewing venom against their former religion.  To the contrary, that is often just the opposite of what happens.  My maternal grandfather was technically Mormon, but never attended religious services, smoked a pipe, drank alcohol and coffee, and didn’t believe most of what the religion taught.  He was also critical of the religion around his Mormon relatives, particularly when they tried to push it on him (which, not surprisingly, was often).  But when non-Mormons asserted claims that were not accurate about the religion or were critical of Mormons, he was the first to defend the religion and the members.  This is often the case for former Mormons, as well.  As a former Mormon myself, I have spent far more time correcting people’s inaccurate beliefs about Mormonism than I have criticizing the religion, and I’m a well-known critic of the religion.  In the hundreds of interviews I’ve done with reporters, I would guess 75% of my time is spent explaining Mormon teachings and correcting misconceptions.  The remaining 25% is spent offering commentary on whatever issue it is the journalist called to discuss with me.  In short, while former Mormons may be critical of aspects of the religion they dislike (e.g., gender inequality, sexual discrimination, emphasis on obedience, denial of historical events, etc.), they are also often pretty good ambassadors for Mormonism and are quick to defend Mormon people, usually because they still have family members who are Mormon.

Changing the context slightly from the above situation of a former Mormon talking with people who have never been Mormon to conversations between former Mormons and devout Mormons extends this problem with the “can’t leave it alone” aphorism.  Many devout Mormons hold a double standard when it comes to talking about their religion.  If a former Mormon visits with devout Mormon family members and the family members, as they are wont to do, begin discussing Mormonism, many devout Mormons assume that the former Mormon family member should not say anything about Mormonism.  If the former Mormon does, it is assumed that it will be critical.  Thus, many devout Mormons see nothing wrong with discussing their religious activities and beliefs in front of former Mormons.  But if former Mormons comment on those activities or beliefs or have the audacity to talk about their new beliefs or activities, many devout Mormons will take offense.  Another example here is illustrative of this issue.  When I go to visit my devout Mormon family members, I don’t attend church services with them (and I’m guessing they would find it offensive if I said I wanted to as they would likely question my motives).  This inevitably leads to the awkward situation of them simply not asking me or my wife and son what we plan to do on Sundays when we are visiting.  They know that we know they are going to church.  And they know that we’re NOT going to church.  But they don’t actually want to know what we are going to do, because, unless it involves spending three hours in a Mormon chapel, it is not in line with what they believe is the right thing to do on Sundays.  On a recent trip to visit family, my wife, son, and I went on a tram ride to the top of a mountain and had Sunday brunch at the resort while my family went to church.  We didn’t tell them we were going to go and didn’t tell them where we went (though one family member did ask discreetly what we did and we told her).  The fact that we spent money on Sunday, a violation of keeping the Sabbath holy in Mormonism, is an affront to their beliefs.  The point being, it isn’t even necessary to mention that you aren’t Mormon anymore or mention that you did something Mormons wouldn’t do for many Mormons to take offense and consider it an affront to their religion.  Some Mormons could benefit from accepting the outlandish idea that most of the people on the planet are not Mormon, don’t want to be, and that is okay.  Just because someone is not Mormon doesn’t mean their existence should be offensive to you. In fact, if you find anyone’s existence offensive, you have some serious issues involving foundational human rights.  Most non-Mormons don’t consider your Mormonism offensive to them.  Live and let live, or as your own 11th Article of Faith states, “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”  In other words, it’s okay to not be Mormon.  Joseph Smith even said so!

I could raise numerous other issues with the “can’t leave it alone” aphorism, but I’m going to wrap this post up with my biggest issue with the aphorism: the stunning level of naive hypocrisy that the aphorism involves.  Many devout Mormons believe that it is morally imperative that they try to convert everyone to Mormonism.  And, of course, included in that imperative is the desire to re-convert former Mormons.  I’m fairly confident that what drives many Mormons to want to convert others to Mormonism is a belief that they have The Truth (note the capital “T” here) and that that Truth will be beneficial for everyone else.  In other words, they are driven by a desire to help.  That is respectable and admirable.  I won’t deny that for a second.

But that motivation and fixation on their Truth also leads to many Mormons’ inability to recognize that other people may be motivated by the exact same desire, a desire to help.  The problem comes from the fact that many Mormons only recognize the existence of their Truth and therefore deny the existence of or even the possible existence of any other “truths” (little “t” here).  Thus, they cannot fathom why someone might be motivated to criticize Mormonism out of a desire to help.

Another anecdote here may help illustrate my point.  I have a six year-old son. Occasionally I observe him doing things or about to do things that I believe could harm him.  For instance, my son loves to climb stuff. On a recent hike in the mountains of Utah, my son saw a small cliff, about twelve feet high, and told his mother and I that he wanted to climb it. We have ropes and harnesses for climbing and rappelling, and if we had those with us, I would have let him climb that cliff. But we didn’t have our safety equipment that day. Do I, recognizing the risks associated with climbing that cliff, have an obligation to warn my son about the harm he might face?  Or should I simply let him climb the cliff and risk falling, potentially leading to permanent injury or even death?

What’s my point with this story?  I think most people would recognize that there is a moral imperative to help those who need help, particularly if it will prevent harm befalling them.  This is certainly true for those we love.  But I think it is also true that we should help strangers.

As an avid hiker, I’m keen to help those I encounter on my hikes.  If, for instance, I was hiking and had just encountered a venomous snake on a trail, then rounded a corner and met some hikers coming the other way, what should I do? Do I have a moral obligation to warn them about the snake? Or should I let them discover the danger on their own? Perhaps not everyone will agree with me that the moral course of action is to help others avoid injury or harm, whether you know those people or not.  But that is often a motivation of mine, a desire to help.

And that returns us back to the “can’t leave it alone” aphorism.  Many people leave the LDS Church because they found it harmful.  Mormons reading this may have a hard time accepting that assertion, as in, “How could the LDS Church, which you find so beneficial, be harmful?”  I don’t want to spend too much time on this, but here are just a few ways:

Now, Mormons reading this may not want to admit that any of those things have happened.  I provided links just to make it clear that they have.  But they have happened and continue to happen.  And that leads to this question:

If you were a member of an institution and found out that some of the policies or practices of that institution were causing people to commit suicide or were leading to the physical or sexual abuse of members of that institution, what would you do?

And if you left that institution as a result of your discoveries, would you keep quiet about it?  Or would you want to help those inside the institution who might be suffering?  Would that lead you to criticize the practices, policies, and teachings of the institution?

If you would criticize a harmful institution for its harmful practices, congratulations!  You now know what motivates a small minority of those who leave Mormonism to criticize their former religion: a desire to help.

The Mormon Apogee of Affirming the Consequent

From Wikipedia:

Affirming the consequent, sometimes called converse error or fallacy of the converse, is a formal fallacy of inferring the converse from the original statement. The corresponding argument has the general form:

  1. If P, then Q.
  2. Q.
  3. Therefore, P.

An argument of this form is invalid, i.e., the conclusion can be false even when statements 1 and 2 are true. Since P was never asserted as the only sufficient condition for Q, other factors could account for Q (while P was false).

If you understand the above, now read the following and try to convince me that it is not a textbook case of affirming the consequent:

Moroni 10:4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

In proposition form:

  1. If you ask god if the Book of Mormon is true, god will confirm it through a feeling.
  2. You feel something.
  3. The Book of Mormon is true.

Could your feeling be due to virtually infinite alternative causes?  Absolutely.

And if you don’t feel something?  You did it wrong.

The irony of this just struck me: the core logic of the missionary message is a logical fallacy.  :)

 

Questions Mormons Can’t Answer?

I was reading an ethnography of Mormonism that will be released in the next few months (I got an advance copy) and a thought struck me when the author started describing some Mormon beliefs: There are some aspects of Mormonism that really cannot be explained.  In other words, Mormons can’t answer some questions about their religion.  I could be wrong, of course, but here the questions that came to mind:

  • Why do people have to have ordinances performed on physical, mortal bodies, thus necessitating proxies?  If the ordinances can transfer to spirits via proxies, why can’t the spirits be baptized?
    • And if there is some reason why they have to be performed on physical, mortal bodies, why can’t this wait until the resurrection?
  • If god is omniscient, why do Mormons need to learn handshakes and passwords to get into his kingdom?  Wouldn’t god know who is worthy and who isn’t?
  • If priesthood is required for performing ordinances, then how are female temple workers able to perform washings and anointings?
  • When does a prophet speak as a prophet and when does he speak as a man?
  • How will god not let a prophet lead the church astray (per, “The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as president of this Church to lead you astray.” – Wilford Woodruff)?
  • And, of course, the infinite regress question: Where did the first god come from?  Joseph’s regression of gods doesn’t actually solve the problem of “who created god”, it just regresses it.
Any other questions that Mormons just can’t answer?  And are there answers to these questions and I’m just not aware of them?

Why do some Mormons equate their religion with their personal identity?

In a recent discussion with some devout Mormon family members, I framed the Noah and the Ark myth as just that, a myth. Immediately they took offense and claimed I was attacking them. I proceeded to explain that I do think it is perfectly reasonable – actually, more than that, obligatory – to educate people and disabuse them of patently false beliefs.  In response, they called me intolerant, disrespectful, strident, and fundamentalist in my thinking and went so far as to suggest that I want to rid the world of anyone who disagrees with me.  They insisted that it is an issue of respect that I not denigrate their beliefs.  They also suggested that, by calling their beliefs false, I was insinuating that they were stupid.  I disagree.

To clarify what I mean, let me illustrate.  I, and many others, have heard the Muslim belief that martyrs will receive 72 virgins when they die and go to paradise.  For a long time I believed that to be specifically stated in the Quran, but it is not.  The idea of pure beings – insinuated to be women, but may not be – is in the Quran.  They are called “Houri” and are kind of like angels.  The Quran specifically states that they have “pure” characteristics, but it does not specify that the purity is tied to their virginity.  It also does not specifically state that martyrs will be given 72 Houri as companions in paradise, though it is insinuated that Houri will be the companions of those who go to heaven and there are a number of Hadith (commentaries) that suggest 2 Houri will be given to men as wives.  Even so, those are Hadith and not the Quran.  The specific reference to 72 virgins is not in the Quran but in a narration by a Muslim commentator.  In short, while some Muslims may believe that 72 virgins await martyrs in paradise, it is not accurate to say that the Quran specifies this as a reward.  It does not.  This was explained to me in detail by a friend.

Based on the reasoning of my family members, the guy who informed me that the Quran does not specifically mention 72 virgins should have respected my belief that it does just because it was my belief. He was intolerant and disrespectful to correct me. He should not have eradicated my false belief. How dare he!!!

This leads to my first question: Is it wrong to ridicule patently false beliefs?

The second issue that struck me in this discussion was that my family members consistently said I was intolerant and attacking them, despite me never attacking them.  I said what they believed was ridiculous and clearly false, but I never said they were stupid or ignorant or anything else directly targeting them.  While I know it is not true of all Mormons and is obviously true of other people, I’m wondering why so many Mormons are unable to separate the beliefs of the religion from their own identity. If you criticize the church for its sexist and homophobic policies and doctrines – which are valid grounds for criticism at the moment – you are immediately accused of attacking the members as being sexist and homophobic.  And if you criticize Mormon beliefs as absurd or unsupported by science, they take that as a personal attack as well.

Why is it that some people cannot separate their group identity from their personal identity?  And why can’t some people separate their beliefs from their personal identity?

I get that both of those – group identities and beliefs – are part of our identity (I’m drawing on social identity theory here).  But it seems as though some people cannot have a discussion about the possibly negative aspects of one of their groups without feeling personally attacked.

Another example may help.  The US engages in a lot of sketchy activities.  We’ve deposed or attempted to depose leaders of countries we don’t like.  We’ve assassinated people.  We’ve engaged in wars that are probably based on nothing more than wanting to help some of our corporations become richer.  I fully accept that about the US.  Yet I’m a United States citizen.  By criticizing a group to which I belong, I don’t feel like it makes me a terrible person.  In fact, I think it’s indicative of a more complex way of thinking about the world: I’m part of a group, but I’m not responsible for everything the group does and the group identity is not my identity.

Maybe someone has already explored this phenomenon in detail.  I just spent a couple hours reading about social identity theory and cognitive biases to see if they address this.  The closest I found were: depersonalization (as part of self-categorization theory, which is related to social identity theory), collective narcissism, and the Semmelweis reflex, with collective narcissism coming closest (and it is noted to apply to religions). But none of these talk specifically about the conflation of self-identity and social identity.

If there isn’t any prior research on this, doesn’t it seem like there should be a name for this?  If this is a distinct phenomenon, giving it a name would be nice (e.g., social/personal-self conflation is the one that comes to mind).  Once it’s named, and the name becomes widely used, then when people do this you could simply send them to a Wikipedia page that describes the phenomenon and hopefully it would help them realize that they are conflating criticism of either an institution or a belief with criticism of them. It probably wouldn’t change anything, but it may help us to at least begin to understand this behavior.

Also, I don’t think this is unique to Mormonism, of course. Members of many religions do it. And some people seem to do it with politics as well.

A GAY PROCLAMATION TO THE WORLD FAMILY

The Proclamation of Robin Lee Johnson and his own life experience.  I believe that all gay people are valid human beings who have the God given right to marry the person who they love and as long as they are monogamous and keep the law of chastity which they are doing by being married, they should have all of the 1,049 rights and privileges that comes with being married.  This is the first and foremost belief I have.  I have someone that I wish to marry right now and I do not think that I am sinning because I am not able to get married right now due to the fact that it is not legal in Oklahoma right now.  I am hopeful that a federal law is enacted to force all states & commonwealths, territories and so forth in the union of the United States of America, to allow marriage of all of its citizens.  And now for my formal long overdue Proclamation to the world and to myself and my boyfriend and his and my family that is an adaptation of the one on “The Family” from The LDS Faith or Church.

A PROCLAMATION TO THE WORLD

 Robin Lee Johnson formerly of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

WE, Robin Lee Johnson and George Allen Circle and all gays of the CITY OF MUSKOGEE, OKLAHOMA, DO solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a man or a woman and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

ALL HUMAN BEINGS gay, LESBIAN or straight—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit sons or daughters of heavenly parents, and as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender orientation or the sexual identity, and transgender identity is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose and all are acceptable before God and the host of heavenkkk and Jesus Christ and even the devil agrees.

IN THE PREMORTAL REALM, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and also ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships and gay couples to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families and gay couples as well as transgender couples to be united eternally in bonds of holy matrimony and other unions and bonds as well also.

THE FIRST COMMANDMENT that God gave to “Adam and Steve” as well as “Mary and Martha” pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and husband or wife and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth and to adopt those children who are orphaned remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation and surrogate motherhood as well as Invetro-fertilization are to be employed only between men and men and women and women, lawfully wedded as co-husbands and co-wives.

WE DECLARE the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed and scientifically supported and so classified. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan of joy and happiness for all of his children.

HUSBAND and husband or wife AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, be accepting of all gay relationships and sexual identities and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Gay Husbands and Lesbian Wives—pairs of mothers and pairs of fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations and for loving all gays everywhere in the world and transgender people as well.  No matter what someone’s sexual identity, orientation or attraction are, love and respect should rule the day.

THE FAMILY is ordained of God no matter what the make up of that family might be. Marriage between two men or two women is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by their fathers or their mothers who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in gay family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages in all the gay families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities including gay parades and gay pride day and celebrating the lives of gays and lesbians everywhere. By divine design, gay fathers are to preside over their families and lesbian mothers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and mutual respect and caring and kindness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life, joy and happiness and protection for their families. Gay Fathers and Gay Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, gay fathers and gay mothers are obligated to help one another as equal gay partners in their respective homosexual relationships. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support, love and kindness when needed, even from straight neighbors and friends of gays.

WE WARN that you individuals who  do violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities in these gay unions will one day, stand accountable before God and Christ. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family and gay relationships will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets as well as psychologists and scientists.

WE CALL UPON gays and lesbians and transgender people  who are responsible gay citizens and gay officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the gay and transgender family as the fundamental unit of society and gay and lesbian and bisexual & transgender communities around the world & universe.

From Gays and Homosexuals in the United States, Robin Lee Johnson and George Allen Circle and all transgender people and bisexuals and Questioning and Gay Supporters and especially Mormon Gays!

Get it straight, don’t hate, and just be full of love if you want to go to heaven above!!!!!!!

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 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!

Repentence – An Apology to My Home

Looking at the pile,
As it mocks me from across the room.
Tempting me to remove it –
Begging me to find the washing machine.

Ignoring the piled up dishes –
I avert my eyes, on my way to the bathroom.
I won’t let myself hear them
Crying out for mercy,
As they try to tempt me
To create a sink of soapy hot water.

A few more weeks (or months)my loves!
Then I *might* be able to serve you,
In the ways that you deserve,
Without crashing to the ground –
Potentially hurting me, and you, in the process.

You are wonderful “things;”
Surrounding my life with beauty and function.
But, you take time and energy,
And I just don’t have enough, for you, today!

 

The LDS church tells us that we can’t repent without apologizing. We must think about what we have done, admit that it was/is wrong, apologize and make amends for the sin we have committed, and never commit the sin again.

Since “Cleanliness is next to Godliness,” and myhome (and sometimes hair)is only partially clean, some (or most)of the time. I have obviously moved away from God during the last few months, and I must repent!

We all have things we need to apologize for, and peopleor things that weneed to make amends to as part of our repentance process.We will never complete the process of repentance, unless we first beg forgiveness for those we have sinned against.

In my case, after months of being on bed rest with an injury, and expecting another month or so of bed rest after my surgery, this is my sincere apology to my home. I am not sure I am truly repenting at this time, since for at least a few more weeks, and maybe longer, I will keep committing this particular sin.

Hopefully both my home, and God, will allow me a lengthy process of repentance, parallelling my recovery from surgery!

Please forgive me, for I know what I do, and I can’t change it (this week)! (I truly am a sinner of the worst kind!)

Julia – http://poetrysansonions.blogspot.com/

animated Mormon quotes – Brigham Young on race

In a caffeine addled state during a long drive I had an idea: Wouldn’t it help people who are interested in Mormonism to “see” what past Mormon leaders have said, rather than just read it? That thought lead to another: Well, you could animate historic Mormon figures to reenact the quotes. Thus, I give you the first in, depending on the response, what could be a series of historical quotes by Mormon leaders:

If you have favorite quotes you’d like to see animated, please leave them in the comments.