The 8 things I’d like to ask

I know…I have resigned my membership. So why do I care about the new Mormon church policy update that impacts LGBT Mormons? Why bother stressing about it if I don’t even belong or believe?

Because this was my faith community for 46 years. Because it was how I was raised. Because I have active believing children (and now grandchildren), parents, a sister, extended family and friends that do continue to believe and participate. Because the Mormon church continues to impact those relationships. I have a gay brother whose married to a wonderful man and they’ve been together for a lot of years. During my faith transition, I reached out and made many friends online and became aware of their struggles and pain. I’m a Mama Dragon, even if I don’t have any gay children myself, because LGBT issues have impacted my life. I’ve received private messages over the past couple of years about what it means to be gay in the Mormon church. I have listened to stories of unimaginable pain and anguish. And the most basic reason is because I’m human and I care about people.

So I’ve examined this policy, as currently written (with no clarification issued yet), and engaged in a lot of discussions. While doing this, I’ve compiled a list of questions – questions that the video the church released with Elder Christofferson left unanswered. Here they are:

#1 – Since the primary reason for the policy given by Elder Christofferson was to protect the children from mixed messages, how does this policy accomplish that when it only bans them from saving ordinances while allowing/encouraging them to attend church? If this is the primary concern, why not ban them from attending our church services all-together until they’re 18? How does the church reconcile the mixed messaging happening for children in other families that are living in situations where parents are living in ways that don’t align with church doctrines/policies? Like non-members, those engaged in sexual activity outside of marriage, those with addiction issues, those living with partners but unmarried, those that have left the church, apostates, etc. If the church is trying to prevent mixed messaging or family conflict, why aren’t these same rules applicable for all children under age 18? Are they still working on policy updates for those children/families as well? Because there are many children currently participating in the church the hear messages that conflict with what they hear and see at home.

# 2 – Does the church anticipate that the children of gay parents will still attend church with these new rules? Do they hope that grandparents, family members and friends will continue to bring these children to primary, church and youth activities? Will the church be encouraging that? If so, how does the church envision this experience working for both those children and the adults teaching primary/YM/YW? Because the messaging will be the same. And they won’t be able to fully participate in some things (baptism, blessing/passing the sacrament, temple trips, ordinations). Does the church plan on altering the manuals to help teachers and leaders prepare for these situations and how to make the children feel truly involved/included?

# 3 - Since baby blessings are not a saving ordinance, and viewed as a celebration of a child’s birth, and are done for children whose parents are inactive/non-members, why is this different for children with gay parents? The reason given, during the video, was it creates a membership record and starts ward responsibilities for that child. But that happens with other children, as well, whose parents may not even be attending or believe (and living in situations where mixed messaging will happen). Is the church concerned about having the gay couples names on the certificate of blessing? Or in the church system listed as a family unit?  If so, why? Wouldn’t the church want primary/ward leaders and members to reach out to these children, just like they do for inactive families?

# 4 - Why is the church just now enacting these changes when same-sex marriage has been legal in roughly 20 other countries for anywhere between 1 year and more than 10 years? The total church membership in those countries is about 2.5 million. The church has said this is to protect children and families. Was the church concerned about the children and families in these other countries as well? And, if so, why did they wait until marriage laws changed in the U.S. when this is a global church?

# 5 –  How does the church view support of same-sex marriage for members now? In this interview with Elder Christofferson in March 2015, he stated:

“Our approach in all of this, as (Mormon founder) Joseph Smith said, is persuasion. You can’t use the priesthood and the authority of the church to dictate. You can’t compel, you can’t coerce. It has to be persuasion, gentleness and love unfeigned, as the words in the scripture.”
There hasn’t been any litmus test or standard imposed that you couldn’t support that if you want to support it, if that’s your belief and you think it’s right,” Christofferson said after a Jan. 27 news conference.

We have individual members in the church with a variety of different opinions, beliefs and positions on these issues and other issues,” Christofferson said. ” … In our view, it doesn’t really become a problem unless someone is out attacking the church and its leaders — if that’s a deliberate and persistent effort and trying to get others to follow them, trying to draw others away, trying to pull people, if you will, out of the church or away from its teachings and doctrines.

The current policy update states that children with gay parents, in a same-sex marriage, will need to disavow this practice in order to be baptized or serve a mission. Does that mean regular members can support it, but children with gay parents can’t? What about after they are baptized and 18 years old? Or after they return home from their mission? At that point are they allowed to support it like the rest of the members?

# 6 – Now that the church has included same-sex married couples in the definition of apostasy/apostates, are the temple recommend questions going to be altered to reflect this? Especially the question that asks:

“Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?” 

Does this mean belonging to a group like Mama Dragons is a violation of this? Since they support their children and others that live with their partners or get married? What about parents who support their gay children that are doing this? What about being a member of a LGBT support group that supports these as valid options like Affirmation?

# 7 – We’ve heard rumblings that there will be some clarification or additional training coming forth to help expand on this written policy. If this is the case, and the church was planning on doing this from the start, why didn’t Elder Christofferson mention this during the video? The video was released late the following evening and the media and online discussions had been happening for 24 hours. Many people were upset, confused, surprised and honestly shocked at this update and wording. The church would have been well aware of this by the time they began filming the video. Wouldn’t it have been good timing for the church to reassure the members that further clarifications would be forthcoming? And that the church recognized there were a myriad of individual circumstances that would need to be taken into account? That the church was aware of the pain and anguish this policy was resulting in, and that they would work hard to expand on the language to help local leadership understand how to implement this? The policy change became public on November 5, the video was released on Nov 6, and it is now November 12. There has been no clarification. If the church had these exceptions/clarifications prepared, why is it taking so long to release them? Or is this delay due to not anticipating the need for these?

# 8 – If the church provides additional clarification, and allows exceptions for children who have divorced parents (mixed-orientation marriage), how will these exceptions work? Will it be based on specific percentage requirements for the amount of time they can live in the home of the parent that is cohabiting or in a same-sex marriage? After they turn 18, does this requirement end (say, for instance, a student at BYU that lives with a gay parent during a term break)?

OK so perhaps it was more like 8 groups of questions I’d like to ask!

Final religious amicus brief on US same-sex marriage

I’ve been following the same-sex marriage debate on the legal front since the days of Prop 8. In 2010, Judge Walker gave his damning ruling thata gender restriction on marriage is nothing more than an artifact of a foregone notion that men and women fulfill different roles in civic life.” Such language struck at the heart of the patriarchy in the positions of maintaining opposite-gender marriage only. The Catholic, Mormon and conservative Protestant faiths do not permit female ordination; because ecclesiastical power flows through men only in these faiths, same-sex marriage is a threat to their patriarchal order.

The Church has filed animus briefs along the way, but now the final one is filed. Silly arguments have come out in recent weeks, for example, the idea that same-sex marriage discriminates against mixed-orientation marriage (because going against one’s “nature” will be demonized — no, people should just have the choice to marry/start a family with their chosen loved one), or that same-sex marriage will lead to 900,000 abortions (because a decrease in “real” marriage results in more out of wedlock pregnancies — what?!).

The LDS Church, however, has signed onto a multifaith coalition amicus brief that steps up the arguments.

So what are the “final” arguments?

1) Opposite-sex marriage is central to a functional society

By our collective experience counseling and serving millions of people over countless years[,] we know from experience the tragedies associated with unwed parenting and marriage breakdown[…] boys, bereft of their fathers or any positive male role model, act out in violence, join gangs, and engage in destructive behavior. We have ministered to those boys in prison where too many are consigned to live out their ruined lives. […] We have seen girls, deprived of the love and affection of a father, fall into insecurity and then promiscuity that results in pregnancy and out-of-wedlock birth – thereby repeating the cruel cycle.

2) Support for opposite-sex marriage has nothing to do with animus against gays and lesbians, but rather age-old faith traditions based in rational shepherding.

Homosexuality is remote from core teachings about marriage and family.

3) Religious liberty in the public sphere is threatened

Comparing opposition to same-sex marriage with racism would over time reduce those who believe in traditional marriage to the status of social and political outcasts.

4) Thought-policing

Striking down state marriage laws [on the basis of] animus would be an unprecedented restriction on the exercise of a fundamental right to speak and debate and learn and then, as a matter of political will, to act through a lawful electoral process. […] [How can one] suggest that advocacy for same-sex marriage is somehow less moralistic than opposition, when the entire controversy is saturated with moral discourse[?]

5) The essential secular/religious divide

Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all have rich religious narratives extolling the husband-wife, child-centric meaning of marriage. Many Americans who accept these traditions understand marriage as a gift from God, intended to establish an optimal setting for bearing and rearing children rather than as a means of endorsing adult relationship choices. These beliefs about marriage are not going away.

6) A subversion of democracy

To declare an unprecedented constitutional right to same-sex marriage would deny people of faith who support traditional marriage the liberty to participate as equal citizens in deciding which values and policies will govern their communities.

Well, so there you have it. The Supreme Court justices have their hands full in resolving this matter.

As I skimmed through the document, the word that appeared over and over is “animus.” If anything, these groups do not want the Supreme Court to make same-sex marriage federally legal while also demonizing anti-gay (by which I mean, anti-gay intimacy) faith communities for having some kind of “animus.”

Perhaps it’s not animus at the root, but I do think the foundational problem is ignorance/xenophobia (which historically has created animus). Many of the above arguments demonstrate a basic ignorance about society. For example, faith communities who okay gay marriage also generally centralize traditional views about marriage; they just also recognize that gay people exist.

If we think about how the Church has dealt with homosexuality over the last several decades, it’s been to take baby steps, make sure the boat is not rocked too much, the overarching patriarchal power structure not disrupted. Silly ideas have been formalized: like, the idea that God only creates heterosexual souls. I think a great deal of animus existed toward gays among church leaders prior to the 1990s, and the Bible was cited in an attempt to justify it. Nowadays, the problem is still trying to contain something as if it were “bad”; on the one hand, the Church has supported LGBT rights in the public arena, but on the other hand, talks about “counterfeit lifestyles.” There is just too much cognitive dissonance.

The analogy to racism is interesting. Considering that the Quorum of the Twelve consists of all white, English-speaking hetero married men who claim to sooth-say for God on matters for the entire human species, I see no problem introducing a “special status” of any sort that pushes against this highly problematic structure.

Anyway, feel free to comment here, whatever your position!

Because They Couldn’t Very Well Say “Sorry We Insisted You Waste All that Time and Money”

As pretty much everyone already knows, today the Supreme Court declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional and ruled that the private sponsors of Proposition 8 in California didn’t have the legal right to step in and appeal the ruling by a federal court that Prop 8 was unconstitutional when the state of California declined to do so.

From what I understand, this means that gay marriage will probably soon be legal again in California, and that gay couples in the states that recognize gay marriage can soon get federal benefits, including (I assume? I hope?) green card status in marriages where one spouse is not a citizen. (The immigration thing really upsets me.  I know the tax thing is a drag, but at least you can still live with your chosen partner if you’re both US citizens.)

It only took the church an hour or two to issue a statement lamenting the court’s actions:

“By ruling that supporters of Proposition 8 lacked standing to bring this case to court, the Supreme Court has highlighted troubling questions about how our democratic and judicial system operates. Many Californians will wonder if there is something fundamentally wrong when their government will not defend or protect a popular vote that reflects the views of a majority of their citizens.

“In addition, the effect of the ruling is to raise further complex jurisdictional issues that will need to be resolved.

“Regardless of the court decision, the Church remains irrevocably committed to strengthening traditional marriage between a man and a woman, which for thousands of years has proven to be the best environment for nurturing children. Notably, the court decision does not change the definition of marriage in nearly three-fourths of the states.”

I saw people on Facebook reacting with surprise at the snark in the statement.  Personally, I think snark is a step up for an institution that has regularly condemned people as evil and tools of the devil and destined for everlasting punishment.  Way to go, LDS church!  You’re ever so slightly less nasty now!

So that’s the official response.  I can’t help wondering, though, about the response from people like Pam and Rick Patterson, the Folsom, CA couple of modest means who in 2008 for emptied their savings account so they could donate $50,000 to the Yes on Prop 8 campaign.  What are they thinking now?

I posed that question on Facebook.  Several people suggested that the most financially generous Prop 8 supporters are hardened in their resolve that they did the right thing, that they feel persecuted for righteousness’ sake and closer to celestial glory.

And maybe they do, because they need to justify their enormous sacrifice.  It’s hard to admit something so costly and destructive was an easily avoidable mistake.

But I’m willing to give it time.  I know people who donated to earlier fights (the one in Hawaii, for instance) who now feel shame and rage at the church. It was one thing after the defeat of the ERA–the church won that fight–but they have lost this one, and spectacularly. I think a lot of people who donated will quietly concede the matter, and having seen their money and time so wasted, will be much more reluctant to fund the next battle.

As for “supporters of traditional marriage” who didn’t write checks, just made plenty of homophobic statements in public forums, I bet a lot of them will just shrug and say as little as possible now.

And I will add that it delights me to see people who claim to have the gift of prophecy so screwed over by their own bad choices.

 

 

Church files Amicus Brief against Marriage Equality

So, we’re in the final phase of the Prop 8 battle:  the arguments before the Supreme Court.  This thing should be decided sometime this summer.

The CoJCoL-dS, along with a coalition of other churches (though I suspect the Church put most of the work into the document), have filed their amicus brief.

Looking back at the previous arguments made by Prop 8 supporters, this brief is shorter, the arguments more polished.  The main set of arguments can be summarized thusly:

  • The 14th Amendment (equal protection clause) does not prohibit states from preserving the traditional definition of marriage, because “value” judgments are present in any lawmaking.
  • Only a demeaning view of religion and religious believers would dismiss advocacy for Prop 8 as ignorance, prejudice or animus.
  • Man-and-woman marriage is an axiom of Western civilization, not an attack on gay and lesbian civil rights.  …It is false and overly dramatic to claim same-sex marriage is a “defining civil rights issue of our time.”

The rhetoric of this is telling.  The Church is obviously wanting to take an “objective” approach here, claiming that the hype over gay marriage as a “civil right” is a result of manufactured drama over the years.  I do think this is true to a certain extent, as a lot of money and time goes into gay interests, which affects people’s minds, gay and straight alike.  But it is more dramatic to paint the issue of “redefining marriage” as a “civilizational” issue, since in the end, when the country has gay marriage, Western civilization will be fine.  The only thing that won’t be fine is that the Church will seem more out of touch.

The Church suggests that Prop 8 had a very “narrow and limited” effect, since it was just about the word “marriage” and not about…say, anti-sodomy laws that would throw sodomizers into jail or something.  The Church puts it thusly:  “We intended only to disapprove of same-sex marriage [i.e, affirm traditional marriage], rather than pass judgment on same-sex couples as people.”

This framing of innocent benevolence is silly.  What if I were to say, “I love gay people.  I don’t judge same-sex couples.  But I just don’t want any in my home.”  Is there not obvious animus there?  Same-sex couples are not welcome in the Church as equal participants.  Homosexual relationships result in church discipline.  That’s what I’d call “animus.”  For a lot of Mormons, this puts up a dramatic flag of, “Are you saying you want the Supreme Court to FORCE us to change our beliefs?!  What about the separation of Church and State?!!!”  Uh, no, what I’m saying is that if the Supreme Court says that the state of Utah must allow same-sex marriage, this would be a “narrow and limited” effect.  Your Church will not be forced to do anything, but you might take the opportunity to think more introspectively about the gay animus of your church.

The Church writes that its belief in traditional marriage is a result of serving millions of followers over countless years, upholding faith and family with “seldom a mention of homosexuality.”  Paraphrasing, it says that faith traditions have upheld traditional marriage for centuries before homosexuality was even a recognized orientation, not to mention the move toward same-sex marriage.  Therefore, calling support of traditional marriage “private bias” is “patently false.”

On the contrary, you don’t have to talk about homosexuality everyday to be gay-friendly, but assuming that everyone around you should live up to heterosexual ideals — so much so that your faith makes no room for homosexuality except to dismiss it as “abominable” or as a “trial” is what got you into this mess to begin with, and does account for a great deal of where private bias comes from.  The Church should admit that in recent years, it has had to think more critically about this issue within itself, even as it puts up these national-scale arguments about why the country somehow can’t abide with gay marriage.  (Let’s ask Washington State, Maine and Maryland what they think.)

Of course, the question of child welfare arises.  Here again, the Church clings steadfastly to the idea that children do best when raised by their “biological parents,” and that supporting gay marriage makes marriage solely about the happiness of adults without a concern to children.  Actually, I’m pretty sure children do best when raised by good parents (preferably more than one parent because of the increased sociability factor). “Biological” does not have goodness inherently built into it. In the brief, there is finally an acknowledgement of same-sex parenting data on page 31:  “Admittedly, there is an active debate in the social sciences about whether these common sense judgments [i.e, assumptions about the wrongness of same-sex parenting] are empirically sound.”  The Church will refuse to believe that same-sex parents are good parents (meaning, equal to opposite-sex ones) until it can no longer maintain this position rationally.  In the end, the Church simply has trouble imagining kinship in any way other than its heteropatriarical model.

This is demonstrated by the fact that the Church frames its view as “intergenerational,” claiming that the gay marriage view is “interpersonal” and “individualistic” (a nice way of saying, “selfish”), and that these two views are in tension.  Well, of course they’re in tension if you frame it that way!  Has the Church ever considered the fact that homosexuality is intergenerational, too?  Yeah, gay sex might not make babies, but there are nonetheless same-sex-attracted people over the centuries.  Again, this comes down to wearing heteropatriarical blinders.

In 2010 Judge Walker ruled that excluding marriage from gays is “nothing more than an artifact of a foregone notion that men and women fulfill different roles in civic life.”  That argument, that gay marriage is actually linked to questions of equality between men and women, is something the Church won’t touch with a 10-foot-pole because it refuses to be introspective about its patriarchy.  Instead, it would rather hide behind this unsubstantiable notion that gay marriage supporters are selfish, “individualistic” and short-sighted — and then apologize for being “abstract” about the way “genderless marriage” in society would affect “core identity.”  Perhaps there is less overt animus and prejudice than there used to be, but this brief sure foregrounds a lot of ignorance.

Anyhow, we’ll see what the Supreme Court does with these arguments.

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

9th Circuit overturns Prop 8 — LDS response?

In 1980, the Church released a pamphlet against the Equal Rights Amendment. It included a fear that the amendment would encourage a “blurring” of gender roles as well as forcing “states…to legally recognize and protect [same-sex] marriages” because “if the law must be as undiscriminating concerning sex as it is toward race, [then]…laws outlawing wedlock between members of the same sex would be as invalid as laws forbidding miscegenation.” (“The Church and the Proposed Equal Rights Amendment: A Moral Issue,” 23-page insert in Ensign, March 1980.)

This “fear” came to pass with Judge Walker’s ruling on Proposition 8 in 2010, when Walker stated that “because of their relationship to one another,” gays and lesbians are discriminated against due to their biological sex. (Perry v. Schwarzenegger, 2010 US Dist [N CA], p. 120-21.)

In 1984, LDS apostle Dalin Oaks predicted that any arguments used about keeping children “safe” from the “culture of homosexuality would be used by the opposition to suggest that in opposing homosexual marriage the Church opposes parental rights.

In the 9th Circuit repeal today, it’s almost as if the judges are double-dog daring supporters of Prop 8 to make this a question of parental rights:

We in no way mean to suggest that Proposition 8 would have been unconstitutional if only it had gone further — for example, by also repealing same-sex couples’ equal parental rights or their rights to share community property or enjoy hospital visitation privileges. Only if Proposition 8 had any effect on childrearing or “responsible procreation” would it be necessary or appropriate for us to consider the legitimacy of Proponents’ primary rationale for the matter. (Perry v Brown, 2012, 9th Cir., p. 62)

Basically, the court has ruled that rescinding the right to marry for same-sex couples in California is merely to make sure heterosexual relationships are upheld as “superior.” If anything, the “responsible procreation” argument takes a backseat to this overall point.

In 1998, President Hinckley stated that the Church could not “stand idle if they [gays and lesbians] indulge in immoral activity, if they try to uphold and defend and live in a so-called same-sex marriage situation” because “to permit such would be to make light of the very serious and sacred foundation of God-sanctioned marriage and its very purpose, the rearing of families.”

Well, legally-speaking in most states, it’s kinda been demonstrated that a same-sex couple (with or without children) is “a family.”

As of this post, the Church hasn’t officially responded. What can the Church say except to express the ruling as “unfortunate?” I suspect what we’ll see is more of the same for several more years: official policy making sure Mormons don’t ever enter same-sex relationships so that these questions about superiority/inferiority, or the “blurring of gender roles,” won’t have to be internally addressed.

The Church’s “Political Neutrality”

As we enter a new election cycle, here’s a link to the Church’s statement about the Church itself being “neutral” to matters of “party politics,” even as it encourages its membership to be responsible civic citizens and voters.

The caveats are that the Church does:

  • Request candidates for office — “not to imply that their candidacy or platforms are endorsed by the Church.” (Can someone please explain this to me?)
  • Reserve the right as an institution to address, “in a nonpartisan way, issues that it believes have significant community or moral consequences or that directly affect the interests of the Church.”

In other words, the Church is not politically neutral at all, and the title of the article (“Political Neutrality”) is a misnomer. Instead the title might read something like, “Political Partisanship Neutrality.”

But even this seems unreasonable.

I remember when I first started out in politics, during my first election cycle where I could vote (2004), my Democratic precinct included in our platform support of same-sex marriage. In 2004, the national Democratic Party platform did not include same-sex marriage (John Kerry came out against it, but has recently flip-flopped), but it’s not hard to imagine a 2016 national Party platform including it (at the end of Obama’s second term). The Party was in 2004 averse to amending the US Constitution, though, and instead supported the rights of states to resolve the question.

Conversely, the Church supported (still supports?) amending the Constitution. (Just like all of those NOM-hooked GOP candidates.) So much for “Political Partisanship Neutrality.”

In 2008, during Prop 8, it was somewhat possible for the Church to label its actions to be neutral to party politics on a national level. But on levels more local than national, it was/is acting in a partisan way. For example, the Massachusetts Democratic Party platform includes

We affirm our commitment to the Massachusetts constitutional guarantee to same-sex marriage; and all of its rights, privileges and obligations; and reject any attempt to weaken or revoke those rights.

The Church has argued that certain issues stand “outside” the realm of partisanship, but this could be said of any issue, or host of issues. It’s a convenient “out” from acknowledging the fact that party politics isn’t just about putting individuals into places of influence, but is also about the issues themselves. A candidate is basically a host of issues with a skin casing. The Church should probably take a good hard look at its doctrine of “Political Neutralityas we enter a new election cycle — beyond simply telling its GAs (and their spouses) to not engage in fundraising or campaigning.

Marvin Perkins: We are one.

Marvin Perkins

Marvin Perkins is described by Mormon blog Times & Seasons as “a Latter-day Saint music producer who is currently the Public Affairs Co-chair for the Genesis Group and who has worked to nurture understanding between African-Americans and Latter-day Saints and attack misconceptions.” Here’s Marvin at T&S:

Even couched in kind tones, today we find many in the church who utilize labels of separation like your people, our people etc. We are one.

And here’s Marvin attacking misconceptions as a Yes on 8 campaigner:

“… They can’t reproduce, so they got to recruit. And they’re trying to recruit our kids. They’re trying to promote that lifestyle to our kids and I say NO. And then they bring it under a civil rights issue. It’s not a civil rights issue, it’s a moral issue.”

How does Marvin know they are out to recruit his kids?

Because his gay friends told him so:

This tension was especially pronounced when less-polished speakers — like, say, Marvin Perkins, a forty-ish African American introduced as a “community leader” — took the microphone at the rally. “They’re trying to compare this to the black struggle for civil rights and to interracial marriage,” Perkins told the crowd. “And it’s like, there were no civil unions for black and white couples, so, you know, you don’t have a leg to stand on.” If such reasoning caused some puzzlement — was he saying that civil unions would be sufficient for mixed-race couples? — Perkins had another argument for the crowd to consider. “I was talking to a gay friend of mine, and I said, ‘What’s the story? Come on. You have civil unions. Why are you pushing this?’ And they said, ‘Marvin, it’s simply recruiting. We love to recruit.'” It struck me as a testament to Marvin’s magnetism that he was able to elicit such candor from his close gay friends about the recruiting conspiracy.

Memo #1 to Marvin: Your gay friends hate you.

Watch the whole thing, but catch Marvin in action starting around the 3:15 mark:
Memo #2 to Marvin: Your biracial friends probably hate you, too.

Why is marriage equality not a civil rights issue?

Because separate but equal wasn’t available for interracial couples back in the day.

CNN’s Stan Wilson: Wasnt there a time when interracial marriage was illegal? How do you respond to that?

Marvin Perkins: There was. Interracial couples were told they could not marry or have any of the rights of marriage. Same sex couples in CA have the same rights with domestic partnerships. There were no domestic partnerships for interracial couples.

Facepalm.

The OP at that Times & Seasons link goes on to describe Marvin as “… one of the foremost scholars in the Church on the topic of race and the scriptures and has done a tremendous amount to help put an end to doctrinal folklore.”

Memo #3 to Marvin: This is me LMAO at your “scholarship” and your ridiculously homophobic self. We are one, Marvin, but what are you? Looks to me like you’re one big liar, just another Paul H. Dunn, telling whoppers for the Lord.

Prop 8 update: the question of child welfare

Thirteen states have signed on as “friends-of-the-court” to assert that defining marriage is a state issue rather than a federal issue. If gay marriage comes to pass federally, they promise to break away and become colonies. (kidding.) The irony is that in order to argue for a state’s right to determine the definition of marriage, they have to outwit Judge Walker’s logic that Prop 8 violates the 14th Amendment, Equal Protection clause of the US Constitution. Basically, the age-old arguments are being pushed to their limits within a federal framework (rather than a state framework) because this is ultimately going to the US Supreme Court. I’m not sure how much life these age-old arguments have left, but some new twists have turned up that I haven’t seen before.

Here’s an example:

  • Heterosexual couples who are infertile or do not have children reinforce and exist in accord with the traditional marriage norm. This is because by upholding marriage as a social norm, childless couples encourage others to follow that norm, including couples who might otherwise have illegitimate children, and it is in children’s best interest to be in a stable household.
  • Parenting by same-sex couples is not worthy of the same protections because same-sex couples can only become biological parents by deliberately choosing to do so; thus, without the same potential for unintended children, the state does not necessarily have the same need to provide such parents with the incentives of marriage.
  • If over time society concludes that the children of same-sex couples would do better if some incentive existed for such couples to remain together, then states can address that need.

So, the argument is that the state is interested in producing children, society is interested in children having stable homes (and a married coupledom is such an incentivized home), but same-sex parented homes are seemingly stable enough that marriage for them is unnecessary at this time. I don’t think this makes much sense, unless you deem same-sex parented homes as “lesser than” opposite-sex parented homes.

The way I see it, it’s a question of which comes first: The state’s desire to produce children, or society’s desire to care for children? Here in Washington State where same-sex adoption is legal, there is a campaign to get gay couples to adopt because these couples generally tend to have disposable incomes. This campaign exists because there is an abundance of uncared-for children. It is briefly suggested by the “friends-of the-court” that the welfare policies of the 1960s weakened the incentive to marry (since a single mother would be supported by the government), and there is a subtle suggestion that adoptions by same-sex couples are a band-aid to the problem of child welfare; the “ideal” is supporting marriage as is and limiting government welfare. The “friends-of-the-court” admit that gay couples are great at family planning, but are nonetheless averse to incentivizing their families. Why? Again, I think it’s because of a “lesser than” stance. They repeatedly state that Prop 8 wasn’t about “animus toward gay people,” but obviously what is at work here is an animus toward homosexuality. Because they can’t say “love the sinner, hate the sin” (due to the separation of church and state), they instead take a scenic route through heteroville.

Some of the language of the document sounds like it could have come directly from Mormon leaders. Consider this:

In brief, the State may rationally reserve marriage to one man and one woman because this relationship alone provides for both intimacy and complementarity, while also enabling the married persons in the ideal to beget children who have a natural and legal relationship to each parent, who serve as role models of both sexes for their children.

How can they not realize that this language is homophobic? Are same-sex relationships devoid of intimacy and complementarity? What does it mean to be a “role model” of both sexes? Because I have a penis, I am A, B and C? Personally, most of my role models are women. Does that make me “gender dysphoric?” Good grief.

The next set of arguments has to do with the idea that if marriage isn’t about procreation, then it can’t be about anything, because “commitment” as a definition leads to incest, polygamy, etc, so the government might as well get out of the marriage business altogether. Walker had stated that marriage is about “1) facilitating governance and public order by organizing individuals into cohesive family units; 2) developing a realm of liberty, intimacy, and free decision-making by spouses; 3) creating stable households; 4) legitimating children; 5) assigning individuals to care for one another; and 6) facilitating property ownership” and that a gender distinction is not important. The opponents of Walker argue that if there’s no gender distinction, then the government “must necessarily be served even more by expanding marriage to any group.” Same-sex marriage is deemed the limit here, they say, only because of a “desire for social recognition and validation of same-sex sexual love and relationships,” a desire for validation that could apply to any other group. Being “gay” is not a suspect class and they have judicial precedent to prove it.

Unfortunately, I can see why gay rights groups were frustrated about taking this through the legal system right now, because I can see how the odds are stacked up against gay marriage in the form of endless rhetoric.