Further Up and Further In

on 29 November 2009

In C.S. Lewis’ last Chronicle of Narnia he weaves a story about the end of the world and the world to come. This chronicle opens with two characters, an Ape named Shift who is wise, cunning, manipulative and lazy & his friend Puzzle, a Donkey who is not that bright, malleable, easily depressed, and gullible. Shift and Puzzle find the skin of a lion and Shift hatches a plan so that he won’t have to work for bananas ever again. He dresses Puzzle up as a lion and convinces Puzzle that his job, nay his duty is to appear as Aslan to the people.

The story is far more involved than this of course, but what is important is that Puzzle listened to Shift instead of what he knew to be true. Puzzle knew he was a Donkey and not a lion and yet he still continued on in the disguise because he was told that it would make things better. Towards the end of the book, the following is written:

"I see now," said Puzzle, "that I really have been a very bad donkey. I ought never to have listened to Shift. I never thought things like this would begin to happen."
I mention this chronicle because it reminds me of what I read today and the truth that it bore to me. I came across Paul’s writings on circumcision. In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul uses circumcision to teach them a lesson and to expound upon church policy. He states:
“18 Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised.
19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.”
Paul states that the important thing isn’t whether you are circumcised or not, but whether, in being called to be circumcised you changed your circumcision status or not. Verse 20 “Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.” Paul is expounding truth that I feel Lewis alluded to successfully. We each have been called to divine paths, paths that for us may be different from someone with the same trials. It is our duty, not to follow what others tell us, what Shift whispers and coerces us to do, but instead to instead listen to our own hearts and souls and more importantly what the Spirit of God calls us to do.

It is our responsibility to discover that call and be worthy to hear it. For some of us that may be a call towards celibacy, for others to find a partner, for others still, to find a wife. I do not believe that it is our place to delegate what others should do, to tell others what they are called to be. We must merely accept our own calling, much as we would from a Bishop, and magnify it rather than shrink from it.

The scriptures are filled with many whom have been called to specific tasks, some obeyed and were blessed like the Sons of Mosiah, others ignored the call and after a lesson repented like Jonah.

I feel that we need a lot fewer groups telling us how we have been called and instead need groups that uplift us in the calling of the Lord whatever it may be. The time is fast approaching when hate will be abhorred & love and support truly embraced. We can, each day help that day of love by answering our call to build each other up in our endeavors instead of focusing on why our own personal answer is right for all. We must answer the call and go further up and further in.

Suicide

on 19 November 2009

A year ago I tried to take my own life because of the tempest raging within my soul. I was feeling like whichever path I chose nearly half of who I was would die. I got myself so wrapped up that I figured; "Well if half of me has to die and still not have an answer, why not sacrifice my entire self and KNOW the truth that lies on the other side of the veil."
I was so frustrated with this thought that I decided to dull the pain with some Lortab I had from my Wisdom Teeth Removal. Luckily I had a good roommate and a caring friend on the phone who got me to a hospital and into a psych evaluation.
If you are reading this and you feel on the verge of suicide I want to let you know that it does get better... so much better, just keep pushing on one day at a time and when you need support or you feel like you might end it, please call a friend, call a family member, or call the Trevor Project. They love you and can help you realize that living is worth it.

The Trevor Project is the leading national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. If you or a friend are feeling lost or alone, call The Trevor Helpline (866.4.U.TREVOR), 24 hours a day, seven days a week

Germany?

Wordle: Untitled
So here is me, perpetuating the meme. Ironically enough my most used word is Germany... Who'd a thunk?

Square Pegs, Procrustes & Perfection

on 18 November 2009

One of the few things I remember from Apollo 13 that has stuck with me all these years is the following scene.
.
It always stuck with me because I remember thinking “How preposterous to fit a square peg into a round hole, the parts just don’t fit.”

I don’t remember much else from that movie, but needless to say, it has stuck with me and recently I thought about that more and realized… I am the square peg. Some people try to convince me that I am round, some people have tried to force me to be round, and some think I should find a square hole. Each of these views comes from a person who has found something that works for them, but I recognize that I am unique and there may not be “one” answer for every square peg.

Ok I am rambling, but indulge me a bit further on another tangent, I swear I will pull it together at the end … I always do.

While reading C.S. Lewis the other day I recalled the myth of Procrustes. He was the smith who would put travelers in his bed and make them fit it. If they were too small he would hammer them out to fit. If they were too big, then he might chop them down a size. In a way, he was making square pegs round.
I have thought about our sexuality and what happens to it after we die a lot lately because nothing seemed to fit for me (imagine that!) When I looked at all these pieces though it came together for me and I want to share that with you here. You see, some people say that our sexuality is a mortal imperfection that will be made perfect in the life to come, in opposition to that, many have said “To Hell with that, I will keep who I am, thank-you very much.”

We are told that in the next life we will be made perfect, if perfection is an eternal absolute, then wouldn’t we all become the same? Wouldn’t we become someone completely different from who we are? Doesn’t the Christian concept of a “Body of Christ” make more sense in that light? Is Christ, our eternal judge, truly holding us to the standard of a Procrustean bed and using this life to refine us into this model of perfection? Even if it means completely changing us from who we are and what makes us, as his brothers and sisters whom He knows by name, who we are? Or is He the one who fits us to the right place where we were built to be a organs in the gospel of Christ?

I have always had trouble with this notion, but have now found my personal answer. I firmly believe that we may have our own personal answers and so I will wait to disclose mine until I hear from you about yours.
Are you are going to be hammered into a round hole, become round or find the square hole meant for you? Let me know.

Time Out for Extremism

on 14 November 2009

This week we saw the 20th Anniversary of a united Germany due to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Previously I discussed how that was a symbolic need for spirituality and sexuality to tear down the wall that separates them and to unite together in our similarities rather than live divided. This week we also saw the church throw its support behind the SLC Anti-discrimination ordinance. In the past few days I have heard several arguments about how this would have passed otherwise, that this reflects no change in Church Policy, that it is a PR stunt. Frankly I don’t care why so long as this milestone is the trailhead to a broader path of acceptance.

However I look at the messages about this and I see two distinct groups offering messages that I honestly am repulsed by. I have kept my peace about it for a few days and even wrote this 2 days ago before revisiting and tempering myself. As I examined the messages and the motives behind them it struck me why the views were abhorrent to me. They have been blinded and no longer care about the issue at hand, the issue that they had been previously fighting for, but instead, now they are fighting against the other side even to the detriment of their original cause. They are using hateful rhetoric to embolden their side and are galvanizing their opposition.

On one side you have a group who started out tying to maintain a traditional view of marriage who now appear so disgusted with homosexuals that they are becoming much like the Westboro Baptist Church who are just shy of wanting to round up the Gays and have them shot.
On the other hand you have a group who started out fighting for equal rights including marriage who now appear so embittered at the church that they are sounding like a Missouri Mob and are calling for the end of the Mormon Church as it presently stands.

These mindsets enrage me because they are spewing propaganda, hate, and malice into the public arena much like a few children throwing a temper tantrum. Except this tantrum doesn’t just get on my nerves, it is actively endangering my ability to gain rights and happiness. This tantrum needs have a time out because this form of extremism will never lead to either side getting anything done except by bloodshed and I feel the need to bring some common sense and reality to both sides.

It wasn’t extremists that United Germany, it wasn’t out of hate that the Civil Rights movement succeeded, it wasn’t out of anger or disgust that the Lamanites were defeated by Captain Moroni, and it wasn’t extremism that founded a pluralistic nation designed for Life, Liberty, the Pursuit of Happiness with freedoms of Religion and Speech. It was compromise that forged America, the defense of Liberty that repelled the Lamanites, passionate non-violence that saw the Dream fulfilled and moderation that tore down the wall.

I call for rational minds to recognize the Church’s involvement in the SLC ordinance for what it is. It is a change of course and pace for the Church. It is a step closer towards Equality for LGBT people. Finally it is one brick less in the wall that divides us, that divides spirituality and sexuality. Let us band together to take another step, remove another brick, form another compromise and put the extremists in a well deserved “Time Out!”

Balance and Freedom Without Walls

on 08 November 2009

As I walk around DC I am bombarded with ads telling me to “Act Now” and “Stop Wasteful Government Spending.” In each metro car there are about 20 ads, on each bus about 12, and in each metro station at least 30 if not more. For the most part I simply ignore them, or correct their grammatical errors. But since I got here one has consistently stood out to me. Sadly I don’t have a picture of it, but it is the ad for “Freedom Without Walls.” This ad isn’t pushing an agenda, or selling me coffee, it is a day of celebratory remembrance.

The ad has struck me because almost my entire life has been spent with a unified Germany. Most people wouldn’t think about Germany when they are raised in the United States as much as I do, but I grew up learning the difference between Right and Links, not Right and Left and that an airplane was called das Flugzeug. My mother served her mission in Germany and still peaks a little German to us. So needless to say this ad stuck with me, but not until now did I have a reason to talk about it.

The fall of the Berlin wall was a very real and symbolic representation of tearing down the barriers that separate us. The fall of the wall was felt in economics and politics; it changed the very culture of Germany and the spreading of information. For decades the people of Germany were divided and on November 9th 1989 they were finally reunited. Why am I talking about Germany? What does this have to do with finding your path you ask?

Well this week I read about a group of pastors who are coming to Washington to preach about the evils of homosexuality right outside the Justice Department in a protest of the Hate Crime Law that was just passed. Their goal is to incite an arrest by preaching what they believe as truth and some perceive as Hate Crimes and failing an arrest, illuminate the failings of the Justice Department to enforce the law. In counter-protest a group is will be spreading a message of Love and countering their arguments. Again, what does this have to do with finding your path?

Well, I see a lot of parallels between these two events. I look at the Protest/Counter-Protest and I weep. It saddens me because it represents a fractured society, a separated culture and a divided nation. While it is sad that this is happening on a national level, what is worse is the tempest that so many members of the Gay Mormon (or any religious) community feel within themselves. When I was first researching Gay Mormons and trying to figure out my spirituality and sexuality, it seemed like I had two choices, both involved nearly destroying a part of who I was.

This choice that confronts us is devastating. It is an inner tempest that rages and beats us down until we either choose one (and feel a void) or we choose to give up the struggle. I felt that way nearly a year ago and I wrote down in my journal that I had to prepare myself to sacrifice my entire being for the Lord and then the next day inquired as to if I had breached the limit of the atonement and was beyond saving. Far too many people choose to give up because they see it as a choice between which half of you do you save. That is the lesson being taught by the Protest/Counter-Protest, that you have to choose.

I challenge that assumption. I challenge the belief that we have to choose which side of the wall to live on. I challenge the basis that there cannot be balance between your spirituality and your sexuality. I believe that if we tear down that assumption within ourselves and search for balance that we will find it. I believe that if we, amidst the tempest of our heart, cry out unto the Lord, that He will still our troubled hearts as he commands, “Peace, be still.”


Tomorrow marks the 20th anniversary of a unified nation. When will the 1st anniversary of a unified you be? When will we all stop trying to prove that we are right and instead start helping others realize the right path for them? When will you begin to help another unify their soul?

Supporting the Future of Equality

on 04 November 2009

Hello Blogger Friends,

If you notice there is a new widget on my blog.

It is a chance for you to support a film that can and will make a huge dent in the lies spread by NOM and help educate those who need to know about the truth of the marriage equality fight. Please take a moment to donate using the the Chipin widget. If you can't donate, please add this widget to your blog by clicking here and following simple instructions, and share this address with your readers so they can do the same. http://bit.ly/1L9C1s
Please doante to the cause so that this movie can drip gold from the silver screen. The film is great already, but with your help, we can promote the hell out of it, blast it from every mountain top in the world, and make it look world-class with digital mastering, sound mixing, animation and color work that is top notch.

Check back here for more updates as I find more ways to send this viral.

Isaac & Ishmael / Oaks & Choi

on 23 October 2009

So I know this post will be slightly dated but I figured I should hold my tongue before I spoke about Elder Oaks' talk on religious freedom. I was originally going to address how the difference between religious belief and practice are akin to John Stuart Mills' Harm Principle and Isaac Asimov's Laws of Robotics and if there is desire for me to connect the three I will in a later post. I decided last night that I would change tactics though and I hope you will agree with the shift in balance here.

Elder Oaks states

The greatest infringements of religious freedom occur when the exercise of religion collides with other powerful forces in society. Among the most threatening collisions in the United States today are... perceived conflicts between religious freedom and the popular appeal of newly alleged civil rights.
Now Alan has already discussed how Elder Oaks should know that these rights are not 'alleged' and I recommend that you give that post a read. I want to discuss what I believe this quote reveals about Elder Oaks' mindset.

We know that Elder Oaks wrote this with the intent of being read worldwide, and thus he does a very good job at explaining the political need to defend the freedom of religion that he (and most Mormons, myself included) believes was divinely inspired by God. Religious freedom that is of utmost importance and it is needed "for the rights and protection of all flesh."I think that Elder Oaks' has some great points in this talk but that there is something lacking. What is lacking is a nationwide(and arguably worldwide) view of our society and the variant sides of this issue.

From what is argued, it appears that Oaks, while stating the primacy of religious freedoms is noting that they and civil rights are going to be head to head & unresolved for a long time and that the church needs to be on the defensive when it shouldn't have to be. Last night I was reading an interview with Dan Choi and noticed a particularly potent phrase and so I decided to compare the two.

Oaks is asserting the need for religious freedoms above all others and Dan Choi recognizes the need for the religious and spiritual aspect of GLBT people's lives. When asked if it was difficult to be a born-again Christian and gay he responded:
There have been a lot of people were a little bit taken aback; not only, ''How is this possible?'' but almost like, ''How dare you?'' A lot of people are so injured, so hurt by the religious establishment that they just go to atheism. They find their ethics and their values in different ways, because they see the damage that some people cause [using religion] as a weapon to strip away the rights of those people. Forgive me if I use it in a military context, but just because the weapon is used against you doesn't mean the weapon is not viable for you to use — it's something that's important, it's something that we can be empowered by.

When you look at some of the things that have been used against us, it doesn't diminish the fact that we are a very spiritual people. I think the gay and lesbian community is deeply spiritual. It has a lot to do with us being oppressed, being different, and also having this innate ability, I think, to understand other people a little bit more. It's really damaging, then, that people are essentially robbed of not just spirituality but religion. For some people that title in itself is very spiritually healing and uplifting -- it is a part of the religious tradition to say you're a born-again Christian. I don't think we should be denied that, and I don't think we should deny ourselves that.

The difference of opinion is striking and I will let you draw your own conclusion about it, but I want you to watch this clip from "The West Wing" that was played just after September 11th 2001 in an effort to use the show to discuss what was really going on. If you replace everything Islamic with Homosexual I think that this is what needs to be preached and that Elder Oaks is (ever so) slowly approaching.


As Josh Lyman said, we live in a plural society and as such we need to learn to live together without fighting and without repression. So what will you do to help live together with either the Gay rights or Church community?

Equality March Fallout and a Contest

on 13 October 2009

So Sunday was the National Equality March and the Rally afterwords. Cleve Jones and Others wanted those of us there to continue the fight for "Equality Across America." I have a few ideas brewing in my head about this and want to find an image or a logo that can serve as the union of the Church and Equal Rights before I really take off. So I know several of my readers are much better skilled at art than I am. I also know that there are those of you who think your art is not so great or non-existent, you can help to.
Essentially I have created a couple of logos this afternoon that represent equality within the LDS Church. They are roughly the same except one is more of a shield while the other is more of a heart(they are rough drafts okay).
So I wanted to challenge the readers of my blog to get other images that illustrate the same thing. Those of you with art talent, create something that represents Equality within the Church. For those of you who feel like you have little art talent, you can spread this blog and this "contest" on your blog, on your facebook, on your twitter. What ever you have, you can take part in creating a logo that we, as Gay Mormons and their Allies, can rally around.
The best image may even get a prize. I am not saying that in a lame way, I would have to scrounge around for some funds for a legitimately good prize. Best of luck and I hope to see something soon!

National Coming Out Day 2009-2010

on 11 October 2009

Today is National Coming Out day and I spent it at the National Equality March. I got there thinking I would join with Affirmation and march with the rest of the gay mormons. I came up out of the metro and walked towards the crowds and thought to see a group of guys dressed in shirts and ties. When I got there all I saw was a massive crowd of gays ready to march. I got there late and couldn’t see the Mormons so I decided to talk with the religious fanatics waving signs with dead fetus’ Then the march was about to start so I jumped in behind the first group I was. As it turns out they were the head of the march and they were the Queer Youth marching for Social Justice. I helped lead the march of about 150,000-250,000 people for 2 miles. I helped lead this group in chants calling for equality. The March was amazing, but what was better was the training I learned this past weekend about Faith and Sexuality and about the Trevor Project that I shared yesterday.

This weekend gave me a good idea.

The biggest struggle for people coming out is that they feel alone, or that they feel like they are going to be abandoned. So I had an idea to establish a petition of support for fellow members of the Church to sign in support of their friends and family members. A petition that would go around BYU and be put up online for students to see and for students to sign. This would be an avadavat of support for those wanting to come out. This would be the precursor for members of the Church to come out en masse, for BYU students to come out en masse, and to feel supported by their fellow classmates.

It has been said that the power of the Youth is what will change the tide within this Nation. I witnessed that this was true today during the march. By the time I reached the rally, there were about 11 blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue filled with youth. I am working on creating said petition, perhaps in line with LDS Apology that would have an entire year with the goal to get IDK, 1138 signatures (for the 1138 unrecognized civil rights) or perhaps more like 10,000 signatures for LDS (preferably Church School System) Students who would support a friend or family member if they came out. I am writing this to bounce the idea out there and get some feed back.

The ultimate culmination of this would be a separate pledge and petition of members who would be willing to come out next October 11th. A group that would put to test the signatures and pledges of their friends, their family members and bring to light once again the issue of religious intolerance. What are your thoughts on this?

The Project

on 10 October 2009

I want you to do something for me. See that button over there? --> The One that says "Get a Color!" Click on it for me.... Did you do it or are you reading this on a feed reader? This is an interactive post, but well worth it... trust me! So clicking that button should have given you a color. Remember your Color!

Now you see this star here? Take out a sheet of paper... or if you have to use a mental picture, but paper is better. Draw a picture of a star and write your name in the center. Now in each point you are going to write something different.
1st point: Name of a Best Friend
2nd point: Name of a Trusted Family Member
3rd point: Name of a community you are part of
4th point: Your Dream Job
5th point: Your Hopes and Dreams.
It should look something like this:

Now that you have built out your star and know your color follow along with the scenario. For the purpose of this project, you are all GBLT about to come out.

As you start to feel ready to tell someone about your peculiarity, you decide to confide in your best friend. If you are a Blue, your friend responds great, they accept you and treat you exactly the same. If you are Orange or Purple, your friend takes some time to come around, but eventually things will work out, fold that point of your star back. If you are Red, your friend rejects you. They tell you that you are an abomination, that they can't be your friend if you insist on being a pervert. Tear off that point of your star.

After the first foray of coming out you decide to tell a family member. If you are Blue, your family member embraces you as their blood relative and as a part of the family. If you are Purple your family takes their time in accepting you but eventually come around, fold the point back to signify this. If you are Red or Orange your family rejects you. They might disown you, or kick you out of the house, to them you are lost. Tear off that point of your star.

Next you decide to tell those in your community organization. If you are a Blue, they are accepting and inclusive. If you are a Purple or Orange they take time to realize that you are the same person that you were before. Fold back this point of your star. If you are a Red, tear off the point of your star because this community is harmful towards you. They see you as a threat that must be removed and so they exclude you from everything.

As things progress people at work begin to suspect. If you are a Blue of Purple you find allies around the water cooler and you do well. If you are an Orange your co-workers feel alienated until they see that your work is well done and start to socialize with you more, fold back this point of your star. If you are a Red, you arrive at work one day to see your desk has a box with all your stuff in it and you are pulled into your boss' office and fired for "poor performance," This black-lists you from your dream job... tear off this point of your star.

If you are a Blue you have an immense amount of support from those around you leaving you free to pursue your hopes and dreams.
If you are Purple your work has supported you where your friends, family and community have taken longer to understand and see the real you. Your dreams are within reach!
If you are an Orange, you have struggled without a friend, or community and in a hostile work environment for a while but that has changed through perseverance, unfortunately your family never came around, but because of the eventual support around you your dreams are open to you still.
If you are a Red, you represent 35% of all Queer Youth and 50% of Trans Youth who have become abandoned by all those they hold dear. You feel alone and realize that your hopes and dreams are beyond reach, that you have little will to live. One day you decide to end your life because you feel completely alone and isolated. Rip up the rest of your star.

Unfortunately too many end up with a red star. They are left all alone by those who they need the most support from. They end up taking their life because they felt alone. Each day we have the power to either be a strong point of support, or a sheared part of someones life. Whether they are struggling with GBLT issues, simple depression, conversion to a new church, trauma, social injustice or any form of prejudice, we have the power each day to offer support to those in need. Can we really, in good conscience, turn away those who are different from us? So next time a friend comes out to you, tells you they are having issues at home, or simply needs someone to talk to, be there to listen, to offer support, and to prevent the lose of life.

iQreport heads Up

on 09 October 2009

Hey Blogger friends, So this Weekend is the National Equality March here in DC and I am helping to liveblog some events on faith and the GBLT Community. I will be using the "iQreport" label so just giving you a heads up so you aren't thinking that this blog has been taken over.

Finding Faith in Christ and in the Members

on 06 October 2009

Membership – What does this word mean to you? What do you think of when you hear it? Church membership? Membership in the Democratic Party? Membership in the NRA? Recently I have heard the terminology used and described as being a “card carrying” member. Does a recommend, a credit card, a checkbook, a Masonic ring really make you a member? It seems that more and more if you are a member of this group or that, then you are defined solely by that membership. The concept is that you are a homogeneous member of the basic guidelines of the group, that you are one solid core or thought.

Even if this isn’t the actual case, the manner in which we act would lead us to believe that this is so. How often in church do we see other members as “fitting the mold.” When you meet a Mormon from Utah County do you not think of 1 key type, a member of a particular set of homogeneous guidelines?

I ruminate upon this because a while back I discovered that the word “member” as used in the ancient Greek by Paul, means an “organ;” An essential part of the whole. Today we see membership as belonging to a “unit” like membership as a storm trooper or of a member of the Borg. (picture) We see membership and each member as one replaceable cog in the collective machine.

I feel that this is how membership in the Church on a Ward, Stake and worldwide level, how most people see “membership” in the church. How uninspiring is it to be a replaceable cog in the machine of the Church when Paul produced such beautiful imagery to describe how we are all organs int eh body of Christ, and in the body of the Church. We each have our own vital role that is no less important than any other organ’s job. We might be a tiny Nephron, filtering out waste, or a Nueron transmitting essential commands of higher thought. Regardless of our role in the body of His Church, we are vastly important to Christ.

How sad is it that in our modern world of machinery we grow up learning that to question is wrong; that those whose opinions within the Church were wavering or off from our own were succinctly bad or evil. This happens all around us, if you doubt it just bring a sunstone magazine to Sunday School or speak up in priesthood with a viewpoint that is different from the status quo.

If we looked and saw someone doing something different from us we assume that our model, our way is right, that it is the best way to do it. If a Nueron saw a Nephron filtering waste, wouldn’t it wonder and think (after living only with other Nuerons) that that Nephron was a foreign entity, that it was wrong, or evil and that it was not doing things correctly. And yet, when looked at from a distance, with an all-encompassing view, are they not both equally important and necessary for the maintaining of the body? If we are all members in the organization of the Church then should there not be the diversity of thought and opinion and of people as seen by Paul?
As a Gay Mormon I now know and feel that there is a place for me in Christ’s love and I while I know that there is a position for me in membership of his Church organization I hope that others begin to notice it and realize that even though I might be a nose hair follicle, a stem cell, or a pituitary gland it doesn’t matter. Each individual cell has a place; each organ is essential and each member essential to the Body of the Church. I know that the Lord sees me, as he made me, as an integral part of the overall body of the Gospel.

Regardless of what others say, I believe that MoHo’s have a place int eh organization of the church. Whether our place is to cleans the system of the waste of prejudice and inequality, to help the church grow out of stagnancy, or to serve as a line of defense against the outside world we have a place. I do not know what or where it is, but I have faith in the Lord, the Master that he is. He has placed us precisely in the position where I need to be and at the end of the day he will tell us “well done my good and faithful servant”

This is the Story of a Boy

on 04 October 2009

Running down Calvert St., the plip-plop of his too big shoes pounded like a heartbeat in the ears of the young man in the shirt and tie. As the beating of his heart matched his feet, the music coming from the iPod began to rhythmically entwine into harmony and the runner chuckled to himself in introspective amusement.

Only a year ago he had been wallowing in the misery of depression having just come out to himself, a friend and his father. He craved answers to unknown questions, solutions to unfinished puzzles and the peace of a calmed sea. Now he was literally running to catch a train that would hurtle him towards the same meeting, which only a year ago, agonized his mind and his soul into a frenzy that nearly cost him his life.

As he boarded the train and the endorphins of his running began to elevate his mind he recollected a similar meeting that took place 6 months prior, a meeting that he attended pleading for mere recognition of the pain and anguish that he was feeling, relief that would come from on high upon knowing that his suffering was not in vain. This meeting left him with resentment for the complete ignorance of his agony and slight resentment for the organization that held these semi-annual meetings. All he had desired was light and knowledge and a mere recognition that what he was dealing with was significant enough to warrant public discussion. His mind was jolted out of this trance by the train pulling into his station.

Whilst walking the last ¼ of a mile to the meetinghouse the young man recognized a profound change within him. He was at relative peace, his questions had been acknowledged as worthy, his puzzles and been started to be solved and the tumultuous storms of the seas had become easier to bear, even if the sea was not as smooth as glass. He realized that he didn’t have to attend this meeting, that no one was watching him, no one was holding him to his attendance and that it would hardly be recognized amongst a crowd of other young men. He realized that he wasn’t going to this meeting for answers, nor for recognition, not because it held some mystic advice. He was entering the hall of this building seeking nothing but thoughts on how to improve his life. How to love more consistently. How to better hear and follow the counsel of the Lord and his spirit. How to turn his heart not only towards, but over to Christ.

As he took his seat and prepared to hear the words from this meeting, he understood that his burden, his miseries had strengthened him. They had given him the power and the hope to start anew, to start a life path with its own unique bumps and jolts. He had added strength and a constant companion that was lacking on his previous journey. He was beginning anew from an entirely different and dare he say evolved point of view. He recognized a profound truth.

His Path was right, his course was true, he was on the road that led to home at last.



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The "Aha" Moment

on 02 October 2009



So I was vegging out today and I ran across this clip during a show I was watching. I captured it here, but it is from Bones. The episode is about an Amish musical prodigy. Now the Amish and music are pretty much like the Mormons and Homosexuality. During the episode (which I recommend BTW) the issue of music as a tool of the devil is mentioned. In fact in that same scene, the musician is reported to have said he felt "possessed." They mention choosing a gift such as his music over his religion and discuss I could palatably feel the struggle this kid on rumspringa was going through. What strikes me as different is the fact that for the Amish and music there is a realization that something that good Has to come from God. that God's hands are in all thing good. The Amish friend recognized the good fruits and had a moment of "Aha."
Sadly, too few Mormons, be they parents, friends, leaders, etc. have that "aha" moment. The point at which they realize that Hafen is wrong. Homosexuality can't be broken down into attractions and behaviors. The "Aha" moment comes when you realize that the attraction vs. behavior model is all about sex and that for a gay mormon, his (or her) sexuality is about SO much more than sex. It is about holding and caring for one another, about finding someone to grow old together with, and finding a spouse to have a family with. Oh that I were an angel and could shout from the rooftops of the world that homosexuality is not all about sex, any more than heterosexuality is.
For your final enjoyment, take a look at the prodigy's parents' reaction. Notice their hesitence at first and their acceptance after they hear the music and have their "aha" moment.

BEAT IT!!!!!

on 25 September 2009

As I am Mormon, I am completely susceptible to guilt trips. I will admit it. Abelard challenged us to make September blog all about Masturbation. Now I admit this (the blogging about it part) has been on my mind.

Masturbation has often recieved a bad wrap. It will make you blind, it will make you grow hair on your hands, it will turn you gay... and then later OSA (Opposite Species Attracted). Growing up I was never really introduced to Masturbation until I moved outside of Utah. My scout troop never mentioned it in Utah, my friends in school never talked about it, in fact the first person who told me such a thing even existed was my brother who was trying to give me "the talk" due to a "less-than-present" father.

I was a Freshman in HS when I heard it mentioned next and that was also the first time I was called gay. I was in English class and someone on my football team (the Douchebag QB) asked me how often I "beat it". I had to ask him what he meant and when he told me, I told him I didn't. His response was to tell me I was gay. (Oddly enough I have never told that story before) I remember thinking to myself, what was "gay" and why did being a good person make me gay.

Since then I have learned a lot. I have entered a new range of understanding of doctrine and scripture and I think that all too often we are caught living in the Law of Moses (or Packer) when we have the Mount of Beatitudes. The first of the 10 and of the greatest commandments is all about focusing on the Lord. All of our ordinances point to that.

In Judaism (I am staying with some Jewish friends so this is applicable) there are many things that are meant to continually focus your eye towards God and towards living righteously. The doorways of their houses contain a mark of remembrance. Keeping Kosher (which includes not mixing meat and dairy, nor the plateware and flatware used to eat it) serves as a constant reminder of God. This has given me a greater appreciation for Garments which (having not gone through the temple) have always seemed a bit odd.

I believe that the reason why masturbation is talked about with such ill and seen as so horrendous is because it can very easily become idolatrous. In fact when I stop and think about where my focus is when I am whacking off, it is nowhere near having an eye single to the glory of God.

For almost a year and a half I went from being kicked out of BYU for my sins to cold turkey with no stimulation. After that time I looked back and saw what I had gained from that experience and realized that I was more frustrated with myself and even more desiring of a random hook-up than I had ever been. I think that having the occasional "jam session" is completely normal and fine. However, when it starts to become idolatrous, then you have a problem.

Really! Seth and Amy? Really!?!

on 23 September 2009

Two Weeks ago, Alan had a great post about Marriage sanitizing the “Sin” of homosexuality If you haven’t read it, stop and read it now.

Are you back yet? Good.

Today, while deciding which apartment to choose for the next couple of months, I decided to sit on a park bench and pray about it like I had been doing the past few days. After the prayer I put in my headphones and decided to listen some music. Well as I listened to these songs a combination of my prayers for answers, the second song, and a line from the movie “Contact” convalesced into the missing piece about Alan’s post that I had been struggling to vocalize. I had found the proof to back up the internally known concept of sanitization that applies not only to monogamy and polygamy as Alan pointed out, but in other abominable relationships as well.

My mind, upon hearing the song “Lost in the Wilderness” started thinking about Cain, that led me to a quote from Contact about how as a little girl in Sunday School she asked too many questions like “Who was Cain’s Wife.” Well IDK if Cain even had a wife but I followed that with. Who was Seth’s wife? He had to have a wife because we exist. Eve, the Mother of all life, was the first woman and so A follows B that Seth married his sister (I like to call her Amy) and that is how we came to pass.

While researching this, I discovered that Abraham also married a close relative. Sarah, his wife, was also his half-sister. Now both of these are odd because we are told today that that is a sin, that that is abomination. And yet, was Seth not the father of many people? Abraham was not cursed for being an abomination; he was blessed with a great posterity. Didn’t the grandchildren of Noah have to intermarry amongst their cousins if not their sisters? And yet they were blessed and honored with the priesthood?

If these were such abominable acts in the eyes of the Eternal Law, then how were these men Prophets? I can only perceive of two answers:
1. The Law of the Eternal Eternities that governs our Heavenly Father allows for various forms of relationships within the covenant of marriage.
2. The Law of the Eternal Eternities that governs our Heavenly Father allows for understanding and exceptions to the Law under trying circumstances.
If you can see other possibilities for this please point them out.

If it is answer 1, then could it not be possible that the same legal rite of marriage that allows a man to marry his sister, half sister, cousin or multiple women could be extended to homosexuality? Could it not be that the LORD in HIS omnipotent wisdom focuses on the family, and the strength that it has in bringing forth a righteous generation and so the key part is righteous relationships, not gender?

If it is answer 2, then isn’t homosexuality a powerful exception? Isn’t a set of circumstances beyond our control, that leaves us open to the constant pull of Satan - as he tries to get us into each other’s pants - with no sanitizing marriage in sight, being guided to live our lives without the quintessential Mormon keystone of family an appropriate exception? I believe so. How about you?

Regardless of which decision, I believe that either 1. There is more to be seen or 2. I have to ask. “Really! Seth and Amy? Really!?!”

The Melody Within Our Souls

on 19 September 2009

A few months back I heard a principle that made so much sense to me. An idea that didn’t strike me as strange, but as something that I should have seen all my life.

As Mormons we are taught that the soul is comprised of the combination of body and spirit. Two separate entities in one. We are also taught that we are able to feel the spirit of God in our lives and that it (and the Holy Ghost) speak not to our physical selves, but to our spirits. Our spirits recognize the spirit of God.

Someone was discussing with me the value of choice in our lives, and that because our spirits made the conscious decision to retain our agency; we are very protective of that choice here on earth. So much so that if you discuss a situation to a person in which their agency is being taken away from them, they almost instantly start recoiling (granted anecdotal evidence). The concept struck me as interesting so I changed subjects and chased the white rabbit. I asked this person (who ashamedly I have forgotten) if they thought that this happened not only for the matter of agency, but of all things good and evil.

Their response stood out in my mind not because it was unheard of, but because I hadn’t looked at it quite like this before. They told me (I am paraphrasing) “Absolutey! Think of all the natural beauty and the awe it inspires not from your eyes, but from your heart, think of the joys of music and how it touches your spirit and can lead to an emotional feeling and longing of ‘Home’ not your earthly one, but your home above. Think of love and how it is not the physical attraction as much as the supernatural spiritual connection that makes relationships last across time (and eternity). Our spirits resonate to truth. When they come into contact with absolute truth, our spirits bear witness of it to us. That is why those who are in tune to the still small voice (those with a deep personal consistent relationship with our Savior) are able to recognize right and wrong so effectively.”

This caught me off guard, largely because the truth of it was literally resonating within me. Both of my major experiences with the spirit, my burning personal revelations about truth have both felt like they are coming from HOME, from the home of my homesick spirit. Like a call from your mother when you feel alone, the spirit of God had touched my spirit and in the process illuminated my soul.

It has taken me a while to write this down because I had to process it a little bit and apply it to my spiritual understanding before I shared it. I was planning to wait another few months to share, but a couple of things happened today that struck a resonating chord (cliché and lame I know, but think of why the cliché is there and smile) with me.

The first came several times while reading Dan Brown’s new book “The Lost Symbol.” This book talks about mysticism and universal truth from a perspective of the Masons (of which Joseph Smith was one). The different rituals that the masons had (illustrated in the book) resonated with the temple, the conceptualization of “apotheosis” or man becoming deity with the crux of the Plan of Salvation and Exaltation, and the concept of understanding parables from many perspectives has always been instilled in me by my Mom’s readings of Hugh Nibley. However, there were also times when what was said simply resonated negatively as well which was interesting, especially because after my first bout of complete skepticism I checked myself, and my skepticism at the door, but perhaps it is just that Mormonism is the primary language of my spirituality and I will always understand spirituality with an LDS accent.

The second experience came later today as I was out apartment hunting; one of the places I stopped by at was near this bell tower I heard so I walked over and stepped into the National Cathedral. The beauty and the majesty astonished me and upon impulse I dipped my fingers into the holy water and crossed myself (something I never intended to do throughout my life). The imagery was astounding and I felt my spirit resonating at a few of the images and writings within the Cathedral. Like a tablet drawn in an obscure corner that read (in Latin) “Truth from life” or that the statue of Christ held what appeared to be a Liahona (I know it isn’t one, but it appeared to be) or the stain glass windows depicting the atonement .

These two experiences, coupled together, solidified the notion that our spirits, when open to the divine and not blocked by the physical, can discover the truth all around us. The truth that is present in many forms, in many places. It is why we need to seek after anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy. We need to understand that other religions, other flocks, other nations, kindreds, tongues, people and languages all have resonating truths. And when all that we take with us into the next life is our minds, it is best to keep them open.



PS, the title of this post came from this song. It was used in Rigoletto made by my uncle and so it struck me as a tender mercy that I found it again after all these years.


Halloween Ideas

on 18 September 2009

So I was really excited to go to Scott's Halloween MoHo Party this year, but with my new job in DC I will only be able to be there in Spirit. Recently, I have been thinking of what I would go to a Halloween party (either in DC, or Utah) dressed as. I have usually gone as a Vampire (Count Dracula, not the accursed Edward) or a turtle or a fencer. In fact that is all I have ever gone as. But after seeing Captain Midnight's post about obscure people he has dressed up as I have been wondering how to expand my dismal display. Here in DC, Halloween is pretty much the biggest gay holiday ever. It is to gay men what Valentines day is to straight (coupled) women. I have been lost until I found this drawing. I think I might become Peter-pan (the twink) for Halloween, but I want your thoughts.






Can I make the transition from this to this?

A Brave New World

on 15 September 2009

So tomorrow I am going to do a strange new thing. I am going public. Not as an IPO (I can hear the inside joke now my economical friends) but on a radio program.

A couple of months ago I had a video entitled "Why I Stay."

It was prompted by a discussion that people were asking me why in the hell I would stay in the church that is so destructive to my temporal life. So in that video I commented about this blogger and how he mentioned that the shootings in Tel Aviv were his fault because he didn't do more to "gay it forward."

Well he found me and my vlog and wrote this article about me, and how I am the ORsa Parks of the Gay Mormons. I do not think I am at all, granted we are a widely diverse bunch and I by no means represent any loose group, I think that job goes to Scott or Alan if anybody.

Well I just happened to be someone who grabbed his attention and so he asked me to join him on his radio show tomorrow at 8 PM Central Time. It will be available to listen to afterwords, but I figured I should let you guys know, and for those of you who think this means I am an apostate, I firmly disagree and I think I have the Hope to find out. (you know who you are :))

Here is the link

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/jaysays/2009/09/17/Closet-Talk-David--Being-Gay-and-Staying-Mormon

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I Feel My Father's Love

on 13 September 2009

To those of you who know me, you know that I am a firm believer in priesthood blessings. Many of you who have met me in person know that I often quote my Patriarchal or Baby blessing as they help give me perspective in my life. I see them as a testament of my Heavenly Father’s love for me. I am so particular about these blessings that I recorded my Melchizedek Priesthood blessing so that I could review it later.

Well for those of you who don’t know I recently got a job in DC and on Thursday flew out from SLC. Before I left I asked and received a blessing from my Bishop, the same guy whom for the past 2 years I have told EVERYTHING to. Going into the blessing I was completely prepared to have his own personal feelings dilute the blessings from my Heavenly Father. I was pleasantly surprised.

My Heavenly Father knew of my longing for peace, for answers, for comfort in my path, or to be told that what I had chosen was wrong, that my fears were correct and I needed to adjust my course. My Father knew my heart and knew precisely how to calm it while still allowing me follow in faith rather than be given perfect knowledge, giving me a chance to grow.

My Heavenly Father, through my bishop, told me that HE had a “specific plan of happiness” for me. HE told me that if I continued in my “paths and patterns that I have been following and establishing” and through the gift of my Elder Brother Christ that I will be able to “overcome the world.” This is especially touching and an example of my Lord’s love for me because it is very near to what was said in my patriarchal blessing which states; “Through you honest effort and the gift of the Jesus Christ you will be able to inherit eternal glory, with my eternal companion, in the celestial kingdom where glory and happiness will never end.”

How wonderful is it that my Heavenly Father has told me, and given me peace and comfort that I will overcome the world of lust and lies and filth that I have been trying to extricate myself from for the past 3 years, if I continue on my path that I have started on and focus on HIS son and my savior. How wonderful is it that my Heavenly Father has a specific plan for me to accomplish this, and that I am on that path right now? My heavenly Father knows how to succor me and has done for me precisely what I needed, even though I didn’t even know what that was specifically.

PS, if you are reading my blog and live in DC, shoot me an email or a comment, I would love to meet other MoHo’s or those with SSA/SGA in the area.

A Mormon Gay, the most unknown to the Church... for now!

on 12 September 2009

So this started out as a comment on Alan’s most recent post, but I felt it needed to be here on my blog as well. I HIGHLY recommend his post BTW.

Alan,
This is exactly what I feel and I am grateful for the D&C ref. to back it up. I think that the Church and its members has this stigma that all gays sleep around, that it is just a fact of nature. If you are Gay you are promiscuous (from now on referred to as a "whore").
Now while sadly in this life this is often true, it isn't always. Many guys I have known have remained faithful to the LDS standards for years after coming out.
I had this discussion with two lovely evangelical christian members of the Tea Party whom I told I was a Gay Mormon. I told them that there was a difference from the "San Francisco"lifestyle of a whore and abstinence before marriage. They couldn't quite wrap their heads around it (or a lot of my political discussion either so that is ok). In order to help them understand I had them follow this thought experiment.

Imagine that you have found someone that you have fallen in love with, someone whom you want to commit your love, life, and heart to. But all your life you have been told that you can't. You have been trained by society, religion and an overbearing mother that it is impossible for you to get this marriage. And that you have been told by your friends, (the Gay Whores) that you don't need commitment.
What would your reaction be? True you might become one of the 1% who commit to each other out of rebellion like Romeo and Juliet, but the vast amount of people will simply (and sadly) fall in line with the policy and be whores.
Now imagine you grew up instead in a society where marriage, secure monogamous life-time (or eternal) partnerships are desired. (ironically not to hard for a kid who grew up singing "I long to see the temple" and "families can be together forever"). How would that change your goals, your beliefs, your desire regarding commitment vs. Whoredom?
If Marriage is withheld it is likely that many will choose not to pursue it. If marriage is put on a pedestal as something to strive for, to save yourself for then isn't it more likely that more people will do so?
Today I was called Anti-Family by a member of the Church who doesn't even know that I am gay. She called me this simply because I was anti-Tea Party. Little does she know that I am a firm advocate in marriage (granted I just moved to the most single city in America and could have two straight dates lined up if I wanted them lol).
When I first came out I felt as if I had to choose between being gay or the church. Once I started following the Prop 8 debates I realized that I could have a marriage, a complete devotion and commitment to someone that I loved and was attracted to. This gave me hope for a possibility through my dilemma that I had not had before. It literally gave me the hope and will to live, truly live and no longer desire a bus to hit me while walking down the street. But it didn't give me hope for Sex, it gave me hope for completeness in a world that I always seemed out of place with.
I think that the fact that the entire church, both leaders and members, still see homosexuality as whoredom allows them to condemn us and not change. In order to change that concept and prove Elder Nelson wrong, I believe that we need to stay in the church and work for positive change from within. I have seen it with my bishop who started out two years ago with very little knowledge of homosexuality to me being able to tell him my full plan of living abstinent (from sex) and active in the church until I find a husband and that after that even if I/we are excommunicated that I will continue to be an active member in the ward community, both at sacrament meeting and in service throughout the ward. After I told him this he seemed to accept it as a logical and plausible scenario that would be best for me. (but more on that encounter in the next post).

Faith in, of and for the Church

on 10 September 2009

What is Faith? Hope for things, which are unseen, which are true? That is the Sunday school answer, but what IS faith? Is it the spiritual companion of patience where we bear what must be born with the concept that things will work out? Is it just a meaningless word?

To me, Faith is the temporary stage that we, as humans, are required to live in. It is a state of leaning purely upon God, but only after trying to discover things for ourselves. We cannot have faith, strong lasting faith at least, if we do not seek it out and work for it ourselves. Faith is something that wavers often, that we must tend to constantly and is the best we have.

Faith all too often feels like it is not enough. We are beings of tangibility and seek for definitive answers to the questions that we have. We are not content with faith and instead are famished and lusting for perfect knowledge. As Humans, we strive for more light, more knowledge, more truth, so that we can abandon faith and finally gain the answers that plague us.

We frequently allow our pursuit of perfect knowledge override our faith and override our consistent strivings, and hard work for faith. We let life happen, we let pride or sin to enter our lives and we forget our path of faith.

Why should we expect any different from the Church? We expect the church to live a life of perfect knowledge, in fact we constantly think of it as a source of the perfect knowledge that we crave. What if it wasn’t? What if the Church actually ran on the same principles that govern us? The organization, the working concert of members & leadership, working in faith that what we are doing is right rather than knowing that it is?

Think about it. Wouldn’t it make sense given the number of changes to Church Policy? If it were set up with Perfect Knowledge, then there would be no need for continuing revelation, for prophets, or for changes in practices. If it were set up with Faith, then there would be a need for continuing revelation to keep the church on track, for prophets to inspire us and changes in practices as more light, more knowledge, more truth was earned.

And just as we get distracted from our labors of faith, couldn’t the Church become distracted by the world, by prejudice, or by lingering on the changes of policy? Who is to say that we are not, right now in our struggle for perfect knowledge rather than faith, missing something big? How do we know that we are right, that we are not just repeating the same mistakes of the past? We don’t! We must live on in faith, constantly struggling against sin, immorality, and personal prejudices while constantly examining ourselves in our search for perfect knowledge.

Shouldn’t we as members, embrace the changes to policy not as reasons why the Church is false, but why the Church, in its faith, is true? These changes mark the progression and growth of our collective faith like the growth of a forest from the ancient stirrings of a single acorn. Think about it!

The Truth? No, Your Opinions on Sodom

on 24 August 2009

Hey everyone, After watching the video hosted on Enigma's blog an Idea hit me. I have my opinions, you have yours. I want to gather as many varying opinions (supported by scripture, scriptorians, Prophets words, etc.) regarding WTH went down in Sodom. We all know the basic story and that we have the word Sodomy from that city of the plain, but I want to gather as many varying views as I can get on this subject.
If anyone reading my blog is a part f the NorthStar community, I want you to post this same statement and either have them report here, or present their ideas inside NorthStar and then have you post them here.
If anyone from Affirmation or Evergreen is reading this I would like your take on Sodom.
Any MoHo Blogger I want your view.
Any casual reader who may or may not be connected to either gay or LDS issues, I want your opinions too.

Please send them my way, either in comments or via email to davidbaker389@gmail.com, I look forward to reading them

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The Man in the Glass

on 23 August 2009

This is a poem i read a while back that hit me today, enjoy.

When you get what you want in your struggle for self

And the world makes you king for a day

Just go to the mirror and look at yourself

And see what that man has to say.

For it isn't your father, or mother, or wife

Whose judgment upon you must pass

The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life

Is the one staring back from the glass.

He's the fellow to please ' never mind all the rest

For he's with you, clear to the end

And you've passed your most difficult, dangerous test

If the man in the glass is your friend.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years

And get pats on the back as you pass

But your final reward will be heartache and tears

If you've cheated the man in the glass.

The Meaning for an Individual Life - Revisited

UPDATE: 8-23-9
The following is a post I wrote back in November while trying to figure everything out and re-reading some old books of mine. After spending 10 months figuring things out I have revisited it. Here is the original followed by my update.

In Shadow Puppets by Orson Scott Card, there is an interesting dialogue on the meaning of life and here is the condensed text version of that dialog for all to see. I think that this is so true, that it is a gem of truth in this sea of uncertainty that we call life.

"Here is the meaning of life: for a man to find a woman, for a woman to find a man,the creature most unlike you, and then to make babies with her, with him, or to find them some other way, but then to raise them up, and watch them do the same thing, generation after generation, so that when you die you know you are permanently a part of the great web of life. That you are not a loose thread, snipped off. Even men who do not desire women, even women who do not desire men, this does not exempt them from the deepest desire of all, the desire to be inextricable part of the human race. It’s hardwired into all of us. Not just sexual desire – that can be twisted any which way, and it often is. And not just a desire to have children, because many people never get that, and yet they can still be woven into the fabric. No, it’s a deep hunger to find a person from that strange, terrifying other sex and make a life together. Even old people beyond mating, even people who know they can’t have children, ther’s still a hunger for this. For actual marriage, two unlike creatures becoming, as best they can, one."
"I’m talking about a trait that the human race absolutely needed to succeed. The thing that makes us neither herd animals nor solitaries, but something between. The thing that makes us civilized or at least civilizable. And those who are cut off from it by their own desires, by those twists and bends that turn them in another way – like you, Bean, so determined are you that no more children will be born with your defect, and that there will be no children orphaned by your death – those who are cut off, they are still hungry for it, hungrier than ever, especially if they deny it. It makes them angry, bitter, sad, and they don’t know, they can’t bear to face the knowledge."
'This life wish had to be present in all living things for any species to continue as they all desperately struggled to do. It isn’t a will to survive – that is selfish, and such selfishness would be meaningless, would lead to nothing. It is a will for the species to survive with the self inside it, part of it, tied to it, forever one of the strands in the web'
"I kept my sanity by fencing myself about with lies, and believing them. But you know the truth. If you leave this world without your children in it, without having made that bond with such an alien creature as a woman, then your life will have meant nothing to you, and you’ll die in bitterness and alone."

UPDATE: 8-23-9
I think that this line "those who are cut off, they are still hungry for it, hungrier than ever, especially if they deny it. It makes them angry, bitter, sad, and they don’t know, they can’t bear to face the knowledge." can apply just as much to the desires of homosexuality as it does to the desires of raising a family. Those who cut themselves off from, at the least acknowledging their same-gender attraction, are angry, bitter, and sad, they can't bear to face the knowledge, the truth, and so, like so many of us do, they suffer in the closet, keeping their sanity by fencing themselves about with lies and then believing them. Regardless of what path you may choose, for I believe that each one is a personal decision that is unique to each and everyone of us, recognize that your same-gender attraction is a part of who you are. It adds greatly to your character and its attributes strengthen you and are an aid to others. Even if you believe that the attraction itself is evil, look at how recognizing it has made you more compassionate, more faithful, more understanding of others. Regardless of your choice and path, know that by recognizing yourself you have grown and been edified for it.

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Spiritual Ecology: Pollution in the Church

on 17 August 2009

So today I was in a meeting at church and heard Moroni 8 read, at least the part concerning the returning of the Lord to repay the cries from the dust. As this was being read, one phrase caught my ear, maybe because I am entering my post-Mormon degree, but I looked at this a bit differently, and think it might have even more truth than just my opinion.

The phrase was verse 28 “Yea, it shall come in a day when the power of God shall be denied, and churches become defiled and be lifted up in the pride of their hearts; yea, even in a day when leaders of churches and teachers shall rise in the pride of their hearts, even to the envying of them who belong to their churches”

Speaking concerning the coming day of the Lord, it will come when churches become lifted up in the pride of their hearts. This hit me because as a TBM, I read this as the coming of the Lord to restore the gospel. But I wonder why, when the entire Book of Mormon was composed for our day and our time, that this would be included if it was known to Moroni that it wouldn’t not be read until after the prophesy had been fulfilled? Specifically this chapter because it contains verse 35 which states “Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing” I believe that this chapter was written for modern day, and for days yet to come, but not for the prophesying of Joseph Smith. When you look at it with that light and context, and then read the following verses of 36-41 which condemns those who are reading those verse of their pride, their pollutions, their hypocritical natures and he asks “Why have ye polluted the holy church of God?”

Moroni, who has seen us in this very day, is asking why we have polluted the church of God. This means that (depending upon your belief in Fate/inevitability etc.) the church will at some point become polluted. Is it polluted now? Has it been for a while? Is it pure now and the gays are the pollution? These questions I do not have an answer to, but I do know that the Church is not fallible, the church will, at some point in it’s past present or future, will become polluted by the pride of its members, by the hypocrisy of its members, by the secret combinations of its members. I know, that as Moroni prophesized, that “even a day when leaders of churches and teachers shall rise in the pride of their hearts, even to the envying of them who belong to their churches” will come to pass, and maybe it already has. But to those of you who state that the Church is infallible, that it and the gospel are one in the same, that this is an all or nothing deal, I would like you to liken Mormon 8 unto you.

Am I like Lehi?

on 06 August 2009

When I met with Elder Clayton back in January, I was told that the first hurdle readers to the Book of Mormon had to overcome was the story of Nephi and Laban. In which Nephi is commanded to go against the Church, to go against the commandments, to commit the second most grievous sin. I no longer think that this act, this teaching moment that was included in the Book of Mormon for us in these latter-days, was alone.

Before Nephi slays Laban, there is another, perhaps more subtle, similar exchange of the same spiritual magnitude that often we overlook and are told in Sunday school that, “that’s how things were back then.” Lehi, merchant perhaps goldsmith, an artisan and not an ordained prophet has a revelation and he follows it. He begins to tell others of his vision, his prophecy that he was able to see. This was common practice back then for those who received visions to go forth preaching repentance to the people.

These men were prophets in the same sense that Elisa R. Snow was a prophet who saw many things, but Lehi, like her, was NOT the prophet in the same sense that Joseph Smith or Thomas S. Monson was the prophet. Lehi was a man whom was shown a vision of the destruction of Jerusalem. Lehi followed his visions of prophecy which lead him to leave the holy city, to leave all that he had, the establishment of his livelihood, his culture, his entire life to follow this vision, this revelation that he had.

Why does the Church, that is build upon the very act of multiple lines of revelation for different groups of people, reject the possibility that I may have received revelation contrary to the current direction of the church at all, let alone for a reason, divined by God the Father, omnipotent and omniscient? Why is it that as I wander into the wilderness, away from the culture and home that I know and grew up on, I am persecuted by the Church and threatened with excommunication? Who is to say that I haven’t been granted a vision that I MUST follow? Who is to say that this vision is from Satan when it comes from the same power that prompted Lehi to take his family and leave Jerusalem?

But like Lehi, I must not cling unto Jerusalem (read: Salt Lake). I must not become Laman and Lemuel, willing to disregard the prophecy and vision of their father in order to return to the comforts of home. I have now left my home and will never return. I might return in body, but my mind is forever changed, expanded, and I will always see things through a greater lens, a more open mind and a more open heart. The same openness by which I may be being shown the mysteries of God. (see Alma 12:10)

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Dumbledore taught me how to not be afriad

on 14 July 2009

The following is from a site called WWDD (What Would Dumbledore Do) it pretty much explains how I feel how Dumbledore has effected my life.

No One Need Live In The Closet

Lupin had to hide in the closet for being a werewolf. Hagrid had to hide in the closet for being a Half-Giant. Harry Potter grew up, literally forced to live inside a closet for being a Wizard.

Dumbledore did his best to help Lupin, Hagrid, and Harry learn to celebrate themselves for being exactly as they are and for the potential of what they could be.

Our world is full of people who are living inside closets, scared to admit that they are sexually attracted to those other than members of the opposite gender. It is time to create environments where it is safe for people to come out of the closet and feel comfortable for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered.

What has Dumbledore done for you on today of all days?

Please Be Advised: The Nearest Exit May Be Behind You

on 12 July 2009

In this age of technology where every move can be tracked, every decision monitored and every foible illustrated and remembered as bits and bytes of data, it is so difficult to raise your hand and admit “I made a mistake, I goofed, I am sorry.” Alcoholics Anonymous, and the LDS Church’s repentance process both state that admittance is the first step. Being able to stand up and say, “Hi, I have a problem,” is often what is necessary as the first step to recovery. C.S. Lewis puts it a better way when he stated “We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.

Right now the Church is in denial about its double standard concerning the GLBT community both inside and outside its membership as has been made clear by recent events on Main Street Plaza in Salt Lake City. This hypocrisy can be seen by how the church continues to state that it holds all to the same standard when incidents have shown otherwise. President Gordon B. Hinckley, in his discussion on Larry King Live regarding homosexuality stated ”If they violate the law of chastity and the moral standards of the Church, then they are subject to the discipline of the Church, just as others are.” The Church’s official statement regarding the incident last week said the same thing and yet two people were singled out because one of them gave his partner a peck on the cheek.

The hypocrisy, whether known or unknown, has gone on long enough and it is time for an intervention. I am calling on all members and allies of the Salt Lake GLBT community, whether you are an active member of the church, an inactive member, or have had no relationship to the church, to help in giving the church an opportunity to discover and bring out their double standard into the light of day. After all, “Sunlight is the greatest of disinfectants.”

I am fine with a Church that is bigoted, that is repulsed by a community of people, as long as they are honest about their stance and not try to hide behind the guise of tolerance. If the Church wishes to alienate a population of its members and its flock, then they need to do so. If their goal really is tolerance and one standard, however high or low, then they need to enforce it across the board with equality. What I am not fine with are hypocrites.

I feel very much like Christ must have when, in Matthew 23, He declared woe unto the Pharisees who “outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within … are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” Our community of allies and members needs to help the church correct its course because, as President Uchtdorf has stated, “The difference between happiness and misery … often comes down to an error of only a few degrees.

We must stand like Ghandi, and bear what must be borne, for “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” We must show, publicly, that we see the double standard and are calling it out. We must show public displays of affection throughout the city and throughout Church property until they realize that 1. We are not going away, and 2. They are like King Darius who followed the advice of his princes and counselors whose plot was to destroy Daniel, they are following the advice of men who are resentful and bigoted against the GLBT community to the detriment of Heavenly Father’s children.

We must stage this intervention on behalf of the church not by protesting en masse outside Temple Square, but by entering it, Main Street Plaza, and the Joseph Smith Building in twos and fours and then publically showing affection for one another in a manner that for any straight couple would be entirely appropriate. We must continue this every day until they see and understand the error of their hypocrisy. We must help them to understand that nearest exit is behind them.