Thursday, April 28, 2016

Windows in doors -- and other preventions

Today is a decent day for anyone associated with the LDS church -- especially if you have kids.  

Mormon officials have released a new document outlining its standards for preventing child sexual abuse in its congregations. The statement is on its Mormon newsroom website.


It's the least we can do
I think that it is important to mention that this is not a new direction for the church. These standards have been in place for some time. I had these rules explained to me when I was called as a primary teacher years ago with my wife. I was instructed that we were a "team." 

Subtle. I was told that if I was ever alone with the kids that I should grab the nearest female primary worker or anyone in a skirt -- and by grab I mean get their attention and politely call them over. It was canon even then: 
  • Fire drill, 
  • Stick to the manual
  • No sugar treats (Didn't follow that one. Give the child a treat at the end of class as a reward and the parents have to deal with the sugar rush.)
  • Keep the kids safe
It pains me to say that am not new to the world of abuse. In my social working days, I knew all the rules of dealing with children -- especially children who had been abused: Leave the doors open, do not wander off even if you are having a heartfelt talk with a kid, do not be alone with an adolescent, know the difference between an adult psyche and an adolescents, don't be stupid.

This was standard practice twenty years ago. Even so, when I was reminded of these same standards by a church lady in flats, I confess that I was a little offended. Men were singled out as abusers.

Well, it's time to face facts, and the fact is that the chances of an abuser being a woman are slim. As an LDS man and a father, I will gladly live with a bruised ego for the opportunity to protect a child from potential abuse.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A day in paradise?... or more

I recently I read a facebook post where the guy posting lamented the loss of one of his church friends to the "other side".  Let me be specific. His friend, a member of the church, set his priesthood aside and decided to have sex outside of the priesthood marriage covenant.

Who doesn’t know someone who has done the same thing -- left the church for a gay relationship. I do. 

I strive to be supportive and celebrate their agency and their choice.*  I try to put a positive spin on it -- just like I try to do with everything. I am glad if they are happy and sad if they are not.  I wish them well and our friendship takes no hits.

Then I analyze the heck out of it.  I try to find the takeaway for me – what can I take from this experience that will strengthen me?

The first thing that used to cross my mind was, why does he get to when I can’t?  Immature, huh?  At least that was my thought process years ago. I would see someone in a committed relationship or other (guy/guy) and think, what the heck!  Here I am trying to starve myself and others around me seem to be gorging. 

Did I make the right choice? I thought.  Will I ever be as happy as they appear, or as sexually fulfilled as that looks like from my vantage? Will someone ever think I am attractive and want to have me like I want to them?

I don’t know about the rest of the gay Mormon world. Maybe they had everything figured out and I just didn’t get any of the memos. I really used to struggle.

With all of this in mind, let’s step aside and play the game that all the cool kids are playing. If a hot guy (depending on your orientation, folks) from outer space dropped out of the sky and you could do anything you wanted and no one would evereverever find out, what would you do? Would you have sex with him?

Years ago my answer may have been quite different than what it is now. I would have said yes because what I wanted at that time overcame everything else. I was more than a little myopic then. 

Here is what my answer is.today.  Unequivocably, no.

Here is the reason for my answer. I have a better understanding of the priesthood, and I understand my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I know that He, knowing way more than I could pretend to know, wants what is best for me.  I know that the commandments He has set up – the things He asks of us – are for our benefit. My benefit. Knowing this, I can sacrifice something that appears good for something that I know is better.

Are there other paths that can bring pleasure and happiness while we are on earth? Yes, there appear to be. I will not deny that they looked good to me years ago. I will not bemoan or begrudge anyone their day with a guy from outer space if that is what they choose. Many fall into that category. But that is not my choice, and I feel that the prophets have been clear in stating the will of God.

The trillion dollar question is, will Hugo (that is what I named him) and all he represents get me where I want to be?  For me, with all that I know and hope to know, the answer is no.
 
I want more than a proverbial day with Hugo. I want more than a year or two or twenty with Hugo. I want what Heavenly Father has. I believe that what Heavenly Father has is better than disobeying him with Hugo -- as enticing as life with Hugo may look.

I am going to take Heavenly Father at his word. I will do what it takes in this life to have what He promised me I can have. With that goal in mind, I would be a fool to not follow his advice, walk his path, obey his commandments.

Here is the treasure map.  Now, ignore it and go another direction.

To that end, I trust priesthood power and authority. I know that the leaders of the LDS church have His authority. When they say that Jesus Christ is the way, I follow that way.  I make a decision based on what I know. 


*If you are a new reader to this site you may not know that I am referring to their choice to live a gay lifestyle, not to be gay. Being gay is not a choice anyone made in this life. I am gay. It was not a choice that I made. Where I go from here is my choice.






Friday, March 18, 2016

More gay Mormons in the news -- and not in a good way

Cringe.

I have been cringing for a half an hour since I read about the gay teen who was sent to a therapy center (?) to have the gay beat out of her. And get this: She is from a Mormon family. Just when I think that all the stupid has been wrung out of the body of the LDS church, something like this hits the news.

First of all, I feel for this poor girl and applaud the person who told her "get thee to a lawyer". Standing against a wall with a bag of rocks? What the...? And I support everything this girl says about conversion therapy needing to be eliminated. Buried. Placed into a large red balloon and allowed to float off into wherever.

Her experience with her parents? Completely pointless to tell a child that they choose their sexuality and that they chose wrong.

Morons. Is that too harsh?

This girl is coming out with a book that details her eight-month-long experience with so-called “conversion therapy” at a residence in southern Utah. So, the first thing I think is that I hope, for humanity's sake, that this story has been exaggerated. Even if it has, at the core is a problem that should be publicized. Gay kids are being abused in the name of religion. Mormon religion, if you happened to miss it at first reading. I didn't, which is why I am still cringing.

What was she doing at this treatment center/house/level of hell, you ask? Because her Mormon parents sent her there after she came out as gay, says a KUTV report.

This girl called what was done to her (rocks in a backpack, physical abuse, and other crap) a practice that was "exhausting and humiliating" that needs to stop.

"It's like sending you to therapy to change your eye color," she said in an interview Tuesday Channel 2 news. “It’s not going to work. What it's going to do is damage you."

Eventually, the teen was allowed to attend high school and through a fellow gay student was eventually able to contact an attorney in Salt Lake.

The official stance of the LDS church, through spokesman Eric Hawkins (who I have in my frequent contacts on my phone these days) is this:

"The Church denounces any therapy that subjects an individual to abusive practice," said LDS spokesman Eric Hawkins.

"We hope those who experience the complex realities of same-sex attraction find compassion and understanding from family members, professional counselors, and church members."

And in this case particularly, members of the LDS church are saying, once they are able to un-cringe, GO GIRL! We love you and wish you the best and we don't care about your sexual preference. The Savior loves you and we do, too.  And those that don't shouldn't be in your life.

OK.  I am going to try to un-cringe now.