|Peace On Earth...And Please Don't Scare Children Or Straighties|
Saturday, December 18, 2010
|Pigs are flying|
I myself don’t ever plan on joining the military, though I am becoming found of the fitness programs. Had I ever been “all that I could be” I would have been torn between job security and personal integrity. I have not been one to advertise my sexual attractions or preferences (other that the occasional anonymous blog and the fact that my co-workers have never seen me wear the same shoes in the same month.)
Regardless of my personal affiliations with the military (or lack there-of) I am pleased with the result of this weeks voting. The Senate on Saturday voted to allow homosexuals to openly serve in the military, repealing the 17 year old Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
But today ( as long as it doesn’t affect/undermine the troops fighting ability and after a 60 day waiting period could serve in the army or be a sea-man because DADT is a thing of the past. Though once the hype and the parades are over, I don’t see much happening differently. There will be no comings on, there will not be any uniform adjustments or color changes
Obama said in a statement after a test vote cleared the way for final action. "It is time to recognize that sacrifice, valor and integrity are no more defined by sexual orientation than they are by race or gender, religion or creed."
The Senate vote was 65-31. The House earlier had passed its identical version of the bill with a 250-175 vote on Wednesday.
Since the 1993 law was created 13,500 members of the military have been dismissed from service.
Advocacy groups who lobbied hard for repeal (and who were ready for a protest of protests) called the vote as a significant step forward in gay rights. The Service members Legal Defense Network hailed the repeal as the "defining civil rights initiative of this decade."
It was seventeen years too late for my taste. Thank heaven for changed minds.
Friday, December 17, 2010
I couldn’t have mentioned my sexuality openly in the recent past without the women gathering their young-ones to their side or the men folk brandishing their muskets. The none-pioneer, modern day 3-D equivalent is just as bad: Distrust, Disdain, and Disinfectant.
I have always been a homosexual Mormon man, though the specific age has varied – man child, young man, college man, taxpayer man, and now sorta old ma... never mind. By the same token, I have always been a Mormon of the “dyed in the wool, true blue, through and through” variety . I was born into an LDS family and through pain, pride and prayer I have always come back to my Church - sometimes from a great distance, sometimes not.
I am so proud of my religion that I don’t care what others call it, Mormon, LDS, or Latter-day Saint, nor do I care about the popular misconceptions. I was once asked on my mission if I was embarrassed that the Spanish definition of Mormon was “a polygamous sect”. No I wasn’t embarrassed. I was a Mormon, I knew what it truly meant to be a Mormon, and I was proud of my heritage – regardless of what others thought. This made it easier to take being asked about my wives, responding in a friendly way to hey you J-dub, or “Hola CIA.” Or being asked to put 100 Lempira bucks on Honduras in the World Cup with my bookie!
Call me anything these days – as long as you call, and I will tell you how vital to me my membership is in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
By the same token, my homosexuality – like my religious beliefs, has never been a question for me. I am tall, I am a Mormon, I am slightly arrogant, I like tangy taffy and I am homosexual. My attraction, regardless of whatever popular semantic assigned it, has been such from the beginning.
I am proud of who I am. And yet, you may have noticed that I am writing this blog, and an upcoming book, anonymously. Why do I go by Calvin Thompson and not my real name?
True, I haven't gone to much length to keep my identity known, and anyone who wants to put forth the effort could figure it out in a hurry.
I have my reasons, and I will state them in the next essay. I would like to know yours.
Why have you not come out publicly? And for those in the church who are out, what have been the challenges and/or the blessings?
Feel free to comment - anonymously if you need to.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
As you can imagine, I have a hard time sitting still in Sunday school. Even with a lovely Christmas decoration and poster pictures depicting the lessons high points my mind tends to wander.
Part of my problem lies in the fact that I am helpless as ...a really helpless thing without a diet coke in my hand. I have, in the past, tried to remedy this by keeping a flask in my suit pocket. My wife nipped this in the butt, which more definitive that in the bud - believe me.
I then tried a tube sneaking out from a briefcase and then from a Utah Jazz cap. No, and no. I think I will need to resign myself to be at peace with a lidded cup & straw kept under my chair and suffer through the strange looks coming my way.
Today’s lesson was on eternal marriage - always a tricky subject. Except today’s teacher bypassed the tricky and went straight for oblivious which may mean that she actually was, but I will touch on that can of worms later on. I found myself bristling a time or two, and I don’t know why.
As liberals go, I am not so liberal. I have always called myself a closet conservative. So, when they speak of families being forever, that a marriage is between a man and a woman, That the holy spirit of promise seals a couple if they are worthy. These things I understand. As a long term Mormon I have the rhetoric down. Not only do I know the words, I know the feelings and a general understanding behind them.
And here I sit, bristling.
This lesson – universal for December whatever-today-is will fly in Utah and in parts of Idaho and Arizona. Anywhere else it will veer to the right into a no fly zone and self destruct. I suppose I am sensitive to the plight of those who don’t quite fit into a common, standard mail box.
I don’t want God to change his plan to suit me or my friends who don't fit in. I don’t need the lesions to alter or natural laws to re configure. However I do need the points of view to widen to an acceptance of others on its most basic scale regardless of ones situation, background or prospects.
The woman leading the lesson was single – I know this because she stated such. She broke down into tears as she mentioned that she did not have children to be sealed to (eternal families being the point of the lesion.) There seemed to be two general sentiments expressed by the class, the old and the young alike at her revelation. The first, and the greatest by terms of numbers and volume was “ Oh, how sad – you should find something to get you by this life until the next one starts." I call it the get a hobby approach: your life is hopeless, so find something to do.
The next sentiment is one I don’t see much, but one I greatly prefer.
Specifically put, for this woman teaching the lesson, you don’t have a family – yet. God’s time is not our time. This is the way of the hopeful, the faithful, the proactive – not necessarily a Mormon word, but one of my favorite.
A case in proacticity as a point: A friend of mine took his truck and his son out in the woods to collect, you know…wood. Fire wood. He backed in to his favorite spot and got his truck compleatly stuck in the mud. They tried most of the day to get it out to no avail. They decided that they could either sit and wait for rescue, or get busy loading the truck with wood. The choose to be proactive. They choose to do something. In the end after the truck was loaded and it was becoming very cold, they decided to give it one more go. The truck bounded out of the ruts and practically muscled its way to dry road with a cord or two of freshly chopped wood. The weight of the wood had given it all the traction it needed. Doing something when it seemed hopeless gave them the push.
Now to what may seem a hopeless situation for some of us: Single people, the widowed folk, SGAttracted, both dudes and dudettes, and anyone not fitting into the “Married with children” category (and that’s a lot of people)...
Rejoice! Christ came to redeem us all. We came down to be like the father, and the time will come when we will be able to make a run at our goals full force. That time will be, again, in gods time. In respect full prayer - ask him what that means for you. You will be glad you did.
For me, that is the real miracle of Christmas: Having the opportunity to create my own family.
Friday, December 10, 2010
"The Book of Mormon,” will be opening in February at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre. It is being created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, four-time Emmy Award-winning creators of “South Park,” “The Book of Mormon” is a musical about a pair of mismatched Mormon missionaries sent to Africa. The show is being written in collaboration with Robert Lopez, the Tony Award-winning writer of “Avenue Q,” and is co-directed by Parker and three-time Tony nominee Casey Nicholaw (“Spamalot,” “The Drowsy Chaperone”).
I hope it jabs us good and causes us to take a good look at ourselves. I also hope that it gives others not of the LDS faith a look at the good we have to offer. All in all I think that the church can withstand publicity.
What I fear is that it will be lame. I don't care that it skewers Mormons, I don't want it to be a missionary tool. I just don't want it to be stupid.
|Already inaccurate! Missionaries don't wear white socks.|
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
|Happy, Happy People|
The Handbook is divided into two volumes. The Church only distributes copies of the handbook to individuals who fill certain leadership positions within the church hierarchy. Handbook 1 is not available for sale to the general public or the general church membership. The text of Handbook 2 is available for free on the church's official website.
Handbook 1 is subtitled Stake Presidents and Bishops. It contains information that is primarily relevant to the functions and duties of stake presidents, bishops, mission presidents, district presidents, branch presidents, and their counselors. Other individuals who receive a copy of Book 1 are temple presidents and their counselors, general authorities, general auxiliary presidencies, area seventies, and church clerks and executive secretaries.
Concerning church policies, Handbook 1 includes instructions on the proper wearing of temple garments; which members may be married in the temple for time and eternity (vs. time only); and who may or may not attend ceremonies in an LDS Church temple. For example, persons who have undergone elective transsexual surgery are not permitted to receive a temple recommend that would allow them to enter the temple.
Leaders are advised to consider referring Church members who are dealing with same-gender attraction to counseling. Individuals with HIV or AIDS are to be treated with dignity and compassion. Unwed parents are to be encouraged to get married, or if this is not feasible, to present the child for adoption to an agency which will place the child in a Latter-day Saint home. The church opposes gambling, including lotteries, and encourages active opposition to the legalization of gambling in any form.
Handbook 2 is subtitled Administering the Church, and it contains information that is primarily relevant to the functions and duties of the leaders of priesthood quorums and auxiliary organizations of the church. Every quorum president and auxiliary organization leader at stake, ward, district, and branch levels receive a copy of Handbook 2, as do most of the individuals who receive Handbook 1.
This is relevant today because of the recent availability of the new 2010 version. The 2010 edition of the Church Handbook of Instructions (CHI) contains a very different position on gay marriage than the 2006 edition. Here is an example of some edits from the base version from 2006. the edits, with deletions in underlined red and additions in italics:
Same-Gender Marriage: Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God. The Church accordingly opposes same-gender marriages and any efforts to legalize such marriages. Church members are encouraged "to appeal to legislators, judges, and other government officials to preserve the purposes and sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, and to reject all efforts to give legal authorization or other official approval or support to marriages between persons of the same gender" (First Presidency letter Feb 1, 1994; see also "Homosexual Behavior" in the previous column).
As a doctrinal principle, based on the scriptures, the Church affirms that marriage between a man and a woman is essential to God's the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children.
The powers of procreation are to be exercised Sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully wedded as husband and wife. Any other sexual relations, including those between persons of the same gender, are sinful and undermine the divinely created institution of the family. The Church accordingly favors measures that define affirms defining marriage as the legal and lawful union of a man and a woman and that do not confer legal status on any other sexual relationship.
While opposing same-gender marriage, the Church reaches out with understanding and respect to individuals who are attracted to those of the same gender. See also "Homosexual Behavior" on page 187.
Homosexual behavior violates the commandments of God, is contrary to the purposes of human sexuality, distorts loving relationships, and deprives people of the blessings that can be found in family life and in the saving ordinances of the gospel. Those who persist in such behavior or who influence others to do so are subject to Church discipline. Homosexual behavior can be forgiven through sincere repentance.
If members have homosexual thoughts or feelings or engage in homosexual behavior, Church leaders should help them have a clear understanding of faith in Jesus Christ, the process of repentance, and the purpose of life on earth. Leaders also should help them accept responsibility for their thoughts and actions and apply gospel principles in their lives.
While opposing homosexual behavior, the Church reaches out to understanding and respect to individuals who are attracted to those of the same gender. [This was moved from being the 2nd to 3rd paragraph]In addition to the inspired assistance of Church leaders, members may need professional counseling. When appropriate, bishops should contact LDS Social Services to identify resources to provide such counseling in harmony with gospel principles.
If members feel same-gender attraction but do not engage in any homosexual behavior, leaders should support and encourage them in their resolve to live the law of chastity and to control unrighteous thoughts. These members may receive Church callings. If they are worthy and qualified in every other way, they may also hold temple recommends and receive temple ordinances.
Small steps are still steps, I keep reminding myself. And that these changes appear in the Handbook is especially encouraging to all members - those who are or who know someone SGAttracted. It is an official LDSreparative counseling or tell them that things like masturbation causes homosexuality - when we all know it is caused by a pregnant mother listening to Barry Manalow in the second trimester.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Friday, December 3, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
|Look Familiar to anyone?|
Here are some more questions (continued from an essay of November 24ish) that I have been asked, or points I feel I should be making.
Q: Where do Mormons stand on Homosexuality in compared to other world religions? The five major world religions -- Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism -- recognize and uphold the understanding of heterosexual marriage. All five religions teach that homosexual behavior is to be overcome. ("Major World Religions on the Question of Marriage," Marriage Law Project, 2000)
Those dealing with SGA of either sex are easy to identify. Stereotypes are often used to identify a person's sexual orientation, such as a man being effeminate and a woman being butch. The visual measures of masculinity and femininity tend to be gender-biased and are not very useful in the study of those with SGA. The homosexual community is diverse and its members, much like the citizenship of any grouping, cannot be neatly categorized into stereotypes based on appearance. Most people are realizing that there are more similarities than differences between the gay and straight population - though I read somewhere that every plaid shirt sold donates money to the SGA deer hunters of northern Utah.
How easy are Mormons to identify? How 'bout Mormon Gays? Look for modest clothing, farmer’s tans and hot glue burns on fingers. It was once thought that Mormon woman utilized higher and fuller hair styles to cover up the horns they were thought to possess. This latter appeared to have been a simple a symbol of the lovely state of Deseret in combination with a fashionable 60’s hairstyle that found favor and overstayed its welcome. Men do wear dark suits, and are known to spout into parables as they age... As for Mormon Gays? Your guess is as good as mine. And honestly, who cares? People are people, and if you are at church my bet is that no one - regardless of sexuality - is trying to pick you up.
My understanding is that all lesbians hate or have deep set emotional issues with men, that Gay men dislike women. Lesbianism is not a dislike of men as far as I understand. Lesbianism is an inclination, a positive sexual, emotional, physical attraction to other women. Ditto for Gay men. For men by men.
Yes, there are women who sometime explore lesbianism because they had negative sexual experiences with men. Men sometimes may explore homosexuality gay due to similar negative emotional or sexual experiences. There are many reasons we know of that may have significance in developing SGA, and many who defy all explanation and were born that way. Understand that the reasons may be many, and regardless of reason we will be there for each other.
Are openly gay teachers, professors, professionals and other role models are dangerous because they will try to recruit people to homosexuality? Let us be clear: Any adult speaking of his or her sex life with a minor is not appropriate. Some argue that students may wish to be like their teachers given their position of authority and prestige. Sex life being personal and private, of coerce they would. Or are we saying that honor for the rather dubious sporting figures and rock stars. Who better to mentor students that positive role models regardless of sexual attraction? Any positive role model in a position of authority (such as in education, politics, religious institutions, the medical profession, etc.) by their very presence helps to dispel myths and prejudices.
Homosexuals want to lower the age of consent laws for sexual activity so that they can have access to young children and try to convert them: Age of consent laws do not deal specifically with adult-child relations. These laws were created to prevent young people from having sex with each other. There is no justification for the existence of separate age of consent laws according to one's sexual orientation. Any audit-child sexual relationship regardless of the sexual orientation is wrong and is currently a criminal act.
Gay men tend to be pedophiles and child molesters: No and no. Yes, perpetrators of child sexual abuse are overwhelmingly men. The abuser is usually a member of the child's family or someone known by the family. Pedophiles, men who have a sexual preference for children, constitute less than 1% of the adult male population. Pedophiles are quite distinct from adult gay men who prefer an adult sexual partner just as heterosexual prefer an adult partner. Studies have shown no correlation between a man's sexual orientation and a tendency to sexually abuse children. Statically, Heterosexual men are twice as likely to sexually abuse children as homosexual men are. There is solid evidence that over 92% of child abuse cases, including same gender sexual abuse, are perpetrated by heterosexuals.
Can people be forced or convinced to change from gay to straight or the other way around? Again, it’s important to understand the differences between same gender feelings desires and inclinations, and the chosen behaviors. Behaviors can be changed or controlled with the correct motivation. Most agree that sexual orientation is different from sexual behavior, orientation referring to feelings and self-concept, and that all people may or may not express their sexual orientation through their behaviors. *The American Psychological Association, Fact Sheet, “Psychology and You,”
I think I might be gay. How will I know if I really am? You will eventually figure it out. It is such a personal issue. We as are blessed with gifts of the spirit – revelation given to us personally. The line of authority may go through our parents – they can get revelation concerning what action they should take, as well as your bishop. Use these resources. The process may take a long time, and the decisions you make may be difficult for you, but what an exciting journey! add
How do I “come out” and when is it appropriate? As a Mormon, is it appropriate to “come out”? Yes it is. You may not want to take out an ad in the cinema section of the Sunday paper, but you wouldn’t do that to announce your “Hetro” life either. Tell anyone who cares about you or anyone who has a need to know. As with any other personal information, where, when and with whom you tell about your sexuality is your decision solely. It’s important and healthy for you to share your feelings with appropriate others. If you feel you can’t tell your parents, talk to a friend or a bishop or someone else you trust. Sometimes, the Grandma Ruby’s of the world can surprise you. It’s possible that the people who are closest to you already know and are waiting for you to be comfortable enough to talk about it. May the Lord bless you.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
|How do you steer this thing?|
When anyone makes a decision in his life, it becomes like jumping of a plane with a parachute. The wind and currents, despite the best efforts of the one gliding will take one in directions never imagined once that first commitment was made.
Since I mad my commitment to not pursue that as a style of living or way of attraction, or even a culture, my life has taken twists and turns - many frightening, many lovely. I am not where I saw myself to be in ten years, but neither am I in a wrong or bad place. I am better off for the choices I made. I hope my family feels the same.
This year my thanksgiving thoughts are not thinly veiled wishes or further needs discussed in prayer. When I say thank you for what I have, I mean it. I don't really need much more to make me happy. Little more money, little more time perhaps, little more kindness shown and doled out from me certainly. But I am happy.
Never thought I would ever say that when I was younger and in the throws of SGA. Maybe the idea of given ourselves to Him was the thing to do and to continue. It seems like he is willing to keep his promises when we do.
Being gay has given me a lot that I would never have developed had I bean born straight. I believe that I am what I am today because of the challenges God gave me - all of them. I believe that we grow from facing challenges head on, when we own them, when we embrace them. I am thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving to you.
Monday, November 22, 2010
|Not this obvious, but just about right, statistically|
Since 10%ish of the population is homosexual today - one out of every ten-ish persons, why don't we recognize Same Gender Attraction as part of normal - at least on tenth a part of it at least. (Again with the normal thing. Normal should be a non-issue. I think my Garfield bobble-head on the dashboard is normal. My wife would differ).
As far as the 10% is concerned, this figure comes from an analysis of interviews conducted from 1938 to 1948 under the supervision of Alfred Kinsey where 10 percent of men interviewed claimed to be homosexual. The study considered only male behavior and thus the 10 percent figure cannot be applied to the half of the population who are women. Mr. Kinsey bases his claims on his figures from a pool of 5,300 male subjects that he represented as your average "Joe College" student. Many of the men who gave him the data, it is claimed appear to be of suspect employment and moral behavior, consisting of sex offenders, prison inmates, etc. Dr. Judith Reisman, "Kinsey and the Homosexual Revolution," The Journal of Human Sexuality (Carrollton, Tex.: Lewis and Stanley, 1996)
The Kinsey study itself stated that less than 4 percent of men are homosexual based on long term behavior vs. adolescent experimentation. Other reports are much more conservative in number (2.3% - The National Survey of Men) (Stuart H. Seidman, and Ronald O. Reider "A Review of Sexual Behavior in the United States" The American Journal of Psychiatry. Vol. 151, Number . , 1994. Page(s) 330-339)
(1.8 to 3% - Harrell, R. et al (1999) A Co-twin Control Study in Adult Men" Archives of General Psychiatry. 56, 10: 867-874 Edward O. Laumann, John H. Gagnon, Robert T. Michael and Stuart Michaels, The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994. John O. G. Billy, et al., "The Sexual Behavior of Men in the United States," Family Planning Perspectives 25 (March/April 1993): 58. J. Gordon Muir, "Homosexuals and the 10 percent Fallacy," Wall Street Journal (March 31, 1993). Milton Diamond, "Homosexuality and Bisexuality in Different Populations," Archives of Sexual Behavior 22 (1993): 300) - More current studies indicate that homosexuals comprise between 1 to 3% of the population. (J. Gordon Muir, "Homosexuals and the 10 % Fallacy," Wall Street Journal (March 31, 1993)
Hold on - we're going someplace. The exact percentages of those SGA in the general population is, as you can imagine difficult to determine precisely because many feel reluctant or fearful to attach that label and identify themselves publicly. For decades, the percentage has been thought by many to be more than the nationally accepted number of 3%. At approximately nine to ten percent for men; Conservatives claim lower numbers, liberals claim higher. In the church the problem is magnified. No one knows with absolute certainty. I state here, for the record and with relative assuredly that I know more than twelve. ‘Most lesbian and gay people do not proclaim their sexuality – they are an invisible minority.” - U.S. Catholic: “An Interview with Sr. Jeannine Gramick, SSND,” August, 1992
Okay, so 10%-ish looks a bit over done. Honestly, does the percentage really matter? As long as there is one person dealing with SGA, we as a church and as individuals in the church will be there for them.
All this science and statistics is interesting enough. However, lets look at another figure that may hit closer to home. How many who deal with SGA are there currently in the Mormon Church?
Channel 2 News in a report done at the end of October of this year says that statistically, there are 6 to 8 members of each LDS ward who deal with SGA.
Six to eight. In each ward. In the entire LDS church. Sounds normal to me.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
"Rather than just embracing homosexuality and adjusting their religious beliefs to the realities of the world, they (The General Authorities) have decided that it is alright to send mixed signals and tell young women and men that it is alright to be something, but they have to hide that they are. Such attitudes lead to really idiotic and even very dangerous behaviors such as hooking up with complete strangers for sex, and a tendency to do drugs and alcohol. It even leads to suicides.
Normally I don't criticize these articles - my thought process being that any exposure is good exposure and we can change mind with all kinds of tools. Miss information isn't a tool, however. The church of Jesus Christ doesn't follow the whims of the world, nor does it adjust policy to coincide with changing "realities" of the world. Also, No one gay or straight is being asked to hide who or what they are. There are no secret underground meetings for gays and Mormons so that the general populace is not offended. And third, following moral standards set by the prophets in conjunction with coming out with Same Gender Attraction - as those LDS now call it does not make one prone to suicide. We are saddened with all those who choose to end their life, and we pray to have created personal and lasting relationships with those considering it.
It also states that celibate lesbian and gay Mormons who are worthy and qualified should be allowed to have callings or church assignments, and to participate fully in the temple,” according to Peggy Fletcher Stack of the The Salt Lake Tribune. This version of the handbook repeats what Mormon leaders have been saying recently, making it more clear for members and interested others to understand.
This is not a new stance. David Pruden of Evergreen International, support group that aims to help LGBT Mormons live by the church’s standards, noted that in the past, if a lesbian or gay Mormon told his bishop about her or his same-sex attractions, that the bishop may have called a “disciplinary council.” He also said “Many bishops didnt understand something that was new and possibly foreign to them.
Pruden believes that the new language “will bless people by making it easier for them to come forward.”
Mitch Mayne, an openly and actively gay Mormon, feels that the changes are “baby steps in the right direction”. “At least the handbook takes the damning terminology out of it.” Mr. Mayne did note that so long as the Mormon church continues to make homosexuality something that is “subversive, taboo” that Mormon gays will have sex in parks and truck stops. He stated “We wrap being gay in so much shame and shame brings acting-out behaviors.
Are these comments contrary to anything read before on the matter? If there is a cap placed on a behavior, will there be some to try to go around, or through it?
Prohibition, anyone? Utah Fireworks? Outside food in theatres?
There will still be close encounters in park restrooms, or in a bathroom at the Y. Having free agency means that there may be a lot not to write home to mama about. There will also be those who feel that they are "less that" and our job will be to get to these people and give them needed support and love. With the new words comes more acceptance that we are all sinners, and that my sin my be just as weighty as yours.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
|Super Butch isnt so convincing for me, but here is a shot.|
She has known since I started writing the blog that I was subjecting being gay and Mormon and trying to make the two work. She knows I have gone through a life of active, RM, BYU dude, Mormon Performer/entertainer/writer and now husband and father all while being homosexual. This was not a surprise to her. But the title of the blog was.
First things first. I am a little concerned that she hasn't been reading my stuff, though this may not be so huge because she is helping me edit the book coming out next year.
I think its just seeing Gay and Mormon in a place of predominance on the blog. Maybe she thought it would be on the second page at least. The problem having the subject matter be on the second page is that who on earth would know what the blog was about. There isn't much room for subtlety. I added Priesthood Men onto the title because I wanted potential readers to know in what direction I was leaning - toward the church.
I am not well know enough to just use my name - like Oprah! CAL THOMPSON! just doesn't have the oomph to pull it off. My book will come out, and that may help as its about Homosexuals in the church, and the church for homosexuals. It is based on a lot of my own experiences. Maybe then I will get to call the blog something less descriptive, like Happy Mormon Men. ...ummmm, no. How about "Thompson Time!
I don't know. Maybe I'll just stick to Oprah.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
|Not As Difficult as You Would Think|
There appeared to be many levels to this super-game, and many combinations of characters and possible scenarios. I only ventured down into their lair once over the holiday, and didn’t let go of the iron rod (the stair rail) incase I was swallowed up. I just remember being marveled at how their teeth looked so green under a black light.
Here is the point, and yes I have one. Does anyone think that there mortal existence is going to be any less complicated than my brothers basement board game? There are thousands of situations and locations and personalities and challenges and villains and heroes, and companions and countries to invade and the list goes on – even eliminate the weird stuff. Turn a corner and fight the sloth dragon, turn right and schmooze the alien ambassador of Muir. and his lovely wife, Ulla.
I am into options these days - bring me the most for my money, the best productivity for my time spent. There are hundreds of combinations of possible options available for the SGAttracted Mormon. To knot acknowledge that there are more than just active, not active, name off records would be as dim as me hollering down to my brothers “So,...what’ch still doing down there?”
Categories, levels, personalities, social networks, spiritual beliefs, differences in SGA, and homosexuals of the church in and out. In this blog when we speak of options, we are speaking of the range of basic choices for those who are homosexual and believe that the Mormon Church is the organization to best assist them in their lives.
There are those SGAttracted who wish to remain in possession of, or strive to obtain a temple recommend. Homosexuality and church membership are not necessarily opposing in purpose.
Often the hold up is those watching the proceedings from the side. There is a need for black or white in our society, for yes or no, “for here” or “to go”. Case in point, try telling a cashier at a fast food restaurant that you want your cheeseburgers and onion rings “to go” but your fries, chicken wings and fry sauce on a “for here” tray. You will blow minds. Society is most comfortable with one or the other, pigeon hole A or pigeon hole B. Things that don’t fit, just don’t fit for us anywhere.
As far as SGAttraction goes, it may similarly be not all one or all the other. Can you imagine a guy in Lycra muscle shirt who believes the church is true? I can. A returned missionary dancing the night away who is still able to teach his quorum lesion with the spirit in the morning? It happens. Or imagine homosexuals in a commented relationship possibly with kids who want to go to fast and testimony meeting? I know several. Things that didn’t at first seem to fit are sometimes fitting - options and choices at every turn.
I try to consider all possibilities and options dealing with and writing about different avenues of living and the many categories of attraction – specificity, as you might imagine, for homosexuals. I don’t feel the need for a written disclaimer somewhere here – one that says that we recognize agency, and options acknowledged here are not to be considered an endorsement – except I just did.
So, where are you in life? What options are you making use of? Have you combined SGA (or its older or mor recent semantic incarnations) and activity in the LDS church?
How do you make it happen?
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Some expected this to come out during general conference from the podium. It is a bit late in coming, and the doctrine of "feelings are different from behaviors" has not changed. It is still nice to hear these things officially.
"While we disagree with the Human Rights Campaign on many fundamentals, we also share some common ground. This past week we have all witnessed tragic deaths across the country as a result of bullying or intimidation of gay young men. We join our voice with others in unreserved condemnation of acts of cruelty or attempts to belittle or mock any group or individual that is different – whether those differences arise from race, religion, mental challenges, social status, sexual orientation or for any other reason. Such actions simply have no place in our society."
"As a church, our doctrinal position is clear: any sexual activity outside of marriage is wrong, and we define marriage as between a man and a woman. However, that should never, ever be used as justification for unkindness. Jesus Christ, whom we follow, was clear in His condemnation of sexual immorality, but never cruel. His interest was always to lift the individual, never to tear down."
To read the release you have but to click.
Church Responds to HRC Petition
Friday, October 8, 2010
|Love ya Elder Packer|
During his original talk, Elder Packer spoke of homosexual tendencies saying, "Some suppose that they were pre- set and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn tendencies toward the impure and unnatural. Not so. Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone? Remember, he is our Father.”
Another change to Packer’s talk includes the omission of the entire sentence, “Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone?”
Also on Thursday night, the Church released a statement about the protest, saying:
“Of course, the Church recognizes the right of groups to voice their opinion in the public square. However, those familiar with the Church’s doctrine on the importance of marriage and family know it is based on principles of respect and love for all of God’s children. We have continually emphasized that there is no room in this discussion for hatred or mistreatment of anyone.”
UPDATE: Late Friday evening, Scott Trotter, LDS Church spokesman, released the following statement regarding the edits made in Elder Packer's talk: “The Monday following every General Conference, each speaker has the opportunity to make any edits necessary to clarify differences between what was written and what was delivered or to clarify the speaker’sintent. President Packer has simply clarified his intent. As we have said repeatedly, the Church’s position on marriage and family is clear and consistent. It is based on respect and love for all of God’schildren.”
Though is is not uncommon for a talk to have edits between the time spoken and the time available in print, I think this is may cautiously be considered progress. Elder Packer has taken some of the harshness out. He talk mentioned that moral standards do not change, and they didn't. But his wording did. He could have easily let it be - I don't see him as one to cave in to public opinion. The changes were made because it was the right thing to do.
Elder Packer has always been known as the champion of the working man, and this edit seems true to form.
News 4 Utah Connection
Thursday, October 7, 2010
|In honor of Jenny|
I thought I would pass along a letter I received today from my friend Jenny (not as nice a name as her real one) – who kindly granted permission. I think the questions she raises are important as all get-out.
Hey- (Jenny is from Idaho where this is an acceptable greeting)
Help me to understand this, the talk by Elder Packer. I really thought the LDS church had moved past his kind of rhetoric. The reports of the G.A (Larsen) who spent time with church members in California was so encouraging- I knew that it wasn't going to make the church change course but it was heartening to read that the leadership was tuning in to the concern of families and friends over Prop 8.
I've heard from some folks that, “well it's just BKP- that's how he is. He was in his heyday a racist, sexist man”. It troubles me deeply that the brethren allowed him to give this talk. I have been thinking about it and what if it was black people he was talking about? What if it was my bi-racial son? Would the people I love, the people who love my son be okay with what was said?
I'm not suggesting that BKP was advocating hate, intolerance or anything like that but hearing a message, "over the pulpit" does do a couple of things:
1) For gay member or those who are dealing with SSA (using your lingo) what this says to them is, if you're not over it then you don't have enough faith. What is enough faith? It's like when my father had a huge dealy brain tumor and people would tell me that faith can heal and create miracles. So, what does that say to his family and loved ones that he died within the time-frame expected from this dealy tumor? That we didn't love our father enough or have enough faith for him to make a full recovery? And what does it say about the dozens, yes dozens, of young men and women I've known throughout my life who on bended and humble knees asked for the burden of homosexuality to be lifted and have failed?
2) Because the average church member doesn't understand the dynamics of being gay, hearing BKP say what he said about sexual orientation, they will think “yeah, get over it”. I think that viewpoint breeds intolerance in an already homophobic group of people.
I also think it was extraordinarily insensitive to give that talk in the wake of numerous suicides last week.
I have never considered having my name removed from the church..but in the aftermath of this I'm really thinking about it. I am angry, hurt, offended and I'm not sure I can get past this one.
I had to vent to someone on the inside.
Jenny, these are questions that thousands of us have, and I am thrilled that you would want to talk about them. I wish I was all wise and stuff. I will do my best to let you know how I feel about the events.
First up, I just read a biography of Mother Teresa in which states the she struggled throughout her career (Do nuns have careers?) with her relationship with the savior – wondering if she was committed enough.
Would anyone dare to think less of her because she had doubts and questions? Why do we freak out a little when we do, or when we run upon issues that cause us to re-evaluate our beliefs? I am grateful for Elder Packers talk, if only for one reason – it is getting people talking about Mormons and homosexuals. (Gays, SGAers,…whatever term you use)
Second, I am just a guy, and forth, I am not all that bright. I will say this. I believe that God is God, and after that knowledge things fall into place a little for me. I don’t know if Elder Packer meant to be insensitive. But he was. I don’t like it that he was. If he was my grampa I would say to him that he needed to go take his pill and have a nap before he tried to speak to any group anymore. But he is not my grampa, he is a General Authority. Does he speak for the Lord? I believe that he does. Would the Lord allow him to be as insensitive as I feel he was? Apparently yes.
Brigham Young, anyone? I believe he spoke for the Lord. He, like Elder Packer was a man. He was, according to dozens of accounts, a bit arrogant and in your face. One of the reasons Emma Smith choose to stay east was due to her poor relationship with Brigham Young. She didn’t like him much. How disrespectful is that? Did Brother Brigham speak for the Lord when he spoke for the Lord? Yes. Was he also insensitive at times? By all accounts, yup.
Ezra Taft Benson was blue, which was the original red. That is to say, he was very conservative republican and, for those who remember, political and out spoken. He put the fear of God into people. Many were afraid that when he became the prophet his politics would become policy. However, as prophet his personal political leanings stayed personal. I always felt this was because he became a spokesman for new polices - those of the Lord, and that these overruled his personal opinions.
Many question what would happen if Elder Packer became the prophet. Would the church become as ridged as he appears to be? We are told that the Lord will not allow the prophet to lead us astray. Does Elder Packer's being "a prophet" count as "The prophet"? I don't know. But I do know that every Apostle that has ever lived has had a personality, and some of them were not very PC. Elijah taunted the Queen and her people on Mount Carmel for heavens sake. Jonah ran like the wind and sank like a stone.
Elder Packers remarks may have been even harder for those of us in gayland to take when we realize that some of us - a lot of us - were hoping for something kinder and gentler out of conference due to recent events in the church and by some church leaders and in reaction to the week’s tragic events with several gay youth. I was hoping for acceptance - not just tolerance, but downright acceptance and fellowship. Honestly, I got that from 99 percent of the talks. Some made me hopeful and excited and loved – even when there was chastisement involved. The priesthood session was one of my favorites of all time. I think secretly we were hoping for something a bit more all encompassing.
It may boil down to this. If you have been a member you understand the relationship we can have personally with the Savior. This is the time to test that. The gift of the Holy Ghost is for THIS VERY THING. Even if we feel unworthy, the spirit of the Lord can testify to us.
The questions you have are excellent questions, and I know there are more where they came from. I have them, too. We must ask the Lord with sincerity and faith that HE will and can answer us. If ever there was a time for the assurance of the spirit, THIS IS IT!
Let’s leave this somewhat open for respectful discussion.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
I think this was said by Ben Franklin. Or maybe it was Gandhi...Oh heck, I don't remember. Some one bald if I recall. I suppose this quote is the intellectual equivalent of "If you chance to meet a frown...".
So, this week may prove to be a tough one. Frankly put, we can come out of it with stronger testimonies of the Gospel, or not. We may start next week with a better understanding of the world and our place in it, or a sinking feeling in the pit of our stomachs.
I encourage you, in light of conference and the things said, to get on your knees, or at least keep a prayer in your heart that the spirit will let you know through his famous subtlety what is needed to get you where you want to go and where your particular focus should lie.
It may indeed be your miracle week.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Because we are not afraid of opposing opinions, lets hear what others have to say...
HRC to Mormon Apostle: Your Statements are Inaccurate and Dangerous - Mormon Leader’s Inaccurate Statements Yesterday Fuel Anti-LGBT Violence, Teen Suicides10/4/2010
Washington – The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest civil rights organization dedicated to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality, today called on Boyd K. Packer, the president of the Mormon Church’s Quorum of Twelve Apostles, to correct statements he made yesterday calling same-sex attraction “impure and unnatural,” claiming that it can be corrected and characterizing same-sex marriage as immoral. Packer’s inaccurate and dangerous rhetoric comes on the heels of the suicides of at least four teenagers over the past month, all victims of anti-gay bullying or harassment. An additional seven teens committed suicide in the past year in one Minnesota school district alone; three of the teens’ suicides were connected to anti-gay bullying. Packer, who is 86 and one of the church’s most senior leaders, made his statements to a crowd of 20,000 – and millions more watching via satellite transmission -- during the church’s 180th Semi-annual General Conference in Salt Lake City.
“Words have consequences, particularly when they come from a faith leader. This is exactly the kind of statement that can lead some kids to bully and others to commit suicide,” said Joe Solmonese, president of HRC. “When a faith leader tells gay people that they are a mistake because God would never have made them that way and they don’t deserve love, it sends a very powerful message that violence and/or discrimination against LGBT people is acceptable. It also emotionally devastates those who are LGBT or may be struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identify. His words were not only inaccurate, they were also dangerous.”
As a church leader immersed in these issues, Packer should know better. The American Psychological Association and American Psychiatric Association have both concluded that same-sex attraction is normal and that “reparative” therapy – like the kind being advocated by the Mormon Church -- is unhealthy and harmful. This is not the first instance in which the church has spewed lies related to same-sex orientation. Last summer, another senior member of the church’s hierarchy, promised that same-sex attraction could be cured. “If you are faithful, on resurrection morning – and maybe even before then – you will rise with normal attractions for the opposite sex,” Mormon Church leader Bruce Haffen told a conference.
Packer also took the opportunity to dismiss efforts toward marriage equality as ones that “legalize immorality.” Ominously during this speech, the apostle declared that the church hierarchy’s opposition to marriage equality “…will not change.” As HRC has chronicled on its website www.NOMExposed.org, the Mormon Church is a key funder of the so-called National Organization for Marriage (NOM), a powerful fringe group that regularly encourages anti-gay attitudes and behaviors. The church was also a prime funder of efforts to pass Prop. 8 in California. NOM board member and famous Mormon writer, Orson Scott Card, has said, “Any government that attempts to change it [marriage] is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage…”
"Elder Packer's remarks in General Conference were not only ill-advised and contrary to fact, but were mean-spirited and will be perceived by many as bullying,” said David Melson, Executive Director of Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons. “We see no potential for good coming from his words and much possible damage, to the church, to individuals, and to families. The LDS Church should be a source of love, compassion, and conciliation, and not of fear and unfeeling petty hatred."
My concern is that people will read the many commentary's which will be presented this week, combine them with the Prop 8 political fiasco and decide that the LDS church, as either a spiritual or a political/temporal entente is uncaring and unfeeling - which has not been my experience. My larger fear is that SGAttracted young men and women will glean from all commentary and original comments made by EBKPacker that anyone considers them to be less than, or damaged.
As a quick Side bar, my father has experienced what I fear is becoming a standard for men. He was once outspoken, grandiose and aggressive in his political views and moral stances - even with his friends and family. It was, honestly, rather off-putting. He then seemed to develop a kind of political correctness that made his stances less offencive. As I understand it, his views didn't change, but his approach became kinder. I liked him better. I didn't cringe when he spoke to a group of people. Now he is older and wiser - but he has gone back to rude and confrontational. Where I may have listened politely to what he had to say when he was being "nice dad", I now have little tolerance for his assaults. I talk to him less and less.
Put into context, there is nothing that was said during this conference that has not been said before. I may or may not be ecstatic at the manner in which this was presented - especially in conjunction with the horrors that have been perpetrated toward young SGA men this last week, but the doctrine has been consistent. Take away the abrasive manner in which this talk was given (I cant say as Abinadi to Noah was any more silver tongued) and the principals are correct. Homosexual behaviors, BEHAVIORS, PEOPLE!, are contrary to the Lords plan. (As in, I may want to smack my mother-in-law, but I am only in trouble if I actually do it.)
However, and I cant believe I still have to make this stipulation, Homosexuals are not contrary to the Lords plan. Homosexuals are not less-than. Gays are not inferior to straights. Being heterosexual does not give you a leg up, or a head start to heaven. This is not a contest, people!
My Heavenly Father is the same as your Father. He made me with love and kindness and purpose - just like he did you.
Here's the rub (there is always a rub) I am GAY! No butts about it. I am also a believing true blue dyed in the wool Latter day Saint. Let me go out on the same limb I named myself Gay with (a term not PC anymore) and say I am a Mormon. I wear the clothing. I went to BYU. I take the sacrament and teach Sunday school. Still gay, gay gay. Yet I understood what BKPacker was saying. I knew what he was going to say before he said it. He has always been a bit in-your-face, and where he stands on issues is not going to change because he is now sitting.
Look at the doctrine.
No, it wasn't as soft or as fuzzy as if the talk had been interpreted by Elder...well, Elder Soft and Fuzzy. (You know who you are!) It may have been a little over the top for me as a SGAttracted individual, but I will get over it and not use it as an excuse to take a detour.
I will still follow the prophet.
Published: Oct. 3, 2010 at 10:44 PM
SALT LAKE CITY, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- A senior Mormon leader said in a sermon Sunday in Salt Lake City same-sex attraction can be overcome and non-heterosexual unions are morally wrong.
Boyd K. Packer, the 86-year-old president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Quorum of Twelve Apostles and considered next in line to be president of the church, rejected the position gays are "pre-set and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn tendencies toward the impure and unnatural."
"Not so! Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone?" Packer said. "Remember he is our father."
Packer told more than 20,000 church members at the LDS Conference Center and millions more watching the church's 180th Annual General Conference via satellite those who advocate legalizing same-sex marriage seek to "legalize immorality," The Salt Lake Tribune
"A law against nature would be impossible to enforce," he said. "Do you think a vote to repeal the law of gravity would do any good?"
Packer's sermon drew from the church's 1995 declaration, "The Family: A Proclamation to the World," to back his contention that the power to create offspring "is not an incidental part of the plan of happiness," but "the very key."
Of course this is what we latched onto. Maybe this is the miracle we needed. These are selective quotes from the conference talk. Reading the entire talk is better, but my understanding is that it is not out until Thursday. This will give us time to ponder and discuss.
So, O ye of SGAttraction, gays, homosexuals and/or the people who are foolish enough to love us, what say you?
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Maybe I was looking for something. I wouldn't put it past me to sit back and wait. I will met you halfway as long as I see you starting first. I've done that sorta thing before. Its a little arrogant, but it works at times.
Ive been such a stanch supporter of the General authorities these last several months that I may have felt a bit entitled today just to sit and wait for the show to come to me - like when you have a free ticket to a performance or when you have heard how good a movie is - somehow it has to exceed all expectations in order to pacify. I was wanting the conference crew to do well, to say the right things, to explain why suddenly it is very unpopular to be a Mormon in the wake of Prop 8.
I think I was secretly looking for a fire to be lit under a soaking wet offering burning it to a crisp so I could say I told you so to all my friends who are on the other side of so many issues. I wanted to have something that I could hold up and wave and say - we have something too that makes us valid and just as important.
There was no banner waved. There was no fire. Nor was there a sea parted, mountains moved - not one seagull devoured so much as a hamburger bun let alone a cricket while I watched.
And it didn't start off well. The one general authority with whom I have had a personal relationship was moved to Emeritus statues. So no more special treatment.
But then the talks came one by one. Non-pretentious, straight forward, unwavering and affirming. Repent so you can holds gods priesthood power, modern day prophets are key, wisdom of the world is secondary to knowledge of God, empowerment, inclusion - the only thing mission was a chorus of the sisters sledge and "We Are Family". Its only day one and I have had so much of what I've needed. Leave aside pridfullness, always wear shoes around scorpions, good choices beget good choices - all things I need to fill gaps I have been working on for the last six months.
So, I feel good about recommending conference - even two more sessions at two hours a pop - Just as long as you can do something with your hands like make sill putty animals or play majong. I have actually had to resort to bringing my diet coke/mountain Dew Red to Priesthood session- to my bishops chagrin.
So, boys, Miracle week is in full swing. So don't be shy. Find your miracle. Make it happen.
And when its all over, I will tell you mine if you tell me yours.