Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Merry Christmas


Peace On Earth...And Please Don't Scare Children Or Straighties


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Read

Please don't let this next DADT essay to deter you from reading and commenting on "Cal Thompson and the Pseudonym". I didn't mean to distract, but I had to comment on the vote.

Changing Minds

Pigs are flying
Barry Goldwater changed his mind, but not until the senate was in his rear view mirror.  He was quick it say, later in his life  "You don't have to be straight to shoot straight," and he was quoted this week by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who himself has been off and on in his support of the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.


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

Calvin Thompson and the Pseudonym

I am a homosexual Mormon man. I have to hold my breath after saying that phrase. Someone usually makes a break for it or coughs up a lung.

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

Pro Activity And The Mediocre Sunday School Lesson

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 BOMM

I am not sure how this relates to Gay Mormondom, but I am posting anyway. Book of Mormon the Musical tickets are available. The show could really stink. However there is a chance that it wont. I wish it well. I wish it really well.

"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.
http://www.broadway.com/shows/book-mormon/buzz/154531/now-on-sale-book-your-tickets-for-the-book-of-mormon-from-the-creators-of-south-park/

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

New and Improved

Happy, Happy People
There is a recent Handbook available to leaders of the LDS church.  It is a comprehensive listing of how to handle situations - a leaders dream book.  Were I a leader, I would have copies for every room of my house.


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

DADT - Wink, Wink, Nod, Nod


I am having a hard time with DADT. 

On one hand I understand that there may be some that are uncomfortable sharing space with one attracted to the same gender.  On the other hand, I get to share space with people I am uncomfortable with every day. 

True, I am not rooming, bunking, showering and working with these people.  Even having roommates in college that got on my nerves,  I could still get out of the apartment and go somewhere without said "offending" person - taking a break.  

Military folk most times are not afforded a break. 

Sexuality is private.  Sexuality should not keep one from doing ones job.  My sexuality may be none of any ones business unless I want to make it so.  Still, do I need to hide it in order to work, or live or fight?

I want to tread carefully when it comes to fighting men and women who are protecting my rights and freedoms.  I respect them and their space.  But aren't these kind of freedoms the very thing they are fighting for and protecting?

What say you?


Friday, December 3, 2010

Sometimes Ya Just Gotta


One Grecian Urn...


Thursday, December 2, 2010

More Absence...or Less Normal (Part 2)

Look Familiar to anyone?
The suggestion was recently made to me to spend the Sunday school time where I am supposed to teach about the old testament to instead answer questions about SGA/Homosexuality in the Mormon church.  I think I will pass for, oh, several hundred reasons.  However I am happy to open the blog up to these FAQ's. 


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.