Wednesday, April 24, 2013

All the news print

There has been a lot of speculation in the last few weeks about, get this, not if there are gay players in football, but how many will be coming out this year.  The race has started.

The first football player in a major American team sport that plays for the other team may be a new kid from Middle Tennessee State, kicker Alan Gendreau reported to be a "deeply religious" place kicker who has been openly gay since he was 15 years old.

Mr. Gendreau was the Sun Belt Conference's leading scorer, and it looks like the Jets may be one of the teams willing to give him a try.

A little love on the field
Outsports editor Cyd Zeigler, says Gendreau could make history simply by being the first openly gay player to try out for an NFL team and the first openly gay player to make a roster.
Gendreau has been open about his homosexuality since he was in high school in Florida, 

Editor Zeigler says he was introduced to the football player, when he did a story on Gendreau.   At that time, three years ago,Gendreau insisted on keeping his identity private because he was afraid that the knowledge of his sexual preference would hurt any chances he had of playing football professionally. This time, the story is different.
"(Gendreaue) was afraid it would hurt his ability to get to the NFL," Zeigler says. "I could not tell him that it would not. Today I can."

It seems that the Jets and the Carolina Panthers are the teams looking -- not for the first openly gay player -- but for a good kicker. Since Gendreaue has not played for a year, he will probably not be any ones first choice.  However, he is hoping that he will be invited to some of the professional teams preseason/selection practices where he thinks he can impress the coaches.

As one who reports on things...whatever..., I am always afraid that people like Mr. Gendreaue will end up as someones poster child for abuse, either as the gay who wasn't selected, or the token gay dude who was only picked to be politically correct.

As the pendulum swings, either one may happen until we get over ourselves, and then hopefully, sexuality will not play a part in any ones selection for anything public.

I hope he gets a chance because of his skill as a kicker, and not because of anything else.

(And, just to keep things in a mature perspective, BYU kicked MTS's butt.)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

What would you be if I weren't gay? Or... Would I be gay if you didn't drink?

I recently started to read a blog written by an alcoholic.

First off, is everyone who has made the decision not to drink an alcoholic? I suppose if they were just a person deciding not to drink, staying dry would hardly be an issue to blog about -- just someone not drinking. It seems to turn into an issue if the person not drinking wants to drink but has decided it is in his best interest not to -- for what ever reason.

His states-of-being, all of them -- mental, physical, possibly emotional -- want to drink, but he over-rides that desire or longing and abstains. (Is this what is meant by overcoming the natural man, or are they speaking of something more etheral?)

...And we have so much in common!

I always get into trouble when I compare my issue, being attracted to my own sex -- gay, as it were -- to anything else. Any metaphor is inadequate and incomplete. I keep doing it, however, and will again here.

Is being SSA’ed only an issue if I don’t want the SS attraction? If I believed that same sex attr… oh, heck. I’m just gonna say "gay." If being gay fit in with my belief system -- my states of being -- sociologically, emotionally/ mentally, religiously/ spiritually -- would my body fit in better than I seem to currently being married to a woman and staying faithful to her?

(Just a thought. Is there any straight man whose sexuality does not fit in with his belief system?  Or is it more correct to wonder if there is any man who doesn't have a problem being straight, but wishes he could overcome the porno or the casual sex? And this is why I blog.

If I felt I had the Lords OK to be gay, would I be living that lifestyle? Would I have a partner, would I be trying to have a family? Would I be living as many hetros do and remain uncommitted as I played the field in one of its many different forms ( Would I be a man that needed good health care coverage, a man about town, or someone who is more discrete,

I think along the same lines about my involvement in the church. If I was not a member of the LDS church -- no being raised in Idaho (I know that raised is for cattle and crops, but I am not gonna say reared,… just not gonna) no mission, or Rick’s College or BYU, no temple or priesthood -- would I be looking for something to make my life worth while? Or, would I be happy where I was, drinking spritzers in a nice flat in a good neighborhood back east with my partner, Stan. Stan the man.
Think of all the professional
contacts I can make!

Would I be involved in any church, or would I be someone who believed that God is love, everywhere and nowhere.

Would I give to charity voluntarily? Or would someone be garnishing my wages because I didn’t pay my bills. And what would I do with all these cans of tuna and powered milk?

Right now I am sort of a closet republican.  Would I still be, or would I be something else out and about?

Please, don't let me be a Jets fan, or worse.  A Ute fan.

Who would I be if I wasn’t who I am? And is any of this my decision to make?

Monday, April 15, 2013

More (and more, and more) gay Mormons

I am always a little excited when I see information regarding Mormons and gay issues.  I know that the SGAed are only 5 to 7% of the humans on earth, and those that are LDS and gay are even fewer, but I am one, and I write to people like me.
I know you are, but what am I...?

"It simply seems to me that the majority of other gay Mormons often don’t “come out.” As a result of their silence, members of our faith have felt little incentive to even think about gays in the church. They (are) ignorant, and they have caused real hurt."

Brother Hales decided to try to educate, "so off to my humble YouTube channel I went."

He decided to publish his coming out to his family and friends:

"The weeks in which I came out to my friends and family were the most emotionally taxing of my life."

 But during that time the LDS church announced their new Web site, "The new site didn’t change the church’s teaching on sexuality and marriage as between a man and a woman, but it did encourage our members to talk about sexuality and welcome its gay members."

Talking about an issue.  YES! 
And while we are talking, here is another story heard on NPR about...a gay Mormon RM from Idaho Falls.  It's a similar story -- and important for me because it tells that same story that many of us have gone through/are going through.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Something gays all have heard and something we haven’t

Continuing the discussion from the last essay on tolerance as spoken by President Boyd K Packer in General Conference

“Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,
As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
we first endure, then pity, then embrace”  - Alexander Pope

Dude, you're old!  And we don't like your style!
I have always taken this to mean (or mien…ha, ha, ha) that if I see the monster, get cozy with the monster and let the monster hang with me, it will someday cuddle up to me and bite my head off.
I think that is the first meaning of this poem is thus:

Becoming accustom to something, doing it regularly, makes a hard task easier over time. (Think exercising or lifting weights, or running a mile) However, I am seeing another meaning in my old age.

Becoming accustom to something, doing it regularly makes a hard task easier over time. Only this is more of the frog in the pot of increasingly warming water variety -- be careful of what you think you are getting used to, especially if you are a frog, or a lobster.

Reminds me of…“That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do, not that the nature of the thing has changed, but that our power to do has increased." - R.W. Emerson, as quoted by Heber J Grant.

Tolerating, vs. building up tolerance. Words, words, words. I do not presume to translate for an apostle of the lord. As a writer on LDS and homosexual issues, I will try to make gospel sense of it from a practicing Mormon/gay viewpoint.

Yes, at first hearing, what was said by President Packer was abrupt. President Packer is often abrupt. I lower the font size to suggest that I am presenting information here that is not really the focus of my writing, but something I feel I should share.

I saw a facebook entry that suggested that 87 year old Brother Packer is old and cantankerous, that there are those in the hierarchy of the church who find him a bit exasperating. I have never really thought about it. I suppose in many regards they are like other men. So, I was not surprised when, just after President Packers remarks, a member of the quorum of the twelve stated (concerning the poem that Elder Packer had just read to the congregation at General Conference), “I look forward to the 88th version of that poem.”

Yes, Elder Packer is old. (May I remind us that Lehi was spoken off this way). He may be a bit cantankerous at times. Our job may be to find the truth in what he, and all the general authorities, say when they speak for the Lord, and then to live by what we know -- regardless of the likability factor of our leaders. But I tried to not to simply dismiss the discourse, as we remember that groups of people in the B of M dismissed the warnings of the prophets, most to disastrous effect. I looked for the truth in it.)

Was President Packer suggesting that we should diminish our capacity to endure hardship or pain? That long suffering and forbearance is not all it’s cracked up to be. Endurance, after all, is one meaning of the word tolerance. 

Perhaps he was insinuating that our minds are becoming less and less responsive to a physiological insult, or that our bodies respond less to substances with continued or repeated exposure? These are meanings of the word tolerate after all.But none of these connect dots. None of these explanations ring true.

I believe President Packer used the word tolerance as a “permitted deviation from the standard“. The dictionary suggests this form of tolerance is “sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own.

At least, etymologically speaking, that makes sense. I think a prophet warning his people to have a solid core, to be centered, to know -- possibly by experience and personal revelation -- what is right for us in our life, is more than acceptable.

So, what would it mean to have to excessively indulge someone’s belief or practice that is different than our own?

My bishop has neighbors next door that are known drug dealers. He is friendly, but he doesn’t have them over for brunch. It would be too dangerous for his family. That monster could eat them alive.

So, am I saying that we shouldn’t have gay friends over for brunch? It’s an imperfect metaphor and I can’t come up with a better one.

If we believe that moral cleanliness is crucial to living the life God the father would have us live, then becoming casual with anything that goes against that is not wise.

Certainly, we are not including the people who live a gay lifestyle, or those who are outright gay. I can’t imagine God’s son saying, no, you are gay so I am not going to hang around you.

Caution and prudence should be used in all things. We like so that the spirit of discernment can assist us, and we should follow the promptings of the spirit in all things - even having your gay neighbors over.

I am gay. I would want to be invited over to your house. I will not convert any of your kids. I may, however, admire your china.

So, wrapping up…
We should understand that the water in certain situations may be getting hotter than we are aware. There is truth in warnings from the church leaders, though occasionally we have to do our homework and look for it.

There should not be limits to our tolerance, our giving nature, our ability to forgive, the kindness that we share with others - even others who live different lifestyles.

I’ll say it again. when do we reach our limits of love, or of allowing others the same agency we fought over? I don’t do math well, but I heard something like 7 times seventy. And finely:

If you are on a diet, stay out of the donut shop.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The timely trend to tolerate

Would He tolerate me? Or would
He avoid me so that it wouldn't
Appear as if He approved of my lifestyle?
A local news source posted the following “LDS leader warns against being swallowed up in tolerance“.

Of course, I quickly clicked on to read. I watched conference -- 2 hours times five, and I didn't remember such a talk.  But, even as the news story was loading, I knew to whom they were referring. Boyd K Packer. How could it have been anybody else?

I hear some of you out there. “Not again” you are saying. Yes, again -- if by again you mean that he said something else that the same-gender attracted/gay community (those who are concerned over SGAed folk), will be upset over.

Frankly, if I were to take Elder Packer’s remarks at face value, I might be a little frustrated as well. But I believe that he is a prophet of the Lord. He may be staunch, unyielding, and as delicate as a bulldozer planting petunias, but when he speaks for the Lord, he speaks for the Lord. 

If I believed differently I would have no business writing a semi-conservative Mormon/gay blog. I would at least have to erase the “Mormon/priesthood” part of gaymormonman/priesthoodmen.

In another talk, Jeffrey R. Holland said something that I now realize could be directly related to Elder Packers comments - the key to unlock the real message. He said that what we as members of the church know now about the church waaaaay outweighs what we don’t know -- testimony wise.

So, I try to look at what Elder Packer said through those glasses. Here is what Elder Packer said.

“We need to be careful of the tolerance trend, so that we do not get swallowed up in it. The permissiveness afforded by the weakening of the laws of the land to tolerate and legalize immorality does not reduce the serious spiritual consequence that is the result from a violation of God’s law of Chastity.”

I think it is idea of being “swallowed up” in permissiveness that is getting to some.

Before we get into it, let me just …

My grandmother was famous for saying that we (those from Idaho) need to be careful being so open minded that our brains fall out. However, she was also famous for slipping in the muck during her first husbands funeral and starting a mud-slinging fest. I have pictures.

Concerning the falling out of brains: I think she meant that people sometimes loose their practical sense of right and wrong by allowing others to choose - even if we consider the idea, thought, or choice wrong, than we give the idea a chance. When others choose differently than we do, we question our own choices and sometimes feel obligated to change. Other than the obligations to change, I am OK reassessing my beliefs every so often.

I don’t think Grandma meant that tolerance would be the downfall of men, not in Idaho, at least.

I would like to hear from you before I post my defense/assessment/thoughts concerning President Packers remarks. What did you hear? Is Elder Packers talk relevant?

The news article -- 
Please see for President Packers talk

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Choose This

If the Catholic Church says it is not right to speak ill of ones neighbor, and are outspoken about it in the media, are they taking away your agency to gossip? I think most would say no.  The pontiff may not be happy with your choice, but it is your choice just the same.  Just don't run for Catholic of the year.

Do the Catholics still  have the right to speak out against speaking ill towards ones neighbors?  Do they have the right to say no to that on principal?

If the Seventh Day Adventists promote worship on a certain day over another, can you still choose to attend a Sunday school? Of course you can.  You may not be the most popular of all Adventists and they might decline your subscription to the WatchTower, but you are able to exercise your right to accept or not. 

If you squint, it could be Mormon.

So, do the SDA’s have a right to openly state their opinion?

If Mormons defend traditional marriage, even stating specifically that same sex marriage is wrong, can Matt still marry Bob? Certainly not in the Idaho Falls Temple, but they could try the YMCA or the church next door.

Agree or disagree, do the LDS have the same freedom of belief we all hope to have?

(Yes, there are factions that promote what I feel is are obvious wrongs -- retaliation killings, genital mutilation, etc.  These could be the exceptions that prove the rule) 

Do any of these statements/beliefs take away anyones right to choose?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Baby Steps and the LDS People

At least 20,000 LDS people and as many again as are listening to General Conference on TV, radio or the Internet were represented today at the close of the meeting by a woman. 
It's been a subtle thing.  Not many have noticed that prayer has been an all male thing in the conferences of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Sister Jean A. Stevens offered the closing prayer at the end of the Saturday morning service, the first time such has happened in the history of the Mormon church.  Spencer W. Kimball clarified the policy 35 years ago, when he stated that men and women were equally equipped to represent the congregation in prayer.
During a seminar of Regional Representatives on September 29, 1978, President Kimball said “The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve have determined that there is no scriptural prohibition against sisters offering prayers in sacrament meetings. It was therefore decided that it is permissible for sisters to offer prayers in any meetings they attend, including sacrament meetings, Sunday School meetings, and stake conferences. Relief Society visiting teachers may offer prayers in homes that they enter in fulfilling visiting teaching assignments.”
Amen.  I agree.  I add my name to the petition just spoken.
For some this is just a nice thing.  For me this is an action that brings me hope.  It has come, as I understand it, as an instruction of the Lord after his prophet made inquiry as to the course of action -- possibly as members and non-members alike put forth their desire, or made public a question of policy much as when the priesthood was allowed to all worthy males.

So, what she said.  I am in agreement.  I sign the vocal petition every time I say the word, regardless of who said it first.