Just my rambling thoughts about being gay and Mormon

Friday, September 30, 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011

My wish for you

I was so completely disgusted with what I read online today about the Evergreen International conference.  Evergreen's teachings are wrong and extremely hurtful.  But rather than comment on that, here is what I wish;

I wish I could have a conversation with every young gay Mormon.  I would tell each one that he/she is not defective or broken and that they are the way God created them and wants them to be.  Each of us should enjoy the wonderful gift of being gay and love and live life to the fullest.  Don't waste time or energy fighting imaginary demons placed in your head by religion or culture.  Banish the word struggle from your life and go with your heart.  It will not lead you wrong.  Life is too short to be unhappy and conflicted.  

You are wonderful. Go be true to yourself. If that means getting away from your family or religion or moving to a new place -- DO IT. Have the courage to live your life, not someone else's life. Be who you are not who you think you should be. 

You are stronger and braver than you know. Go find your place in the world and love, and give, and be authentic, and you will be happy and have a great life.  Don't be afraid of making mistakes. Life is about making lots of them. Embrace your mistakes and your vulnerabilities. 

Don't hide. Embrace your sexuality and your emotions. Learn mindfulness.  Ignore those who hate or judge. Break some rules but don't hurt yourself or others. Travel and learn about people and places. You will find new homes for your heart. Don't read the news too often or let the calamity in the world overwhelm you. Life moves in a cycle of good and bad. The bad will pass and the good should be celebrated. 

Monday, September 19, 2011


What is worthiness? Who is worthy? What are you worthy of and who decides?  Inside the Mormon church there is more talk about worthiness than in just about any other organization that I know of.  In the context of Mormonism, worthiness typically refers to a judgement made by a bishop or other priesthood leader who is designated to decide upon the worthiness of individual members.  Often this is done in conjunction with temple recommend interview questions or when a person is called to perform some job in the church. 

Church members may believe that this is a measure of how acceptable they are to God. I believe that LDS culture reinforces this belief, which if not outright false is certainly full of holes.  The problem of course is that it is impossible for a mortal person to actually judge someones worthiness as if he/she were in fact God. The mortal judgement of worthiness is always subject to prejudice, emotion, past experience, and false perceptions.  I am convinced that the church culture significantly over emphasizes the opinion of church leaders in deciding upon the worthiness of individual members.  Worthiness criteria can be used to the significant advantage of church leaders who want to influence members behavior toward their preferred pattern of behavior.  It can also be very damaging to individuals who believe that the judgement of church leaders is a representation of their acceptance to God.

Worthiness can be both intrinsic and earned.  You and I are intrinsically worthy of being loved and respected by ourselves and those we associate with.  We don't need to earn this worthiness, it exists because we exist.  

Earned worthiness is simply a measurement against a standard.  Another way to look at earned worthiness is to view it as a right to do something, similar to a license or a permit.  For example, I meet the qualifications to hold a driver's license therefore I am worthy of driving a car, although we don't frequently use the word worthiness in this context in the secular world.  If I meet the qualifications to hold a temple recommend then I am worthy to be admitted to the temple.  

Because earned worthiness criteria are set by the organization that grants the permission, it can be used to the significant advantage of organization leaders who want to influence members behavior toward their preferred pattern of behavior. We choose what we want to be permitted (worthy) to do and not do.  This type of worthiness really says very little about our relationship to God.  

I believe we should place a much greater emphasis on intrinsic worthiness. It is more powerful and meaningful in our lives and has the greatest potential to positively influence families and society. If intrinsic worthiness were valued as great a earned worthiness in the LDS church there would be much greater love and acceptance.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Accepting Marriage Equality

Here's post I started in Sept but never go around to finishing...

If Dick Cheney is in favor of marriage equality because of his personal experience with his daughter, then it's possible for anybody to switch sides.  He, like so many hetero folks, began to understand because of his relationship with someone he knows who is gay, in this case, his daughter.  Here is a quote from the Advocate article:

"As you know, Dick and I have a daughter who is gay, with a wonderful partner named Heather and two wonderful grandchildren," said Lynne Cheney in response to a question from Barbara Walters. She said her grandchildren are "well loved" and "I think whatever Mary and Heather decide to do is up to Mary and Heather."

When Joy Behar followed up with the former vice president, he easily agreed with his wife.

"You agree with that?" Behar asked. 

"Yes," he said straightforwardly. "I think freedom means freedom for everybody, and you ought to have the right to make whatever choice you want to make with respect to your own personal situation."

ADVOCATE article

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A false certainty

Mormons are pretty certain folks. They are absolutely certain about lots of stuff. Just read any conference report and you can make a long list of absolutes. Add in the faith-promoting-rumors and the list gets even longer.   

The trouble with absolutes is that they are rarely absolute.  Never and always are very long times and make fools out of most absolutes.  Everybody is a pretty large group.  To say that something applies for everyone is asking to be shown wrong.  

At various times Mormons and their leaders have been absolutely certain about many things that turned out later to be wrong. I'm not so much into rubbing anybody's nose in the past so I leave it to you to make the list of wrong predictions.  In fact, history shows that God seems to enjoy making exceptions to rules that folks thought were absolutes.  

I'm not faulting them for being wrong. We all make mistakes and we all believe things that later turn out to be false - that's life.  I'm just saying that I don't see much evidence that the LDS church is better at predicting the future than anybody else.

I just wish the church would tone it down a bit on the certainty scale.  They end up looking foolish and loosing loyalty when they make absolute statements then end up wrong.  Lots of Mormon's believe that when one of the Twelve or the First Presidency says anything, it immediately pegs out the certainty meter at the absolute top.  Now these guys may be smarter than most, they have lived longer than most, but they aren't God and they make mistakes.  Worst of all, in my opinion, is that the church leaders foster this mistaken belief in their infallibility by the personality cult worship they allow to exist in the church.  When they do make mistakes they NEVER admit they were wrong.  Kinda just makes you want to rub it in when they are wrong...

Live Authentically

Dr. Brene Brown (her website is here) teaches incredibly powerful and useful ideas for living a happy and productive life.  Today, I want to write about one idea that she teaches, which I believe is absolutely true and essential to a happy life, but an idea that is counter to much religious teachings.  The idea is (greatly paraphrased) that to live authentically increases the connection, compassion, and joy in our lives.  She states that this, "... can only happen when we let go of what we are supposed to be and embrace who we are."

In comparison, religion and the LDS church in particular, emphasizes that a person is  absolutely supposed to be a "certain way."  I won't go into the details of what you are supposed to be according to the church but if you've ever read the Ensign Magazine or a church lesson manual you have seen pictures and read about what you are expected to be.  

This ideal is emphasized over and over to the point where it becomes a significant barrier to the very happiness that it is supposed to exemplify.  Very rarely are we told at church to discover who we are and embrace it!  Diversity is not celebrated or encouraged.  The idea that the natural man is an enemy to God...is so often misapplied.

We are constantly reminded that we are not good enough, not obedient enough, and not near enough to the ideal as we should be.  The constant attention on the "ideal" places unnecessary focus on our trivial differences and undermines the great opportunity for diversity of thought and action.  It discourages the authenticity that promotes connection and happiness.

The destructive cycle of induced guilt and shame leads to an even greater lack of authenticity as church members frequently adopt a false front to appear more like the ideal Mormon.  

It's hard to overstate how incredibly harmful and scaring this cycle can be - and more so for gay members who are already keenly aware of their unique natures.  The result is that smart, talented, dynamic, creative, and unique individuals do not feel they can belong in the church setting and are much happier when they leave.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Utah news

Two stories in the Salt Lake Tribune today:
1- "Salt Lake City No. 3 in U.S. mid-size cities for same-sex couples"  (#3 in same sex couples), and,
2- "Sex and chocolate: Utah kids know a lot about one, not the other" (sex and chocolate)
I'm still thinking about how these two stories are related but I think it has something to do with the LDS church.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Gay bashing in SLC

The SL Tribune is reporting "Gay man attacked outside downtown Salt Lake City club"

What the attackers did to this poor man is just appalling.  Police are investigating a second incident that happened shortly before this attack when men broke into another man’s apartment and beat up his boyfriend.  Here is the link to the story.  

 gay man attacked

Many gays have been harassed or bashed at some time during their life.  This has to stop.  I feel ashamed to be living among people who would do such a horrible thing.