Just my rambling thoughts about being gay and Mormon

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Baby, I was born this way...but what happens when I die?

Are there gay people in heaven?  The answer is I don't know and I don't really think anyone else does either.  Let's start with some of my basic assumptions.  You may disagree, but for me it makes sense that there was something  before this life and there will be something after this life.  If there is nothing before and nothing after then I've really wasted my time.  I should have raped, pillaged and stolen to get whatever I want whenever I want it.  Why spend one minute concerned about anyone but yourself?

But humans seem to have an inherent need and ability for love and nurture, both to give and receive it.  For me this speaks about a larger existence than the here and now.  Without getting clinical in a definition of what the something before and the something after are, I believe they must exist.

So if the something before and the something after this life exist then what influence, if any, do they have on this phase of life?  I don't believe we know.  This is an easy area for religions to exploit, and they have done it with greed and gusto.  Claiming to know more than the common people, religious leaders can and have used fear and the threat of punishment and/or the promise of glory to mold the actions of the followers.  Give us money or you'll burn in hell is as old as the earth itself as are many other threats/promises of the afterlife.  

Mormons are particularly good at explaining a person's stance in this life as either a blessing or a curse related to something a person did in the life before.  Other religions, particularly in the far east do the same.  However, no one has ever been able to provide any hard facts to support this notion.  It is however, very satisfying to the "blessed" to claim that the "cursed" got what they deserved.

It always strikes me as interesting that the things the religious leaders like will certainly exist in the afterlife while the things the religious leaders don't like certainly will not.  Hum...who's making up these rules, anyway?  

As humans we are each very unique.  We have our own personal set of strengths and weaknesses.  The diversity of strengths and weaknesses is huge.  A very small example: some of us have leadership, athletic, language, math, kindness, spirituality, and intuition ability beyond the norm.  Did we bring some, or any, of these traits from a prior life and do we take any of them with us when we die or is it just random rolling of the DNA?  I don't know.  

I've heard at funerals for people with singing ability that they certainly will be singing with the choir in heaven.  Does this hold true for folks like Freddie Mercury who also had obvious musical ability or just for the choir boys?  I've also heard it said of leaders who die that they are helping to organize the afterlife.  Does this apply to folks like Genghis Khan or just the christian religious leaders?  

Or, do we all get reset at death with blank slates and the basket of gifts gets passed out again?  Seems like a waste to start over with blank slates.  I can imagine the gifted musician, or mathematician, or the person of physical beauty, being pissed off to have lost the gift he/she spent a life time with.  Or maybe we all get everything.  We all get to be beautiful and talented and smart, except that the people who already got that stuff on earth would be getting it twice, is that fair?

What does this have to do with being gay?  Nothing much, except that I believe that  churches need to be honest.  If you believe that our individual characteristics and abilities are carried forward into the next life, it's pretty inconsistent to say that gay people don't exist in heaven.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Utah Mormon homophobia continues

It is truly exhausting to be gay in Utah.  When will people stop being afraid?  This article in the SL Tribune had over 900 comments after being posted only 30 minutes.

Mormon ward’s ban on ‘cross-gender’ costumes draws ire


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Been away for a while

Nice vacation in the sun...back to the grind now.  Not much new going on so I'll post a few pictures that I like ;)

Who doesn't like Blaine, I mean really...?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Talk with the Stake Pres

Well, this may turn out badly but I took a risk.  The Stake President's Exec Secretary called and wanted to set up a meeting for me with the Stake President.  I haven't been to church for a while and I'm sure someone's reported seeing me out mowing my lawn with my shirt off so I knew I was probably going to be on "the list".  I agreed to see the Stake President today and just got back.  Sure enough, he commented on me not wearing a shirt while mowing the lawn.  

Overall, I think it went reasonably well.  These things always start out a little tense with some trivial chit chat.  I was calm and had collected a few thoughts that I wanted to express to him.  I said I thought I could help him by giving him some suggestions about how to treat gay members who come to him seeking counsel. We spent most of the time talking about how the church treats gay people.  I think he was better informed when we finished.

I told him I was not particularly interested in being active in the church, holding a temple recommend or wearing garments.  I asked him why I should continue to participate in and support an organization that 1) wishes I did not exist, 2) believes I am the devil incarnate, and 3) would destroy me if it could?  He had no answer.

We talked for about 45 minutes.  I was pleased that he did not get preachy. I think he really wanted to understand.  To help him understand I left him with a copy of the DVD "Latter-Days".  That was the big risk I took.  I told him that he would not like some parts but to try and focus on the feeling and emotions of Aaron (the missionary who gets excommunicated).  I told him we could talk again after he watches it.  Will he freak out?  Will he want to excommunicate me (again) after he see's it?  Or, will his compassion toward gay members be increased?

More to come..........

Wow from Elder Bednar

On the Wheat and Tares website, Jake posted about a Q&A session that Elder Bednar held in the UK recently while visiting there.  The following quote from Elder Bednar is from Jake's blog, 

"One of the better generic questions was the difference between emotion, good thoughts, and the spirit. Elder Bednar’s response to this was that it doesn’t matter, as long as you are being good. If the thought or feeling invites you to be better and do more good, then it doesn't really matter if it’s the spirit telling you or just your own thoughts and emotions."

My response is wow, that is amazing and a BIG problem. It goes a long way toward explaining the cultural and appearance prejudices that exist in the church. 

Everybody has their own unique perspective on "good" but according to this explanation, anything that I have good thoughts about or positive emotions for is "good", if I am being  good. That puts porn in a whole new light, but I won't go there.

If I have "good thoughts and emotions" about some idea or some person, that is essentially the same as revelation?  If I'm uncomfortable with someone or some idea because it is foreign to me or it is outside my range of experience that is confirmation that it is not good or acceptable to God?  Really??  

So because church leaders didn't have "good" thoughts and emotions about black people they were denied the priesthood. I get it now.  Because church leaders don't have "good" thoughts or emotions about gay people, they can't possibly be "good".   

Wheat and Tares website

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs - farewell

Great quote from Steve, "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice."

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Priesthood Session

Last night in Priesthood session, President Monson said, "May we ever be courageous and prepared to stand for what we believe."  

OK, I can support that.  I will courageously stand up for those who are demeaned and sidelined by the LDS Church.  I will courageous stand by my believe that the church is absolutely wrong in the way it disrespects it's gay members and damages them by encouraging them to act in ways that are inherently harmful and destructive to themselves. 

President Monson and the other church leaders act like they don't have a clue about what being courageous means in the lives of gay Mormons. They don't understand the courage it takes to walk away from the foundation of your entire life because you can't live a lie any longer, or the courage it takes to tell your family and church associates that you are gay, or the courage it takes to act despite the crush of condemnation and shame that is heaped upon you by those who profess to love you.  

Also last night Elder Holland said, the church needs "young men already on the team to stay on it and stop dribbling out of bounds just when we need you to get in the game and play your hearts out."  I wonder if he has considered why the young men feel the need to go "out of bounds".  Could it be that the church does not provide what they need? So typical. No discussion about what the young men need, just what the church needs out of them.  Use them, abuse them, and discard them.  Sounds like the corporation has overridden the "church" again.  

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Twitter Mormon

Elder Bednar said in his talk that we've been trained to text and to tweet and we should use it ... 

Saturday night out

So tonight is the priesthood session of LDS General Conference and President Obama is addressing the Human Rights Campaign's national dinner in Washington, D.C. Given a choice, I would prefer to attend the HRC dinner.  I'll probably stay home and watch a movie ... maybe Angels in America.

The Advocate