Just my rambling thoughts about being gay and Mormon

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Political Spin Winner for today...

I rarely look at the Deseret News website because in my opinion it has stopped being a newspaper and is now just a propaganda machine for the right. But... I thought I'd just check it out today to see if they had anything to say about this weekend's Pride Festival in SLC. Anyway, what I found surprised me even more than their normal fodder. 

Their article about today's court decision (that found key parts of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional) had a very unique spin for a headline.  You can see it below.
Way to spin it DesNews!  While the court actually found in favor of gay marriage the DesNews found a way to make it look like a loss for gay marriage to the casual headline reader. 

BTW, no article about Pride. But don't miss the hot story about how a Utah couple learned that recovery from porn addiction is possible.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bunch of Amateurs

Today on Radio West, Doug Fabrizio interviewed Jack Hitt, the author of a new book, "Bunch of Amateurs: A Search for the American Character." In the book the author explores the idea that amateurs have had a significant influence on the success of America, primarily because they drive change. He cites many examples of where an organization with a vested interest in some field is significantly disrupted by amateurs who can see the plainly obvious things that the institution has become blind to (my words, not his). 

It struck me that several of the authors main ideas can also be applied to gay rights and acceptance of gays, particularly within the Mormon church.  
  • Amateurs are willing to look wider for truth because they have no vested interest 
  • Amateurs get to the simple truth and the right answer because they have to pressure to conform to the institutions idea of "correct"
  • Institutions create a bubble of belief (you see what you want to see) 

When you look back on LDS church history there are many examples of ideas that were created by lay members (amateurs), not the general church leaders, that later become important parts of church practice.  These ideas include: 

  • Primary
  • Giving blacks the priesthood
  • Relief Society
  • The Welfare Program
and many many others.  In fact, most of the church programs were originally ideas generated by individuals or groups of members. The general church leadership has been much less creative and less able to solve the day to day challenges in the lives of members.

It will be the same with the acceptance of gay marriage. It will come from members who see the obvious truth that gay members are blessed in a unique way and they should not be penalized for being who they are. When enough members feel this way, it will become part of the church.

Don't bother me with the facts...

Another reason why you should run as far as possible from Evergreen...
 News story in the Salt Lake Tribune:

Sunday, May 13, 2012

LDS philanthropy goes to .....

This past week I visited a community center where high school kids who are outcasts from their schools and community gather to have friends and support from each other and adults who care about them. Many of them are outcasts because they don't fit the community model of acceptable sexual orientation and gender roles.  

Their community center is clean and cared for but it is very sparely furnished with mismatching furniture, appliances, and other fixtures. The kids gain entry to the facility through a locked door to prevent those who might want to harm them from entering. The center is prohibited from advertising in either the schools or churches to let the kids know of the existence of the community center so they learn of it by word of mouth. 

I was blown away by the spirit of love, friendship, tolerance, and lack of judgement that existed within the center.  

I could not help but realize that if the LDS Church were at all involved with this community center for kids, the place would be prominent instead of being hidden away behind a locked door. It would be furnished with matching furniture and beautiful landscaping. I like it more the way it is. However, I could not help but wonder why the LDS Church chooses what it chooses to support.
The same day I came home and learned that the LDS Church had donated $4 million dollars to the University of Utah Law School toward it's building fund for a new facility. I love the University of Utah and am grateful that the law school is building a new facility. It certainly will be a good thing for the school.

New law schools, big shopping centers, building lavish temples with fountains and gardens...they all look beautiful but what about the kids who need help? I realize that the church does a lot of good in the community with LDS social services, etc., so please don't post me your comments about that. 

Corporations support causes that ultimately come back to benefit them in some way. I've been involved with enough corporations and discussions within them to know that they aren't all that altruistic to donate without generally having some expectation of return, even if it's just un-quantifiable good will.

My expectation for a church is somewhat different. I expect that a church would do good for the sake of doing good with little expectation of return...sort of seems like the Christ-like model to me. I'm not naive enough to believe that churches always do that, but on a general scale I would expect churches to be more altruistic than corporations.
The LDS Church in my opinion operates more like the corporation it is than like the church it wants to be. The polished appearance, corporate like branding, and well orchestrated communications tell the story. It does good things. My thoughts run more toward, "what could it be doing that it is not doing?"  
As an organization, the LDS Church is certainly more focused on eternity than here and now. For me, I'm no longer satisfied with the answer, "God will fix it in the end." Do we use this too often as a cop out to avoid doing more today? As we speed along to attend our beautifully furnished and manicured Stake Centers and temples how many outstretched hands do we bypass and ignore?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Buffalo Soldier

Another thing I've been thinking about is how great Bob Marley was! I've come to better appreciate his music and what he was about. Bob had a deeply spiritual side to him. 

His religion was a little strange, but to each his own. He was a member of the Rastafari movement, whose culture believed that the Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia was a decedent of King Solomon and that Salassi was a God. Bob Marley became an ardent proponent of Rastafari.  

He had a passion for freedom that comes across in his music very powerfully. Today, his songs are classics. His image today is synonymous with rebellion, particularly by people who don't know much about him. But he was not rebellious just for the sake of rebellion. He urged people to look beyond their circumstances and realize they could make themselves better. To him that meant freeing your mind from the mental slavery of your culture.

Bob Marley's album, "Exodus" is a legacy to his social conscience. It was named by Time magazine as “Album of the Century,”  and his song "One Love" was designated "Song of the Millennium" by the BBC. 
Recently, Kevin MacDonald released a full length motion picture, "Marley", about the life of Bob Marley, that I've wanted to see. It is only in limited release so it's somewhat hard to find in theaters. I watched it on ITunes and I thought it was really good.

"Marley" is advertised as "the definitive life story of the musician, revolutionary, and legend, from his early days to his rise to international superstardom. Made with the support of the Marley family, the film features rare footage, incredible performances and revelatory interviews with the people that knew him best."

If you want to know more about the man and his music I recommend it.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Homoerotic religion

Ever notice how many religious paintings have a homoerotic undertone?

...or in some cases, just plain homoerotic message?

just saying...



I need to catch up on some posts that I've been thinking about for a while.  First, I just wanted to express how PROUD I am to be gay today. We have such an amazing community of people who care about each other. This past week I attended the event in response to bullying and the recent suicide of Jack Reese in Utah. It was really amazing and I was able to meet several people that I know either from the blogging world or the community. The speakers were so honest in their expressions of love and acceptance and hope. Society in general, and Utah in particular, are missing so much when people marginalize those who are different. I would not want to be part of any other group. We come from many backgrounds and have wide interests but have a common bond.