Sunday, December 28, 2008

Blessings of Testimony

This is a continuation of my earlier blog post, so you might want to read that first if you haven't already.

After the family stuff this morning, we came home, I threw my last blog post together, and then my daughter and I left for the last bits of our own church meeting. She was being set apart in the Beehive presidency today and wanted to be there for Young Womens. Sunday School was still in session, so I went to the Relief Society room, made sure I knew what songs we were singing, distributed hymn books evenly through the room, and then sat down and read through today's lesson. I prayed for the spirit as I read the lesson. I desperately wanted to feel some comfort from the morning's events, something to strengthen me. It was a nice conference talk about testimony from Elder Hales, and while no earth-shattering feelings came to my heart, I was happy that it would be an uplifting, benign lesson. My tears of earlier were gone and I was easily able to put on a happy face as women started to enter the room.

The lesson was good. Partway through, a sister was asked to get up and share part of her life story. She spoke of having a stroke a few years ago, and although she lost many of her memories, including scriptures and hymns that she knew by heart, she still knew that she had a testimony of God and Jesus Christ. She spoke of how our testimonies can truly help us through times of trial.

Then another sister sang a song, "I have a testimony." It was an oldie, so I don't know the exact title or composer, but the words were touching.

Finally, the instructor got up and concluded, bore her testimony of what a blessing it is to have a testimony during times of trial, and then she left about 15 minutes for people to bear their testimonies. It was silent for a while. I had time to put thoughts together, thinking about the church and my testimony, and I've blogged about this before, but I have been so grateful that my strong testimony has so far kept me staying in the church. My heart started to pound. I started to think through what I would say if I actually got up. I told myself that it was silly to get up and really tell them how I was feeling right now. Finally, someone got up and broke the silence. My heart did not slow. She sat down, a few seconds elapsed and I was on my feet, tears rolling down my face, my body shuttering as I sobbed. I can't remember exactly what I said, but it was something like this:

"I'm not sure I should even get up and say this, but my heart is pounding. I am so grateful for my testimony. I am really struggling right now with the church's recent political activity. It has really tested me. Scott and I would have left the church weeks ago if it weren't for our testimonies. We were both brought up in the church, and it is hard to let go of something that has been part of our lives for so long. I know God lives. I know he loves me. I know Jesus is the Christ and that he is there for me. I know the gospel is true.

But it has been so hard. Just this morning I attended a baby blessing. The high counsel spoke and the talks were both on the very thing I struggle with. By the end of the meeting, I was crying and saying to myself that I never wanted to go back to church. But I had a calling to fulfill here, I hadn't arranged for a substitute, so I came to lead the music and to hope for a good church experience. It has been just what I needed.

I love all of you sisters so much. I have felt your love for me and Scott and our family over the last couple of months. Your support has been amazing as you have reached out to us and loved us. The only thing I ask of you more is to pray for us to be able to hold onto our testimonies and make it through this. It is harder to stay than you can even imagine.

Thanks again. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."


A couple of other sisters got up right after me. They were tearful and poignant. The last one was my "favorite" RS teacher. She threw in something preachy at the end of her testimony that sounded more like one of her lessons, something about following the prophet, etc.

The lady conducting got up to close the meeting. I was trying to stop my crying so that I could be ready to lead the closing hymn. Then she goes and says, "Sarah, I want you to know how much we all love you and are praying for you." There go the tears again. The lady behind me offered to lead. I shook my head and stood up. I cried through the closing song, "Silent Night". Everyone knows the words to that familiar Christmas hymn, but their eyes were glued to their books instead of at my red and puffy face. Then, I gave the closing prayer as I had been asked to do at the beginning of the meeting. The tears subsided and my voice was strong and sure.

I had barely returned to my seat to get my purse and I instantly had a line of sisters beside me to hug me. They were crying with me. They told me they loved me, that they honor my strength, that everything will work out, to stay strong, that they are praying for me. The line kept going and going. My "favorite" R.S. teacher was the only one to offer advice in addition to comfort. Read things on both sides of the issue, follow the prophet, you will know that he is right and it is God's will. I just pleasantly smiled and told her that my research and prayers were not one-sided.

Finally, the room was clear except for the Relief Society President and my next door neighbor, both of whom I sent letters to in August. RS Pres asked me what more she could do for me. I told her to just love us. Then I added to that: just love us, don't judge us, don't offer us advice. Scott and I have both prayed about this a lot, and we still feel like we should side with our gay friends rather than the church. Don't judge us for that. Giving us advice to the contrary will push us away more than anything else. I told them that we are doing much good, that we have many gay friends we have met through our blogs, and we are their angels and they are our angels. It is a hard thing, but at least my marriage is strong even if I am struggling with the church.

Both sisters nodded and cried with me. I came home and cried some more. I think it is finally working its way out of my system. What a day. Thank you for all of your support and prayers.

Baby blessings and cursings

Today we had the opportunity to attend a baby blessing in the family. I love early church, so it was nice to get the kids up, get ready, and get going. (I am looking forward to early church in our own ward starting next week.) It was a good morning and I was happy. It was good to see family. The baby was adorable. It was nice that Scott had been invited to participate in the priesthood circle. The ward was very friendly and Scott had 3 people ask him if we were new or visiting.

Then the kids started fighting over me. I swear I need 4 sides so that they can all sit by me and lie their heads on my lap at the same time. Their fighting started grating on my nerves.

Meanwhile, the high council speaker was talking about "wolves in sheep's clothing." He said vague things about recent politics, referring to words like equality, civil rights, tolerance, and even love that distract us from what is truly right in the eyes of God. If we are confused by what people try to tell us, we can pray, and God will help us understand what is right both in our minds AND in our hearts, not just one or the other.

Well, I thought to myself, I have definitely felt in both my mind and my heart that disagreeing with Prop 8 is the right thing for me to do, so it's all good.

I sent a text message to a moho friend complaining slightly about the meeting.

The talk ended (yay!), there was a nice musical number in which my sister-in-law took part. Then the next speaker got up. In our ward, the high council speakers have different topics. Not so in this stake. On comes another talk about "wolves in sheep's clothing", etc. I tried to ignore it. Scott was asleep with our 3 year old cradled in his arms, and I had the 8 year old asleep in my lap. There seemed to be nothing to distract me. I touched Scott's shoulder. He didn't flinch. Then, it happened. The speaker talked about politics in California and Arizona, and how members of the church did "Good works" by standing up for what is right. Even members within the church are against it and think they are doing good works, but they have been deceived by wolves in sheep's clothing. Then he started to talk about finding peace through the church and the Savior. I was feeling anything but peace at this point. Peace was having the joy of happy friends in my home, friends that can commit to someone of the same sex if they want to, and I will still love them and celebrate with them. I would much rather be in hell with them than in heaven with people like these high councilmen.

I squoze Scott's hand to wake him. He was starting to snore, anyway, so I needed to nip that in the bud. I fought back the tears, but he looked at me and asked me what was wrong. "F'n talk," I responded. I started to sob silently, but then my gasps between sobs became audible and his family started to turn and look at me. He said "Sing the hymn to distract yourself."

"An---gles----we--have--heard--on--high..."

It started to help, but then the song ended after one verse because the meeting had run over. The person giving the closing prayer approached the microphone. I tried to keep my sobs quiet, but then my cell phone vibrated and I knew it would be a message of comfort from my friend. Scott looked at me with concern as I reached for my phone to read the message instead of closing my eyes for the prayer. The prayer ended, Scott's parents turned to ask me what what wrong and am I okay. I couldn't answer. To Scott I quietly sobbed, "Get me out of this damn church."

The children gathered their coats. I walked over to the speaker, who was just leaving the stand. I'm sure it was more than obvious that I had been crying. I said to him, "I want you to know that I do good works, and you can just keep your political opions to yourself." His smile instantly turned into shock and I immediately turned to leave the room with my family. My 11 year old grabbed my hand and squeezed it tight all the way to the car.

I composed myself during the ride to Scott's sister's house, texting back and forth with my supportive friend. At the house, nobody said anything to either of us about my episode. They spoke to us and treated us like they usually would. Scott was asked to help in the kitchen, extended family we hadn't seen for a while were marveling at how our kids have grown. Normal small-talk stuff about life.

Meanwhile, my thoughts could not completely forget what had been said.

It won't take many more days at church like that to make it easier to stay home than to go. What is the future going to bring for us? We are active Mormons, but we are definately sliding the other direction. We are tired of the preaching, calling evil good and good evil, etc, and church is starting to be the least-peaceful place in our lives. What a tough thing, what a major crossroads we are approaching and decisions to make. I'm afraid of what that decision might be...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Unconditional Love


Saturday we had the privilege of attending two lunches with loved ones. One lunch was at a family Christmas party with Scott's aunts and cousins that we see at most once a year. Then we attended a lunch at the Garden restaurant with some of our MoHo friends, some we have met before and one we hadn't. We had a beautiful view of the Salt Lake Temple, topped with fresh snow glistening in the afternoon sunlight (I took the above photo that day from where I sat at lunch!). I wondered briefly if I would feel out of place, being the only female (and I suppose also the only straight person) in the group. But I didn't! It was so easy to talk and listen and enjoy the company of friends, old and new.

As we drove away from our second lunch meeting, which we hated to leave, I commented to Scott that I enjoy being with our gay friends more than any other group of people, be they family, friends, co-workers, male, female, straight, etc. Anytime I have the opportunity to hang out with and/or visit with MoHos, I am uplifted and feel a joy within my heart that I do not feel anywhere else. I seem to instantly love them more deeply than I could imagine. I am beginning to think that I am what some call a "fruit fly." :)

Sunday in Relief Society the lesson was titled Leading in the Lord's Way. Toward the end of the lesson, the instructor put up a list of items (one at a time with some discussion) that have to do with leadership in the church. One of the items was "unconditional love". She spoke of how when someone holds a leadership position, they have an incredible unconditional love for those under their jurisdiction. I think I understood what she was saying, because I remember feeling a different kind of connection and stewardship for the children in the ward when I served as Primary President.

Something clicked in my head and heart when she expressed her thoughts. Ever since I started reading No More Goodbyes by Carol Lynn Pearson in July this year, I have felt like Scott and I have a calling from God to help gay members of the church. I have not been "called" by a leader over me, nor have I been set apart, but some of the characteristics and blessings that come when someone is called to a particular position seem to apply, things like understanding stuff quickly and deeply, like finding the strength within my shy and anxious personality to talk to people, like loving my new friends instantly and unconditionally. Chills pulsed through me as I realized that I have truly been called of God and have been given the things I need to fulfill this calling.

I hope that this will be a calling I will have for the rest of my life (and forever), because I never want the added strength and love that I feel for my gay brothers and sisters to leave my soul! I thank my Heavenly Father with all my heart for giving me this calling and opportunity!

And so, this year as I celebrate Christmas, I am grateful for the love that I have for my family and my friends. I feel that in some ways I am being allowed to feel the incredible love that our Savior, Jesus Christ has for each one of us. That is the gift that I treasure above all else this year, and that I desire for each of you as well. I wish you all a Merry Christmas, and I pray that the pure love of Christ may fill your hearts and homes this week.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hallelujah? Part II

I hope you don't mind if I vent for a minute about something that is not gay-related. This blog is one of my best venting outlets. I have such good friends here. :)

My daughter and I had a wonderful time participating in the Messiah last Sunday. Before the performance, she told me that she needed to be sure to get a program because she could take it to her English teacher and get extra credit for attending some sort of performance.

I asked her, "Do you get extra extra credit for being in it?" She didn't know, but said she would ask her teacher.

The next day after school, I asked her if she gave the program to her teacher. She said that the teacher wouldn't accept it because she was IN the performance instead of just attending it.

What the F? (Sorry, that is just what I thought at the time when I heard what had happened. Some of my high school student's language is unfortunately rubbing off on me. Fortunately, I do not say that word when I think it.)

The next morning as I was getting ready for school, I composed a scathing email in my head, but I didn't have time to write it. I mentioned it to my friends at lunch, and they helped me figure out what would be appropriate to say to this lady. A few days later I composed the following email:

Ms. _____,

It is my understanding from S____ that you will give extra credit if a student attends a cultural event and brings you the program. Correct me if I am wrong.

S____ was excited to bring a copy of the Messiah program she attended to get a bit of extra credit. But then she found out that because she was in the program, it does not count.

I would like to ask you to reconsider this policy (at least in this case) if possible. If you would even like S_____ to write an essay about her experience to get the extra credit, she can do that.

Let me tell you a little about the production. It is a church/community production that is consists of an orchestra and choir of volunteers. I decided I wanted to participate, and S_____ CHOSE to participate with me. It was not auditioned, not paid, no fees involved. There was no cost for anyone to attend the event. We attended rehearsals every Saturday morning from 8 to 9:30 since the end of October. S____ gave up sleeping in on Saturday mornings so that she could participate in this great cultural experience, hanging out with mostly adults (there were only 2 or 3 kids her age) and singing extremely difficult classical music.

I don’t understand why her choice to do this instead of just listening to the program as part of the audience makes it so that she does not have the same opportunity for extra credit that another student might have. Please consider an exception in this case. She is working hard to get her grades up in [her honors classes], and any extra little effort you are willing to allow for her could make all the difference to her self-esteem (and possibly also her grade, I hope.) Please let me know your decision. Have a wonderful day and a great Holiday.

Thank you,

Sarah N______


She responded fairly quickly with this:

I understand why you believe that S____ should receive the extra credit for her participation in this program, but if I give HER that credit, then I must give almost every student in [the honors program] extra credit. This has been my policy for as long as I have allowed extra credit, which is not something that I am obliged to do. As a teacher, you know that there is a line for all of our rules, and this is where I draw the extra credit option. I would be happy to discuss other ways S_______ can get extra points; she is a darling girl, and I don’t want her to lose self esteem.

Thanks.

Mrs. _________


I was in the middle of a class, and realized by the first sentence that the email was going to make me mad, so I stopped reading it, forwarded it to Scott to do with as he wished. He wrote this response:

Ms. ________,

Sarah has forwarded me her exchange with you regarding S____'s attempt to receive extra credit for her participation in the Midvale community production of The Messiah. I understand your determination to strictly maintain the guidelines you have set for extra credit, and I agree that adherence to set policies is important in maintaining order in any group situation.

I wondered if you could explain the parameters of the allowed extra credit to me so that I can better understand your position? At the moment all we have to base our perceptions on is what S____ has told us. As we understand it, a student may earn extra credit for attending an extracurricular cultural event (concert, play, etc.) by turning in the program for said event. It's unclear to us why /participation/ in the event (which requires a greater investment of time and results in a greater understanding of and appreciation for the work being performed) should be seen as less worthy of credit than mere /attendance/ at the event.

Your assertion that granting S____ the extra credit would oblige you to "give almost every student in [the honors program] extra credit" does not do anything to clarify the issue--surely not every student in [the honors program] has participated in an extracurricular cultural event?

It's obvious that we have been misinformed or underinformed and that we are missing some piece of the puzzle. Any information you can provide that would help us to understand your position better would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Scott N_______


We haven't heard back from her. She is choosing to ignore the question. I understand, because I have done that with parents. I tried to be kind because I hate confrontational parents more than anything else.

But honestly, can you even believe this lady's policy? Bah. Thanks for letting me vent.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Calculus Christmas Carols

NERD ALERT!
(That is just to let you know that this post may not be for you if you don't fit the above description...)

Yesterday the calculus teacher asked if his calculus class could come Christmas caroling to one of my math classes. They came to my math 1050/1060 class (college algebra/trig) which are the students who will hopefully sign up to take calculus next year.

I wished I had some accompaniment for them to help keep them on key, but it was amusing nonetheless. After they left, one of my students said, "Do they think that this will make us want to take calculus, or are they trying to scare us away?" :)

We had a good laugh about it, and then we ended up not having enough time for a quiz before class was over, so it turned into a take-home quiz. I bet my students were really disappointed about that--NOT!

Anyway, here are the lyrics for your enjoyment:

Riemann Sums
(sung to the tune of Jingle Bells)
Riemann Sums, Riemann Sums
Counting Areas
Of rectangles whose widths get small
We need to count them all

Riemann Sums, Riemann Sums
Counting Areas
Of rectangles whose widths get small
We need to count them all.


We learn to integrate
It's really lots of fun.
It's easier to find
Than those old Riemann Sums
We learn to sub a u
When things get sort of hard
But most of all we tabulate
When we get sick of parts.
[repeat the refrain]


Derivatives, Derivatives
(sung to the tune of O Christmas Tree)
Derivatives, derivatives
They help us find the rate of change.
Derivatives, derivatives
They're not that hard, they're in our range.


The product rule is so much fun
It's one prime two plus two prime one
Derivatives, derivatives
They help us find the rate of change.


Calculus Class
(sung to the tune of Silent Night)
Calculus class, calculus class
Teacher's cruel
Hate the Chain Rule
Find the prime of f of g
It's supposed to fill us with glee
Times dx of the outside
By dx of the inside.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Decent Proposal Part II

(My last post was about Scott more or less proposing to me by mail while he was on his mission. You might want to read that one first if you haven't already. )

...Finally, Scott was coming home from his mission. His parents picked him up and vacationed with him for a couple of weeks first, prolonging the agony. I was excited and nervous. I was at the airport with his family. He gave me a quick hug. It felt anti-climatic, but of course he hadn't been released yet. He was weird, distracted. Conversation did not come easily for us that evening. I went to his sacrament meeting the next day to hear him speak. I spent the day at his house, and we were able to spend some good time together talking and singing like old times. Finally I needed to leave, to drive back to school for my finals classes the next day. The details are a bit fuzzy, but I think I remember that he followed me out to tell me goodbye and noticed that something was wrong. I reluctantly told him that spending the weekend with him had not been what I expected it would be. I expected to pick up where we left off, or more, based on letters he had written to me in the last year. He explained that girls were a no-no for 2 years and he needed some time to adjust. He gave me another hug and sent me on my way. I hungered for a kiss, but I tried to not let it get to me.

Back at school, my roommates wanted all the sappy details. They expected me to be officially engaged. There was nothing to tell. He was weird, and it would be a while until we were engaged.

The next weekend, I planned a date for us. He seemed a lot more back to normal, but he still didn’t kiss me. I took him to see Legacy and to eat at the Garden Restaurant in the Joseph Smith Building.

A few days later, he drove up to my school to look for housing and to attend a Voice Male concert with me. (Most of the guys in Voice Male were in my college ward, and I was excited to share their music with Scott.) It was a wonderful evening. Come to think of it, he probably enjoyed it even more than I thought he would. He stayed at a friend’s apartment that night.

The next day, I was studying and taking final exams while he was looking for a place to live. He wanted to find a job and a place to live immediately, at the end of the school year, instead of waiting until fall. I got home that afternoon and there was a message from a lady for Scott regarding one of the apartments he had looked at. (No cell phones back then, so he gave her my number.) My roommate that took the message said that she asked for his fiance’. We laughed and shrugged about it. Later, Scott came and told me he thought he had found a good apartment for himself. He wanted me to come see what I thought of it before he signed the lease.

So, off we went. It was a cute little attic space of an old house. He showed me around. It was small, but sufficient for one bachelor. He told the lady he would take it. She pulled out the lease. He read through it and she pointed to a line and told him to sign. Then she asked me to sign on a different line…

What?

I was really confused. Scott started to turn red. He hummed and hawed a bit, then sheepishly said, “They only rent this apartment to married couples. I told them I was engaged. I didn’t know that you would need to sign too.” The lady looked really uncomfortable and started apologizing profusely. I was suddenly a nervous wreck. The deal couldn’t be closed without my signature. Scott suggested that I sign and then we could go talk about it. I took the pen, my hand was shaking. Do I sign my maiden name or my married name? Married, the lady said. Holy Cow! (Not that I hadn’t practiced signing it in my journal a million times.) :-)

We left the house and drove up the road through campus, which then went immediately up the canyon. We were talking on the way, Scott nervously trying to explain himself: going to the temple, asking his dad for advice, and deciding that it was right to marry me as soon as possible, then apologizing for the way I found out. After a few minutes he pulled over and parked, turned to me and said, “Will you marry me?”

I was feeling a million different things all at once. I accepted of course. I was giddy and nervous and ANGRY! I was in the middle of final exams! I had exactly what I wanted, but it was unexpected. He had been home for about a week and a half. Tomorrow was my hardest final. I still needed to study. What was I going to do? I asked him for a blessing so that I could concentrate and study.

Another weird thing: he decided that for fun, since we still had not kissed in over 2 years, that we should wait until we were looking at each other across the temple alter and married before we kissed again. Based on how much we liked to make-out before he left, I kind of agreed that it might not be a bad idea. I quickly changed my mind, however, and I finally convinced him that it was a bad idea about a month before the wedding. Now I understand why he could actually handle the wait when I couldn’t. :)

The days went by. I moved home, he moved away to OUR new apartment, and we were mostly apart AGAIN! He came home when his work schedule would allow so that we could set a date, shop for rings, get photos taken, etc. We were only engaged for about 2 and a half months.

I was going to have Scott add a comment with this story, but maybe I'll just do it and let him get any details that I miss or remember wrong. On the way to get our photo taken for our announcement, I was ornery because he told me he didn't have the ring for me yet. We were on our way to Garden Park Ward Chapel, off of Yale Avenue in SLC. (It is a gorgeous location and frequently used for special photos!) I kept complaining on the way, so finally at a stop light, Scott shoved a little white box at me and said something to the affect of "Here. I was going to give this to you when we got there, all proper and such, but you can have it now if you want it so badly."

Ooops. I guess that one was my fault, although he was late picking me up for the photo, so the photographer was already there when we arrived. There would not have been time for a lovely, romantic proposal anyway. :)

During the engagement I had a some major cold feet at times, which seemed kind of strange to both of us because of the experiences we had the year before, as explained in my previous post. I think it was because of a few different things: I was worried about money (a condition inherited from my dad) and Scott's desire to have children immediately (and my being on meds for anxiety that I should probably quit before getting pregnant) and having only one year of college left (I REALLY wanted to finish my degree!). Also, I have actually wondered in the last few months if maybe my struggle at that point was some kind of warning from my Heavenly Father, letting me know that this commitment was utimately not going to be easy.

But finally, I accepted what we both felt was right, and here we are, 13 years later, without a decent proposal behind us. Maybe someday…

(We were laughing when the photographer posed us this way, since this scene had never actually happened...)

Decent Proposal Part I

We decided to take our family to Temple Square to see the lights Monday night. It was very nice—not too cold, not too crowded, and just enough snow for the kids to have a BLAST playing in it.

While we were near the reflecting pool, there was a fairly large group of people cheering. It was apparent that someone had just proposed to their new bride-to-be. I smiled at Scott and shared with him what I observed. He asked me if I wanted him to propose to me again, and I (laughing) responded that I probably deserved a decent proposal at some point.

Let’s go back 13 and a half years to the actual proposal…

Actually, let’s go back 14 and a half years. (This might end up as 2 posts.) Scott was on his mission, I was attending college. I was a math major at a small college, so most of my math and science classes consisted of me, sometimes one other girl, and about 15 guys that were all engineering majors and also mostly returned missionaries. They were my buddies. They told me about the girls they liked, they asked for advice on their relationships. They even asked me for ideas on ways to propose to their girlfriends. It was a fun way to think about love and romance while my own love was away for 2 years.

I became close friends with a few of them, and one in particular. We will call him Ted. Ted and I started spending a lot of time together: a couple of classes, and then hanging out at his apartment or my dorm doing homework or just talking. I would always talk about Scott, he would always talk about his crushes. People started thinking we were going out, but really we were just the best of friends.

Or were we?

My roommates began telling me that he really liked me, more than a friend. He gave me a really sappy valentine card. One night come spring we were on a group date, and he was my roommate's date. My date and most of the others had gone across a swinging bridge that my anxiety would not let me go on. Ted stayed behind with me because I was having a panic attack. Next thing I knew, he was kissing me. I was his first kiss, even though he was an R.M. I cannot believe how oblivious I was, but I was still in denial. He just kissed me to distract me, not because he liked me, right? I wrote Scott a letter and told him that I was kind of dating someone and wanted to give him a heads up. (We have always been pathetically honest with each other.)

The year was nearly over and I was graduating. I had never become a "true ______", (by kissing by the bell tower with the light of a full moon at midnight.) Ted and I decided we should do it just for fun. We had already kissed. Why not? We started to practice for the event (because we had to kiss for 12 seconds while the clock struck 12, and he wasn't very experienced). The night of the May full moon came. He called me and told me he had shaved just for me. Something suddenly clicked in my head. He REALLY liked me. This was not just for fun, this was EVERYTHING to him. I panicked. I called him and told him that I could not go through with it. He was crushed. We met up the next night and talked about everything. He told me that I had all of the qualities that he wanted in his future wife. I told him that I loved Scott too much to betray him at this time, and I needed to wait until he got home from his mission to see what would happen with us. I'm afraid that I truly broke his heart.

Sometime through all of this, I was praying like crazy about everything. One day I was reading a letter from Scott. It started out typical, about the great experiences he was having as a missionary, etc. Then...

...I hope this doesn't sound bad, but to tell you the truth, I'm not entirely sure what I think of the rest of your letter. I know I've been telling you all along that you should be dating, and I did mean it, but I didn't mean that you should forget about me! :) Seriously, though, I'm glad that you're having fun and not worrying about me or whatever. I do hope that I'm still a little more than a piece of paper, though. I should be at least a piece of paper and a casette tape. :)

I hate to say it, but your letter actually has made me a bit nervous. It's the first letter where you've actually said anyything about the possibility of you marrying someone else. I know I really shouldn't be thinking about these sorts of things right now, but I do picture us getting married sometime after I get home. I love you very much, and that love has only grown as I've been away from you.

But I do believe you when you say that if anything happens it will have been a matter of prayer, so I'm not too worried that anything against God's will will happen...

He goes on to describe day-to-day events, like teaching discussions, getting beat up ( he was in down-down Philadelphia at the time), etc., but then the letter ended really mushy with the words to a song by Michael McLean.

...but compared to how I love you now, it's almost like it wasn't love before.


As I was reading, the song on my CD player was Air Supply, and the answer to my prayer came loud and clear:

Just when I thought I was over you, just when I thought I could stand on my own, oh, baby, those memories come crashing through, and I just can’t survive without you.


The next week, after graduation, I wrote him a LONG letter and told him everything.

The rest of Scott's mission, I didn’t question anymore. I moved on to a university while Ted stayed at the junior college for another year. Ted and I remained friends and talked on the phone frequently. (Does this saga remind anyone of Bella and Jacob in New Moon and Eclipse?) I still went on a few dates, but never more than once with the same guy, and I knew that I would not waiver again. Scott more or less proposed to me a couple of times through his letters and cards.

The first "proposal" was a month or so later. A little past the one-year mark and all of the events described above, I received a letter in response to my letter telling Scott everything. He talked about how he didn't believe that God would tell him who to marry while he was still on his mission. He talked about how he prayed about it anyway, asking to know if he was to marry me or at least for help to get me out of his mind if it wasn't right for him to know right then. He said his feelings of love for me were greater than ever, and he desperately wanted an answer to his prayers so that he could continue to focus on his mission for another year. Then he got my letter that detailed my entire experience, and he felt it was the answer he was waiting for. He wrote:

I'm still not sure if the Lord will answer prayers of this nature while I'm on a mission, and I still don't want to make any firm commitments, because I'm not 100% positive that the feelings I have aren't just my own feelings, but I think I can safely say this much:

I love you with all my heart, and I love you even more today that I did yesterday when I sent the tape. I want to spend the rest of eternity with you. I want to be able to take you to the temple. I want you to be the one who, as stated in my patriarchal blessing, I will have the privilege of calling forth from the grave on the morning of the first resurrection.

Again, I don't want to make any firm commitments, but I love you and I want to marry you in a year. I pray that I will be able to use that love and that desire to motivate me to make these next 10 months the best I can, so I will be worthy to ask you to be mine forever.

I love you!

Love,

Scotty


Then for Valentines day, a few months before he came home, I received this message:

...I love you with all my heart, and though I wouldn't dare say anything is definite, I do look forward to sometime next summer when I can look across an alter into your eyes and know that I am yours and you are mine for eternity. I long for and look forward to that day...


To be continued...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hallelujah!

I have so many blog posts I want to write, and so little time. Maybe in a couple weeks when I have some time off from work...

In the meantime, I would like to invite everyone to a free performance that is a Christmas season must! Handel's Messiah.

My daughter and I are singing in a multi-stake production that I participated in for many years as a teenager. They have been doing it for 25 years, and it turned into such a big event that the Mayor of Midvale declared it to be a community event so that it could be held at a local school.

So, this year's performance is Sunday night, December 14th, 7:00 p.m. at Hillcrest High School. My daughter and I will be the ones dressed in black. :-) (along with everyone else...) Again, did I mention free? Hillcrest High School is located just east of 700 East off of 7500 South, Midvale, Salt Lake County, UT.

Let Scott know if you want to meet him somewhere. He will be taking my mom to the event while my dad tends the boys at his house.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thoughts on entering the queerosphere

This post is in response to Mike, who is trying to figure out how to tell his wife about his blog.

I was trying to remember how I found out about Scott's blog. I think it just was part of our discussion the first few days.

The night he came out to me, he spoke of the incredible acceptance and friends he had found online. I was still in shock and so everything he said that night was just part of the huge fuzzy blur going through my head.

The next morning, after we had embraced and cried in the kitchen, he was sensitive of my feelings and yet anxious to let his friends know how everything had gone with me. He said that these new friends were praying and worrying for him, knowing of his intent to tell me everything the night before. He needed to calm their worries and let them know that I hadn’t kicked him out or anything.

Suddenly it wasn't as fuzzy in my brain as it was the night before. It was kind of weird to think that there was this whole group of people that I knew nothing about that for the last 10 days or so knew more about my husband than I did.

I was anxious to know more about this new part of his life. I started asking him lots of questions about his online "family". I started trying to read over his shoulder as he was emailing and blogging. He instantly stopped typing because he HATES it when I read over his shoulder, but he understood at that point how important it was for him to have my trust, to be completely open and honest with me.

So sometimes he was willing to let me read what he had written when he was done. And sometimes he sheepishly said "I'm not ready to let you read that yet, but probably sometime soon." I knew this was a journey for both of us, and I did not want to cause him more pain, so I did not question his request.

I stopped pressuring him to show me where his blog was, but when he told me he had blogged about something that we had gone through together (like coming out to the kids), I asked him if I could read it, and he printed it for me to read so that he could still keep his blog address from me.

It didn't take very long before he realized how sincerely interested I was in everything he was thinking and feeling and experiencing, and he realized that he had also already pretty much told me everything that he had blogged about. So he voluntarily told me where it was.

I didn't read everything at once. As I started reading some of the posts, I realized that maybe I wasn't ready for everything, so I would skim and skip what I wasn't comfortable with.

Because we were so open about everything, we would sometimes talk about the other blogs he read, and soon I started taking interest in these people and reading their blogs. He was specifically drawn to Beck. He shared some of Beck’s sagas with me. He managed to get Beck to start emailing him. I wanted to be in on the conversation, not because I didn’t trust him, but because I was trying to learn all I could about this new “elephant” in our lives. He asked Beck if it was okay if I read the emails. They both started CC-ing me into the conversation. Thinking back on that now, I think it is very impressive that they would both be okay with that. Anyway, one of Beck’s emails mentioned something about his wife. I wanted to respond to him with some advice, and Scott was gone to work when the email came in; otherwise I would have told Scott the message and had him pass it on. I dithered about it for a few minutes, and then decided to go ahead. Beck was grateful, but thought it was really weird that I would email him personally. The conversation continued between the three of us, and I was grateful for the things that I learned from Beck. He was a priceless part of my journey at that point.

(Kind of a funny side note: we had been emailing with Beck pretty much every day for a few days, and then for a few days there was no email from him. One of the days, we were both kind of weird around each other, but we didn’t really know why. Finally, we started to talk about why we were weird. It turns out we were both wishing for an email from Beck and wondering if the other person had received one and we had not been cc’d into the conversation. We got a good laugh out of that one, and decided then and there that it was always better to talk about what was on our minds instead of letting it fester first.)

I started reading Beck’s blog regularly. Then I started commenting once in a while. Beck told me I should start a blog because I had a lot to offer to the Mohos in MOMs in this community. Finally I did, and I am so grateful for the acceptance and friendship and advice that I have received in doing so. It has been an incredible experience. To any other straight wives out there, I highly recommend reading and then jumping in and participating in this community when ready. It has truly been something to get me through tough things in my life, both things relating to the gay thing as well as things just simply relating to me, my job, my testimony, etc.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Twilight


Against my better judgment, I just finished reading the book Twilight.

An avid reader in my ward advised against it. Her main argument is that the book is targeted at teenage girls, and although nothing immoral happens in the book, it still might give the idea that other things (like letting a boy stay in your room during the night, etc.) are harmless. I also didn’t like the fact that the main character, Bella, lied to her dad about where she was going the day she spent with Edward.

I decided I’d better read it for a couple of reasons. First, it seems that almost everyone around me has read it, and anytime I tell someone that I haven’t read it, they are shocked, and tell me I should. That includes people who read my blog responding to my Halloween photo post. Last weekend on facebook, the status of my female high school friends (so, all in their mid-30’s) said things like:

Mary is setting off to see Twilight at midnight! Mary is needing a nap. Too much movie, not enough sleep. yawn.

Brandi is excited for movie night! Brandi loved Twilight. It's not the book - but it was GREAT! Brandi is going to Twilight again tonight. Brandi loved Twilight even more the 2nd time!

Heidi is in love with Edward Cullen! He is so sexy in the movie!

I finally posted my status as
“Sarah is thinking everyone needs to get a life and stop thinking about Twilight”,
to which I then commented:
“Okay, I admit I haven't read the books, but I'm not sure I want to if they are like a drug that everyone is addicted to!”


Another friend's status read last week:
Jane is finally reading Twilight to see what all the fuss is about.
And then the next day:
Jane is finished with Twilight - the fuss is warranted.

So, I decided maybe I should do the same.

So, first, there’s all the fuss, and then second (and probably the main reason) being that our 12 year old daughter also decided she needed to read them to find out what the fuss was about. We have never been the type of parents to restrict our children’s agency on a decision like this, so based on the warning of the lady in my ward, I chose to start reading so that I could discuss them with my daughter.

Now today, I posted the following to facebook:
Sarah is spending the day reading twilight. It disgusts me that I don't want to put it down.
Jane’s comment:
You fell for the trap too, eh?
My response:
Hook, line and sinker. Before reading, I compared its affect on my friends to a drug. Now that I have finished reading, the drug has definitely pulled me in. Whatever happened to my resolve to say no to drugs? :-)
And then to another comment:
I'm afraid that I have now officially succumbed to the addiction. I just finished the first book, and I'm still in my pjs at 3 in the afternoon!
(and I am shaking because I forgot to eat lunch!...at least, that's mostly why I'm shaking...)


Lately, every time I read a book, I tend to relate it to my own life. For a while, I was on a Joseph and Emma kick. We saw the movie about Joseph at the legacy theater. We watched the new Emma movie on DVD. I started reading the book Emma by Anita Stansfield. Of course our lessons in Relief Society are all from Joseph’s life and teachings. I know it seems crazy to compare my life to that of a prophet’s wife, but some of Emma’s portrayed feelings about love and persecution and trials and the unique purpose of each person’s life really got me thinking and relating it to my own new circumstance with being married to a gay man, my feelings on the prop 8 thing, and the trials I seemed to be going through. Even little things, like Joseph’s nervousness to tell Emma about things like his vision, or later polygamy, helped me have a greater understanding of how hard and yet how necessary it was for Scott to come out to me. Also, it helped give me the determination and courage to fulfill the calling that Scott and I feel the Lord has given us (to spread understanding of what it means to be a gay Mormon) no matter how hard it may seem sometimes.

Anyway, back to Twilight and relating it to my own life. Even though Scott and my relationship is much different than Edward and Bella for obvious reasons (the main one being that he is actually attracted to her ;-), I couldn’t help but hear Scott’s voice and things he has said to me over the past couple of months in Edwards words, but relating to something completely different. Edward is amazed that Bella loves him and accepts him for who he is. And he keeps questioning why and how she could continue to love and support him, a vampire. In my world, Scott has been similarly amazed at my acceptance of him, that I love him just as much, and maybe even more, now that I understand what he is and that being gay contributes a lot to who he is.

Here are some of the passages that caught my attention:

“And you’re worried, not because you’re headed to meet a houseful of vampires, but because you think those vampires won’t approve of you, correct?”
“That’s right.”
He shook his head. “You’re incredible.”

*****************

“I was prepared to feel...relieved. Having you know about everything, not needing to keep secrets from you. But I didn’t expect to feel more than that. I like it. It makes me...happy.”

*****************

He sighed, “I keep waiting for it to happen.”
“For what to happen?”
“I know that at some point, something you see is going to be too much. And then you’ll run away from me, screaming as you go.”
“I’m not running anywhere, I promise.”

*****************

Lastly, like Bella, I beg Scott to stay and never leave me.

One day a month or so ago when I was going through a really tough time with my anxiety, I was on the phone with Scott, thanking him for his support through everything. I told him that someday, if he felt like he needed to find a more fulfilling relationship, that we could divorce if needed so that he could do so. But that I wouldn’t let him go, ever. He and his partner would just have to live with me, and that is it. :)

And I still mean it.


Do you think I have time to start reading the next book? :)

February 2009 Addendum: Kengo posted this regarding the second book, New Moon, when he was reading them recently for the first time. I had similar thoughts to his and was going to blog about it but never did. He had additional insight as well and wrote it out better than I would have, so I am just linking to it instead. :) He also has this other post about the 4th book, Breaking dawn. Interesting stuff!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Gratitude with a bit of sadness

I had a wonderful weekend. I so enjoyed the chance to meet new friends, and to put faces and hugs with some of my treasured blogging friends. I wish I could transport myself to Canada, Texas, Colorado, Idaho, etc. to meet more of you. The talks and lessons on Sunday were all about gratitude, and I found myself overwhelmingly grateful for the situation that I now find myself in, married to a wonderful gay man, and also cherishing new friendships and new opportunities for service amongst the mohos.

But in addition to my gratitude, I also felt a bit of sadness for each of the young men that I have met along with many others that I have never met. You have each been placed in such a difficult circumstance, with incredibly difficult choices to make. Do you stay active in the church? Do you stay single and celibate and lonely? Do you try to find a girl to fall in love with and hope that things will work out like they have for Scott and Bravone and others? Or do you choose to live the gay lifestyle, seeking the opportunity for love and family like Scot and Rob, while leaving the church and often your extended family behind you? Why has God given you this trial with these impossible and conflicting decisions? How many more times will you have to endure questions like: "Are you dating anyone? Aren't you getting old enough to think about getting married soon?"

I don't know the answers. I made this comment to one of you yesterday:

Last night I was touched as I thought about all of these incredible young men with such confusion and decisions to make in their lives. None of you deserve this kind of anguish! All of you deserve the blessings that come from being a member of the church, but you also deserve the right to know love and have a family of your own. I am very impressed with you and am grateful for the opportunity to get to know you better. I pray for you (and all like you) to find peace as you think and wrestle with these decisions, trying to figure out how to live a happy life and yet still stay on the path to eternal happiness. Heavenly Father loves you and there is a plan for you. I never expected that God would have this plan for me, but I am so grateful for it. I hope that someday you will be able to figure it all out. Hang in there!


About a month ago, my daughter and I were driving to a Messiah rehearsal. (We are singing in a multi-stake production that I participated in for many years in my parents' Stake.) I think we were talking briefly about proposition 8. On the radio came a song that pricked my ears. I stopped conversing with my daughter and listened intently to the words of the song. I called Scott to have him look up the radio station's web site and let me know the title and artist of the song they just played. It was a new song by Nickelback, Gotta Be Somebody. The CD it is on just came out last week. The chorus touched my heart, and I thought of all my gay friends and their inner conflicts. But doesn't it usually come down to this?

Cause nobody wants to be the last one there
Cause everyone wants to feel like someone cares
Someone to love with my life in their hands
There's gotta be somebody for me like that
Cause nobody wants to do it on their own
And everyone wants to know they're not alone
There's somebody else that feels the same somewhere
There's gotta be somebody for me out there

I want you all to know that I feel for your loneliness, and I don't know what to tell you to do with your lives. That is between you and God. But whatever you decide, I pray that you will each be happy, that you will know that God loves you, that he has not forsaken you, that he has made you the way you are for a reason, and that is who you are and who you are supposed to be.

God bless you! If there is any way I can be an instrument in God's hands to help you, please let me know. I will laugh with you, I will cry with you, or in the words of Carol Lynn Pearson, I'll Walk with You.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Innate Characteristic

Thought for the day: we shouldn't ask or expect people to be something they're not.

(I was thinking specifically gay people, but this applies to anyone, of course.)

Due to the lack of comments, I figure an explanation is warranted, just in case some of you don't understand the comic. i is an imaginary number, and therefore not real. Pi is an irrational number and therefore not rational. It's a math geek thing. :-)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Looking back: The first few days

My memories from the summer continue…

The day after Scott came out to me, I was very tired due to lack of sleep, and very emotional. I attended a Relief Society breakfast. I wasn’t sure I should go, but I decided I needed to try to get away for a bit. I piled on the makeup to hide my puffy eyes. I had some very light conversations with some very good friends, and no one asked me if I’d been crying or if something was wrong. Talking to one of them about it weeks later, she did notice that I was quiet and preoccupied that morning, but decided it best not to ask. She was probably inspired.

I left the breakfast early to attend our oldest son’s ice skating lesson with the rest of the family. I was consumed with my thoughts. I sat there watching my husband, feeling still like I really did not know him.

After the lesson, we decided to take the kids to see Wall-E. I’ve already blogged briefly about this, but I cried at the blossoming romance in the movie, keenly aware that the romance in my life was not what I thought it was.

Other details are a blur… I got some sleep the next night, but I don’t think I slept soundly, and again, I woke with the morning light and then my thoughts kept me from sleeping any longer. We went to church, I probably attended choir practice, then we were off to Scott’s parent’s house for our typical Sunday night visit. As we sat at the kitchen table, playing games with his parents and his sister and husband, I was keenly aware of my inner thoughts and the fact that I usually shared my struggles with these dear people, but right now I could not. I desperately wanted them to know so that they could love and support us like we needed them to. I was very uncomfortable and distracted. During the game, I looked at the cards in my hand, trying hard to concentrate on my strategy. Out of my lips came the words, “Where do I go from here?”

Scott and his sister have this habit of breaking into song whenever anything prompts them to do so. Immediately, his sister started singing, “Where do we go from here? This isn’t where we intended to be...” She started gazing into her husband’s eyes as she sang. I turned on my PDA and hit play, because the song was there ready to go. Everyone was surprised, but didn’t ask about it as the sister continued to sing. Before too long, I couldn’t take it anymore and I burst into tears, turned to Scott and apologized, and abruptly left the table to cry loudly in another room.

Of course, everyone was shocked and had no idea what had happened. Scott made some kind of excuse for me. They all know I am an emotional person, so I’m sure it wasn’t too disconcerting. I quickly gained my composure and returned to the game, pretending nothing had happened. No one said anything.

When we got home, I told Scott that I needed him to tell his sister so that I could have her to talk to and lean on. We started to make plans for how and when to tell her.

The next day we got up early to go to the temple. We had a good discussion on the way. When we got there, we discovered that it is closed on Mondays. Duh. So then we had more good conversation time on the way home.

Sometime Monday I started reading No More Goodbyes by Carol Lynn Pearson. I cried and cried through each agonizing story of self-hate and suicide. The stories were not sugar-coated. They were someone’s reality, a reality I never knew existed for these dear people. The last thing I read of it on Monday afternoon was a quote on the first page of the next section of the book, the section about mixed orientation marriages. Pieces of Me has already referenced this quote. “Should I smile because we’re friends, or cry because that’s all we’ll ever be?” The reality of my marriage hit me like a brick. I went into the next room and shared the quote with Scott, but as I read it I broke into tears and could not finish reading it such that he could understand me. I decided I needed a break from the book. It had been a very emotional day.

The next morning I again woke early and could not sleep. We planned again to attend the temple early, but it was much earlier than I needed to be up. I decided to read. I went in our closet and sat on the floor to read so that turning on the light would not wake Scott. I read about failed mixed orientation marriages, and I came to the conclusion that our marriage was officially not going to make it. I kept reading and cried and cried. Scott got up and showered. I wanted to keep reading, but I knew I needed to get ready, so I closed the book and dressed for the temple. Scott could tell I was really upset, but did not know exactly why. I was quiet during the ride to the temple. Scott was afraid to ask me to share what I was thinking and feeling. We attended a session. It brought some comfort, but still, my mind was tormented with the reality of my life and fear for what it meant. I could not be alone with four children to raise. I could not lose my best friend. I COULD NOT DO IT. Why me? What was going to really happen to us?

In the dressing room, one of the temple workers was the mother of a high school friend. She greeted me happily and asked about how our family is doing. I lied and said we were fine, even though I desperately wanted to share with her what I was going through. I had not been able to share it with anyone but my Heavenly Father, which was good, but not enough. I quickly changed the subject and told her about our family vacation to Nauvoo and asked about her daughter. A few weeks later I found out from my mother-in-law that she had heard through the grapevine that this lady has a gay son who has left the church. I couldn’t help but think that maybe I was being prompted to tell her the truth about my life, rather than just wanting a shoulder to cry on. I think about that once in a while, and wonder if I should get in contact with this high school friend of mine.

On the ride home, Scott was brave enough to ask me what I was thinking and feeling. I let it all out, and it felt good. I wished I had told him how I was feeling before we went to the temple. He told me some of his ideas that felt right for the future, of course with a disclaimer that he had no idea what the future would actually bring. Some of his ideas  were not very comforting, other than he said he could not imagine a future without me in it.

When I got home, I found some courage and began reading again. I had two more chapters in the marriage section to read. The next one happened to focus on positive mixed orientation marriages and how some people are able to make them work out. Oh, how I wished I had kept reading before the temple, that I had gone with this comfort in my heart from Carol Lynn Pearson: “I speak for romantic love. I speak, too, for trusting the mystery, for forgiveness, and for believing that love in all its forms once created can never be undone. And that not only in eternity, but here, hidden under the grey, all is well, and all manner of things shall be well.”

Peace began to fill my heart, and I began to heal and to trust my Heavenly Father that he had brought Scott and I together for a purpose, and no matter what the future might bring, we would have each other as best friends, and all would somehow be well.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Even the Elect will be Deceived

The lesson yesterday in Relief Society was on the Second Coming. The teacher posed the question: “What evidence do we see that the last days that have been prophesied are here, and that the Second Coming is close at hand?”
Another sister quickly responded with, “Well, just this week we see that there are people who want to call evil good and good evil.” The teacher whole-heartedly agreed, and added, “Right now we see members who refuse to believe that the leaders of the church are speaking for God, but instead that they are merely voicing their own opinions. In the last days, even the very elect will be deceived, and none of us are immune to this. We must cling to our testimonies and to the words of the Prophets.”

I was grateful that no one actually mentioned the words “Gay marriage,” but it was obvious what was on their minds. And again, I couldn’t help but feel like she was talking to me when she said that the elect would be deceived.

I agree that it is now very important to cling to our testimonies! But if even the very elect will be deceived, how do I know that it is not the leaders themselves? Therefore, it is important to pray for the guidance of the spirit, and this I have done, and have felt peace with the side I have chosen on this issue.

Scott and I talked last night about how church went, now two weeks after his testimony and coming out to our ward. We attended an Elder’s Quorum social Saturday night, and felt very welcome and comfortable around the few families that were there. We have some friends that we still talk with and interact with like nothing has happened. Other people that have never talked to Scott seem to be friendlier with him than ever before. We met with the Bishop for tithing settlement, and he seemed at ease with us, carrying on a normal conversation with no mention of the testimony.

But there are others that seem to be ignoring us.

Scott said that he has noticed a couple of people, that as he passes them in the hall, they turn to look at the wall to avoid eye contact, whereas previously they would have at least nodded or said hi. Another person quickly said hi, but would have usually been more friendly and talkative, and instead seemed in a hurry to be on her way.

I was in near proximity to one lady a couple of times on Sunday. Normally that would be enough to start a friendly discussion. Instead, it was a quick smile and a turn the other way, off to something important she needed to do. I took a card to her home this week to apologize for my anonymous letter and let her know that I valued her friendship and wanted her love and support through this challenge in my life. She has not acknowledged it in any way, and I don’t know what more to say or instigate at this point.

Now, it is possible that we are reading things into these reactions. We are obviously very sensitive to our observations right now. I am most anxious about this one family with whom we have always been pretty close. I’m sure that they are just not sure what to say or how to react, much like Scott’s stalwart family members. I should probably try harder in the future to instigate casual conversations, but I guess at the moment I am a bit weird about it too because of my letter and card. I just need her to hug me and thank me for the card and tell me that she loves me, just like the Relief Society President did the first time she saw me after I sent a card to her in the mail.

But that’s not the reaction I got, and it hurts.

I guess I just need to be grateful that the reactions have been as good as they have, and that we do have friends that accept us for who we are.

And I refuse to believe that I am deceived, calling evil good and good evil. I am just following the spirit and what brings my heart peace.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Looking back: The longest night of my life

I decided maybe I should go back and put some of my earliest memories from this summer into writing so that I don’t forget my journey. Scott blogged about this event already, when it happened, but I need to write it out from my perspective, even though the details are the same.

June—we had a great family vacation to the Midwest. We stayed with a sister of Scott’s for a few days and then with his brother for a few days. We visited Nauvoo, went to Cedar Point in Ohio, toured a bit of Chicago, and just generally had a fun time letting our kids get to know cousins that they don’t get to see very often. It was an adventure for several reasons: it was the kids’ first time on a plane, our 10-year-old came down with chicken pox, we mixed up our flight date and arrived at the Chicago airport 24 hours after we were supposed to depart (so stayed an extra day and paid lots of extra money), then arrived home with me and the 10-year-old suffering from strep-throat. We all got along great and had a good time together, despite a few obstacles. After a week or so to recuperate from our illnesses and vacation fatigue, the summer routine began. Some summers Scott has had a hard time heading to work when the rest of the family is home. His job is flexible, so he will usually work from home, or at least sleep in and head to work 9-ish or so, come home early and then work from home in the evening.

Around the beginning of July, he started getting up at 5:30 or 6 to work out and then left for work by about 7. I was still in bed and often still asleep (he would wake me to kiss me goodbye, as I usually do with him during the school year). This behavior was kind of strange, since he has never been a morning person. Then he would come home between 5 and 6, help with or make dinner, and then sit quietly and read a book. He loves to read, so the reading was not unusual, but he seemed distant somehow. I asked him a couple of times if everything was okay, and he sincerely answered yes, but did not want to talk much with me or anything. Just read his book.

Okay, whatever. We’ve been through this before. It’s not worth getting upset about.

One day he said “We should go to the temple sometime soon.” It had been awhile (if you don’t count doing baptisms in Nauvoo with our daughter), so it was not strange to suggest that we should go, but it was usually me that presented the idea, not him. That seemed a little weird to me. I asked him if there was any reason in particular, and he said no, that it had been a long time and he thought we should go. He seemed frustrated that we could not figure out a time that week that would work. I even had a conflict Saturday morning.

July 11th, my daughter and I hosted a mother-daughter Mary Kay party. A few days before the party we found out that there was also a family birthday party the same night, but the invites were out, and it seemed like the perfect way to get rid of the boys for a few hours. So, Scott and the 3 boys headed to the family BBQ. They returned home when the party was winding down and most people had left. We got the kids to bed, then Scott helped me clean up, helped me decide what Mary Kay products to order with the credit from my party, and then started shutting out lights to get the house ready for bed. Before he set the alarm, he went out to the garage and brought in a plastic bag with something in it. He had kind of a strange look on his face, so I asked him what was in the bag, and he said “let’s go in the bedroom and talk.” I started to get worried, and I think as we started walking out of the kitchen that I might of said “Is everything okay with your job?” I really worry about money, especially after our extra vacation expense, and so Scott losing his job is one of my worst fears. It has happened before, and I have never gotten over the anxiety that came from that year of no income and the circumstances and way that he was terminated.

He quickly said “No, no. My job is fine. Don’t worry about my job.”

We sat on the bed, he shut the door behind us. I waited for him to say something. He looked scared to death, was fidgety and couldn’t say a word. Normally he is a pretty calm person and does not get nervous about things. He started blowing air through his lips, like he was trying to keep from hyperventilating, and then said, “I knew this would be hard, but I didn’t know it would be this hard.” I started freaking out. I said, “Are you sure your job is okay? Are you sick? Are you dying of cancer or something?” He wouldn’t answer. I started pacing, my heart was pounding. Heat rushed up my body to my head and I felt like I was going to pass out. “You have to tell me, now. Would it help if I stopped looking at you?” He said maybe it would. I took a deep breath, sat down on the bed with my face to the wall and my back to Scott. He said something about my needing to hear him out and try not to react after the first sentence. I said okay, and finally he said “I am gay.”

I totally did not see that one coming, but I was so relieved that he had finally said it that I let out a sigh of relief and through stressed laughing said “At least you haven’t lost your job and you’re not dying of cancer.” We both chuckled at that. I don’t remember everything he said and everything I asked, but I do remember that immediately the thought “Where do we go from here?” kept going through my mind….

Some of the things we talked about….

His experience with coming out to himself, the fact that he did not choose to be this way, feelings in his past that he tried to suppress and ignore, the fact that he has been faithful to me and never had relations with any men, about Carol Lyn Pearson and his experience reading No More Goodbyes and anything else he could find to read (that is what was in the bag that he got out of the car), the friends and love and acceptance he had found online, the fact that he was so scared to tell me and didn’t want to hurt me, but simply could not bear to keep it from me any longer (it had only been about 10 days since he had figured it out.)

The main point he seemed to want to convey is that life could no longer be the same, and that he could not make any promises to me that he would be with me for the rest of our lives or forever, because he did not know what the future might bring, and he didn’t want to risk feeling the need to break such a promise later.

I’m not sure exactly how I felt. I can’t really remember. I was numb. I was in shock.

We finally decided we should go to bed.

After a few minutes we decided we should watch some TV to help get our minds away from the subject so that we could try to sleep. I have no memory of what we watched.

When we turned the TV off and tried to sleep, I couldn’t. I had no idea what all of this really meant. Was my marriage now over? If he’s always been gay, and we have survived this long, can’t we keep living like this forever and pretend that nothing had changed? Does his being gay mean that he has never been attracted to me at all? In high school, through his mission, through our 13 years of marriage, was I nothing more than a friend?

He snored off and on through the night, so I think he slept more than I did. I cried softly into my pillow, my mind kept going through all of these questions. I have never been so confused and felt so helpless.

Around 3 a.m. I got up, found my scriptures and went in the living room. I read my patriarchal blessing. I read his patriarchal blessing. I read the Book of Mormon. All 3 things brought me comfort. I had interesting thoughts and impressions. Now I wish I remember was those thoughts were exactly and what exact scripture passage I read, but I don’t remember. I went back to bed around 4 and finally slept for a while.

Then at 6 when the light started to come in the window, I woke up. The thoughts and questions filled my mind again. I desperately needed more sleep, but I couldn’t. Maybe some music would help me relax and sleep. I picked up my pocket PC and starting perusing my MP3s. “Where do we go from here?” Those words of a song went through my head along with the notes over and over, but I didn’t know the rest of the words very well. I think I have the song, yes, Brooke White sang it on American Idol during Andrew Lloyd Webber week, written for the movie version of Evita a few years back. Where is it? That’s it. “You Must Love Me.” Scott is sleeping (I can hear him snoring). [play]

Where do we go from here?
This isn't where we intended to be
We had it all, you believed in me
I believed in you

Certainties disappear
What do we do for our dream to survive?
How do we keep all our passions alive,
As we used to do?

[Bridge:]

Deep in my heart I'm concealing
Things that I'm longing to say
Scared to confess what I'm feeling
Frightened you'll slip away

[Chorus:]

You must love me
You must love me

Why are you at my side?
How can I be any use to you now?
Give me a chance and I'll let you see how
Nothing has changed

[bridge]
[chorus]

You must love me

My quiet tears turned into audible sobs. I couldn’t believe how perfect the words were. I had to hear it again. I sobbed harder. I didn’t want to wake Scott, so I went to the kitchen to get some ibuprofen for my pounding headache. I got a cup from the cupboard, then turned to head toward the fridge for water.

I jumped. Scott was coming down the hall and into the kitchen. I was sure he had been asleep. Seeing him, I felt like he was a different person, like I had no idea who he really was, a stranger in my house. He had tears streaming down his face. He tentatively came to me and hugged me and said “The second time through that song was too much to bear.” We hugged for a long time, crying together. He loosened his grip, looked me in the eyes and said, “I didn’t choose this. You understand that, right?” I nodded to comfort him. But in my heart, I did not know that. I did not understand until a day or two later when I began reading “No more Goodbyes”. Then I started to really understand. And then also, I started to really hurt, for him, for me, and for us.

And I kept thinking…

Where do we go from here?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Blind Sheep

I have the Deseret News headlines emailed to me at work, and I usually glance through them first thing to see if anything interests me, and then I quickly read a couple of articles if I have time. Anything mentioning Prop 8 of course gets my attention. Last week it was about the news release from the church, which made me ornery the rest of the day. Sometimes I also glance through the comments, but there are usually a TON of them and they say the same crazy things over and over. You’d think I would know better than to keep reading such articles…

This morning the title was Catholics, Mormons joined to pass Prop. 8. I gave the article a quick read, and then noticed that there were ONLY 21 comments so far. I had time to read that many to see what people were saying...

It was the usual…

  • Yes, its all about children. The anti-Prop 8 folks don't want us to think about their impact on children.
  • We should all join with them to help preserve traditional marriage - the most stabilizing force in our culture. The opponents to California's passed proposition 8 are now showing their true colors - that of a hate filled and love deprived group of individuals.
  • Two "married" women raising a child tell the child day in and day out by their example that men are not important. That child will grow up either believing that men are not important or that she/he is not good enough to have a dad, or both. Parenting is more than being loving to children. Parenting is putting the needs of the child over the wants of the parents. Children need - and naturally want - both a father and a mother. Traditional marriage is the best way to raise children to become successful adults.
  • Gay "rights" advocates do not just want us to tolerate homosexuality or even just let homosexuals carry on with their lives, they want everyone to applaud them and support them and never verbally disagree with them. Anything but 100% support is "intolerant" or worse, it is bigotry.
  • I am very happy that Catholics are coming forward to defend LDS members who supported Prop 8. We all need to work together for what's right.
  • Where are all your nasty and negative posters? I know it is more fun to be nasty to the mormons. It appears that more catholics turned to vote yes than the mormons did. Where is the outrage?


Oooo, I took that as an invite. Although I did not plan to be nasty, just honest. Here is my comment:

Sad | 7:47 a.m. Nov. 11, 2008
I am an active Mormon with a strong testimony, yet I disagree with prop 8. There are those of you who say these two things together are impossible, but I tell you that they aren't.

Allowing gay marriage DOES NOT hurt my "traditional marriage." And I WANT my children to know that other children might have 2 moms or 2 dads so that they can be tolerant and love them no matter what. Regardless of the law, there are lots of children in that situation and will continue to be, and from what I've seen personally, some of them are blessed with better home and family life than many with a mom and a dad. Allowing gay marriage gives everyone the same constitutional rights and happiness.

Banning it, however, hurts to the core some of the sweetest people you will ever meet. It also hurts their friends and family.

If allowing it doesn't hurt anyone, and banning it hurts someone, then it is sad to me that so many people feel so passionately about banning it, especially members of my own church who profess to have love and charity as an integral part of their lives.

Whoa, boy did I start a discussion and some severe backlash. I was going to quote from it, but if you’re interested, read it yourself. I was amazed that my honest and benign comment could stir up such contention in the hearts of members of the church. Scott jumped in with a few comments (alias SN). I could be biased, but I think Scott is so good at explaining things and making them sound reasonable and logical.

Needless to say I was kind of distracted through the day: proof that it is good that the district firewall blocks my ability to read blogs all day long.

Anyway, I guess it was silly to jump in at all, but I learned a lot about myself today and my progression through the last few months. As I read things like “You can’t be Mormon”, or “Satan is leading you away from the true church” I laughed instead of cried. During the summer I posted a comment on an article once and was VERY hurt by the comments that came thereafter.

I am very grateful for the peace that Heavenly Father is letting me feel right now and that the comments didn’t make me feel guilty or evil. In fact, it has been a very happy day for me. Maybe Satan has just lulled me into a false sense of security, but I don’t think so. Wickedness never was happiness, right? And if by some chance homosexuality is really as evil as some think it is, and I am heading speedily towards hell with such an opinion, then I believe in a Christ that will see that in my heart I am good and kind and tried to be like Him, and that will make up for my error.

I was honest in my comment when I said that you MoHos are some of the sweetest people I will ever meet. Your comments and encouragement mean more to me than you will ever know, and I feel so blessed to be so welcome in this community. Thank you!

Monday, November 10, 2008

MoHo party

For any of you Utah people interested in getting together, see Scott's blog for more details. Straight spouses and families welcome.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Mistake?

I think I made a mistake at school today...

I am embarrassed about what has happened and I’m not sure I should even post this. But I think I need some advice, and some comfort, and I want to tell Scott but I don’t think I can do so in person yet. He asked me earlier what is wrong. I am very transparent. This post will get the conversation going.



Since Scott came out to the ward on Sunday, I have been invigorated. I have felt like we are letting our light shine and doing good in the world around us. So yesterday, as I heard different political conversations going on at work, I jumped in with my own disappointment on Prop 8 passing, and didn’t feel bad about explaining why. One was a teacher in my department that I hadn’t told yet. He was shocked, but I think this will be good for him. Others were secretaries in the office that were impressed with my story and attitude, and they had their own stories to share of gay family members that are hurt by the result of the election.

I figured that Scott is out to family, our ward, our friends on facebook, lots of my co-workers. It will be impossible to keep it contained at this point, and I feel good about spreading more understanding on the topic.

So when students have said things, I have not held back, and now I am afraid it has gone too far…

One of my classes has some students that are frequently teasing each other about being gay. I don’t know if any of them are or not, but their comments are inappropriate and offensive. A week or two ago, I asked them to stop and told them that their comments were offensive and that they might be hurting someone in our class from what they say. They pursued the conversation until, to prove my point I said, “Your comments are offending me because my husband is gay.” They pressed me for more information, and I gave a little, and then changed the topic. There were only a couple of students in the class that heard this.

Well, over the next few days, I heard them telling other people in the class, but I didn’t comment when asked. The students that know are the type of kids that lie constantly and everyone knows it, so no one seemed to believe them.

Then today, our school news program came on the TV screen, and it started with a clip from David Archuleta’s new music video.

One of my students (this is a different class, BTW) said, “Argh. I hate him. My grandma thinks he is gay.”

Me: I don’t think so, but so what if he is?

Student: So what? He’s gay. He’s a homo.

Me: There’s nothing wrong with homos.

Student: Ooooh, don’t say that. They don’t like to be called that. They’re going to come throw rainbow skittles at your house for saying that. (Another kid joined in and they were laughing.)

Me: I don’t think so. There is actually someone who is gay living in my house.

Student: (shocked) Who?!

Me: My husband.

(Other students that happened to hear jumped in. He can’t be. How could he be married to you if he is? Do you have kids? Are you getting divorced? Does he have a boyfriend? etc.)

I answered a few of their questions calmly and appropriately, and realized I had probably made a mistake. But then the bell rang and I quickly delved into things I needed to get done during my next class and forgot all about it.

Later, my last class started trickling in. A couple of boys came up to my desk. One of them asked if everything had gone okay with my cat and if I was okay. (I found out during their class on Tuesday about the cat and started to cry, and they were very supportive of me.) Suddenly one of the boys said, “Is your husband gay? I heard that your husband is gay.” The boy asking about the cat then said, “Yeah, I heard that too.” Then someone else said, “Yeah, me too, but I wasn’t going to ask her about it.”

I sat still for a bit, just looking at them while they continued to ask and spoke of discussions they had heard amongst students earlier. I finally quietly nodded. Then one of the boys started going off with more questions, not giving me time to answer before throwing in comments like “You should send him to Germany. They kill gays there. You’re okay with it? If my girlfriend told me that, I would shoot her. You should shoot him; he doesn’t deserve to live. He likes sausages. You’re okay with that?...

Tears started to well up in my eyes. The other boys pulled him into the hall and the class was quiet. I took roll, and as I finished, the boys came back in the room. The one apologized and asked me what he could do to make up for it. He was very helpful throughout the class and didn’t say another word about my husband.

But the damage was done. My brilliant shining light from yesterday was extinguished, and I was hurting. I felt stupid. What have I done? Where will this go from here? Would any of these teenagers actually try to hurt me or my family for what we are?

I can’t take back what I’ve said. And maybe I’ve helped someone in the classroom who was quietly listening to my opinion, hiding what they are inside. But I feel it is more likely that I have only hurt myself, and I don’t know what to do about it.

Meanwhile, my gay students have started gravitating toward me. They show up after school or during lunch just to say hi or hang out. They bring their friends. I enjoy talking with them. They cheer me up and their presence reminds me that maybe for them, it is good that I have spoken up.

But part of me is now down and depressed again and worried that parents will complain and students will act aggressively. I think I am just letting the worst possible thoughts get to me.

Only time will tell.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Highs and Lows


It has been an interesting week, and it is only Tuesday.

Beginning with Scott's testimony on Sunday and then the candlelight vigil, Sunday was a beautiful day for me. I was anxious for obvious reasons, but happy and relieved. It felt so right to be out to our ward, and then it felt so right to be gathered with Mormons and non-Mormons, gays and straights, at the SLC library. We brought our huge rainbow umbrella, which came in handy on our walk around the block. Our daughter really wanted to come with, so even though I was nervous to leave our 11 year old boy tending the other 2 at home, we took her with us and had a wonderful experience!

I was uplifted and faced Monday morning with renewed strength.

But in the background of my mind was our cat. He has not been well for 7 months or more. We noticed that he was not eating well and that he had lost weight. We left for the weekend (this was in the spring) and came back 48 hours later to discover that he had not eaten anything.

I took him to the vet the next day. They did a blood test and x-ray; they hydrated him, etc. The next day they checked his kidneys and liver again with another blood test. He seemed improved. The next step would have been an expensive ultra-sound. We had already put some $280 into tests, so decided not to spend more. We took him home, experimented with different brands of food till we found one he liked, bought a water dish with a fountain. He was eating well again and we thought he would soon begin to put on some of the weight he lost.

But he stayed skin and bones.

After Scott's sister saw him and expressed concern, we had him back to the vet about 2 1/2 weeks ago. He had lost more than 2 pounds in 6 months. We spent more money on another blood test and then an experimental treatment of antibiotics and steroids. He seemed to improve at first, but then he began to throw up, and then he stopped eating completely (4 or 5 days ago). It became impossible to give him his meds, and he hid so we could not find him to force them on him.

Monday morning Scott suggested what I had been thinking, but hearing Scott say the words was too much. We discussed it as a family last night, and then today Scott called the vet to get his opinion.

The kids came home from school, we took pictures, we petted and kissed our dear friend of 7 years. He has been with us since he was 6 weeks old. We took him to the vet, told him goodbye, and sent him to peace and comfort.

There are six of us living here, but the house is empty. The kids are screaming, but the house is quiet. My dear furry friend is gone. And although getting another cat might fill the void, we were crazy to have one in the first place due to my allergies, and one or two of the children appear to be allergic as well.

I sit here crying, thinking of my loss, and worrying about the results of the election in California. I leave it in God's hands and his higher purpose, and I pray for peace as I mourn tonight.

Caramel is now with his friend (the kitten in the photo, taken 5 years ago), Scott's sister's cat, who got hit by a car last year. And soon, my own pain will begin to fade.