Sunday, April 26, 2009


I am always on a natural high after our MoHo parties--meeting new people, wonderful hugs from all these gorgeous men, fabulous music sung at the top of our lungs (I hope the neighbors enjoyed it--the windows were open). And I usually come away having learned something, having felt what I think are strong spiritual impressions about my purpose in life.

In addition to many Mohos as usual, Ron Schow came last night. He is a professor at Idaho State University where he has taught for the past thirty years. He is the author of numerous books and journal articles and was one of the editors of Peculiar People: Mormons and Same Sex Orientation (Signature Books, 1991). He is also one of the authors of A Guide for Latter-Day Saint Families: Dealing with Homosexual Attraction (2002, available at Deseret Book). Yes, he is an active member of the church, but is also very much a gay advocate and, like us, would love to see a change in the way that the church deals with gay members.

Part of the reason he came (besides to meet us, and other bloggers, I assume) was to ask Scott and I to help him with what he considers a mission, to help members of the church really understand what being gay is all about, and learning to be more tolerant and accepting. As Ron and I sat at the kitchen table, conversing between insanely loud spurts of kareoke, my heart was touched, and I swear the spirit was speaking to me again, that I have an important calling to do, that I am on the right path, and that I do not need to be afraid.

I was overcome with the significance of that calling as I bid Beck farewell, he and I briefly speaking of his wonderful wife, and marveling at my acceptance of everything. How could I possibly be this accepting of Scott and everyone else that walks through our door without God's help? He has given me what I need to do what He needs me to do, and I can't give up--I can't give up at school or at church, and I also cannot stop going to church--I am needed there more than anywhere else!

I felt the calling again as I read a message to an email list I am on for friends and family of gay mormons. The message was written to a mother who is new to the list and to the idea of her return-missionary son being gay.

"Yes, it is lonely. Your life will never be the same, but you will make many wonderful friends and gain much understanding and grace. And you will probably believe, as many of us do, that this is a new calling for us. For if not us...who?"

The feeling was confirmed in my heart again this morning as I pondered the messages in word and song in Sacrament meeting. The first talk was about the Welfare program of the church, emphasized by sweet personal stories of service for those in need. The final message of the talk was that the main blessing of the welfare program is letting people know that God loves each of them and is mindful of their situations.

The story was shared of the Prophet Elijah, and how God told him to seek food and shelter from a poor widow, who didn't even have enough food for herself and her son, I believe. But God told Elijah to ask, and the widow to share, and though it did not logically make sense, they had faith and obeyed, and were both blessed, the widow blessed with all the food she needed for her family to make it through that tough time.

I compared this story to my own situation: there are those who would argue that God would never ask us to do something that seems contrary to what the prophets or inspired leaders tell us, but I am certain that God has given me a message over and over the last few months. I am certain that I not only need to be tolerant of gay marriage, I need to rejoice in it so that I can completely fulfill my calling, helping my gay friends to know that God loves them and is mindful of them. I don't think that message would come as strongly to them if I had the opinion that "God loves you, but..." Does that make sense? I have come to completely accept it and agree with it so that I can completely love and accept each of them, and express that to others that I come in contact with at church and school. Eventually, attitudes will change, even if there will be a lot of battles along the way.

I participated in a musical number today in Sacrament meeting that goes right along with the idea of following God's plan for me. It is written by Alice and Larry Beebe:

Here am I, take my hand
Savior lead me through this land.
Hear my humble plea for courage,
In this world of sin and strife.
Oh, Savior please guide my life.

Here am I, take my hand
Walk beside me in this land.
Let me hear the voice of knowledge,
Understanding truths today.
Oh Savior, please lead the way.

Here am I a warrior, in the battle of saving souls.
Here are these my willing hands.
Give me strength to renew this sacred trust,
Sacred trust.

Here am I, take my hand
Savior lead me through this land.
I stand ready now to serve thee,
Hand in Hand eternally.
Standing firm with my Savior,
Obedient to promises
Oh, Savior, I come to thee.

Do you think in the life before this one that I make a promise to my Savior that I now have to keep, one that will not be easy, but will certainly be worth it? I think so, I really do.

In Sunday School (aren't you proud of me for going to all of my meetings, while Scott was off after our Sacrament meeting with Ron Schow to a different Sacrament meeting and Sunday School?) we were discussing Doctrine and Covenants section 46 and spiritual gifts. After we read through the entire section of material, the teacher asked if we thought there were any other spiritual gifts that were not listed in the text.

The first one that was suggested was a gift of compassion. Has God given me personally the spiritual gifts that I need to complete this calling? Yes, I believe he has, but it will also require the gift of courage, and as courageous as I may seem sometimes, I really do need more.

Relief Society took a shocking turn today as the lesson finished by discussing the 10 virgins and the qualities that we need to develop within ourselves to fill our own lamps with oil. The teacher ended by asking if we had seen or heard about Miss California in the Miss USA pageant. She asked a sister who nodded to tell us about it and then other people began to comment. Even I commented about hearing her say on the news that she felt she had been blessed with the opportunity to share her viewpoint with the country. They talked about her courage to stand up for what she believes, and then of course the comments turned into her standing up for what is right.

The time was up and the meeting ended. As I gathered hymnbooks and put them away, I was in awe with myself for not being upset. I was able to sit through a brief gay marriage discussion and still feel calm and happy at the end.

I also thought about, how, if there had been more time, I would have liked to say that I was impressed with Miss CA's courage to say what she believed, but that I am equally impressed by Mormons who have the courage to say what they believe, even when it is the opposite view in favor of gay marriage. I thought of my courage and my daughter's courage to interview for that documentary, and now I hope with all of my heart, that like Miss California, my voice will be heard by those who need to hear it all over this nation.

I am invigorated and blessed by what I have learned about myself this weekend, for the person I am becoming and for the renewed strength I have found to carry on.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Obviously Gay Traits

Ever since Scott came out to me last summer, we began watching a variety of movies having to do with "gay" issues. I intend to write a blog post to review many of the movies we have watched...but not today.

Anyway, one of the movies we watched was "The Broken Heart's Club". One of the characters says something about OGTs, and when someone questions him about it, he explains that he means "obviously gay traits".

Scott and I met D. in November at our first MoHo party. Then a couple of weeks later we invited him to join us for Family Night to see the lights at Temple Square. Then he began hanging around at our house more and more, and the more he did, the more he learned about Scott. It seemed that every time he came, something about Scott would come up, and he would gasp and say, "...and you didn't know you were gay?" or "You really had no idea that he is gay? This makes it so obvious!"

One day D. decided that this had happened so many times that he needed to start making a list. I found an old notebook in our filing cabinet from my own school days (one that is filled with bright pink lined paper) and he began making a list of everything that he could remember. It is now referred to as the "pink notebook". When he is over and something comes up, he will gasp and say, "I need my pink notebook!"

Anyway, here is our list so far:

  • Scott enjoys dipping chocolates to give to the neighbors at Christmas. He tried learning how from the internet first, then after a couple of years of his chocolates not meeting up to his expectations, he took a class at Gygi's (and was the only guy there, he says.)
  • A few years ago he began making me a new piece of jewelry for our anniversary (and other events) every year. Nothing says "I love you" like a home-made gift. And high quality, too! I am always proud when someone compliments one of them and I respond, "Thanks, my husband made it for me!"
    • Also a few years ago, Scott and his sister convinced me that I should start coloring my graying hair. I have never been to a salon to have it done, because Scott colors it for me every time.
    • Scott subscribes to Men's Vogue, GQ, and other magazines full of well dressed (or partially dressed) men.
    • When Scott was in college, he intended to go into graphic design, so he started as an art major. For one of his clay art projects, he created a well-built male bust. (This was only a year or two into our marriage.)
    • Also a year or two into our marriage, he decided to have his step-mom perm his hair. Unfortunately, his hair didn't take to it very well, and before long it was no longer curly, so he hasn't tried it since. However, he has had his sister (and me sometimes) put blond highlights in his hair, and one time he bleached it entirely, turning it a yellowish-orange color. He went to church once with it that color, and got lots of interesting reactions. (I personally was very embarrassed to be with him, sadly.) At work, his boss said, "You know, in San Francisco, that would mean something." He came home from work and told me and we laughed about it. Later in the week I helped him dye it back to brown.
    • One year his step mom asked him to make a cake for a niece and nephew's birthdays. He created an awesome "Finding Nemo" cake with rolled fondant icing. He also made a beautiful heart-shaped cake for me for Valentine's Day, that same year, I think.
    • Scott crocheted an afghan on his mission on P-days while his mission companions played basketball and such. 8 or 9 years ago, he was the varsity scout coach in our ward and decided to teach the boys to crochet so that they could make something for their moms for Mother's day.

    So, yeah, why do you think we have both been so oblivious for so long?

    Feel free to comment and add to the list, if you know Scott well at all and have observed any OGTs. :)

    By the way, so as not to offend anyone, this post is all in good fun, and I am sorry if any of you feel like I am unfairly "stereotyping" Scott or anyone else.

    Wednesday, April 22, 2009

    Gay Trains

    Out of the mouth of babes. Here is a definition of the word "gay" from a 6-year-old (in 2002).

    Evan blogged today about Rosie O'Donnell and provided this link, on which I found this quote, which I thought was awesome, so I had to share it.

    “A few months ago, my son, Parker, had a play date with a friend from soccer. His friend asked, “Why do you have two mommies?” He said, “They’re gay. Ever hear of it?” and his friend said, “No.” Parker said, “You know the Thomas the Tank engine toys, how they all connect by magnets. And there is always that train that won’t connect to the other ones and you have to find another train that won’t connect to any of the other ones and then those two trains connect? Those two trains are totally gay.”

    Rosie O’Donnell, interviewed on NBC’s “The Colin Quinn Show,” March 19, reported by the Washington Blade, a newspaper for homosexuals, March 29, 2002. The Blade describes the above quotation as O’Donnell “discussing how her son taught her about diversity.”

    What if?

    Last night I turned the news on (which is unusual for me, because the news usually just makes me depressed), but there were some teasers for the local news during American Idol, so I did. Anyway, a teaser came on about how Miss CA lost the “Queen” title in the Miss USA Pagent because of how she answered a question regarding gay marriage.

    I turned to Scott and asked him about it (knowing he would know about anything gay related in the news) and he sighed in frustration and shared details of the story, his main frustration being that people like Perez Hilton are the reason that gays and gay advocates and allies have such a bad image. It confirms the prevailing attitude that those who are against gay marriage are “persecuted” for standing up for what they think is right.

    While I disagree with Miss CA, I was impressed about how she handled the situation with the press. Rather than being angry, she felt blessed to have the opportunity to express her view on national TV.

    That started me thinking and wondering: what if I were blessed to answer that question and give my heartfelt opinion on national TV? What would I say?

    I guess this is not much different than interviewing for Reed Cowan’s documentary: “8: The Mormon Proposition.” I guess I was still able to voice my opinion for a national audience. The difference, though, is that only a certain subset of people in the nation will watch the documentary, while the audience for Miss USA is a different audience on a larger scale, and therefore has a much larger impact, kind of like Dustin Lance Black’s awesome speech at the Academy Awards.

    Anyway, back to what I would say…

    I am in favor of gay marriage. With that said, let me explain that I am happily married to a gay man, and that we have chosen to continue living in a marriage that is defined as “one man and one woman” and I am fine with that. But allowing gays to marry each other does not diminish the value of MY marriage.

    We have good friends, two men that were married in California last summer and have two adorable little boys. They are an amazing family and we enjoy associating with them and are honored to call them friends (and yes, our children are aware that their family is a bit different than ours, but is still a family, and they are fine with that). Yet, in order for this couple to have the same rights that we take for granted here in Utah (things like inheritance for their children, etc.), they had to go through the time and expense of hiring a lawyer. Some opponents of gay marriage in CA argue that they have civil unions with the same rights, but they are not the same, and they are more like the concept of “separate but equal.”

    In my opinion, the best compromise for this conflict in our nation would be to remove any government relationship with the word “marriage”. Perhaps it would be best for everyone to have a “civil union” first, and then, if desired, “marry” in the church of their choice, leaving marriage as a purely religious term that each denomination can define according to their own beliefs.

    Finally, in response to those who argue against gay marriage as a moral issue, I would like to express my opinion that legalizing gay marriage would most likely lead to less promiscuity and less adultery, and therefore would be a BETTER moral choice in the long run.

    Just my 2 cents. Maybe too long for a Miss USA interview question, but hey, that is never gonna happen anyway, so oh well.

    Monday, April 13, 2009


    God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
    ~Reinhold Niebuhr

    Saturday I attended a family bridal shower, and this quote was hanging on the wall in the restroom of my cousin' s home. I've decided it needs to be my motto, given the turmoil I have felt over the last few weeks.

    Earlier in the week, when I was in church melt-down mode, I thought Scott and I decided that we would skip our 9 am sacrament meeting (So that we could have more Easter-morning time as a family, maybe watch that church DVD on Christ that was in the Ensign a few years ago. Also, it was our fast and testimony meeting and I really was not in the mood to listen to people say how glad they are to have prophets to follow when the world is such a scary place. My brain always reads certain things into comments like that, assuming the person is automatically thinking about gay marriage in particular.) I knew the kids would want to go to primary and Young Womens, and I needed to go fulfill my calling in Relief Society.

    Then Saturday night Scott said the only meeting he was willing to go to was Sacrament meeting. So, we decided to go for the whole block of meetings, and Scott planned to sit in the foyer while he waited for the rest of us. (Ever since a comment was made in EQ the week of the "apostasy" lesson about Prop 8 and "that persuasion" of people, he has refused to attend. I can't say I blame him.)

    Sacrament meeting wasn't bad. I honestly didn't listen much, because I was chosing songs for Relief Society and dealing with children who always fight over me. One man in our ward spoke about Elder Holland's talk and how good it made him feel to realize that Christ knows what it feels like to be totally and completely alone.

    That is the one talk that stood out in my mind last week. Elder Holland wins again for giving the talk that impressed me the most (6 months ago it was his talk on Angels). I thought of many of my young friends who always say how alone they feel. They don't feel like they can marry someone of the opposite gender, and if they want to stay in the church, then they can't seek the companionship of someone of the same gender, so they resign themselves to the depressing thought of always being alone, or the thought of seeking companionship and thus being separated from church and God, and thus being alone in another way. Such a struggle. I wish I knew what to say. Actually, this make's me think of John's blog post, "Interviews with Christ." Check it out if you haven't already. In my heart I feel like he has hit the nail on the head. He talks about how everyone has to seek the path that is best for them and then live the best they can.

    Anyway, child #3 ended up wanting to go home after Testimony meeting, so I ran Scott and the child home, and returned partway through Sunday School. Not wanting to interrupt the meeting and sit by myself, I sat in the foyer and started reading general conference talks from last week on my phone.

    Jacob, who you might know as a reader of my blog, came in the door while I was sitting there (he had run home for a minute as well). He was very kind as he sat down and talked to me, knowing how I have been feeling this week. He seemed glad to see me at church, at the very least, and was so non-judgemental of my struggle. I was glad that he did not ignore me, but took the time to acknowledge and check on me. He wished me luck and said he would be thinking of me when I told him that my "favorite teacher" would be giving the lesson. (I have not attended a lesson of hers since...December, I think. And of course January's was the one I was blessed to miss.)

    I was just kind of blah throughout the day. During Relief Society I listened when something peaked my interest, and otherwise went back to reading from last week's conference talks. The teacher acknowleged and thanked me for the songs I chose that went so well with the lesson. She is such a kind and loving person, full of compassion, and I felt of her sincere desire to reach out to me and let me know of her gratitude.

    I did jot down a few notes during the lesson for blogging purposes:

    • Someone mentioned Zion's camp, and how the men did not accomplish what they had in mind, but God did accomplish what he wanted--a learning experience for the leaders of His church.
    I thought of how we must have faith, that God sometimes works in mysterious ways to accomplish his goals. I mentioned this in my interview for the documentary, that some may find my opinion blasphemous, but perhaps the reason God wanted the church to be involved in the Prop. 8 campain was to help give the gay-rights movement a boost that they would not have had otherwise. It has brought the topic to the front of discussions, which is where it needs to be if anything is going to change. Scott and I have wondered how the timing in our lives fits into this big picture. Why was Scott able to come to terms with his same-sex attraction right when the church was in the middle of this politcal battle? We feel there has to be a reason for the timing for us.
    • The teacher presented this quote from the lesson (and Joseph Smith), just as the children in the primary room next to us began to sing "I'll walk with you" : I am a lover of the cause of Christ and virtue, chastity, and an upright steady course of conduct, and a holy walk.
    What kind of walk is a holy walk, and does it have anything to do with walking with those who are not like us, like the song speaks of? I believe so. The timing of the song and the quote was perfect for my thoughts.

    • The teacher spoke of how God expects us to be the best "us" that we can be, and not compare ourselves to others.
    Boy, isn't that exactly what I need to do right now. I don't need to be like the "perfect" women in the ward, but I don't need to change who they are, either. All I need to be is myself, the best me that I can be. I need "...the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."
    • She also mentioned Elder Holland's talk, and gave some sweet examples of past events in her own life, when she has felt the help of her own father from beyond the veil.
    I was reminded of sweet moments last summer when I too, felt help from beyond the veil, from Scott's mother whom I have never met. I was reminded of my blessings and the angels in my life.
    • Some of her final words were the thoughts that no one is brought back to the gospel by condemnation, but there is also a fine line between standing up for what we know is right and compassion for others.
    Is it possible that somehow those words were meant for me from her personally, letting me know that she did not mean to condemn me, but only that she was standing up for right, and was learning to find that fine line between doing so and also letting me know of her love and compassion for me? I don't know, but her words were tender and heartfelt.

    Wow, yesterday during the lesson I was blah. Being at church was blah. I did not feel inspired to stay active in the church, but I was not miserable either. I did felt inclined, or maybe inspired to write down some notes, and now as I blog through and analyze the notes, I am truly touched that God is mindful of me, that the sisters in my ward truly do love me (which I already knew, but was being too prideful to recognize their efforts ).

    I don't think it is time to give up yet. There is peace and serenity from church attendance, even if it doesn't come until the following day. :)

    Thursday, April 9, 2009

    Advice from Elder Busche

    I know, I know...

    A few days ago I was tempted to stop blogging.

    Now I can't even take a rest!

    A dear MoHo friend sent me a link today that was incredible. Hidden and I have been chatting all week, trying to help each other through the anguish that we are both feeling right now.

    Anyway, this comes from a devotional talk given at BYU on May 14, 1996 by Elder F. Enzio Busche. I have posted the text that is in the video below the video, in case you would rather read than watch. The entire talk can be found at the link above.

    "In the time of my membership in the Church, I have grown to understand that this is the most important priority in our lives. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit we will not sin. We will be filled with wisdom, and we will be able to have the fruits to heal the wounds of the afflicted and to build a community of Saints. It is also obvious that without constant efforts, it will be very difficult to always be focused on our most righteous desires. Therefore, I want to share with you a vehicle, an instrument, that I developed some time ago for myself and for my family. It can assist us to reach our focus as we read the suggested vision of true discipleship as a Latter-day Saint. It helps when, from time to time, we ponder and seek identification with the following thoughts:

    • Embrace this day with an enthusiastic welcome, no matter how it looks. The covenant with God to which you are true enables you to become enlightened by him, and nothing is impossible for you.
    • When you are physically sick, tired, or in despair, steer your thoughts away from yourself and direct them, in gratitude and love, toward God.
    • In your life there have to be challenges. They will either bring you closer to God and therefore make you stronger, or they can destroy you. But you make the decision of which road you take.
    • First and foremost, you are a spirit child of God. If you neglect to feed your spirit, you will reap unhappiness. Don't permit anything to detract you from this awareness.
    • You cannot communicate with God unless you have first sacrificed your self-oriented natural man and have brought yourself into the lower levels of meekness, to become acceptable for the Light of Christ.
    • Put all frustrations, hurt feelings, and grumblings into the perspective of your eternal hope. Light will flow into your soul.
    • Pause to ponder the suffering Christ felt in the Garden of Gethsemane. In the awareness of the depth of gratitude for him, you appreciate every opportunity to show your love for him by diligently serving in his Church.
    • God knows that you are not perfect. As you suffer about your imperfections, he will give you comfort and suggestions of where to improve.
    • God knows better than you what you need. He always attempts to speak to you. Listen, and follow the uncomfortable suggestions that he makes to us--everything will fall into its place.
    • Avoid any fear like your worst enemy, but magnify your fear about the consequences of sin.
    • When you cannot love someone, look into that person's eyes long enough to find the hidden rudiments of the child of God in him.
    • Never judge anyone. When you accept this, you will be freed. In the case of your own children or subordinates, where you have the responsibility to judge, help them to become their own judges.
    • If someone hurts you so much that your feelings seem to choke you, forgive and you will be free again.
    • Avoid at all cost any pessimistic, negative, or criticizing thoughts. If you cannot cut them out, they will do you harm. On the road toward salvation, let questions arise but never doubts. If something is wrong, God will give you clarity but never doubts.
    • Avoid rush and haste and uncontrolled words. Divine light develops in places of peace and quiet. Be aware of that as you enter places of worship.
    • Be not so much concerned about what you do, but do what you do with all your heart, might, and strength. In thoroughness is satisfaction.
    • You want to be good and to do good. That is commendable. But the greatest achievement that can be reached in our lives is to be under the complete influence of the Holy Ghost. Then he will teach us what is really good and necessary to do.
    • The pain of sacrifice lasts only one moment. It is the fear of the pain of sacrifice that makes you hesitate to do it.
    • Be grateful for every opportunity to serve. It helps you more than those you serve.
    • And finally, when you are compelled to give up something or when things that are dear to you are withdrawn from you, know that this is your lesson to be learned right now. But know also that, as you are learning this lesson, God wants to give you something better.
    I think at this time it seems appropriate to ask the question "Do I really think it's possible for us, as human beings, to be always, in a complete way, under the influence of the Holy Spirit?" My answer is without hesitation, "No, it is not." It is not given to us to live in this world and to be without sin. Created by God in a spiritual body, but living with a body of flesh and bone in this unexalted and fallen state, we become polluted. We will not always be able to understand and comprehend the sinister plans of the adversary in his fight to destroy us and to make us as miserable as he is. But when we are constantly aware of this fight and we let the Light of Christ help us stand in our responsibilities, we may be able to stay on this narrow path where we will see, with clarity, that we are lost without the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. Although it is not possible to be perfect as long as we are in this earthly state, we still have to be perfect in keeping the commandments of our covenants. We are assisted in this situation by our living prophets, who suggest to us to have, at least once a year, an interview with our bishop. During this interview we can establish that we are in harmony with the covenants we have made with the living God. When we are in such a way perfected and are eligible to go in his holy house, the temple, we have the promise that Jesus Christ will take upon him the rest and we can rejoice in being cleansed through his redeeming blood every day of our lives. Our soul will sing to the praise of his name, and our hearts will be so full that we cannot be quiet but will share and testify of the reality of this work and the power in it.

    Thus, we prepare all the days of our lives, and, as we grow, death loses its sting, hell loses its power, and we look forward to that day with anticipation and joy when he will come in his glory."

    Gay Christians

    I just watched this video on Abelard's blog, and I decided to re-post it here. It touched my heart, especially with the internal struggles I face lately regarding church.

    Abelard says:

    We, like other gay Christians, struggle with reconciling our sexuality with our religious beliefs and with non- acceptance by other members of our church. To get an idea of this struggle, watch this trailer for the Gay Christian Network's new documentary, "Through My Eyes" - a film, created for Christians by Christians which is an inside look at how the homosexuality debate in the church affects real people.

    Wednesday, April 8, 2009


    One of my favorite students shared an awesome website with me today.

    For all of you out there that are so happy with life, here are some demotivators to help you feel worse for a change.

    I love so many of them, but here are a few samples*:

    *I realize I've stolen their images, but I am also linking to their site, so I hope they don't mind.

    No matter how great and destructive your problems may seem now, remember, you've probably only seen the tip of them.

    Hope may not be warranted at this point.

    When the winds of change blow hard enough, the most trivial of things can turn into deadly projectiles.

    Never before have so many people with so little to say said so much to so few.

    I might just have to order some demotivator posters for my classroom. :)

    Tuesday, April 7, 2009

    Motivational Quotes

    I took a day off from school today and went on an Engineering Tour--an opportunity to find out how to better help my students prepare for and seek a degree/career in engineering.

    The first place we toured was Boeing. They had motivational quotes hanging around the walls, so I scribbled down a few of them that caught my eye:

    A calm sea does not produce a skilled sailor.

    No one can predict to what heights you can soar. Even you will not know until you spread your wings.

    Some people dream of worthy accomplishments while others stay awake and do them.

    Thank you so much to those of you who have emailed or communicated with me personally over the last 2 days. I am again gaining strength, trying to think rationally. I have been pouring my heart out in prayer to figure out what to do about church. I am scared, but I trust my Heavenly Father with all my heart, and I know that the answer will come, and somehow I will be okay.

    Meanwhile, I thank God for my blog friends. You are my family, and you all mean so much to me.

    Inspirational Testimony

    Well, as long as this blog is no longer for me to vent my political convictions, I am going to use it to re-post my favorite blog posts from other people, so that those in my ward that read my blog can see what kinds of things have changed my heart forever.

    I would like to start with a recent post from John. It was the highlight of my week last week, and brings me peace and comfort now as I think of it again. (I sent this to Scott's family as well and his step-mom thought it was awesome!)

    Happy reading!

    Sunday, March 29, 2009

    A Gay Mormon's Testimony

    This morning as I was getting ready for Church, I received a very specific prompting from the Spirit to bear my testimony in Church. It was very clear and distinct.

    I thought, I can't do that... I'm not allowed to speak in Church. And the Spirit's response was, "Just ask your bishop." I immediately imagined the bishop saying no. But the Spirit said, "Just ask him."

    So I got dressed, got ready, and left a bit earlier than I usually do. As I rode my bike, I was composing a speech in my head, how I was going to ask him. And the Spirit said, "Don't do that. Just ask him."

    So I arrived at the Church just as Bishop B. was finishing a meeting with his counselors. I sat down outside his office to wait. Brother C. stepped out of his office, and I asked if I could see the bishop for just thirty seconds.

    I said to Bishop B., "I understand if you have to say no, but I want to know if it is OK for me to bear my testimony today."

    Without any hesitation, he said, "I don't know of any reason why you would not be allowed to do that."

    So I went into the chapel and found a seat. Instead of sitting in the middle of the back row as I usually do, I found a seat closer to the front and on the side, and I sat right next to the aisle so I would be able to get up more easily. I was going to be able to bear my testimony! Just thinking about it, I was already starting to weep. I got choked up trying to sing the opening hymn. I wept during the opening prayer.

    I knew I was going to bear my testimony, but what was I going to say? I started to organize words in my mind. But the words weren't coming. I don't know how many of you have experienced the "stupor of thought" described in D&C 9:9, but that's what I had. I was trying to think of what story I was going to tell. And then I felt the Spirit again, saying simply, "Don't think about what you're going to say. You'll have the words you need to say in the moment you need them." So instead of thinking about what I was going to say, I just started to pray. And then the thought came into my mind with crystal clarity. This is a testimony. Just tell them what you know.

    When the moment came, I got up and walked toward the podium. The bishopric all smiled at me. They just had the sweetest, kindest expressions on their faces.

    It took me a moment to speak, to get over the emotion that was overcoming me. I began by telling them that I had asked that my name be removed from the records of the Church in 1986, after almost committing suicide. I told them I was gay, and that I had a partner with whom I will be celebrating our seventeenth anniversary soon, and that I love him very much and he loves me. Then I told them about that moment in August 2005 in Salt Lake City when the Spirit spoke to me so powerfully and undeniably, and reminded me that I had a testimony of the Church, how it confused me and made me angry at first, and how I had wanted to deny it and wrestled with it for months, but how the Spirit kept speaking to me so that I could not deny it, and then I started coming to Church in October 2005. And then I told them about their kindness, and what they had done for me, how Bishop M. had helped me. And then I told them what I know about the Church, about Joseph Smith, about the Book of Mormon, and about Jesus Christ. And then I thanked them for their many individual kindnesses to me over the years. And then I was done.

    Bro. P. got up and called me his best friend, and he started talking about my faith, and my love for my parents, and my love for the scriptures. Later Sis. B. got up and told how, when I sang a solo musical number for the ward, she had never forgotten how she could hear my love for the Savior in my singing. When Bishop B. concluded by bearing his testimony, he added kind words of his own, and nodded and smiled down at me from the podium.

    After Sacrament meeting ended, a crowd of people gathered around me, one after another hugging me, encouraging me, and telling me how much they loved me. All people who, at one time or another, had reached out to me in little ways over the last three years. All I could do was thank them and weep.

    The ceiling of the sanctuary didn't fall in. Nothing exploded. Not one person reacted negatively. The entire ward just responded almost unanimously with pure, unreflective love. They just instinctively reached out to me with kindness and understanding.

    After I got home from Church, I called my parents and told them what had happened, and we all wept tears of gratitude together.

    When I arrived at choir rehearsal later in the afternoon, one by one members of the ward choir shook hands with me, hugged me, wanted to thank me for bearing testimony. We chatted easily, intimately and comfortably. It was like this barrier that once disconnected me from most members of my ward had suddenly been lifted. Once I was sort of a mystery, but now they understood. And in their understanding, there wasn't a trace of condemnation.

    One sister mentioned a lesbian daughter. Another sister told me about a former ward member who died of AIDS.

    I know this doesn't solve all my problems. I know this doesn't change some of the fundamental challenges of my life. But it does make me understand that there's a place where I can go where people are rooting for me. And there is a kind of clarity now, that makes me feel like I can breathe so much easier. I am so incredibly blessed.

    Later this afternoon, after the choir rehearsal, I met with one of my home teachers. He expressed surprise. He couldn't get over the fact that he had observed not the slightest trace of negativity or homophobia. He expected something, but he saw nothing but love. I realize that so many others have had such different experiences, so I don't take my blessing for granted. I certainly had a very different experience not too long ago in my parents' ward in Utah. But I truly also believe that the Spirit is at work in the Church. I feel so privileged to be a part of it.

    Monday, April 6, 2009


    I am an overly sensitive person. I always have been. Even before Scott came out to me about 9 months ago, I was overly sensitive. I have always had a hard time at school when I have been criticized by a parent or or fellow-employee or administrator. I have always had a hard time at church when someone tells me that I have done something wrong. This was especially true when I served as primary president. I still have deep scars from things that happened between me and the bishop and me and one of my counselors at that time.

    It is one of my weaknesses, my struggles, that I do not take criticism of any kind very well, even when it is presented with the best of intentions.

    I also consider that my sensitivity is one of my strengths. It allows me to be overly compassionate and caring of my children, my students, my friends and family.

    It is part of who I am, just like gayness is a part of who Scott is, and it therefore has a good and a bad side to it.

    I have been damaged. Events at school 2 weeks ago were devastating to me, as one of my Young Women leaders from my past betrayed me and hurt me to my core. I am not saying that I am not to blame, just that I am damaged from the event.

    I am damaged from neighbors that no longer call on my husband for computer help or priesthood blessings. They are still friendly and kind, and act like nothing has changed, when in fact it has, and it hurts.

    I am damaged by a sister in my ward that is convinced I am on the road to apostasy (and I guess maybe I am) because of my views on Proposition 8, and she has taken it upon herself to call me to repentance in front of the entire Relief Society.

    With each blow, I seem to become weaker instead of stronger. Even the tiniest and most benign and kind criticisms put me over the edge and into despair. I am more cynical, more critical, and I have less desire to do what I have always been taught and know that I need to do with regards to church attendance.

    My blog has been my therapy, and loving comments from many new friends have been my salvation. But it is not all that anymore, and something must change.

    Maybe I need to pay for some real therapy.

    Maybe I need to up my dose of Zoloft.

    Maybe I need to start a new blog and make it by invitation only.

    For now, I am going to disable comments on my blog. If you have anything positive you would like to say, please email me personally. Otherwise, send your constructive criticism to Scott to screen for me while I heal.

    It may seem that I am acting childish with this, but I need to do this now before I am even more uncomfortable at church, knowing that more and more of those around me are reading my blog. I want to let the ward members that do read my blog know that I am not mad at them, that I do not blame them. They have not hurt me; it is me that has allowed myself to be hurt. Just know that I need your prayers and your sincere acceptance more than anything right now.


    Saturday, April 4, 2009


    "Without hope life is not worth living.
    You’ve got to give ‘em hope."

    Scott and I finally got around to watching Milk last night. One of my students told me that he had recently bought it and had already watched it 4 times, and cried every time. He said his dad watched it with him.

    I gave him a copy of Prayers for Bobby. He told me yesterday that everyone watched it with him--parents, cousins, aunt, uncles. He was so excited about it and grateful that I had passed it along to him.

    I just wanted to do a quick post this morning and say that I have hope:

    • Iowa gives me hope.

    • My counselor friend said that the Principal is okay with having a "RAIN" club. That gives me hope.

    • I really hope that I don't freeze to death at my son's soccer game this morning. :) (For you out-of-towners, there is an inch of snow on the grass, and it is still lightly snowing.)

    • I have hope that my prayers for the last 2 weeks will be answered today as I watch conference, that I will not be uncomfortable and angry, but rather will find messages for me that I need, messages of hope.

    I pray for that same hope for each of you.