Tuesday, June 30, 2009


There is nothing like waiting to hear news about the life or death of a loved one to help you be even more grateful for the people in your life.

Will you please join us in praying for a one-year-old in Scott's extended family that was run over in his driveway by another member of the family? I am actually most concerned for the emotional well-being of this second individual, so pray for them as well.

All we know at this point is that the child has been life-flighted to a local children's hospital.

I have truly recognized the power of prayer in my life during the past year, and I know that your combined efforts will make a difference in the lives of this family.

My sincere thanks. I will post an update in the comments as soon as I know more...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Plan for FHE

For those of you who were interested in attending FHE at our home, we have finally hammered out a few details. So stay tuned...

But first, a quick story...

A few days ago we got together with another MOM couple (mixed orientation marriage). We've done this several times with one or two other couples and our kids, and it is always a lot of fun. We have kind of been doing them on a monthly basis, but we want to make it more definite so that others can plan ahead and join us! Anyway, more about that later as well...

On our way home, we were driving through Pleasant Grove and we saw this sign:

The next day I was driving somewhere with my 11 year old son and we saw a "dip" sign just outside of our neighborhood. My son and I talked about putting stickers on that sign to make it like the other one. Then he asked:

"Mom, is that really your blog name? Why would someone have put that on the sign? Do you think someone else uses "Serendipity" as their blog name?"

Me: Definitely. I didn't just make up the name. It is a real word with a real meaning.

Him: Oh, really? What does it mean?

I explained that it means accidentally discovering something that is good when you are looking for something else.

Him: So, the fact that we found that sign while we were looking for the freeway to get home is Serendipity?!

Me: Yes, I guess it is. Way to use a new vocabulary word!

I told him I should blog about our conversation, so there it is.

I love it when serendipity happens when I am in a church class or when I am reading my scriptures. I might be looking for something else, and find a treasure of wisdom that I never would have found otherwise! That hasn't happened to me for a while, well, because I'm not very good at studying my scriptures sometimes. I spend too much time on blogs and facebook because I love you all so much!

So, what if I could motivate myself to scripture study by preparing to discuss a topic with some of you? I am excited at the possibilities with this, and I hope that some of you are, too, because a discussion with just Scott and I could be pretty boring. ;) Actually, he and I discuss things all the time, but it would be great to have additional, outside input.

So, today while he and I sluffed Sunday School, we hammered out a plan. Here are events that are already on the calendar:

1st Monday of the month, of course, is reserved for the Matis Fireside. We hope they are able to continue with those soon, because we know they mean a lot to a lot of you.

Last Saturday of the month is our party. We will leave that in place, with the exception that we are going to have to skip July due to family vacation, GSA training at the pride center, and a family reunion. We will resume in August--a back to school party!

Anyway, here is the proposal:

2nd Saturday of the month we will have a Family Home Evening of sorts for adults only-- not that we will discuss stuff inappropriate for children; just that I thought it would be nice to have a gospel discussion free from interruption. We will start this at our house on Saturday, July 11 at 7 p.m. (Mountain Daylight Time). Please submit suggestions for a topic of discussion by commenting on this post. Then, in a week, I will post the chosen topic so that any of you who want to prepare to contribute will have the time to do so. At the event itself, we will probably choose a topic, a different location (if desired), make assignments for treats and whatever else for the next meeting. Also, Scott will work on some sort of conferencing option for those who are out of town to join us.

On the 3rd Saturday of the month (if this works, we thought Friday or Saturday would be best) we will have a MOM get-together. While the weather is good, we will meet at an awesome park in Pleasant Grove at about 6:30, bring your own picnic dinner and a snack and games to share, if desired. (Email Kengo or me if you want to offer suggestions, such as the best day and time, etc.)

The following Monday, we will have another FHE, but this time families are invited. At the very least, our children will be here, so as we take turns giving lessons, we need to keep in mind teaching and keeping the attention of my 13, 11, 8, and 4 year olds. Thanks! (Sometimes this will be the 3rd Monday, sometimes the 4th--so the July one would be July 20th, although we might be on vacation at that point, so we will have to finalize that one later, I guess. Stay tuned!)

Okay, so if you are interested in any or all of the above, comment or email and let me know (email is in my profile). If you have any suggestions or want to propose changes to any of these tentative plans, please contribute!

I know we are making our already crazy lives even crazier, but I am really excited! I hope some of you are too!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Highlights of the week

I keep meaning to blog about things that are going on, and there are just too many other things to do, naps to take, blogs to read and argue on, etc...

So, here I am going to piece together a few things, and hope that the words will flow...

Friday we went to Lagoon with Scott's brother, wife, and two children. They were in town from out of state. We weren't sure if they would want to hang out with us or not, considering we haven't seen them since Scott came out. But they really wanted us to come, and when we weren't sure because of the money, they offered to buy our tickets for us. We really did have a good time, it wasn't awkward at all, the weather was beautiful for a change, and the kids had an absolute blast with their cousins. Scott was maybe a little frustrated that his brother didn't talk to him at all about the issue, especially since he had sent him an email a few days before they arrived regarding the fact that our family is very open about everything, and that there was no guarantee that one of our kids might say something to one of their kids, whom they don't want to know about their gay uncle just yet. But I didn't expect anything to be said, so I was just grateful that we were able to have fun together.

Saturday we took our daycare provider (not a member of the church) and her family (LDS, but husband has never been through the temple, 2 kids have been baptized) to the Oquirrh Mountain Temple open house. She asked me about the Draper temple open house a few months ago, but never ended up going. So, before I made reservations for Oquirrh Mountain, I asked her if she wanted to go with us. She was delighted. I have to brag that I actually followed my Stake President's counsel on this one. During the Draper open house, he spoke in our Sacrament meeting, and encouraged us to not only attend the open house, but invite non-member neighbors to go with us. Done. :)

Anyway, it was a cool experience because our friend was asking so many questions. She really wants to attend the dedication, and was disappointed to find out that she can't go, but that the rest of her family can. I know she had the missionary discussions a couple of years ago, but it never went beyond that. Meanwhile, her husband, who was unable to baptize their older child, was able to baptize the younger one. It has been neat to see the changes in him since they moved into the neighborhood. I adore her. She has been a great daycare provider for 2 of our children over the past few years, and I feel so blessed that it has worked out so well. She is a wonderful person and I have no doubt that God is pleased with her, regardless of whether she ever joins the church.

At the Draper temple open house, we were with my parents, and my Dad is somewhat cynical about temples and such (even though he has a recommend) and he always likes to get on with things. He would never linger in a sealing room, gazing in the mirrors that reflect forever, and answering questions about sealings. But that is what we were able to do with our neighbors, and I realized again just how much I love the temple and how much I know about it, how blessed I am to be able to attend things like the dedication. Seeing her excitement and curiosity helped me to be less cynical and more grateful for the church in my life.

Sunday our whole family finally attended all 3 hours of church together. Scott even went to part of priesthood meeting when he saw the Relief Society president and her secretary enter the building with donuts and milk for fathers' day. :)

Scott was released from his calling as membership clerk. Actually, someone else was sustained as the new clerk, so then I guess there were 2 clerks for a few minutes. Then a member of the bishopric reminded the high councilman of his error, and he had to stand again to give Scott a vote of thanks. It made it even more obvious that the change was happening, and I'm sure made some people go "hmmm". Whatever. I try not to care what people think.

A discussion in Sunday School about church revelation trumping personal experience and science bothered me a bit, but it was also fun to talk about learning, and how important things like math are to our preparation in this life. :) The teacher caught me off guard by asking my opinion about how math fits into the grand scheme of things. I shared thoughts about a class I had in college where we actually discussed whether or not we thought math was created or discovered. By the end of the course, I had a pretty strong belief that math is discovered by man. It simply exists in the universe as the universal language of science, and we have discovered over thousands of years just how it works. I believe that those of us who become Gods and Goddesses will need math to create worlds, place them the right distance from the sun on just the right tilt, etc. But I also believe that if we do need it, we will be able to learn it in the next life as well, so don't panic! Hopefully math anxiety doesn't exist in heaven!

My "favorite" teacher gave the lesson in Relief Society on temples, and it was pleasant and fairly benign. I tolerate her lessons while praying to feel the spirit and be less judgmental of her. It made me laugh inside when after the lesson I overheard another lady tell her that she could listen to her the whole 3 hours. Please spare me! :) Honestly, though, I am glad that other sisters in the ward are uplifted by her lessons. We are all different, and that is a good thing.

Monday I had the opportunity to attend "Cub Country" with my cub scout-aged son. I am not a scout leader, but they needed another adult to go and asked me if I would. I enjoyed having a few minutes to reflect on the beauty of God's creations and His spirit that I always feel in the mountains, with the trees and the sun shining and the breeze blowing and the children running...oh wait, scratch that last thing. :) Just kidding. I did find out why everyone always tells us that our children are so good, because compared to other children, they are angels. :) We needed either a leash or a shock collar on one of the boys so that he would stay nearby. He kept wandering off without telling us. And the other leader and I walked twice as far as needed to fetch a bag for one of the boys that he kept leaving at the previous activity. Fun was had by all, but I was glad I did not have to go back today as I rested my sore muscles and bruised behind (since I fell on some rocks at the end of the day.)

The best part of the day was the drive home. The scout leader that I was helping asked me sincerely how Scott and I are doing. One question led to another, and I ended up telling her a bit about how we feel in the ward, that we get the feeling that there are people (including our bishop) who would just as soon we stopped coming to church so that they don't have to worry about what we might say. She was an amazing listener and so supportive. A few months ago, she came to our house for something, and she outright told Scott how impressed she was by his "coming out" testimony and she started asking us questions. We were delighted that she cared. She borrowed a copy of "No More Goodbyes" and read it. I have not really had an in-depth conversation with her since. It was awesome, and as I dropped her off at her car, I hugged and thanked her for caring about us, and for being so Christ-like.

Now that I have bored you with the details of my life, I will sign off. I will just end by saying that I am grateful to be blessed with a wonderful husband, awesome children, the best friends ever, extended family that really are making an effort to show their love and try to understand, the true gospel of Jesus Christ, and the spirit of the Lord in my heart.

Sign the petition...

...at http://www.ldsapology.org/

For more information, see a Deseret News article about it.

After reading through the comments this morning, it never ceases to amaze me how some people are SOOO convinced that homosexuality is a choice.

One man mentioned that he has a son with SSA, but he is not a homosexual unless he acts on it. Is this a common view?

I decided to comment and my comments were not published. I then sent a comment addressed to the moderator, and then I edited the comment to remove my use of the word "hell" in a couple of places (in the context of "gay Mormons go through hell") and they finally published my comment. My comment begins in response to the first comment, which received a lot of bashing:

The referred-to web site LDS apology is excellent, and I hope helps with reconciliation.

But I can't forget that my neighbor's grandson committed suicide when the church rejected him for being gay. The church has blood on its hands.

Here is what I said:

LDS apology, I agree! The church has thousands of suicides, trials of wives and children, not to mention the horrors of day to day living for many, many gay Mormons.

I am the wife of a gay Mormon man. We have 4 children. We struggle with but continue to be active in the church.

Many men marry because the church used to teach it would "fix" them. They have no consideration for the family of such a man.

I have many gay friends and see the struggles they go through each day as their active LDS family and friends disown them, regardless of their behavior (even if they are living church standards). How Christlike is that?

As members of the church we are not to follow our leaders blindly.

From Brigham Young: “The greatest fear I have is that the people of this Church will accept what we say as the will of the Lord without first praying about it and getting the witness within their own hearts that what we say is the word of the Lord.”

I plead with most of the commentators here to be more Christ-like and pray to fully understand this issue.

I refuse to go back and read more comments, especially if anyone has responded to me. That has gotten me in trouble before. And I have already had enough virtual arguments today without doing that. :)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Here's to the troublemakers...

I saw this on Facebook today and decided to dedicate it to you, my blog readers. Thank you for your interest in Scott and me, for your support, for your willingness to think differently and dis-respect the status quo. Thank you for being crazy and/or letting me be crazy, and thank you for helping to push the human race and change the world! Together we troublemakers can make a difference!

"Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify and vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as crazy, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."

Friday, June 19, 2009

Thoughts to Ponder

I had an great conversation with a cousin this week as our children played together. She and her family stopped attending church about five years ago due to their own issues with church policies and subsequent disagreements over such with local leaders (not gay related, but liberal thinking). I was sad to find out that her husband's family have reacted much worse to them leaving the church than Scott's family has reacted to our changes in thinking. It is very sad that stalwart members of the church that call themselves by the name of Christ would forgo inviting family to events like Thanksgiving and Christmas over something like church attendance.

She has an awesome quote from Galileo on the wall in her home:

“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.”

She pointed it out to me in response to my telling her about a talk at the recent women's conference in my stake. I also mentioned the talk to my sister today, who is a very active member of the church with a strong testimony. Her response: false doctrine. As members of the church, we are not to act as sheep, following blindly to whatever our leaders ask of us.

So where has this attitude come from? And how do we know that the leaders of the church are not wolves in sheep's clothing leading us astray unless we pray about it, seek the guidance of the spirit, and follow what the Lord would have us do?

How many of the rules and regulations that we follow as members of the church are truly inspired? Either my mom or Scott told me once that the reason coffee was against the word of wisdom is that Brigham Young thought it was too expensive, and so it was on a list of things that they should not purchase to bring across the plains with them. So thus it was banned. I have no idea if this is really true or not, but it is interesting.

Another thing that Scott has found interesting lately is tithing. Tithing began in the early church as an easier law following the law of consecration. It started as 10% of ones surplus after living expenses, not 10% of gross income. That changed with Lorenzo Snow when the church was in need of finances for building temples, etc. But I believe the church is no longer in need of all the tithing income they bring in, especially if they can spare so much of it for funding things like campaigns against gay marriage. For some people, they can barely live on the income they bring in without paying tithing, so paying 10% on their gross income is a harder law than the law of consecration. 10% of someone's increase, or extra money after necessary bills are paid, makes much more sense, doesn't it? Something I will have to ponder and pray about, I think.

Hmmm. The gospel is true. The purpose of the church is to help us live the gospel, and I suppose also to obtain the necessary ordinances. But if it gets to the point that the church is not the best thing to help us live the gospel, then is it better to leave and find our own way of living as Christ would have us live?

Wouldn't it be better as leaders and members of the church if we paid more attention to love and service than to rules and regulations?

No, I have no plans to leave the church, but who knows what the future might bring.  I only pray that my future path will be the one that God wants me to follow.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Changed for Good

As many of you know, a few months ago our family adopted a young MoHo--more or less. He didn't really live here, but he came over at least 2 or 3 times a week--sometimes more. Scott reached out to him when he was in the depths of despair, and then as he allowed our family to become his family, we were able to share a lot of good and bad times with him.

We were together for birthdays, for holidays, for the excitement and every detail of his first boyfriend, a double-date to see "Were the World Mine" for Valentines, for the sadness and heartbreak of his first breakup, for the anxiety and liberation of his coming out to all of his family and friends. He shared every detail of his life with Scott every day, joined us for family prayer too many times to count, texted me every time a certain song came on the radio, and insisted that I join in his karaoke fun by singing his blog-title song with him at almost every party the last few months. I was finally starting to get the hang of it.

His life continued to improve and exciting changes meant he had less time to spend with us, and we missed him but we understood. But then came more good changes, the main one being to find what he believes to be the love of his life. We were excited for him! We wanted to hear the details again, meet him, double date, like we did with the last bf. But the details never came, and the visits never came, and then finally he came when we begged him to, but the closeness was gone, the karaoke and the good times gone forever.

As I have spent some time mourning the loss of this member of our family, and have watched my children miss and long for him as well, something occurred to me yesterday...

How often do some of us turn to God when we need him, pleading for his spirit and companionship and comfort? But then, when life is good and busy, how many of us have excuses why we don't have time to pray anymore, why we don't need to pray any more? Do you think that God might go through withdrawals from the details of our lives, that He stands by watching us, happy that we are happy, but sad that we no longer share the details and the love and gratitude with Him?

I'm pretty sure I do that very thing quite often because life is so busy. I forget when things are good not only how much I need Him in my life, but also, that He possibly might need me in His life. He has so many children, does it even matter when when one of us does not share the happiness of our lives with Him? I think it does.

I am grateful to learn good lessons from sad times in my life. We may not ever get back the closeness of the friend we had, but we can realize through the experience, he and us both have been changed for good, and I have been privileged to learn about the true nature of my Father in Heaven, and His love for me. Hopefully I can do better at letting Him be a part of my life.

For Good, from Wicked

I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you...

Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good

It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend...

Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a skybird
In a distant wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you

Because I knew you

I have been changed for good

And just to clear the air
I ask forgiveness
For the things I've done you blame me for

But then, I guess we know
There's blame to share

And none of it seems to matter anymore

Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood

Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a bird in the wood

Who can say if I've been
Changed for the better?
I do believe I have been
Changed for the better

And because I knew you...

Because I knew you...

Because I knew you...
I have been changed for good...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

"The Lord Looketh on the Heart"

(1 Samuel 16:7)

Today in Relief Society we had an awesome lesson! (Yes, I went. How many times have I done this, said I can't do it anymore, but then I just can't stop either. Scott and the older boys went to Sacrament meeting, then Scott came home where I was stuck with sick kids, and then I proceeded to the last meeting.) I'm assuming some of you might have had it as well. It was Lesson 35 from the Joseph Smith manual: "Redemption for the Dead".

As I have struggled to reconcile the feelings of my heart with the teachings of the church, my main source of comfort has been a feeling that God loves every one of us, and that he will judge us according to what is in our hearts and the individual circumstances we face.

From the words of Joseph Smith in today's lesson:
“… While one portion of the human race is judging and condemning the other without mercy, the Great Parent of the universe looks upon the whole of the human family with a fatherly care and paternal regard; He views them as His offspring, and without any of those contracted feelings that influence the children of men, causes ‘His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.’ [Matthew 5:45.] He holds the reins of judgment in His hands; He is a wise Lawgiver, and will judge all men, not according to the narrow, contracted notions of men, but, ‘according to the deeds done in the body whether they be good or evil,’ or whether these deeds were done in England, America, Spain, Turkey, or India. He will judge them, ‘not according to what they have not, but according to what they have’; those who have lived without law, will be judged without law, and those who have a law, will be judged by that law. We need not doubt the wisdom and intelligence of the Great Jehovah; He will award judgment or mercy to all nations according to their several deserts, their means of obtaining intelligence, the laws by which they are governed, the facilities afforded them of obtaining correct information, and His inscrutable designs in relation to the human family; and when the designs of God shall be made manifest, and the curtain of futurity be withdrawn, we shall all of us eventually have to confess that the Judge of all the earth has done right [see Genesis 18:25].”

“God judges men according to the use they make of the light which He gives them.”
The teacher made an awesome comparison during the lesson that I would like to take a step further. Regarding this quote:
“...for ‘how can they believe on him of whom they have not heard, and how can they hear without a preacher, and how can he preach except he be sent’ [see Romans 10:14–15]; consequently neither Jew nor heathen can be culpable for rejecting the conflicting opinions of sectarianism, nor for rejecting any testimony but that which is sent of God, for as the preacher cannot preach except he be sent, so the hearer cannot believe [except] he hear a ‘sent’ preacher, and cannot be condemned for what he has not heard, and being without law, will have to be judged without law.”
she said something like this:
Imagine parents punishing a child for not eating his peas, when the parent has never given the child any peas to eat. The very idea is ridiculous.
Ok, so I want to add my own application: imagine a person being required to marry in the temple, when that person has no attraction toward someone of the opposite gender and therefore can never find someone that they could be with forever. (Sound familiar to any of you?) How can someone meet such a requirement when they have not been given one of the essential ingredients? I suppose you could look at Scott and I and say we are making that very thing work, but I think that the statistics are far greater for those who cannot make it work than for those that can.

Anyway, you all know my view on all of this and can understand what I am trying to say, I think. In a nutshell, God will judge us based on what he has given us, what we have to work with, and what we do with what we have. For some, that is making a mixed orientation work. For others , it is staying celibate and active in the church, and for many, it is finding someone to truly love and have a happy life with, serving one another and loving one another like any family/ couple is supposed to. I cannot condemn that, and though I cannot speak for God, I think that He will be able to see the effort and goodness in that path as well.

I am reminded again of attending the Draper Temple open house in January and a film that they showed us in a church building prior to riding the shuttle bus to tour the temple. In the film, Elder Holland spoke emotionally of how much he loves his wife, and how he cannot imagine NOT having her with him for eternity. The temple sealing ceremony and ordinance takes care of that very thing: sealing us with those we love, to be together forever.

Why should love between two gay men or women be any less precious, any less desired for the eternities? It just doesn't seem fathomable that God gives that to many of his children, but not all of them, does it?

On my way driving to the church for Relief Society, I was choosing songs to go with the lesson at the last minute. I needed one more, but I could not drive and look through the hymnbook at the same time. I prayed for help, and hymn #220 came to my mind. I used it for the closing song and it was perfect following that beautiful lesson. It touched my heart and the spirit was strong, and I hope others were able to feel it as well. But at the very least I felt it, which is good, because I so needed to...
Lord, I Would Follow Thee

1. Savior, may I learn to love thee,
Walk the path that thou hast shown,
Pause to help and lift another,
Finding strength beyond my own.
Savior, may I learn to love thee—
Lord, I would follow thee.

2. Who am I to judge another
When I walk imperfectly?
In the quiet heart is hidden
Sorrow that the eye can’t see.
Who am I to judge another?
Lord, I would follow thee.

3. I would be my brother’s keeper;
I would learn the healer’s art.
To the wounded and the weary
I would show a gentle heart.
I would be my brother’s keeper—
Lord, I would follow thee.

4. Savior, may I love my brother
As I know thou lovest me,
Find in thee my strength, my beacon,
For thy servant I would be.
Savior, may I love my brother—
Lord, I would follow thee.

Text: Susan Evans McCloud, b. 1945. © 1985 IRI
Music: K. Newell Dayley, b. 1939. © 1985 IRI

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Temples - Shelter from the Storm?

I loved JGW's post this week about the temple. I commented that I was grateful for his post reminding me that I should not take my temple recommend and ability to attend the temple for granted. I was looking forward to taking my daughter to the new Draper temple this week to complete the baptism for a family name while my father-in-law was serving in the baptistry. But she came down with the flu, and we saddly had to dely our plans...

I have always loved the temple. I was a child when "I love to see the Temple" was a new primary song and the Jordan River temple was being built. I enjoyed watching my children as they soaked up the beauty and excitement of attending the Draper temple open house a few months ago. We are excited to attend the open house for the new temple next Saturday with a part-member family in our neighborhood.

I loved temples as a youth and young adult--their beauty inside and out, what they stand for, the feelings I had when I was able to go inside and do baptisms for the dead. I collected temples--decorative plates, photos, drawings, and even rubber stamps. I have fond memories of driving the 7 miles to the Manti Temple grounds with my roommates when I needed a break from studying for finals at Snow College. Watching the lit temple appear and grow in the distance as we drove toward it was truly awe-inspiring.

I dreamed of being married in the temple, and was so pleased to accomplish that goal. Scott and I were able to walk to and attend the Logan Temple frequently during our first year of marriage (and my last year at USU).

It was awesome to do baptisms for the dead with our daughter in the Nauvoo temple just a year ago.

The strongest message I have ever received--that it was right for me to leave my job as a full-time mother and take a job as a high school teacher--came in the Salt Lake Temple. I also attended the temple for inspiration to call my counselors in the Primary presidency.

I distinctly remember one year when Scott had a sister that was married in her in-laws' home and then a brother that was married in the Manti Temple about a month later. The difference between the marriages and the spirit that was there was amazing to me. I could not imagine settling for the non-temple marriage when the temple marriage was oh so much more.

This list could go on and on...

But in other ways, the temple has not always been for me what other people say it is for them. Church members bear testimony of the temple and how they are able to leave their troubles behind, a peaceful place for solace and escape. When I go to the temple, it gives me quiet time to think even more about my troubles. More time to worry about being away from my children, or not having time to get done everything I have to do. I often feel anxious about receiving an inspired answer to a question, trying to understand how true inspiration feels and how to know what God's message to me really is. I have anxiety around people I don't know, so frequently I feel a bit anxious in the temple. And one of my worst emotional experiences ever happened in the temple when I reflected on the recent affair of someone in my extended family, someone very close to me, and the severe nature of covenants they had broken regarding the law of chastity.

So I don't always look forward to going to the temple. I mostly do it because I am told that I should. I go in the hopes that maybe I will get another moment of clarity like the one when I took my teaching job. But mostly I get tired and bored, or if I really try to pay attention, frustrated. Part of the temple ceremony is the story of the creation. And no matter how hard I try to pray and understand, I just don't understand why God commands Adam and Eve not to partake of the fruit of knowledge of good and evil when it is actually necessary for them to do so to fulfill other commandments (like multiplying and replenishing the Earth) and to pave the way for the plan of salvation. Why give a commandment that you know will be broken, and in fact, has to be? It baffles me every time I sit through the presentation. And why is it Eve that partakes of the fruit first? Is it because she is less obedient? Or rather, is it because she is smarter and realizes that she cannot keep other commandments without breaking this one?

Likewise, how can I possibly keep the commandment from Christ himself to "Love one another" and "judge not lest ye be judged" without breaking the commandment to follow the Prophet? I am so confused.

Today I attended a Stake Women's conference, and the theme was Temples and how they are a shelter from the storm. When I first saw the theme on a poster and sitting on every table at lunch, I couldn't help but smirk and think briefly about the commercial from the National Organization for Marriage--oh no, a storm is coming! Run to the temples to protect yourself from the homosexuals!

Seriously, though, it was a momentary irreverent thought, and otherwise I understood the purpose of the theme and thought it was fine. After lunch, the first speaker talked about why we should go to temple and blessings we get from going to the temple. She had some great comments, my favorite being that the temple is a place where we can learn more about our Savior Jesus Christ so that we can try to be more like him. But the talk went on and on, and soon I started to tune her out.

Then a stake priesthood leader spoke. By this time, the meeting (on a Saturday afternoon, no less) had gone on long enough, and my attention span was spent. So I have to admit that I was not paying very good attention, not that I wasn't trying. I just was not capable. He said something about being careful to change what we do or say so that we do not offend people. He gave a hypothetical example of inviting neighbors over for a BBQ, neighbors that are maybe a little over-zealous on the word of wisdom, but leaving our Coke in the fridge instead of getting it out to have with dinner so as to not offend, even though it is our house and our right to drink and say what we want.

That sounded reasonable. I like the idea of trying to be non-judgemental and accepting of others, making consesions where needed to form friendships.

Then, I must have phased out, because the next thing I know, he is talking about church leaders. Here is how I remember it to the best of my ability...

"It is imperative that we follow. The leaders of the church might not be perfect. I'm not perfect, and the general authorities that I meet with on a regular basis are not perfect. We are all just men. But we are still required to follow. It is not our place to step ahead of the Brethren. That is what Lucifer did in the pre-existence. That is not following. Remember playing follow the leader as a child? You might have not always liked what the leader did, but to play the game, you had to follow the leader."

He read some quotes, one from Herald B. Lee that I have blogged about before. He continued...

"I believe in the last days that things are going to be so confusing and so heart-wrenching, that the only way we will be able to figure our what to do--the only way we will make it back to our Father in Heaven--is to follow. We have to learn how to follow now so that we will be able to continue following when it gets even harder and more confusing."

"Attending the temple can help us learn to follow..."

I was sick to my stomach. I sat in shock at the words I just heard from the mouth of one of my stake leaders. It suddenly reminded me of Abelard's post a while back about Hilter and the Nazis that followed him. Words of inspiration are supposed to feel peaceful and comforting. If it is right, you will know it in your heart and your mind...what does it mean when you feel sick and anguish, the world crashing down around you?

The closing prayer ended the meeting, and I went quickly to my car, drove home, walked in the house, and told Scott I was sick. Due to the flu in our house, he thought I meant I was coming down with it. I clarified in what way I was sick, and we left to the bedroom to talk. I explained the meeting and then burst into tears. I can't do it any more. Just when I think I am back on my feet where the church is concerned, this Stake leader compares me to Satan. I told Scott in a fit of emotional illness that I am done. We have to find a new ward or church to go to. I can't let them keep tearing me down.

I don't know that we are really going to--right now I am angry and confused and hurt. We have missed 2 weeks of church, at least one or two of us will be staying home again tomorrow due to the flu, Scott is being released from his calling, anyone off the street could do my calling. It is just too tempting to throw in the towel and find some happiness by worshiping God in the peace of our own home surrounded by our friends who love and understand and accept us.

We need to start that MoHo ward right away. When should we have our first meeting? :D

And when is this incessant rain going to stop? Don't get me wrong--I love the cool temperatures and the green plants, but it certainly doesn't feel like we live in Utah any more.

I need a shelter from the storm. Please help!

Humor at our house

An amusing moment happened today that a friend in this community said was blog-worthy, so I thought I would share.

I was outside pulling weeds and picking strawberries with my 8-year-old and my almost 4-year old sons. The younger one was delighted to find a potato bug, to which the older one responded, "Look, he rolled himself into a ball." The 4-year-old then responded with confidence, "Yeah, potato bugs have balls, don't they."

The boys couldn't understand why I started laughing as I continued to pull weeds.


As long as I am telling one story, I might as well add a couple more...

A couple of weeks ago, we had some friends over and I was giving them directions to the restroom. We have a small black foot-stool in the bathroom for the children (actually, mostly for the youngest child) to use at the sink. It frequently gets left out in front of the sink and is easy to run into when entering the bathroom. So, following my announcement, Hidden added, "Watch out for the little black stool."

My first inclination was honestly that he was saying that our young child had an accident in the bathroom and that people should watch out for it so as not to step in the mess. I quickly figured out what he really meant, and started laughing at my brain's interpretation. What made it even funnier is that it took Hidden forever to figure out why I found it to be so funny! Meanwhile, our guests were wondering what made me laugh so hard, and I did not feel it appropriate to share the joke while they were eating lunch.


Last month we met an out-of-town MoHo friend for dinner at a restaurant. I have no idea how the conversation wandered where it did, but we decided that our October MoHo party--which would fall on Halloween based on our current schedule--should be a costume party!

Anyway, our friend told us that one year for Halloween he dressed up as Dolly Parton, and that shaving his legs was a pain in the butt.

With his quick wit, Scott responded, "If it was a pain in the butt, you must have been shaving the wrong place." I didn't think any of us were going to stop laughing after that one. Luckily, no one choked on dinner. But I'm afraid that our laughing did make quite the scene!

Don't you wish you could be a fly on the wall in our house?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

CTL - Choose to Love

One of my favorite things from our party last week was visiting with the parents of 2 gay children. This is the first time we have had parents attend, and as I spoke with them, I realized that I have much in common with them. They are active members of the church with important callings in their ward (RS counselor and Ward Clerk), and yet they feel as I do on the issue of gay marriage and are trying to reconcile it with their testimonies, etc., and they also have a desire to help change the attitudes of church members.

The father showed me his CTL ring. I had never heard of such a thing before, but apparently someone sells them, indicating that they stand for "choose the left." The parents told about how when one of their younger children noticed and liked the ring, they told them that it stands for "choose to love." How appropriate! I loved it and I want one.

This morning I was choosing songs for Relief Society. The topic was obedience, and it reminded me of the guilt I was feeling about attending the Pride parade and other festivities instead of going to church. I suggested to Scott earlier in the week that we miss the parade to go to church, and attend pride in the afternoon, but he decided he was going to the parade with or without us, and I decided that whatever we did, it should be together. (We missed church last week because of being up way too late after our party and having company from CA staying at our house.)

Anyway, as I was looking through the hymn book, I turned to hymn #237, "Do What is Right":

1. Do what is right; the day-dawn is breaking,
Hailing a future of freedom and light.
Angels above us are silent notes taking
Of ev’ry action; then do what is right!

Do what is right; let the consequence follow.
Battle for freedom in spirit and might;
And with stout hearts look ye forth till tomorrow.
God will protect you; then do what is right!

2. Do what is right; the shackles are falling.
Chains of the bondsmen no longer are bright;
Lightened by hope, soon they’ll cease to be galling.
Truth goeth onward; then do what is right!

3. Do what is right; be faithful and fearless.
Onward, press onward, the goal is in sight.
Eyes that are wet now, ere long will be tearless.
Blessings await you in doing what’s right!

Text: Anon., The Psalms of Life, Boston, 1857
Music: George Kaillmark, 1781–1835
My guilty feeling lifted as I felt the words of the song talking to me. Don't worry about the consequence of going in the morning when the day-dawn is breaking (and missing church); instead, fight for freedom, be faithful and fearless, and accept the fact that God is leading us, protecting us, and blessing us in our quest.

During the parade, I saw the parents from our party and their family marching with PFLAG in the Parade. They were also doing what they felt was right, and it was a joyous sight to see.

After sitting through heavy rain for an hour or more during the parade, and then wandering through endless booths, our feet hurt, we were wet and cold and hungry and tired, and yet our oldest son said, "This was the best Sunday ever!"

Oh dear, what am I teaching my children? :)

I hope they are learning to love.

Friday, June 5, 2009

SSA - The ambiguous case

Over the Rainbow was helping me sort papers at school today so that I could more easily get them filed and cleaned up for the summer. At one point she burst out laughing and brought me a worksheet/follow-along notes that I created for my trig class a few years ago. The worksheet had a subtitle that said "SSA - 4 possible solutions".

(Forgive me for a moment while I explain a math lesson. While it is not essential to understand the math involved, it is important to note the application that will be later applied to life, so please bear with me. :)

...The notes are for learning about the Law of Sines, which can be used to solve triangles (meaning to find all missing sides and angles) if you already know 3 of the sides or angles. Specifically, you can use Law of Sines if you know the measurements of two of the angles and one side (ASA or AAS) or if you know two sides and one angle (an angle that is NOT between the sides) then you can solve it using Law of Sines, but it is not as straightforward as with 2 angles and a side because there are 4 possible scenarios.

(In a nutshell, for those with more curiosity regarding this mathematical situation, given SSA--the students like to spell it the other way around, but I try to avoid doing so :D--there can be one right triangle, two non-right triangles, no triangle (meaning one of the sides does not reach far enough to make a triangle), or one non-right (called oblique) triangle. Before solving the triangle (or triangles, in case there are 2), one must test to see how long the one side is compared to everything else so that they will know whether to solve it or not, and if possible to solve it, how many triangles are possible.)

Anyway, I don't know if the comparison is obvious or not, but Mormons who find themselves born with SSA (meaning same-sex attraction this time, instead of side-side-angle) have different choices they can make with regards to their lives. What is right for one person is not the best thing for someone else. I think that it is important to remember that regardless of which path someone has chosen, we should try to be non-judgmental of that choice, even if we do not understand it and cannot fathom how it works for them. We assume that they are miserable because they are without someone to really love while staying in the church, or that they cannot possibly be happy living in sin away from the church (since wickedness never was happiness.) Get the picture? Going with our math analogy, one triangle should not judge another triangle for being right, oblique, double, or non-existent. They cannot help being what they are even though they all have SSA in common!

For example, it seems that many gay men are confused about Scott's choice to remain married to me. They can't imagine it working for them, and therefore cannot understand how it can possibly work for him. But he just happens to be the right kind of "triangle", if you will, for that to work.

Meanwhile, many members of the church think that it is horrible that so many gay Mormons leave the church and live the "lifestyle." J G-W has claimed that he actually believes God directed him to that choice to save his life. I believe him. He is a different kind of "triangle" and God knows that and has directed him to follow the right path for him.

Meanwhile, others like Ty Mansfield have chosen to remain active, worthy and celibate members of the church. That is the right choice for them.


Another somewhat related but unrelated thought. I have a student in one of my college math classes that has been working so hard to pass. She got in a car accident early in the semester and had some other life complications that put her way behind in the class. She wanted to drop; her parents convinced (or forced) her to stay and make the best of it.

She has been working very hard--coming in for extra hours of tutoring, even staying home from a family camping trip over memorial day weekend so she could study for her final. Over the last week she has been sick with step throat and a sinus infection, and shared with me a few days ago that she had asked for several blessings and spent many nights crying because she was so worried about the final exam. Upon discovering yesterday that her final exam score barely skimmed the required percentage, but her efforts were still not quite enough, I told her to come back today with as much more done as possible. She came in to my classroom happy, even though she had stayed up until 4 in the morning doing math assignments she had missed when her life was crazy. It was nice to see that Heavenly Father had granted her peace to accept whatever outcome resulted with regards to her math grade.

I put all the scores in the computer, fudged everything that I felt was ethical to do, but it was still not enough for her to have a "C", which is required in order to have successfully completed the course and not have to retake it later to meet her college math requirement. Without mentioning anything about religion (although she is LDS so it would not have been a big deal), I spoke of justice and mercy, how sometimes when we have done all we can, we have to allow the mercy of someone else to take care of the rest. As I spoke, I changed her low C- to the required C on my computer. I was of course thinking of the atonement, and specifically of "the parable of the bicycle" told by Steven E. Robinson in his book Believing Christ. I looked over at my student, she wiped small, glistening tears from her eyes, hugged me and whispered a heart-felt thank you.

Over-the-Rainbow was present for the conversation, so she and I discussed it later in the car, how we feel that the atonement of Jesus Christ and the delicate balance between justice and mercy will work for all those who are doing the best they can, whatever type of SSA "triangle" they might be, and what choices they make and paths that they follow. I have met many wonderful people who make such moral and righteous decisions in their lives, except for, perhaps, who they choose to be their soul-mate and partner through life. I cannot condemn them, and if acting on homosexuality truly is a sin as the church teaches, I can only hope and pray that the atonement will make all the difference for them as they try to live their lives the best they can.


One last thing from the last week of school--look at this awesome bracelet that one of my students gave me yesterday! I am grateful that he helped to motivate and inspire me to help him get a GSA going as I realized how important it truly is for kids like him.

It has been a horribly awesome year. I am so ready for a summer break, but then I am excited to come back for a new school year, to meet students that will touch my life, while I have the opportunity to do some good for them as well. I am so grateful for the path my life has taken and where I find myself right now. Life is good, and I am very blessed.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sesame Street Marriage

I was browsing through the site whiteknot.org the other day and came across this video clip that I thought was noteworthy. Enjoy!