Thursday, July 21, 2011


I couple of weeks ago I was reading an article about recent law-making in NY, and was surprised to notice that the new law making gay marriage legal takes affect on July 24, which happens to be a big day here in Utah because it is the day that we celebrate the main group of Mormon pioneers arriving in the salt lake valley in the year 1847.

I found the date rather ironic. The LDS church began in the state of New York when a 14-year-old boy from Palmyra by the name of Joseph Smith prayed to know which church he should join. There are obviously significant Mormon pioneers who came from New York.

Now New York is producing new pioneers that are not afraid to stand up for freedom, lawmakers that are leading the way, along with a few other states, in the gay marriage battle. Pioneer day this year gives us a whole new reason to celebrate pioneers of freedom, of the battles and pressures they face, their strength and determination to stand up for what they know is right!

This past Sunday in my church meetings, the high council speaker in Sacrament meeting described the first Pioneer day celebration, which I summarize:

The pioneers celebrated first in 1849. The theme of the celebration was patriotism. So even as the saints were pushed away by a governor, and denied help from the president, with soldiers marching their direction, they celebrated patriotism and loyalty to their country. They raised a huge flag on a tall pole and celebrated their freedom.

The description of the event reminded me of the gay pride celebration here in SLC, the same city that celebrates pioneer day every year. In early June each year, thousands of people come to celebrate who they are, celebrate the authenticity of their loved ones, even in the midst of the religious headquarters of a church that seeks to thwart and deny their freedoms, (a church who ironically knows first hand about fighting for freedom.) And yet they celebrate, undaunted by the protestors, and every year the numbers increase and those who attend and participate are overcome by the feelings of unity and community and hope and pride by a very diverse group of people.

Pioneer day this year gives me many more reasons to celebrate the pioneers amongst us, and I look forward to celebrating it with Scott and the kids. :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Three years ago today...

...I had no idea that my life was about to change.

I didn't know that in a little over a year, I would be denied my temple recommend, and Scott would stop attending church shortly thereafter.

I had no idea that in nearly two years, I would give birth to our fifth child (even though we made sure we were done after four), and that a month after that, my husband of nearly 15 years would tell me that our relationship as husband and wife was over, and that he would move downstairs for now.

I did not know that in 10 days short of 3 years, the father of my children would move out of the home we customized together eight years ago, and find his own apartment...

...and that today, exactly 3 years to the day of finding out that Scott is gay, I would be mulling over how to split up our debt and finances so that we can begin working on our divorce.

Three years ago today, I was a very emotional and anxious person, extremely codependent on Scott. Today, I am much stronger emotionally and much more independent.

Three years ago, I was unhappy with my bishop and struggled attending church because of the anxiety I felt there. But I was conservative and believing, and continued to attend because it is what we Mormons do. Now, I am liberal and sometimes questioning and yet still believing, and I attend church because I want to, and the anxiety is gone for the most part.

Three years ago, I enjoyed spending time with neighbors and extended family. Now my brother will not talk to me or attempt to understand, the children next door are rarely allowed to play at our house, and my best friends in the whole world are all gay (or formerly married to someone that is.) These are only a few examples of the changes...

Do I wish things could be different? I think so. I used to think I had life and eternity figured out, that the bumps along the way in this institution called marriage could be handled, that divorce was a word that we would not allow to exist in our relationship ever, no matter what. We would always work through it.

Do I like the new person that I have become and am becoming? Definitely! Could I have become who I am another way? Probably, but who is to say it would be any easier?

Do I miss the way things used to be with friends and family? Yes, oh yes. The tears come harder now than at any other point of writing this post. But I also have new family and friends, many more than what I have lost, and I am so lucky to know them and be strengthened by them. Of course, if Scott had been straight, I would not have the new friends, but I also would not have known what I was missing...

But I guess more importantly, I would not have the opportunity to "see" as God and Christ see each of us. To see the grey amongst the black and white. To touch the lives of so many people, especially students, that I would not have reached out to otherwise.

Ok. Life is shitty, but life is good. And I am blessed. And although I cannot yet imagine what my life and eternity will look like, each day will be easier than the one before, and everything will be okay for all of us.

What will the next three years bring? At the very least my oldest child will be 18 and graduating from high school. Oh, my!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Power of the Priesthood

(I jotted down these thoughts in April 2011, but never got around to publishing them. That happens a lot!)

Last fall, asked a couple of math teachers that I work with to give me a blessing. One in his bishopric, one the bishop of another ward, but they seemed awkward, yet willing. I was sick with a cold that was lingering, and I was overwhelmed by requirements at school and my life at home. Scott had recently had his name removed from the records of the church, so I no longer felt it appropriate to ask him for a blessing. This feeling was agonizing since the priesthood is one of the things I was always so grateful for in my choice of a husband.

In the blessing, my dear friend told me that I didn't need hands on my head to call on the power of God, the Priesthood, on behalf of myself or my children--that I could ask God any time to bless me or my family.

Several times since, when I might normally in the past been inclined to ask Scott to give me or one of the children a blessing, instead I prayed and called on God to use his power to heal and comfort myself or my child.

One night I called Scott up from the basement to help me with the baby. He had an ear infection, and I had just barely fed him and given him a dose of Advil for his raging fever when a coughing spell caused him to throw up all over him and me.

Scott changed and cleaned him up while I took care of myself and hopped in the shower. I could hear the baby crying, so I began to pray and call on the Lord to comfort and heal my child. During my prayer, I had the strong feeling that I should ask Scott to bless him. Scott agreed, and I found the oil. It was a very touching experience for me, one that I will cherish and felt that I should write down so I could remember.

I don't know if it was appropriate or not, but I don't really care. As I already mentioned, Scott had resigned his membership and therefore his Priesthood power. But it still felt like the right thing to do, and I don't know why, and I will never question or regret my decision to ask him.

It was interesting to contrast the experience to a blessing that I requested from members of my ward. I talked to my home teacher/Elders Quorum President about a blessing for the baby another time, when he had been diagnosed with RSV. The blessing was delegated to a neighbor and his son, and the son had never participated in a blessing before. It was kind of cool to have been able to provide that opportunity for him. But at the same time, I was awkward about having asked, wondering if this father was being at all judgmental of Scott or feeling sorry for me since he was there blessing my child instead of Scott. I made a mental observation that calling on the power of God myself was just as effective and less awkward than requesting one from worthy members of my ward. That doesn't mean I won't ask again if I feel it is right to do so, but I am grateful to know that God is mindful of me without having a priesthood holder in my home.