Sunday, December 28, 2008

Blessings of Testimony

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baby blessings and cursings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Unconditional Love

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hallelujah? Part II

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ms. _____,

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you,

Sarah N______

She responded fairly quickly with this:

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


Mrs. _________

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

Ms. ________,

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

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

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

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

Scott N_______

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

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

Friday, December 19, 2008

Calculus Christmas Carols

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

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

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

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

Anyway, here are the lyrics for your enjoyment:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 12, 2008

Decent Proposal Part II

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Decent Proposal Part I

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

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

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

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

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

Or were we?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I love you!



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

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

To be continued...

Thursday, December 11, 2008


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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thoughts on entering the queerosphere

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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