Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Gift of Friendship

At our party Saturday night we received a heartfelt gift from a Moho friend: a glass angel and a framed letter/poem that brought me to tears.  As I read it, nothing else in that moment mattered: not my temple recommend, my anguish over what to do about church attendance, my worries for my children and family, my morning sickness, truck to sell, bills to pay, house to clean or papers to grade. In that moment, I knew that I had been following the right path all along, that I didn't need to doubt it or be angry with others who don't understand it.  I understand it and I know it is right and that is all that matters.  The only people I need to be accountable to are my Heavenly Father and myself.

I hope this friend doesn't mind if I share it...

Scott and Sarah,

This letter and little glass angel is a reminder of what you mean to so many of us. So many of us look at you and see true angels.  You have opened your home and your hearts to all of us.  You let complete strangers in and love them like you have known them your whole life. I want to say I love you and I know that many other young men and women feel the same.  Every time I walk into your home I feel the spirit of love, compassion and family.  Thank you so much for being my friends.

When I have no one to turn to
And I am feeling kind of low,
When there is no one to talk to
And nowhere I want to go
I search deep within myself
It is the love inside my heart
That lets me know my Angels are there
Even though we are miles apart.

A smile then appears upon my face
And the sun begins to shine.
I hear a voice, so soft and sweet
Saying, 'Everything will be just fine'
It may seem that I am alone
But I am never by myself at all.
Whenever I need my Angels near
All I have to do is call.

An Angel's love is always true
On that you can depend.
They will always stand behind you
And will always be your friend.
Through darkest housr and brightest days
Our Angels see us through
They smile when we are happy,
And will cry when we are blue...

Thanks for being my Angel my friend
I will be there for you until the end.

 Thank you, UTMOHO.  You just don't know how much you and everyone else mean to us. I will always cherish this gift and your friendship.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Answer to Prayer?

I blogged recently about wanting an answer for Christmas--an answer about what I should do regarding church, for me, for our children and for our whole family.

I spent some time really praying about it that day, and though I didn't get an answer, I did think through some possibilities, and felt peace that the answer would be coming...that I just needed to be patient.

Today came a new indication of changes and future answers.  Next Sunday night there will be some ward boundary changes in our stake, and we will be getting a new Bishopric.  (My daughter and I immediately looked at each other and tried not to smile TOO big when the announcement was made today.)

This also sheds some light on why it is taking so long for my Stake President to get back to me.  Obviously he has been very busy.


Today the Relief Society and Priesthood met together for the "Teachings for our Time" lesson from the conference talks, specifically Elder Holland's incredible talk from last April about the Atonement and how Christ was totally and completely alone at times through His agony.

During the lesson, two things touched me.  One was that even though Christ was part God and able to handle what He went through, He was also part mortal, with the fears and pains and anxiety that come with being so.  It was a good reminder of what I already knew, but had somehow forgotten, that He truly does understand every pain and feeling that we go through in mortality.

The second thing that really stood out to me today is that Christ was so misjudged and betrayed, that those who yelled for Him to be crucified really did not understand (or did not try to understand) who He was or what was in His heart. Or maybe they were afraid of the influence He was having and the good He was doing. The whole thing was completely unfair, and yet it happened, and it had a purpose, and we are all blessed because of it.

I know my situation pales in comparison to that of our Savior, but I also feel that I am being misjudged for doing things that are good. I just have to have faith that it all has a purpose, and that no matter what pain I may be going through because of it, my Savior understands my pain; He already felt it FOR me, and He can take it away. I just have to let Him take it and let it go, and meanwhile just keep doing the best I can to do what is right for me and my family.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

To wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas, I have been making note of carols that make use of one of my favorite words...
Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Make the Yuletide Gay...
From now on our troubles will be miles away!
(Yes! The answer to my prayers, and yours as well, I hope! Bring on the Moho parties!)

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year 
There'll be gay happy meetings...
(When this was written, wouldn't that have been kind of redundant?)

Anyway, I look forward to "making the yuletide gay" and many "gay happy meetings" at our upcoming holiday Moho parties. We have already "Deck[ed] the halls" so don't forget to "don" your "gay apparel" and come looking your best! (Just kidding--there is no dress code, although clean and modest is always nice.)

Seriously, I wish you the happiest holiday ever, and hope that we can all take the time to remember and be grateful for our Savior, Jesus Christ.  He understands and loves us all, no matter where we are in life.  And that is a truly wonderful thing to know, especially when it feels like everything else is falling down around you. Remember there is always hope.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ward Temple Day

The bishop declared yesterday ward temple day, and that everyone should attend the temple with their families as a gift to the Savior this Christmas.

Wish I could.

So I sent my children instead.  They went with two of their cousins, and the oldest one drove.  They had 3 family names to do baptisms for, and my daughter decided to go along, hoping she could do some temple file names. It was my son's first time, and he was nervous. I longed to go with him.

But all went well without me.  The Oquirrh Mountain Temple was busy, so they each did their one family name, and that was it (daughter was given a card from a different family that was there). Son enjoyed it and realized that I was right when I told him he didn't need to be nervous.

Now my brother and sister will do the rest of the work without me. My mom doesn't know who else to have help with the sealing.  We talked about it a few weeks ago and stood and cried in her kitchen, holding each other. I cried as I told my parents that Scott no longer attends church with us. That he is no longer even trying to get his recommend.

I'm waiting to hear from the Stake President as he talks to active LDS (with recommends) who are also members of Affirmation (or rather, talks to their priesthood leaders, I guess).

I don't know what will happen.  I am preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.  I only hope I can pick up the pieces again when it is all over.  My desire to hang in there is wanning, and bitterness is starting to get the best of me. I pray often for my heart to be softened, that I can forgive my leaders.  But it is so hard.

Two weeks ago the kids and I stayed home from church with Scott.  I asked the kids the night before, "Do you want to go pass the Sacrament tomorrow?" "Do you want to go to Young Women's tomorrow?" "Do you want to go to Primary tomorrow?"  Each of them told me "not really."  So we slept in, we watched "Music and the Spoken Word" featuring Natalie Cole.  Scott made breakfast for us.  Sweedish pancakes! Yum! We listened to more uplifting music of Christmas and our Savior, and our home was filled with love and peace and the spirit.  I did not get a substitute for Relief Society music for the first time ever.  As expected, they survived without me.

It was so much easier than getting everyone up and fighting with them to get them ready, having our 4-year-old ask on the way to church, "Where is dad?", sitting through meetings fighting morning sickness and hoping I brought enough food with me, facing all the smiles and "how are you"'s of everyone in the ward, some of them obviously trying harder to reach out to me since I am there alone. Some of them asking where Scott is. And I tell them the truth, and I cry. I used to cry because he was not there with me.  Now I cry because I am not home with him, and I feel like a ward project. And worst of all, facing the occaisional comments in lessons about how the world is spiraling downward, and we need to be careful not to be distracted by even one tiny thing that we don't agree with, that might eventually cause us to completely give up that which is most important to us.

What is more important?  Going to church where I am in turmoil and conflict and cry all the time?  Or staying home with my family, feeling the peace of the spirit and the love that we share. But of course staying home guarantees that I will not get my recommend back. Curses.

Please, dear God, help me figure out what to do. What is best for my children.  What is best for Scott.  What is best for the unity and peace of our family. What is best for ME.

All I want for Christmas is an answer.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Late notice....Messiah Tonight

A few weeks ago I posted about the Messiah, and said I would add details later and I never did.  So here it is, better late than never.

Selections from Handel's Messiah, performed by combined Midvale Stakes (25th year!)
Hillcrest High School Auditorium, 7350 South 900 East, Midvale
7:00 p.m. Sunday December 13th, 2009
The concert is free, but they do ask for a donation of food for the food bank.

Scott and I, and our 13 year-old daughter are singing in the choir, and I (eek!) have a solo.

Come find us in the hall afterward if you come!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Interesting thought...

We live in an interesting world.  If someone tells others that she is having a baby, that is perfectly acceptable, but if she tells others that she has a gay husband, she is sharing information that is too personal and therefore creates an awkward situation.

The interesting thing is that the first statement lets the person know immediately that the pregnant one has had sex, but the other statement just mentions a characteristic that really does not have much to do with sex and definitely does not guarantee the behavior.

It is subsequently very amusing when someone has been told the second item, and then is told the first item.  One can watch the confusing thoughts going through the someone's head by the look on their face as they apparently put the two statements together and try to process them.

(Add a third detail that the gay husband had a vasectomy a year ago, and then either the woman's morality is questioned, or immediately God enters the picture, because it could not happen otherwise.  In this case, it can only be a miracle, or as Scott prefers to think of it, extremely bad luck. :)

I told Scott he should explore this interesting topic further on his blog sometime...

P.S. Baby is due at the end of June. Only 31 more long and excruciating weeks to go.  ugh.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mixed Feelings

(I started writing this post a few weeks ago when the topic was more timely, but I have been spending much more time sleeping than being on my computer.  Sorry.)

As many of you probably know, the documentary that Scott and I interviewed for has been in the press lately and in fact there are those who believe that the church’s statement a few weeks ago at the SLC city council meeting was at least partially a preemptive effort to defend themselves with regards to some of the content in the documentary.

I blogged about our initial interviews last January, but I would now like to blog about the entire journey, the initial information we had about the documentary, the interview itself and our motivations and reasons for being involved, my feelings and anxiety regarding the release of the documentary, and my concern on the stance that the film-maker, Reed Cowan, is taking with everything. Scott and I have talked about this a lot, and I feel like I am finally ready to lay it all out on the table.

So, let’s go back to January 2009 when Scott received this email from a mailing list he is on.

(Forwarded from Duane Jennings, representing Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons, Salt Lake Chapter)


Hello Utah GLBT community and hello GLBT supporters!


This is our mantra as we look to our upcoming visit to Utah to shoot our documentary on Proposition 8.

WHEN: Saturday, January 31, 9am-9pm


The intention of this film is to show the attitudes and teachings of the Mormon church relative to LGBT issues has not only impacted lives, but also public policy.

I give my word to do all I can to get this film in to every movie theatre in the world...but THE SUCCESS OF THIS FILM RESTS SQUARELY ON YOUR ABILITY TO BE BRAVE AND OFFER YOUR STORIES.

The power of this film depends on you and your story.

As mentioned before, I have received some amazing commitments from some of the most prolific voices on the issue where it pertains to Mormons and Mormonism who are booked for our film.


I want to hear from Mormons (gay and straight) who sat in church and felt the pinch of authority telling them to do something that was against their own beliefs about LGBT issues.

I want to hear from those who are former Mormons, who have been rejected by their faith community because of their sexuality.

I want to hear from those who have not only been victimized by the short sited mindsets that got Prop. 8 through--but also those who have triumphed over it all in the spirit of optimism that will eventually see Prop. 8 overturned.


What's your story? Let's tell it!

Reed Cowan
Documentary Film Maker & Emmy Award winning journalist
The email of course intrigued me. I was definitely hurting over Prop. 8. A lady in my ward was trying to save my soul on the subject in her Relief Society lessons, and it was ticking me off. My local leaders refused to understand. I was hurt from a talk from a high councilman in another ward and stake, comparing those who disagree with Prop 8 to “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

I had to tell my story. I had to tell the world what a wonderful man my gay husband is, and all of our sweet friends, some "married" in CA and raising children, incredible parents that want nothing more than the same freedoms "one man and one woman" have, to be sure that their "spouse" and children will be taken care of, and without the extra legal cost and worry that it won't be enough...

But I was nervous. I knew there could be consequences. I forwarded the email to a friend at school that is also LDS and struggling with the church’s political involvement, watching the pain it inflicted on her gay brother. She and I talked about it a lot. She decided to email Reed to find out more:

Hello Mr. Cowan, I am interested in participating in your documentary but I have a few questions before I consent to do so. I am LDS but I don't agree with prop 8. I would love a venue to express this in, however, I am not interested in being a part of something that is simply anti-LDS either. Will this documentary be neutral (factual) with what is presented or is it going to be anti-LDS? My other question is who will have access to it and will my words be taken out of context? I appreciate what you are doing for the gay/lesbian/bi/transgender community regardless of my decision of whether or not to participate. God bless you for doing this. May lives be saved and souls have peace.

…and he wrote back:


Thanks for your interest. And thanks for being a guardian of your thoughts and actually participating in the process before the process.

Here's the deal. There WILL be voices in the film that are angry, hurt & say they are wronged. Those voices will likely be heard louder by some than the voices who are for Prop. 8.

I'm not trying to be anti-LDS, but as a person raised in the LDS church and who went on a mission to become a mission leader, I can tell you that I know that it's easy in the church to be labeled "ANTI.

I'm sure...despite my best efforts to give ALL voices a chance to be heard, that the film will be called ANTI.
In the end, you may or may not feel the same way.

What I can tell you is this:
1. I've extended the invitation to interview to ALL people of ALL SIDES
2. I've extended the invitation to the LDS church.
3. I've extended the invitation to ACTIVE LDS people

And their voices, if they lend them...WILL be heard.

However, whenever you interview for a journalist, you run the risk of your words being taken out of context. All I can tell you is that I have a goal of NOT doing that.

I hope to see you Saturday. Thank you SO MUCH for your good heart regarding this issue. I really hope you come. I need the voices of BELIEVING, FAITHFUL LDS PEOPLE who have chosen LOVE and have chosen to NOT support 8.

My consultant for this film: Carol Lynn Pearson has wisely encouraged me to "Not leave people in a dark alley..." In other words, to showcase GOOD, KIND and FORWARD THINKING Mormons who see beyond the mountains...people like you.

I hope you can be a part of this.


Her dad, a temple worker, gave her this advice: I thought your inquiry was very good and that Reed tried to give an honest answer. As he pointed out, there are certain risks and dangers in a volatile, highly emotional and sensitive issue such as this, even with the best of intentions on both sides. I believe your heart is right and I hope things go well for you in whatever you decide and do. May God bless.

So, after much prayer and pondering and thinking and feeling, we decided to do it. We were nervous, but the Spirit was strong and calming. It was liberating to watch others share their stories, knowing they were there amongst friends, and watching their burdens lift with hope in knowing that others in the room loved them for who they are, felt their pain, all of us hoping and praying that people who eventually watch this film could feel what we were feeling at that moment, and that it would make a huge difference of peace and comfort in the lives of many, many gay Mormons and their supportive and friends and families.

Then, last spring, Reed released footage of Buttars to the media. Of course I have no use for Senator Buttars, his opinions, his political activity over the years, etc., and I guess it is his own fault for saying such horrible things on camera for Reed’s documentary, but it somehow felt wrong for Reed to do what he did the way he did it, and it started to make me nervous about who this Reed Cowan really is and what kind of tone his documentary really will have.

After being asked by my local leaders regarding the documentary and when it will be out and how it will make the church look, I became even more nervous. I knew that a ton of people had interviewed for the film, and that he would not be able to include everyone. So I emailed Reed, and he let me know that while Scott, our daughter and my friend at school had NOT made the final cut of the film, I had, but he didn't believe that anything I said would be enough to get me in trouble with the church.

Within a few weeks of receiving this message from Reed, he had of course launched a web site and a blog for the documentary.  The blog posts started to concern me a little bit as Reed appeared to use the blog to lash out with his feelings about the church and his own LDS family.  Scathing posts would appear, then disappear, as though he regretted posting it. But then one of them brought me some hope and comfort again. (I was just going to post a piece of it, with a link to the original, but he has removed this particular post as well.)

Rain (October 24, 2009)
It's raining where I am today.  It has been all night.  Fall is setting in.  The end of things tired and used up.  The beginning of a new season.  My sons are having lunch with their dad in the kitchen.  The smell of coffee is wafting through the house.  Outside it is raining.  Inside our family's world, it is calm.

I suppose that's how the week has been too for us, metaphorically speaking.
While going about the lives of a normal American family...paying bills, dropping kids off at school, attending to our work...the storm of this film continues to swell in the outside world.

And as with any storm, there has been tremendous damage.  And tremendous good.

"Mr. Cowan, thank you for making this film.  It gives me courage."

"Mr. Cowan, my church's incursion in to politics and the messages they sent out as they worked against gay policies caused me to go home that afternoon and attempt suicide.  Thank you for showing the consequences of their actions and their words."

These are the thoughts of people who have shared with me what the pending release of this film has meant.  And I am humbled by their candor and their desire for change.

And I have received hate mail.

Mean spirits in the mix.  People who do not know me.  People who do not know the stirrings of my heart.  People who assume much before ever seeing the finished piece of film that will come in early 2010.

In their fear, their anger and in their sense of protection for what they hold sacred, they have lashed out.

Our film is not a hit-piece.  Our film is not motivated by a desire to hurt or destroy the church that is accused of encroaching beyond the dictates of separation of church and state.

Really, it is not.

In fact, our narrator Dustin Lance Black has made his participation in this film contingent on a respectful tone throughout.  And NY Times best-selling author Carol Lynn Pearson (also a Mormon) has insisted the same.

I agree with them.

Truth can hurt.  But it also sets us free to venture in to new expressions of the faith traditions we all hold dear.

This film is an opportunity to see the failings of people who thought they were doing the right thing, and experienced the scrutiny that came from making the mistakes that are alleged.

Many of you have asked me how my family situation is.

Like many LGBT people embroiled in family situations where family culture and religious culture creates conflict, it's a shambles this morning.

Nasty e mails.  Angry diatribes.  You know the drill.

But one of the youngest members of our family sent me the following and I'll share it with you now:

"I just watched the trailer for your up coming documentary. And i must say i am very excited. I cant wait to see the whole thing. But i am also very reserved, im certain that your movie will cause a great reaction in this state that seems so solitary... It is my hope that your powerful message will spark a change for the better in many hearts. Thats what this state needs is an eye opening, but with such a delicate subject... i worry about how it will affect relations in this family. I have seen first hand how people cling to this belief that the Mormon church is omnipotent.... Just this morning i fought two boys who were bashing my gay uncles they know nothing about... I do not doubt that they are good people at heart, and i hope there will come a great awakening when people will realize that all these things that make us a diverse species should not be feared and hated... but celebrated... Until that day, i will make you a promise that no matter how bad things get know that i love you and that i will always consider you my uncle and part of my family. You have helped me learn more about myself in the short time i have known you, then i ever would have imagined... Once again I love you. And i pray for you and your beautiful family every night. Peace and Safety."

Bless him.  May we all follow our young.  They are not poisoned by hatred and ignorance that leads to discrimination.


I was touched.  This was the Reed I met in January, with a vision of hope and bringing peace. I have no idea why he would have removed this post.

But then Maine politics happened, and the National Organization of Marriage was involved in the campaign, and Reed began to lash out again.

Then, as mentioned, the church spoke at a SLC city council meeting, a huge step in the right direction, but Reed was nothing but critical. His next few blog posts disgusted and upset me.

Mormons endorse not leaving the gays to rot
 8:TMP Press Release

A friend of ours who also filmed for the documentary and who is very involved in policitics (but is also very young) contacted Reed and recommended that reacting this way was not going to accomplish anything.  Reed apparently told him that he is too young to understand what will actually make a difference in this situation.

So as Scott and I discussed my feelings and questions about Reed, his heart, and his intentions, Scott told me that he believes Reed did have the best of intentions from the beginning; that he was not putting on a show for us when we interviewed, but that he did intend for the documentary to really contain facts and accurately reflect on both sides of the issue. But somehow in the process of creating the documentary, of listening to hours and hours of heartbreaking interviews, of delving into church policies and politics, he has become bitter, and has lost judgement on what really is going to make a difference.

I have not seen the documentary.  I do not know if I will be glad that my voice can be heard as truth is revealed and peace is pursued, or if I will be embarressed to be associated with it, sad to see my beloved Prophet, President Monson, and other church leaders, demeaned and harrased.  My feelings are mixed as I anticipate the release of the film.  But I know without a doubt that when I interviewed, it felt like I was doing the right thing.  So I can only cling to that and hope for the best.  Because I do agree with Reed that this story needs to be told, and that there are people out there that need to know just how much the church's involvement in Proposition 8 destroyed (and continues to destroy) lives and families, the very thing they claim to be trying to protect.

Meanwhile, as I continue to wait to hear from my Stake President regarding his verdict on my temple recommend, I worry that this documentary is factoring into his decision, and I want him to know that my heart truly is in the right place.

Only time will tell...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Baby Steps

Many people are not aware that the LDS church's official policy and opinions on homosexuality (or same-sex attraction, as they like to call it) really have changed significantly over the years. See Scott's timeline for a detailed documentation of those changes.

I also realize that for many people, it feels like the church's participation in Prop. 8 and also Elder Oak's recent talk at BYU Idaho have taken the LDS church backwards by a few large steps.

But I still believe they really are making progress, even if it seems only like baby steps forward.

I was going to blog about a significant article in the Ensign back in September, but life was crazy (especially with shutting down my blog for a while) and I never got around to it. The title of the article was "The Best Thing I can do for Leigh", and even though the author's attitudes and opinions are not quite like my own, I still thought it was actually a pretty big step in the right direction. The article is from the viewpoint of a lady with a gay sister, and how she still accepts her sister and partner into her home and her heart, allowing her children to associate with them as well. She does specifically mention not agreeing with the sister's lifestyle choice, but one cannot expect anything other than that from a message in an LDS church magazine. I thought it was just great that the article indicated that having same-sex attractions is not a choice, and that we can still accept and love family members who might choose to live in a way that is not in harmony with the teachings of the church.

Now we have seen another step forward this past week. I have seen many rejoice over the news that the church would make a statement in support of anti-discrimination laws in SLC that specifically pertain to gay rights. But there are still many others that are annoyed by or suspicious of the action. An editorial (*or rather, a letter to the editor :) in the Deseret News today expresses disappointment in the church with the following opinion: (as usual, the comments are infuriating and entertaining, if you have some spare reading time)
"The agenda of the gay community is to gradually force the rest of us to accept its lifestyle as normal, which it never will be. So I am disappointed that the LDS Church and Salt Lake City have taken a step in that direction. Do we also have to accept kissing in public and private areas? Do they deserve the same benefits as the rest of us in the workplace and housing? That should be up to the employers and the landlords. No one should force an employer to hire someone indiscriminately. The applicant must have those skills and qualifications that fit into a particular job opening.
I am opposed to gays taking our rights away from us."

Another organization (that is comprised of church members) claims that the church only made such a statement because they were forced to. They apparently sent out 80,000 faxes last week to voice that opinion.

And then some in the gay community are outraged with the wording of the statement, or that it is too little too late, or that it seems more like a political move than a sincere statement of compassion and reason. They have become so bitter that they are suspicious and cynical, unwilling to see anything good in the statement.

But I choose to believe it is a step in the right direction, and not only that, but as big a step as the church can make right now. For example, full and equal rights for Blacks in the church came when the time was right, when the world and specifically the membership of the church was ready for it. Others may disagree, but I believe it is similar in this situation. As evidenced by the editorial mentioned earlier, there are many members of the church who are not ready for a major new policy or endorsement of gay rights, and making any kind of drastic statement, I believe, would be harmful to a significant percentage of the membership of the church.

It is sad that so many lives have been lost and that individuals and families have been hurt so badly by the church's words, actions, policies, etc., over the years. But I have faith that God has a plan, and that little by little, He will put that plan into place as we are more ready for it. After all, we do believe that God "will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the kingdom of God." Of course I have no idea what those revelations will be, but I know they will come, that hearts and homes will be healed, that members of the church will find themselves on a path to become more like Christ, and that someday we (or our posterity) will look back at this battle and marvel at how things used to be, and how things have changed for the better.

Unfortunately, trying to be patient and have this kind of faith is not easy. That is why I have to cling to the "baby steps" to remind me that there is in fact progress, and that there is always hope.

I think I have said this before, but I believe that the war Satan is waging on us with this issue is less about the immorality of homosexual behavior and much more about contention, cynacism, and bigotry on both sides. May we all rise above it, and may both sides make a greater effort to build bridges, understand each other, and be more like Jesus Christ in thought, word, and action.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Change his ways?

One morning a week or two ago, I woke up with a song from the musical Guys and Dolls rolling around in my head.  Scott and I were both in the chorus for this musical our Junior year in high school.

I don't really remember if when I married Scott I thought I could change anything about him.  I really did love him the way he was.  I do remember after we got married, though, that I discovered a few things about Scott that I wondered if I could encourage him to change.  But mostly, I think our marriage became a melding, each of us changing at least a few of the other's ideas and traditions. We each came from our own families and upbringings, and together we had to determine what would be the same and different for our own growing family. Over the years, we have established our family's own way of doing things (and even those traditions have mutated over time and experience), and have come to accept the things that we cannot change about each other.

Anyway, I've heard stories of young men with same-sex attraction being told by their bishops or other church leaders that if they married a woman, eventually their feelings and attractions would change.  Many marriages have then subsequently failed when after many years, the feelings did not change as expected. The heartache of the situation then affects not only the man, but also the wife and children. What a sad reality.

Does everyone enter into marriage expecting that, like this song, they will be able to somehow change the one they marry to be the perfect companion for them?  Is that why divorce rates are so high, because at some point they realize change will not happen and they cannot live with it?  How can we help future generations understand these fallacies, and thereby better preserve future marriages and families?

And how much truth is there to this song?  Could an additional baby in the family make a big difference for good? Maybe I should make more pot roast as a preemptive move. :)

"Marry the Man Today"
At Wanamaker's and Saks and Klein's
A lesson I've been taught
You can't get alterations on a dress you haven't bought.

At any vegetable market from Borneo to Nome
You mustn't squeeze a melon till you get the melon home.

You've simply got to gamble

You get no guarantee

Now doesn't that kind of apply to you and I?

You and me.

Why not?

Why not what?

Marry the man today.
Trouble though he may be
Much as he likes to play
Crazy and wild and free
Marry the man today
Rather than sigh in sorrow
Marry the man today
And change his ways tomorrow.
Marry the man today.
Marry the man today
Maybe he's leaving town
Don't let him get away
Hurry and track him down
Counterattack him and
Marry the man today
Give him the girlish laughter
Give him your hand today
And save the fist for after.
Slowly introduce him to the better things
Respectable, conservative, and clean
Readers Digest
Guy Lombardo
Rogers Peet
But marry the man today
Handle it meek and gently
Marry the man today and train him subsequently

Carefully expose him to domestic life
And if he ever tries to stray from you
Have a pot roast.
Have a headache
Have a baby
have two!
But Marry the Man today
Rather than sigh and sorrow
Marry the man today
And change his ways - change his ways - his ways

Saturday, November 14, 2009


For those of you who live in the Salt Lake area and like to listen to the best Christmas music ever, but also have to plan ahead for your busy schedules, here is an item for your calendar:  a free production of the Messiah from five combined Stakes in the Midvale Community. Yes, it is the same production my daughter and I participated in last year, and we are participating again, but this time I think we've talked Scott into joining us, and I was also brave enough to try out for and get a solo.  Eeek. :)

Anyway, mark your calendars for this momentous event, Sunday December 13th at Hillcrest High School. I don't remember the time for sure.  Maybe 7 or 6? I will probably remind you all again when it comes closer.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

FHE, November Edition

According to Scott's calendar, the date is fast approaching for the next Saturday night FHE at our house.  Scott or I can present a topic for discussion (probably from the Ensign, which means the conference talks this time.) We will try to choose something that we liked, that will hopefully lead to a good gospel discussion where the spirit can be with us.

Meanwhile, we heard that the Matis firesides have now changed to Tuesdays, so we are going to change our Family FHE to a different week to spread things out a bit. Officially, we would like to make it the Monday following the first Saturday of the month (which will sometimes be the first Monday of the month and sometimes the second Monday). Because of that change, there will be no family FHE in November (because it would have been last Monday, November 9th), but the next one will be on Monday, December 7th.

Also, we haven't seen some of our MOM friends for a very long time! (Yes, Kengo, I mean you and Miki and the kids!) So, assuming that flu season will not interfere, we would love to get together with any mixed-orientation couples (and families) that are interested in doing so next weekend, probably the Utah County direction somewhere (since that is where most of you are!) Anyway, e-mail me with your availability and ideas for location and activity.  I think either Friday or Saturday (November 20th or 21st) would be great, whichever is best for most of you.

Whew.  So glad to be back.  Love my friends.  See you soon!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


First of all, I am glad to be back.  I need to write, to vent, to explore my feelings. Not on a blog where I have to be anonymous.  Not on a private blog where the audience is limited and uninformed because they can't get the RSS feed. I need to know people are reading and thinking of me and using my words to help in their own lives and situations.  I only hope I can keep my words temple-worthy, and free from anything that would violate the privacy rights of others, especially my students. Anyway, here goes...

Why does it feel like I am stuck in the middle of haze? By haze, I don't mean that I am unhappy all the time, just that I am confused.  I have no idea how I should act or feel or even how I want to act and feel.  I have no idea if I want to keep going to church or not.  I have no idea if Scott and I are happy together or not.  I have no idea what his needs are or how I feel about him trying to meet those needs with a break from church or massage or whatever.  I have no idea if he wants more attention or affection from me or less.  I feel like I want more attention and affection from him, but not as a result of him knowing I want and need it, but just because he wants to give it me, because he loves me. (P.S.  - Sunday evening after I wrote this, even without Scott knowing about it and reading it, he finally opened up to me and we talked like we used to, deep conversation that we haven't done for a while, and he gave me the attention I was wanting.  It was almost like he had read my mind. :)

Three weeks ago was the first time I attended church after Scott proclaimed on his blog that he is done being "stuck." I did not expect him to come to church, but he ended up coming for the sacrament (to support our son passing it for the first time), and then I did not even stay for the meeting when the younger boys started acting up and the talk was making me uncomfortable. The rest of the "block" we were in the Stake President's office, so it was not a normal Sunday.

Then two weeks ago, our family all attended sacrament meeting because we were participating in the Primary program with a family musical number: Scott on piano, my daughter and I on violin, and the kids and I singing. It felt like old times, when I was the chorister or primary president and very involved in the primary program.  Following the program, Scott took our youngest child home with him because he (the child) was sick. Nothing felt any different from a typical Sunday 2 or 3 years ago.

One week ago we were up late with our friends on Halloween, we had company staying with us, I had a bad cold, one child also had cold symptoms, another child woke up early with a stomach virus.  We just all stayed home and had an extremely relaxing day, which was really, really nice. I slept a lot, and did not feel the least bit guilty about church because I was sick.  And because I was sick, I also didn't really care that the healthy members of our family were not there either.

So, today is really the first time since Scott's decision (to take a break for a while) that it was what I can probably come to expect from a "normal" Sunday.  The kids and I all went to church while Scott stayed home.  The children were well behaved, the talks were benign (and maybe even inspirational regarding the need and power of prayer in our lives.) I felt like I was where I should be, except that someone was missing,  As I started to sing each hymn during the meeting, I stopped during the first verse of each song, tears welling up in my eyes as I missed the warmth of Scott beside me (even though I was plenty warm from children beside me and leaning on me) and the sound of his gorgeous bass voice singing in harmony with my own.

During the meeting, I also thought about my son's upcoming Temple recommend interview this afternoon, and how I hope that I will hear from the Stake President soon regarding my own recommend, so that I can maybe take him myself to do the baptisms for the two male family members that my mom gave me the cards for yesterday.

I thought about the temple, about the ceremonies that I have not been able to participate in for a while, and my desire to be there, to hear the familiar words.  I felt again like I consider myself worthy to be there, that even though I associate with and sympathize groups of people that are angry with the church right now, I don't feel like it crosses the line.  Maybe it is close, but not across. There have been moments over the past 2 months that I have been bitter with the whole situation, and have truly felt unworthy.  I don't feel that way at the moment and I hope that sometime soon a decision will be made that will allow me to go. Meanwhile, I am trying to be patient, trying to become more worthy in heart and mind to be there, and seeking more opportunities at home to feel the spirit.

I enjoyed the meetings at church, I enjoyed the lessons and the friends that I have there and the conference issue of the Ensign that I began reading between Sunday School and Relief Society.  But I was sad, and in a haze, going through the motions, even feeling the spirit, but not knowing what the future brings for me, my family, Scott, church attendance, etc.

There are other things going on that add to this haze, other things that I am not sure about...but that will have to wait for a future blog post, when I am ready to post about them...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ingrid Michaelson....

...is now my favorite.

Scott and I haven't been to very many concerts.  Before we married, I had been to zero concerts.  Within our first year of marriage, I bought us tickets to "the Nylons" and it was a lot of fun; a fairly small gathering at a venue in Ogden. Let's see...next I think was Alanas Moriset. Scott won the tickets on the radio (at my prompting) by calling in and singing "Your sweater's on backwards and inside out and you say how-o-o-ow appropriate." The concert was huge and loud and annoying ("Garbage" opened the concert and I decided that they had chosen an appropriate name for themselves.) The lady behind us spilled beer on Scott.  Needless to say, we left early and were really glad we had not paid for the tickets.

Next, we bought tickets to "They Might be Giants." A couple of Scott's siblings even went with us and it was a blast.  We really want to take our kids to the upcoming concert, but we really can't justify the cost right now. :(  Next was a few summers ago when I bought promotional discount tickets to Erasure.  We were going to take our two oldest children with us, but ended up taking Scott's sister and her husband instead.  I was so glad, because I did not know that the "True Colors Tour" was a gay thing.  Erasure was awesome, but I was really uncomfortable most of the time as the announcer told really inappropriate jokes and there were gay couples everywhere. Very interesting experience to look back on and wonder what I would think of it now...

At some point someone gave us tickets to the Manheim Steamroller Christmas concert (because they had won them on the radio and could not use them).  That is the only music group that I actually considered buying a ticket to the concert when I was a teenager; the Fresh Aire albums were my favorite.  My brother talked me out of it, telling me that I could save the money to buy another record or tape instead. The concert was great, but not something I would choose to pay for at this point.

Many years past, and then recently we ushered and thoroughly enjoyed the Jason and DeMarco concert that was organized as part of the Affirmation conference last month.  Cute gay couple, fun and spiritual music. I was really upset that night with temple recommend issues, and the concert was just what I needed.  Jason talked a lot about feeling like he had a "calling" from God to sing spiritual and uplifting music while also making a statement on gay rights.  They are a unique music group; they don't really fit in with other Christian music groups because they are gay. and they don't fit in with other gay music groups because they are religious.  But they are willing to be unique and to make a difference with their incredible talents.

Then, most recently, was the crown jewel of my concert-attending experience: Ingrid Michaelson.  Wow. The concert was standing room only, but Scott found us some crates at the back of the room that we could sit on, and we actually had a great view of Ingrid.  Of course, I loved it when she sang "Be Okay".  I closed my eyes and let the words fill my soul with a message from God that everything (regarding our temple recommends and everything else in our lives) would be okay.  Her music was relaxing and fun.  I didn't realize that "The way I am" was her song, and I enjoyed really listening to the words for once.
The Way I Am
Written by Ingrid Michaelson

If you were falling, then I would catch you
You need a light, I'd find a match

Cuz I love the way you say good morning
And you take me the way I am

If you are chilly, here take my sweater
Your head is aching; I'll make it better

Cuz I love the way you call me baby
And you take me the way I am

I'd buy you Rogaine when you start losing all your hair
Sew on patches to all you tear

Cuz I love you more than I could ever promise
And you take me the way I am

You take me the way I am
You take me the way I am
I love the message, especially how it applies to Scott and I, how we have learned to take each other and love each other "as is". As I looked for the lyrics on her website, Ingrid had this "Twitter" -

The other song that really impressed me is the title number for her new album (and the title of the concert.

Written by Ingrid Michaelson

We have fallen down again tonight
In this world it's hard to get it right
Trying to make your heart fit like a glove
What it needs is love, love, love

Everybody, everybody wants to love
Everybody, everybody wants be to loved
Oh oh oh
Oh oh oh
Everybody, everybody wants to love
Everybody, everybody wants be to loved
Oh oh oh
Oh oh oh

Happy is the heart that still feels pain
Darkness drains and light will come again
Swing open your chest and let it in
Just let the love, love, love begin

Everybody, everybody wants to love
Everybody, everybody wants be to loved
Oh oh oh
Oh oh oh
Everybody, everybody wants to love
Everybody, everybody wants be to loved
Oh oh oh
Oh oh oh

Everybody knows the love
Everybody holds the love
Everybody folds for love
Everybody feels the love
Everybody steals the love
Everybody heals with love

Oh oh oh
Just let the love love love begin

Everybody, everybody wants to love
Everybody, everybody wants be to loved
Oh oh oh
Oh oh oh
Everybody, everybody wants to love
Everybody, everybody wants be to loved
Oh oh oh
Oh oh oh

You know how when you buy a CD, sometimes there is music on the CD that you don't really like to listen to? Or, usually I don't like listening to a CD for a single music group because I get bored with the same voice for every song. But not with Ingrid.  I love how her music makes me feel relaxed and happy, and I am so glad we went to the concert.  It was worth every penny, the long line we had to stand in, and the uncomfortable crates we sat on.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


For months, Scott has said that he feels nothing at church.  I have still felt the spirit now and then.  Today I felt nothing.  I tried to pray during the sacrament to feel the spirit.  I prayed during testimony meeting when I felt nothing to feel something.  I enjoyed listening to Scott's ordination blessing as he ordained our oldest son to the office of a deacon.  Normally something like that would have brought chills up and down my spine and tears swelling in my eyes.  It was nice and all, but I felt nothing.  During Relief Society, the lesson was on Eternal Families.  During the part on marriage, I became uncomfortable and annoyed (not that anything specific was being said or emphasized, just that the temple sealing of one man and one woman is required for exaltation).  Instead of letting myself get annoyed, I tuned it out.  Then, toward the end of the lesson the topic turned to family, children honoring parents, etc.  The words of the lesson were sweet, and I love my family so much, but I felt nothing.

Scott says he is ready to move on.  He is stuck.  Stuck between feeling nothing and pretending to be a faithful, church-going member of the church.  He says he has decided that he needs to move on, and that probably means leaving the church behind.  I am jealous.  I want to be at that point for my own peace, but I cannot do it.  Maybe if Scott moves on, I will be able to as well.  But I worry about what this will mean to our children, to our posterity and generations to come.  Instead of worried, maybe I should just be happy that I can give them a gift. A gift of leaving the LDS culture behind along with all of the guilt and pain and agony that I am currently facing.

My patriarchal blessing says I will find joy in living, for happiness comes from within. Everyone says true happiness cannot be found outside of the church.  I have always been in the church and have rarely been happy.  Maybe it is time to experiment with the alternative. This is the hardest decision ever. For now I will continue to take it one week at a time, following the spirit as I make a choice each Sunday. That is all I can do until Heavenly Father tells me otherwise.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Blog Stress

When I first started blogging, it was amazing. I had already started reading a lot of blogs, and we had this fabulous community that read and commented and helped each other through the tough times of proposition 8. It was very therapeutic for me to work through my thoughts and feelings, and it brought me an amazing feeling of happiness and peace when I found out (through comments and emails) that it was answering other people's prayers, giving them peace and comfort to know that they are not alone, and even bringing some of them back into the church.

But lately it seems that my blog has become the source of all of my stress. Of course there is my temple recommend, and the main issue with that is this blog. And then I found out today that there are rumors going around school among staff members that read my blog. Of course I have chosen to make my blog public, and I have actually given the URL to some of my close friends at school when they have asked me for it or when I have felt it was the right thing to do (I think I have given it to 3 or 4 people.) I don't really care who reads my blog, but when it becomes something for people to talk about behind my back, then it bothers me.

When a couple in our ward found our blogs, they commented and thus let us know right away that they were reading. Others have told us at church or through emails. I appreciated knowing that they are there reading and knowing what is going on in my life. I would like the same from staff members at my school and other ward members and family (like an email or an in-person mention that they "found" my blog or that someone gave them the address). Even if they don't agree with my opinions, I think that is just respectful and "adult" of them to let me know. We can discuss it, or not discuss it, or agree to disagree. I just want to know.

I'm tired. I don't read blogs any more, at least not very much. One of my favorite things about blogging is the comments and conversations that result. Lately there hasn't been much of that. I feel invisible. I guess some of my readers don't comment because they prefer to talk about it behind my back. And those who used to comment are either too busy to read and/or comment, or they are afraid to because we are kind of "censoring" it for ward and stake leaders that read.

I am having a fabulous year at school. I love my husband and kids and we all get along great. I don't think any of my normal day-to-day life is causing me any more stress than usual. But I am at the end of my rope, on the verge of a nervous breakdown with everything church and blog related. I feel great at school, and then I come home and cry and yell the rest of the night. I can't get anything done that I need to do. I am not supporting my kids with their homework and lives like I need to, because I am mentally sick.

So, in an attempt to heal my soul, I am going to privatize my blog in a couple of days, and I am not going to send any invitations for anyone to read it. ( I've tried the private blog thing already, and no one knows when to read it and very few people comment, so why bother? ) I will be doing this so that I can go through and archive everything while I decide its fate. Maybe I can compile some of the most helpful posts into a new blog somewhere. Maybe you can let me know what your favorites are; the ones that have meant the most to you.

I am sitting here sobbing because I feel like I am saying goodbye to a whole bunch of friends that I don't even know. But I feel this is best to take care of myself and my family.

God be with you till we meet again!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Conference Scarf

While I watched conference, I knitted myself a new scarf. I tried a new pattern that I found online, and incidentally, the stitch I used is called the "faggot stitch" and it involves knitting 1 stitch, yarn over, knit 2 together across each row and every row, making the pattern reversible (so it looks the same on both sides). There, a new knitting pattern for you if you know how to knit. If you don't know how to knit, I am a very good teacher! Come on over.

Anyway, knitting is a fairly brainless activity and can usually be done without even looking, thus enabling the knitter to easily watch or pay attention to something else, with the added benefit of keeping the knitter awake while watching something else. :) I highly recommend it.

Scott and I had the privilege of watching conference with Scott's parents at the family condo this weekend, as I mentioned in my last post. There were many talks that I found to be very touching and I thought memorable. But now that conference is over, I am having a hard time remembering specific people and topics and quotes that I enjoyed.

Some of the "themes" of the conference, or at the least the ones I remember, were personal revelation, staying strong in the church, and setting a good example for our children (and avoiding hypocrisy). I guess maybe these were all things that I felt pertained to me in some way, and I want to re-read or re-listen to many of them so that I can remember things that might help me to be a better person, wife, and mother, with a more God-centered life.

I remember that I really liked all of the talks from the first presidency. For some reason, President Monson's stuck in my mind the best, with the stories of service that he received for his birthday. It gave me the chance to reflect on service both given and recieved by our family in this past year. I will honestly have to go look up Elder Eyrings and Elder Uchdorf's talks, because I don't remember them other than the fact I loved them.

The most memorable talk for me was Elder Holland, as usual. What an incredible man with such passion for the Book of Mormon and the gospel. Being reminded of just how strong my testimony is regarding the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith makes it that much harder for the part of me that just wants to give up on the church and end the struggle.

So the struggle continues. The struggle that includes a testimony so strong that I can't leave, but with the agony of my temple recommend just out of reach. The struggle that includes wanting my children to keep going to church and learning about the gospel, getting the priesthood, attending the temple to do baptisms, singing the songs and giving talks and prayers while at the same time, I don't always want to go myself, for fear that I will have to talk to someone that I don't want to talk to, or listen to a lesson that makes me miserable.

And so, even though I remember feeling uplifted during many of the conference talks, at the conclusion of the conference and as I continue to reflect on it, I am left with a feeling of sadness, with a feeling that this struggle will never end and that my life will constantly feel like a battle ground between the two things that are trying to coexist within my heart without success.

Is it possible that these conflicts will ever be knit in unity within my heart?

Meanwhile, what did you do during conference? If you stayed awake and listened as I did, which talks affected you the most? What common themes between talks stuck out in your mind?

Oh, and please try to keep your comments positive. My heart needs a lift today!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Homosexuality is like lice

Scott and I were just discussing the similarities between how people react when they find out someone is gay compared to finding out that someone has lice. One of our children has had lice this past week, and it has been interesting to observe the attitudes of others as we have shared this news with them.

This son had a birthday party (slumber party) to go to, and so I told the mother of his lice just in case, even though we combed through his hair carefully before he went and were pretty confident that there was nothing on his head to contaminate anyone else. The mother did not mind at all. She said that she has worked in group homes, and that lice come and go frequently, and it was no big deal to her.

Meanwhile, family that we were going to spend the weekend with to watch conference at a family condo were not sure they wanted us to come, because they were afraid of catching the lice or maybe thought that the condo would be infested with lice that would then become a burden for everyone in the family.


Before Scott came out to me and I read No More Goodbyes, I had very little understanding of homosexuality; it is hard to really remember how I felt about it because I wasn't aware at the time of how I was feeling. But I have been able to observe the reaction of others to Scott this past year, as well as hear many stories of how families and friends reacted to others' coming out. Often there is a lack of education and understanding, a fear and judging and making assumptions, etc.

Likewise, when I have heard about families with lice, I think I have been concerned about staying away from them to prevent catching it. But now that it is my own child with lice, he is my son, and I can't banish him from the house or stop hugging him just because I am afraid of catching lice. Instead, Scott and I have been learning everything we can in order to understand it and take care of our family.

So, we now have the unique opportunity to learn all about lice, about how it prefers clean hair, about how it is harder to catch than you might think (like mostly transferred by head to head contact rather than off of objects, since lice can survive for at most 48 hours when not on a human host.) About how it is not essential to bag up all stuffed animals and pillows for 2 weeks, about how vacuuming is better than poisonous sprays on furniture and carpet. You get the picture.

Because of people's misconceptions and misunderstanding (because they are uneducated on matters of lice), they let prejudice and fear influence judgments and assumptions against even people that they love.

Sound familiar?

(Of course there is the obvious difference that lice actually can be caught, as opposed to other things like homosexuality that aren't contagious, even though some people believe otherwise :-).


Lice remind me of my favorite story from the book The Hiding Place. (For anyone who hasn't read it, I highly recommend it.) In a nutshell, it is the true story of two Christian women in a concentration camp during WWII that secretly read their bible together every day. One day they read a scripture that tells them to be grateful in all things. They start listing things that they are grateful for. One of them mentions being grateful for the lice. The lice? The other sister cannot fathom being grateful for the lice, but tries to be grateful, with her sister's encouragement to be grateful for all things. Later they find out that because of the lice, the guards were less likely to enter their building, and therefore they were able to hide their bible and read it daily without getting in trouble.

Earlier this week, the children and I recalled this story (I shared it with them in a Primary Sharing Time a few years ago right after I had read the book) and wondered if we could find a reason to be grateful for the lice. Here is what I have come up with in the days since: I am grateful for the opportunity to learn about lice. I am grateful for the motivation to give the boys needed haircuts, the motivation to be a bit more thorough in cleaning our house (especially the kids' rooms and changing their bedding). I am reminded of how grateful I am that Scott is so willing to be a good husband and father in helping with the children, for cutting their hair, for combing through everyone's heads every day, for researching and buying the best comb out there. I am also grateful that we can enjoy conference alone this weekend with Scott's parents at the family condo because everyone else is afraid to come for fear they will catch the lice! :) I am grateful that extended family has had a chance to learn more about lice, just like they have had the chance to learn more about homosexuality in the past year.

What fun thing do we get to learn about next?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Relief Society General Meeting

I am getting ready to go to Sunday School and Relief Society with the kids, so this will have to be quick, but I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed the General Relief Society meeting last night.

Barbara Thompsen gave a wonderful talk about "minding the gap" and she spoke of gaps between (1) The way we see ourselves and the way God sees us, (2) young women and Relief Society, and (3) Believing that Christ is our Savior and knowing that he is and what that means.

Gap #1 is definitely something I have problems with. I feel like I know of my Heavenly Father's love for me, but for some reason I cannot feel that same way about myself. My self-worth took some major hits this week due to some issues with some friends. The good thing about hitting rock-bottom is that there is nowhere to go but up.

Gap #2 is what affected me the most. Although she spoke of how younger women sometimes take a break from church attendance after they have left the young women program because they do not feel like they fit in with the Relief Society women, I heard a different message for myself. I have been inclined to take a "break" or cause a "gap" in my church attendance while I let my thoughts and feelings (and bitterness) subside. But I felt through this talk that perhaps I shouldn't, no matter how hard it might be, because if I do, I might never go back, and I'm not sure that I am ready for that possibility.

The last talk was given by Elder Eyring. As he stood up to approach the stand, I was filled with a great love for him and for the other members of the first presidency. I know that they are called of God and that they sincerely do love all of the members of the church. I just wanted to pass that feeling along. If what I felt is not "sustaining" my church leaders, I don't know what is.

Following the meeting, I had a chance to visit with my mother and my sister (and my dad, when I was taking my mom home) about the articles in the Deseret News last weekend (about Affirmation and Evergreen conferences) and other gay issues that have been in the news this week (like the acquittal of a gay man who was beat up for kidnapping.) I don't talk to my parents much about this stuff, so it was kind of nice to do so.

Anyway, I'd better be off to church!

Monday, September 21, 2009


After two and a half days at the Affirmation conference, last night I was feeling more peace than I have for a long time, especially in the last 3 weeks. I found myself humming the melody of the hymn "Do What is Right". When I got to the chorus, I subconsciously started singing the words, and then realized how appropriate the message was:
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!

(I just realized that I have actually blogged about this hymn before!)

One of the mothers I met at the banquet Saturday night (the one who is active LDS and had to fight once to keep her recommend) said a few words to the entire group when accepting an award. One thing she said is, "You are my people. I love being with you, the gay and lesbian members of the church." It was amazing to hear these words out of the mouth of a straight, white-haired, 80 (?) year-old woman. I felt the power in her words, because I agree with them whole-heartedly. I was reminded of a scripture from the Bible:

And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God. (Ruth 1:16)

Carol Lynn Pearson also spoke at the same banquet. She spoke of her Stake President and the effort he is making to help the members of the stake understand homosexuality. Here is her explanation of that from a newsletter that she emails to anyone who wishes to get it:

Last Sunday and the Sunday before, my stake presidency--three of the finest men you're going to find on the planet--gave presentations to all the adults in every ward in our stake in the "fifth Sunday" time slot they frequently utilize. In the words of my stake president, Dean Criddle:

"All of our remarks throughout the presentations were anchored on a statement drawn from a 1991 letter from the First Presidency encouraging 'Church leaders and members to reach out with love and understanding' to those experiencing homosexuality. We also focused our Stake members' attention on similar, supporting statements included in articles by Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland in 1995 and 2007 issues of the Ensign, the 2007 pamphlet, God Loveth His Children, and the interview with Elder Oaks and Elder Lance Wickman posted at the LDS Newsroom ('Same Gender Attraction') on the Church website. Some of our major points were:

1. Our sexual orientation (which gives rise to unbidden feelings and impulses) does not appear to be a matter of choice, nor does it call for blame.
2. Heterosexual marriage is not a 'cure' for homosexual feelings.
3. Members of the Oakland Stake must be sensitive to the unusual burdens placed on members of our Church who experience homosexual impulses and not contribute to a hopelessness that drives some to despair and even suicide.
4. Parents especially are called upon to show love and support for a child who brings them the news that he/she is experiencing homosexual feelings.
5. A Church member who experiences homosexual impulses but is willing to follow the Church's code of behavior is entirely worthy to hold high positions in the Church.
6. Our responsibility and opportunity is to show Christlike love and respect for all of our brothers and sisters----in our families, our neighborhoods, our places of work and our Church.
7. Without condoning conduct inconsistent with the teachings of the Church, members have a duty to show love even to those who choose other life paths.

"The instruction we gave included nothing new. It was just a gentle reminder that all Church members at baptism covenant to 'bear one another's burdens, that they may be light.' (Mosiah 18:8-10)"

A member of each ward participated, sharing life experiences that added to the impact of the event. From members of my own ward and other wards, I have heard nothing but very appreciative comments about this important counsel--"Such a healing experience for our family"--"Absolutely right on--we all needed that"--"A very large step in the right direction."
Back to the banquet...She also spoke of small gatherings she has begun having in her home with members of her ward with one of her gay friends in attendance to help them learn and understand. So far, the results have been very positive. This coming week she has invited the Relief Society Presidency.

The main message that she ended with was that we should each follow a path that leads us to peace and happiness, whatever that might be. She repeated it with passion, and I felt it pierce my heart and soul. I have been so unhappy since trying to obtain a new temple recommend. It has been about as far from peace and happiness as I can be. Maybe another path is in order? (Dare I say that on this blog? Honestly, I'm not sure I care any more.)

Sunday came some of the neatest experiences ever. We attended a devotional (again, part of the Affirmation conference) and were privileged to sing "I'll Walk with You" with Carol Lynn leading it. I've mentioned it in a previous blog post, but she was asked to write this primary song for children that don't always fit in, and as she wrote it, she thought of children that will grow up in the church and figure out that they are gay. It was a sweet experience to hear the beautiful voices of gay and lesbian Mormons (and former Mormons) and family members that love them, with Carol Lyn standing before us.

The entire devotional was wonderful. It included several songs, including one commissioned for the conference, and some beautiful scriptures, Moroni 7:42-48 and Matthew 5:1-16. The best part, though, was the closing hymn. A soloist sang the first verse of "God Be with You Till We Meet Again" and then the congregation joined in on the 2nd verse. By the beginning of the 3rd verse, people began to stand up. By the last chorus, we were all linked hand-in-hand and many of us were balling our eyes out. It was an incredible experience.
God be with you till we meet again;
When life’s perils thick confound you,
Put his arms unfailing round you.
God be with you till we meet again.
God be with you till we meet again;
Keep love’s banner floating o’er you;
Smite death’s threat’ning wave before you.
God be with you till we meet again.

Till we meet, till we meet,
Till we meet at Jesus’ feet,
Till we meet, till we meet,
God be with you till we meet again.
The last thought we heard last night before we decided we needed to leave to get home to our children was at a "Family Fellowship" meeting (a support group for members of the church with gay family members). A few parents were paying tribute to their gay sons and daughters. The love they showed was incredible. The mother that was speaking right before we left said something to the affect of "Many say that they are against gay marriage because it is a moral issue. But I have a different idea of what is immoral. I believe it is immoral to push gay people to the point of suicide. I believe it is immoral for me NOT to stand up for the rights of my gay child."

Amen to that.

I believe that I am following the right path. Peace is a sweet feeling.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Family Friendly FHE

A friend reminded me that we had scheduled a family-friendly FHE for tomorrow night, 7 p.m., our house (email if you need address/directions). We have not officially had one yet, so this is a debut event! Please shoot me an email to let me know you are coming. My daughter and/or I will plan a short kid-friendly lesson and then we can play games. Please bring a treat to share if you can. Anyone is welcome to come, regardless of whether or not you have children to bring with you. Just be aware that the lesson will be geared toward the children.

Oh, and since I have been gone to the Affirmation conference all weekend and we left our 4 kids at home by themselves (don't fret--the 13-year-old is a great babysitter and we were home during the night and morning each day), AND I have to work tomorrow of course, please forgive me if I don't get the house as clean as I usually do before a moho party. :)

So much for simplifying our lives. We just can't seem to stop planning things; we love our friends too much!

Blog Friends at Affirmation

Check out this article about my blog reader, Alanna! She is famous! I have been hanging out with her and her husband all weekend and it has been so good for my soul! They are such wonderful people and I am honored to call them friends.

Gay Mormons seek to be LDS on own terms

(Article cut and pasted below so that I still have it when it is archived!)

My only regret is that I missed the workshop that she is talking about here because I think it is exactly what I needed, but spending time with my kids that morning instead was more important for me and for them. I did get to talk to Emily later. The whole conference has given me a lot to think about on both sides of the issue. Some of my thoughts will be on my other blog within a few days.

The most compassionate people I met, though, are parents that are older. It is like imagining my own parents with that much understanding, and it is amazing! They have been speaking up for gay rights since the 80's or 90's, but are still very active in the church and temple recommend holders even though they never shrink at the chance to advocate for their kids regarding gay rights, including marriage. One of them (being honored at the banquet) spoke of a time when her bishop was not sure he wanted to give her a recommend. She stood up and firmly said, "Well, if I have to choose, I choose to love as our Savior did." Her husband then went in and told the bishop what's what, and she left with her recommend and has never been questioned since. I want to move into her ward. :)

Their advice to me was to stay active because there must be some of us there to fight from within. One of them cried with me as I shared my story, and I felt of her heartfelt compassion toward Scott and I even though she had never met us.

Even though I really needed some time to rest this weekend instead of being busy attending the conference, it has also been very timely with regards to what is happening in our lives. The Lord's timing with everything the last year and a half has been amazing, and I cannot deny that His hand is in our lives.

Gay Mormons seek to be LDS on own terms

By Lana Groves
Published: Saturday, Sept. 19, 2009 11:24 p.m. MDT

Alanna Farnsworth had no one to talk to when her son told her he was gay.

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Farnsworth wanted to discuss this new development with other LDS parents of children who had come out as gay.

She gained renewed hope Saturday while listening to Emily Pearson discuss her experiences and own ideas about staying true to yourself despite sexual identity.

Pearson's mother, Carolyn Pearson, is the author of "Goodbye, I Love You," which tells the story of her marriage to a gay Mormon man.

"I was on the whole church bandwagon about homosexuals," said Farnsworth, a Vermont woman who visited Salt Lake City on Saturday for the Affirmation Conference, an annual series of forums and lectures for gay and lesbian Mormons.

"I didn't believe it was right," she said. "But suddenly, my son, who's my most spiritual child, shares with me that he's gay. I know his heart. I went looking for as many stories about gay LDS men as possible."

Many LDS and former LDS men and women shared their experiences growing up in the church and their struggles to accept the church's position of denouncing same-sex marriage while being true to their own beliefs.
Story continues below

Pearson described herself as "very Mormon" growing up, which made for a difficult reconciliation since her gay father died from AIDS, and her ex-husband later identified himself as gay.

"You're taught that anything outside the structure of Mormonism isn't right," Pearson said. "The idea of a God that makes you jump through hoops, that says you're not supposed to be gay, is just wrong. The truth is, not only does God not care, but he loves each and every one of us."

Pearson left the LDS Church awhile ago after what she called an epiphany in which she "gripped her desk at work," realizing that people have to follow what's in their heart, not what those around them tell them to do.

Pearson's advice that gay and lesbian Mormons have to be "Mormon on their own terms" struck a chord with several listeners.

Willy Star Marshall, a gay man who traveled from Big Water in Kane County for the conference, said he's thought about returning to the church. But just as Pearson advised, Marshall said he would want it to be on his own terms.

"I do know some people who've done that, but it's a hard idea after so many years," he said. "Orthodox Mormons would disagree, but you really do have to be Mormon on your own terms. The things you're not comfortable with, you have to let them go."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

One and Only You

As promised, by Michael McClean from Distant Serenade:

There is a place here that only you can fill.
And this empty space awaits the magic you instill.
For your warm embrace does what nothing else can do.
You're second to none because you're the one and only you.

Something was missing until you came along.
And someone's been wishing you would fill their heart with song.
For no other melody can touch them like you do.
Their song goes unsung if not for the one and only you.

So don't waste your energy
Chasing a destiny
You were not sent here to claim.
That isn't the reason you came,
And you know that it's true.
You cannot truly be anything else,
So reach for the best in yourself.
You're more than a miracle;
You're the original you!

And if you should wonder if this could be the truth,
The hearts you have lifted up are more than living proof.
And if you are listening, a message is coming through
With thanks from above and love for the one and only you.

So which path is mine? The Stake President believes it is one direction and I have believed it is another. Am I "wasting [my] energy chasing a destiny [I] was not sent here to claim" ? Is there any way of following both paths at the same time? Where have I lifted more hearts, through my church callings in my ward or through my blog and parties, etc.? I am facing some tough decisions.  Wish I could go to the temple and pray about them. :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Irony or Coincidence?

(Originally posted on my new blog: http://serendipityuncensored.blogspot.com/)

Why is it that our temple recommends expired within 2 weeks or so of the following:

  • Tonight our stake had a "Family History Jeopardy" night. Members of the stake competed with questions about the new church website for documenting family information and temple work. In between rounds of "jeopardy", each ward had a prepared "commercial". Our oldest 2 children were asked to participate weeks ago, and so we went to support them. And of course the overall theme of the "show" was doing our family history work and then reaping the blessings of attending the temple and completing the ordinances for family names.
  • Also mentioned was Stake Temple day, which is tomorrow. There is a special meeting in the chapel and then a dinner, which we signed up to attend the morning of our infamous recommend interviews. Before the closing prayer tonight, the temple day was mentioned, especially regarding the blessings we will receive from attending. (I unexpectedly lost control of my emotion at that point and sobbed through the closing prayer.)
  • My mom has some names that need temple work done. This doesn't happen very often because so much of it has already been done. She has plans for the sealing, specifically, to be done by her, me, my sister and my brother, because that is how many people we will need. I haven't told her anything yet about my recommend, and I hope I won't have to. The baptisms haven't been done yet by the kids, so we still have some time. But not enough time if this isn't resolved with the Stake President on Sunday.
  • Also, Scott and I have not attended the temple for a few months and have really had no desire to do so. But during the month of August, I kept feeling like I wanted to go, but we could not figure out a time to schedule in a trip, and so we never did. I kept thinking I would go early some morning or something (maybe even by myself) but I never did. (I just sat around being depressed with no motivation to get myself anywhere.) The day we talked to the Bishop, the main thing I kept thinking about was the fact that I never acted on the prompting to go.

Anyway, is this all just coincidence, or does it mean something?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Thanks Pres. Obama

Loved the speech!

L O V E D I T!

I had chills the entire 20 minutes.

And no, I wasn't cold.

It is about time that someone in charge hold the STUDENTS accountable instead of just punishing the teachers. NCLB (No child left behind) is the worst thing to have ever happened to teacher morale. And when teachers ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. And then the learning just don't happen, because all the teachers care about any more is enforcing policy and teaching to the tests, instead of loving and teaching the children about things that really matter.

Anyway, I haven't paid close attention to why the republicans (and it seems like quite a few Mormons) are in such an uproar over this man. (And no, that is not an invitation for you to tell me everything he is doing wrong. I really don't want to know or need to worry about that on top of everything else in my life.)

But let it be said one more time that I believe his speech was awesome.

Some of my favorite parts:

Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you don’t have adults in your life who give you the support that you need. Maybe someone in your family has lost their job, and there’s not enough money to go around. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you don’t feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know aren’t right.
But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying.
I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work -- that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things.
But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.
That’s OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, "I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.
No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You’re not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don’t hit every note the first time you sing a song. You’ve got to practice. It’s the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it’s good enough to hand in.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust – a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor – and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.
And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you – don’t ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.
The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best.
and especially

That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book. Maybe you’ll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you’ll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn.
Amen and Amen!