Friday, December 24, 2010

Tough night...tough life

It was supposed to be glorious. My son, of everyone, was most excited for me to have my recommend.

So we made plans. Temple across the valley from our home where Scott's parents work in the baptistry. Joseph Smith's birthday, the Christmas season upon us. Done with school yesterday, fun shopping with son to buy him a new suit this morning, massage this afternoon, perfect ending to a pretty good day. My sister and her kids joining us for the adventure.

Then...there's the traffic of last minute shoppers and it's dark and i don't know where I'm going. The fog thickens as we climb elevation, the windshield either speckled with moisture or streaked from the wipers and impossible to see through. Finally, we arrive in one piece. And then...

I forgot to check the date on my son's recommend. It is his first recommend--he's not ever had to think about expiration dates. What 13-year-old does? And it was in my possession--he didn't even have it if he did know to think about checking the date.

It expired at the end of November.

And I have no one to blame but myself.

At least he looks amazing in his new clothes, clear down to his shoes. And I've already made an appointment for him for a new recommend on Sunday. (Got in trouble with the temple worker at the desk for using my cell phone to call the executive secretary.)


And then my tears start to fall, and fall, and don't stop. Why didn't the spirit remind me about the expiration date? It didn't even enter my head? Why don't I feel peaceful and calm now that I'm here? Isn't that how I'm supposed to feel at the temple? I should be able to handle this with grace. I'm stronger than this. It is totally my own fault--not the temple workers' for enforcing the rules. But why do I feel resentment toward them? Why do I just want to swear? Why do I hate that they smile as they explain to my son that they are sorry, but there are no exceptions? Why am I so uncomfortable here, like I don't belong here, like I'm not good enough.

And then...why me? It was supposed to be for family. Why did all this have to happen, with Scott not here to comfort me, the one to drive through the fog or the one to remember to check on the expiration date?

And now I lay here in my bed hours later.

And I continue to cry. Scott agreed to take the baby for the night so I can try to get some sleep for once. He is a good man, a good friend and dad. He treats me like he loves me, and I know he does. My pain becomes his pain, but that doesn't change who he is--doesn't change his ability to be something he's not and believe or feel things that he doesn't.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

God's wisdom

I've always wondered about a main element in the history of the world in the church. Every time I have attended the temple, I have wondered...

If obedience is so important, then why did God command Adam and Eve to NOT eat of the fruit, but then their transgression was essential for the rest of us in the plan of salvation. Why would he give them a commandment that they were required to disobey?

In the book of Mormon, we read:

24 But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things. (2 Nephi chapter 2).

A girl in my ward who recently returned from a mission bore her testimony today, focusing on this scripture, and how it is her favorite (and was throughout her mission) because it tells us we don't need to worry. God is in charge, and as long as we do the best we can, things will work out.

Her words touched my heart, both for my own life and for the future of the church.

I know many, many people who have recently resigned from the church because of the gay issue.

But I have faith that God knows what he is doing, and that all will be made right.

Look at this...

I read the scriptures before and after verse 24.

22 And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.
23 And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.
24 But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.
25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy. 

So, is the "fall" of so many individuals right now also part of God's plan? Is it His wisdom to let these things happen so that men, all men (and women) regardless of their sexual orientation, might have joy?

Lots to ponder. The spirit was strong in my mind and heart today, filling me with faith and prompting me to share my own testimony with my children, that I do know the gospel is true, and that I know Heavenly Father is wise and has allowed things to happen and that everything will be right and good.

And so I keep doing the best I can, allowing my faith to grow every time the spirit touches my heart like this. It helps me get through the tough still needing to face the stake president to get my temple recommend signed. :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


A Moho friend sent me this link. Right after that I saw the link circulating on Facebook because it is so amazing. or

Amen. A million times amen. Please take a minute to at least skim it if you haven't already.

This post goes right along with the family night discussion the kids and I had this week. It occurred to me then and it does again now that although I have taught them by example not to judge people who are gay, what about teaching them NOT to judge those people who do not understand gay people and tend to judge and criticize them? That is something I can really work on. Trying not to criticize or talk badly of anyone is a main goal I need to have right now. I don't always succeed. Sometimes I have to catch myself and stop in the middle of a sentence. But with practice, it can become easier. I keep trying to remember to see all people as children of God with different upbringings and circumstances and habits and understandings. God would want me to love them all and not criticize any of them, I'm sure.

It concerns me just how much my children tend to criticize each other. It hurts me, it gives me a glimpse of God's feelings for how His children treat each other. And I'm sure my children have learned to criticize from my own example, and that really hurts.

Here's to goals and continuing to become a better and stronger person!

And here's to blog posts like the one from this mother that gives me a greater hope and faith in our world and a better tomorrow for our children.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Reflection and preparation

The bishop called me in a couple of months ago to check on me, to give me a calling, and mostly to let me know that he was ready to give me a temple recommend. He got out his book, all ready to go, but I had to honestly let him know that I was a bit behind on the money I owe to the Lord, so he told me to come back when I was ready.

With the help of some Christmas money from my dad, I made an appointment this week with the bishop.

But since I met with him last, there has been general conference, and stake/regional conference, and I have had some doubt in my mind as to whether or not I will be able to truthfully answer the questions to get my recommend.

As I thought about it last Sunday morning, though, my heart swelled with excitement at the prospect of attending the temple. I had just written a check, and was ready to make an appointment upon seeing the bishop at church that day. I have had moments in the past when I thought I did not want to go to the temple again. A main focus there is eternal marriage, and why would I want to be reminded of that? But this time I did not fear my reaction to that subject. I have become a pretty strong person through everything, and I feel like I am ready to go back.

So now in preparation, I want to explore the questions that have been a problem in the past...

1. Do you sustain the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the prophet, seer, and revelator and as the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys? Do you sustain members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators? Do you sustain the other General Authorities and local authorities of the Church?

2. Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

Here goes...

For the first question, I believe I do and always have sustained my leaders. "Sustain" to me means that I believe that leaders, both general and local, have been called by God Himself to those callings and that they have been set apart and given certain priesthood keys that they are entitled to with those callings. I do not believe that sustaining them means I have to always agree with every little thing they say, but I do believe that God will give them certain revelation on certain topics when the time is right. I know that every leader has people under their jurisdiction that they really connect with and touch, and others that they do not. It is the same for me as a teacher. Some of my students have a great experience with me as their teacher, while others do better to switch to a different class or are grateful when they do not have to endure my teaching any more. I think that is simply called life and personality, and that it is impossible for a person to please everyone regardless of how hard they try or how inspired they try to be. Sometimes personalities and personal ideas and opinions and interpretations get in the way of that. So even when a leader and a member do not always see eye-to-eye, that does not mean to me that the member automatically does not sustain them or does not believe they are called of God.

Does that make any sense?

I don't like the way the second question is worded, because I doubt anyone could answer it honestly. Aren't we all supposed to associate with our neighbors, be-friend them regardless of their religious affiliations or beliefs on values, morals, word of wisdom, etc? Don't most of us have jobs that require us to associate with people whose views may not be in harmony with our own? Just because we associate with them, does that automatically mean that we are going to agree with everything they say or choose to act as they do?

No! The idea is ridiculous.

I associate with many people who do not believe everything exactly as I believe it or exactly as the church teaches it. But that does not mean that I am an apostate for enjoying the time I spend with them, for cherishing the chance to serve them and to listen to and understand their points of view. Yes, a few of my thoughts and feelings do conflict with what the church teaches, so I guess I am in trouble for associating with myself. :) But like I've said before, I don't know all the reasons why I have felt like God wants me to feel the way I do about certain things. Either they really are true, and it's just not time for the Prophet to tell us yet, or I need to believe that they are true so that I can truly empathize with and therefore serve some of God's precious children.

If all people with temple recommends are required to be absolutely perfect all the time with regards to all of the questions, then I think there would be very few people that are actually worthy to have a recommend. I think we are just expected to do the best we can, and God will bless us for our efforts to improve and will tolerate or overlook our imperfections if we truly have a desire to attend and partake of the blessings of the temple.

That is all I have ever done or ever wanted. Truly it is. I hope my leaders can see what is in my heart this time and allow me the opportunity to return to the house of the Lord.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Holy Ghost

I've never been very good at seeking answers to prayers. When I pray to make a specific decision, I usually don't feel a confirmation one way or the other, so I end up telling God that I'm going to do such and such and to let me know somehow if that is the wrong thing to do.

But I do (or I did) know what the holy ghost feels like. I have had some strong spiritual experiences where I have felt like the spirit was testifying something to me, and I was just sure of it.

Such was the case two years ago when I prayed to reconcile my personal gut feeling on gay marriage with what the church teaches. It took a while, but the answer finally came loud and clear. I'm not sure how to explain this, but I didn't get the answer as to whether gay marriage is really okay in the eyes of God, but I did feel that it was His will that I support it so that I could truly understand and empathize with the struggles of gay members of the church.

And so I've stuck to that answer and cannot deny that it is truly what my Heavenly Father wanted me to feel.

But some individuals do not believe it is possible for me to have received that revelation. They believe that I have mistaken the answer somehow and that it must be coming instead from the adversary. One of the talks in a recent stake conference was on personal revelation, and the speaker emphasized the idea from Elder Oaks's recent talk in general conference that personal revelation cannot contradict what the leaders of the church are saying.

Today in relief society the lesson was on the holy ghost. The question was asked by the teacher, how do you know when you are feeling the holy ghost? I do not even attempt to voice my opinion in relief society any more. But especially on this subject I must take a back seat. I thought I knew what the holy ghost felt like, but if revelation I've received on gay issues is from Satan rather than from God, then I must have absolutely no idea what the holy ghost feels like or how to receive personal revelation.

So why even bother trying anymore? That's what I think. Everything I've ever felt or believed with all my heart to be true could just be a lie.

But I don't think it is. I'm pretty darn sure that God lives, that Christ lives and died for me, and that the gospel of Jesus Christ as taught by the Mormons is true.

But I am also sure of the position I am to take with regards to gay issues, and that I have a responsibility that I need to continue to pursue with the gay community.

And that makes church attendance and faith in the teachings of my leaders as hard as ever. I still wonder what the future will bring. Will I leave the church eventually? Will I come back in full force and truly "see the light" and believe every word? Or will I continue to stay agonizingly in the middle, unable to deny any of the things that I believe that the holy ghost has told me are true. Things that many believe are in direct conflict with each other.

No idea. But it makes me blah, that's for sure.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Being me

I want Scott to be happy.

When he gets stood up or comes home from the club feeling ignored and undesirable, I really do feel sad with him.

But I also have a twinge of hope that he might finally decide that having me desire him is good enough.

When he comes home from a date happy and is excited about a second date or enjoying a chat with someone he likes, I am happy for him. I want to know more. Like roommates in college, I want the nitty gritty details. At least I think I do.

But he says nothing. So then I ask him questions (nothing too personal: what's his name, how old is he, what's his job, etc.), but his answers are short and to the point, which is normal for Scott.

So finally I am brave and say, "Talk to me like I'm your friend instead of your wife-type-person. Do you like him? Does he like you?" And so we start to talk like friends. But then the "I love you and desire you and miss the intimate part of our marriage" side of me--you know, the jealous bitch--kicks in gear, and instead of asking all the questions I thought I wanted  to know, I force back signs of emotion (although I'm certain Scott knows me well enough to recognize it), I change the subject, say goodnight and then snuggle my 5 year old while I cry a bit. I'm sure this reaction is totally normal, completely to be expected.

But I want to be better than normal.

I want to want him to be happy.

I really think I do.

But there's this selfish part of me that won't let go, that clings to our patriarchal blessings and to the hope that he might discover the grass isn't necessarily greener and will come back to me.

But then I ask myself why. I think of things about him that drive me crazy, that I would gladly be rid of.

But then I think of all the reasons I fell in love with him in the first place, and a lot of them are still part of who he is.

And I don't know what to do.

At least these moments of confusion are fleeting. Life is good. Work is good. Scott is very good to me and the kids. Most of the time we get along great, and as my daughter told my mother, as long as Scott and I are not fighting, life feels pretty normal... least for the kids.

And that's something to be grateful for.

But I wonder if we will ever be able to be just best friends.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Request for help!

For anyone who has read through my entire blog more recently than I have, what are your favorite posts?

Appreciate the assistance. I'll explain later.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Conference Blues

To all of my gay friends that might be watching conference and struggling with feelings of being gay, please do not kill yourself over President Packer's words.

(Quotes are approximate from my memory.) "These unnatural feelings are not inborn. Why would God do that to anyone? He wouldn't. God will not give us temptations more that what we can handle."

He continued to speak, but my mind was running his words over and over in my head instead of listening any more. By the end of his talk, I was sobbing and pleading with God that all of the young men and young women listening to his words will not take his words as the words of God and kill themselves because they simply cannot change or cannot keep trying to change.

God loves you the way you are!

President Packer quoted the scripture, "Men are that they might have joy." I believe that. God wants us to be happy.

I've mentioned this before, but my 14-year-old daughter has sometimes said the exact same thing: "Why would God do that to anyone? Why would he make them gay and then not let them have the happiness of love and marriage?"  And of course, my children understand the pain of it all too well as they watch the unhappiness of both of their parents right now lacking love in their lives.  I love Scott with all of my heart and soul, but the fact that he cannot return that love makes our marriage broken.  Is that fair to him, me, or the kids that Scott followed the counsel of apostles years ago, that marriage to a woman is central to God's plan for happiness and must be done, just to find out now that he just can't do it anymore?

Don't get me wrong--I love the gospel. I loved the Primary program last week.  I love the spirit I feel when I am there and the values that my children are learning by attending. I don't feel uncomfortable at church any more like I did a few months ago.

A few words in conference so far have touched my heart. I LOVED President Monson's talk on not judging others in the Women's conference last week. But I had to turn conference off for my own sake yesterday after Elder Cook's talk about the right of religions to voice their opinion in public and to the government on moral issues. And then right after Elder Cook was another talk on following the Prophet. Those talks have been prevalent through every session. The attitude of essentially blind obedience seems rampant in the membership of the church, and is getting worse.

A few weeks ago in Relief Society, the teacher said "Some people are critical of me for being so unwavering when it comes to following leaders. They ask, 'If your leader asked you to jump off a cliff, would you do it?' 'Yes, I would because I know God would be there to catch me, or there would be some important reason for me to follow that instruction."

Someone in the meeting commented and said, "But we are not supposed to blindly follow our leaders. We should pray to know if what they say is true."

"Yes," the teacher responded, "but the spirit will always tell us that what that leader says is true and inspired."

I rolled my eyes, and went back to doing something on my phone instead of listening to the rest of the lesson.

When I came home and told Scott about the meeting, he said, "If I had been there, I would have asked if she would be willing to tie a bomb to herself and go blow up a bus if a leader told her to do it. That kind of mentality is dangerous."

Wow.  What a perspective! Do terrorists that act in the name of God have any less faith in their church leaders than we do in ours? Obviously not. They must believe that they are doing the right thing, or why in the world would they commit suicide and kill others like they do.

I turned the TV off again after Elder Packer's talk. I later heard about Elder Oaks' talk on personal revelation, that our own inspiration will never be contrary to revelations leaders receive. So, what about the revelation to Nephi to kill Laban? That revelation directly conflicts with one of the ten commandments.

I don't know. It is all so confusing and frustrating. Last year after much praying and pondering about the church's involvement in Proposition 8, I determined that God wanted me to be against it, and that either I needed to feel that way because He did not agree with it either, or because I needed to be able to feel true empathy for my gay friends and their families that were also struggling at the time. I know that it was personal revelation to me from God, and I cannot deny it any more than Joseph Smith could deny having seen God and Christ in the Sacred Grove. Yet, the peace and inspiration that I felt on the matter were in direct conflict with what the leaders of the church were doing and saying.

Needless to say, conference is frustrating, and perhaps my local leaders are right, perhaps I am not worthy of a temple recommend if I cannot support many words spoken in conference. Perhaps that does mean that I do not truly sustain them. But I cannot support President Packer's words, and that is that.

I just found this marvelous quote in an old blog post:

"We have heard men who hold the priesthood remark that they would do anything they were told to do by those who preside over them [even] if they knew it was wrong; but such obedience as this is worse than folly to us; it is slavery in the extreme; and the man who would thus willingly degrade himself, should not claim a rank among intelligent beings, until he turns from his folly. A man of God would despise the idea. Others, in the extreme exercise of their almighty authority have taught that such obedience was necessary, and that no matter what the saints were told do by their presidents they should do it without any questions. When Elders of Israel will so far indulge in these extreme notions of obedience as to teach them to the people, it is generally because they have it in their hearts to do wrong themselves." (Joseph Smith - Millennial Star, Vol 14, Number 38, pages 593-595).

Saturday, October 2, 2010


I realize that I said I would cover the topic of happiness in an upcoming post. I think I will still do that. Hopefully soon.

But for now, we just got around to watching this week's episode of Glee.

And all I can say is that I don't really feel very gleeful. In fact, I feel a lot like Mr. Schuster, who wants someone that does not want him in return. And it's not really his fault (even though he makes his best effort to win her back--Scott can attest that I did the same thing for a while) and it is not really her fault. It just is.

But the look on his face as he watches her drive off with Carl is a look that I completely understand and relate to, and wish I didn't.

It has been easy to forget about it with the busyness of life; with Scott and I both working together to balance everything with work and the kids. With family outings and birthday parties for the kids and Primary Programs at church, with Scott making my lunch on days when I am running behind, or staying up late to help me grade Geometry tests. Most of the time it feels just like it has for the last 15 years. And I'm used to sleeping alone now and it is just part of the routine for Scott to leave and meet up with friends in the evening a few times a week.

But there are moments when I remember everything and long for how it used to be, and it is agony.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Prop 8 unofficial apology

I'm sure most of you have seen this already, but it is pretty sweet, so I had to share.

Here is an account from Carol Lynn Pearson of a recent event with Elder Jensen of the Seventy in the Oakland, CA Stake.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Come Follow Me

I was just helping two of our children prepare for the Primary program at church tomorrow. One of them is going to sing a solo of the 5th verse of "Come Follow Me." I was at the piano, and trying to motivate him to sing through it as I played. I would say the words to a line and then have him sing it. The lyrics to this hymn are old and very complicated. Suddenly the words struck me like a brick. I turned from the piano and said, "Sam, do you know what these words mean?"  Here is what I said to him, more or less...
"We must the onward path pursue"

We have to keep going forward, doing what is right, no matter what.

"As wider fields expand to view,"

Especially now that our view of the world is wider, with our gay friends, and us wanting them to be happy and be able to get married.

"And follow him unceasingly,"

We have to just keep following Christ, no matter what.

"Whate'er our lot or sphere may be."

No matter what comes into our lives, whatever we have to deal with, whatever makes our individual world or "sphere", we must still follow Christ and try to be like him.

Do you see how much this applies to our lives right now? If you sing this with feeling tomorrow, like you really understand it and believe it, I will be bawling my eyes out, and that is a good thing.
I don't know if he really understood what I was saying, but he is a smart kid, and I think he does whether he admits it or not.

So a further message to all of my gay or straight friends out there: no matter what church you choose, even if you have to leave the LDS church because of pain and certain circumstances, please know that Christ lives, and I believe we must each continue to follow him and keep him at the center of our lives. I realize it is possible to do that without attending any church, but associating with some church that will help us remember how important it is to keep Christ in our lives makes it so much easier. At least that is what I think.

Just my two cents.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Strength and Courage

Even before the abrupt and stressful events of the past month, I have had this blog post in the back of my mind as I have recognized ways that I have grown and things I have recently conquered.

Going back to last October, when I found out I was pregnant, I was astounded and scared. But I knew God had a hand in it, so I prayed: "If you really want our family to have another baby, then please make this pregnancy easy, physically and emotionally. Oh, and please send me another daughter. Is that too much to ask with everything else that is going on in my life?"

And then it seemed He either wasn't listening or was saying no. I was sicker than during the other pregnancies, many foods I couldn't eat that I'd never had a problem with before. Emotional stress from church and from my marriage were worse than ever. And then I was getting another boy.

But now, I feel better than ever.  (and of course I LOVE my sweet little boy.) Would I realize that I feel so good now if I hadn't felt so miserable before? I think back to how I handled other stress. If I could handle everything so reasonably well when I was miserably pregnant, then I should definitely be able to handle it now. Most of the time I think I do fairly well.

I attended a fireside with my daughter that concluded her youth conference the last weekend in July, just a couple of days after Scott moved downstairs. The topic was courage, referring to the LDS youth theme this year from Joshua 1:9.

"Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."

The speaker talked about Joan of arc (yes, Rob, what you've been saying for two years is finally hitting home) and how at the young age of 19, she refused to deny what she believed religiously and politically. And so she chose burning at the stake over freedom. I felt a connection with her at that moment. After all, look at what have I gone through because I will not deny support for my gay friends. I cannot deny what is so emotionally and spiritually engraved in my heart.

The meeting was incredibly uplifting to me. I even enjoyed listening to the stake president as he shared closing remarks. And I left with even more determination to be strong and courageous.

I recognize many ways that I am already stronger than I used to be.

The first thing is with driving. I have anxiety with driving, and have had since I was 19 or 20, when I had a panic attack while I was driving home one night. Then, probably 12 years ago, I was driving on the freeway taking our two oldest children to the doctor and I had a panic attack. I stopped driving on the freeway for several years.

But over the last few months, my driving anxiety has diminished significantly. I can drive on the freeway now just fine -- or sometimes with minimal nervousness.  And I bravely drove myself and my kids up the canyon one night for a ward dinner. A small panic attack did come on with that one, but it was not too bad (my kids helped me through it) and I was proud of myself for doing something I have always been afraid to do. Since then I have driven to and from a family condo in a resort town in the mountains about an hour away with no problem whatsoever. Scott's little sister was amazed!

Being able to drive anywhere without fear is something I NEED to be able to do now that I am required to be more independent. I am very grateful for the strength and courage that I have somehow found within myself. (Maybe it is because of Zoloft or a blessing from God or just coincidence, but regardless, I am grateful.)

Another thing I have noticed is that I am getting better at doing things on my own. Scott will attest, I am sure, that I would much rather ask him to do things for me than to do them myself. Not sure how I became so lazy and dependent on him. :(. Now I have to be independent, which is a TON easier in good health.  Being pregnant again definitely gave me an appreciation for feeling good, and I am really enjoying it! I try to be more independent even when he is close by, but it is not always easy.  He makes the best smoothies!

I hope I can conquer my dislike/anxiety with shopping next, not that I have never shopped, but if Scott volunteers to run to the grocery store for me, I do not complain a bit. :) Dislike of traffic and crowds of people, lack of energy and time, and concern that I might spend more money than I should often keep me from getting out the door to the store unless I absolutely have no choice.

I have always been very emotional and likely to need a plumber for my leaky eyes at the drop of a hat (even when I'm not pregnant!), but lately I don't cry as easily or as often. I must say it is much less embarrassing to have more control than I used to.

We always hear "that which does not kill us makes us stronger." Another quote someone told me recently is "you don't know how strong you are until being strong is the only option you have." I wish that becoming a better person didn't have to hurt so much, but I might as well be grateful for everything that I can.

Coming soon, a blog post on this line from my patriarchal blessing: "you will find joy in living, for happiness comes from within."


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Dreading a conversation

Scott's parents have kind of followed what is happening with us over the past few months because they read our blogs once in a while.

I would get a text from my mother-in-law saying something like, "just read your blog. My heart is heavy. You will always be our family no matter what. We love you and you are in our prayers."

But my parents don't even know what blogs are, let alone how to read them.

And they worry and fret and lose sleep over every little thing...

So, considering some health problems my dad was having a few months ago and the resulting fear and stress, I chose not to tell my parents what was going on in my life, other than the pregnancy and work.

And I chose also not to tell my siblings. I had been telling my sister everything, so I'm not sure why I didn't tell her. I guess I figured she didn't need the stress, either. And I guess I was hoping that Scott would change his mind, and so I didn't want to give her any reason to worry if it ended up that nothing was changing in our marriage.

And then there is my brother and his wife. I used to be incredibly close to them, and we told each other everything. We have had a couple of rough spots over the years, but before I told them about Scott on labor day 2 years ago, we were getting along as well as ever. In the past two years, however, they have been quite withdrawn from us, and the weird vibes I get from them seem to be getting worse. I wondered a few months ago if they also read our blogs but have not told us.

Well, during the first week of school (about August 25th), I finally told my mom that Scott is now sleeping downstairs, and that he thought it best if we eventually divorce. My decision to tell her came from her recent curiosity. "Scott's not home? Is he working late? Oh, he's out with friends? Why aren't you with him?"

After I told her everything, she said that she was not surprised, that she had sensed that something was going on. She also asked me not to keep things from her, that she would rather know what was going on than to wonder and worry about what might be happening.

Oh well. I still think waiting this long was the right thing to do.

But now it takes on a life of its own. My mom tells my dad (of course I expected her to), and my dad tells my brother who tells his wife. She calls me, her voice sounding frantic--"Are you okay?"--like as if she expected to find me crying that very moment. I didn't really have time to talk, but I assured her that I was fine. That I was a wreck a month ago, but that life was good overall.

Next day my brother unfriends Scott on facebook. His wife reminds me that he is very protective of me and is therefore having a really hard time with the news.

I have had many people to talk to over the past month and prior that have allowed me to vent and work through my feelings. But I have primarily chosen people who understand the complexity of the situation, people who will continue to love and support both Scott and I through this change in our lives: blog readers of course, Moho friends, my therapist, and recently my best friend at school.

I knew that my family would not understand. I knew that they would be angry and judgmental of Scott, and I wanted to work through my own anger for Scott first, so that their anger would not influence me and make it harder for me to deal with. Now, their negative emotions and reaction actually make me less angry with Scott and more protective and defensive of him.

I did tell my sister a month ago, when Scott's post and decision to move downstairs made me wake up to what is happening. She just listens, and although I know she loves me and is concerned for me, she doesn't appear to be overly stressed or angry with the situation at all.

After Scott's text to let me know of my brother's un-friending, I sent my brother a message, telling him that the best support he can give me is not being angry with Scott, and trying to realize that this is difficult for him as well. A short facebook conversation ensued, where I learned what information my dad passed along, and just how disgusted my brother is at the thought of Scott ever having a boyfriend. He admitted that he would probably never completely understand, but I feel the same way. I can try, but I will never be gay and will never really understand what it feels like and what Scott is going through.

Anyway, I really need to face the inevitable but uncomfortable issue of talking with my brother and his wife in person so that they will know better what is going on. Probably sooner than later would be best. ugh. How do I schedule such a thing and then guarantee that I am not going to be having a bad day? I want to be strong and supportive of Scott when I talk with them, not angry and likely to talk badly of him. So I just keep putting it off. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Advice column?

When did I turn into a "Dear Abby" type of person? No idea if my advice is ever really any good. I wish I could figure out a way to make money from my fame and expertise as a straight wife. There's got to be something...

Anyway, a few weeks ago, I received the following message on Facebook:
Hi, do you know who I am? I'm a non-gay, happily married with kids, active LDS friend of Scott's, who happens to have grown up with same sex attractions (SSA).
Scott once encouraged me to tell my wife about being SSA, kindly offering to have you talk with my wife if she was having trouble dealing with it. When I did eventually tell her, she was fine and didn't really want or need to have someone to talk to, but I've sort of wondered what you might have said.

Now I see that your relationship/marriage with him is hitting some serious turbulence. I don't know the nature of that turbulence and don't really care to. That's personal. But if you wouldn't mind, what would you have said? And would that message change now that things are more difficult?

Thanks in advance and tell Scott hi for me. We haven't spoken much since I expressed my dismay that he was not as active in the church as he was when we first met, but I still follow him on FB and am interested in how things are going.

Me, a couple of weeks later. A quick response because I kept putting it off and thought I should at least be nice enough to acknowlege that I got it:

Don't really know who you are, I have no idea what I would have said. Depends on if it was before or after January. 

His quick reply:
Thanks for responding and satisfying my curiosity. I take it then, the answer to my second question is yes and the answer to my first question is that you would have been more encouraging toward making the relationship work out before January than you would now.
That being the case, and supposing I really want my marriage to succeed, would you have any advice for me now?  
Me, now that my brain is finally working on the subject:
You know, I'm not sure my sure my advice to her would have changed, because I don't think I would have changed anything in what I did even if I could go back. It would have been communication and patience and to love you no matter what choices you make. Vent her problems if needed with other wives, not to people who will be judgmental of your choices.

To you, I'm not sure. Make her your first priority, but be sure to take care of yourself. If you hide and suppress inside who you really are, it just might explode later, or it will wear away at you gradually, making you more and more miserable, which is not good for your marriage either. So talk about everything with her, even if it hurts her sometimes. Come up with healthy solutions together. And always, always, always treat her like a queen. Little, thoughtful things mean the most: flowers, dates, holding her hand, taking the initiative to snuggle with her at night or during a movie.

This is probably stuff you already know... 

Maybe I know it, but it is stuff I need to be constantly reminded of. It is the new and everlasting covenant. That's why I need to treat her as a queen. It is part of being faithful to my covenant.
As for the little thoughtful things, those are the hardest to remember, but I suppose that problem is not unique to someone in my situation. All men struggle with that.
Thanks for your thoughts. I appreciate it. 

No problem.  Best wishes to them for the future.

(sigh...longing for what I used to have...)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Just Friends?

(I started this post a long time ago, when Scott posted something that prompted the questions. Blogging is difficult because I get an idea in my head, but then I get interrupted by life (children, work, etc.) and by the time I get back to the blog post, I've forgotten what I really wanted to say. Bother.)

 What makes a friend a true friend? And what, exactly, is a best friend? How does someone have or find a best friend? Should someone who is trying to be a best friend with someone else expect certain things, or rather just selflessly accept and give and love?

Is it ever okay for a friend to finally lash out and say how they feel, even if it hurts the other person? Especially when the main intent was to let the friend know that she just wants him to be happy? My reaction backfired, as some of you might have noticed on Scott's blog this week (he has since removed his post and my comment--I had already told him most of it in person, so it was probably inappropriate to write it out on a public forum.) But when I told his little sister (who also has an incredible amount of love for him and wants him to be happy) about what I wrote, she was proud of me for standing up for myself and saying what needed to be said.

Scott and I took a little break from the kids last night to go to dinner.  Scott asked if it would be okay if he ordered a "drink" with dinner. I told him yes, but I was already upset about something else we had just been discussing (some money he spent despite our tight budget), so the tone in my voice did not make my "yes" very believable. And then I followed it with if he did, I would prefer to be the one to drive us back home. In an attempt to smooth things over a little, I realized and shared that if my dinner companion had been a non-member friend from work, I don't think I would have any problem with them ordering a drink, and I didn't know what made the difference...

Why? What does make the difference? How do I accept Scott for who he is now? How do I get past the "Why is he doing this?" and just love and accept him, all of him, like a true friend would? I've always said he was my best friend in addition to my husband. Now I would call him a friend, a roommate, the father of my children. But he says he wants us to be "best friends" and we are definitely not that any more, at least not what I would consider as a best friend.

How do we proceed? How do we get past all of the baggage and truly be best friends again? What do each of us need to do individually to make this happen?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

BYU Editorial

Apparently the following appeared in today's BYU Daily Universe, but has since been censored and removed.

Viewpoint: Defending Proposition 8 — It’s time to admit the reasons

Tue, 09/07/2010 - 00:35


Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the recent United States District Court case that overturned Proposition 8, highlighted a disturbing inconsistency in the pro-Prop 8 camp.

The arguments put forth so aggressively by the Protect Marriage coalition and by LDS church leaders at all levels of church organization during the campaign were noticeably absent from the proceedings of the trial. This discrepancy between the arguments in favor of Proposition 8 presented to voters and the arguments presented in court shows that at some point, proponents of Prop 8 stopped believing in their purported rational and non-religious arguments for the amendment.

Claims that defeat of Prop 8 would force religious organizations to recognize homosexual marriages and perform such marriages in their privately owned facilities, including LDS temples, were never mentioned in court. Similarly, the defense was unable to find a single expert witness willing to testify that state-recognized homosexual marriage would lead to forcing religious adoption agencies to allow homosexual parents to adopt children or that children would be required to learn about homosexual marriage in school.

Four of the proponents’ six expert witnesses who may have been planning on testifying to these points withdrew as witnesses on the first day of the trial. Why did they go and why did no one step up to replace them? Perhaps it is because they knew that their arguments would suffer much the same fate as those of David Blankenhorn and Kenneth Miller, the two expert witnesses who did agree to testify.

Judge Vaughn Walker, who heard the case, spent 11 pages of his 138-page decision meticulously tearing down every argument advanced by Blankenhorn before concluding that his testimony was “unreliable and entitled to essentially no weight.” Miller suffered similar censure after it was shown that he was unfamiliar with even basic sources on the subject in which he sought to testify as an expert.

The court was left with lop sided, persuasive testimony leading to the conclusion that Proposition 8 was not in the interest of the state and was discriminatory against gays and lesbians. Walker’s decision is a must-read for anyone who is yet to be convinced of this opinion. The question remains that if proponents of Prop 8 were both unwilling and unable to support even one rational argument in favor of the amendment in court, why did they seek to present their arguments as rational during the campaign?

It is time for LDS supporters of Prop 8 to be honest about their reasons for supporting the amendment. It’s not about adoption rights, or the first amendment or tradition. These arguments were not found worthy of the standards for finding facts set up by our judicial system. The real reasonis that a man who most of us believe is a prophet of God told us to support the amendment. We must accept this explanation, along with all its consequences for good or ill on our own relationship with God and his children here on earth. Maybe then we will stop thoughtlessly spouting reasons that are offensive to gays and lesbians and indefensible to those not of our faith.

Cary Crall is a senior from Temecula, Calif., majoring in neuroscience andminoring in mathematics. He loves the Great Gatsby and wearing suspenders.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Why is it that every time I get really close to a Moho friend, I lose them. Either I tick them off and they stop talking to me, or they move to the other side of the country. Yes, we have phones and Facebook, but somehow it is just not the same.

All I can say to the two that still love me and still live here (you know who you are): if you ever move away from SLC, just be aware that I am coming with you.

Then there are other moho friends that our kids adore, but that have not come over for a long time. Either they can't face me because of the pain of knowing what I'm going through, or they are mad at Scott for some reason or another. Our 12-year-old was verbalizing a list of them the other day...


Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Today is our 15th wedding anniversary.

I was handling it well (which means forgetting about it and focussing on work and getting ready for school to start next week.) Then I came home from work and found an anniversary card from my parents in the mail. I called my dad to thank him, and he asked if we were going to go to dinner to celebrate. I told him no, that Scott and the older kids had gone to lagoon.(When and how am I going to be able to tell my parents?)

Then I was depressed.

I think somewhere in the back of my mind a year or two ago, I imagined that we would have the money and the kids would be old enough for us to leave them to go on our first romantic cruise to celebrate.

Three strikes against that happening.

Instead, we celebrated, or maybe just commemorated, a couple of days ago by going out for dinner and a movie.

It was nice, but awkward. Scott thought I hated the movie. Meanwhile, I didn't know how to act because I don't know where the boundaries are with us physically any more, so I am afraid to hold his hand or lean on his shoulder for fear of making him uncomfortable or anxious, afraid that he will have another panic attack at the thought of having to remind me that he needs the romantic and emotional side of our relationship to be over. 

At the movie, the armrest was already up between us, leaving the space open for comfortable cuddling, a benefit we didn't have when we were dating and held hands or snuggled uncomfortably across the arm rest. But neither of us put the arm rest down, nor did we cross over the space. I was painfully aware of the situation, which I guess Scott interpreted as me disliking the movie.

How do two people who are trying to be "just friends" successfully celebrate a wedding anniversary?

He came out to me 2 years (and one month) ago, and my initial reaction was worrying that our marriage and/or romantic and intimate relationship were over.

But within a few months, our marriage was stronger than it had ever been. If anyone could make a MOM work, we could...or so I thought.

Seven months ago he told me that he couldn't do this for the rest of his life; that he had to know what it really felt like to love someone, someone he could be emotionally and physically attracted to.

Three weeks ago he sent me an email telling me he was emotionally stretched too thin, trying to keep a relationship with me while looking for another relationship. He didn't want to "lead me on" with something he couldn't do any more. He started sleeping downstairs. He has completely detached himself emotionally from me. But since then, he has been happier and more "here" for the family than he has been for a while. I have really enjoyed time we have spent together with the children since then. He has been upbeat and helpful, instead of sluggish and withdrawn.

Obviously I have my moments, but my strength and attitude have really surprised me. I honestly laugh more than I cry, I think. My children are everything to me. Sometimes I feel very alone, but I never am. I always have my sweet little boys to snuggle with. And I'm sure there are other loved ones close by watching over me. 

So, I guess I need to stop of thinking of today as the anniversary of our marriage, but instead remember it as the anniversary of starting our beautiful family. And that is a happy thought to cling to.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Unexpected Friend

At "gay day at lagoon" last Sunday, I saw a lady that I know from my ward, sort of. I don't know her well, and I only know her through her helping with a calling that serves one of my children.

It was merely a coincidence to see her and her kids at lagoon, but she saw me and a couple of our kids in red shirts, and that led to a conversation yesterday that would not have happened otherwise.

I knew she was divorced, but otherwise know very little about her personal life. And with my own struggles and scattered church attendance, I didn't really think about the fact that I have never seen her at church.

But it turns out that because she has gay friends, she disassociated herself with the church many years ago. Her choice to leave followed a frustrating lesson in young womens during which she stood up for her friends and voiced her knowledge that being gay is not a choice. 

She called me last night regarding information about my child she is helping to serve. She has never been the one to call before. It has always been her family member whose calling she is helping with. She spoke with me as a close friend would, excited for what she had to tell me about my son. But I sensed more. I think she is excited to have found a friend in me, excited to have the opportunity to possibly help me through the tough times I face with her own experience of divorce to draw from.

Yesterday she made the comment that she believes everything happens for a reason, and then quickly followed it with hating when people tell her that. I understood exactly, we laughed together, and there was a connection from the compassion of true empathy that can only come from someone who truly understands the same pain and frustration you are feeling.

I think I've found an unexpected friend. 

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Facebook: Prop 8 overturned

I read some incredible statuses on Wednesday in the wake of Judge Walker announcing his decision on the Proposition 8 trial. (There were many--these were just the two that impressed me the most.)

From Rob, gay lawyer friend in CA:

Judge Walker nailed it: "Moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men and lesbians. The evidence shows conclusively that Proposition 8 enacts, without reason, a private moral view that same-sex couples are inferior to opposite-sex couples." Sadly, some persist in thinking civil rights are subject to popular vote. Sorry folks but that's never been how this country works.
From a friend in the ward where I grew up:
To those that are upset that Prop 8 was ruled unconstitutional, All I have to say is remember, the majority should never get to vote on the rights of the minority. If we did woman would not have gotten the right vote, Interracial marriage would be illegal, blacks would still be slaves, and it would still be legal to k......ill a Mormon in parts of the country. IF you feel the same repost this on your profile!

I myself posted a status that resulted in lots of comments and an interesting discussion over two days  between friends and family. I decided to archive it here so that it would be easier for me to find again if I ever wanted to.

My status: Yay for the judge in CA for overturning prop 8! But the battle is probably not over... Wednesday at 3:01pm

Jen: a step closer!

Me: Yes it is. Baby steps!

Jen: actually, there are only two more steps

Mindy: At least it has begun!

Kyle: I agree Sarah. But it is such a good day! I'm very excited about it!

Me: Yes, exciting, but it brings back the discussion at church of how evil the world is, just when I was starting to enjoy church again. Oh well, so worth it.

J: Easy for you to say - you don't live in CA where the rights of the majority are being overthrown - esp in schools where parents will have no control over what their children are taught

S: Sarah, I SO completely had the same thought. As soon as I heard my second thought (first being "woot!!") was about how I don't think I can deal with the discussions and lamenting and making everything political again!!
Ugh. Heaven, grant me patience!

E: I totally feel for you. But there's a lot of strength to be drawn from the knowledge that we're on the right side of history :)

S: I, for one, am kind of pumped to be out of town for a birthday party this weekend and will miss church. Maybe people will get it out of their systems! Here's hoping.

Me: J, I'm sorry this is hard on you. I am grateful, though, that my children are learning at home about all types of families that love each other and take care of each other. They have friends (twins, age 8) with two dads. They witnessed an awesome wedding ceremony of two of our family's best friends, Brandon and Michael, who love us and my kids know they would do anything for us. I am sad that my kids peers do not get to learn about these incredible families in their schools.

Me: S, we are skipping out this week too for gay day at lagoon!
E, you are so right. Quite the historical day. I will never forget election day 2008 and how depressed I was.

Austin: yeah.... HOW DARE schools tell kids that not all people are the same... and that we all come from different backgrounds.

Diversity is awful, and telling our kids about it? ug. just terrible.

Missouri didn't want to explain polygamy to their children, so they just chased the Mormons out.... and got an extermination order... you'd think that people like J would be more understanding.

Emily: With people like Sarah reaching out to steady her sister J, you know, you just have to know that good things are bound to happen!! You totally rock Sarah!!

Me: I am actually pleased that my cousin J has been willing to ask questions and contribute her point of view. Most of my family just ignores the issue. We are all in different circumstances and have different opportunities to learn life lessons at our own pace.

I totally understand your frustration, Austin. The lack of understanding from your family as you married Todd was tough, I know. Love you guys...hang in there. Someday they will realize what great guys you both are and that your love for each other is real, something to celebrate rather than despise.

Thanks Emily. (blush)

Austin: .... I love you Sarah... You never cease to put things in perspective

Me: I wish I had a better perspective on my own situation! My positive attitude comes and goes with that one...

Emily: it is true that everyone needs a safe place to ask, comment and share feelings no matter the view or opinion. everyone counts. hope you guys have fun on gay lagoon day!! that's great!

David: Whenever I find my opinion is different from the LDS Church opinion I think about this:

“ . . . there is one kind of latter-day destruction that has always sounded to me more personal than public, more individual than collective—a warning, perhaps more applicable inside the Church than outside it. The Savior warned that in the last days even those of the covenant, the very elect, could be deceived by the enemy of truth.”

Jeffrey R. Holland, “Safety for the Soul,” Ensign, Nov. 2009, 88

-- Just sayin'

Me: I agree, David. Even the leaders of the church can be deceived on this issue, and I believe they are.

David: Please find even one example in history or scripture where a prophet was wrong and led the church astray. Just one.

David: OH, and not apostles who left the church or were apostate. A president of the church in modern times, or a prophet from scriptural times.

Lisa: David, David: I could list examples, but do not wish to start an argument. Sarah is right. I am hetero myself, but the LDS leaders are wrong about homosexuality. Everyone is equal, and it is better to marry than to fornicate.

David:A mere assertion is not an argument or proof. A marriage not proper in the sight of God would then still be fornication. Common Law marriages are not recognized by the church even when they are hetero couples.

If the LDS Church is right, then the gay marriages are not valid and the couples are still fornicating.

We already disagree about whether the LDS Church is right or not, simply providing examples of other Prophets leading the people astray would not start an 'in process' argument. It would just add weight to your opinion.

Just because we are being civil doesn't mean we aren't arguing.

Lisa: Joseph Smith led us all astray by lying numerous times, too many to list.

David: As in you believe he was a false prophet and should not have been followed at all? Or that he was an imperfect person who made bad decisions?

Is there a lie he told where he said "it is the mind and will of the Lord to do X" and simply lied about it to lead the people astray? I don't know of any.

If you believe that Joseph Smith is a false prophet then when you say the LDS Church is wrong about same-sex marriage then the assertion is a bit disingenuous by implying that the LDS Church is right on many things but wrong on this one.

Emily: The LDS church's racial policies were also a "leading astray", of sorts. You are probably not old enough to remember, David, the proposed presidential ticket of George Wallace and Ezra Taft Benson in 1968. The buzz was that they would be a good ticket, because with their racial views, they would "keep the negroes in line". This would not have been possible without all the racist rhetoric from the pulpit of LDS leaders.

Emily: If the LDS church is wrong, then they are promoting discrimination against a particular group based on their biases, and are leading their membership to do the same, much as they did with their racial policies.

David: Racists using LDS doctrine to further their own racist ideas is not the same as LDS doctrine approving of racism. Same with sexism and other discriminatory talk.

LDS doctrine does not promote discrimination or hate against people with same-gender attraction. Simply saying something is a sin is not the same as encouraging discrimination.

The LDS Church has officially promoted the SLC anti-discrimination ordinance too.

Me: I knew I had friends that would pipe in on this one for me. :)

My thoughts and explanation are way too long for this forum. I think I've blogged them before, but maybe a new blog post is in order. David, I will send you a link.

All I know is that I have prayed and received a clear answer from my heavenly father about where to stand on this issue. For me it is such a personal thing, seeing one of the dads of the eight year old twins tear up any time he thinks about them and his husband being okay were something to happen to him, or wondering how the kids will be treated here in Utah in their schools or elsewhere as they grow up with two dads.

For me it is not a matter of immorality, or following the leaders of the church. It is about real people that are incredible and upstanding members of the community that are constantly worrying about their families and their futures, it is about strengthening families that might look a bit different, but are still families, it's about the children having the same right as other children to love their parents and to have to feel like they have to hide how their family is different.

And then on a very personal level, it is to prevent other wives and children from going through what I (and my kids) have and will go through. So that the church does not convince gay members that they have to fit a mold and marry someone of the opposite sex to gain salvation, just to rip that family apart later when they realize they cannot do it any more.

So, examples from the scriptures do not matter to me. It is my life and my circumstances that no one else can truly understand, and they have no right to say I am deceived.

But thanks for the dialog, David. It has been amusing and thought provoking.

Greg: Sarah, I just wanted to say thank you for your approach. We all need to follow our conscience here, and love people for who they are. Love what you said.

Me: Thanks, Greg. I am really trying not to offend, so I'm glad you feel like I am succeeding. :)

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

Me: "As a General Authority, I have the responsibility to preach general principles. When I do, I don’t try to define all the exceptions. There are exceptions to some rules. For example, we believe the commandment is not violated by killing pursuant to a lawful order in an armed conflict. But don’t ask me to give an opinion on your exception. I only teach the general rules. Whether an exception applies to you is your responsibility. You must work that out individually between you and the Lord.
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught this same thing in another way. When he was asked how he governed such a diverse group of Saints, he said, “I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves.” In what I have just said, I am simply teaching correct principles and inviting each one of you to act upon these principles by governing yourself.

- Dallin H. Oaks, CES Fireside May 1, 2005
Danielle: leviticus 18:22
Brandon: Danielle thank you for proving the case in the judge's decision. He stated "Whether that belief is based on moral disapproval of homosexuality, animus towards gays and lesbians or simply a belief that a relationship between a man and a woman is inherently better
than a relationship between two men or two women, this belief is not a proper basis on which to legislate." Apparently you can't just make laws based on moral basis, it has to be made on rational ones. The Pro-Prop 8 side and you have yet to show a rational reason to deny me my rights.
Me: Danielle, oh pah-lease, not that one. It soooo does not prove anything.

For your enjoyment, see

Danielle: well when a person rational reasoning preceeds morality we will live in a very scary world

Brandon: I would rather live in that world where law is based of science and reason than a world where it is based of interpretation of scripture. I think in your heart you would agree with me unless you ARE planning to move to Iran and any where they practice Sharia law. Scary worlds indeed where here we have equality and there we don't... Take your pick.

Me: There are scary things in this world, and gay marriage is not one of them.

Brandon: I don't know Sarah, sometimes it scares me.. lol. I wonder if I can make it work, if he really knows how much I love him, I wonder if we can raise children to respect other's beliefs, even when they say their daddies are going to hell. I think it is scary for all the same reasons any marriage is scary, it is unknown. I do know that for as scary as the unknowns marriage brings us, the lack of them is much much worse.

Sarah: Oh, Brandon, he does. Marriage in general is scary, but not in the way Danielle is referring of course. You and Michael (and your marriage) are the least scary thing ever to me. Love ya. Wish you guys would come play with us in midway! Can we hang out at lagoon on Sunday?

E: Danielle, it's not that we're disregarding morality--it's that one person's concept of morality differs from another's. That's why it is unconstitutional to impose one's moral/religious beliefs on someone else. When this does happen, you get the kind of oppression seen in countries that practice Sharia law, as mentioned before. So, my idea of morality may entail you wearing a burkha, but if our laws are anchored in logic and rational thought--as opposed to a group's (even a majority's) moral/religious views--you don't have to wear one.

Di: Okay, I'm going to bring a whole different dimension to this picture, from the POV of a student of the Constitution.
For the purpose of this point, I don't care what cause or issue is on the ballot, and whether that issue is "right" or "wrong," but when ONE judge can overturn the votes of 7 MILLION people, we are in perilous straits as a nation. The "voice of the people" is and has been sacred since the Founding Fathers struggled to establish our Constitution. If the outcome of a fair election can be so easily overturned--on any issue or candidate--we might as well live in Venezuela.
For example, I didn't vote for Obama, but I accepted the results of that election. What if some judge had overturned his electoral victory? Can you imagine how cheated the people who voted for him would have felt? It's no different in this case. If you don't like the outcome of an election, accept it for now and bring it back to the ballot next time. that's how our electoral system is *supposed* to work.
BTW, "Voice of the people" goes back much farther than our Constitution. Please see Mosiah 29, especially verses 25-27 and 34.

Brandon: Ok This is easy... We are not a democracy. We are a constitutional republic that has checks and balances. Thank goodness someone saw something wrong with the majority voting away rights on a minority. It is BECAUSE of the constitution this is possible. It is about checks and balances. If the SCOTUS found that Obama was not the president, we probably would feel cheated and move on. If you don't remember that is exactly what happened with Al Gore and George W. Bush.
It sounds like you are grasping for straws, the tyranny of the majority is a very scary thing. What about the 6.5 million that voted for equality and justice?

Brandon: My writing was hurried... to clarify it is because of the constitution we have a system of checks and balances. It has worked for hundreds of years. If the civil rights were voted on in that era they would not have been granted. The majority in the south was opposed to integration and equality. The voice of the people seems to be a screaming mob, hence checks and balances to make sure everyone is protected equally under the law.

Brandon: IT was the voice of the people that caused Gov. Boggs to sign the Mormon extermination order. Their sacred, sacred right to kill all Mormons..

Di: Brandon, you're absolutely right--we're NOT a democracy; we're a federal republic. Having a straight "democracy" is how Venezuela, among others, got itself into the mess it's in. You're not telling me anything I don't know; you're just throwing out the usual strawmen.

Brandon: Then I am confused by your question. I understand how 7 million Californians feel slighted. I have felt that way when I think I am right, however I feel better knowing that elections on any issue can be taken to court. It has functioned in our country for the whole history like that. I don't see how you can say we haven't. So if I did not answer your question, then it is because I don't know what you are saying. I am throwing out strawmen? All the better for you grasping at straws.. (That is meant as a joke and a pun.)

David: I guess it depends on how you interpret the constitution.

It was originally an agreement between independent states to form a collective government to facilitate their living together. As a republic the states were supposed to have a significant voice at the national level.

We have moved away from those ideas in the last hundred years and moving more toward a national government representing the people more than the states. More of a democracy than a republic. The Senators now answer to the people instead of the states. The president is still elected by the electoral college although there is a movement to change that as well.

Under the Constitution the states are supposed to have sole discretion over domestic relations: e.g. marriage, divorce, child custody, adoption, probate, property distribution. The states were sovereigns who joined together to form the national government and now the national government is encroaching on the powers of the states.

At the state level, democracy is fine since you have to elect your local leaders somehow. Simply saying we are supposed to be a republic and not a democracy does not account for local and state issues that are often determined in a democratic fashion. Two levels of government, two different sets of rules.

The supreme court will probably uphold the decision of the district court because they can. Basing their decisions on the constitution is something they quit doing decades ago. Popular culture and ever evolving norms rule the day.


Scott: So... When the voice of the people overrode Pilate (who wanted to let Jesus go) so that he was (as the Majority wanted) crucified, that was a good thing?

And if we're going to cite scripture, let's read the chapter you referenced in Mosiah:

In verse 11: "let us appoint judges, to judge this people *according to our law*" (emphasis mine)

Majority rule in and of itself is a recipe for disaster. We have judges whose job it is to interpret the law and ensure that the rights of the individual and the minority are not infringed upon by the "will of the people". The system is working exactly as it should.

Brandon: Well said David. With that said do you feel like the people on any level of government should be able to vote on civil rights? It reminds me of when 9 judges rejected the "voice of the people" and used the electoral college as grounds for GWB being pres. instead of AG..I think it was perfectly justifiable to reject the democratic majority because we have another system in place.(The electoral college.) Just like I feel civil rights shouldn't be put to a vote. The legal precedence of marriage is that it is it is a civil right. The main argument is on whether or not civil rights are 'votable' or inalienable. I believe they are inalienable. You two are saying they should be put up to debate correct?

Brandon: I don't understand how you can say SCOTUS isn't following their only duty to uphold the constitution. From what I have seen they have done that in most if not all cases.

David: Well, my last opinion was more of a realist interpretation of what is going on vs. how I feel things should be.

The Constitution was formed under a natural law world view with a divine creator. Our rights were God given, not government given. Letting the government define our rights is a recipe for disaster.

The people of course did not agree on religion and doctrine per se but it was pretty universally held that natural law is something to be lived and adhered to in personal and public life. We have collectively abandoned these ideas for many years now, for good or ill it is what is happening.

I think the more local the government, the more restrictive it can potentially be. If a city wants to have a red-light district, or drinking district and exclude those activities everywhere else, more power to them. The discussion is more nuanced and detailed than this page will allow but the idea is more control at the more local area where your voice is the most powerful. Also I am not a big fan of "civil" rights inasmuch as they are sort of government given/enforced and subject to change more so than the idea of natural or god given rights.

I think we should have many more freedoms than we currently have.

OK, now back to your questions about the Supreme Court.

The court has become more interested in following precedent instead of just giving a plain reading to the constitution which has led to some disappointing results.

Brown v. The Board of Education would likely not have taken as long to get to without the deference to precedent. U.S. v. Dickerson decided that Miranda is now a part of the Constitution when it is just a Supreme Court decision. Kelo v. New London also decided that raising additional tax dollars is important enough to trigger eminent domain.

Many decisions have been based on the changing attitudes of the Justices instead of any serious intellectual considerations or reliance on the plain language of the constitution.

Di: Scott, you only quoted half of verse 11. It goes on to say, "and we will newly arrange the affairs of this people, for we will appoint wise men to be judges, that will judge this people according to the commandments of God."  (Oops, there's that dratted religious angle again. . . .) Verse 12 adds: "Now it is better that a man should be judged of God than of man, for the judgments of God are always just, but the judgments of man are not always just."
Minority rule is also a recipe for disaster.

 Greg: OK, hypothetically, (or maybe practically :) , I don't believe in the same religious principles as you. But you do believe in religious tolerance as stated by "let them worship how.where,or what they may", which sounds good to me.

How do you effectively pull this off? Is it always majority rule, or does the judicial branch play a role? If so, what is the role? Is it possible for majority rule to overstep its bounds? BTW, have any of you actually read the decision? If so, what are your opinions?

David: I read 40+ pages of the opinion about the conclusions of law and orders. It follows the template and reasoning from Lawrence v. Texas about sodomy laws.

The findings of fact are certainly debatable but whatever. Many of the conclusions of law are based on the idea that there is no difference between gay and straight couples with regard to child rearing, no measurable benefits to preferring traditional marriage over gay marriage, etc...

It is a long and fancy way of saying "all things being equal, there is no legitimate reason to legislate against gay marriage". It went out of its way to say that civil unions are not good enough, it has to be marriage to be fair.

Scott: Taken in its entirety, Mosiah 29 teaches that the optimal form of government is a theocratic monarchy--one led by a prophet-king who can govern as directed by God.

However (the chapter says), there is considerable risk in a monarchy, because you can't guarantee that every king in the succession will listen to God and govern righteously.

Without that guarantee, then, the best government is one in which the people choose judges to interpret the law ("according to the commandments of God", says verse 11)...

The problem is, how do we judge "according to the commandments of God" when we can't agree on what those commandments are? Not only do the major religions (Judaism, Islam, Christianity) disagree on this, but so do various sects within the major divisions.

The founding fathers recognized this, and they expressly forbade the establishment of a state religion. In this country, no single understanding of what "the commandments of God" are can hold sway. Instead, laws and judgments are made based on the idea of "inalienable rights"--the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The whole same-sex marriage debate boils down to whether or not (civil) marriage--the joining of two people in a partnership that gives them rights and privileges unavailable to those not married--is itself a "right". In "Loving v Virginia" SCOTUS declared that, as they understood the Constitution, it IS.

If that is indeed the case, then no single interpretation of "the commandments of God" can be used to *deny* that right to a minority. If that right *is* to be withheld, the reasons for doing so must withstand scrutiny and be deemed legitimate.

The defense, in this particular case, failed to demonstrate that there was any reason other the religiously-dictated morality to deny same-sex couples the right to marry. Just because a bare majority *believes* that same-sex relationships are wrong, that isn't sufficient reason to deny same-sex couples government recognition of their unions. They would need to demonstrate practical negative consequences to legalized same-sex marriage and they were unable to do so.

I second Greg's suggestion that you actually *read* the ruling (if you haven't already done so). I haven't read the entire thing yet, but from what I have seen Judge Walker was very thorough in his deliberation and in his rendering of a final verdict.

Greg: So-
The judge finds, from evidence heard, that gay/lesbian committed relationships are in no demonstrable way inferior to heterosexual committed relationships, and that a civil union is demonstrably inferior to a marriage in benefits and social status. If this is so, then I would argue that he ruled appropriately.

If not, then either he heard the evidence wrong, the evidence wasn't presented well, or more evidence needs to be brought. Do you have an opinion regarding this, David? Which of the evidentiary points don't you agree with, if any?

It seems to me that we didn't ask him to take into account the vote, but rather the evidence presented.

Would you agree that if a civil right is at stake, a vote is irrelevant?

David : @Scott: Part of the First Amendment about congress not establishing religion was so that the States still could a state religion if they wanted to w/o national gov't interference.
(I'm too lazy to find a better source.)
The states were able to legislate based on religious values and it was not a problem. Times change, laws change, things change.

@Greg: Votes do matter. Civil rights can be regulated either through the initiative process or on the action of the legislature which is elected.

Simply calling something a civil right does not end the discussion. Many of our rights are restricted in ways that have been found to be reasonable. We have age of consent laws for when someone can form a contract, get married, get a tattoo, drink alcohol, etc...

Each regulation or law has to be evaluated based on the intent, the regulated behavior, the benefit or interest in the law, etc. . .

There are studies that show detriments to children who are not raised in the traditional nuclear family. It matters to have a mom and a dad.

There are studies that show it doesn't matter. Not having a mom or not having a dad does not matter.

I am unfortunately jaded enough to think that when it comes to these kinds of sociological studies the group paying for the study gets the result they want or they will not be paying for more studies. Money talks. (This is also why drugs with serious side effects are approved by the FDA, btw.)

Something that is not really up to debate is what is happening in Europe and the way things are going here we are probably only a couple decades behind them.

The native population of continental Europe is shrinking at an alarming rate. The growth in population has been from an influx of immigrants from third world countries whose culture is not as open and accepting as the Europeans have been. The laws will be changing and there will be a loss of freedom.

There is no way to know for certain the causes of the drop in birth rates of the native population but the libertine lifestyle, lack of support for traditional families by government and popular culture, militant secularism, fast and free abortion, and resulting nihilism are not helping things.

Demographically speaking, the future freedom of Europe is doomed.

Gay marriage is only one part of the equation, but supporting traditional values that lead to more children is a good thing.

I have no idea if the demographics of Europe were argued in court or not but it is a legitimate state interest to have enough children taught about freedom and liberal ideals to maintain future freedom.

I'm not going to wade through the findings of fact to see what I agree with or not. The skeptic in me suspects that the judge was possibly not as fair as he could have been.

Even if the judge was not fair, as the "finder of facts" the appeals court gives deference to him in determining the credibility of witnesses, the weight of facts, etc. . . and is not likely to be overturned on his findings of fact anyway.

Reasonable minds may disagree and think children are something to be avoided because of overpopulation.

Sarah: I told David I would blog about this and give him a link. The post contains my own personal feelings without quoting scriptures or sharing political views on the constitution and government. I'm afraid that my cousins will believe me crazy if they read it, and will begin praying for me to see the error of my ways (if they aren't already) :) Oh well, here goes...

Greg: David, thanks for the conversation. Sounds like we disagree on some very basic stuff. Out of deference to Sarah, and her original post, I'm going to let thing go at that, and echo her sentiment. I've read the findings,and find them to be a step in what I believe to be the right direction, so, on with the battle. Again,thanks. It is always enlightening to discuss, even when disagreement exists.

David: Well, I do my best to be state my views without being a jerk about it.
I hope I did well. Thanks for asking. Just because we disagree doesn't mean we can't be civil and get along.

Sarah: I think you guys have done well at having a good discussion. Not what I expected when i posted my status Wednesday... :)

Greg: Whatever the legal/moral arguments, there's a human side to all this, and I just want to say, I support all the wonderful people that are fighting to keep their lives afloat as we work to more understanding. You and Scott are some of my heroes in this Sarah, so as you said "Yay for the judge in CA for overturning prop 8!". Maybe some day we'll make sense of it all. Read your blog post, and appreciate where you're coming from.


We are on a family vacation of sorts, at a family condo only an hour away from home.

He decided we could share a bed, perhaps to save on using another set of sheets.

I can tell he is asleep from the way he breathes, lying here beside me in the same bed we shared 10 months ago when we got pregnant with Sebastian, in the same bed we shared a year ago when we came without the children to celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary.

There he lies, just within reach, and I long to touch his foot with mine, or put my arm around him, or run my fingers through his hair, as I would have done merely 10 days ago.

But instead, I am extra careful not to even touch him accidentally, almost wishing I had asked him to sleep downstairs instead.

The days are better. He is not depressed and anxious. We talk easily about the children or dinner or finances or politics. He willingly helps with the children, looks for geocaches he can take them to find, plays video games with them. He hugs me and kisses me on the cheek whenever he leaves.

But the nights are lonely. I snuggle with the baby or my sweet 5-year-old to ease the pain.

Night by night it gets easier, but I have moments like this one.

And all I can do is cry.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Take it or leave it

I had a seminary teacher that talked about the blacks receiving the Priesthood, and how it could not have happened sooner because of the culture of the time. It came when God knew it was time to come, time that the members of the church could accept it, and the outside world could deal with the Mormons accepting it. Imagine how much worse the persecution of the Saints in the early days of the church would have been if blacks had been treated as equals.

But I'm sure there were members that knew in their hearts that it would come, even though leaders of the church had said otherwise, some even indicating that it never would, that blacks were born inferior because of their lineage back to Cain and their behavior in the pre-existence.

I believe that the situation with gay rights is much the same, that God knows right now is not the time. Many members of the church are not ready for such acceptance, and other Christian churches would hate the Mormons even more. But I believe the time will come. It will probably still be a long while yet. The apostles must all be in agreement, and there are some apostles that will never be ready for this, so time (and some apostles) must pass first. But it will happen, and then there will be members on the other side of the issue that will find themselves struggling to follow the Prophet, just as many of us are struggling with this right now.

And because it will take time, there will be more suicides. There will be more disowned gay children. There will be more mixed orientation "eternal" marriages that end in divorce, bringing pain to both adults and any children involved.

But I have to have faith that everything will be made clear when God knows it is the right time.

And so I face the struggle with knowing what is right in my heart and still having faith in my testimony of the LDS faith and in a living prophet.

My daughter faces the same struggle as she says, "Why would God require marriage as part of the plan of salvation AND allow people to be gay?" As she and I discuss this and question it, she comes up with the same conclusion on her own: there has to be something that God has not yet revealed. There has to be!

And so we have faith that the gospel is true, but that everything will be made right.

The proclamation on the family has room for such revelation. It does not use the word "only". If it is inspired, and if God knows all things that are to come, don't you think "ONLY between a man and a woman" would be in there?

And so it is that many will say I am a heretic, that I am deceived. So it is that I cannot have a current temple recommend. But just like Joan of Arc, I cannot deny how I feel. I cannot deny that I believe the spirit has whispered this to me. And so I stand up with courage, refusing to deny my religious and political beliefs on gay rights. At least I don't face being literally burned at the stake for it, but I have definitely chosen chastisement over the freedom to live as a "Molly Mormon" any more.

When I said on Facebook, jokingly, to one of my high school acquaintances that quoted Elder Holland in an effort to help me realize I am deceived, and I stated that I believe the leaders of the church are deceived instead, that is really not quite how I feel. Rather than deceived, I believe that they have simply yet to receive further light and knowledge on this issue. But I believe it will come, and then we will all know how our precious gay and lesbian brothers and sisters fit into the plan of happiness.

Until then, I believe God smiles on those who try to deny their feelings and live the gospel, on those who stick with mixed orientation marriages for the sake of their beliefs and spouse and children. I believe he weeps when it becomes too hard, and one of them takes their own life, but forgives them and receives them into his arms. I believe he cries with spouse and children when marriages break, but smiles on the parents and rejoices in their efforts to remain friends and keep the family together as much as possible, and smiles when they find happiness with other partners. I believe he smiles on and shares in the joy of two men or two women finding and loving each other, committing themselves to serving and caring for each other, even without "marriage" if they must, even without the promise of eternal life, according to what they are taught.

I believe God looks on our individual circumstances and blesses our efforts to do the best we can with the situations we are in.

And these beliefs bring me peace and hope as I face rough times, and as I recognize and rejoice in the baby steps being made with regards to gay rights, like Judge Walker's ruling on Proposition 8 in California this past week.

Take it or leave it. None of you will convince me otherwise at this point. And if I am totally wrong, I believe God will forgive me, for in my heart I simply have the best of intentions as I try my best to follow the commandment to love others and to live the gospel the best I can with the circumstances I am in, and as I teach my children to do the same.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Couch

There have been several times that one of us has slept on the couch over the past 15 years. Usually the one that was upset would head to the couch, but generally would then come back to the bed after waking up partway through and realizing that sleeping in a comfortable place is more important than holding a grudge. Scott and I always thought that the marital advice to never go to bed angry was silly, since it is so much easier to work through things the next morning when we had both had some rest and could think rationally.

More recently, the couch has been used when our 5-year-old wet our bed, or this past week when I have quickly whisked the baby to the living room when he began to cry so that he would not wake up Scott and keep him from getting the sleep he needs to deal with his current stress at work. 

But tonight, it is so much harder to deal with him sleeping on the couch, knowing he intends to never sleep in the same bed with me again.

Normally I would have my kids clamoring to share the bed with me, but they are all asleep for once, and so I lie here alone, wondering why me.

So many blog posts in my head. So lost.  Don't have any idea how to sort through it all.

Must sleep, knowing that when I wake up in a couple of hours to feed the baby, that it was not just a nightmare, but my life.

God, please keep on helping me. I'm trying to have faith. I have been much stronger than I ever thought I could be, but I don't know if I can keep going.

"Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."