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.