Sunday, December 11, 2011

Holy Socks

As I was folding laundry yesterday, I had two piles of socks in addition to the matched and folded ones. One was a pile that had no matches and the other was ones with huge holes in them. As I finished with the project, I picked up the "lost socks" and took them to a basket in the laundry room that we affectionately call "lost sock heaven." There they sit in peace and tranquility, waiting for their lost mate to be found, sometimes re-joining them so that they can get back to the purpose for which they were created. Once in a while, a sock that has been in heaven for a long time gets put to use elsewhere, being filled with rice to serve as a heating pad on someone's arm after a flu shot, or transforming into a sock puppet to delight a child.

I picked up the pile of holy socks and thrust them down into the garbage. Some of them still had mates that were also holy, others lonely but too holy to go to"heaven". Many in the past have gone to my school, been used as white-board erasers and then thrown away.

I suddenly found irony in the fact the single socks were going to heaven and the holy socks were not.

Is there any analogy here in "holy" socks verses lonely socks? Maybe it's just me being silly after a long day of household chores. Or maybe it could be something more than that... ;)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Set Fire to the Rain

Sweet Adele

She nails it with this one. You have to watch the video for the whole interpretation of the lyrics.

"Set Fire To The Rain"

I let it fall, my heart,
And as it fell you rose to claim it
It was dark and I was over
Until you kissed my lips and you saved me

My hands, they're strong
But my knees were far too weak
To stand in your arms
Without falling to your feet

But there's a side to you
That I never knew, never knew.
All the things you'd say
They were never true, never true,
And the games you play
You would always win, always win.

But I set fire to the rain,
Watched it pour as I touched your face,
Well, it burned while I cried
'Cause I heard it screaming out your name, your name!

When I lay with you
I could stay there
Close my eyes
Feel you here forever
You and me together
Nothing gets better

'Cause there's a side to you
That I never knew, never knew,
All the things you'd say,
They were never true, never true,
And the games you play
You would always win, always win.

But I set fire to the rain,
Watched it pour as I touched your face,
Well, it burned while I cried
'Cause I heard it screaming out your name, your name!

I set fire to the rain
And I threw us into the flames
Well, it felt something died
'Cause I knew that there was the last time, the last time!

Sometimes I wake up by the door,
That heart you caught must be waiting for you
Even now when we're already over
I can't help myself from looking for you.

I set fire to the rain,
Watched it pour as I touched your face,
Well, it burned while I cried
'Cause I heard it screaming out your name, your name

I set fire to the rain,
And I threw us into the flames
Well, it felt something died
'Cause I knew that there was the last time, the last time, oh, oh!

Let it burn
Let it burn
Let it burn

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I AM Equal

Ooh. It just occurred to me that I totally need to post our new pictures from the I AM Equal Foundation. They turned out awesome! I guess that is what a professional photographer can do. I'm trying to figure out a way to work them into our Christmas letter this year. :)

Temple Recommend wish list

Last night or this morning--it all kind of blends together when you have a sick toddler that won't sleep--I was pondering on the temple recommend interview questions. I firmly believe--or my leaders have convinced me--that I do not qualify for a recommend simply because I do not support and sustain my leaders. And if I don't now, then I believe I never will. The damage that has been done to my faith in church leaders is too deep.

I've always believed that the recommend questions are between an individual and the Lord. Isn't that what we are taught? But that belief has been nulified over and over with me and many of my friends that are facing the same struggles that I am. Many of those friends do not even wish to attend the temple any more, and so it does not matter to them. But I am torn. I don't really want to attend the temple right now--I'm not even attending church! I doubt I would feel any more comfortable at once place than the other at the moment.

But I also have a longing for it. I miss the moments of spirituallity in my life. But I stopped feeling them at church--instead such feelings were replaced with anxiety and panic. Would I still feel the spirit at the temple?  I'm not sure. I am numb in a lot of ways. In addition to being spiritually numb, I am definiately also sexually numb. Nothing turns me on. The only thing I am slightly attracted to any more is the beautiful face of Legolas on Lord of the Rings. :)

Oops. I got a little sidetracked. :) But it made me smile, so all good!

So, to the point of this post.

I think (and what does my opinion matter at all!) that the temple recommend questions should be limited to:

1. Do you believe in God and Jesus Christ and have a testimony of the gospel of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
2. Do you feel worthy in every way to attend the temple?

Anyway, just my two cents. :)

Have a good Sabbath.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Spiritually Free

A few weeks ago, my daughter (age 15) was asked to do two different things, both of which she agreed to. Then I discovered that both were the same night, and she would have to make a decision and tell one of them that she would not be able to help after all.

The first was to present something at Young Women in Excellence, which is an additional meeting once a year, usually in November, for young women in the LDS church, and usually their parents as well, to celebrate the girls' accomplishments in the Young Women Personal Progress program, which involves setting goals and accomplishing certain things in each of 8 value areas. For this year's program, our young women presidency chose to focus on family. Here is the description from an email I received a month or two ago:

Our "Family Forever" Young Women In Excellence is scheduled... and all YW and their Moms and Grandmas are invited.

We would like to ask if any YW or Mom who has an heirloom of an ancestor would be willing to share what it is and why it is so important to you and your family, maybe tell the story behind it. This will be our "Grandma's Secret Stories" portion of the evening.

Also if you have completed any Personal Progress experiences or projects, we will have tables up for display and would like some kind of display on anything from each Young Women. Look through your Personal Progress book to see if you can find something you have done to display for that night. It will be a Victorian style event and we hope to have you all there!

The second event she was asked to help with was a "Straight Spouse Network" meeting. A friend of mine who is recently separated from her gay husband is also a therapist and works specifically with youth. She was asked to talk to the group about how to help children within the chaos of our lives in mixed-orientation marriages and frequently also the subsequent separation and divorce. She herself has two young children, and so even though she has training as a therapist, she felt like she didn't have much personal experience to draw on. So she thought of my daughter, to whom Scott came out when she was twelve. The friend talked to me about it first, and then asked my daughter if she would come and talk at the meeting, to give her perspective on how parents could best handle things with their children.

It was the next day, about 10 days before both events, that I was playing the piano prelude in Relief Society when I suddenly realized the conflict. I left the piano and found my daughter in her young women's meeting right before it started. I told her of the conflict, and make sure to tell her that I would support her with whichever one she chose, but that she would need to let the other person know as soon as possible that she would not be able to do what she said she would.

After Relief Society, she came in with the baby and other boys as usual, finding me so that we could go home together. But this time also with her was the Young Women's president, telling me how she let her know that she had a conflict with young women in excellence--wondering if there was any way we could adjust our schedule so that she could somehow be there anyway. I explained that the two things were the same time, and nothing could be changed, and that I had allowed my daughter to make the choice. The president kept going on about how she had specifically chosen my daughter to do this part. I told her I was sorry, that it was her decision, and that I would have supported her either way, but that honestly I was having a hard time with church and was planning not to come any more, and that I would be more comfortable not attending the young women's meeting anyway.

Of course I felt guilty about that decision as the night drew nearer, and I kept double-checking with my daughter to make sure she was doing what SHE wanted to do. She assured me that she was, but still the pain and guilt stung every time I thought about it, especially when I received another email from the president, asking parents to send family photos to her for a slide show she was creating for the event.

The night arrived. My oldest son ended up attending his scout/youth meeting that night. So with no babysitter available, I hauled the other 4 children to the straight spouse meeting. It was a great time to let other people know that they are not alone with this challenge. A couple of people kind of monopolized the meeting with their own struggles right now, and we were all glad that we could be there to input and help them through. But as a result, my daughter did not get the chance to say very much, and so I was silently wondering if she regretted not going to the other event instead.

But on the way home, she started the conversation, "That was good. I'm glad I chose to come here instead of Young Women's in Excellence tonight." Really? I shared with her my thoughts that maybe she was bored and would have regretted her decision. We had a wonderful conversation. She talked about how she was glad to miss the church meeting because she feels so much pressure and guilt there to earn her "ribbons" for the value experiences, which eventually lead to earning the Young Womanhood recognition and accompanying medallion. I admitted to her that I was glad I was not there because the focus in the Young Women's program is preparing for the temple and temple marriage, and so I knew it would sting to be reminded that I do not qualify for a recommend, and that my own temple marriage is far from what I hoped and planned for when I was her age. Then somehow we got on the topic of testimony, and how hard it is to go to church because I do not like the topics of "temple marriage" and "follow the prophet", but that it is also hard not to go because I do have a testimony of the gospel, of God and Jesus Christ. She shared with me a recent experience she had when she had an assignment from seminary to pray to know that God knows her personally, and she forgot to do it at home, so then prayed while she was walking to school, and had it confirmed within her heart that God does know her personally. What a comfort that must be to her, with as crazy as our lives are and as conflicting the messages and feelings. To know, truly know, that she is a daughter of God that loves her and knows her personally. It was a sweet moment for me, and I thanked her for sharing, and asked her to write about it in her journal. We soon arrived home, and she commented that had we been driving home from the church instead of from the meeting we attended in Salt Lake, that we would not have had this wonderful time to talk and share our feelings and experiences and testimonies. And I have thought again at how lucky I am that God spared her life as a fragile infant and that she can be with me now, such a strength and help to me in so many ways.

Today my children decided to attend their Sunday school/priesthood/Young Womens and primary meetings. We have a wonderful new friend living with us as of yesterday, and he took them over to the meetings and sat and read a book while he waited to take them home again. Meanwhile, I took the baby and went to a meeting elsewhere that a friend had invited me to a couple of weeks ago. It is called the "Center for Spiritual Living" and is held at a community center in South Salt Lake every Sunday. I chose the meeting that also included a nursery that I could put my child in and enjoy my own meeting child-free. (

The main topic of today's sermon was children. He talked about the scripture to be as a little child, and about what that meant to him. He spoke of how we typically think that we are the ones that are supposed to teach children, when in fact it is often children teaching us. He shared the experience of seeing a child that had fallen, who subsequently took a deep breath before putting every amount of effort he had into wailing and expressing his pain. Why don't we do that as adults, putting everything we have into expressing how we really feel? He talked about gratitude, and how the scriptures say we should be grateful in all things (that reminded me of the book "The hiding place", and the author's sister being grateful for the fleas in their barracks in the concentration camp.) He spoke of recognizing that sometimes hard things in our lives are blessings in disguise. He spoke of how all of us influence the lives of children, and are influenced by them, whether we have our own children or not.

He spoke about how some of us might have been brought up with ideas that are damaging to us. He spoke about how nice it would be if all children could grow up knowing their divinity from day one, in classes like they provide to youth here, instead of needing healing later in life from harmful messages that are learned elsewhere. This is something Scott mentions when we discuss my current inner conflict with the church and feeling the pressure to continue raising the children in the church. Look at the struggle I am having. If our children are to continue to accept their dad and our other gay friends and their marriages the way they do now, then eventually they are going to (if not already) have the same types of conflicts and damage that I have from my upbringing in the church. But I learned lots of good things there too, that Scott says we can teach them/are teaching them at home. But that is a lot of pressure to instill in them correct values without the teachings of the church in their classes on Sunday to reinforce them.

On the way there, and during the service I prayed to figure out what God's plan is for me right now. I was tense driving to the meeting, and I didn't know if that was a sign that I should not go, or if it was just because I tend to get nervous when I'm around people I don't know and in situations that I am not familiar with. I tend to think it was just the latter. During the meeting, I was not uncomfortable really, and I didn't regret going today at all, but it didn't feel like where I need to be on a regular basis, if that makes sense. I had some random thoughts during the meeting, that are listed below. Feel free to help me analyze them. :)

  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true, and no matter where I go, none of my spiritual experiences will every exceed experiences that I have had within the LDS church. That doesn't mean that I think the church is the place for me right now, because I know it is not. I have healing to do, and I need to stay away. But that does not change the fact that I know the gospel is true.
  • How great it is that so many people attended this meeting, people that have chosen to be spiritually free from constricting religions, but that still want to have spirituallity and divinity in their lives. At one point the reverend said that there are many paths back to God, and I felt a confirmation that he is right. That God is happy with all that seek Him, no matter where or how they worship. So how does that work with the scripture "Straight is the path and narrow is the way that leads to eternal life"?
  • For some reason my mind started pondering on the idea that in the next life, unless we reach the highest level of exhaltaion in the celestial kingdom, that we will only be with people of the same gender. Where did the church get this idea? (I'm sure I've learned it before and just forgotten.) And if it is true, isn't that just a reward for the gays, rather than a lower kingdom? And where do transgender people fit in? Is there another section just for them? So many unanswered questions, if anyone can help me I would appreciate it! I fear though that since I am not going to make it to the highest degree that I am going to be stuck for eternity with a bunch of moody women instead of with my bestest gay friends (no offense girls!)
I have some other blog posts in the works leading up to this one, but this is all I can do for now. :)

    Sunday, October 16, 2011

    I fail

    A month ago I was angry. Today I am sad. Sad that there is no way that I can ever be a good Mormon again. Sad that I will never achieve a couple of my goals--attending a session in the Manti Temple, and serving in the Young Women's organization. Trust me--they won't let me anywhere near the youth with my bad language and apostate ideas.

    For the last month, I have been luke-warm with my church dedication and attendance. I watched/listened to a lot of conference (while doing yard work on Saturday and taking a nap on Sunday, LOL. Not sure how much I actually heard.) The kids and I have been sick off and on, so we've missed some meetings and gone to others. Glee started up again on Tuesday nights, so the kids, between homework and Glee,--and the Pink Dot event this last Tuesday--have not wanted to attend their youth meetings/activities.

    But today, there was no hesitation from any of us to get up and get ready for church. The boys got themselves up and dressed, and they helped get the baby ready since I was still eating breakfast. No one whined about not wanting to go or about having a sore throat or an upset stomach. I was not dreading it; it just seemed like the normal "this is what we do every week" type of thing.

    During Sacrament meeting, I read through my patriarchal blessing--pondering on how it fits into my life now, and sort of feeling inspired about continuing my church attendance the best I could, despite feeling like I would never have a temple recommend again. Maybe I would have it again someday when I had local leaders that I could actually sustain. In the mean time, I can endure. Members without recommends are second class, but I can handle being second class, right?

    Then the second high council speaker was assigned President Benson's famous "14 points of following the prophet" or something like that. Scott and I have discussed this talk before and some of the issues he has with it. I have never read or listened to it very carefully. To illustrate one of the points, a story was told of a man that came from a different country to America to join the members of the church because a prophet told him to. Now he was complaining and disagreeing with the words of the current prophet. There was some quote read about how someone who cannot agree with the words of the prophets and apostles is on "the high road to apostasy."

    Yep, I guess that is me. I felt a little down over the words, but not devastated. Not like I didn't already know that opinion. Yep, I'm an apostate. I've discussed this with one of my friends at school that is also an active member of the church. He agrees that there are problems in the church with leadership, with following blindly, with an attitude that "all is well in Zion." He is concerned, like I am, that the church has taken a turn from encouraging members to seek and follow personal revelation if it results in any deviation of a person from church policy to follow the spirit in their own lives.

    There is much discussion in the news right now because of Mormon politicians about whether or not Mormonism might actually be a cult. This may sound horrible coming from a practicing Latter-day-saint, but you have to admit there is some cult-like behavior and ideas. Quotes like, "When the prophet speaks, the thinking has been done" remind me of the attitudes in terrorists, thinking they are only doing what they have been asked to do so that they can be with God. But that's different, Mormons say. Our church is actually true, and our prophet is actually telling us to do things that are good, like refusing to accept our gay loved one's partners or even consider that everyone should have equal rights when it comes to parenting and marriage.

    Some of you may think I'm being too hard on myself for thinking I will never be anything but a second class Mormon. But when my own soul-searching and personal revelation ends up over and over and over that I should support gay marriage, and stand up for it, then how can I possibly ever answer those temple recommend questions honestly? At one point I thought I could, but the whole process has made me so angry, that I can't anymore. No, I don't sustain general and local authorities of the church. Some of them I do. President Uchdorf for example. I love that man. But President Packer? My stake President? Never going to happen. They are not willing to bend on their pet focus in life any more than I am. I cannot deny the mission that God has given me to be a gay-rights advocate, and my stake president apparently cannot stop shoving the message of "follow the prophet. follow your leaders. No matter what" down the throats of everyone who attends church in his stake. The two things do not go together. They cannot coexist. And since he is not going anywhere soon, to my knowledge, then I guess I have to be the one to go.

    Wow, I blog so I can rant sometimes, and this is feeling good, so thanks for sticking with me.

    Next failure of the day--scouting. Three years ago, my oldest son turned eleven and began participating in boy scouts, as every good Mormon boy does. The leaders stopped telling me exactly what he needed to do to earn whatever thing came next, like the cub-scout leaders do. So in three years, I don't think he has advanced in Scouts, even though he has attended two week-long summer camps, at least two winter camps and Klondikes, and many, many weekly scout meetings. Today the new Scout committee chair, who happens to also be a good friend of mine that I unloaded on a couple of weeks ago about my temple recommend situation, came outside and visited with me during Sunday School. It was all well and good until she started asking about which ones of my children were in scouts and what their rankings are. I had no idea. I don't know what he's earned, what is completed, and what he still has to do. It's all signed in his book, his former scout master says, when I went inside to get some information. Will his dad help him, the committee chair asks? Probably not. Scott's response: he doesn't feel like he is the one that earned his "Eagle Scout" awards and ranking. So he is of the opinion that if our sons want to earn ranks in scouting, then they should be the ones to read the book and figure out what they still need to do, and do it, rather than us holding their hand and dragging them through the process like he was. That makes sense. I should not have to feel guilty about what I don't get done. I have so much on my plate already. The same goes for my daughter's personal progress. She helps me so much. In my eyes, she has earned the highest award for being such a willing support and help to me. So if she doesn't end up getting the certificate and medallion on her own, does it really matter? It does if you want to be a first class Mormon, which our family obviously is not. Oh well. I'm so good at making myself feel guilty and feeling like a failure. I started this paragraph with the fact that our son started scouts 3 years ago. Scott came out of the closet 3 years and 3 months ago. Is is a coincidence that I have no idea what he has done in scouts? I think not. Give me a break. (She was not rude, FYI. I am telling myself and my own imposed guilt to give me a break. :)

    Lastly, I go to relief society feeling like an apostate and a failure as a scout mom, and the lesson is on "signs of the second coming." By the end of the lesson, which included perusing the 45th section of the doctrine and covenants, I am convinced that since at the second coming it is black and white--there are the good people in the New Jerusalem in Missouri, and then there are the horrible people that are at war and their hearts have waxed cold with no love, lovers only of their own selves, filled with iniquity--that I am not good, so therefore I am doomed to be part of the second group. Remember I am on the high road to apostasy. Remember that I say things like "effin prophet" on facebook. Remember that I take my kids to the Pink Dot event instead of sending them to Scouts and Young Women's activities. Remember that I will never have a temple recommend again, so I am no longer qualified to stand in holy places.

    Needless to say, I sobbed through the closing hymn, "Come let us rejoice", LOL. Tears ran down my face as I played "Master the tempest is raging" for postlude, as loud as I could, pounding my frustrating into the piano keys. And I continued to cry as I drove us home from church, dropping off my son and his friend to do fast offering call-backs.

    The same son was ordained to be a teacher today, because even though he was sustained in Sacrament meeting last week, he was not feeling well, so I took him home. I asked the bishop if it was happening today. He asked if any family was coming. I said no. He asked who I wanted to do the ordination. I said I didn't care. I only wanted to be there if it was happening. So my son came to get me, and I attended as the Young Men's President ordained him and every Melchizedek priesthood holder in the room participated--probably 7 or 8 men. And then I went back to Relief Society and let everything sink in, and started to cry.

    I fail.

    Sunday, September 18, 2011

    Awesome Videos

    My posts have been so down lately. Time to share some uplifting and amazing stuff!

    First of all, great videos from the Equality Utah Allies Dinner. It was exciting to go see one of my students/GSA club officers receive a scholarship from Equality Utah. (I volunteered so that I could get in!)

    Then, a link to a new movement, a new group of friends and family coming together in courage and love. Check it out (along with another fabulous video) at

    Finally, just a reminder of some great resources at called the "Family Acceptance Project". The video there is one I believe EVERYONE should be required to watch.

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    Stop the world so I can get off...

    (You will need to read the other post before you read this one, for it to make more sense.)

    My sister called today. She chit-chatted a bit, telling me they had accidently taken home one of my utensils in their salad when they came over for dinner on Labor Day. Then she got to the point of her call.... Dad called her yesterday. He is worried. The kids are old enough to make their own decisions about church...

    What the F?

    Yes, I know. Where did this all come from. Let's go back to Saturday morning...

    I was out shopping, pretty early. Picking up produce from a community co-op, getting a hair cut and then doing some needed shopping at Costco at the beginning of a very over-scheduled day.

    As I was driving home, I got a text from a number not in my phone book:

    "Tried you a couple of times. Have not canceled your recommend. Would like to try one more time to talk. Would like you to not use it though until we meet. Thnx."
     Me: Bishop? You've tried calling? When? Are you kidding me? Not meeting. I will bring it to you tomorrow. You can have it.

    "Tried this morning and tried to catch you the other night. Not what I want but following what I feel, Sarah. I love and care about you and your family."

    Me: K. Do what you need to do. I've had it with this church and its Christ-like followers.

    I pulled in the garage from my shopping and called Scott to cry on his shoulder. Then I went inside where my daughter apologized. The bishop had called twice so she finally, reluctantly gave him my cell number, knowing that the result would not be plesant. I unloaded my purchases, and then had to leave to pick up another child from a slumber party. On my way, I stopped at the bishop's house and gave my recommend to his grown daughter that answered the door. I said simply, "Give this to your dad.", then turned and took off back to my car.

    Here's the thing...
    I haven't heard anything for like 3 weeks, and suddenly on Stake Temple day, he is desperate to get in touch with me to tell me not to use my recommend? What about all the times I used it in the 3 weeks? Wouldn't he care about that too, or is it all about appearances? I think he was afraid that someone (read: the person who is my facebook friend and "told" on me) will see me at the temple and then disapprove of the fact that he has allowed me to still have my recommend. Because it was a busy day, with a soccer game and the teenagers doing temple baptisms in the afternoon, I could not figure out a way to make it to the temple myself. But at one point I was planning to go.  I'm glad the whole thing ended up not shattering any elaborate plans...

    The kids decided not to do baptisms (my daughter discovered her recommend was expired), but they did want to go to church the next day. So even though I was planning on Saturday to take a break on Sunday, I got up and got everyone ready and off we went. I took my son over to the church first so that he would be on time to pass the Sacrament. When we arrived back at the church with the rest of us, the Sacrament was nearly over, so we soon snuck into the back.  Right after sitting down, the program commenced, and the first speaker announced that she had been assigned to talk about "following the prophet."

    You've got to be kidding, right?

    I turned to my daughter, said I can't do this, then waded back through the people in the overflow area with all my bags and 3 kids in tow, leaving the oldest two as they desired.

    We went in the foyer and sat on the couch, but I could still hear the talk, so that wasn't going to work.

    So, we went home.

    30 minutes later I took two of the kids back to the church so they could practice for the Primary Program (which is in two weeks, with Stake Conference in between). I returned home and spent a lovely 2 hours with my baby, playing and snuggling and napping.

    Then, for the 4th time, I returned to the church to pick up the kids, delivering my oldest son and a friend to another area of the neighborhood to do fast offering call-backs prior to returning home.


    Sorry for yelling.

    You see, the thing is, I called my mom Sunday afternoon, and after I told her about my recommend, I also mentioned that I didn't think I could handle going to church any more, and she started lecturing me about how my kids needed the church to teach them values and such, and so I told her I wasn't in the mood for a lecture and that our conversation needed to be over.

    I was even thinking of calling my parents today for the typical chit-chat with them every couple of days. But before I had done so, my sister called, and I was so depressed and furious over the whole thing that there is no way I think I can talk to them for a few days. I don't know if my mom misunderstood me, or if my dad misinterpreted what my mom told him, but of course the kids have a choice. Anyone who knows me would know that I would not keep that agency from my children. Do they all think I've turned into some kind of monster, these people who have known me all my life?

    Who knows. Maybe I have. And with each stupid thing like this that happens, I want more and more to be done with this life. I could not kill myself, but I certainly wish I was dead more and more frequently all of the time. Bring on the hell I deserve, sooner than later, because it certainly can't be any worse than the hell I am experiencing daily here on Earth.


    Sunday, September 4, 2011

    Trouble with an F that stands for Facebook

    (I wrote this Sept. 4th during Sunday School, but I didn't post it until September 14th. Just an fyi about my changing the date on the post.)

    A few weeks ago, my last post was about "separation", myself from some elements of the church, and Scott from his family. Instead of venting my views on gay marriage in Relief Society, I walked out and  vented on Facebook. Just a reminder of what I wrote:

    "I have to say what I couldn't say in Relief Society. (Instead I walked out.) In my heart I know that my gay friends' marriages are approved by God. I've been in attendance at them and the feeling of happiness and hope was similar to attending a temple marriage. I don't give a sh* what the effin prophets say."

    The following week, I was called into an appointment with the bishop. The topic: my Facebook vent. People in the ward are offended and concerned. The bishop thanked me for not saying it in Relief Society, and was also comforted when I explained that the only children on Facebook that can see my posts are my own children. He wanted to know why I posted that kind of thing. As I told him that I cannot be quiet on the gay marriage issue, he just continued to ask why. I left his office saying, "take my temple recommend. Excommunicate me. But I will not be quiet on this issue."

    I went home and posted on Facebook about being in trouble with the bishop. Comments of comfort came from many of my friends. Then came a message from a ward friend who has since moved away. His comment made me feel like filth, pure evil. It sunk me into a fit of depression and self deprecation, making the afternoon of my first day of teaching school very difficult:

    I considered letting your bishop know, but decided I'd talk to you before I did and never got around to it. You dissed the Prophet in public. I can't see how you can keep a temple recommend in good conscience after doing so. It doesn't matter what terms you used or if you used actual swear words. Your beliefs are your beliefs, however you come by them and I'll say nothing against that. Indeed, having the courage of your convictions is an honorable thing to strive for.

    But temples are owned and operated by an organization pledged to honor and support the prophets. Even if you doubt their sacred nature, you should, at a minimum, respect the owners of the place enough to honor the rules of entry. Those rules are simple enough, but include support of the prophet as a basic and fundamental requirement. That's a requirement you no longer fit under any reasonable definition.

    I'm sorry if it hurts to hear that. Feel free to unfriend me if you wish. But, like you, I believe in having the courage of your convictions, even in public, and even if the price is dear.

    Later, gay friends attacked this friend. It was well-intentioned, but made me uncomfortable. I made this last response, then deleted the whole thread so that the bashing would stop.

     Thank you both for your honesty. I've put some privacy restrictions in force so that people can't see what I post, unless I want them to. I needed a place to be uncensored that day, without restraint. I realized that my comment would come across to many as offensive, but I did not mean it the way it sounds. The expletives ended up in a place of disrespect, and I'm maybe 10% sorry for that, but I still chose to do it because it was venting amongst friends, friends that know me, know my testimony, and know that I was just voicing my frustration over words from a manual (aka "prophets" is what I used). It does not mean that I do not respect and view prophets as such. It just reflects my view that leaders of the church are not perfect and do not always speak for god. If the bishop  asks me for my recommend, or "deactivates" the bar code or whatever, I will understand. But if it is up to me to give it up, then I won't, because I know what is in my heart and what my words meant and I do not feel that it makes me any less worthy than temple recommend holders who judge me harshly for my words on a semi-private forum.
    The friend, however, assumed I only blocked him so that he could not see the ensuing conversation bashing him. The next day, as I was driving to an appointment with my therapist, this former ward member sent me a scathing private Facebook message, then unfriended me. It made me very sad, and I was calmed by later chatting with his wife.

    Meanwhile, following a letter than Scott sent his family, one of his family members decided to unfriend us both on Facebook. I sent this person a message to try to understand the situation better, and I didn't hear back. So a week or so later, I text messaged the person to see if they received my other message, to which the answer was yes, but they wanted to talk instead of message. Dang. This was not one of those times that I wanted to talk in person, but I said okay, although that I wasn't strong enough emotionally to discuss it right then.

    A couple of weeks passed, and even though I still didn't feel like discussing it over the phone, I really felt like we needed to resolve it. So Saturday night I contacted the person and we decided to talk Sunday morning during my Sunday school class because our church schedules conflicted. This was the same Sunday that later in the day I was called into the bishop's office for my Facebook status the previous week.

    So we talked, and the person explained that they unfriended us because they were tired of the drama, and that they felt if the tables were turned, that Scott and I would not have been able to handle and accept any more than they have been able. Upon further discussion of trying to understand each other, I became very emotional, as I was afraid I would, and so let them know that I needed to end the conversation, and we parted the phone call amicably.

    But I was no longer in the mood to endure my last church meeting, especially a lesson on eternal families. So after I played the opening hymn, I left Relief Society and sat in the hall, half listening, half chatting with a gay friend that has moved away.

    So then later, after talking to the bishop, I was frustrated with my ward Facebook friends, and frustrated with Facebook in general, and for some reason I decided to post that if anyone had seen me upset at church, it was because of a conversation with someone in Scott's family, and not because of them at that point.

    So then, the next day, I was recovering from the first day of school and depression from the Facebook comment mentioned at the beginning of this post, when I received a text from the family member I had spoken to the day before, chewing me out for mentioning it on Facebook, because now other members of the family were asking questions. That was enough to sink me into a state of insanity during which I could not stop crying and I wished I was dead. The children freaked out too, obviously, at the sight of my fit, and contacted Scott to come help.

    I found out a few days later, that my daughter sent some angry messages to this family about accepting Scott. She was concerned about me and needed to vent, but of course that brought on more harm than good.

    Since then, all has been quiet. Other than a few chats with a couple of Scott's sisters that have reached out in concern for me, I have not really talked to his family, nor them to me. I need a break from them for a while, and probably vice versa. I have tried to be more polite on Facebook, and have considered getting rid of it completely from my life. Meanwhile, I continue to attend church, but I can see repurcussions of what happened a couple of weeks ago with the children, as they seem to have less desire to be involved with church and extended family.

    Sunday, August 14, 2011


    Separation has been good to us. Scott and I have both grown and found happiness in so many ways by increasing the distance between us. Last night we went to dinner to celebrate our upcoming 16th wedding anniversary. It was pleasant as we enjoyed a wonderful meal together, chit chatting about miscellaneous things as well as updating each other on how our lives are going, especially on how everything is going financially as we have been working on getting new, separate accounts and dividing debts and bills.

    I know that a lot of outside people looking in feel bad for me. Many of them blame Scott, from mild disappointment to outright "he is consumed by evil spirits" judgement. But the hard part has not been the change in my relationship with Scott--most of that actually happened last summer when he moved downstairs. (Our 15th anniversary was much more difficult for me than our 16th will be.) The hardest part is the change that has come over the past year with extended family. I gave the book "Gay Mormons?" to all of our siblings and to our parents for mother's day. One of my siblings (and spouse) told my parents that they did not plan to read it at all. That spurred on a conversation between them and me that ended with me saying that I didn't want to talk until they were willing to read and learn and talk about the elephant in the room. Things have obviously been very quiet and awkward between us ever since. Meanwhile, in Scott's family, some family members that were accepting at first have become unacceptable, some that have been quiet have remained quiet, and some that were making great efforts have now hit an impassible brick wall.

    What is the impassible brick wall? Church "doctrine". Doctrines like the word of wisdom and the family proclamation, "scriptural" quotes like "marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God." For a year or a bit more, since Scott started dating guys and drinking occasionally, he has been very uncomfortable hanging out around his family. They have treated him nicely and made every effort to appreciate and include him, so they don't understand why it isn't enough.

    Two or three weeks ago he wrote them a letter telling them that he is done associating with them unless they are willing and able to make changes to how they act and feel about our situation. The straw that broke the camel's back was his brother's unwillingness to tell his daughters (ages 10 and 13) about "Uncle Scott". There was a family BBQ while this brother and his family were in town, and Scott refused to attend. I expressed to my in-laws that I did not want to have to answer everyone's "Where is Scott?" question. So the brother sat down with his girls and told them that Scott and I are separated and getting divorced, to which the girls asked why, and the parents lied and said, "We don't know exactly. Things like this happen sometimes."

    Scott was livid, and thus he wrote a letter. (Maybe I will get his permission to post it, or ask him to put it on his blog.) He and I talked about it again last night over dinner, because I have been with his family enough to know how much they are hurting from missing him, and how helpless they feel. They are at such a loss for how to handle it and what to do. I've told them a lot of things about how Scott is feeling, but I really don't know how to help if they are convinced that the church is never wrong. And part of me wishes that he could just let their disappointment roll off his back and continue to associate with them anyway.

    But he helped me last night to understand. I am not him and cannot personally feel the pain he is feeling, but if he says distance from his family is a necessity for him, how can I judge that? His comment to me about it last night was, "Until they agree that the church is wrong with the gay issue, I cannot be around them, because regardless of how much they say they love me, there will always be a "but..."

    I still feel like church is the place for me to be. I have good friends there. I have opportunities to learn and grow from interactions (and help others to do the same.) But of course my feelings for the church and my place within it are up and down, and I have realized that there is no way I can predict where my church attendance and membership will end up. I sit through the lessons, occasionally touched by a sentence or a feeling here or there, but trying not to be hurt or offended by things that could easily hurt me, like the last few lessons on eternal marriage. (One of the teachers said she couldn't get me out of her mind while preparing her lesson and hoped that she had been able to teach it without it being too hard on me. The worst part was realizing that when she said "some of us marry goobers" that she was thinking of Scott as a "goober." I do not blame her for her good intentions, but I do get tired of people making Scott out to be the "bad guy.")

    So there I was today, doing my best to recognize that the correlated lesson material comes from the church, quotes from church leaders etc., in which many members place their unquestioning faith. The lesson today was on the law of chastity, and the following quote was read:
    Like other violations of the law of chastity, homosexual behavior is a serious sin. Latter-day prophets have spoken about the dangers of homosexual behavior and about the Church’s concern for people who may have such inclinations. President Gordon B. Hinckley said:
    “In the first place, we believe that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God. We believe that marriage may be eternal through exercise of the power of the everlasting priesthood in the house of the Lord.
    “People inquire about our position on those who consider themselves so-called gays and lesbians. My response is that we love them as sons and daughters of God. They may have certain inclinations which are powerful and which may be difficult to control. Most people have inclinations of one kind or another at various times. If they do not act upon these inclinations, then they can go forward as do all other members of the Church. If they violate the law of chastity and the moral standards of the Church, then they are subject to the discipline of the Church, just as others are.
    “We want to help these people, to strengthen them, to assist them with their problems and to help them with their difficulties. But we cannot stand idle if they indulge in immoral activity, if they try to uphold and defend and live in a so-called same-sex marriage situation. To permit such would be to make light of the very serious and sacred foundation of God-sanctioned marriage and its very purpose, the rearing of families” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1998, 91; or Ensign, Nov. 1998, 71).
    So, sitting through that bunk was hard enough, but then the first words out of the teacher's mouth after the quote was read was something having to do with following the prophet.

    I got up and walked out. I was calm. But I knew if I stayed, I wouldn't stay calm, and I would either turn into a pile of mush, or I would say what was on my mind. Either option would not be pretty or appropriate for the meeting. Walking out was the better option. The Relief Society president followed me. She tried to hug me and said she was sorry that the lesson was hard on me. I responded that I could not deny support of my gay friends to marry. She shrugged and said something about church doctrine or teachings or something. I told her I was alright and just had to leave the situation for a bit. Then I left her and went outside and took a walk around the building. Then I came inside and took another walk around the inside air-conditioned building. I needed/wanted to go back, but I had to get it out of my system first. Should I call Scott? No... I know! I will post it on Facebook. That way people in the ward will even see it. Family will see it. And they will see where my loyalties lie: with love, with God, and with my friends.

    Here is my post:
    "I have to say what I couldn't say in Relief Society. (Instead I walked out.) In my heart I know that my gay friends' marriages are approved by God. I've been in attendance at them and the feeling of happiness and hope was similar to attending a temple marriage. I don't give a sh* what the effin prophets say."

    With that post and resulting accolades from LGBTQ friends and allies, I was reminded of three years ago when my struggle was to understand God's position on gay rights. I kept praying and praying, and the answer finally came from my patriarchal blessing: "You have been given the talent to believe and accept truth." As I think of that again today, I feel confidently that God was and is telling me to trust my heart. If I believe that he approves of gay marriage, and I accept that belief, and I have a talent for accepting truth, then logically it must be truth.

    I'm not sure this fits in this blog post, but another thing that occurred to me recently is that maybe leaders and general conference talks are pushing the topic of "Following the prophet. Follow your inspired leaders." because someday many church members may have a hard time following and agreeing with new church policies regarding homosexuals. Who knows? :)

    Thursday, July 21, 2011


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    Three years ago today...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Friday, July 1, 2011

    Power of the Priesthood

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Friday, June 17, 2011

    Clarity and faith

    The week following my last post, I took the time to do some serious thinking and feeling. I was encouraged in part to do so because of an email Scott sent to me that explained some of the reasons his testimony has evaporated. I felt a need to attend the temple to seek some answers.

    Here are some of my thoughts during my drive on the way there, and then while sitting on the temple grounds after doing some initiatory work. Some of the thoughts stem from Scott's words, which I am choosing not to post.

    • Yes, there are other churches with good and bad pieces, with people that will be rewarded for their good works and faith.
    • God lives. Jesus is the Christ.
    • It does not matter if leaders are perfect or not, if church history is twisted, if policies change, if it seems sometimes that things are so conflicting, contradictory, hypocritical. God allows things to happen, mistakes to be made, for a reason.
    • Culture...Life...Policies...Ways of doing things are ever changing, and always will be changing. But God is the same forever. He loves all of us--liberals, conservatives, atheists, believers--and he knows what is in our hearts, how our experiences have brought us each to where we are. No one but Him can truly judge why each of us act or think the ways we do. He allows changes to happen when and how is best. Key word there that I feel strongly about is "allow." We have our agency--each of us, even church leaders. But just like cleaning a room, where sometimes it has to get messier first before it improves, God is doing his own cleaning using agency, and we cannot yet see where the end result will be. But all will be well. We must have faith. We cannot forget the testimony-building experiences in our individual pasts just because it is a little messy now.
    • The contradictions and the call for obedience, and what often seems like blind obedience, are frustrating. I know that. I have felt and experienced that in many ways over the years. What does matter is doing the best we can with what we've got. Finding a place, a religion, a philosophy that works best for each of us, whether that be where we are most comfortable or where we have the greatest opportunity for growth, and often where we can help others grow along with us.

    I began to relate these thoughts to me personally, to something that helps me understand why God and church leaders do the things they do, why obedience is so important, and why change in what once seemed like the unchangeable sometimes happens.

    Over the 13 years of being a teacher, my policies have also been ever-changing. I try one thing, and then the next year or semester I tweak or completely change something. But while that policy is in place, I try to be consistent in enforcing it. Students sometimes question my policies. Sometimes I explain, sometimes I say it just is the way it is so deal with it. Despite my efforts to be consistent (justice), there are exceptions (mercy), or there are times when I help a student all that I can to meet my own policy, wishing I didn't have to enforce it for that student, but making up the difference so it works out. If a student really desires not to fail, I make it possible for them not to fail, as long as they follow make-up tasks I give them, which are often quite easy. Despite the easiness, many still do not listen to know what they can do, or they don't care, or they don't even try. Someday they might regret it. Some will do credit recovery. Some will drop out and never graduate. Some will get their GED later. There are different paths to get the same place, and some take much longer, and some are just different.

    Sometime within the last couple of years, when one of my neighbors bore her testimony in Sacrament meeting, she spoke of her family hiking to delicate arch. She mentioned that her older son ended up going a different way, but he still made it there. She related it to this life, and how some of us follow the marked trail, others of us follow other trails that end up the same place. Some trails might be more difficult than others, or one that is difficult for one person is amazingly right for another person. Sometimes we think someone is lost, but they are just going a different way. I don't remember exactly what she said, and I might be adding some of my own thoughts, but you get the idea.

    We recently went to Arches National Park as a family. The trail to delicate arch was harder than I remembered, but the end result was also more spectacular than I remembered from the last time I was there 20 + years ago. I thought of this friend's testimony and analogy to life. Life is hard, we all follow our own path, and the path that someone follows may be right for that person even though it is not for another.

    Many people like to quote scriptures that I feel like they are directing at people like me, like "straight is the path and narrow the way that leads to eternal life." For some that may be true. The "straight and narrow path" of the "tree of life" analogy in the Book of Mormon is just another analogy--an analogy that some can relate to but others cannot. I think I might want to spend some more time thinking about Lehi's dream of the tree of life, and determining what it means for me personally, finding myself there, and understanding how the "great and spacious building" fits in. Stay tuned for that one...

    A little side note of thoughts that I gleaned from my time in the temple itself:

    1. I am blessed to know the difference between truth and error. I couldn't stop thinking about a line in my patriarchal blessing that says I have a talent to believe and accept truth. I realized that I inherintly know that God lives, that the basic gospel of Jesus Christ is true, and that is all that matters. Strange historical facts from the early days of the church that tear apart peoples' testimonies--I don't need to know if that is true or not. It doesn't matter. I can still know in my heart that Joseph Smith was a prophet that spoke to God.

    2. I should listen to the council of my husband and the council of God. Scott has much good insight. The same email contained some advice for me regarding the children, about being more consistant in requiring them to be responsible with their chores. I can do better. I am trying to do better, and hopefully that will make the summer break and life in general easier for all of us.

    3. I will be protected from the destroyer. I'm leaving out some details because these are sacred words from the temple, and I feel like it is not appropriate for me to say more. But I was impressed that I am doing what is right to keep myself safe from the clutches of Satan, that I am truly not the evil I that I wondered if I could be after reading that talk in last month's Ensign magazine.

    One of the main things I did the night I received Scott's email and the following morning at the temple was pondering spiritual experiences in my past, experiences that I simply cannot deny coming from a loving Heavenly Father. Even as I write this, I feel overwhelmed by his love for all of his children, gay or straight, citizen or alien, believing member or cynical x-member. He loves all of us and focuses on the good in each of us. And eventually we will all end up where we are supposed to be. Maybe exhaultation is easier to get to than we think it is, or maybe the Celestial Kingdom is simply not the right place for everyone. I don't know. All I know is that I am at peace with where I am, with my activity in the church. And if Scott (and many others that I know that have resigned their church membership) is at peace with where he is, then maybe that is what is right for him. Maybe someday he will come back. Maybe he won't. But he is still a good man, and God knows that and can judge that when no one else can.

    Sunday, June 12, 2011


    My thoughts are jumbled, but there is a feeling of conflict and unrest within my heart.

    I've been at peace with church attendance for about a year now.

    (A little background info--I took a break for a few months early in 2010, and before that, attending church was a struggle, laced with fear and panic attacks since my year-long stint as primary president in 2006. I had intense traumatic experiences with the bishop and others in the ward even prior to Scott's coming out in 2008 and the subsequent additional trauma that ensued with our church leaders and others. Nevertheless, my testimony was strong, so I endured the discomfort and continued to attend and fulfill various callings until my "break".)

    But today I really struggled with being at church. I tried to seek the spirit in prayer, specifically during the sacrament ordinance. But I felt nothing, and my mind wandered to the experience of our third pride celebration last Sunday as we walked in the parade with the Utah Gay Father's Association. The euphoria and chills I experienced as the crowds of people along the parade route cheered on the fathers (some with, some without their children) was much more powerful than the "nothing" I felt at church today, and I desperately wanted to feel something. Where is my testimony going?

    The talks in Sacrament meeting were good. They were on missionary work, but focused on unconditional love and not judging others. The theme continued in Sunday School as we discussed some key parables in the new testament, and loving and serving others came up several times. I really allowed my mind to wander as the relief society lesson focused on obedience, and it seemed that not many others were really paying attention either, because there were very few comments and little discussion.

    After church as I was conversing with Scott, he mentioned that there was an article in this month's Ensign magazine encouraging members to do all they can to promote family. I found the article and read it. Gay marriage was not specifically mentioned, but was strongly alluded to. I only read through the article once, and trying to put a positive spin on it, I allowed myself to think about the fact that I am all for strengthening and promoting family, and that I wanted to re-read the article and find the good in it.

    Various friends on facebook, however, were discussing the flaws of the article, and I realized that they were probably right. That the article was written with the gay marriage battle in mind, and that my enjoyable participation in the pride festival last week places me as one who is calling evil good and good evil, one who is in the great and spacious building. (At least according to the article...)

    Then mix with that with an article in the deseret news today about how gay-rights activists ask for tolerance, but are not tolerant of those on the other side of the issue. Then the tony awards tonight, (so many awesome moments with Neil Patrick Harris!) and the success of the "Book of Mormon" Musical. Then there are my feelings from reading part of "Goodbye, I love you" by Carol Lynn Pearson today, and my emotions and thoughts are just so jumbled and confused and troubled right now.

    Where do I stand with the church? Where do I stand with gay rights? Where is my life heading with regards to these two things? Can they continue to co-exist without tearing me apart? And all of this with trying to support my family--my kids and my best friend (aka legal husband). We are doing our damn best to make family the center of our lives, in the middle of chaos called life, and then an article about family in the Ensign puts us on the "evil" side of the issue, when it is the church's teaching on family and its influence on Scott's youth that has us where we are in the first place!

    If I despise gay rights, then I am not taking care of my family. Scott and I would not get along, and my children would not have the stable situation right now with both of their parents raising them together. If I despise gay rights, then I am denying what is in my heart.

    But if I embrace gay rights, I am the evil one, the deceived and worldly spacious building-dweller. I am the enemy to family and society.

    No wonder I feel nothing at church any more. The constant battle is taking its toll, and it has been just a bit too much for me to handle today.

    I'm sure this troubled feeling is momentary. Maybe the coming week will bring moments of clarity for me, and all will again be well.

    I hope.

    Monday, May 30, 2011

    Unexpected Sadness

    I haven't blogged for a long time, for two reasons, I think. One, I am too busy. And two, life has been pretty happy and peaceful, and the ideas I have had for blog posts have not been angsty enough to warrant the *need* to process in written form, (or sometimes I have processed through them by writing, but just in a note-pad on my phone during church, and then I've never gotten back to them to publish them.)

    But here it is two in the morning, and I can't sleep and I can't stop crying, so I guess it is time to process. And then I will grade some trigonometry finals while I am up and there are no children to interrupt me! :)

    The story begins ten years ago when two of Scott's siblings were married within a month-and-a-half of each other. The two weddings gave me the opportunity to compare and contrast the events and how I felt at each, since one of them was in the temple and one was not. I will never forget the difference in how I felt, and it was a significant moment for my testimony of the importance of the sealing ordinance.

    Therefore, I was thrilled a month or so ago to discover that the one who was married in her in-laws' home was now making preparations to be sealed. I was very glad that I had my recommend so that I wouldn't be left out.

    Then tonight at a family birthday/dinner party (or last night, I guess), my mother-in-law presented them with a gift--a porcelain replica of a temple--and then she pushed them to share their experience of the day before as they and their four children were sealed in the temple. It became the main topic of discussion, as it rightfully should have been! Everyone ran to the computer to see a photo that a friend had taken and put on Facebook of the six of them in white, hand in hand outside the temple.

    At first I thought my feeling of disappointment was due to the fact that the event had been kept low-key, with only the two sets of parents and some close friends invited. It totally makes sense to do as they did, since the families are large, and people without recommends would be left out, and who do you invite and who do you not invite as not to hurt feelings, and the fact that they just wanted to keep it small because yes, it was important, but they did not want the pomp and circumstance to detract from that.

    But then as the discussion continued, and everyone was so excited to hear the details, my sadness deepened. It wasn't just disappointment at not being invited, it was about me and MY marriage and MY eternity. I have been doing so well lately and thought I had mourned most of it out of my system, but apparently not. Eventually, the tears began to overflow, and I realized too late that we should have left sooner so that I could have kept them inside so as not to detract from the evening.

    I briefly told my daughter what was wrong so that she wouldn't worry about me, but when Scott, concerned, tried to discover the source of my sadness on the way home and then again at home, I could not tell him. I could not share the pain with him. Not only would it make him sad that I am sad, but I'm also not sure if he understands anymore just how hard it is for me, when he has distanced himself so much from the church and the gospel, when he no longer believes what he once did about eternity and temple ordinances. He would try to sympathize to comfort me, but he would not be able to empathize, and that--the loss of his testimony--just makes it all the more painful.

    And so I mourn a loss, while trying hard to find the hope I have had so many times, the faith that God knows all things, and that everything will work out for the best for him and me and our family. I know God brought us together in the first place and confirmed that we should marry. So he must have a plan for us. And I just need to endure and be patient to find out the end of my story...

    Saturday, April 23, 2011

    Must-have book!

    A gay Mormon friend of ours is doing amazing things. He has started a discussion group at BYU to help people better understand "Same Gender Attraction". Now he has asked many of us to contribute stories to a book, and it just became available on Amazon this week.

    I have not yet read every story, but the ones I have read have been extremely touching. The forward was written by our friend's mother, and it is amazing! Then Brent has included a well-written introduction, as well as his own story. Scott and I have contributed to the book, as well as many others of our friends.

    If you are looking for something to help family and friends in the LDS church better understand this issue and how it affects individuals and families, then this book is a must-have!

    I want 50 copies to give to family and ward members. But alas, I have not the funds to do so. I guess I will buy a few to loan out, or feel free to follow the link above and purchase your own.

    Sunday, March 27, 2011


    The lesson in Relief Society last week was on charity. We have a new teacher who is  down to earth and sincere, and I really enjoyed her presentation of the lesson.

    When she began the lesson, I opened it up on my cell phone, skimmed it through, and then set my phone down to listen. As I listened, the words I skimmed from the last portion of the written lesson stayed clear in my mind, and I felt like I might want to comment when we began discussing that portion. I don't tend to comment in relief society any more because when I feel like I have something worth saying, it usually contradicts what I assume is the majority view in the room.

    The first paragraph of the lesson is a summary, and it says:

    "The life of the Savior reflects His pure love for all people. He even gave His life for us. Charity is that pure love which our Savior Jesus Christ has. He has commanded us to love one another as He loves us. The scriptures tell us that charity comes from a pure heart (see 1 Timothy 1:5). We have pure love when, from the heart, we show genuine concern and compassion for all our brothers and sisters."

    The last part of the lesson talks about loving all people, even if we don't approve of something about them.

    "Even when we give to those in need, unless we feel compassion for them we do not have charity (see 1 John 3:16-17). The Apostle Paul taught that when we have charity we are filled with good feelings for all people. We are patient and kind. We are not boastful or proud, selfish or rude. When we have charity we do not remember or rejoice in the evil others have done..."

    "The Savior was our example of how to feel toward and treat others. He despised wickedness, but He loved sinners in spite of their sins..."

    Toward the end of the lesson, after another sweet sister expressed that charity includes not judging others for any reason, I felt like I should comment, and I raised my hand. I started by saying I hoped I could express myself appropriately, but that experiences in my life with my friends over the last couple of years had taught me that there is really no such thing as "love the sinner, but hate the sin." In order to truly love someone, we need to overlook the things we don't approve of. That doesn't mean we need to embrace those things ourselves, but it is usually best not to lecture people about what we believe they are doing wrong. In most cases they already know how we feel. I became slightly emotional as I mentioned that if I had not learned to embrace this attitude, that the current state of my family and daily life for my children would be much more difficult.

    The teacher thanked me for my comment and moved on. I'm sure there are people who do not agree with me, that would rather follow the advice from church leaders that we have a responsibility to call our brothers and sisters to repentance. That is apparently how we truly show our love for them. But I have to disagree, and I hope my comment helped others to think about the gray area of showing true charity.

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

    What Would Jesus Do?

    I recently found out about a very interesting website.

    I'm sure many would consider it the teachings of men, mingled with scripture. But regardless, it presents an interesting view (with possible scriptural evidence) of the way Christ may have viewed and treated gay people in the time he lived here on the Earth. I found it very interesting and feel that it personifies the Christ I believe in.

    Here are summaries from two of the six scripture passages that the sight expounds on.

    Matthew 8:5-13
    The Greek word that the Roman centurion uses in this passage to describe the sick man – pais – is the same word used in ancient Greek to refer to a same-gender partner.

    Matthew 19:10-12
    Here Jesus refers to "eunuchs who have been so from birth." This terminology ("born eunuchs") was used in the ancient world to refer to homosexual men. Jesus indicates that being a "born eunuch" is a gift from God.

    Wednesday, March 2, 2011

    Touching testimonials

    Loved these and had to share. They touch my heart and inspire me. Please enjoy!

    Iowa son with two moms that speaks out for marriage equality.

    Support of a Mormon father.

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    I am not ashamed

    This past Saturday I attended a temple session for the first time in at least 18 months. I've had a recommend for two months, but I've been afraid to go. Of course being out of the habit and working full time with five children doesn't help. Then also there was the tragedy of the night I took my children to do baptisms in December. With that experience, and with the focus of "eternal marriage" in the endowment ceremony, I was kind of worried about how hard it might be on me.

    Then, during the week, I engaged in a contentious discussion on Facebook with Scott and a couple of sisters in my ward. My resulting anger made me feel unworthy to attend the stake temple day on the coming Saturday. I messaged the sister that I planned to go with and told her that I might not feel like I should go. She responded okay, but that maybe Satan was just working really hard on me because he knew I was planning to go, and so going was really exactly what I needed to do. I had prayed for forgiveness of my thoughtless words (not for my opinion, but for how immature I was in my reaction to their opinions), and sent messages of apology to the two Facebook friends. I received a forgiving message back from one of them that made me feel okay about my planned temple trip again.

    The day of, I was not nervous or tempted not to go, and I looked forward to it. I carpooled with a good friend whose husband, of his own choice, doesn't have a recommend. First we attended a special meeting for our stake in the chapel, where the temple president and matron spoke.

    He spoke of a man who stopped going to church at age 15. For forty years he had nothing to do with the church. All of his children and wife were inactive.

    Then a daughter-in-law had them go to the Draper temple open house. While they were there in the celestial room he heard a voice say, calling him by name, "come back." He pulled his wife aside and asked her, "will you come to sacrament meeting with me tomorrow?" He now serves as an ordinance worker.

    The temple president promised that if we attend the temple once a week, (rotating through the different ordinance work) our problems will be significantly lightened.

    During the session I felt peaceful and happy. I did not feel guilty or unworthy. Words in the ceremonies that seem to contradict my opinions on gay rights did not frustrate me or make me feel conflicted. I had a feeling that there is a bigger picture that has not yet been revealed, and that for now I don't need to stress about what that bigger picture is. But I am in the right place, continuing to attend church and the temple and seeking for that which is good, doing the best I can to keep promises I have made in the temple. It was good to be reminded of those.

    In one of the Facebook messages that was sent to me following the aforementioned discussion, my friend quoted that she is not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and will therefore stand up for it anytime she has the chance.

    I nearly responded that I am not ashamed of the gospel either (but I decided to leave it alone). However, I am also not afraid to stand up for gay rights. I just put a new equality sticker on my mini-van. And this time it is not a magnet that someone can remove while my van is parked in the church parking lot. :)

    Sunday, February 13, 2011

    Rising above intolerance

    The name of the club I supervise is RAIN--rising against intolerance now.

    So, I have a question...

    How do we do that? The students in the club as well as any of us?

    The question came up in my mind as I sat in Sunday School, sort of listening to the topic of Christ's miracles going on in the background.... catching up on Facebook. I found this on the wall of a gay friend. He was very angry. He quoted a comment to a Deseret News article about legislation going on at the state capital. It shows an ignorant attitude of intolerance, and is very disturbing.
    "Whether by choice or biology, gays have opted out of the child-rearing game. Gay adoption makes no sense.

    "True love is defined by God as heterosexuality. May his mercy and love shine like a rainbow on those struggling with sexual perversion (i.e. addiction). Homosexuality is defined by sex. Heterosexuality is defined by God."

    Horrible misunderstanding. My friend has every right to be angry, but does it do any good? Does it do more harm than good to post about his anger on facebook?

    Maybe rising against intolerance should change to rising above intolerance. Satan is laughing at this battle because both sides are so angry. The contention withdraws the spirit, forces precious souls to leave the church for the sake of their own sanity, affects families and parents and siblings and children. To me, rising above intolerance means that it has to start with each of us individually. We have to be tolerant of those who are not tolerant of us. We have to replace anger with compassion. The only way things are going to change and people will learn is if they see the LGBT population doing good, serving the community, making a good name for themselves instead of just reacting with anger. There are many that ARE doing that, but it is the angry and protesting ones that make the news.

    What if instead of protests, service projects are organized, media called and encouraged to report on it.

    What if instead of lashing out, we forgive them, pray for our enemies and help to educate them. Many do not mean to sound hateful, they are honestly speaking out of fear for what they do not understand. Let's seek opportunities to help them see and understand.

    More easily said than done, I know.

    Lately I have been trying more and more to stand up for Mormons. When I hear LGBT groups bashing Mormons, I have not hesitated to say "I am a Mormon, and yet I am on your side." Sometimes I tell them more. Like "my in-laws are very active Mormons and they allowed our gay friends to get 'married' in their beautiful back yard." I have been amazed at my Mormon sister, my Mormon co-workers, some of my Mormon friends in my ward that are willing to listen to me and my opinions. And even though on occasion they kindly remind me that they do not share my opinions on gay marriage, they are still willing to open their hearts and listen to me without judgment.

    And yet I know too well how much the words of outspoken and ignorant and intolerant Mormons hurt, especially when they come from someone in a position of authority. These people need our prayers and forgiveness, even when we think they don't deserve it. They are also God's children, and our anger toward them hurts no one but ourselves as bitterness poisons our hearts.

    Any thoughts on how everyone can try to peacefully make progress with the religious community, and rise above the intolerance that comes from such?