Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The struggle of faith.

For those of you who haven't seen this yet. Send Matt some love. Personally I think he's making the wrong choice for the wrong reason, but who am I to judge. But I believe it is obvious the church isn't doing a very good job at giving ALL of its members the happiness it promises if you are "obedient to the church."

Matt Sutton recommits to Mormonism

I truthfully hope this isn't the beginning of another unnecessary tragedy.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Mormon Response to HRC

"We don't condone physical violence officially, but we sure as hell don't want you getting married.  Until someone re-writes The Plan of Salvation, you can still be lonely fence sitters in the Mormon idea of eternity."  I'm done dealing with the Mormon plan of "how things are to be."  How about you?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Freedom to love: A new campaign

I'm starting to go public with a concept.  I'm dangling the carrot as it were to see if anything nibbles at it prompting me to go forward in what I'm sure will be both a positive and slightly controversial social movement.

It all started with the events over the last couple weeks.  First one suicide than another, than bullying resulting in suicide... Ellen's comments, the The Trevor Project's new campaign.  The tipping point was the words of the president of the Quorum of the LDS 12 apostles, Boyd K. Packer at the most recent LDS General Conference.  Those still connected to the Mormon dome are well aware of what a mess this has caused.  I heard yesterday there was another gay teen suicide in Utah... the protest around temple square.  I mean things have just gone sideways.  A storm is indeed gathering and its not just the one outside my window right now.

While waiting the hour to go off to work something popped in to my head.  I've always felt that the gay community and the equal rights movement within the LGBT community was a little scattered.  Perhaps we're all too busy or just a little to A.D.D,... oh look at the kitty....  Maybe its just me but it almost seems that since the loss of Harvey Milk things have been without a focus.  We know what we want and what we're after, but the ship seems adrift.  We need something to unify us in this cause of equality.  Usually that is a person, a leader, but I don't see one.  Or maybe there are so many spread across the country and the globe.  There isn't a single thing anymore that brings us together... maybe having something, a focus will get us over the hump of frustration, of continued denigration, alienation, and so many other things.

And then it hit me... why couldn't that thing be a song?  Within a matter of minutes, since that was all the time I had, the words and the music came together.  The rest of the idea took place over the next several hours.  If this is a song that will express everyone then they need to lend their voice to what is expressed.  With the number of musicaly inclined gays there are in the world, or just Mormondom if we want to be narrow focused, this should be quite a simple thing.

So the initial idea blossomed further... I have provided the chorus, lets open up the writing of the verses to the homo world at large.  A sort of contest.  All they get is the chord structures and associated rhythm - aka the accompaniment, (and the preproduced chorus) they get to provide the rest.  It seems like a good idea to give voice to what we are all feeling these days.  I have no personal desires to gain a thing from this other than getting true equality here a little faster.

There are far too many lives being lost to wait another day or waste more time debating what God thinks of gay people and whether or not good Christians or Mormons should allow them to be who they are or get married if they so choose.  An acquaintance told me, "wow, maybe you're the next Harvey Milk."  To which I quickly said, no I don't have half the leadership qualities of Harvey.  I have neither the face or poetic words to rally the troops... but I do have a song, and a vision.  I pray it is a good as it seems.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Responses from members defending Boyd K. Packers talk (part 2

From the previous member's brother

Sean, God loves you, Boyd K. Packer loves you, I love you. I do not believe that you chose to have same gender attractions. I do not think that you are a bad person because you have same gender attractions. I don't believe that God thinks t...hat you are a bad person because you were faced with same gender attractions.
It is my personal opinion that each individual in this life has things that they are faced with that may be really difficult. For one man it may be an overwhelming desire to look at pornography, or to spend their time reading romance books, or whatever.

The point is, I have a right, you have a right, Body K. Packer has a right, and God has a right to share what each of us individually feels is best to do with our time while here upon the earth. We all also have a right to vote in accordance to our own beliefs for what is best for this nation.
I and Boyd K. Packer strongly feel that it is not in anyone's best eternal interest to entertain or sexually act upon same gender attractions. I and Boyd K. Packer also strongly feel that it is not in anyone's best eternal interest to entertain or sexually act upon pornography attractions.

I and Boyd K. Packer also strongly feel that it is not in anyone's best eternal interest to have sexual activity or thoughts with anyone or anything outside of the bonds of marriage between a man a woman. This means that I and Boyd K. Packer feel that some people who are never married for whatever reason (perhaps they couldn't find someone who wanted to marry them), should NEVER engage in any sexual behavior then-- this happens A LOT in the church.

I and Boyd K. Packer feel that this is what God has declared. I and Boyd K. Packer try to vote and teach in accordance to what we believe God has declared. I expect you to do the same. But we do not hate you, we just respectfully disagree with you. I don't want you to be harmed, or belittled, at all. I don't expect that changing a law is going to prevent the sexual behaviors of people with same gender attractions, just as it doesnt prevent the sexual behaviors of people without same gender attractions who have sexual behaviors outside of the bonds of matrimony. I do have concerns that God is more displeased as this nation becomes less founded upon principles of righteousness.

I just want you to know that I understand where you are coming from though. If I did not believe that God had declared this, I would be upset too. For example-- If you belonged to a different church than me, and the leader of your church said that I shouldn't be married to McKenna and that what I was doing was offensive to God, I would be upset too. If I didn't agree with it, I would vote against it, and I would teach against it, I would post against it. I think it is an admirable quality that you fight so hard for what you believe and I respect you and love you as an individual.

Please respect and love people like Boyd K. Packer for doing what we think is right, just as I respect and love you for doing what you feel is right. Now-- that doesn't mean that I am telling you to stop doing what you feel is right.

I am sad that a lot of people hate those with same gender attractions. I consider you my friend, and I do not hate you-- I just disagree with you, but that is okay, we can still love each other as friends in my opinion.

I am glad that you have a determination to do what you feel is right. It does sadden me that our views of what is right are different, but I assume it saddens you too. I hope that you have and show respect for those like myself and Boyd K. Packer who seek to do what they feel is right, but who do not agree with you.

Responses from members defending Boyd K. Packers talk (part 1)

From a member I went to the same ward with in my younger days....


Well, I’ve got quite a doozy of typing going on. I had to put it into a separate document and save it every now and then, so that babies could accidentally bump the plug in. I will all your words in ( ), so that it separate...s the speakers. I tried bold and colors, but it wouldn't copy over. That's kinda lame. It’s nice to get to have these, LONG chats.
Ok, so, here we go. And remember, I am not trying to be mean, just explaining my opinion. You can have yours and I can have mine. That is just fine.

(Packer ….. definitely follows the WYSIWYG ) ...I don’t know what that stands for, so if you’d enlighten me, that would be nice.

I went and listened to Boyd K. Packers talk just the other day, so I could review it. I was confused that people were calling it a hate speech at all. I really liked the talk and felt it was mainly dealing with how to get out of the trap of pornography. It lightly touched on same-sex marriage. In my opinion, I agree that just because something is voted on, does not make it right. I liked the comparison to gravity. If we vote and pass a law saying there is no gravity, it does not make it true or right.

--(pamphlet "To Young Men Only" (originally from the priesthood General Session Oct. 2 1976) that violence toward one who is "same gender attracted" is acceptable. It seems like a blanket approval of hatred through violence to me. )

So, I was interested in what was said there, so I checked it out. Here is what I got:

“It was intended that we use this power only with our partner in marriage. I repeat, very plainly, physical mischief with another man is forbidden. It is forbidden by the Lord.
There are some men who entice young men to join them in these immoral acts. If you are ever approached to participate in anything like that, it is time to vigorously resist.
While I was in a mission on one occasion, a missionary said he had something to confess. I was very worried because he just could not get himself to tell me what he had done.
After patient encouragement he finally blurted out, "I hit my companion."
"Oh, is that all," I said in great relief.
"But I floored him," he said.
After learning a little more, my response was "Well, thanks. Somebody had to do it, and it wouldn't be well for a General Authority to solve the problem that way"
I am not recommending that course to you, but I am not omitting it. You must protect yourself.”
-from the “To Young Men Only” info I found online.

In my summary of this tiny clip out of “To Young Men Only”, I do not see it as a call to everyone to be violent toward others, but a call to protect yourself from anyone trying to violate you. He does not say, “If you find out that someone is same-sex, you should beat them to a bloody pulp!” He is talking about a young man protecting himself from someone who is was trying to violate him. Though the story is a bit vague if he was just told, or actively coming on to him. It sounds to me that the young man was so shocked, it came out as a punch. Also, the young man felt bad about his blow, and was repenting of it. If a man was trying to rape me, I would not feel bad about hitting him to the ground. I would actually hope I could do even more to protect myself. Taser, pepper spray, and then get AWAY. You must protect yourself… that is the main message.

I also don't believe homosexuality is a trap of Satan. If this were true Jesus would have been "curing" people of homosexuality too. )
I do not believe it is a sickness, it is a sin. Jesus provided the “cure” which is available to all.... It is the gift of repentance. The reason why I see same sex attraction as a trap from Satan is that, first off, same sex marriage does not follow one of the first commandments that was ever commanded. Adam and Eve were told to multiply and replenish the earth. It was not said, “Do whatever you feel is drawing you in, and it’s all fine with me.” Same-sex attraction does not lead to families, and bringing God’s children to earth, and unity between husband and wife. All passions and desires are to be kept within the bounds the Lord has set. I believe this.

I am sorry, again if this is offensive to you or others. I am not trying to offend. What I wonder is; what is it that you and others want? It seems you are angry because of the Church is saying that it is “evil and wrong”. Do you want them to say there is nothing wrong, and this is pure righteousness? If so, I really don’t think the Lord is going to do anything different then he has ever done for those who choose to walk their own paths. He does the same as he has always done. Offer the plan of Redemption and the power of repentance and forgiveness. You mentioned being married. What I wonder, is why did you marry when you obviously didn’t love that person? I would rather be single, than married to someone I don’t love.

I want you to be happy Sean. But it is not up to me, or anyone else. It is up to the individual… kind of like the story of the 10 virgins, who were all followers of Christ and invited to the wedding. We need to find it for ourselves. It seems from your posts that you are full of anger and frustration at others. Why? Is it because you feel attacked? I am glad that we all have free agency and get to choose our own path in life. If you do not agree with the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints, then walk away, and don’t keep looking back and mocking or fighting. Religion is a choice, and you do not have to follow what the Church teaches.

Oh, you mention about the church’s support of Prop. 8. Or; marriage is defined as between one man and one woman. I think it was here in AZ too. I helped make calls to get opinions of this. I know about getting a legal marriage, because I followed it and paid $80 for a piece of paper and number...but I think marriage is more of a religious thing. An agreement between Husband and Wife and God. I wonder why the state even got into this? Is it for $? Back in the day, all a couple had to do was get whatever paster/preacher/sea captain they chose...that is for European nations, anyway. I guess they couldn’t choose a captain, there is only one on a ship. :) Anyway, about the religious thing, I may be wrong here, and I haven’t thought about it enough to form a complete opinion. But, I think marriage should only be a religious thing, and the state/govt should stay out of it. Separation of church and state. Because of this, the Church of Jesus Christ did not want it to be made law that the church had to accept same-sex marriages, and thus be breaking law by not allowing same sex couples into the temples of the Lord. This is all my opinion and thoughts here. So, I see the church/s making such a stand against this making same-sex marriage a law, because it is completely contrary to the teachings of the Lord. Thus, forcing what we believe to be “wrong and evil” upon us
(You mention that you would indeed protest a law that forces you to believe something you don't agree with. With that same sentiment I find it shocking that members are puzzled why people would protest in front of temples and meetinghouse...s.)

What I find myself asking is, “Why are these people wasting their time and energy and life in protesting against what others believe, when they can believe as they want. No one has to join a church.

(To say nothing about how the church still comes to my home to endorse itself.)

Are you talking about missionaries? I am sure that if they knew you didn’t want them to knock on your door, they wouldn’t. Maybe you should put a sign up? Missionaries are not telepathic. :) That would be really cool.

(I guess we'll have to disagree about the division in the church.)
I guess we will agree to disagree. I was looking at the site and noticed a quote from Hinckley...which I already felt would be so. None of the leaders (prophets/apostles) of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are pro same-sex because it does not follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But...I do agree that there is a LOT of reading of all kinds about all different topics. It’s nice to have so much info...but a bit overwhelming at times. A friend of mine, who was of a different church said that my church had too much info, and she only wanted a little pamphlet worth of reading. Lol.

(The gay youth homeless rate in Utah, where some believe the church is most true ) -the church is not more true in any one area than it is in another area of the world. Did you know that there are more members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints outside the USA, than in? ( is among the highest in the country.)
I wonder, what do they consider as “youth”. If one of my children was 18, and living at home and wanting to do things in my home that I didn’t agree with, then I would say something to the effect of, “I love you, but I don’t allow this in my home. You can move out if you want, or you can keep the house rules.” ...That would include drugs, alcohol, R rated movies, or porn...or whatever else I don’t want in my house and yes, even chocolate chip cookies if I am on a diet. Would I still love my child? YESSSS!!!!!!!! If my child was younger than 18, they could live at home, but anything they do contrary to house rules would have to not be in the house or on the property. I cannot follow them around everywhere. That is not good parenting. I need to teach them, and then let them choose for themselves. That is exactly what the Lord is trying to do for us. And boy, it is hard to see loved ones not following the Lord. I love them so soooo much. I love them, but I don’t agree with their choices. And that is ok.

(Really the discussion could be about how (p)assionate some leaders and members are instead of debating whether or not gay is right or wrong or a choice or inborn. ) Wrong choice and not inborn. Maybe “The Family: The A Proclamation to the World” did not say it cut and dry enough.

There is a LOT of reading about love and support and repentance. More than there is about same-sex marriage being wrong.

Well, I think that’s about it for now. Again, you do not have to agree with me, or the different churches that don’t agree with your choices. You do not have to believe the same as other people. None of this is meant to be said in a mean way or belittling to you or others.

Thanks for all your thoughts too Sean, and God’s peace for you too.

Over and out. Oh, if you don’t want this on your FB wall, you can always delete it from the side options. I’ll still consider you a friend.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Let the s%$t hit the fan

 Here is the first exchange between my dad and myself over the events of conference weekend.

Date: Mon, 4 Oct 2010 12:23:36 -0700
From: dad
Subject: Church
To: me

Sean: I thought this should be more private than facebook. Sean it is very obvious to me that due to your upbringing you follow church events to see if any change may occur that would help you again identify with the LDS church. Sean, you need to stop torturing yourself this way. Focus on the good in your life not the negative. Focus on how you can do what you can now, not with who you were or where you've been.

My Response:


Thanks for your concern.  On the contrary my only awareness about the recent yet regular stupidity of the church is via my circle of friends and aquaintences.  Yes, nearly all of them are gay and yes many of them have LDS backgrounds. Some of them still think they can fight the good fight and conquer their "gay sin" as Boyd K. Packer suggested this weekend.  I have no desire what so ever to reunite or rekindle past associations with the church.  They could marry gays in the temple today and I would not go within 1,000 miles of the church.  I never fit in to their picture of "how the world and eternity is supposed to be" and will not make any future attempts to do so.  I cannot, however, stand by and let the gross intolerance and injustices of the church be perpetuated.  They are wrong and as was seen in California they are dangerously powerful - politically and financially.  To have tens of thousands of members give of their finances (some surrendering tens of thousands of dollars of their children's college fund to the church) time and professional resources, all for the cause of blocking my rights and encouraging government endorsement of their faith without questioning their leaders, motives, or the consequences of their actions on society is a freightening thing.

I will not give in to my LDS indoctrination of "bowing my head and saying yes" and turning a blind eye to letting these men endorse on the world stage taking away my freedoms while spreading and promoting hate, fear, and repression to my gay 'brothers and sisters' in the name of their "one true faith."  Mormonism, apparently, has yet to learn from the historic atrocities committed by the other "one true church," Roman Catholicism.  You say to focus on the good.  Isn't fighting for the right thing focusing on the good?  Isn't working towards equality so that others may not have to suffer and go what I went through reaching for a better tomorrow?  I am doing what I can now, but I often feel it is not enough.

As I have told some of my friends, if the bills could still get paid, I would give up everything for this cause.  It IS that important!  If sharing all of what I have gone through in my life saves but one struggling gay youth or adult, or causes one member of the church to stop and think before judging or voting to "protect traditional marriage/families" while denying me my happiness then it is worth all of the challenges.

Much love,