When the cat’s away…

So last night was really great.

There were so many awesome people with so many awesome stories and I loved meeting everyone. Thank you to those of you who traveled far distances to come see me–and to all of you readers who came to support me, it seriously meant a lot to me.

I was an organizational disaster as I spoke and I had like ten notecards and another notecard and a piece of paper and I kept kind of losing track of what I was talking about and I looked like an ADD star palace, but in the end it ended up going well and I felt like I was able to say what I was supposed to say.

Here’s a picture taken by a reader named Christen Lane who came to hear me and then posted it on my Facebook page.

My blind eye is only kind of squinty!!!

Thanks for the great photo, Christen.

When I got online after the event to check my email I did not feel so awesome.

So, I posted my last post at the airport on the way to Utah, and then I went off the grid because I was stressing out and needed all of my mental energy to think about my remarks. After I was done last night, I was like “oh, I can hop online now and see how things are going.” Imagine my dismay and disappointment when I saw that I got numerous emails from people saying that the LDS temple ceremony was being mocked in the comments section of the post.

Of course I had to see for myself, and I was repulsed to see they were not exaggerating. And that there were one or two commenters who absolutely dominated the comment section with hate-filled, vitriolic, intolerant posts.

I have made a decision.

I am moderating comments.

I had thought that if I talked about this enough times, explained the type of conversation I was going for–the openness I seek, the feel of acceptance and sharing and mutual understanding, and respectful exploration of differences I am trying to foster here–that people would pick up on that and then manage themselves. Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be happening.

This will be imperfect. I won’t be able to be “fair.” I have biases, and I will be more likely to remove the posts of some people based on history than others.

At the same time though, I don’t want you to think that divergent opinions are the problem here. They aren’t the problem. They are what make conversations great. There are so many divergent views shared by commenters who are able to articulate their thoughts in a respectful way (and did so even on yesterday’s post). Anyone trying to share a perspective with respect and kindness, you have absolutely nothing to worry about w/ regard to moderation. In fact, your input is encouraged.

It is the people who have a clear agenda, who have explained that they do not intend to engage in this conversation in a respectful way, who can expect their comments to be removed. Every time. Without apology from me.

Furthermore, there is one more line I’m going to draw. As a believing Mormon, I cherish my religious beliefs, just as other adherents to other faiths cherish theirs. I love the exchange of ideas and information that happens when espousers of different creeds explore and share ideas. I think it’s extremely useful to have that kind of exchange, and such a discussion requires a safe, respectful environment.

Because of this, any person who tears down a religious creed on my blog, or speaks derogatorily of someone’s sacred beliefs can expect to have their comment swiftly removed. The level of disrespect and blatant intolerance I saw yesterday was breathtaking. It’s actually been going on for a long time and I’m so sorry everyone has had to suffer through it for as long as they have. I’ve probably waited too long to take this action–the axe has been at the root for months–but I really did have hopes that people could self-manage. Last post’s comments–and the many emails from people personally appalled by their sacred beliefs being trampled on–have demonstrated in a clear and obvious way that the time has come. Which makes me sad because while the presentation has been abhorrent, I have appreciated the perspective.

Aaaaand consider this issue put to rest. If you have a personal question about the policy or comments, feel free to email me at joshua dot weed at gmail dot com. I won’t be responding to comments about it, but I will respond to emails.

All right. I have four trillion clients to see today. I’m gonna try to answer my FFAQ question tonight, but I’m going to be so busy recovering from the trip and preparing for a training I’ll be going to from Wednesday to Sunday that it might not get finished. But I’ll post something tonight regardless. It might be one sentence. About how tired I am. But whatev.

Thanks again to those who came to see me speak. Meant the world to me.

188 Comments

  1. Good move! In my opinion, at least. I've done the same on my blog. Really, people don't listen to others when they feel the need to get defensive because of the tone or name-calling or other unappropriate language. It is the antithesis of building bridges for any subject – religion, sexuality, politics, you name it. Civility is a nearly forgotten virtue. I love that at joshweed.com civility is required.

  2. I completely agree, EB. I don't understand why people have to be so mean and hurtful.
    Josh, don't worry a moment about moderation. Those who love your blog won't care, we'll appreciate it. Let the haters hate, then delete them. I'm just sorry you still have to read that poison.

  3. Thank you, Josh. I love the differing points of view expressed in this blog, and I have been so pleased especially about the tone of the comments up until now. I read your blog every day because I feel it is a place where I am able to explore differing views and understand better the challenges of my gay friends and family. I'm one of those lifelong LDS with very close friends who are gay, and I have been so uplifted by the experiences shared here. It has helped my heart and mind grow and I have learned more about myself and my personal faith than I ever expected to from a blog. I hold fast to the doctrine of my faith, but I have been trying to love better and accept my friends and their choices. This blog has been a turning point for me. Your example of kindness and love and acceptance and openness are what the world needs. Not more yelling and anger. Thanks for the blog. Thanks for the moderation and thanks for keeping the discourse civil and respectful.

    Much love,
    Valerie

    1. Valerie-

      I have felt much the same. It has been a great way for me to understand what being gay may mean, especially for someone in the church and I applaud the efforts here. Thanks to those who have been willing to share their points of view in a respectful way. And I for one, do feel safer, knowing that my ideas and faith won't get knocked down hatefully, but that we can explore this issue with love and respect for one another.

    2. Valerie and Rachel, I am nodding my head as I read your comments. I, too, read this blog everyday!

      Josh, your "coming-out" post changed my life. That might sound strange coming from someone whom you have never met in real life, but it is true- and from a lot of the comments I have read, I am not the only one who feels that way. You have opened my eyes to a much greater understanding of this topic as well as a much greater love for those who identify themselves as homosexual, both in and out of the LDS faith. In addition to this, strangely enough, even though I myself am not gay, I have found ways to relate to your struggles and be inspired by your courage and commitment in my own life. Most of all, I feel an increase of love towards others because of your example. Thank you for giving of yourself and for encouraging all of us to do so respectfully as well. You're awesome! And that goes for Lolly as well!

  4. I think it's a great idea to moderate comments. A lot of people don't respect others because the internet is so anonymous and they feel like they can do anything they want and never be accountable for it. I appreciate you giving us a voice, to tell you what we're thinking and our opinions. I also appreciate you taking away that voice to those who decide to attack and offend. Love the blog and look forward to more.

  5. Good call. Sooner or later it had to happen. Just keep up the good work. The message of love and support is something I need to read and have reinforced in me every day of my life.

  6. Ever since your blog blew up across the Internet I haven't commented but I DO know that whenever I see anything making fun of ANY religion (not just my own) it makes me sick to my stomach. Good move on your part Josh. 🙂

  7. Thanks so much for moderating comments! I know it's less than ideal, but it will be so nice to be able to come and exchange ideas respectfully. Looking forward to your FFAQ!

  8. Good call. I know it's not what you wanted but I suspect the tone was putting many people off engaging in the dialogue.

    Glad the trip went well. I bet you sounded much better than you think. You have come across very well in the interviews I have seen.

    And nice suit, btw.

  9. Wow, I really hope I didn't make any drunken comments last night. I am quite sure I went to sleep before any of the temple comments were made because I don't remember reading anything of that nature.

    It seems to me that we have two separate issues here: Homosexuality as it relates to private religion and homosexuality as it relates to secular law. And the problem is that I know that 99% of the time, private religious views on homosexuality and god are going to bleed over into secular law. And so as a battle strategy, I just try to fight things at the root. Right or wrong. That's the point I've come to over the past decade. Many years ago, I was just a faithful Mormon girl who tried her best to tow the company line, hoping that God would explain it all some day. I hoped this because unlike many people I come across here, I didn't enjoy being anti-gay. It didn't seem right or fair or kind. It only seemed "required" and so I did my best. Today, I've become somebody who is a fierce, sometimes rabid advocate for people who are gay. And here's the rub: I feel that this should probably include advocating for people who want to work with organizations like Evergreen but daRn it…I am at a loss for words.
    In my opinion, trying to get to the root of things and investigate WHY so many people are willing to assume that God (if indeed there is a god) has spoken on the issue is a vital part of this conversation. It is a VITAL part of this conversation because somewhere along the way, many of us have simply decided that God has spoken and that's that and it is an absolute puzzlement to me how we got there. And it's an often uncomfortable part of this conversation because when we follow the chain of authority and see where it takes us, we often come to elements that, if we found them in Scientology, for example, we would dismiss them with a hearty belly laugh and without any further thought.
    But not everybody does. Some people still choose to believe. And that's fine. But I think it would be fair and reasonable for those people to say: We still have faith that all this went down nice and good and proper the way our spiritual leaders who came before say it did, but maybe we could STOP SHORT of incorporating our beliefs into civil law. Maybe we could stop short of doing that.

    Not everything needs to be voted on! Some things can be decided diplomatically and based on principles found in constitutional law.

    I will continue to hope that our supreme court justices will get the GUTS to protect the gay community. And then maybe the day will come that I don't have to care what people who are religious think because their beliefs won't be able to touch me or people I care about.

    Maybe this Friday I'll officially ask the dodged question: Josh, what do you think of gay marriage from a legal standpoint? Because that has a lot to do with this discussion.
    I, for one, would feel less inclined to take my proverbial sledge hammer and pound mercilessly on religious dogma if I felt that my civil rights and the rights of people I love were safe from being threatened by religious dogma.

    But my apologies if I have said anything over the line this weekend. I got pretty riled up when I heard the name Evergreen. Maybe they've changed their approach over the past 30 years though I don't really agree with their mission statement to begin with. But hopefully they don't do the shock therapy or stuff like that anymore.

    Again, I think that when we go back following the chain of "authority" it can often get uncomfortable and there will be a great many skeletons uncovered. Whether or not that means we shouldn't take that journey remains up for debate. There might be kinder, gentler ways to state fact (not my strong suit), but I am of the mind that some things need to be said or challenged. Especially when so much is at stake. (Especially when so much is at stake for one party but not at all or the other…)

    1. No, you didn't miss any temple comments, but people misunderstood some references (including Josh). Actually I felt that I was having a good conversation with you and Tammy last night, but I do think some of your comments have been snarky.

    2. Thinking back (and I had to really think hard- I wasn't pretending) I can only think of one semi "temple comment" I made. It was incredibly vague and hardly something that I think would warrant removing an entire post. In fact, there's no longer anything I can reference, but if I remember correctly, it went pretty much unnoticed so I'm not even sure I'm remembering the right thing. Have some of my comments been snarky? Yes. I'll try to do better. I think there are a lot of snarky anti-gay comments that don't get caught on the radar but I don't suppose there's much to be done about that. Frankly, I think if it's worth censoring people (in an admittedly biassed fashion) then it's worth making people register to make comments. You can register anonymously. But at least there's some recognition and not 20 different anons making comments. But it's not my blog.

    3. Interesting that you want decisions "based on principles found in constitutional law". The constitution does not set forth rights for anyone to marry, but the First Amendment does state that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". There in lies the problem with gay marriage, because people who decline to perform marriages or make wedding cakes or rent wedding facilities, or provide adoption services, etc. to gay couples based on their own religious beliefs are harassed and/or sued.

      It appears to me that the real goal of many (not all) gay advocates is the destruction of religion. Freedom OF religion, not freedom from religion is a right guaranteed by the Constitution.

    4. This is propaganda that has nothing to do with the Constitution or the legal system. I am a Jew married to a non-Jew who was refused by every single synagogue in the greater Washington DC area the right to marry, based on the fact that my husband was not converting on their schedule — no other factors, not whether we intended to raise Jewish children or keep a Jewish home or anything concerning our beliefs — and I had no recourse even for protest, let alone suing. My father-in-law is a retired Lutheran pastor and he can refuse to marry a (heterosexual) couple because they lived together before marriage, because they have too many divorces in their past, really anything that he personally finds to be out of line with the teachings of his church or his personal sense of their commitment to each other and/or to God. I have never heard of a Catholic church being successfully sued to force them to marry two non-Catholics, so why on Earth could they be sued with any more success for refusing to marry two gay men?

      The people who are being sued are those who harass gay people in the first place. You can't sue someone for declining to bake you a wedding cake, but you CAN sue someone who calls you derogatory names and publicly humiliates you to the point where it crosses into hate speech. You can sue Westboro Baptist, sadly without success in a lot of cases because the First Amendment gives them a lot of leeway to spout hate speech at weddings, funerals, and anywhere else they bring their vitriol. The idea that religious people are being oppressed by the very existence of gay couples in their community and would be further oppressed if those couple had legal rights is absurd. If I feel oppressed by having pork eaters on my street, that is MY problem, not theirs.

    5. Anonymous (September 24 11:22- sigh)
      You will notice that I chose my phrasing very carefully. "based on principles found in constitutional law". I did not say anything about marriage being in the constitution. I very deliberately and preemptively avoided saying that because I know some people love to pounce on the first opportunity to remind others that the constitution doesn't specifically mention marriage. I'm referring to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Principles found in the constitution. If the government can, in any way, take measures so that people can pursue what will make them happy, and if such a pursuit will in no way harm innocents, that should be enough to give it the green light.
      I'm sorry that you disagree with marriage equality, but that doesn't mean that marriage equality would harm you or your rights. You would simply have to live with the fact that you disagree with it.
      If you feel that people should be free to withhold services from gay couples (and I think you could make a strong case for that), then you should tackle THAT issue alone. Spend the time and money that is spent on these anti-marriage issues trying to pass legislation that would protect religious liberties. Make a case. Don't just try to withhold marriage from an entire class of people! For goodness sake, nobody ever said that the system wouldn't need a small amount of tweeking. But to tell an entire class of people that they can't marry because it MIGHT threaten your right to discriminate against them? You don't need a sledge hammer to kill a gnat!

      Your assertion that it is the real goal of many gay advocates to destroy religion is laughable. Believe it or not, this is not about you. People want rights INDEPENDENT of your religion. You think two dudes want to marry because doing so will somehow hinder your ability to wake up and attend church every Sunday or read your scriptures or pray? I'm trying to keep things civil here but good grief! Help me out a little.

      In saying that people are guaranteed freedom OF religion but not FROM religion, basically what you are implying is that anybody can choose any religion they want of ALL the many many MANY diverse and varying religions in the world(most of whom think they're true), but people aren't free to abstain. Is that what you think the founding fathers had in mind? Freedom of religion but not from religion is a ridiculous concept. One cannot exist without the other.

      And what about religions that are willing and even eager to perform same sex marriages? What about religions that value all marriage? How are you not destroying their rights? You seem to think that all religions agree that we must discriminate against gays. If that's the case, I think you should step out and attend a Unitarian Universalist service or maybe a Methodist service some time. Those are just two I can think of. But more and more religions these days are embracing the gay community and with that, marriage equallity. You might not agree with their principles. But you just said that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. So if marriage is only an institution for religions, then all religions should be able to issue marriage licenses and that includes the Unitarian Church I used to attend, who would issue them to both same sex and opposite sex couples.

    6. Gay people are not trying to destroy religion. In fact, many gay people ARE religious. Although to be honest, based on how a lot of religions have treated/treat them, I wouldn't blame them if they did (which they don't).
      Like you, like me, they just want to live their lives equally to everyone else. To be able to marry – not special rights, not extra rights, just the same rights.
      There is actually no gay agenda, no meetings where gay people get together and discuss how they can destroy religions. They don't raise money for that and invite other gay groups to join them and give money. And yet there are meetings where religious people get together and talk about how they can stop gay people from having equal civil rights. They raise money, they lobby, they protest with signs that tell gay people that God hates them, etc.
      To argue that gay people want to destroy religion is an old and rather tired argument that is simply not true. What it does accomplish though is to create an 'us' versus 'them' scenario and enables religious people to feel persecuted.
      Equal rights, not special, not extra, just equal.
      Eeek, I'm going not anonymous again. I trust y'all will resist the urge to say "Karen, you are ________ (insert insult here).
      I think if everyone went non-anonymous with a real link to their real selves, there would be so much less risk of that.

    7. Anon 11:22 pm. You say that people who refuse are sued… That may be a true statement but let's make it more precise by breaking people down into individuals, businesses and religions. My understanding of US Law is that no one can force a religion or church or minster to officiate a wedding or bake a cake that it does not agree with. But if the church chooses to set up a business that bakes cakes or rents out premises, then in order to enjoy the (completely different) protections offered to businesses under the law, that business needs to be willing to serve all Americans without discrimination. As an individual I could be a minister on Sundays but have a cake baking business during the week. As a minister I can refuse a ceremony. As a cake baker I cannot turn away a client based on them wanting 2 grooms on the cake. Seems fair and legal to me.

    8. The fact is that marriage began as a religious/cultural ceremony and it should have remained so. It should never have been legislated or licensed to begin with. There should be no tax break for married people, because that discriminates against single people and their should be no tax break for people with children for the same reason. If marriage existed merely as a cultural/community/religious ceremony then all who wanted to could participate, and anyone who wanted to exclude a certain group of people or another could at their will. I believe in marriage, but I believe it should be a deep personal commitment between 2, or more if that's your thing, consenting adults and no one else should need to be involved for that to happen. Marriage is about a personal decision of commitment anyway if you ask me, and a piece of paper validating it is unnecessary.

    9. Also, I appreciate the moderation. The tone of the comments is so much more respectful! It was at a point where I would read a dozen or so and have to turn off my computer because I couldn't stand the amount of negativity being spewed out by total strangers to one another. I really think you should follow through with it if need be.

    10. K_laurelle, you may think that marriage should be just a ceremony nada commitment between 2 or more. That may be a description of a wedding. But marriage as it is recognized in our society is a protection and obligation of 700 to 1100 legal rights. That is the contract under discussion for lequality.

    11. I am saying that it should not be in my opinion and then non of this would be an issue. People could just live their lives. I think that's what I said. I think marriage and civil union are backwards in our society. What we consider a marriage is really a civil union, one that is contractually binding and gaurantees legal rights, and in a number of states that right is given to everyone. The question of calling it a marriage or not a marriage shouldn't be an issue because marriage is really about religion and community at least in our society. We could make it about the acquisition of property which is the other thing that it's been historically know for, and in that case who would be interested in participating.

    12. K_laurelle:
      That might be but it's a mute point now. Maybe marriage should be strictly up to religions. I hear a lot of religious people argue that. They think that giving marriage to religions would solve their problem and keep it away from the gays. What they don't understand is that giving marriage back to religion would in essence hasten gay marriage because I'll tell you now that my Unitarian Church would do them, as would United Church of Christ, Methodists, and probably too many others to name.
      Since the government HAS set a precedent of dabbling in marriage (whether or not that was a good decision), it's not just to withhold it based on religious principles. The government is not in the business of dictating religious behavior.
      If people who want to "protect" marriage are unhappy about sharing a name, perhaps they could come up with a new name for their unions. They could even make it a secret name so that the atheists and the gays couldn't use it.
      Problem solved.

    13. With all due respect, the phrase “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” does not appear anywhere in the Constitution. That phrase is from the Declaration of Independence which was a declaration of separation from England and is not binding on any of our laws. The phrase used in Ammendment V of the Constitution is “life, liberty or property.”
      To say that freedom from religion means you have to belong to a religion is absurd. It just means that those who do not believe or belong to religion cannot prevent the free exercise of those who do.
      I present as a basis for my statements the following:
      A Colorado-based bakery was harrassed after refusing to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple because of the religious beliefs of the owner.
      Chick-fil-a was harrassed when the owner of the company merely stated his opinion on gay marriage which had nothing to do with who his company hired or served.
      The Catholic Church had to stop providing adoption services in the state of Massachusetts over a state law requiring that they allow same-sex couples to adopt.
      The seemingly innocent gay marriage bill on the Washington State ballot for November adds a section dealing with discrimination to the state marriage law. So this law which claims to be about marriage equality describes the conditions under which a church can be sued for discrimination against gays.
      These are just a few examples, but more and more will come when those who claim that gay marriage will not affect me are trying to make sure that it does affect me.
      That being said, I do not think that gay people are bad or are to be shunned. To the contrary, I have a nephew who is gay, a wonderful neighbor who is gay, I have defended a gay teacher to other parents. But I believe that marriage was instituted of God and is intended to be only between a man and a woman.

    14. Marriage didn't actually begin as a religious ceremony. Anthropologists peg the beginning of marriage at about 4,300 years ago.
      I'm quoting this next part because I'm too tired to paraphrase:
      For thousands of years before that, most anthropologists believe, families consisted of loosely organized groups of as many as 30 people, with several male leaders, multiple women shared by them, and children. As hunter-gatherers settled down into agrarian civilizations, society had a need for more stable arrangements. The first recorded evidence of marriage ceremonies uniting one woman and one man dates from about 2350 B.C., in Mesopotamia. Over the next several hundred years, marriage evolved into a widespread institution embraced by the ancient Hebrews, Greeks, and Romans. But back then, marriage had little to do with love or with religion.

      What was it about, then?
      Marriage’s primary purpose was to bind women to men, and thus guarantee that a man’s children were truly his biological heirs. Through marriage, a woman became a man’s property. In the betrothal ceremony of ancient Greece, a father would hand over his daughter with these words: “I pledge my daughter for the purpose of producing legitimate offspring.” Among the ancient Hebrews, men were free to take several wives; married Greeks and Romans were free to satisfy their sexual urges with concubines, prostitutes, and even teenage male lovers, while their wives were required to stay home and tend to the household. If wives failed to produce offspring, their husbands could give them back and marry someone else.
      and his next part is quite interesting:
      Gay marriage is rare in history—but not unknown. The Roman emperor Nero, who ruled from A.D. 54 to 68, twice married men in formal wedding ceremonies, and forced the Imperial Court to treat them as his wives. In second- and third-century Rome, homosexual weddings became common enough that it worried the social commentator Juvenal, says Marilyn Yalom in A History of the Wife. “Look—a man of family and fortune—being wed to a man!” Juvenal wrote. “Such things, before we’re very much older, will be done in public.” He mocked such unions, saying that male “brides” would never be able to “hold their husbands by having a baby.” The Romans outlawed formal homosexual unions in the year 342. But Yale history professor John Boswell says he’s found scattered evidence of homosexual unions after that time, including some that were recognized by Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches. In one 13th-century Greek Orthodox ceremony, the “Order for Solemnisation of Same Sex Union,” the celebrant asked God to grant the participants “grace to love one another and to abide unhated and not a cause of scandal all the days of their lives, with the help of the Holy Mother of God and all thy saints.”

    15. It's not in the Initiative as written in the voters pamphlet. It is in the bill itself voted on in the state legislature. You'll need to weed (no pun intended) through the bill itself and follow the changes to the various RCWs that the bill changes. Currently on the state website they have the RCWs as written before this bill passed and you have to find the proposed changes in several places. The bill is contradictory in several places. It states that churches cannot be penalized for refusing to perform gay marriages but then it links to the discrimination RCW that says if you have a daycare or rent areas out, etc. then they can't discriminate against a long list including sexual orientation. So, as I read it, if a church has rented out its facility for an eagle court of honor, then it could be precluded from denying a gay marriage. And it will become an issue for the courts. I thought I had saved the locations of all the places in the RCWs but I can't find it on my new computer. It takes lot of reading. If I have time in the next few days, I'll see if I can find it again.

      Another question I have is about the fact that this has become an initiative. State legislatures can legally change an initiative voted on by the public after two years. So does that mean that since it is an initiative that the legislature can make any changes it wants after two years? I don't know the answer to that. But then, they could just go in and amend the bill anyway, initiative or not.

    16. Tammy and all what do you feel about this scenerio my son found himself in and ultimately me having to make the decision for him…
      My oldest was told at his school if he didn't help and participate in a gay rights day he could not play in the upcoming football game later in the week… how do you feel about that? and how would you as parents handle it? I just want to see what people would say… i know how I handled it… but I want to see what people thought.

    17. handing out pamphlets to other students in support, being apart of the rally in support of, maning the gay rights booth, participating in attached fundraiser in support. ….

    18. Good Grief, Anon!
      PRINCIPLES found in the constitution. Life Libety and Pursuit of Happiness are PRINCIPLES found in the constitution. It is IMPLIED. The reasons for the constitution are the same reasons for the Declaration of Independence. It's all linked.
      If you are concerned about religious liberties, FIGHT FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTIES. You don't have to fight AGAINST marriage equality. Just fight to make sure that with equality, bakers can still discriminate. Doctors can still discrimiate. Daycares can still discriminate. Everybody can discrimiate and teach hate! Yay!
      Aside from a few select and RARE situations, most of the time, religions are not discriminated against. Gay couples are discriminated against EVERY DAY. Hey, I have an idea! Let's try to protect everybody's rights intead of deciding that we have to choose between religions and gay people. America is one of the brightest nations in the world. Do you think that MAYBE we might be able to figure out a way that we could protect both religions and gay people?
      I'm sorry if that last post was dripping with sarcasm. Please don't censor me, Josh. I mean well.

    19. Poppysmic, would you do me a favor and check the wording on the Gay Rights Day and let us know? Was ith for rights or against discrimination? Do you feel that there is a difference?

    20. It was on gay rights NOT some "end discrimination" campaign day for all people being discriminated against. If it was end discrimination against all people that would have been different. It was all about pushing an agenda and forcing our children to participate in something that a lot do not approve of. They brought an agenda into the school and that's were were I take a stand. It would have been totally different if it was not a mandatory thing, but when it takes away my son's rights to even participate in a football game because he doesn't want to participate thats when I drew the line. Luckily 2000+ people felt the same way as me and a petition was written up to the school district which ended the "if you don't participate you will be punished" idea. and guess who head it up!!.. Yep ME, plus some other parents who had to face the same situation on that football team (the majority, I will say, because of it being a forced, no chosen) !!! It is my right as his mother and his right to not participate in organizations not approved of. Just like its anyones right to participate in a organization to support it.

      Rights can't be forced… shouldnt it be a change of heart? just saying.

    21. Poppy, the way you tell it, it does sound inept. Can I still ask whether it was about Gay Rights or Anti Gay discrimination? I get it that it was not general discrimination.

      You had me up until your last sentence: "Rights" can and are enforced. We live in a civil society not a theocracy so we have laws to set them and police / courts to enforce them. Changes of hearts and attitude are what cannot be mandated. We all change (or confirm) our hearts and attitudes as we learn more and are exposed to new and different situations.

    22. Poppysmic: Rights can and should be forced. (Uh, that's why they're called rights.) But I agree with your judgment that a school child shouldn't be forced to participate in gay rights day. I would be happy to have my kids participate in a gay rights day, but if it's something that goes against your religion, you shouldn't be forced to advocate in support of it. But that doesn't mean that gay people have to sit around and wait until the religious right feels judiciously benevolent enough to be willing to bestow the right of marriage- or at least some paltry crumb slightly resembling marriage- upon them. No, Poppysmic. I'm sorry that some people are under the impression that a person has to feel good about another person having civil rights in order for them to have civil rights.
      In this situation
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vivian_Malone_Jones

      people certainly weren't "ready" for justice to happen. It just did. Justice got tired of waiting and said "yall are gonna have to find a way to live with this".
      And most of them did.
      And the ones who still haven't today, (and oh, they're out there), we can pretty much agree, are not worth knowing.

    23. Rights are a privilege not something to force I think people need to understand that. We come into this life with no guarantees but our bodies. It is a privilege to have rights bottoms line…do you like being forced? Yes I get it we need rules. But on topics like this, it is best to change the minds and hearts of the people instead of forcing people to accept it and just say oh well. Just like BQ (yes I think of DQ too 🙂 ) she doesn't want to be forced into a religion that she feels discriminates, its also true the opposite. When you force a people to accept something that they don't believe it is hard and often difficult. Love and kindness goes along way to change the hearts of people more then sheer trying to force people to do their bidding and accept unconditionally. Look at communism. It never works.

      my point… is my child was almost forced to take part of gay rights rally at a public school which it should have never been apart of in the first place. Public school is NO place to force agendas. And then to force my son and the football team through threats of not playing the football game is absolutely wrong. How can anyone feel good about that all all? It really does put a bad taste in peoples mouth as Tammy stated.

      MOR… It was a gay rights.. not a anti gay discrimination.

      BQ, no it doesn't mean gay people have to sit around and wait, but it does mean that maybe they are going about it all the wrong way. I sadly have seen that both side are not innocent. The gay rights movement have been just as terrible as the other side. I have seen the effects of both opinion.
      Maybe it just time for people to stop thinking of themselves and just STOP for a moment. This battle has been raged from the beginning and will until the end of days regardless of what people think. There will always be people who oppose on both sides even after the laws are passed (which in this liberal country, I am sure gay marriage will pass in all the states eventually).

      Regardless, someones freedoms will be take away which ever way it goes, someone rights will be loss. I know mine rights and my child's rights almost got taken away because another group was pursuing rights. I am all for peoples rights, but when it starts affecting my kids even at school there is a serious problem to how rights are being afforded.

      So the real question is… who's right are more important then the other? Is my rights and my child's rights less important then the gay activist rights? I really wanna know, because it doesnt seem so.

    24. Poppy,

      I do not know the whole story but it seems to me that your civil rights worked just the way they are meant to. I am not a lawyer so any mistake is unintentional but my understanding is… US public schools do not have the right to force a political or religious agenda on the kids at school. The way you are telling us, at least one person messed up and attempted to do just that – force an agenda on the school children.

      You looked at the situation, noticed it was wrong (your rights were being violated) and started a petition to remind the school of your child's civil rights. Lucky for you, the school 'got it' and reversed course. Your got your (and all of our) rights enforced.

      If the petition had not worked, the next step would have been a warning letter form a lawyer, followed by mediation, followed by a civil suit. All steps to get your rights enforced, whether the other side liked it or not.

      I am glad you got your rights enforced and congratulations for winning it at the first round!

    25. "Rights are a privilege not something to force "?????

      Rights are RIGHTS! That's why they're called RIGHTS!

      Yes, you had to remind the powers that be that they were out of line. Sometimes that happens. Sometimes people need a reminder. People don't make the correct decisions 100% of the time. But what you're asking is that gays have NO right to marriage because you feel it might make things slightly easier for you down the road some time. You might not have to have a conversation or fight a battle. Just lie down, gays! Give up on marriage rights completely because some kindergarten teacher might read "Heather Has Two Daddies" to my kid AND TEN WHAT??? My kid will know that some kids have two daddies! Terror of terrors!

      The selfishness of wanting an entire class of people to remain unprotected or less protected because you are not willing to address the issues as they come along or because of some vague chance of some other minor injustice taking place is astounding! You will never be able to stop people from filing unwinnable law suits. You will never be able to ensure that people won't ever overstep in their positions as teachers or civic leaders or whatever. It happens all the time.

      My kids go to school and say "one nation under God" and in our courthouses we swear upon the Bible and we start our city counsil meetings out with prayer all the time. And to me, these things are fundamentally incorrect. But you don't hear atheists saying "That's it! Disallow religion! You give these people freedom to practice religion and they start thinking they have rights!" I fight the battles as they come. Many times I lose. But I don't expect religious people to just not have their right to religion because I'm fed up with having to try to keep them in check.

      You saw somebody trying to force your kid to advocate for gay rights and you put them in check. You don't try to keep gay people oppressed just because that spares you from having to write an email or have a conversation or threaten to contact your attorney or the ACLU, who, by the way, would probably fight for you in your situation.

      For crying out loud. The self centeredness is astounding.

    26. It's like we are all saying the same thing but in different ways.

      Poppy – your son was told his only option was to join. That's wrong. You did lay down for it you fought it and won. Success

      The Gays – we are told we only have one option for marriage. That's wrong. We (and our allies) are not laying down for it and I hope we win.

      In the gay situations we are being fought against and tons of money is being raised to deny is from saying. "This is wrong. I do not have to go to this rally or not be able to go to the game."

      I would be just as outraged if a group of people got together, raised money and voted on whether your son really did have to join or miss the game.

      Really it's the same situation. (well, you know what I mean)

      I could claim that my belief that he should have been there is just as strong as religious people believe that gay marriage is wrong. But no matter how strong my belief is, that should not dictate what he can or cannot do.

    27. I see rights differently I guess…

      BUT..

      Thank you Tammy for being kind and loving and I understand what your saying….

      BQ please take some hints from Tammy thanks. Self centeredness is pretty harsh considering my child (who can't defend or himself) rights were violated. who really is the more vulnerable? A child or a adult. And who's rights do we protect first? Thats a hard question. To be honest, BQ if a teacher read that to my kids, I would boycott too because it's pushing a agenda. That type of kids books " Two dads" is unnecessary in general. My question would be what was the purpose behind reading a book like that in school in the first place? Is it math? or science? or English? is it necessary?

      How can we possibly please everyone. It's IMPOSSIBLE. Someone is going to lose out regardless. I am not saying the gay community should lose out, but I also think change is hard for most and sometimes people need to just chill and allow society to catch up a little. Force never works. It creates the fire and battle that we see around this social issue.

      And yes your rights are a privileges. I am sure you would not want to have been born in another country were women have no rights, children have no rights, and slavery still exists. Like I said our only guarantee in life for ALL human beings is 1) we get a body 2) we get a mind 3) we die. Everything else is a luxury, a privilege. If we were guaranteed more we wouldn't have poverty, starving people, diseases, etc.

    28. Your child's rights were NOT violated. What ALMOST happened to your son is what DOES happen to gays on a much more regular basis. So I would expect you to look at this situation and say boy, that felt crappy. I wouldn't want to do that to another person.
      Let's be clear. What almost happened to your son is not to be blamed on the gay rights movement. It is to be blamed on the fact that some people think they have a right to force their views on others. You doing it to them wo.'t prevent them from doing it to you. If anything it will make them more likely to want to do it to you. We should all respect eachother's right to pursue happiness as much as is reasonably possible. We don't have to choose between your rights and their rights. I would defend your right or anybody else's right to refrain from advocating for a cause they didn't agree with. I don't defend religious bullying. I won't take a gentler approach to expressing my disdain for your religious bullying.

    29. Poppy,
      You need me to chill for a while so society can "catch up"? Do you feel like you're behind on the issue? Do you have any honest plans to catch up? Does your church?
      It seems to me that your church has been pretty clear on the matter. Nurture, nature, whatever. It doesn't matter. Unacceptable. God has spoken. End of story.
      Are you honestly expecting me to believe that you and others are trying to get up to speed on things and that we just need to wait a little longer?
      If you watched the Rachel clip I linked to (and I doubt you did but here it is again)http://video.msnbc.msn.com/the-rachel-maddow-show/44725449#44725449 You might be interested to know that in March of this year, Mississippi Republicans were polled on whether they thought interracial marriage should be legal. 40% thought it should be legal.
      40%. The rest were either opposed or unsure. Unsure. Do you think that it is overstepping on the rights of Mississippi republicans that they have to live with the fact that interracial couples around them are allowed to get married?
      Do they need more time to adapt? Should the civil rights folks in Mississippi chillax a bit and wait some more? I mean, it's been nearly 40 years since the civil rights act of 1965. Maybe you want me to believe that things would be different today and Mississippi republicans would feel more benevolent about bestowing gay marriage to all the interracial couples if it had been their idea.
      Whatever Poppy.
      I'm mentally exhausted and incredibly depressed about the state of America today.

      We can't please everybody so what do you please? What privileges, if any, do you feel like you can live with as far as the gay community is concerned? What can we give them and still make it so that you can wake up every day and not have your life or your marriage or your children adversely affected?

      Yes that was sarcastic. Taking my chances. I'm going to go make a Halloween costume and try to stay away for a while for my own mental well being. I feel very depressed about all of this. I feel that things were going well for a while but I don't now because I realize that while I thought we had all these protections against a tyranical majority, that really is not the case as much as I thought it was.

      I'm gonna wait for you to come around and get all comfortable about people who are not you having the rights and protections they desire. Please try to hurry as much as you can. People's lives are at stake.

      I'm sorry Josh if my demeanor has been irritable.

    30. BQ, I love your passion, I really do, but girl…have you had your blood pressure checked lately? Kidding…kidding. I think you make wonderful points (and not just because they are mostly in my favor) and I think you also proved a couple of points that Poppy was making. You, very accurately, brought to light that some people in Miss. have not changed their stance on interracial marriage. We really cannot be sure as to the "why" but their position obviously hasn't changed just because it's legal. So, no amount of brow beating will change their opinion. But, hopefully, they will be exposed to someone who they love who makes them question their stance.

      Please don't be depressed. Things are changing, people are opening up. We can't expect everyone to feel exactly the way we do when we do, but we're talking about it and that's great. Please continue to champion but don't feel like you have to get it done now! You're a great advocate but I (cuz I won't speak for all of my peeps) know it is a process.

      I remember years ago when I was feeling really good about the handful of people who supported civil unions. It wasn't my end game goal, and still isn't, but boy was it a big step. Now, civil unions are no longer a "good" option but it was a great stepping stone on this journey.

      Bottom line is we are just people, like everyone else, trying to find our place in the world. Find happiness, joy, love, and have amazing experiences. I truly believe (and this may be too innocent of a thought) that when we get right down to it, everyone wants to be respected and "heard". Everyone wants to feel valued. They do not want to be told that what they think is wrong. They do not want to be forced to think another way. Evolution is so, so personal.

      I truly appreciate your soapbox for my peeps and I also truly appreciate hearing all of these different views. I hope we can all glean some new insight on how what we do, think, and feel may impact someone else and try to be better, kinder, and more compassionate people because of it.

      I may not have read it right, but I do not feel that Poppy is trying to take anything away from me or my rights. The story shared was a great example of bulldozing someone which really did put her and her son in the same position me and "my peeps" experience. What a glorious experience for them!

      Poppy – I hope you do not blame the group for the bad call of a few in your situation. Force is not the desire but laying down will not be our way either. There is a fine line that is sometimes very difficult to walk.

    31. Tammy, you're right that no amount of brow beating can change their opinion. But I don't care about changing their opinion. I only care about legal protections.
      I do need to reign myself in right now.
      Maybe I've misjudged Poppy. But I'm assuming that if the election were tomorrow and there was a state constitution amendment on the ballot to prohibit gay marriage, she would vote in favor of it. Poppy if I'm wrong please say so.
      I am also very curious about what the difference is between opposing discrimination and supporting rights. Very curious. Poppy, if you would like to elaborate I would really appreciate that. It might help me know where you're coming from.
      I completely understand that you don't want your kid to participate in a gay rights day. Even though I find this distasteful, I believe it is your right to stand for your family's religious principles. You have the right to try to influence your minor children in ways you see fit. I'm assuming that this incident was cleared up with a phone call. I don't mean to make light because it shouldn't have happened, but I think you're being a bit over dramatic about the whole thing.
      People overreach sometimes. Most of the time, it's easily resolved. An overzealous principal or administrator might overstep and then a parent or parents call in and somebody calls the lawyers and the lawyers tell them to stop being idiots and setting themselves up for a lawsuit and everything's great again.
      I don't think that the threat your son experienced for five minutes that ultimately was resolved in his favor is in any way comparable to the plight of gay people.
      Also please be assured that many if not most liberals are interested in protecting your rights when people overstep. Honestly, I want to kick people like the administrator at your kid's school in the nuts. I do. Because they're ruining everything. They think they're helping but they're not. I want to say "Look idiot. Now for the next decade every time gay marriage comes up in conersation this woman is going to complain about how her kid almost had to hand out pamphlets for equality. Thanks for helping the cause (not)."
      Jon Stewart, a very liberal entertainer in the media, recently blasted several of his own (including Rahm Emanuel) for overstepping in their roles as civic leaders. He blasted them not for their opinions but their ACTIONS. He blasted them for overstepping. Most people agreed with him. It went viral. This is because liberals support rights for everybody and we recognize when one of our own oversteps. Granted, I don't think we overstep as often as conservatives do, but we're vigilent about it. This is all about drawing a line between having an opinion and trying to use that opinion to shape public policy or control others. The rules should apply to everybody.
      Most people are not trying to threaten your religious liberties and wouldn't be successful if they were trying.
      So again, I'm sorry that you had a stressful moment there prior to the point where you and all the other parents swiftly restore justice and order, but not the same thing. Just not.

    32. Tammy… nah I don't blame the whole entire group. I have many gay friends. I seem to a gay man's magnet for some reason!! i have no clue why that is….. my husband is always joking with me about how all the gay men LOVE me lol

      I just feel there is a better way thats all. It's almost as if people who do not believe in things has to stay completely quiet in fear they will be called Bigots etc etc. I do not think that is right. As much as you want us to be ok with what you feel, I want you to be ok with how I feel too. There is no wrong or right answer to this. Only God knows the right answer. It is presumptuous to think that we, as human beings, no all the answers and it has to be a certain way. I think we are all going to find out in the end that things should have been a different ways then what "we" wanted or knew. If that makes any sense at all.

      BQ– It's not that I don't want my kids to participate in a gay rights things, it's the fact that it was being forced. I personally think activist stuff should stay out of the schools too, along with the fact that sexual talk should be kept in a health class. I mean think about it, we do not have a heterosexual rights day… do we? I just don't want the focus of a day to be all on sexual orientation. It's not necessary in a school setting.

      that is unfair to say about me complaining BQ. My kids rights were taken away. bottom line. Just the fact that we had to get a school, community petition so our kids did not have to participate in the the gay rights/pride day, in the first place is the problem. Sexual matters do not belong at school bottom line, unless it's AID prevention and pregnancy prevention.

      You said..
      but not the same thing. Just not.

      I think what happen to those kids at the school was worse. How is it right that our kids, who can't defend themselves have to fight against adults with agenda's. I get it… the gay community wants rights, but at what cost is my question? How far is the gay community willing to go to gain those rights? There is a better way. It is through changing hearts, kindness, love, and open dialogue, not force. The more you force it the more you will get opposition. It's the nature of the issue.

      I will give you a little bit about me. I will say I was very very phobic about gay people a few years back because I just couldn't understand how someone could see it as right medically speaking because in my mind their was no point to it (that is my analytical mind working). in my mind 2 males= no babies, 2 women = no babies, so there was no point to it. Then I met a few gay men at work, and other places. I also found out a kid in my ward (who my sister dated lol) came back from his mission and decided he was gay. It was VERY uncomfortable at first. I will admit. To me back then it was almost as if they had to be so hyperfocused on sex because they had a cause (if that makes sense). At first I would be like… "WHY do you always focus on that part of you, you are more then what type of sex you want". THEN I got to know them. They loved me and I loved them. We had some deep conversations on why they felt the way they did. That changed my thinking a little. Over time, I have become less "uncomfortable", not that I totally agree with the lifestyle. It had nothing to do with religion for me, although I align myself with a religion and political party that more closely matches my own personal convictions.

      POST CONTINUED…

    33. FROM POST ABOVE

      Why I am using my background to help you see that some people it takes time to just allow things to soak in. It's a very hard social issue that requires people to change a mindset, it causes people to have to get out of their comfort zones. AND it's not easy to do that. Change is hard and it can't be brutally forced or it can't impede on other's rights either. It has to be done in better more productive way. It will not happen "right this second", it can't. It shouldn't because it can't be forced on people.

    34. Poppy, it sounds like you and Dairy Queen are talking about separate things, rights vs acceptance. I am so glad you had that experience with your friend and were able to evolve. You are proof that expansion happens with exposure instead of force. I'm sure your view will continue to evolve and look different 2 years from now, and hopefully you will have more positive experiences than negative so the evolution will have positive impacts.

      In the meantime, we should be protected and afforded right (and I'm not claiming you do not agree). I believe people will catch up and a lot already have.

      I would also have to say if you are a gay guy magnet that speaks VOLUMES to the kind of person you are because gay people are not drawn to people that think ill of them.

    35. You keep on using the word "force". There is no force involved here. I'm only going to say it one more time: I'm sorry that your son's rights were ALMOST violated. I'm glad that they were not in the end. I wish that a simple petition would solve the problem of gay rights. Oh if only it were that easy for us. I understand your complaint but it is ridiculous to me that you are trying to put it on the level of the plight that gays face. I don't think we should have to wait for society to come around because some people are simply never going to come around.
      In addition to not feeling like people need to feel "good" about gay marriage, I also don't think people need to feel good about their efforts to withhold gay rights. Tammy feels like being patient is a good way to go and that's her choice. In a way I respect it. I hope it works for her. I don't have it in me anymore. I hope you understand. I think that saying that gays are hyperfocused on sex is ignorance. I don't think it's "analytical" to think that the only purpose to sex is babymaking. In fact I would call that the opposite of analytical. An analytical person might consider that many people get married with no intention to have kids. Old people get married who cannot have kids or who have already made their families. An analytical person, in my opinion, would stop and say: Even though I don't personally see a "point" in loving a person of the same sex, that is not reason enough to condemn somebody else for doing that same thing. Using phrases like "decided to be gay" continues to ignore the fact that most people don't "decide" to be gay. It deliberately contradicts what gay people have repeatedly said over and over about themselves.
      I agree though that it's presumptuous to think that we, as human beings, know all the answers and it has to be a certain way. I don't know everything there is to know about human sexuality. I try hard not to presume to know what will make another person happiest in their life especially if it is opposite of what they are saying they want. I don't presume to know how God feels on the matter or even if there is a God at all. I don't think that the gay rights side is being presumptuous here.
      I don't believe in being patient with bigotry or waiting for it to come around or in giving it solace. Enough waiting. Enough. Many of us have come around. I will do everything in my power to force civil rights at a government level whether or not you are ready for it and that is my bottom line here. I'm sorry if you disagree but I've searched my soul and there is no room for compromise here. At the end of the day, you have rights that they don't. I am willing to fight to make your rights more secure, but I won't throw gays under the bus in the process and I won't wait silently for people to be ready.

    36. Tammy. I understand!!! I don't feel ill towards gay people, I just don't understand thats all and am trying too. As you probably know, there is a difference between not agreeing with someone and respecting and loving people. That how I feel. Although I don't agree, I do care and do love unconditionally. And it's really ok to disagree.

      BQ- I understand!!! 🙂 And I know us folk that don't believe bug you to death so I won't bug you anymore ok. 🙂 I am just glad we live in a society that allows us to talk. Geez I am just glad I was born in the USA where I actually have a right to even go outside and walk in from of my man!! 😉

    37. Poppysmic – i thik you hit the nail on the head. You said that you don't understand. And I think that that is at the root of a whole of of anti-gay discrimination. People fear or don't like (in some cases, hate) what they do not understand. And if you have a religion that backs up that not liking, then it is even harder to evolve. Thank you for being so honest.
      I will say this about rights – Poppysmic, you and I have so many rights that we may not even realize we have them. These rights feel as natural as breathing. But were they taken away imagine how horrible we would feel. You felt that for a few minutes with your son and the school – imagine a lifetime of that.

    38. I understand that you don't understand, Poppy. I don't believe that gays should have to wait for you to understand. That is beside the point. I hope you will some day but if you don't that's okay.
      I don't understand everything about being gay either, but I accept that my lack of understanding is not relevant to their civil rights.
      I know that in my experience, I had a much easier time understanding them once I was able to see them as total and complete equals in every way.
      I used to be conservative too. I had gay friends. I really liked them. I enjoyed the time we spent together. But I also really wanted to hold on to the part of me that "officially" didn't "approve" of the "lifestyle". That part of me was a very miniscule percentage. But I didn't want to feel "forced" to give it up. Once I was able to let that part go, though, it felt so liberating. It felt like a weight off for ME. It felt like relief. I was better for it.
      You seem like a woman of faith so maybe you should try to have faith that your civil rights and the rights of your children will remain in tact. Maybe you could have faith that gay marriage would not jeopardize those rights. Or maybe you could acknowledge that if there's any shift, it will be very minimally negative for you but the positive shift for gays would be huge. You say that you're upset that your son was (almost) "forced" to hand out fliers about gay equality.
      Every day my child goes to school and recites the "pledge" in her class. She and all her classmates, in doing so, effectively acknowledge the existence of God as fact. I am trying to raise strong and confident atheist children. That is very important to me. This might seem laughable to some but I feel that the school undermines that for me and I don't think it's their right. I've chosen not to fight this because ultimately, doing so would mean making my daughter stand out and the thing she wants more than anything is to fit in with her peers. But it bothers me. You might think I'm making too big a deal of it but I feel you are making too big a deal of your son's situation. You feel strongly that a conversation about gay rights doesn't belong in school. Do you feel like as an atheist, I have an argument that acknowledgement of God doesn't belong in school? Or is that different because you happen to believe in God?

  10. Agh, I'm sure I'm not the only one who's been biting their tongue on the whole "magical thinking/ magic hat" commentary BQ. Do you really think those of us who very thoughtfully explore the history of our faith and church haven't heard this BS? You either believe God's ways are not our/man's ways (Isaiah 55:8-9) or you don't. There's no need to ridicule based on sensational explanations of very basic things like the existence of angels and seer stones mentioned consistently as far back as the scriptural record has existed. I like to read your comments when they're not inebriated by your tabloid mentality towards religious experience.

    1. Suzthefooz:
      If I were to accept the notion that God's ways are not man's ways, there be utterly no limit to where I could run with that. Suicide bomber? Well, God's ways are not man's ways. Rape in God's name? Murder in God's name? Theft? Well, God's ways are not man's ways. Really, where would it stop?
      For the sake of logic and reason and order in our society, we must learn to trust our ways. We have to assume that God (if there is in fact a God who created us) created our brains to conform to a set of expectations that seem reasonable to us, and we must not assume that God created us with the expectation that we must ultimately do that which seems irrational or wrong.

      Sigmund Freud asked the question: Am I obliged to believe every absurdity? And if not, why this one in particular?
      I think that is a very good question; one people should consider when they argue that God would want us to do things that are counter-intuitive. To me, this would be God setting us up for failure. I suppose that I have no way of knowing that God (if in fact there is a god) is setting us up to fail. In the end, though, I have to choose that which is rational every time. If I find out some day that I'm wrong, I will only be able to ask my maker: WTF?
      I can only look to my own experience in parenting. I want my children to succeed. And so I give them instructions and I don't make them guess where the instructions are coming from. I'm not an absentee parent. I know my kids might choose to go against my wishes, but it won't be for lack of my clarifying. Ultimately this is their own choice. But I try not to leave any room for confusion. I don't relay importan messages second hand when I could do it myself. This doesn't take away my kids' "agency". It does take away doubt though. Taking away agency and taking away doubt are two very different things, wouldn't you agree?

  11. But this isn't your blog so if they are offensive to you, you don't need to read the blog or the comments. I saw the way the comments were going on the previous blog and chose not to read anymore.

  12. I had to bite my tongue really, really hard not to engage in a contentious manner with a certain poster on here who posts hateful, spiteful negative comments on a perpetual basis. Josh, you asked us once before NOT to respond to that sort of thing and I am abiding by it. It's not worth raising my blood pressure about it. AND blaming it on being drunk is absolutely no excuse, none whatsoever. People do not do things drunk that they aren't thinking about when sober. Just because the filters come off doesn't make it anymore hateful. It's obvious what the agenda is for that person (you know who you are so I'm not going to name you by name)and it is not to have a thoughtful, civilized discussion.

    At least I am not anonymous to Josh. He knows my real name via Facebook. Nice to hide behind the mask of anonymity, I suppose. I decided to quit reading the previous blog post comments last night because I know you can't engage with vipers/anti Mormons. Too many years on the internet in the days alt.mormonism on Usenet cured me of that.

    I'm interested in how your speaking engagement went, Josh.

    1. "Certain poster"? Really, thanks for not being contentious. The drunk thing was a joke. Calm down. Some people think drunk posting jokes are funny.

      I hope you're not accusing me of hiding behind the mask of anonymity.

    1. You want not anonymous you say? Sure. I'd love more readers on my blog. I do also moderate my comments but do so before they appear. Although my blog isn't controversial really, just talking about, well, job searching and a variety of other innocuous things.
      I am still asking you to move on.

    2. Any time there are limitless posters all posting under the same name, that is a problem. Having to constantly cross reference post times (for example, referring to somebody as "anonymous September 24 4:44" is annoying and an inefficient use of time and it doesn't help in the grand scheme of trying to remember who is saying what. On a board I used to frequent, they would say "Pick a nick and stick". That doesn't mean you have to divulge any personal information about yourself. You don't have to put yourself or your family at risk for crazy liberals / conservatives tracking you down. Just log onto blogger or google or wherever and set up an account and choose a fake name. Put a fake picture there if you want. Or not. Just something so that people can have a point of reference. Then when you say something profound / obnoxious, they can think "Oh, you're the one with all the profound / obnoxious comments". (And there is totally software for your smart phone in case you find it impossible to remember all those different names and passwords. Just thought I'd mention that. In case you have ADD and the thought of setting up one more account with a user name and password is just too much for you to bear.)

    3. Tammy, I may be another "anonymous" sounding name, but if you do enough googling you can probably find out my real name. Plus, I "outed" myself to Josh on his Facebook page so he knows who I am. I actually do have a blog (or two or three) all interconnected but they have not been connected properly to this account.

    4. And I figured out what's wrong – I have multiple variations on the InkstainedPsyche name, dating back to 1992, but I'd forgotten than I'd originally put my blogs under a variation of it. I'm trying to get things changed, but Blogger isn't allowing me to change my original log in name and replace it with this Google account.

      Yeah, "outed" might have been a weird choice, but I wanted him to know who I really am…and that we live less than 30 miles from each other.

  13. Whoa! I did not expect the picture to be on the blog, that's awesome though! Thousands of people "know" me now, weird… haha
    That's a bummer that people couldn't be respectful. I think moderating is a wise choice.
    Josh, I think you and Lolly are so brave. The thing I admire most about your story and decisions is that you are so real. It's kind of a dangerous and complicated place to be in, but you keep your heads above water and are honest. I also appreciate that you repeatedly say, in your blog posts and in your talk last night, that the path you have chosen is NOT for everyone. As a pro-LGBTQ person who also respects everyone's personal religious/spiritual beliefs, I completely agree that this won't work for everyone. But I think it does work for you. Thank you, Josh and Lolly (:

  14. Josh and Lolly: You will Probably never know me. I follow your blog. Don't comment. Don't usually read many of the comments. But I want to say now that your posts are very uplifting. And full of grace and hope. Good job! And thank you. Also, Good for you for refusing to allow any abuse of the atmosphere of respect you are trying to create and encourage.

  15. the comments I have been offended by are the ones that have said, in essence (and not in exact words) that gay families are wrong. That is so offensive to me as to be crushing at times.
    Josh, I don't think the 'other side' as it were, can be heard on here. I really don't. Which ultimately is fine. This is a Mormon blog and as such, should really be read by only Mormons.

    1. I like this blog for many reasons. Without discounting the sheer niceness and good writing of Josh, what brings me back is that this is a place with real dialog and real learning. We all may get a bit heated at times. I try not to, mainly because I know that flippant digs undermined my own position more than what anyone else can say against my views. I have been 'around' gay rights and the lack of them in and out the church for 25+ years. I am a justifiably angry ex client of Exodus et al. But I have LEARNED from Josh and FG Mormon and a few others that some people manage to make MORs work longer and better than I did. I thought it was a guaranteed to fail situation. I now think there are some situations (IMHO, bi ness in the gay partner) that make success possible. So after 25 years I changed my views. In return, I hope that (posting as multiple Anons) I have helped afew people transition to understand that gay people are born that way, that it is not a choice.

      I keep coming back because in spite of skirmishes, we are all learning and transitioning here. So it is worth the time.

      Yes, there is more I would like to share, but each new understanding truly assimilated is a victory for all of us.

    2. anonymous I personally think there is no real "sides" per say. I think we are all here to learn, grow, and try to come to terms with our own feelings of what we believe. I think this should be a place of no criticism were all people (no labels) can discuss topics that are affecting each of us without the hostility I have been seeing on here. It like the article I posted below said,

      "Thus, we must refrain from making final judgments on people because we lack the knowledge and the wisdom to do so. We would even apply the wrong standards. The world’s way is to judge competitively between winners and losers. The Lord’s way of final judgment will be to apply His perfect knowledge of the law a person has received and to judge on the basis of that person’s circumstances, motives, and actions throughout his or her entire life …. From all of this we see that the final judgment is the Lord’s and that mortals must refrain from judging any human being in the final sense of concluding or proclaiming that he or she is irretrievably bound for hell or has lost all hope of exaltation"

      It's important that we remember this when we talk, get agitated about what people say, etc. We do not "absolutely" have a full understanding of what is the absolute correct way (do not have the full absolute knowledge) like God does so we can not judge because of it. But like the article talks about, there is a difference between final judgement and intermediate judgement in which we judge what we drink, eat, choices we make for ourselves etc.

      There are some very good fine points of what is considered righteous judgements in the article. I employ everyone to read this. It really opened my eyes on if I positively or negatively judge. Today alone I kept track on how many negative judgements I made and it was sad at how many times I judged someone or thought to myself how idiotic someone ones.

      here is the article again…

      http://www.lds.org/ensign/1999/08/judge-not-and-judging?lang=eng&query=judge+judging+(name%3a%22Dallin+H.+Oaks%22)

    3. Poppysmic, Sorry but these are real issues and those of us who gave been in the real trenches have strong opinions, wounds and knowledge. I am absolutely taking a side. The side that says we can deny our sexuality but we cannot choose it or change it. And having gone through it as a straight partner, I will tell you definitively that reparative therapy is a bunch if deceit leasing to suicides and despair. So I will vigorously criticize any opinion to the contrary. I will do my best not to criticize the person saying it. After all, I was them once. I believed it and trashed my life in doing so.

      I am not taking a side on here about Mormon faith and practices. What? Gasp? Why not??. Because it is irrelevant from my point of view. Condemnation from the pulpit is not exclusive to the Mormon church. Whatever your faith or practices, my goal on here is to remind people of the harm of gay bashing and the veiled rejection of 'love the sinner, hate the sin'. And to remind them that no one ever changed their orientation voluntarilly( yes, I know, google sexual fluidity but that is not voluntary).

    4. MOR Straight graduate, I understand. It is absolutely ok to believe the way you do and it absolutely ok for you to disagree with others. I disagree with many people on a lot of things. I would say though that we should be careful about fallacies. A fallacy is an error in reason, which is different from just being factually incorrect. This type of fallacy is classified as a slippery slope analogy (One thing inevitably leads to another. By taking the first benign step, the second undesirable step will surely follow. A simplistic reduction of a possible chain of events). To say that reparative therapy is a bunch of deceit leading to suicide and despair infers the slippery slope fallacy that one thing inevitably leads to another. Which is does not.

      I would go on further to say to "love the sinner, and let God judge the sin, not us". Hate the sin is too strong for me. I would much rather say that we hope for the best in others, that we love the people in general regardless of what they do.

      I will differ in you in that, I do believe people can change their orientation voluntarily or with time. I have seen it happen many times. There is not one mold to a persons attractions. Attractions change with time (trust me I know) and our desires change. It's a fallacy to say that "no one ever changed their orientation", that is just not correct. It's more appropriate to say that many people do not change their orientation but it does happen.

    5. Anon…I don't want to discount your feelings when you say that hearing that someone feels day families are wrong….I know that must hurt. I am not gay, but I hear those same words about our religion. It does hurt to have some say that they believe something you are to the core is wrong in their eyes. But I don't think those are hateful comments. If someone tells me that they think my religion is wrong and that I am wrong for following it, it hurts me because it is core to who I am, but I can live with that. We all have the right to disagree with things. What we don't have the right to do is tell that person that we disagree with that they are a horrible person or stupid, or idiotic, or (insert any other name that comes on here). Nor do we have the right to make someone feel hated.

      Sometimes when someone tells someone else that they believe they are wrong, it feels like hate(and to be honest, sometimes it can be), but it does not always have to mean you are attacking that person. There is a difference.

      I see this sort of debate played out in lots of areas in life. I am a part of world where birthing rights/nursing rights, have the same issues and many people are hurt and are hurtful. But we all have the right to believe what we believe, even if it may be that you think another persons actions/believes are wrong.

      Again, we have the right to think what someone does is wrong, what we don't have the right to do is make them feel like they are less than dirt because of it. And that happens on both sides of the issue. I can only imagine how difficult that may be to moderate, though.

    6. Poppysmic, you say "I do believe people can chage their orientation voluntarilly or with time. I have seen it happen many times"? Please tell us more, giving examples of the many times. Josh has said from the outset that he is gay, living an MOR lifestyle. So he is pretty clear that his orientation has not changed and that he does not believe orientations can change. I am as straight today, married to my straight husband as I was when my ex and I were going from prayer group to therapy group attempting to get him changed. He was and is gay, he has not and never did change.

      Having stated the clear boundaries, let's get into the gray fuzzy edges… Take a bunch straight people, put them into boarding school or prison for years an see what happens… Some ( a minority, not all) will start to show some same sex attraction and act on it. Others never will. So far, we are still on facts. Moving off facts onto my personal opinion… I think that the Kinsey scale explains this… Most of those people are clearly at the straight end of the spectrum but they have just enough bi-ness to tap into as the circumstances 'force' them. In my opinion, this is Josh's situation too. And let's be fair and clear here, this is MY opinion, not something I have seen him say.

      Could all gay people force themselves to 'grit their teeth, hold their noses and kiss or smooch an opposite gender person'. No more or less than I could do so with a same gender person. Yes, I could get through acting a Shakespeare role if needed. No, I could not sustain a life time. We all fall somewhere in between, most of us (most of us not being bi) at one end or the other.

      Love the sinner, say that we believe God will judge the sin? It all comes back to whether we have a choice in our orientation or not. If we do not have a choice (and that is pretty much the premise if this blog) then tha t sounds to me to be very similar to "love you, judge you for your brown skin. love you, judge you for your Asian eyes. Love you, judge you for your country of birth. Love you, judge you for your loud voice."

    7. Rachel, I believe there is a difference between feeling that my religion is core to my being and feeling that my orientation is core to my being. If we were born with a Mormon, Catholic or Buddhist gene then we'd just kind of know it as we went into adolescence and every religious group around the world could stop missionary work and use that time and money elsewhere. But passionate as we are about our faiths, it is a choice followed by declaration at baptism. Straightness or gayness is not a choice. So although it may feel similar to be criticized for my Faith, skin color or orientation, they are actually different. I have free choice or agency over only one if them, that being my faith.

    8. … how much stock do people put into the Kinsey Scale? Does it really matter whether someone is a '6' or a '4' on the scale as to whether or not they can be considered 'gay?' Does it matter if Josh is closer to 'bi' rather than 'fully gay'? Because isn't that basically trying to find a formula for human sexuality? And isn't that something that should be avoided like the plague?

      Some people are really concerned that stories like Josh's will be generalized, but isn't equally dangerous to try and make Josh the exception by trying to nail a 'gayness number' on him or anyone else? I know that quantifying things often makes them easier to understand, but it seems to me like the ultimate goal of all of this is to give people the benefit of the doubt and to trust them, because trust breeds honesty and honesty allows people to really dig into the possible consequences (good, bad, best, worst, neutral) of the choices they make.

    9. Laurenkri,

      You ask whether the Kinsey scale matters. I think it matters a lot to this discussion because it helps us understand the discussion. The 'numbers' of you me or Josh do not matter in themselves. They are ours and they just are whatever they are. But, like our height, weight and blood pressure (or something more esoteric like our IQ or SAT scores) they matter because they are predictors of behavior and expectations.

      I think that most people in this debate accept that the Kinsey scale 'is' and that it is a largely valid measurement system. I certainly have not heard of a better one.

      I am not about to put words in Josh's mouth so I add a disclaimer that this paragraph is MY experience and opinion: His number tags him way gay. Mine tags me way straight. IMHO, his solidly gay number comes with just enough of a tiny seasoning of bi-ness for him to tap into and use to flourish in his marriage.

      So? Why does it matter? It matters intensely to the even-more-gay-than-Josh teen or young person who has a bunch of well meaning friends and relatives telling him / her "See! There is another way! Josh did it so you can do it too! You can marry an opposite sex partner and BE HAPPY"

      "No… I can't… I'd need to grit my teeth to even kiss one and I think I'd throw up if I actually had to make out with one, before or after marriage" the gay kid is thinking.

      It matters that we all understand that Josh's options are not open to every gay person. That we really get that and stop offering it as a viable alternative.

      And it matters to all the Gays, straight partners and kids of MOR where the gay person had enough of a sprinkling of 'bi on the side' to make it work for 5, 10, 15 years. But then they ran out. Of the will power it took to keep .making it work' in a marriage they were just not suited for. The more we understand about our reality, the better choices we can take for our futures.

  16. Yes I am the anon from last night, I promise. Yes I would like to be something other than anon, but I choose to stay private. Is there a way to stay private, but not anon?

  17. Thank you for your comments last night. I brought my father with me. My parents had rejecting behaviors when I was growing up, so I was never able to reach out for help. I am so glad that the church and families are growing and becomming more loving towards their children who have challenges.

  18. I have a question for you Tammy and Anon? Is it possible that even if someone doesn't agree with your lifestyle they can still respect it? This anon from last night Tammy.

    1. I find that to be a good question. Throwing in my two cents even though I'm not the anon you were talking about.I'm not sure if respect would be the right word – perhaps tolerate it? If one believes that, for example, the gay lifestyle is against God and that God disapproves of it or hates it, I don't think that that can be considered respectful. Just imagine if I said to you that I think that Mormonism is against God and he hates it but I still respect you and who you are/what you believe, would that feel like respect?

    2. I think that question can be answered with a question. If a gay person said to their Mormon neighbor: " I don't agree with your lifestyle. I think you're doing harm to your kids. Given the chance, no offense, but I would have to vote against Mormon marriage. But hey, that's democracy right? Everybody gets a vote. We can still be friends. Love the sinner, hate the sin" would that person feel respected? Frankly, no. I doubt it.
      In my opinion, once a personal aversion to something like "the gay" crosses over into activism (ie: I'm gonna have to put a stop to this or at least try to curtail it) there absolutely cannot be respect. I think we've sold ourselves a bill of goods, thinking that there's a polite way to disparage people and an impolite way.

    3. I am one of those that have had people (I am sure many mormons can attest too) flat out said they think I am crazy for believing the way I do but they respect me. I have even anti-mormon protestors demonstrating yelling and scream stuff at me to the point were I was scared to walk by them. Have you seen that yellow truck that travels around the country now following the I'm a mormon campaign. lol I really truly don't care that they don't agree with me. I see it as this way. It's my right to believe the way I do and it's their right to disagree with me (in a respectful way and to be honest in a not so respectful way if they so chose). Period. Just like it's the gay person right to live how they want to, and it's my right to disagree with them in a respectful way.
      In the end it will be up to God to judge the way he sees fit regardless what we think. It's not our place to pass final judgement.

      There is a great article by Dallin H. Oaks called, "Judge Not" and Judging which I think which is a good read. Check it out:

      http://www.lds.org/ensign/1999/08/judge-not-and-judging?lang=eng&query=judge+judging+(name%3a%22Dallin+H.+Oaks%22)

    4. Poppysmic, In America, we all get the freedom of religion and we all get the freedom of speech. So you and I both get the right to worship as we please and we both get the right to speak out against each others worship if we so please. I don't wish to do that though.

      But being gay is not a religion. It is a genetic condition that 3 to 5 percent of the population are born with. Times are changing… 100 years ago women did not have the same civil rights as men. Then black people did not have the same rights as white people. Gay people are now asking for the same civil rights as straight people. I will do what I can to help them get the same rights that I have. So in my opinion, American laws allow you the right to worship the way you want and to speak out against the way my gay friends worship but they don't give you the right to respectffully disagree with their gayness any more than you could rsspectfully disagree with their gender or their skin color. It just is.

      Fwiw, I used to call myself the straight survivor or a MOR, but then I realized that deep as my pain had been, it taught me deep understanding… No one gets just how gay, gay really is more than the gays themselves and the people who have been in relationships with them. So now I call myself a graduate.

    5. MOR,
      Actually I think America is very pro-gay now more then it use to be. I can almost bet you will find now that America is more pro-gay then pro-religion (and definitely more then pro-mormon) :). You know you may be right on the genetic condition. It has never been proven yet that there is a gay gene but science is finding out new things about our genome and what genetic markers determine certain conditions every day. It was not so long ago we had no clue their was a genetic marker for diabetes/obesity or even the breast cancer gene. Things are rapidly changing.

      Because we do not have the "absolute knowledge" about this topic and only god does at this point in history, we really can't judge either way really. We really wont know until we die and meet our maker if what we did in this life was correct or not or if things were a genetic condition if not proven. So it's just best to love regardless of what we personally feel is wrong / right and let God sort out the rest.

    6. I'm not sure I really want to get into this conversation again because I've already tried. But, here I go…I personally believe that gays should have the civil rights granted to them that are granted through marriage, just not through marriage. I know that sounds very, very strange and wrong to people, but that's because it is coming at people from a very different world view than what we currently have regarding marriage.

      From what I can tell from studying history and my own thoughts, marriage is a societal unit created to promote stability within a society and has, for the most part, always regulated sexuality(be it gay or straight). It has not, until recent history, been used to show someone how much you love them. Rights have been incorporated into them only insofar as they have been judged to be beneficial to the stability of society. It does not mean that they were wonderful happy marriages, nor that that treated the people the best within those marriages, but they were made that way to try and create stability.

      Nowadays, that is not the case. People get married because they love someone and want to feel connected to them and the rights we have given to those who are married are mostly for the convenience of how our society works(ie insurance, visiting rights, tax laws), not really the stability.

      So what we have is two ways of looking at marriage: as a unit designed to provide structure and stability(and yes regulate sexuality in many forms in order to do so), and as a way to show you love someone and make an easy way for us to grant some rights that really should have nothing to do with marriage.

      I don't think I want to go much further than this, and I certainly am not going to follow the comments from this, but I just wanted to propose this idea to people. The reason some believe that gay marriage should be separated from gay rights, is because it is viewed as a completely separate issue. Marriage is seen as having a fundamently different purpose between the two groups, and I'm not quite sure we will be able to reconcile those two. Reconciling two world views is one of the hardest things to do. I don't even think it has to do with one side figuring out that the other side is wrong, but more of realizing we see this completely different and that doesn't make you a bad person and someone we've got to bring these two world views together. Greater miracles have happened though.

      I for one would vote to grant gay couples the rights they desire in a different way, but both sides seem to be unhappy with that too or feel it is a cop out.

    7. Absolutely! I think it's bull honkey when people talk about giving gay people "all the rights of marriage" but just with a different name.
      That is actually impossible. And it's unnecessary for our government to spend this much time and energy and money over a silly name change.
      The fact is, Tammy, you are a better person than I am. You want to understand the opposition but I feel I understand them quite well. And right now I see them all collectively as a threat. And until the government sees fit to take away their ability to threaten (at the voting booth), I will not care to sit down and entertain their reasons for why they feel the way they do. Because in the end, why they feel the way they do doesn't make a differenct to me. The only thing that matters is will they be able to push everyone else around? Because I am unable to separate the opinion from the activism. And it's unfair. It's unfair to gay people and it's unfair to religious people! Here's why: Because when you give somebody the opportunity to decide this type of thing in the voting booth, they are put in the position of having to choose between their religious obligations and what is fair to their fellow man. And a lay citizen shouldn't be placed in that position. Voters don't have any obligation to consider constitutional principles or to uphold them. They don't even necessarily have the knoweldge necessary to make a fair decision. Now I am by no means saying that there should be no electorate or that we should do away with democracy. I think that democracy is very important. I think the electoral college should be dissolved but that's the topic for a different post. What I'm saying is that even if you don't believe marriage should be a civil right, it is still an QUESTION of civil rights. It falls under the category of civil rights issues. And civil rights issues should not be decided by citizen voters. Civil rights issues should be decided by constitutional scholars who sit on the supreme court. Period.

    8. Rachel,
      I was not married in a church. I was married in a civil ceremony. My church was not about to marry me to a "non-member" atheist. So we went to the county building. And here's a fun tidbit: We had to, essentially, ask special permission to get married off the premises and stipulate that we weren't expecting a religious ceremony. I guess that if you get married by a religious official you just git er done with no hassle but if you're married by a chaplain (who happened to be a family friend) you have to ask special permission. This seemed really strange to me and made a very stressful time even more stressful. I really don't think it's the government's place to dabble in religion at all or to tell people that they have to stipulate that it's not going to be a religious ceremony in order to get a license. I think that should go without saying.
      But IN THE END, I am MARRIED. To my husband, the atheist. And I am an atheist. And we happen to have kids but that was not a condition of us getting a marriage license.
      So I am MARRIED. Not by the church. By the government. And I don't go around calling myself anything silly like "civilly united" to my civil partner. I am just married.
      And if an atheist like me can go to the county and get a marriage license and I actually have to expressly stipulate that this MARRIAGE has NOTHING to do with religion in order to get that license(they have it in writing), then I don't see why it should be any different for gay people.
      Do you see any reason it should be different for gay people?

    9. It's not a competition to see who is more persecuted – gay people or Mormons. Straight Mormons are legally allowed to marry which gay people are not.
      As for the U.S.becoming more pro-gay – certainly it is to an extent. I mean less than 40 years ago gay people had to hide or risk, in some cases, being killed. However, gay people are still being killed in the U.S. and some still have to hide. In many states, gay people can be fired for being gay, for no other reason than being gay. There is no protection. In many states, gay people can't adopt children.
      To try and compare Mormon persecution and gay persecution feels defensive to me – kind of like a child in a sandbox saying, 'But I get sand kicked in my face too!"
      I feel that even if every Mormon on the planet were discriminated against in some way it would not negate the daily discrimination and abuse many gay people face. The blog comments have been down this road before – and I would like to re-iterate that it is not a competition. Attempting to negate discrimination against gay people by noting that Mormons are persecuted too doesn't actually negate the discrimination against gay people.
      On a different note, assigning morality to one's sexual orientation is akin, in my opinion, to assigning morality to left-handedness or one's handwriting or level of intelligence or creativity, etc. It is so counterintuitive. It's not a moral issue – it just is. It's not something to be judged. The fact that it is judged daily, heck hourly, minute-by-minute, means that there should be laws in place to protect gay people. Otherwise, they are sitting ducks for continued discrimination. I can imagine a time when being gay is not seen as being up for discussion and judgement. What a glorious time that will be.

  19. But, Tammy, is it truly respected if the person believes, in effect, that living as a gay person is morally wrong? That ultimately, and i know there is disagreement in the interpretation here, who you are in your core is wrong?

    1. It does, Tammy. Unfortunately, their views are creating laws in the U.S. to prevent you from being able to marry your partner (if you have one).
      Individually, some may believe in your right to have equality and some may not. But as a group that has power and money to back up their beliefs, they have actively and do actively work to keep you from being able to marry. The official party line, as it were, is that the life you are living and the family you are building is fundamentally wrong and evil.

    2. I am going to share my opinion and hope it will be respected. I believe that one of the main reasons we are all here is to procreate. From the beginning God created a union between a man and a woman. It was sacred and to be respected. Everything in nature follows this pattern. Male and Female to create.There is no creation without male and female. Marriage for me was established by God between a man and a woman. However,I also believe that you should have all the same rights as me and would hope that you could choose who you would want to be with and hope I would never judge anyone for trying their best to live a happy life.

    3. Melissa, you have a right to your beliefs and in fact I used to share those beliefs. Because of your beliefs, you should never enter into a gay relationship and I doubt this will be much of an issue for you. I'm glad that you acknowledge that people should all have the same rights. If you're familiar with Brown vs. Board of Education, you know that the supreme court struck down the notion of separate but equal. Equal rights, for gays, means marriage. (And this means that heteros would also be allowed to choose gay marriage so everything would be equal still.) Civil unions are not equal. Having to pay hundreds if not thousands in attorneys fees is not equal. MARRIAGE. Nothing more. Nothing less. Civil marriage is equal. Couples who are infertile are allowed to marry. Couples who are too old to procreate are allowed to marry. Couples who have children are allowed to divorce and move across the country and create situations where the noncustodial parent rarely if ever see their kids. I consider this HIGHLY immoral in most circumstances but the gov doesn't try to make it illegal. Nor do any lobbiest groups I can think of.

    4. I believe that procreation as traditionally observed, through a sexual relationship between persons of the opposite sex within a bond of the matrimony, has huge spiritual consequences that cannot be replicated in any other way.

      Those who are either not spiritual or do not particularly care about spirituality may not be able to perceive those consequences or simply dismiss them as non-existent, but for those who do see them, they are very real and undeniable.

    5. My comment is in accordance to the LDS church doctrine, which is also personally experienced as true. If you haven't had the exposure to the Mormon doctrine, it is not entirely easy to explain it. But in essence, I believe in God, and I believe that there are certain spiritual reasons why He ordained marriage between a man and a woman as such. I also believe that sexual relationship between a man and a woman is pretty much common sense, in spite of my strong same-sex attraction which I cannot and will not deny. And last but not least, I believe that "engineering" kids as it has been done recently (surrogate mothering, artificial insemination) is something that pretty much trivialize a miracle of conception and make it pretty much un-spiritual or non-spiritual. Some people find that acceptable & okay, but I don't, not because there is something inherently evil in those procedures, but because spiritual aspect of the conception that I find very real and undeniable is thrown out of the window.

    6. Tammy, they may be separate to you and that is fine. However, they are not separate to me and will never be. Having children should be within the bounds of marriage because procreation is sacred. I guess am just trying help you understand where religious people who support marriage between a man and a woman, are coming from. And why they will fight for it. Marriage between a man and a woman was the first sacred relationship, thus very important to religious people. It is the fundamental relationship to the human race.

    7. Melissa, I'm interested in your reference to religious people fighting for their view of marriage. Most people who read Josh's blog seem to be from the US (self included). My experience is that many disagree with the view of marriage you are describing, but most of us don't want to "proselytize" to people who hold that view and try to change their minds – we just want to live and let live. Do you feel like there's something that needs to be fought for?

    8. Melissa, do you understand that people who are not part of your religion have a RIGHT to not be part of your religion?
      YOU think procreation is sacred. It's important for YOU to procreate in a way that doesn't conflict with your religious values.
      I don't think procreation is sacred. I think it happens when sperm and eggs meet. I think that if God were doing a better job he wouldn't let 12 year old girls get knocked up and instead he would send those babies to 35 year old women who have done everything "right" and who are ready to be mothers.
      I don't need help understanding why you think procreation is sacred. I understand it because I used to believe it. What I need help understanding is why you seem to feel that your values should be incorporated into CIVIL LAW! It's CIVIL law. It has nothing to do with religious law. Those are two separate things. "Your" people are not the only people who are represented by our government.
      The constitution gives me freedom OF religion and by that definition, it gives me freedom FROM all the other religions that are not my religion. And the only difference between me and you is that instead of rejecting 99.999999999% of the world's religions, I reject one more than that. The constitution grants me freedom OF religion and freedom FROM religion. Both. At the same time.
      That means that your spiritual leaders do NOT have the right to dictate to everybody outside your religion what is sacred and what is not.
      I mean this in the nicest way possible. But it's late and I'm very frustrated and having 2008 flashbacks.

    9. FG, I think your "engineering" comment is insensitive to many couples (not just gay) who have had to have help making their families complete.
      These children are not "engineered". They are loved.

    10. Tammy, I see the underlying of the difference in our thinking. I am not trying to force anyone to believe what I think to be true. I am not instituting my family dynamic, it was instituted from the beginning. I believe that this world was created from truth or laws. God operates from these very laws. It is a truth, from God, that marriage is between a man and a woman. So, I don't care if the government changes the law, God's law will not change. I don't care about the ins and outs of the Constitution, God's law will not change. And FG Mormon I completely agree with you about the "engineering" of children. Procreation is sacred and should be within the bounds of a marriage between a man and a woman.

    11. Melissa, I believe in reincarnation. I believe we come here to learn major lessons to grow as beings. I believe we had input into those lessons and contracted with other souls to play roles in our lives to help us learn those lessons. I believe we chose our partner, kids, parents, etc before we arrive here. The most important word in this post is "believe".

      I do not diminish your views and spiritual beliefs for yourself. In fact, I rejoice if they make you feel closer to God (or Source as I like to say) and make you a better person. If so, my interpretation then is you are on a fantastic path that you created for yourself and you are a "getting" the guidance and support you needed to become better. Heck, let's go a step further in my belief to say that you and I even agreed to have this conversation whilst planning out our lives because this conversation will make some sort of impact on us.

      Now, to some, my spiritual belief is way off base, nothing they can comprehend, and others may think I need some serious therapy. I'm ok with them feeling that way. Their opinion about my spiritually does not effect me one bit.

      But, let me be perfectly clear, if our beliefs were butted up against each other though we may have areas we will agree, there will be plenty where we don't. But I would NEVER, EVER feel the need to try to force my beliefs into any law on anyone else.

      Once you say "believe" it becomes personal, should stay personal, and is the complete opposite of law. My spiritual law and your spiritual law will never see eye-to-eye and that's ok by me. But my life will be ruled by mine as yours should be ruled by yours.

      It really is just that simple.

      I also think that some people who have "engineered" kids are some of the most amazing people I know who absolutely adore their kids. Be careful here, you do not know if any of us on this post were "engineered" and that statement is very hurtful and insulting to that persons very existence.

  20. Actually Karen, I find your response to be narrow minded. Of course I have people around me who think Mormonism is agaisnt God and I am crazy for believing it, however they can still say I'm a good person and we both like soccer (or insert other interest) so let's look past that. I can still respect someone if they are different than me.
    Tammy, thank you…it gives me hope for building bridges.
    Can I call myself The Anon?

  21. I can absolutely respect someone who is different than me. But I also don't think that those differences in them are thought of badly by God, so badly that heaven is in fact made up of people who don't have those differences.
    I also don't try to get laws passed against those differences.
    I really find it to be a whole different ball game now that I have put my name on my comments. I feel more vulnerable. And realize that it is much, much easier to be anonymous.

  22. In fact, I feel so vulnerable that I am actually going to stop commenting. There is too much of an opportunity for people to use my name and then call me narrow minded, etc. Anonymous is way way way easier. No risk.

  23. Karen, please understand, I did not call YOU narrow minded. I did say that I found your response narrow minded. Please continue
    The Anon

  24. I completely understand your desire to have a respectful moderated discussion of your posts. However I wonder if you will be addressing the concerns that were brought up yesterday. Evergreen has a history of attempting reparative therapy at great personal loss for their clients. I truly believe that it is organizations such as Evergreen that push gay youth towards suicide because the youth believe they should be fixed in the eyes of God, their families want them fixed, and then when they don't have enough "faith" and are not fixed, they have no where else to turn. Perhaps they have changed from the organization that once used shock-therapy to "fix" people, but I have a hard time believing so. I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts as to how you can show support for an organization like Evergreen. I understand why you deleted the post, but I feel it is a loss if the issues and questions that were brought up are never addressed.

  25. Thank you, Josh, for choosing to moderate. A lot of people didn't notice the offensive comment (the one that made me choose to stop reading) because it is not something they recognize as sacred. I am glad that mockery won't be allowed anymore, because this blog and the constructive discussions in the comments have definitely deepened my understanding and compassion for something I was unfamiliar with. Thank you for policing and keeping it "safe."

  26. Charlotte,
    I personally don't know much about Evergreen…I've heard both good and bad things about it so I don't have much of a dog in that fight, per se. But from what I read I'd say it seems fairly safe to say that they don't participate in shock therapy, considering it states such on their website and that they were organized in 1989. Shock therapy was used more commonly (as a legitimate psychological practice) during the 60's and 70's, based on behavioral psychological methods and the current DSM. It fell out of use and then was stated as no longer recommended for Gays/lesbians by the AMA in 1994. (Mind you, this is what I googled in about 5 minutes).

    I mention this because my first response to your concerns is, that as a practice, psychology is constantly evolving. It's not one of linear progression. It's a messy study with not one absolute about human behavior. There were astoundingly horrible practices, beliefs, and assumptions, that were made in the past about how best to treat a variety of psychological conditions….We see it now as bad, but at the time they were based on what was considered sound scientific or psychological practice/belief. This includes aversion therapy. So in general, I would say, yes one can support a group that once believed/practiced things that would not fly today. Plenty of organizations/psychological practices have and will. For example I have my tiffs with ECT (electroconvulsive therapy…not to be confused with aversion therapy) after watching a friend with schizophrenia begin to lose her memory from it. Yet it's still practiced today. I don't throw out all biological/physiological treatment for mental disorders because it doesn't always work. (FYI, I'm not stating that being gay is a mental disorder). Nothing in psychology is exact. Whatever its premise in treatment. There will always be things that work for one and don't for another.

    Just some random thoughts on your questions

    1. If you look in the medical world too, they use to do horrendous stuff in the name of medicine but have now rescinded or done away with such practices. Look up the Tuskegee Syphilis experiment for an example of medical incompetence and horrendous trials. Times have changed, so do certain practice of how to treat things such as what use to happened to try to "cure" gays/lesbians. I agree with Tasha.

    2. Tasha, Hmm… Let's leave the methods out of it and just focus on reparative therapy itself. It is a lie. It does not work. It has never worked. There are no success stories. None. Exodus was the main group selling this snake oil to the fundamentalist community. After 35 years they finally admitted in May that no one can change their orientation. They can live celibate or in an MOR but cannot change. Immediately some othe new group sprung up. 35 years from now they won't have any successes either.

      So I do not base my aversion to Evergreen on the methods but on the claims and the goals.

    3. It's true that procedeures have changed. But the common concensus among the psychiatric community is now that orientation can not be changed. Yet, Evergreen's primary purpose is to help gay people "diminish" the gay. So really, it doesn't appear that they've learned much from history or their mistakes. They might be using less extreme methods than electroshock, but they're still trying to teach gay people that they can diminish their sexual desires. I wonder if the people who run Evergreen spend much time at all thinking about the damage that has been caused. I've heard this place referred to as a suicide mill. What will it take?

  27. Thank you, Josh. I love your blog, but I stopped reading any of the comments a long time ago because so many were so derogatory. Maybe I'll start reading them again.

  28. Thanks for taking this action. I read a few of the comments from yesterday and felt sick afterwards. I don't usually look at the comments for that particular reason. Which is a shame as I know comments usually carry a conversation and add so much to the discussion.

  29. Hi guys. Let me see if I get it right. From the very first Joshua's blog post about homosexuality, there are several points of contention that recur over and over again in this comment section. Here are those points as I see them.

    1) GAY MARRIAGES

    Defenders of the LDS church position claim that it is right and proper for the church to engage in efforts to keep the definition of marriage as a sanctified relationship between a man and a woman, which is in accordance to various religious traditions.

    Those who oppose the LDS church's efforts in that regard do that on the ground that marriage is and/or should be universal human right which should be extended to all those who feel that it belongs to them, including couples that are in same-sex relationship.

    2) SIN OR NOT?

    Defenders of LDS church's stance on homosexuality claim that either homosexual activity or sometimes even just homosexual inclination or attraction is a sin that needs to be overcome.

    Others vehemently disagree with such a stance and consider it wrong, abhorrent or even preposterous, often on the ground that a question of right or wrong is non-issue because religions as such are misleading and/or incapable of competently defining those terms.

    3) PREJUDICE TOWARDS HOMOSEXUALS AND IT'S CONSEQUENCES

    I find at least two layers of prejudices towards gay people that have been discussed here. One is the prejudice towards people who report their attraction without ever acting upon it. The other is towards people who are in actual same-sex relationship, either informal or formal.

    Defenders of Mormon position either do not admit prejudice on a ground that homosexuality in any shape and form is a sin, a makeup of those who call themselves homosexuals, and is non-issue. Other defenders of Mormon position admit that there is prejudice and that efforts of various kinds are made in order for that prejudice among religious people in general, and Mormons in particular, is addressed.

    Then there are those who find those prejudices abhorring & barbaric, they are appalled by it, and pretty much do not see much (if any) improvement in the religious realm (the church and it's faithful members) regarding that prejudice. They seek immediate actions, sometimes demanding various levels of governmental intervention into the matter.

    (Continues in the next comment.)

  30. (Continuation of the previous comment.)

    4) "PROPER" TYPES OF RELATIONSHIPS FOR GAY PEOPLE

    Defenders of Mormon position claim that a mixed orientation relationship & marriage is at least possible to be fulfilling, and sometimes (if not often) desirable course of action. They also often claim that if for any reason person cannot be in such a relationship, he or she should engage in celibacy.

    Those who oppose that stance claim that mixed orientation marriage is potentially dangerous course for a gay person which can cause great trouble and heartbreak. They also often claim that celibacy for gay people is not an option, and that pretty much the only way is to engage in same-sex relationship.

    5) THERAPY

    Some debaters expressed grave concern about various types of therapies (including reparative therapy) in which some homosexuals were engaged. Others believe that the issue is of a lesser importance, and is and should be a matter of choice by a gay person.

    6) SUPPORTING GROUPS

    The question have been raised about various types of supporting groups for gay persons: are they legitimate, are they helping or hurting people with same-sex attraction? Which of those deserve our support?

    7) AN ISSUE OF BALANCE

    There are some in the religious community that believe contemporary society is becoming increasingly biased towards one option for gay individuals. Same-sex relationships are increasingly percieved as the only proper option. It is believed that that approach is not balanced and/or fair, and that homosexuals should have wider array of options to take into consideration, including mixed orientation relationships and celibacy.

    Others disagree, sometimes quite vehemently, claiming that such a stance is a form of prejudice nurtured by misunderstanding of homosexual inclinations and attractions. They affirm that the only proper option for persons with same-sex attraction is to engage in same-sex relationship, and that pretty much everything else is harmful.

    =====================

    OK, guys, that's pretty much all I can find here as issues of contention. If I missed something, please, add to the list, but I think that everything that has ever been discussed here can fall in one of seven aforementioned categories.

    Now, I personally believe that there are many great issues about homosexuality that haven't been touched in the discussion, issues that cannot be put in any of those seven categories. I find that unfortunate.

    I also believe that all those seven categories can be summed up into one category, and only those who can debate them as one issue are actually worth to be called consistent and truly valuable addition to the discourse. At least that's how I perceive it.

    And that category is:

    HOW DO WE TREAT EACH OTHER? WITH RESPECT OR WITH CONTEMPT? TO BUILD OR TO DESTROY? TO LEARN OR TO "TEACH THE LESSON"? TO ENCOURAGE OR TO BELITTLE?

    Thank you for your attention.

    1. There is one way, FG. It is through affording rights. (In mormon circles, we would refer to this as 'agency' aka 'god's plan'). In nearly every state in the USA and in nearly every nation, gays are fighting for marriage rights and often civil rights. Sometimes the right not to be killed. People see The Weed Man (I'm going to call him that because I like it more than Joshua) and his cyber entourage as a threat because we are not able to separate their opinions from their political activism. I find this both very unfortunate and very understandable. Unfortunate because I think the Weed Man is one of the most delightful fellows I've ever cyber met. Understandable because he's challenging the notion that orientation is non negotiable. Frankly, for the most part, when people start believing that, it sets us back. And a certain subset of his followers is grasping for any reason to believe that orientation should be negotiable and when it's not, a person should take the crappy hand they're dealt. The solution is to make people see that the opinions of others won't touch them negatively. That can be done through civil rights. Minority rights. Separate the opinions from the political activism. People will have to find their own ways of dealing with churches that accept them conditionally or not at all. I had to deal with this in my life and I dealt with it by walking away. It was not easy. But it had to be done. But let our governments at least be a safe haven. For me it really is that simple.

    2. Tammy, because time and attitudes are changing, you are able to live you lives openly. 20 or 30 years ago, you might just have claimed to be room mates and everyone around you could have / would have turned a blind or dumb eye. So all the kids who were friends with your kids would have missed out on the positive role model right in front of them.

      As you question, in your post, so do you also answer it. You are the example that Changes the attitudes. As are thousands of others. My kids have positive 'living gay since the kids were born' examples in their friends parents and they have 'making the most of it after an MOR failed and the parents divorced' examples in their friends parents.

      I sat my cute 'popular kid' child down as she entered middle school and said "if I ever hear or see you use the phrase "he's so gay", you are in bigger trouble than you can imagine.' She looked all puzzled "why would I do that? ____'s Dad is gay. I like him."

      Winner! This is what we want to 'save' kids from seeing or understanding?!?! I hope not.

    3. BQ, there is one fundamental difference between you and me which I do not see how it can be reconciled in foreseeable future, which is OK, as I don't find it necessary to be reconciled. However, I do find it somewhat important to be made manifest.

      You abhor religion. I abhor the government. "Abhor" is too strong of a word? OK, then, you strongly dislike religion. I strongly dislike government. You think that religion may very well be root of all evil? You don't? Well, I still believe that the government is indeed root of all evil. You think that government can and should protect rights? I believe that there is only one entity on the earth which rights should be protected against. And that is government.

      If you read carefully what I just wrote, and I mean very carefully, you may realize that I'm actually accusing you of something. I'm accusing you that you are not an atheist. You are a believer. A very strong one. And your church is called government.

      That's why I strongly believe in principle that the LDS church's stance on Prop 22 is wrong. Instead of fighting against gay marriages, the church should have fought against government's right to define marriage, thank you very much.

    4. FGua:
      Some believing people have a very hard time conceptualizing atheism so they try to say that atheism is a religion. Or secular life is a religion. They are no such thing. Atheism is the absence of religion; nothing more.
      It would be pretty difficult, after hundreds of years of practice, to argue that government should no longer have the right to perform marriages. But assuming we could, how would thay play out? Would the government cease to issue marriage licenses or would they annul all prior marriages? And now that marriage is owned by private religions, I'm sure you understand thay UU and UCC and methodists are all going to have a heyday with their big fat gay weddings. But hey, you asked for it. So does the government recognize all those private marriages or not? I'm sure you understand that they can't discriminate between religions. It really is all or nothing.
      In the end, the effect is the same. You can't stop it.
      People are making this way too complicated. Imagine we both have sons. They're both named Josh. You call your kid Joshua for long. (Relax. I'm just joshua-ing you a little here.) Anyway, we both have kids named Josh(ua). Yours goes to church. Mine is a science geek. Yours wants to be Captain Moroni for Halloween. Mine wants to be Sam Harris. Our children are not the same person just because they share a name! More importantly, nobody ever assumed they were. Nobody has to get upset because we chose the same name for our kids. For crying out loud, I've read letters to Dear Abby on the subject, but normal people don't get territorial about names.
      I'm trying to teach you with a parable here. Like Paul Dunn.
      FG you have a dizzying intellect. But let's keep things simple. Whatever your philosophical thoughts are on God and procreation, they are yours. They are not part of a collective like the bjorge. In a civilized society, we find a common premise and work from there. We have governments, and until such a time as your deity sees fit to take a break from whatever and overthrow our government(s), you and the rest of the deists will have to defer to their edicts since they are what we can see.

    5. BQ, sure some religious people have a hard time conceptualizing atheism. Not me. Been there, done that. Remember, I live in a former communist country. I was a staunch atheist up until my mid 20-ties. My father is still a staunch atheist. In my late teens I was, as a poster boy of my generation, invited to join the Communist Party. I didn't, just because at that time it was obvious that everything is falling apart. They were late 80-ties after all. Very late.

      I'm not saying that there are no atheists in the world. I know some of them. I'm just saying that you are not the one.

      You ask how absence of government in marriage business would play out. Then you give an example with UU and UCC and methodists. And I say to that example EXACTLY. And I also say AMEN. Yes, I do ask for it. I am a faithful Mormon and I have no problem with the LDS church running out of members over the issue of homosexuality. Or any other issue, for that matter. It should all be a matter of competition.

      And by the way, not just UU and UCC and methodists. Any private organization should be able to perform marriages, including for example Bjorg Queen International. The more, the merrier.

      Government's business in only to protect what private people agreed upon. Gay marriages should be vehemently protected within the community of UU and UCC and methodists and BQ International. Gay marriages should be vehemently denied within the community of Mormons, Catholics etc. Government should be perfectly neutral in that matter. She is nothing more and nothing less but a monopoly of force. Everything she does ultimately boils down to that one single fact. That is why I am not just highly uncomfortable, but it also scares bejesus out of me when government is involved in marriage business, and the same I feel when someone who claims to be atheist practices government as his religion.

      Sure, I am aware that there are many other things created by the government that makes the marriage business very complicated. It involves this entitlement "right" or that entitlement "right" granted by the government to spouses in marriage. To which I say, dear BQ, kiss all of your "rights" handed out by the government goodbye. They will be soon all gone. The only rights that will stay with you will be rights given to each person by God, or (for true atheists) inherent to the nature of man. How that will play out is of course entirely different topic, which should be discussed elsewhere.

    6. Yes, Thank you Anonymous.

      FG, I was not kidding when I said you have a dizzying intellect. Here's the thing though: Sometimes when people are waxing philosophical about this or that, they can get so caught up in trying to come up with a bold, unique, profound idea that they, in the process of trying to do so, can assume too much or take liberties that they ought not. You have some very interesting ideas, but when you suggest that a concept can only he understood through mormonism (which happens to be your religion) or that I am not atheist as I say I am, you have gone too far and it is time for some introspection. A shared idea doesn't have to be extreme to be worth considering. I have, on many occasions, challenged exmormons turned "mainstream" christian who love to talk all day about how glad they are that they finally "found" Christ (unlike when they were Mormon supposedly) It's fine to say: "I feel closer to Christ in this religion" but I have little tolerance for the "Mormons aren't Christian" crowd and I've had numerous occasions to say so. If somebody says they're Christian, they are.
      I've had to keep myself in check in the past and avoid statements. For example, I've had to fight the urge to say to somebody: 'I used to be just like you. I was lying to myself the whole time I was Mormon and SO ARE YOU'. I don't have the right to tell another person that their experience mirrors my own. I just don't know that much.
      In short, you don't have the right to tell me I'm not atheist. I think your comments insisting that I'm not who I claim to be are disrespectful and contentious but I hope Josh won't remove them because frankly I think they should be left as an example of the type of assumptions and liberties we should all try to avoid here.

    7. BQ, please, don't get me wrong. My intention is not to persuade you. As I mentioned earlier, there are some fundamental differences between you and me that currently cannot be reconciled, and I have no problem with that. I'm writing it not for you, but for the people who may be reading comments and wondering what is wrong and what is right in the issue of, for example, gay marriages.

      And I just want to say that these days many issues have been made into points of fierce contention whereas only by looking at them from just a slightly different and perhaps not entirely conventional perspective they become non-issues.

      Of course, not everyone likes that their favorite point of contention is turned into a non-issue.

      If you are hurt by me calling you a believer rather than an atheist, forget about it. I called you a believer to make my point for those who have ears to hear. As for you, BQ, you are an atheist just much as Josh and myself are gay.

    8. I'm not at all sure what you mean about things becoming non-issues. I think your opinions about whether or not being gay is "wrong" will become a nonissue once the government (specifically the United States government in this case) takes away the ability of people of all religions to withhold rights in the name of "upholding" their religious views. Not to sound like a broken record, but until that time, I will have a very difficult time not blanketing all conservitives, particularly those who are opposed to homosexuality, into one amalgamous archetype or characture whose primary goal is to withhold civil rights from those who have different religious views. Because where this issue is concerned, there is no agree to disagree. At the end of the day, one group has protective rights and one does not. And the group with protective rights would not lose those rights were the other group to also receive the same rights. So I really find that I don't have much room to compromise in this area.
      As for "religion", I have convictions. Most people have convictions. I think that sometimes people put more value in "religion" than they do in "convictions" and that's unfortunate. I don't often hear people express that all convictions ought to be respected, but I do regularly hear people express that all religious views are deserving of respect. Recently in fact. I don't think there's much of a difference, frankly.
      I'm not hurt by you calling me a believer. I'm disputing it based on fact. And I won't forget about it because it makes me feel irritated; I'll disregard it because it's untrue. I don't think there's any difference between you calling me a believer for the benefit of others with "ears to hear" (whatever that means) and you telling me I'm a believer for my own information. But I'm glad that ultimately we can agree that I'm an atheist.

    9. I'm still not clear on one thing: In your opinion, if the government were to stop issuing marriage licenses and performing ceremonies,
      1) what would happen with all the preexisting marriages? Would they still be valid in the eyes of the government?
      2) Would any church marriages be considered "valid" in the eyes of the government for the sake of tax purposes and such.
      3) If so, which marriages would be valid in the eyes of the government?
      4) Would churches choosing to offer gay or polygamous marriages or marriages to minors also be valid in the eyes of the government?
      5) On the topic of polygamous marriages, if a man is allowed to have 5 wives and one of his wives has 5 husbands, would that man be "married" to his wife's husbands?
      6) If all the different churches are to set their own rules regarding who can get married and who can't, how would this affect laws such as the law that one spouse doesn't have to testify against the other or the law that immigration preference is given to those who have citizen spouses? (I realize these things might not apply in your country, but in America we do have laws regarding testifying in court and immigration so I'm wondering if those who advocate that marriages be given "back" to the churches have considered these logistical issues.)

      On the topic of giving marriage "back", I'm not entirely sure that churches ever "owned" marriage to begin with. If they did, was it "owned" by one church or a collection of churches? But to me that's like saying that churches had an "idea" and therefore the government had no right to copy that idea. I don't know if I agree with that. I might take issue with copying direct passages out of a ceremony. (It sure made the freemasons raging mad when Joseph Smith did it.) But as for marriage itself, the term "marriage" is defined as "a social union or legal contract between people called spouses that creates kinship." So I really don't think at all that there's any reason to believe that the government doesn't have a right to perform marriages for its citizens. I think the government probably shouldn't invoke God's name in said ceremonies. Not because churches "own" the right to perform marriages in God's name, but because I feel governments ought to remain neutral as to the existence of deity in the absence of proof and there hasn't been any real proof (which is not to say people should't believe).

      These are my thoughts. I hope I haven't expressed too many. I would like an answer to questions 1 through 6.

    10. BQ, I respect your questions, but by asking them, you are luring me into a discussion which I do not find appropriate to start in the comment section of Josh Weed's blog.

      Let me just say this. I study wide range of historical and contemporary issues, and I'm becoming increasingly convinced that for whatever issue, situation or a problem we put a trust on government to resolve, we would end up being sorely disappointed at best and massively slaughtered at worst.

      Don't ask me to explicate here what I mean by that, because, again, this is not time nor place.

      I bring this up SOLELY to present my case in the gay marriage issue. It may make some people think, others disagree, yet others angry or whatever. I personally find the government part of the problem, not part of the solution. If you disagree, fine, let's go about our own business or let's continue the discussion someplace else.

      Again, the government will never ever in a million years, by whatever it's action or legislation, make gay people equal to straight people. The sense of equality should come out of people's hearts. And no matter what propaganda in it's almost infinite varieties claim, the government ultimately is NOT and has NEVER BEEN in the business of hearts, but only in the business of the monopoly of brute force, period.

    11. But FG, if you want marriage to be given "back" to religions (and it's my assertion that religions never owned marriage in the first place), you have to be prepared to deal with these logistical issues. If you can't, then how are we supposed to take your point of view seriously? I'm hearing from you that you want me (or at least people who aren't as opinionated as me) to accept things as fact without anything in the terms of backup. Am I seriously to assume that there are solutions to these questions when you say that this is not the place to lay them out?
      And to repeat a point I made earlier, people don't always have it in their "heart" to judiciously and benevolently bestow what they think is appropriate in terms of civil rights. In America, in the South, 50 years ago, the majority was not in agreement with civil rights. Just a few years ago, Republicans in one state were polled and they still disagreed with interracial marriage. By a large majority. But that DOESN'T mean that we wait around for these people to come around.
      I'm not sorry for you that you're doing what seems to be working for you in your life, but I am sorry that you feel the need to difinitively and absolutely disparage gay people as lesser than straight people. By saying that the government will never in a million years make them equal, that's what you are doing.

    12. BQ, that is exactly where I find you and me irreconcilably at odds. You seem to cannot understand that the government actually does not have the power to make gay people equal with straight people. Only people does. By saying that, I'm not disparaging gay people as lesser than straight people. If I disparage anything, it is the power of the government.

    13. the government has the power to make everyone equal under the law – not under feelingss or religious conviction but under the law.
      One could argue forever that the government should not be making any laws at all. But at this point in reality the government does make laws. And these laws can be used to protect people from dicrimination. i.e. firing someone for being gay would be against the law. It is not in many states. It would be wonderful if every employer didn't discriminate against gay people but they do. So a law needs to be created so that they do not have the legal right to discriminate against gay people.
      Continually arguing that the government should not have these powers, that they are the ultimate evil, etc, is a distraction but it doesn't change the fact that people need protection against the prejudice of others. I have known people who have been fired because they are gay. Had their been laws in place, this would not have happened.
      I do not trust individuals not to discriminate. Laws are in place for a reason – to prevent anarchy, for example. But continually bringing the discussion around to the evils of government does not change the fact that some religions want to deny gay people equal rights.
      Also, marriage can't be 'given back' to religions because religions were not the ones that originally instituted marriage.
      Finally, and this is not about comments you have made, FG. But some people on here seem quite bent on insisting that gay people are trying to take away their rights. Even if this were happening on a mass scale (which it is not)it would not negate the fact that some religions are trying to keep equal rights from gay people. It almost feels like it is being used as a distraction – if gay people can be made to look like they are trying to take away the rights of others, then it will be fair game to keep rights from them. But that is not so. You can absolutely believe, and I say this with no sarcasm, that gay people mess up the third level of heaven and that they are not understanding the profound importance of God in straight marriage. You can absolutely believe to the core of your being that to be in full relationship with God you need to be in a straight marriage. Absolutely. But you cannot take away equal rights from gay people becaue you believe what you believe. You cannot. Full stop. This is not a theocracy. And even if it were a theocracy, which religion would be picked? Christianity? Which form of Christianity?
      But that point is moot – this is not a theocracy and wishing for it to be so doesn't make it so.
      Hate the government all you like – and in fact, if you hate the government, then trying to get laws passed through the government to keep gay people from having equal rights does not make much sense.
      Phew. long winded. Check out my blog! click on my name! I need more readers! And I don't mention religion hardly at all!

    14. Karen, government does not have the power to make everyone equal under the law. People does. The government only has the power to beat up and kill. If people want equal rights for gays, there is no need for the law nor for the government. If people doesn't want equal rights for gays, the government can only beat them up and kill them into submission. But that wouldn't change people's minds nor hearts.

      You can argue that there would still be equal rights for gays even if they are acquired through fear & intimidation with violence rather than change of heart. But I say to that that prejudice against gays in such a case is not overcome, only pushed below the surface to simmer and build up force and morph into more sinister varieties.

      I would want that the government creates environment in which equal rights are achieved not through fear & intimidation, but through competition. Methodists accept gay marriages, Mormons don't? Well, let's starve Mormons of it's membership by Methodist's competition. Or nor just Methodist's, but anyone else's who support gays. Let's not make Mormons (or anyone else in that matter) gay supporters by brute force, but by determined moral action.

      I believe that governments these days are morally utterly bankrupt, and that it is only a matter of time before they will collapse under the heavy burden of their rotten core. Let's not place the future of gay people into their unholy hands.

    15. FG, you are right that government does not make anyone equal just as it does not make anyone nice. But laws do help some (not all) think twice before committing crimes etc. if we were to look at gov't through your eyes then you are certainly correct about equality, but while there are protections, rights, benefits, and some guarantees under gov't laws, hopefully passed with our input, I will still desire to be a part of those rights.

      There is potential for mass chaos in your world because people will always want power and someone will always want to rule.

    16. If the government in Canada hadn't made gay marriage legal, it would still be, well, illegal. No one was forced or killed or even tasered to have gay marriage made legal. It wasn't about fear and intimidation. It was about equal rights for all.
      If there were to be no government, I'm not clear why religions would take over. It's not about a competition between religions.
      Again, I find the discussion of an imaginary world with no government simply a distraction. I will talk about things that are here now in reality. Libertarianism vs. other forms of government is a different conversation.
      Although i will say that I find it interesting that it seems you have no issue with 12 or so white middle-aged/elderly white men tell you what to think, tell you what is moral, tell you who God is, tell you how to live, how to vote, tell you who to discriminate against,tell you how to interpret books, etc. But that is beside the point I realize.
      People can beieve whatever they want about government, about gay people, about anything but keep it out of taking away rights from other people. Equal rights for all, not just those you agree with.

    17. I'm not saying that the government cannot have a role in protecting rights of the people. As I briefly mentioned, the government can and should protect private property and contracts of whatever kind among consenting adults. However, the contemporary government morphed into an all consuming monster which is fed by our childish faith in it. If you are disappointed in religions, wait until the same happens to you with the that gargantuan Leviathan. It will be a disappointment of the millennia.

      But wait. I've gone too far. Let me reiterate that I'm writing all this not to persuade you that the government is evil, but only to present my case about gay marriages. This is not a comment section of a political blog.

  31. Tammy, it matters to me because I am a straight person whose heart was broken and whose life was derailed, almost to the point of suicide by a church fueled mixed orientation relationship. Josh and FG Mormon are currently MOR success stories. I am an MOR failure story. We did not have kids, but many kids are born into MORs and my opinion is that most of them are likely to live in an unhappy home that is statistically likely to end in divorce. Friends don't let friends enter MORs.

  32. Tammy, it matters to me because it hurts to see any fellow man or woman told they are wrong for being who they are. Because it upsets me that gay teens feel so much rejection they kill themselves. It is a human rights issue and it is huge.

  33. Tammy, I think it does matter no matter, because each of us has some issue with homosexuality. Either we are gay, or we are uncomfortable in their presence, or are uncomfortable about how they are treated.

  34. Tammy, that's actually not difficult. But I would argue that your expressed desire to understand the ones who are uncomfortable with gays is rhetorical rather than genuine. If I understand it correctly, you are actually saying that you cannot possibly understand them. Well, guess what. I'm gay, and I used to be uncomfortable in the presence of myself. And sometimes even in presence of other gay people. Why? Because I didn't know it. I was clueless and scared. And there is nothing wrong with that as long as one's desire to understand actually exists, and then is genuine rather than rhetorical.

  35. Just set up a 'false' google account with an anonymous identity and use it every time. Tammy I agree that those kinds of things are hurtful, but I think to some extent Josh has to be sensitive to vitriol filled generalizations about homosexuals, as he is gay himself. So hopefully the more blatant ones will be removed, on the other hand I think a lot of it does come from ignorance rather than from a hurtful place. You would be amazed to know how many people in the Mormon church have never even been acquainted with someone that they knew was gay, through no fault or disregard of their own. They do tend to raise their children in a very sheltered bubble. I hope that generalization wasn't offensive, as I was raised Mormon and I feel like I was very sheltered, and in most ways I think that is a good thing! people should shelter their children, hopefully they can find some kind of balance when they do so, but it's a self perpetuating cycle really.

  36. Tammy, I had a lesbian friend several years ago(more of an acquaintance) who said that her female friends felt worried that she would be attracted to them and then offended if she wasn't! LOL. Kind of a crappy situation to be in. It made me laugh though.

  37. I believe there are several reasons why would someone be uncomfortable with gays.

    One of the old fashioned stereotypes about homosexuals is that they are promiscuous predators, so the main fear used to be (and with some people still is) that they would seduce an innocent person (particularly a young man or woman, one's son or daughter) into a quick affair. That stereotype waned not because of a change in attitude towards gay people, but because promiscuity and to a degree predatory sexual behavior has become generally accepted and acceptable among general public.

    This stereotype has waned among Mormons also because there are unquestionable reports of gay persons who have kept the law of chastity their whole lives and have made a great effort to remain faithful to the teachings of the church, but still experience strong same-sex attraction.

    Another reason why I believe people are uncomfortable with gays is simply because they cannot comprehend how a gay person can feel the way he or she feels. For a straight individual, thinking about sex with a member of the opposite sex is more or less pleasurable, but when that kind of thinking is directed towards members of the same sex, the thought might be highly uncomfortable, or even repugnant or disgusting. They have difficulties with putting themselves in other people's shoes.

    Then there could be purely religious reasons. Some people have a strong belief that homosexuality either in thought or in deed or both is one of the greatest sins there is. For them, to be in a close proximity to a gay person is like being close to Sodom & Gomorrah. They cannot comprehend that for many if not most gay people same-sex attraction is a given. They are often hit by reality when a member of their family come out of the closet.

    Then of course there are those who, as you mentioned, cover up their own homosexuality with fierce antagonism towards homosexuals.

  38. I think to some extent it's unfamiliarity that makes the uncomfortable. It could also be related to a fear that you may or may not be attracted to them. Just because they themselves are straight, doesn't mean they wouldn't still like to be found attractive… It could also be linked to some ambiguity in their own sexuality. For some it's likely a strong moral conviction, that your decision is biologically wrong (I am not asserting that conviction merely stating it does exist for some people). I don't think it's hard to understand what would make some people uncomfortable around homosexuals given those considerations. I don't have to agree with them to understand where they are coming from.

  39. Tammy, as a gay person, I actually find it sometimes difficult to not just say, but to actually explain the following: "I'm gay and yes, I'm attracted to you, but hey, don't worry, I'm self-disciplined."

    And the answer is (with a scare in guy's eyes): "Hmmm. OK." And I see the wheels in his brain going like: "Am I sure about that?"

  40. To answer some of the stereotypical questions of why people are uncomfortable I have seen first hand. I am will break down FG comment (which was great btw and is so true) and tell you about experience I have seen and have to illustrate why sometimes it can get uncomfortable.

    1. "One of the old fashioned stereotypes about homosexuals is that they are promiscuous predators…"

    I use to work in a hospital (night shift, UGHH) in which there was 2 gay men working with me. All they ever talked about was SEX SEX and more sex. It would be every time I would be sitting at the nurses station, their latest conquest of male "yum yum'. They would also start down a guys but as patients families would walk by. Let me tell you it made us ALL uncomfortable for how predatory they were.

    Another story that happened to my son. I had a really good gay friend (guy) who said to me one day, that my son (my son was 14 at the time) was HOT and he would totally lick him up and take him down. You should have seen the darts in my eyes when he said that. I will say I decided to make a judgement call and remove this pervert from my facebook friends list, told this man what for and to never come around my son again, and how sick he was to even talk about my son like that let alone a minor. Do you think that would not resinate with me about gay men? I have worked really hard to not only forgive this person for coming onto my son like that but to not feel critically about the gay community at large. This was inline with the predatory nature that FG talked about.

    2. "Another reason why I believe people are uncomfortable with gays is simply because they cannot comprehend how a gay person can feel the way he or she feels."

    He is right about this one. Straight people have a hard time seeing more then straight. Likewise the gay person has trouble see more then gay. If it was about love would it matter if a gay person loved someone of the opposite sex? If it truly was about love and intimacy. If its more then about sex, couldn't a gay person fall in love with someone from the opposite sex and be happy. Josh has proven it can happen. Are they separate? sexual desire and true intimacy?

    3. "Then there could be purely religious reasons. Some people have a strong belief that homosexuality either in thought or in deed or both is one of the greatest sins there is."

    I am sure their are people who believe this way, but I think most religious people just consider a sexual sin just like fornication, pornography, sexual addictions etc now a days.

    Overall I think a lot of people have trouble with it because it is so very open. I am not one to sit around talking about my sex life but some (not all) ruin it for the rest of the gay community with the flabbout rhetoric that comes out of some gay men/lesbian women's mouth. On the opposite side I have friends who are lesbian and/or gay that are respectful, live a normal life without all the rhetoric and flabboutancy (sp) and it makes me feel more comfortable with these friends then other gay friends.

    Just a perspective….

  41. New edit…… sorry so many

    To answer some of the stereotypical questions of why people are uncomfortable I have seen first hand. I am will break down FG comment (which was great btw and is so true) and tell you about experience I have seen and have to illustrate why sometimes it can get uncomfortable.

    1. "One of the old fashioned stereotypes about homosexuals is that they are promiscuous predators…"

    I use to work in a hospital (night shift, UGHH) in which there was 2 gay men working with me. All they ever talked about was SEX SEX and more sex. It would be every time I would be sitting at the nurses station, they would talk about their latest conquest of male "yum yum'. They would also stare down guys coming into the hospital and make sick comments. Let me tell you it made us ALL uncomfortable for how predatory they were.

    Another story happened to my son. I had a really good gay friend (guy) who said to me one day, that my son (my son was 14 at the time) was HOT and he would totally lick him up and take him down. You should have seen the darts in my eyes when he said that. I will say I decided to make a judgement call and remove this pervert from my facebook friends list, told this man what for and to never come around my son again, and how sick he was to even talk about my son like that let alone a minor. Do you think that would not resinate with me about gay men? I have worked really hard to not only forgive this person for coming onto my son like that but to not feel critically about the gay community at large. This was inline with the predatory nature that FG talked about.

    2. "Another reason why I believe people are uncomfortable with gays is simply because they cannot comprehend how a gay person can feel the way he or she feels."

    He is right about this one. Straight people have a hard time seeing more then straight. Likewise the gay person has trouble see more then gay. If it was about love would it matter if a gay person loved someone of the opposite sex? If it truly was about love and intimacy. If its more then about sex, couldn't a gay person fall in love with someone from the opposite sex and be happy. Josh has proven it can happen. Are they separate? sexual desire and true intimacy?

    3. "Then there could be purely religious reasons. Some people have a strong belief that homosexuality either in thought or in deed or both is one of the greatest sins there is."

    I am sure their are people who believe this way, but I think most religious people just consider a sexual sin just like fornication, pornography, sexual addictions etc now a days.

    Overall I think a lot of people have trouble with it because it is so very open. I am not one to sit around talking about my sex life but some (not all) ruin it for the rest of the gay community with the flabbout rhetoric that comes out of some gay men/lesbian women's mouth. On the opposite side I have friends who are lesbian and/or gay that are respectful, live a normal life without all the rhetoric and flabboutancy (sp) and it makes me feel more comfortable with these friends then other gay friends.

    Just a perspective….

  42. Sorry this cannot be attached to the original points…for some reason my computer will not allow me to reply like that. So I hope you guys will see this.
    Also, again, I’d like to emphasize that I don’t have a real fight for or against evergreen. Or affirmation. Or any group really. Honestly right now, looking into what both of you have mentioned is the most that I’ve ever read about evergreen, trying to get a better understanding of the organization as a whole.

    MOR

    I find methodology quite important since it is also tied directly into underlying assumption in therapy as well. From what I read on evergreen’s site, “curing” homosexuality did not seem to be the entire focus of its organization. Not to say it wasn’t there. It was. But that it had a number of more fundamental focus on some of the false beliefs and assertions about oneself that are common themes with those that are LDS and gay that I think were actually pretty positive and healthy. So on these things I could easily find things supportable. The change in sexuality from gay-to-straight almost read off to me like willy wonka and the chocolate factory. In this, I mean that it was stated as a possibility, that it could happen, you could get the golden ticket per se. But you’re more likely to get chocolate instead. “Chocolates” are generally the other positive things that can come from their group (better regard for self, less sense of shame, better sense of self/value within their religious community, etc). The problem I see is that golden ticket could easily become the focus for many who join the organization/those within the organization. I’m taking a semi-educated guess that those who had the hardest time in the group were those that were honed in, for various reasons (familial pressure, personal desire, ideology, etc) on getting that golden ticket. When they continue to try method after method, and still only receive chocolate they’ll probably re-deal with feelings of failure, disappointment, shame, isolation, etc. From what I read that to me is their biggest weakness.
    Also I do think change in sexuality is possible. I think major 180’s are probably extremely rare, but that varying change within the spectrum of sexuality (whether gay/bi/straight and it’s varying intensity) probably could. I would still assume change in sexual orientation (even minor change) is still rare, but I’m hesitant to negate any possibility that it can because of personal stories that I’ve read or personally heard. I generally take people for their word. And what I’ve heard is that therapy can help them navigate their sexual feelings. I haven’t heard any that indicate change was a direct result of therapy as well.

    BQ, (so every time I write this I think of DQ and have a sudden craving for a soft serve ;))
    My major concern with what you’ve written (especially about it being a suicide mill) is evidence. Not anecdotal evidence. That’s a dime a dozen for either side. There’s things I disagree with, from reading Evergreen’s page (or think have potential flaws) but I tend to want it evidence based rather than anecdotal oriented. Many of your concerns to me seem to exceed what I can find (for or against evergreen) when it comes to actual numbers/stats.
    Also “‘diminish’ the gay” doesn’t seem like necessarily accurate description to their actual goals. It assumes a diminishing of person as opposed to orientation. This is a smaller concern but I think still important. In order for anything to be accurately critiqued, IMO, entails accurately understanding their position, claims, and assumptions…then indicate potential problems and benefits that come from that view. Every controversial, current-day view I’ve ever read has its lists of pros and cons. Understanding that on both sides, to me, gives the best opportunities to improve and change in the future.

    1. Tasha,

      Thanks for the response. You consider methodology quite important. I don't, partly because I personally went through more than one methodology/doctrine/approach whatever with my former partner in his quest for straightness. And I read every tract printed (this was back before the internet, LOL!) and I've read most of the websites since then. The important thing to me is the 'promise'. I do like your Willy Wonka Analogy!

      Let's accept/assume that most people are going to a place like this (rather than to their local, way more affordable, way easier to get to, counselor) for the golden ticket, the prize that is not offered elsewhere. Those consolation chocolates will no more sustain the seeker than chocolates and candy ALONE would make a body physically healthy.

      You say ::I’m taking a semi-educated guess that those who had the hardest time in the group were those that were honed in, for various reasons (familial pressure, personal desire, ideology, etc) on getting that golden ticket.::(Please, trust me on this, I have BTDT, they and their loving entourages are the ONLY ones in the group. There are no others. In the unlikely event there are, so what? We are not talking about others on this blog, but about gay people struggling with their gayness}:: When they continue to try method after method, and still only receive chocolate ::(Yes! You get it! They do try and try and try and they do only get chocolate!)::they’ll probably re-deal with feelings of failure, disappointment, shame, isolation, etc.::(Exactly!):: From what I read that to me is their biggest weakness.::(THIS is where we disagree: It is not their weakness to me, it is their gayness. Which, to me, is part of who they are, not something they can change.)

      They are going to these groups because they want to change their sexuality. They are not trying to change their intellect (school and college and libraries help with that) Or their spirituality (assuming they are getting that through church) or their physiques (Gyms and the great outdoors). There is one part of their life they are missing out on – love and companionship. They live in societies / churches that tell them the love and companionship they were born seeking is 'wrong' so they try to fix it.

      You say ::Also I do think change in sexuality is possible. (Josh says he does not believe this. I don't believe it. I used to, and in that belief trekked around these groups getting nothing but ever more sickening chocolate) I think major 180’s are probably extremely rare, (No kidding! There is such a condition as sexual fluidity, but even with this the person does not control it, so back to where we started!) but that varying change within the spectrum of sexuality (whether gay/bi/straight and it’s varying intensity) probably could. (Hmm… varying change… I am unconvinced. I think we are who we are but we can hide that form ourselves for a long time. If we grow up in a family/church/society that completely condemns us for being L G T Q or whatever, we will deny it to ourselves for a long time. So the 35 YO married man coming out to his wife is not so much a change as a personal revelation to me) I would still assume change in sexual orientation (even minor change) is still rare, (Rarer than a unicorn) but I’m hesitant to negate any possibility that it can because of personal stories that I’ve read or personally heard. (PLEASE TELL MORE!!! I am often hearing of these second hand personal stories on here, but no follow up details. What can I tell you? 25 years ago you might have seen me and my ex testify about the wonderful work that had been done. Not any more. I'm married to another man and so is he!) I generally take people for their word. (Which is why it is painful when the great testimony is not being lived behind closed doors) And what I’ve heard is that therapy can help them navigate their sexual feelings. I haven’t heard any that indicate change was a direct result of therapy as well. ( Nor have I. And I have been looking for a long time)

    2. MOR,

      (this was back before the internet, LOL!) and I've read most of the websites since then. The important thing to me is the 'promise'. I do like your Willy Wonka Analogy!
      Ok, seems fair. Terrible days…no internet. I shudder to remember dial-up, let along back when I had no computer and had to find info the hard way.

      “Let's accept/assume that most people are going to a place like this (rather than to their local, way more affordable, way easier to get to, counselor) for the golden ticket, the prize that is not offered elsewhere. Those consolation chocolates will no more sustain the seeker than chocolates and candy ALONE would make a body physically healthy.”

      Probably taking my analogy a little too far….but that’s fine. It was moreso just the idea that there are good things period. But because it doesn’t fit an ideal that may have been promoted or (what seems more prominent on their recent site) viewed as available as an option it’s going to overpower any good points. And because most won’t get that golden ticket what good did come will be severely overshadowed by perceived failure to progress to that golden ticket. One clarifying point: when I said “their biggest weakness,” that was attributed to the evergreen organization as a whole, NOT gays. Sorry for the amibiguity. But I’m also very hesitant to talk about it, mainly because I have no direct personal interaction with evergreen. I tend to shy away from blathering on about things when I know I don’t have more of an educated understanding of said topic. I hope you don’t mind me not talking much more on this specific topic.

    3. Cont'd
      On changing sexuality: I’m speaking more on lines of intensity, prominence in one’s lives, and, yes, sexual desire/orientation. I’m thinking about my own sexuality as well as a number of stories I’ve read. On stories I’ve read, I’m skeptical of those that are excessively gushing about their changes…comes off defensive. I’m more interested in stories that describe people’s journeys. I’m also aware that I’m seeing it through their current lens…which can change as their lives change. The vast majority are those that have mentioned slight changes of some sort sexually. The one was a very odd conversation with my friend who’s sexuality went all over the place (it was a while ago, I believe he said he was asexual then bi then straight….or maybe it was still somewhat bi. I can’t remember. He blamed it on drugs though). Personally, I think of my sexuality and how it has changed over time. I’m not gay, but I have an extremely high sex drive, active LDS, and am single. I’m sure tons of single people say that, but trust me, it’s above and beyond. I’ve had plenty of women living with me to compare it to. Without getting too graphic about some of the problems I associate with it, at one point there was a time I couldn’t NOT think about sex. I wanted to not think about it something bad (I was a missionary), but it was constantly playing over and over again. At its peak the only escape was unconsciousness. It would exhaust me to control it. There have been changes on level of intensity and its prominence in my life. It’s probably been high for a very long time (I can’t remember it not being high), but my capability to manage it has changed, its place in my life has changed, at some point the thoughts changed as well. I don’t feel like my thoughts are running rampant through my head. Still have other struggles/concerns that are tied to it. But I can state that it has changed and in some ways diminished. So because I don’t know other’s live and I’ll take people’s word I assume there can be change of some sort. Though the change of gay-to-straight is definitely unrealistic as a goal to reach for…. I agree that it isn’t controllable or something someone can shoot for. But because I’ve read firsthand experiences of some form of change I can’t rule it out as impossible….just not very likely. How far on the unicorn scale of unlikelihood, I have no idea. Just like the stats on club unicorn, I’d figure there’s some major discrepancy in error that would come from trying to measure it. Whether or not it can change, though, shouldn’t be the premise to one’s therapy.

    4. Cont'd (so sorry for the length)
      On who we are  (((I think we are who we are but we can hide that form ourselves for a long time. If we grow up in a family/church/society that completely condemns us for being L G T Q or whatever, we will deny it to ourselves for a long time. So the 35 YO married man coming out to his wife is not so much a change as a personal revelation to me I think that is one of the major questions raised in this))) I would agree with the former, I don’t see someone coming out at 35 as a change in the individual, but a change in understanding of your relationships dynamics (in the case of the wife/man you mentioned). What I do find interesting and constantly has, is this idea of who we fundamentally are. I think I’ve always been curious about this in some respect because who I am has always been considered outside of some norm. Who I am also constantly seems to be unsatisfactory to someone in someway. I find it interesting how much who “I am” colors my relationships and yet at the same time doesn’t. Sexuality is one of those things that I wonder how fundamental it is to being. How fundamental is my own sexuality? Am I repressing it because I do not and will not satisfy my sexual desires? Am I repressed? What does it mean to be repressed anyways? I think what I’ve liked so far the most about Josh’s post is this idea of having multiple traits that may be considered fundamental. That by backseating one in the name for another isn’t necessarily repression, but an indication of conscious choice and perspective. It would be a lie to say that my own sexuality didn’t have a distinct presence in my life. It’s very much there. But there are so many more important things to who I am that I consider now fundamental to my being. I also resonate with the message that it has been a gift to have something so conflicting in my life. I have made difficult choices that have shaped and made me stronger and better that couldn’t have happened without them. How strong, prominent, etc my sexuality has been in my life has varied…I can’t say much more than that. I’m not hiding from me, it just is as it is. I would agree that much of the change (minus actions I take or reactions to it) are not necessarily within my control.
      On direct change from therapy  yeah, I didn’t look to long for it though. Probably because I’m a psych major and from some therapy I’ve personally received. It’s not a wonder drug. It was one tool that can be utilized in correspondence with other tools for change in one’s life. That’s why I find methodology important. Some methods worked a heck of a lot better for me than others. Some were practically useless. It entailed what were actual root problems for me, if the therapist got that, what were the premise to said methods, and how well I resonated with the treatment plans as well as with the therapist.

    5. So, what am I? –> Human I believe 😉

      Seriously, my sexuality does hone in on that person when I love someone. I can tell that if I had differing values I could easily play the field. I'm definitely still attracted to plenty of other men. But I have a strong sense of loyalty to balance it out.

  43. BQ- you said- "People see The Weed Man (I'm going to call him that because I like it more than Joshua) and his cyber entourage as a threat because we are not able to separate their opinions from their political activism."
    I think this hits on a very salient point. And it runs both ways. The activism surrounding gay issues has relied a great deal on a dogma of immutability as it relates to orientation (probably to capitalize on the connection to other civil rights movements). The thinking seems to be, "if we acknowledge any possibility of fluidity, than our whole quest for equality will be thwarted". I think this is a tactical error. And it has unintended consequences. Hence, many people would love to silence Josh, because they perceive his story doing damage to their cause. But what does that remind you of- the idea that someone should either be dishonest about or hide their truth because it makes people uncomfortable, or doesn't gel with the dogma feeding their suppositions?
    We seem to be getting that sexuality exists on a huge spectrum. Heck, I can't even keep up with whatever new letter is being added on to LGBTQ… but as soon as the politics start, we have to shut up those who don't fit the mold- the one that will sell this as the next equality front in a post racial world. We should have equality and the right to self determine because we are people. Period. Not because we pass muster as a members of a particular group.
    This is what people are not getting about Josh- why his story is resonating with so many. And why it will do more good than harm- He is telling us the truth about some hard issues. Sexuality is complicated, it is about more than who you want to have sex with, it exists both inside and outside the worlds of nature, nurture, intent, self-concept, and much more. It is not a fortune teller that predestines our choices. And the sickness that surrounds so much of our sexual lives (hetero- and homo- and bi- and pan- and a-) is born of shame and secrecy. As soon as we start to accept ourselves in the light of day, our choices look a lot different. And we might find that we have more choices than we thought. Sometimes we have to choose between alternatives that will both leave wounds, but if we can examine our truest desires, maybe we can come out healed and whole. It is just more binary and absolutist thinking to expect that the only use for such a story is to bludgeon some poor gay kid into compliance. The person who would wield it in that way would find something else to use in its absence. That it can only be seen in terms of its value or liability to this or that interest group is a poverty of human understanding. (And maybe even Evergreen and Affirmation exist outside this world of pure demons and angels we like to concoct for ourselves.)
    Let's all tell our stories. We'll all feel better because we'll all discover that none of us are particularly typical. We are all equally weird, damaged, striving, failing, transcending. Maybe than we'll feel more comfortable loving those who are different than us, because we'll know that everyone is.

    1. Oh, I hear you. I hear the hypocrisy and it I'm not at all comfortable with it. In the end, I believe that it's not our place to judge whether a person is "legitimately gay" (how's that for a buzz term?)
      I know somebody who came out in their 30s who had dated men and was almost as surprised as I was. Does that make it my place to question whether that person was legitimately gay? To me, most of the time, it's not a choice. But more than that, even if it were a choice, it still wouldn't matter. To me, there simply is nothing wrong with a woman loving a woman or a man loving a man, both sexually and nonsexually.
      If a person truly wants to change their path from gay to straight-ish, I can only hope that it comes from a place of true desire and not coersion. As I said in an earlier post, sometimes you have to convince somebody they're sick befor you can sell them a cure. Within the LDS culture, gayness is just plain unacceptable. I want to be open minded. But I have to ask the uncomfortable question of Josh and those like him: If the church were to change their policy tomorrow, what would you do? I believe that Josh truly loves his wife and children (who wouldn't?) and I can't picture him being the type who would leave his family. But for the rest of people living in mixed orientation marriages: If the church said, tomorrow, that being gay is okay, would you continue to want to change? Would you breathe a sigh of relief? Would you pursue a same sex relationship? Would you want to?
      Maybe some think this is a ridiculous thing to suggest- surely the church would never change their position on that issue.
      But I'm sure that many people in 1977 thought that the church would never change to accomodate black priesthood holders.

    2. ^ like.

      Great points. The whole discussion involves very complicated feelings/beliefs/attractions. I love hearing other perspectives on this issue that has been a concern of mine for years. I am thoroughly grateful for the insights and opinions and perspectives that people have raised. I, too, feel that the more open the discussion, the better off everyone is. That is why I appreciate so much Josh and Lolly's story. I have never before heard an MOR perspective. I've only ever learned about someone being in an MOR after the MOR failed. It's a great boon to the discussion to have an MOR that is succeeding being represented.

    3. I think that maybe why we usually only hear about the MOR's that fail and not those that succeed is because people seem to want to keep MOR relationships private that are in them. Although when they fail, one person is usually "coming out" and it can no longer be kept just between close family and friends.

      I remember telling my husband about Josh being Gay and he said "Oh, that makes sense". I think at some point video's of our childhood need to be posted (I am his sister). That should quell those saying he isn't gay 😀

  44. But sexually predatory behavior is even more common with straight men (not that being straight makes men more likely to be predators, but men who target female victims are more tolerated). Yet, almost no one becomes uncomfortable around straight men as a result. I suggest thinking about the reasons why that is.

  45. Tammy-I have never really felt uncomfortable being around gay people. But I have felt uncomfortable about expressing my opinions of gay marriage because I was afraid that gay's would then judge me as bigoted, hateful, stupid, brainwashed, uneducated, unamerican, idiotic mormon, etc. Which for the most case I have been called anytime I have tried to discuss this issue with many gay people. It is only until this blog that I have felt at peace about being able to discuss this topic in an open way without feeling like someone will automatically jump to conclusions about who I am.

    I truly appreciate being able to do that and also being able to learn about what it means to be gay without feeling like we have to jump down people's throats.

  46. Just another note on this topic…people are always afraid of the "other". That can be lots of different kinds of groups. Gays, for a long time, where the other. The people no one knew about, and thus did not understand. Once you get to know someone who is gay, and realize you have more in common than not, it becomes different. You realize you really are not so different.

    In reality, we are really more the same than different. I have some gay friends, so maybe that's why it's not so weird to me. And we appreciate each other, even if we disagree because we also are able to appreciate and see the good in each other.

    Not everyone has that opportunity because being gay was not able to be discussed much. Now that more people are talking about it there is starting to be a shift.

  47. can't add this as a reply for some reason. But if you mean by 'post racial world' that racism is no longer a problem in the U.S. that is most definitely not true.

  48. And just to reiterate – marriage did not start out as a religious ceremony. I talk about that quite a bit several comments up.
    I find it ironic – some religious people are quite worried that their rights will be taken away but seem to have no issue with taking away the rights of others.

  49. Ha ha! I can very much relate! I check three websites everyday (read: multiple times a day)… e-mail, facebook, and joshweed.com

    Tammy, I've been wanting to tell you thank you. We don't agree on everything, but I have seen many comments from you that have really impressed me. You are always so kind; I've watched you time and time again building bridges of love and understanding. Thank you for doing so much to enrich this discussion.

  50. Several commentators claimed that Obama's election was some indication that we had entered a post-racial world. I was using the term sarcastically, because it is absurd. Should have used an emoticon. Sorry if my vocab is a little over the top. A professor once told me my writing is "too baroque".

  51. This is an issue of a terrible, counterintuitive platform on which the comment section of the Josh's blog is built. Once the comment section exceeds 200 comments, in order to see any additional comment, one should first click the link "Load more…" at the bottom of the page. Only then you will be able to see not only new comments at the bottom, but also newer replies in a thread of earlier comments. That "feature" is particularly counterintuitive and annoying.

  52. I believe Christians should be known as those who care for the 'least of my brothers' (and sisters!). No, this doesn't mean that people have to be milquetoasty about what their religion tells them is right and wrong. Not at all.
    But discussion about how gay people oppress certain religious groups (not said directly but implied), specific examples of how a gay person acted inappropriately (as an aside, I can think of literally hundreds of examples of straight people acting inappropriately), how there is a 'gay agenda' etc, doesn't feel to me like caring for the least of my brothers (and sisters!). It doesn't feel like trying to walk a mile in their shoes. It feels, to me, like defensiveness and frustration that gay people are still asking for equal (not extra, not special) rights.
    Is the above really the message we as Christians want to send out?

  53. yes, exactly. EXACTLY. Does it brutalize someone's soul if someone tells them, 'hey I love and respect you but I will fight to the death to prevent you from having equal rights.' I suspect it might.
    I know many believe on here in the concept of eternal truths that go beyond what is happening now. And yet, what is happening now is also important. In Canada, we've had legalized gay marriage for quite awhile. It has not resulted in a drop in birth rate, in straight mariages, or a rise in the number of gay people.
    I think God's heart is broken by what is happening in the hearts of people like Bruce Bawer quoted above. God stands, has always stood and will always stand, with the marginalized and the 'least of these.'' He stands with those who society would throw away, would deny rights to. Would he stand with 12 elderly/middla-aged middle-class/upper middle class white men of some power first and foremost? Not the God I know. The God I know is in the trenches with the throwaways, with the despised, with the bullied.
    Some religions put a lot of stress on the concept of man-woman marriage. One of the reasons for this, I believe, is that whether it is done consciously or not, when you can control people's sexuality, you can much more easily control them in other areas.
    God is the god of the despised.

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