Home again, home again.

Got back yesterday from our trip down to Utah. And yes, we successfully procured Lolly’s Dunford donuts and Schmidts bakery cake. And she even let me eat a Dunford. Because she’s filled with charity, and also because I saved the cakes from being destroyed on the plane when someone tried to put their luggage ON THEM. Basically I’m a superhero, is what I’m saying. A superhero for cakes.

Anyway, the reason we went to Utah was to be on a panel for AMCAP. AMCAP stands for the Association of Mormon Counselors and Psychotherapist and they had an event last Saturday. I was surprised to see various people on my last post get all concerned about me participating in this event which was specifically about homosexuality, Mormons and counselors. Um, just what panels do you think I should be sharing my voice, story and perceptions in as a Mormon counselor who is homosexual?

I’m starting to accept the fact that…
it doesn’t matter where I decide to speak or share, there will be people who–for one reason or another–find my participation surprising or uncomfortable. So far in the last four months Lolly or I have participated in presentations put on by: Evergreen, Affirmation, AMCAP, Circling the Wagons and Compassionate Cause. Each one has elicited some fear response or another, yet our message remains the same and will continue to remain the same wherever we share. And, (everyone brace yourself!) we plan to continue sharing whenever we are invited to do so by organizations like these, unless we can’t for whatever scheduling or life-reason. Our participation with any group whose aim is to support gay Mormons does not signal our allegiance to said group (and, conversely, if we were to say “no” to a group it would not signal our disapproval of the group). It’s really quite simple: any discussions, any panels, any meetings that address the issues of gay Mormons are events that, if invited, Lolly and I will happily participate in. Dialogue is better than silence. Sharing is better than drawing lines in the sand. Openness is more productive than “image.” Plan on this being our modus operandi, just as it has been up to this point.

It was a wonderful, wonderful trip. The conference on Saturday ended up being a really positive event. Even though I was worried there might be some contention–especially regarding change of sexual orientation–among the therapists on the first panel, things ended up remaining very personalized (“I believe this…” kinds of statements) and the overall effect was actually quite cohesive and really wonderful.

The second panel was nice, too. 16 LDS individuals on stage talking about homosexuality. Actual faces. Actual stories. People talking, some for the first time, publicly about their own experiences with this issue. It was a beautiful thing, and something a long time in coming.

We also met up with some really wonderful family and friends (so sorry if we didn’t get a chance to see you this time around), and had some important conversations. One in particular with my writing-bff and former professor Zina Petersen–that meeting has seriously changed the course of my memoir in some really, really important and awesome ways.

Oh, also. One of the best parts of the event on Saturday was meeting so many of you guys afterwards. Here are some pictures that people took (if you post yours on my Facebook page I’ll add it to this post–just click on the Facebook icon above). It was seriously such a pleasure to meet you, and–as always–I’m sorry if I was really distracted or unable to form coherent sentences or whatever. That happens to me sometimes.

This is a picture with blog-reader Rebekah Lindsley, who, if you click on that link, gave a really really thorough and detailed account of the entire event with lots of great quotes in a really funny post that made me LOL.

Here we are meeting her:

My blind eye is only partially squinty!

And here she is being a creeper:
I’m not sure which is more creepy–Rebekah photo-bombing what was obviously a serene and intimate photo between me and Lolly, or the fact that my hair is doing something color-wise that I can’t even begin to explain…

Thanks Rebekah. You rock.
Also, here’s this one of us with some awesome peeps I just lifted off Facebook, because I’m a creeper:
Photo by John Sergeant. 
An entire panel of gay people who are Mormon (or spouses). This felt kind of huge and really moving to be a part of. Also, at this point I had to take a leak so bad I ended up walking off stage to relieve myself at the nearest bathroom. Sometimes you’ve gotta take drastic measures and actually walk off stage in the middle of a panel to micturate is all I’m sayin’. 
Finally, here are a couple of pictures from our Voices of Hope shoot the day before:
The house (Wendy Ulrich’s) we shot this in was UNREAL. I wanted to move in.

Our friends the Randalls serving as point, plus Ty, plus Reo. Plus the awkward ridge at the back of my head. 

All right. It’s late. This post took me hours for some reason. Probably all the pictures? But yeah, it was a really good weekend, and it was awesome to be a part of some wonderful things. 
Upcoming: a check-in post! A gratitude post! I might finally answer the FFAQ from like four years ago! And other stuff!


  1. Oh my stars, you were at Wendy Ulrich's house? I assume you met her. I am so jealous. I would rather meet her than you…no offense, LOL.

    But seriously her talks "Seeing Our Blindness" and "Believest Thou" have been such a strength to me. (a quick google search with her name and these titles should bring them up easily. Believest Thou is at fairlds.org, and I found the other on youtube.)


  2. Josh & Lolly – Wonderful post, awesome pics. I am so grateful to hear you response and resolve to keep it up. You are truly special. Thanks for being you.

    Why am I up in the middle of the night? Well im case you haven't noticed, I've kinda been hijacking your blog with my own "stuff" ~~ sorry, I'm working on getting my own blog soon. Thanks for sharing your life and your blog space. I've never smoked pot, but I'm definitely addicted to The Weed.

  3. This might be the coolest day of my life. MY ENTIRE LIFE. haha. πŸ˜€ Thanks! Also I am happy to report that above-mentioned-blog-post has already generated several thought-filled conversations with Facebook friends and obscure relatives. Yay for communications beginning! I told you guys you would change the world. πŸ™‚

  4. I would have liked to stay for the whole thing, but could barely stay for the whole hour thanks to work. I'm glad it went well!

  5. Of COURSE you need to add your voice to the "gay mormon" discussion! That is one big reason why your post went viral (in my own opinion). I know that is why I loved it, because enough has not been said on the gay mormon front. And it is sorely needed. You are also helping bridge the immense gap between ALL GLBTQ people and the rest of us who really have no clue what it is like, but really want to understand. Of course your message will not change depending on who you are talking to. It is called having integrity, which you are full of. Which is WHY it is so important for you to go to everything that you can. I am glad it was such a great experience. Thank you for being a strong, brave, open and loving person, despite everything.

  6. Would you also speak openly at a conference in support of and by gay Mormons who have chosen to "live the gay lifestyle"? No? That's what I thought.

    1. We would πŸ˜€ cause we like them. BUT, I'm 99.9% sure that they wouldn't want us there, cause they don't like us :(.

    2. Ahalya–you should do your research before making comments like this. You literally just described some of the groups I mentioned in my list above, which makes your comment look a little silly. Jumping to conclusions is rarely a good idea.

    3. You would speak in support of a gay man marrying/living with/partnering/raising children with another gay man? Because that's what I meant when I asked if you would support it.

      You talk big Josh, but the truth of the matter is that you gave all that up for religion, a religion that coerced members to support Prop 8! Yet one you cling on to so dearly?

      Doesn't that sound a little… off… to you?
      Why are you SO KEEN to be a part of a religion that urges members to support EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE of what you say you would?

    4. You are aware that belonging to a church that believes things you disagree with isn't exactly unusual for Americans, right? See: the number of Catholics who use birth control.

  7. I can't understand why people feel the need to dictate how a homosexual person should or shouldn't behave, especially when they choose to go against the flow society takes. People have the right to choose. You say you pass no judgement, yet you entertain the idea that Josh may "be sincerely wrong."

    How is he wrong? Because he is sharing his own experience, which brings him happiness, with the world? Because he is providing a different angle to a story we all pretend to understand better than homosexual people just because we are close to a homosexual? And especially because he relates to members of a specific religious organization who in many cases want to hear his story and draw hope from it? Are you implying that he is delusional, and thus attempting to make the rest so?

    You claim that Josh should not share his story everywhere because it will create more pain than nothing else. Why do we have to limit people to hear just one side of the story? The side everyone is repeating? Why can't they be allowed to see a different side? I thought the goal in this conversation was to become open-minded and accepting.

  8. I think Tammy has actually mentioned that she is gay so there's that.
    And she also seems to be the only consistent 'practicing'' gay person on here and if the goal is to be open-minded and accepting, maybe biting the head off of the one 'practicing'' gay person on here isn't the way to go. She has shown waaaaay more tolerance on here than anyone else – she's had to read a zillion times that, in essence, living a gay life is against God. But she has soldiered patiently on making her points and genuinely listening to the perspectives of others. Y'all loved her then, didn't you? Here was a gay person who was listening to you. Heck, she was 'one in a million' then. She was someone who could be told that who she was and what she was doing was against God and she didn't get angry and still loved us! And then, she begins to speak the truth – things like who Josh speaks and who he speaks to carries a heavy burden – there comes the backlash. There comes the bizarre leaps ('are you implying that he is delusional?") She has taken the time again and again to really try and listen to what others, trying to build the actual bridges that many on here have state that they want. Y'all loved her then. But now that she is speaking out more strongly – boom, out come the nonsensical statements and out the window goes the willingness to even try to understand what she is trying to say.
    Shame on you. Shame on you for clinging at all costs to the belief that God would find her gay lifestyle an abomination. Shame on you for how quickly you have turned on her. And shame on you for telling people (either directly or indirectly) that it is better to be in a mixed orientatiion marriage than to be in a gay one.
    Seriously, jump on me all you want BUT YOUR ONE (practicing) GAY ALLY? Grow up, people. Sheesh.

    1. Amen, Karen. Damn! Tammy's refusal to dig deep and channel any of her inner angry lesbian has me working double tine and I don't even swing that way. I hope it's not wasted because I fear her kindness is only teaching folks here that the *nice* kind of gay understands that you have no choice in the matter (aka Take it up with God please because it can't be helped) but we can still all be super fun friends! I hope I'm wrong. Personally I think this conversation could use a tad more righteous indignation.

    2. This is a general statement (I'm not commenting specifically on this conversation), but most of the time, righteous indignation solidifies the other person's views. The only times I've heard of indignation changing someone's mind, it came from a person whom the listener liked and trusted, such as a good friend.

      Otherwise, showing anger almost always causes people go on the defensive and dig their heels in. Furthermore, as a defense mechanism, they will use the other person's anger to discount what they are saying, labeling them as hysterical and hateful. This is my own experience, and I believe there is research to support it. Think about it: How many times has a stranger's anger persuaded you to change your mind?

      That's NOT to say that showing indignation is never justified. Oftentimes it is. But you (general you) should be aware of what it will and won't accomplish. It usually means making a (maybe hard) choice: Do you want to express the full truth of what you believe and feel, or do you want to change minds?

    3. Shayla, I want to express the truth of what I believe and feel. I do not believe that the minds of the majority of Mormons can be changed on this matter until the Prophet speaks the change. Even then, I think many would dig in their heels.
      For too many accepting same sex relationships as being accepted by God equates with their faith crumbling. Other thing can change – the issue of blacks in the church for example and polygamy – and their faith won't crumble. But it's like accepting the fact that God accepts equally same sex relationships as he does straight ones, is the last bastion that must be held on to, the last fort that must be defended.
      If you've been taught from the time you had thought that there are three levels of heaven and in that third level are all the straight couples, then no, your mind cannot be changed unless perhaps something radical happens – like your gay child commits suicide.
      So again, I want to express the full truth. Mind changing beyond MOR's and beyond 'we love you but don't go living that gay life' can't happen here.
      Can we all be super fun friends anyway? Not really.

    4. This Mormon disagrees a little bit with what is being said. Not completely.

      As I understand and interpret LDS doctrine participating in homosexual activity is a sin. So is lying. So is sex before marriage. So is judgment or refusing the serve.

      As I understand and interpret LDS doctrine, we have NO IDEA how God will judge anyone else based on any behavior.

      Because, as I understand it, we are given a life. We are all very different. I was born in India I would likely be a practicing Hindu. It would seem very real to me. Hopefully, I would respond positively to God in a moment by moment basis.

      I have no idea what I would do or want if I were gay. I have never experienced it. If the individual is trying to respond and follow their vision of God, I can still think their behavior is against the commandments.

      But, I would never assume that I would arrive in the Celestial kingdom and they would not be invited because of one thing. That is what I believe the Millenium is for. To sort through difference. Discover that we actually have more in common than not.

      As a church membership, we need to STOP IT. There should never be one suicide because of an individual expressing their own desires.

      I think that alcohol is largely bad for the body and has too steep an addiction curve. If I were to drink, I would think that it was sinful. Responding willfully against what I believe God is telling me.

      If you drink alcohol I might also think you are making a poor choice or even sinning. But, I don't presume that I know something you don't. I presume that we are both doing the best we can.

      As I have mentioned, I never consider the gay issue at all. It has never been relevant in my immediate life. My son came out to me just over 2 months ago. I have been hit with an opportunity to look into the issues more deeply.

      I love that there is a place to talk with people like Tammy. And I think (I hope?) that I have stuck up for her at every turn. Even when I didn't know how to use a name and posted as one of the anons.

    5. Sheesh, I hope that's not what tammy gets from whatever I post. I disagree with her on a number of things. But I respect her choices as hers. I think she seems like a great person (still). I don't know much beyond what I've stated here. I don't feel that way at all. I read her posts and respect her opinion. Mine differs. Her comes from a LGBT perspective with no really strong connection to the LDS church (wasn't/isn't a member type of thing). I'm a straight member from within the church who has an interest in sexuality. I agree that there must be more love and understanding. I disagree with how that would be implemented and cultural/perspective differences. At the end of the day, I still respect Tammy. She's a good woman.

    6. Because patience seems to be working so well. All I'm saying is don't let people have their cake and eat it too. Nobody is lobbying to deny marriage rights, but if they were, I would withdraw my friendship and understanding. Period.

    7. One day back right after I graduated HS, I was talking to my normally patient gay friend and he got pretty pissy with me over feeling like a "second class citizen". It felt abrupt and took me back. But it DID make an impression. It made me realize that the attitudes promoted by my church and political party caused him pain and yes, anger. I needed to hear it.

    8. Neurotic one – which commandment is gay behaviour against? Which one exactly?
      LDS Doctrine may say homosexuality is a sin but the gospel does not. It does not.
      Not on this blog because y'all generally agree but out there,saying that living a gay life is a sin is the epitome of homophobia. No need Mormons to jump on me about this because I know what you will say.
      Neurotic One, you may believe that homosexuality is a sin in a very kind way. you seem very kind and searching. But I don't see much difference between that belief and what your son felt others thought of him at church. And you can't ever know just how hard it might be for him being gay and having a mother who thinks that if he were to ever live that out, that that would be a sin. It sounds like you are close and that he gets some of his strength from you and that is great. My question is – will he ever feel free enough to be who he really is when his parents, his church and all around him tell him that to be who he is, to live it out, is a sin. How can the LDS church ever truly stop the spate of suicides it has caused/will cause with that belief? Everyone is going to jump all over this comment but I hope that before that happens, before the curtain closes, you will get to think about what I've said.

    9. When a good friend tells you something (even harshly) it is much easier to contemplate than when strangers are assuming things about you and treating you harshly about things that might not represent you at all.

      Apples and oranges.

      I love your posts BQ, because they do make me think. I am glad to see you reappear. And I always know exactly what you think. Because you are so open about it. That makes me more comfortable than a bunch of anon's posting comments because you have no background to continue a discussion.

      I sometimes get the sense that you would like to help get everyone out of the LDS church regardless of their own feelings about the subject.

      Isn't that kind of the same as trying to get everyone to live a straight life or a gay life, regardless of their own feelings about the subject?

      I understand your anger because their are people trying to pass legislation on gay marriage and not on being Mormon. Even though it was a problem for the early church. I love that you are passionately fighting for something you find important.

      But, I think it is okay to consider the idea that not everyone is the blind deceived sheep you seem to believe they are.

      Or at least if they tell you they don't feel deceived, you could not tell them again πŸ™‚

      And it might be okay to consider the idea that that people feel equally passionate about their personal faith as they do about their same gender attraction. And others don't, so they choose a different path.

    10. I appreciate that you understand that my main beef is with the LDS church's political activism and not with the people. There are other things. But you are correct that my main gripe today is the political activism regarding the gay community.
      I have my opinions about the authenticity of the LDS doctrines going down to the first vision account(s). That is really neither here nor there. I'm not out advocating that anybody should have to leave the church if they don't want to. In most situations (not online) I refrain from sharing anything because doing so would cost me friendships and damage family relationships. (This doesn't stop family members from cyber stalking me or so they can find reasons to be angry with me, or from spreading the word about things I post on facebook, but at least it can be said that I don't discuss these things at family dinners.) Would I like to be able to provide information to others that wasn't provided to me at an earlier date? Do I think that this information would have made my life monumentally easier? Yes. Absolutely. I think I could have been spared years of anguish, though I'm not entrely sure I would have been receptive to it. And there's the rub. Some things we need to come to in our own time. But the fact of the matter is I'll never know because the information was not made available to me. In the same way that Josh feels he has insights that would make him good at helping LGBT LDS youth, I feel that I have insights that might minimize the conflicts of people who are at war with themselves trying to reconcile their religious tenets with their innermost human desires; trying to figure out just how much suffering and self denial is enough to satiate a "loving" heavenly father. Simply put, when you realize that everything for which you are suffering is built upon the sand, you stop needing to suffer.
      My personal feelings about the LDS church or even organized religion in general don't mean that I don't feel very strongly that freedom of religion is important. I also think that freedom FROM religion is important. (I know many people are fond of the former but not the latter.) I would fight vigorously for a person's religious freedoms to be upheld, but first I would want to verify that they were actually in jeopardy to begin with. There are a lot of false cries to be heard out there. Americans are kind of in love with the idea of being religiously persecuted.
      I don't think that everybody who is LDS is blind or deceived, but there are things that I know for a fact aren't being openly taught. At least 20 years ago they weren't. If a person knows about those things and decides to look past them, that is despite the LDS church's efforts to only focus on that which is faith promoting. Whatever knowledge a person might have of the dodgy history almost certainly didn't come from early morning seminary or Ensign articles or Sunday school. (Though I admit I thought it was delightfully hilarious when Holland dropped Solomon Spalding's name in conference a few years back.)

      As for speaking critically, who really can? Not an apostate like me. Our credibility magically vanishes once we leave because we supposedly have an ax to grind. People seem to think that we've lost all perspective and our ability to recollect decades of doctrinal studies suddenly takes a back seat to our desire to lead everybody away. A neutral party can't criticize. They're accused of not knowing / understanding enough. (Certainly not as much as somebody like me.) I suppose a member in good standing would be thought to have enough information to speak critically, only once they start to speak critically, they're no longer in good standing but apostate, bringing us full circle.
      Alas, I find that nobody in the human populaion is well qualified to criticize the LDS doctrines.

    11. Interestingly enough I was exposed, recently, to exactly what you are talking about.

      I was visiting teaching (everyone here knows what that means, right?) and the girl we were visiting was telling us a couple of stories from a co-worker. And this girl was mad. She said that the co-worker was spreading all sorts of false rumors about the church. I asked what the co-worker had said. Apparently she told my VT girl that Joseph Smith was a polygamist. She was shocked and offended. I calmly told her that JS was very much considered a polygamist although certain sects (the church of christ) are working to disprove it.

      Then she mentioned her co-worker had told her a horrible story about when an innocent wagon train was brutally murdered by a group of Mormons. I tried to be gentle when I said that the co-worker was also correct about this. I told her it was commonly referred to as the Mountain Meadows Massacre. She was completely shocked and actually asked, "Where on earth have you heard all these things?"

      She has been teaching Primary for 15 years (she is about 30) and those stories are certainly not told to primary children.

      But, the truth is that I know most of those stories from reading official church history and then researching a bit deeper. And many of the stories started from the church history gospel doctrine class.

      But apparently there are some members who are not aware of the stories and various accounts and the atrocities in the history of the Mormon church. Until she talked to me, I honestly thought those were all things that all members knew. It didn't seem secretive to me.

      As far as your personal experience, I am truly sorry. Nobody should feel trapped in a religion by family pressure that simply don't ring true to them. I'm glad that you reserve some of your feelings about things to protect their feelings. I hope that they offer the same respect back to you.

    12. I was taught about polygamy as a child. I didn't learn about MMM (the first September 11) until years later. Last time I checked the church website only mentions Emma. There's also the hat. Seer stones. Treasure seeking charges. Kinderhook. Deseret alphabet. Book of Abraham issues. There's so much. It's nice to see it acknowledged. If after knowing all that a person wants to believe, fine.

    13. Agreed. People should know what they are attaching themselves to.

      I am also happy to see that the official website is open about these things.

      All good

    14. Weeeeeell, that's up for debate. LDS.org is less forthcoming about the Book of Mormon "translation" process than, say, Matt & Trey. An article from 1995 references the urim and thumim in nondescriptive terms. They might find this terminology preferable to "rock" and "hat". In any case, I think lds.org has a ways to go and I don't think members or investigators should have to dig as much.

  9. First off, I'm not an American citizen, so I don't vote in this country. I'm not here to discuss politics.

    You make an excellent point that Josh's story is a story of love. But not just the love he has for Lolly, but the love that his family has shown him. His message is not just for those like him, it's for the relative of those like him. People need to hear that message. There is an inherent difference in how his family has treated him as opposed to many other gay and lesbian youth. LDS or not.

    And I still don't get what's wrong with giving people hope (the kind of hope they want, not the kind of hope society provides)? Yeah, his story is unique, it is the exception to the rule… But that doesn't mean he has to be the only one if that is what others are seeking for themselves.

  10. Listen Tammy, I'm not gonna get into a debate with you about this, but I did want to mention that "this works for me but I'm not saying it's for everyone" and "let me tell you my story and you might get hope" are NOT mutually exclusive ideas.

    It's my story. I share it. The only way my story gets lost is by NOT sharing it. It does not get lost by sharing it with groups who "are beating the drum of a story that is different than [mine]." That could be said of any group I've shared in–I don't feel complete alignment with any group. The differences amplify my story. They do not obfuscate it.

    The thing that is funny is that I hear the exact same worries and complaints after every instance of sharing, but the people saying these things change according to the purpose of the conference and the persons' own biases. You are saying this now. Why weren't you saying it when we presented at Circling the Wagons or Affirmation? It's not because my story is different. It's because your own biases change the way you feel my story might be heard. This is why I have to remain so consistent. I'm not catering to the agenda of any group (even the groups that you might find more resonance with). The bottom line is, the more we talk about this, the better. I have come from decades of institutional and personal silence regarding this issue, and the fact that the conversation is happening is so, so awesome. It might not be perfect, and certainly won't make everyone feel comfortable all the time, but it's better than silence. At least in my opinion.

  11. Josh, I totally hear you about the decades of silence. I am aware that Mormons are extremely behind on this issue and that any talk about it is better than no talk.
    And it will take time for the pendulum, as it were, to swing to less obsession with MOR's and more realization that people can lead gay lives without being considered an abomination by God.
    In the meantime, as I have said, Tammy's about the only 'practicing' gay person consistently on your site and she has proven herself to be trying to build bridges while putting up with at times, extremely strong homophobic discussion. As such, her points should be well considered. Her 'bias' is really that living a gay life is not evil, if that is, in fact, a bias.
    By all means, get Mormons talking. But hopefully the pendulum will swing sooner than later – or else you are going to end up with a whole generation of gay LDS boys who have married women because Josh Weed did.

  12. I won't ever understand why sharing positive view points and ideas with as many groups as possible would be a bad thing. Josh's message is positive and it shouldn't matter whom the recipients of that message are. What should matter is the possibility of Josh's message changing people's lives and misinformed opinions.

    1. Well… I agree that it is Good to share with as many as possible. Everyone who hears, learns. Or at least has the opportunity to listen and learn.

      And the message Josh is sharing is that his own MOR is a joyful place. He is opening the eyes of many that a successful MOR is a possibility, albeit an unlikely possibility with the odds against it. I do not shift from my view that more MORs will end in tragedy than joy, but I have learned and accepted that a few joyful ones are possible.

      Josh has also spoken out clearly and consistently that he does not in any way agree with, endorse or in any way support reparative therapy, the attempt to 'pray away the gay'. He refers to himself as a gay man in an MOR. Which is very different to describing himself as an ex gay in a straight relationship. This may seem 'so what?' to the average person, but to those of us who have had our lives trashed by the ex gay industry it is a huge difference.

      So what was my personal objection to Josh appearing at and for a conference like this? My concern was that some of the sponsors and other speakers were all about reparative therapy. So to me, Josh being on the poster ( which – read it yourself) talked about how people had experienced SSA ( note the last tense) but were now in opposite sex marriages ( note the present tense)… My concern is that reads like Josh being on a panel that promotes reparative therapy.

      And the failure if reparative therapy (trust me on this, trust Josh on this, it does fail) leads to suicides.

      So to summarize my response. It is not the people who hear the message and really hear it that I am concerned about. It is those who hear but also see the context and say to themselves "oh look, there is a cute married couple sitting next to a guy who does reparative therapy. I'll sign myself / my son/ my husband up fir that and everything will work out fine. Umm…. No. It won't

  13. I think that there is an equal possibility of people understanding exactly what Josh's message is trying to convey. What I don't understand is why you think Josh's silence would help more than hurt.

  14. This video was posted online awhile back. It's of a man who attended Evergreen and says that of the 15 men who were in the program with him, 1/3 committed suicide. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFLGJyXG-UQ

    I have rarely seen it discussed in these comments or by Josh how trying to live a straight life can cause extremely mental turmoil and lead to suicide for LGBT people. On the other hand, how many people kill themselves because they were told to turn from straight to gay? That's an important point that is absent from the discussions that take place here.

    1. Making sure I understand here…

      If Josh tells his story, about himself, about his path and experience and says repeatedly that he does not think it is the path for everyone. If he is only sharing his life in the open. Maybe offering change the extreme polarization. Maybe help others in similar situations feel that they are not alone. And whatever else his motivations are….

      Then he is responsible for suicides for LGBT people??

      This makes no sense to me. Perhaps because I feel like if I were a gay teen and came out to Josh, he would hug me and talk to me and tell me that I am always enough. And never too much. That he would gladly hold my hand as I tried to find the path that felt most authentic to me. And he would wish me well on whatever path I chose.

      Telling his story does NOT make him personally responsible for any suicides. Not even one.

      It is cruel for you to attempt to lay that at his feet.

    2. First, I misread the first part of 10:48's second paragraph. I just re-read it and I apologize for not reading more slowly.

      What I thought I heard the first time through was "Josh telling his story will cause mental turmoil and lead to suicide for LGBT people."

      What was actually being said was, "it would be good to include potential ramifications of discussions like that." Which is actually pretty different.

      I apologize from jumping to Josh's defense where none was needed.

      I see Josh's message differently than you do. Likely because I am not gay and have never suffered persecution that was hurtful. I cannot ever relate perfectly from your angle because I have no experience in your shoes.

      But, what I hear Josh saying is "I am gay. I am following my authentic path. Whether you are gay or straight, I hope you follow your authentic path." Really that is what I hear.

      I 100% agree with you that faith is a choice. According to my own beliefs it is absolutely essential that people must purposefully choose what they believe. And I 100% agree with you that sexuality is not chosen. Although actions can be (like your wife, Tammy) or Josh and Lolly.

      But faith isn't ONLY what you are taught. There are sorts of cultural and traditional issues involved. People can choose the details of what they believe strongly in. But, in my experience, spiritual people (not always religious people) really do believe that their faith defines them more than anything else.

      Whenever I try to think of an analogy, it falls short. Because homosexuality is unique.

      I am also willing to admit that maybe my own personal sexuality and libido are such that I am not aware of the intensity that other people genuinely feel about their own sexuality.

    3. Why did Josh choose not to be involved with men? I'm sure there are various reasons here as well. Most notable reason? It's against his beliefs. i.e. against what God wants from him. Against what God believes is right and true and pure. So even someone as loving and as accepting as Josh is, in the end, delivering the same message. I don't know why this is hard to see.

      I see a difference between believing a message and delivering it. Even though I disagree with this particular belief of Josh's, I recognize that it isn't the message he is actively promoting.

      The problem I have with putting the responsibility on people like Josh is that heterosexist religious rules, family values, et cetera are created and enforced by heterosexual men in positions of power, not queer people. I fear that the debate over the choices of gay and bi people who are simply doing their best to live with the rules laid down by straight men is diverting attention from the responsibility of oppressors to the responsibility of the oppressed.

    4. I worry about the young man who doesn't think MOR or celibacy will work for him just lumping Josh into the same group as the other MORs. There may be no further digging for him beyond what he perceives is Josh's message.

      It's a possibility (I say "possibility" because I personally don't know enough about Josh's audiences to guess at what message they are likely to walk away with) and an important one to consider, but I'd mainly fault the social conditions that cause that perception, rather than putting it all on Josh as some (not you, Tammy) do.

  15. You know…I think it is wonderful and amazing that all these conferences and conversations (not only on this blog but all over the net).

    Regardless of what side of the issue you are on, I agree with Josh that talking is better than silence even if people disagree.

    Trauma (abuse) survivors also have a high suicide rate, higher than people with major depression according to the Sidran Institute. Where are the conferences for us? Where's the support? There are any that I know of, and not much support either because people go into "I don't know what to say, so I won't say anything at all mode."

    Likely we will never have conferences for surviviors because for the most part survivors of abuse don't come forward, they don't talk. I live in this world of silence, and I am ubber-jealous (not just jealous, but ubber jealous) that LGBTQ people have so many avenues for discussion.

    Silence hurts. So keep talking about gay issues, even when you disagree, keep the dialogue going.

  16. If you're saying don't speak to certain groups that is silence. Also, if you truly believe Josh's message is positive, I don't see how it would push people closer to suicide. There also needs to be some level of personal responsibility, there is something wrong with a person being pushed closer to suicide based on which group hears a message as opposed to what the message is.

  17. What I hear Tammy saying is, "This is what I'm thinking. I have an opinion on this subject. Here is a different perspective, if you were looking for one. If not, you are free to ignore it."

    I don't find this threatening or offensive at all.

    And I hear Josh answering, "This is what I feel like I should be doing right now, and so I will continue doing it."

    This doesn't have to be angry or contentious. Tammy expressed an opinion. Maybe I should re-read it, but it didn't seem offensive or baiting or biting or anything.

    I would hope that Josh would be welcome at a conference where everyone else was actively homosexual (I am sure that is phrased badly, sorry) And that he would be willing to tell his story there are well.

  18. @Josh Weed

    Would any of the conferences you participated in be interested in having a straight person in a gay relationship like Tammy's wife speak? I think it would be wonderful to have those relationships represented.

  19. @anonymous 11:48–Perhaps! I was on one panel that had two men married to women and two men married to men. It was really fascinating. I'm not sure if Tammy herself would fit the bill (even though she'd do an incredible job) because they're usually looking for people connected to the LDS faith. But, by the same token, there might be opportunities I'm unaware of. It would be fun to do a conference with Tammy so we could finally meet!

  20. As a side note, there have been many comments over the past weeks about all the homophobic things said here. I can clearly see some of them and I try to speak out against them when I see it.

    I am also aware that because I don't know of any gay people in my own life and I need to overcome some stereotypes, that I might not even notice them.

    So, I would personally love it if someone pointed out the homophobic statements when they appear. I would like to be able to see more clearly what things are offensive and some other ways my views might need to adapt to seeing a new side of something.

    I would particularly want to know if any of these homophobic statements have come out of my mouth. That was never my intention and it was done only out of ignorance. I apologize profusely if this is the case.

    1. Yes, please, Tammy.

      It might help me be aware of my words more. It would give me a chance to clarify my opinion without being offensive.

      But, be gentle. I am honestly just trying to learn and openly discuss personal experiences and views.

  21. @Josh Weed

    You really should use your connections with these groups and make it happen! We never hear about same sex relationships that are MORs. I think it would make for an amazing discussion!

  22. I love that you said: "Dialogue is better than silence. Sharing is better than drawing lines in the sand. Openness is more productive than "image." Couldn't have said it better, and glad you went. I'm sure it has been a relief to some people that we are just talking about it.

  23. Josh, I think you're "hair is doing something color-wise" in the above picture is a HEART STAMP! Someone upstairs clearly loves you as so many here on earth do! Keep spreading the love and dialog!

  24. You know, Josh, I feel like I've seen a change in you over the past few months. Could be that I've just known you a few months longer–but it seems that you have become so much more authentic and true to yourself. I don't know how to explain it, but interactions with you feel more genuine and real. It's great. πŸ™‚ I truly appreciate your message and feel like your experiences have helped me better understand myself and my personal interactions. Thank you for the way you're leaving your mark on the world.

  25. The sad reality of the situation based on my observations and recollections. of my own experience is that many LDS who wish to remain faithful are BEGGING for anyone to tell them that MOMs can be successful. And when they hear a story of success, they put 100 times more weight on that story than they do any of the failure stories. And when people like Tammy are patient and kind, what these people hear is that they can keep their biases and bigotry while still having their gay "friends". I feel that many people who were very close to conceding that sexuality is inborn and personal have now been given new breath by the Weeds. This is a step backward.
    You could liquidate all your assets and put them on greens at the roulette table and you could end up winning but that doesn't mean what you did was a good idea or that it should be encouraged. People might enjoy the conversation, but for LDS, at the end of the day, the church comes first. All they need is one or two faith promoting stories to feel a firm conviction that everybody ought to bet everything on green. I'm sorry but it scares the crap iut of me. Actions can speak louder than words and we have a group of people looking for ANY reason to stand behind the false teachings of their leaders.

  26. Your self-acceptance, degree(s) in professional therapy, and a deeply felt purpose have combined into a super power for good. It's exciting to watch. Wondering where this ground swell will end up! πŸ™‚

    My "issue" is abuse. I gain inspiration seeing you surrender and accept what is (for you homosexuality, for me abuse in a temple marriage) and using past pain to create positive change today.

  27. yeah,tragic. It is great that Mormons are talking after decades of silence. And yes, in Stuart's case he was fed the false idea that his orientation could change. I realize that the LDS church is now starting to say that no, it can't be changed. And that is a great big step and maybe yes, if Stuart had been told that, he would not have been so tortured and not have taken his own life. We will never know for sure.
    I feel that some Mormons are now kinda stuck on the MOR drumbeat as Tammy has pointed out. If someone points out that MOR's are not the answer for most, that gets shouted down with words like how dare I and I am not accepting and so on. Being stuck on MOR's isn't really any better than telling someone that they can change their sexual orientation. To reiterate, this is not about asking anyone to be silent. Speak out and speak often. I'm simply saying that the ''new hope' of MOR's for yourself or for your child will very likely still lead to the kind of struggle that Stuart had. And please, as I commented above, don't go jumping all over Tammy. If you've gotta be all jumping all over someone, jump all over me.

  28. "realize that the LDS church is now starting to say that no, it can't be changed. And that is a great big step and maybe yes, if Stuart had been told that, he would not have been so tortured and not have taken his own life."
    Random quick fact. His story is told by his parents in the beginning of the book Quiet Desperation. He was told that his orientation wouldn't change. In a blessing (a special type of LDS prayer over another individual) it stated specifically that his feelings wouldn't be taken from him during his life. Just thought you'd like to know.

  29. It would seem so, BQ. i've put up a few extremely racist/homophobic comments of President Packer's on here and the general feeling seemed to be that 'well, he's really old and set in his ways so it's ok.'' or that he said the racist stuff pre-1978 so its all ok now. the homophobic rant I think was like a year or two ago only. It'slike watching minds go through hoops to rationalize these comments he is making. Bizarre but that's psychology too – the human mind can't handle too much (if any) cognitive dissonance. At least the younger apostles seem to be more gentle in their homophobia which might help? I mean Packer won't be around longer than 10 more years I imagine?
    I think Mormons are more likely now to accept the inbornness of being gay but not so much it being an okay thing. Is Josh doing more harm than good? Well, it's true that there does seem to now be a MOR obsession – but maybe that will pass?
    Tammy is patient and kind because she is a patient and kind person, which I am not! ha. And yeah, like I say, they are darned lucky to have such a great patient and kind gay person on here who is willing to put up with sometimes mind boggling homophobia.

  30. Correction. He was told twice, the same thing, by two different blessings. He was gay, he would be his entire life, God loved him, and that what he did was enough…along those lines. According to those close to him it was as though the world was taken off his shoulders. Tammy a "blessing" is just a special prayer. In this case a prayer of comfort. At that point it helped. Depression though is often full of ups and downs. That marked one of his up moments.
    I'm not disagreeing that there is room for change in the church. There most certainly is. But as I mentioned, I'm a sucker for accuracy. The story is lost and found in the details. And this is an issue that's polarized. Neither pole will work entirely for the LDS church and its adherents.

  31. I am hopeful that some of the feelings of our gay and lesbian children have experienced will continue to decrease as more conversation happens.

    I asked my son if he thought we would kick him out of the house or hate him. He laughed and said, "No way."

    I asked if I had said or done anything that intimidated him from opening up to me earlier. He said no.

    I asked if he was worried about what other people would think. He said, "Sure. Being a minority always has challenges and will change people's perception."

    I asked how he felt at church. He told me that he felt like everyone in the room believed he would burn in hell. He told me that he had spent years making efforts to reject a religion and tradition that would reject him as soon as he was honest. He said that he felt that everyone would see him as dirty and themselves as clean.

    This is obviously horrible and I can't imagine how painful those feelings were. Ouch! But, I also think that his perception of people's reaction might be more harsh than he thinks. He is a great person. He is strong and intelligent and sooooo kind. People know this about him. He isn't ONLY gay. He is a million things.

    As a people or as church members, we need to be talking more about these things. We need to include messages about loving and not judging and accepting and being friends with our gay brothers and sisters. Even if they choose a lifestyle that we disagree with.

    Nobody (including my son) should have to sit through a meeting feeling like others view him as evil.

    Thankfully, he told me that HE has never seen himself as evil or an abomination or anything. He knows that he is good. That is a huge relief.

    But, it helps me realize that *I* can be the one who speaks up in EVERY. SINGLE. CLASS. or meeting and help individuals realize that they are NOT evil or inherently bad. Or to speak up and insist that our job is not to judge another, but simple LOVE. The end.

    We (as a church) fear we do this to other people as well. Single moms. Pregnant teens. Etc. We shouldn't. And those of us who do not, need to be louder about changing the conversation in the rooms.

  32. My heart breaks for the pain suffered by Stuart. Regardless of the details, he was obviously very unhappy. Enough to end his own life.

    Tragic. Simply tragic.

  33. I am sad to admit that my perception of homosexuals is largely based on gay pride parades, TV sitcoms mocking the gay bar scene, or super flamboyant designers on HGTV.

    Maybe that is why I enjoy hearing stories like Tammy's and Josh's.

    It really helps me to better imagine real people who are just doing their own thing and living their own lives. Oh and yeah, they are also gay.

    Yelling and fighting reinforces those stereotypes, I think.
    It creates an environment where people are scared to ask questions or question their own view.

    1. What the heck does it matter if somebody fits a stereotype or not? Whether you are a flamboyant man who has a reality show making over straight guys or two boring lesbians, you are entitled to certain UNALIENABLE rights. (As in the kind that doesn't get voted away). You don't have to be comfortable with two queens all decked out in rainbow garb or a guy who marches in the parade in a speedo for them to have rights. This is not a forum where gays put on their best face to try to convince voters that they are deserving. The idea is that you get rights without having to audition for them. That's the America I love.

    2. I guess I disagree. Breaking down stereotypes is helping to expanding understanding and tolerance.

      If most people in America (and I don't think it is most now) think that the entire gay lifestyle is about promiscuity and bar hopping and walking down the street mostly naked… they are only seeing a part of the picture. And because they think that when straight people do these things it is equally wrong.

      If more people break down those stereotypes… I think there will be less resistance.

    3. Yelling and fighting makes people seem unreasonable. In some instances this is appropriate. Like a march on Washington or whatever.

      But two individuals speaking or even a group… if one person is screaming, they just seem unreasonable and unable to have a civil discourse.

      It can't possibly be a good thing.

      Although I concede that it might be effective with some people.

    4. Additionally, if I am trying to educate myself and broaden my perspective and understanding… it would be bad if I believed any gay person I asked would begin to scream at how horrible I was and I was a blind sheep or whatever.

      Think of the difference that person could make if they were able to respectfully answer my honest questions. Or even calmly walk away if they could see that I was unable to be respectful.

      I'm not saying that people have to put up with abuse. I'm not suggesting doormats. But yelling and hurling insults doesn't do anything to educate anyone. Without further education how is anyone supposed to change or modify their views?

    5. "What the heck does it matter if somebody fits a stereotype or not?"

      Oooh, Oooh, I know. That's an easy one. ;-). Seriously though, stereotypes are important in access to rights and how one is treated in society. Not only in obtaining access to rights, but also in maintaining or receiving certain opportunities in life. When you walk around noticeably different…for Tammy, with her wife, for me with my skin/sex/etc….the stereotypes that come with it walk with you.

    6. Also stereotpyes are irritating as heck! Especially when you don’t fit them. Or worse, when you do. It’s as though you become a flat character of who you really are. You become categorized by these random parts that are meant to be definitive as to who you are. And they do define you, but often not in the people proscribe. They’re a means to β€œunderstand” you, but usually fall flat. Instead of understanding you feel more like some pinned up poster of a human. I think that’s why I make a concerted effort not to fit them. I want people to think outside of their ridiculous categories of what is and isn’t.

      Ok, I'll stop before I start ranting about stereotypes

    7. A couple years ago, we saw an influx of suicides from the LGBT teen community. The media responded, appropriately, with awareness and a call to action. Many good things came of this. The "It Gets Better" Trevor project was one such thing. Congressman Joel Burns gave a raw, poignant speech that went viral. I can't help but wonder, though, if all this awareness in some way compounded the problem. Did it send a message that offing one's self was a great way to bring national media attention to the issue while at the same time ending one's suffering? The statistics alone would indicate that that message was definitely received.

      In my opinion, it's time for a stronger movement. It's time for a movement that, instead of focusing on the question of whether or not change is POSSIBLE, begs the question: Is change NECESSARY. It's time for a movement that defies people who say that change is necessary to explain why that is the case (and please do so without citing a book that also condemns the consumption of shellfish and condones slavery. And maybe they could also explain why without deferring to a power whose existence has yet to be verified by most religious people, let alone anybody from secular government).
      It is time for a movement that, instead of begging for acceptance under the threat of falling to pieces if acceptance is not granted, turns the tables on the haters letting them know how very socially UNACCEPTABLE they and their views are about to become. If they think it's bad now, wait a few years. Because things might be getting better for the gays, but they sure as death and taxes aren't going to get better for the haters. There are people here who are on the wrong side of history and it is time they do themselves a favor and spare themselves any further embarrassment.
      As somebody who experienced adolescent bullying, I'm not going to try to minimize the long term effects. But it's time we stop canonizing children who pay with their blood while labeling the people who fight and yell and refuse to lie down as too hostile for their own good or the good of the cause. Does anybody besides me see how bassackwards that kind of thinking is?
      We do NOT need to be sending a message- no matter how inadvertent- to our LGBT kids that paying with their own blood is the most effective way to be heard.
      It's time for a little bit of backlash and more than a little 'tude. Whether or not you want to admit it, that's the way change has so many times come in this country.

    8. Breaking stereotypes is important. But it's also important to understand that a person- whether they fit the stereotype or not- is entitled to certain liberties that are independent of your comfort level. Tammy and Joanne ought to be entitled to civil rights but not because you personally find them more charming than the "stereotypical" lesbian. A person who has a rainbow flag and marches in the parade is just as entitled to rights as a member of the Log Cabin Republicans (gag).
      At the end of the day it's not about realizing that the stereotypes are wrong. It's about realizing that it was never your call to begin with.

    9. BQ, Tasha never endorsed "the idea that you decide who gets rights and it includes only those who fall into stereotypes that are comfortable or acceptable in your opinion." She was sharing her own experience with being stereotyped.

    10. I should have read the initial post better. I was just scrolling down and noticed a question about stereotypes and thought. Oh, I know the answer to that question.

      But to the rest, uhh… no comment? I'm well past my bed time anyways. Late nights are not my thing. Blog speeches mixed with late nights and GRE math cramming in the mix ain't helping.

    11. Although I'm kinda chuckling….probably a little slap-happy. I feel like I've just been stereotyped. Hehehe…Yep bed it is. hasta manana folks.

    12. Tasha, for whatever it's worth, I was very impressed by many of your comments, especially your comments about perspective and bias in one of the earlier posts. I admire your critical thinking, logic, and self-examination. You come across as one of the most open-minded people on this blog (imho) and I appreciate your comments whether I agree or not.

    13. I should have been more clear. Of course all homosexuals regardless of their general personality type should be included. Whether they fit the stereotypes or not.

      I am simply saying that most conservative people are morally opposed to the idea of public underwear wearing. Most are opposed to the bar scene. Most are opposed to the idea of promiscuity.

      If people could see that homosexuals are simply the same as their heterosexual counterparts (there are certainly under dressed, alcoholic, partier, promiscuous heterosexuals)…. Perhaps some of the "fear" would be lessened.

      I'm probably just making my statement sound worse. I'm not trying to. But if most homosexuals are living their lives as they wish and it just looks like the average, responsible American. Working, paying taxes, loving their children, watching politics unfold….. I don't think that much of conservative America is seeing it. Perhaps I'm wrong.

      The most extreme examples generally get the press time.
      I think it would be helpful for the general population to know that some of the people they already know and love are gay. But, I can understand why some people don't want to come out.

    14. I was really full of piss and vinegar last night. Look, I just want equality. Automatic equality. I don't want a vote or to wait for people to come around. The reason we have "in your face" activism is largely because of the lack of equality. If there was equality there would be little reason to have a pride festival. I'm sorry (somewhat) for my impatience toward people who are trying to get there. It feels like trying to walk around the mall with a toddler or a really old person. I will try to do better.

    15. Neurotic One, I appreciate how humble and polite you are. πŸ™‚

      You make a really great point: "Homosexuals are simply the same as their heterosexual counterparts (there are certainly under dressed, alcoholic, partier, promiscuous heterosexuals)." Still, no one generalizes about cisgendered heterosexuals from how they act in bars, but people do generalize about LGBTs. Honestly, I'm not sure how to eliminate the double standard. πŸ™

  34. The fact that Stuat was told that his being gay was unchangeable sadly confirms to me that that is not going to be enough, people, it is not enough to say, 'we know you can't change who you are but don't act on it' His depression was if not caused, at the very least significantly influenced, by the church's stance on his homosexuality. Can we please not try to change that? Stuart said as much himself – in his case, the LDS church led to his taking his own life. please, let his story stand so that at least in death, his last words will stand.
    Neurotic One, thank goodness your son was strong enough to keep on living even though he felt as he did at church. You are extremely lucky,extremely that he is so strong. And you are right, he isn't only gay but it is a part of him.

  35. @karen

    Also worth mentioning is this "Open Letter to Marilyn Matis" from Affirmation.



    "In one of the most troubling passages of your account, you say, 'Although losing our son was difficult, it has been comforting to know that he was faithful to his temple covenants.' (pg. 20). As a gay Mormon, what am I supposed to conclude from this statement? That I should kill myself rather than be sexually active?"

  36. Google "Race problems as they affect the church" (Mark E. Petersen) and substitute the words "gay" for negro.
    The problem with the infamous "speaking as a man" disclaimer is that it's only ever used when all other defense techniques have been exhausted and decades after the fact. But dare LDS assume that a sitting prophet or GA is speaking "as a man" and woah Nellie! Bettet be careful and get back in line. You won't be punished for your obedience to flawed counsel. (Gays and other minorities might, but oh well.)

  37. Interesting. But it seems some are using the speaking as a man disclaimer regarding Packer's recent homophobic commets – hat is what I don't get. They say he is speaking as a man but also are following his directives – which is it? I mean either he is speaking for God or he's not. confusing.
    The whole nothing before 1978 matters is also extremely bizarre but I guess if you're trying to make like all that past racism didn't matter, you'd have to.

  38. I think that Thomas Monson OFTEN speaks as a man. I haven't discussed anything church related that wouldn't agree with me.

    It seems, to me, that he might be headed for some sort of Alzheimers or something. I expect him to say things that I disagree with. I won't consider anything doctrine until it is supported by the entire quorum.

    And there are things that I question ther.

    The church doesn't not come before everything else, in my mind.
    My personal relationship with God comes first.
    Second is my family.
    When the church is helping with those things… GREAT!
    If I were to feel like the official church was hurting my relationship with God or my family, I would have to respectfully walk away.

    Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to present myself as a representative of the church. Just one member. Just my perspective. But, I feel like I'm a pretty "average" member… whatever that really means.

    And I feel like the average human. Simply trying to live my life in the best way I understand it. Finding things that speak to my own soul.

    Recognizing that everyone is doing the same thing.

    Like I said before, I feel the wind on my face. You can prove that there is no wind. We can hold hands and walk together. One of us might be surprised in the end. Or both of us.

    But, until we KNOW, I cannot deny that I feel the wind. I don't expect anyone to agree if they are NOT feeling the same wind.

  39. Stuart Matis was one conflicted gay man. Let's not over emphasize the significance of his personal story.
    Now I have heard from a lot of gay people and the stories range from knowing since the age of four to figuring things out at 28. These stories are told by the flamboyant, the boring, the butch, the feminine, the masculine, the angry, the tearful, the politically active, and the politically apathetic. Know what the common thread is? It's PERSONAL and it's nobody's G- D business other than the person and their partner.
    People need to aleviate themselves of the burden of trying to fit everything into a neat little box and start taking people at their word.
    If you want to be with somebody of the same sex, I don't particularly need to know that you've been this way since the age of four when you stole your mother's high heels or that you've had a horrible time at war with yourself or anything else. SOME PEOPLE ARE GAY. It doesn't need to come with an inner battle or the threat of suicide as an alternative. That said, I do know the pain of being at war with one's self. It SUCKS. It left me broken and battered.
    If somebody concludes that they are gay for whatever reason, WHATEVER. People need to stop concerning themselves and simply let gay people BE. Give a person the repect of trusting them to know what they are talking about.

  40. you speak a truth there BQ. Some people are gay. No one else's business. Sally Field gave an incredible talk to the Human Rights commission about her gay son, Sam, who had asked her to speak. She said something to the effect of, 'some people are gay. So the -beep -what.'' It was awesome.
    Some people are gay. It's not going to mess up anyone's heaven. Get over it.

  41. Heck, feel the wind! Seriously.
    But please, stop telling your son that living a homosexual life is a sin. Is that official church doctrine helping your family?
    I'm not clear – is there a belief that you can only continue to believe in God if you are a Mormon? Because that is not true. It is not true in any way. People can have a personal relationship with God and Jesus Christ – as personal and profound as yours or anyone's without believing LDS doctrine or what the quorum says.
    If you have been told otherwise, then I say no wonder it is so hard to hear voices beyond the quorom's.

  42. Anon – 7:03 – very very powerful.
    I would like to stand with you Anon and tell you that there is nothing wrong with you and that if you are living out your gay life, I think that that is awesome.
    As a former (many years ago) fundy Christian, I would like to apologize for the distortions of the gospel that have been presented to you. I don't know you and I'll never meet with you but I stand with you. Full stop. You are equal in God's eyes. I have no idea if you'll think what I've written is weird or whatever, but I'm taking the risk here.
    Being gay IS a gift from God. I hope you have others in your life who tell you this. If not, print out what I've written and put it by your bed. Take back the gospel.

  43. Are their many religions that teach that homosexual activity is sanctioned by God?

    I know of the Unitarian church and a few Christian denominations.
    Hindus are okay with it.

    Orthodox Jews are morally opposed to it and their Torah speaks loudly against it.
    Catholic doctrine is clearly opposed.
    Islam forbids it and in many countries you can be killed for even feeling it.

    Fundamentalist Christians are opposed and many more denominations.

    Numbers obviously don't indicate correctness. But, is everyone here only talking about the Mormons because the discussions are predominantly with Mormons.

    Is everyone equally passionate about their contempt with other religions who hold similar views to the LDS church but it just isn't stated here?

  44. I would also like to add that in our coming out conversation, I hugged my child and told him that I was sad for the extra challenges he would have to face.

    But, I also told him that being gay was an essential part of what has developed his character and I thought it would be really sad if he tried to deny or hide this very real part of himself.

    I might disagree with his adult choices, but I respect the right to make his own decisions.

    If he choses to hold the the faith of his family and opt for celibacy or MOR (in an appropriate fashion), then I will feel confident that he is following the path that feels right to him.

    If he choses to reject the faith of his family and life a gay lifestyle, I will still feel confident that he is following his own path.

    The same would be true for any choice in between.

  45. Neurotic One:
    Mormons have been at the forfront of the battle in recent years, particularly with Prop 8.

    For the record, I hold people like Kirk Cameron and Paul Ryan and Rick Santorum (and the list goes on) in equal disdain. I don't speak of their beliefs as much because frankly, I know less about evangelical christianity than I do about Mormonism.

    I try to speak about what I know.

    "Everybody else is doing it" has never really washed with me. It doesn't wash when my kids use the argument. Mormonism claims to have the full truthfulness. I believe that homophobia is downright ungodly. I don't know if there's a god or not, but I find it impossible to believe in one who would be homophobic. I would expect a church speaking on God's authority to know how ungodly homophobia is. Weird as that sounds coming from somebody who really doesn't claim to *know* a thing about god. I still have what I feel in my gut.

  46. As someone who has spent quite a bit of time both looking-gay, and looking-straight, in both gay and mainstream communities… I have come to believe that polarization / black and white / our way is the only way… is dangerous.

    I wonder how many people have been simply gutted, believing all the messages they hear about themselves day in and day out:

    Living a lie, deluding yourself, denying your wife/husband a chance at real happiness, denying yourself a chance at real happiness, your marriage is a fraud, you are a fraud, you're an idiot, you could never be really happy, you could never make your beloved happy, you don't understand your own sexuality, you're just confused, you can't be very smart / clearly haven't thought about abc and xyz, are decietful, a liar, clueless, hurtful… and a good 40 or 2,306 variations on idiot/loser/villain?

    And, being gutted, how many of those people commit suicide, leave or divorce or never even ask to marry their true love, beat themselves up day in and day out, never form deep committed relationships, never start a family, leave their family, leave their church, self harm, drink and drug away their guilt and shame, and in general just screw up their lives?

    I mean, sure it would be nice to believe that what other people say and do doesn't matter, but we wouldn't be having this conversation if that were true.

    The idea that in order to be gay, one can ONLY fall in love with someone their same sex/gender… or that to be straight one can ONLY fall in love with someone of the opposite sex/gender…

    … is dangerously polarizing.

    And it hurts an untold number of people.

    Untold, because their voices have been largely quashed. By a lot of factors, some self imposed, some imposed by various outside sources.

    We have NO IDEA how many people make up how many shades of grey in the human heart or spectrum of sexuality.

    Josh and his lovely wife are voicing a shade of grey, in what has become a very polarized discussion… and I applaud them for it. Bravo! Brava! Good on you.

    It's only one shade, but it's hardly unique, nor is it the only shade.

    Being bisexual, I can't even begin to count how many stories -like thers!- (ahem, and also stories very different from theirs but NOT part of the gay v straight black v white discussion) that I've heard over the years. Bi-folk are the redheaded step children in the LGBT community, and out and out invisible in the straight community if they choose to be. If one is *openly* Bi, it's sort of like hanging up a google search bar above your head for anyone struggling with their sexual identity, sexual choices, as well as anyone who wants to talk to someone about how they're not really gay, or not really straight, but not Bi, either. I've talked to a lotta people, and have seen a lotta shades of charcoal to dove.

    Their being gay and straight (I'm assuming, here, Mrs. Weed, my apologies if I'm doing what assumptions do)

    – Just because someone wants what they have, they can have it
    – Nor that their existence invalidates the other players on the field

    And that "someone"? It can be a gay person wanting to fall in love with someone of the opposite sex. It can be a parent wanting their gay daughter to marry a man. Or a sister, priest, teacher, politician, whomever. Wanting for yourself, or someone else, or group, or society as a whole.

    We don't all get what we want.

    Just because voicing a shade of grey may make people want something, doesn't mean that it's a bad thing to want it. Nor that it's dangerous to those who want something wildly different.

    But if it's already what you have?

    It can be life altering to find others who are like you.

    And if one happens to be another shade of grey not currently at the table? It depolarizes the durn discussion, and allows for the possibility of their own reality to exist.

    1. That is exactly how I feel. I have been in the middle of so many differing categories for so long that it's this view of the center, where I believe most truth and accuracy and solutions are found. It's a shame that, in many ways, our society insists on polarizing issues to either/or, for/against scenerios.

      Thanks for your shades of grey.

    2. Grey – indeed, if people are actually shades of grey. BUT if they are gay and desperately trying not to be because their religion says it is wrong so they marry someone of the opposite sex – that is not shades of grey.
      That's all I'm saying. never said that because gay people marry straight people because of their religion invalidates anyone.

  47. I am so seriously jealous for all of you US guys who have this kind of conferences to attend and participate in. Where I come from we have no such thing and even if we did, I’m afraid more haters would come then actual gay people with their loved ones. So people, count your blessings!

    1. Yes, well blessing isn't a word I'd normally use for this situation. But welcome to Utah. What we lack in scientific data we make up for in enthusiasm and zeal, especially when the "stakes" are so high. (Get it? Stakes?) The brethren have been speaking "knowledgably" about homosexuality for many years now and it would be a pity to learn that they were speaking *as men* all this time. We only use that excuse when all other apologetic attempts have failed miserably and quite visibly. No, no. We're not there yet. And so these conferences exist. If they don't help to ease the horrible suffering and fallout that takes place 99% of the time when these marriages occur, they at least creates the illusion that the subject of changing one's sexuality is in any way debatable.
      Lucky me to live in one of the few civilized nations in the world where one can run for political office on a platform of hating gays and womens healthcare rights. Though November 2012 showed that might be changing.
      Personally, Mrs. FG, I'd take the Euro healthcare. But one man's trash is another man's treasure. Or so I've heard.

    2. Looks like I double posted. That will teach me not to click the "load more comments" button at the bottom of the page after the comments hit 200.

      But seriously, I don't think there has been a lot of revelation here. I think one of the most obvious examples of speaking out of one's…er… is Boyd K. Packer's 1976 Little Factory speech. There he supplied 'factoids' regarding the production of semen that did not have any medical basis.
      As far as revelation goes, I have heard countless stories where a bishop has counseled a gay young man (or woman) to simply hunker down and get married. I think very few people here, today, in the year 2012, are advocating that as a solution. Josh claims not to be advocating that and, his participation in this type of panel notwithstanding, 90% of me tends to believe him when he says that he knows sexuality can't be changed and that there's nothing wrong with being gay (as long as you don't BE gay or something like that), which is pretty good considering. My opinion changes a bit based on the particular day. But I believe his intentions are coming from the right place. Come to think of it, I believe that the intentions of all the bishops and stake presidents and mission presidents who believed for so many years (and some who still do) that sexuality is a choice probably came from a good place. But now, in the midst of all this heartbreak and pain, we are left to account for what went wrong. We have to explain to the casualties of these failed experiments; the husbands, the wives, the children. Was the revelation flawed? Or did those who hoped for change not try hard enough? Were their knuckles not bloodied enough?
      There needs to be an accounting.
      At hospitals, when somebody dies, they might hold an M&M conference. The purpose is to learn what went wrong so that it won't happen again. I see these conferences as a step in the wrong direction. I hope the people there learned something valuable from the Weeds' story, but I see these conferences as a step in the wrong direction. I see them as running away from truth and science full speed in favor of trying to prove a hypothesis that has been hand selected even as it becomes apparently less and less viable.

  48. I guess what I'm trying to say is that now that you actually do have a voice that's loud, and that matters, one that could make a difference… you're using it for self-validation.

    In one second, this church you support so much, could say that their ideas on homosexuality and homosexual marriage/behavior have changed.

    In one second, they could prevent hundreds of suicides of young people who feel like they have no hope to a happy future with someone of the same sex.

    Where do you fit into this picture? Are you on the side that says "No, the Church is wrong, and I'm going to distance myself from it, and make it known that I think this is unacceptable, and that lives are ending for no reason."


    Are you on the side that says "Oh, but this religion FOR ME is important, so I chose this lifestyle. But for others, oh I'm not advocating the same." You know what that's called? HYPOCRISY. That's just a nicer way of saying "Oh excuse me while I live the holier gay lifestyle which includes marrying a woman, but you're free to live the other type."

    Having a way with words does not change the underlying message of EVERYTHING about your life.

    In the end you're a gay Mormon who chose to marry a woman. FOR RELIGIOUS REASONS!

    Now that doesn't really scream "I support the gay lifestyle", does it?

    Whatever you say, in the end your actions speak the most about what you believe. Need I say more?

    1. I've asked before and I haven't seen an answer yet….

      If an individual has TWO things that are of extreme importance to them… they HAVE to choose one of the other or neither.

      If an individual, through their own study and experience and even tradition feels in the depth of their soul that the LDS church (or substitute another religion) doctrine is true and they really feel that the God they understand and believe in, really expects them to over come this challenge. *This would be important to them.* To Them.

      If the same individual knows that they are only attracted to the same gender and will never find a sexually or physically complete relationship with a member of the other gender. That they will never have a truly intimate relationship with a member of the opposite gender. *This would be important to them.* To Them.

      Why is it that we are supposed to cheer for the individual who chooses the SSA over their faith?

      Why is it "sad" and "tragic" when a person chooses their faith over their SSA?

      It doesn't matter what you or I think about their faith. It only matters why THEY think about their faith. Why are we not respectful of people who choose faith because they want to?

      (disclaimer: I recognize that their are adults who don't actually base their life on the own feelings, but bend to the societal pressure around them. I find THIS to be sad.)

    2. Amen, N.O.! I love the way you think. Faith is not universally a lesser option over choosing to act out on SSA desires. I can see how sometimes it is, but assuming that it always is puts the accuser in a superior position that simply does not exist in these types of conversations.

    3. Faith and being gay and living gay do not have to be mutually exclusive. Because Mormons say they must be (yes other religions too but this is a Mormon blog), many gay people will twist themselves into pretzels to be able to stay in Mormonism.
      It's not about 'SSA desires' as in, gee, I want to have sex with that same sex person and it is just a desire.
      Not to stir up this again – but being gay is as all emcompassing as being straight is to a straight person. If you are not gay, you cannot understand this.
      I mean you could try – imagine, Ian, that God said, 'hey,Ian, you need to be married to a man in order to get into the Celestial Kingdom.'' And you would probably be like 'whoa.' And rightfully so. Now people all around are saying Ian, there are conferences that will help you and look at Bob over here. Bob is completely straight but is paying attention to his faith and is now in a gay marriage. Or Fred. Fred is choosing to be celibate for his faith.Oh and your straightness? We don't call it that – we call it 'opposite sex attraction.'
      Now you may say, hey,God, would never do that so i don't have t think about it.An it actually kinda grosses me out to think about being married to a man.
      But in thinking about it, you may start to get an idea of what I am saying.Walking a mile in someone else's shoes type thing.
      If you are not gay and in an attempt to defend how faith can, er, trump, sexuailty, you use words like 'SSA desire' you are reducing a gay person to who they want to have sex with. Has reading Tammy's comments on here at least not expanded thinking beyond that?
      As for gay people being applauded for being gay? Not sure where that happens on a consistent basis. Generally, they face if not outright physical bay bashing (even in liberal Vancouver, Canada where I live this STILL happens) then discrimination in a myriad of small ways. Discrimination by a thouaand cuts, as it were. Tammy has talked about that in earlier comments. So if you are picturing groups of folks out there woohooing! over gay people, i'll clear that up for you – it's not happening.
      and finally, why should it be applauded if a person chooses to deny who they are (look back to my earlier comments about it being more than simply who you want to have sex with) because people have told them this is what God prefers?

    4. Perhaps part of my lack of understanding stems from the idea that I think that if I REALLY believed that God wanted me to marry a woman, I could do it. It would be a bit of a stretch at first because I have never yet considered it. It isn't "repulsive" or whatever to me. It would just be new. And I wouldn't think that everyone could do it.

      Maybe I am simply closer to the middle of the sexual range. I can accept that. I just have never thought of it before. This will also require some extra thought from me. Because I have never thought that my entire being is straight. I feel like I am 2 million different things that sometimes even contradict each other. And that is okay. Being married to a man is one of those parts. But being with a woman wouldn't change all my other parts.

      FTR-I think that Ian was referring strictly to this board. Correct me if I'm wrong. But here, choosing faith over sexuality results in words like tragic, unfortunate, sad, and wrong. Other words like brainwashed and mindless and forced are included here.

    5. N.O. – You are correct.

      Here, let me flip it around.

      When someone chooses to renounce their faith and live a SSA lifestyle, it is tragic and wrong.

      Hmmm…. how did that feel? Like both sides have value? Yeah, it didn't for me, either.

      So if it sucks to have that said about you and your side, why is it a stretch to have it be the same way about the other side? What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Like I said below, "It's wrong for me to punch you in the face, but for you to punch me in the face? Pfffft! Totally fine, man!"

    6. Wait, hold on. You mean you think that one should not have to choose? That I should be able to do both freely?

      I am not picking on the religion/homosexual thing specifically, but that's not what life is about. When I chose to live in Texas, there were a million places that I chose NOT to live. When I chose to build a tech career, I chose against going to college. We have to pick between mutually exclusive options all the time.

      So again, what makes homosexuality so special? Why is THAT aspect of life deserving so different that it should not be held to the same rules that the rest of life has? If you choose to be with a SS partner, you forego the option of being with an OS partner, unless you are also bi and poly at the same time. If you are monogamous, then you must choose.

      Even if I am totally straight, when I choose to marry one girl, I forego the option to marry another, unless I am divorced or widowed.

      So if Josh chooses to believe in a religion that asks him to show how much he loves his church by sacrificing one path for another, why is that somehow offensive when we have to make those choices all the time anyhow? I can't join a football team, knowing what it is, and then throw a fit when we aren't playing soccer. If I want to play soccer, join a soccer team.

      If you want to be Mormon, these are the rules. Leave if you don't want to play by them. (Note that I am not discussing Prop 8 or any of the gay marriage stuff – solely the comments about choosing one life over another.)

      And if Josh reaches inside and decides he is willing to do what he feels is right by living a straight life, then there are both great strengths and great trials that come from that sacrifice, just like there are for choosing the other.

      That's not tragedy, that's just life.

    7. Ah, I see. You are not making the connection between living a religion and living with no sexual restrictions. Religion should not be allowed to restrict sexuality, correct? If I want to live as a poly bi, I should still be allowed to live as a temple-going Mormon if I live the rest of the standards.

      [tongue in cheek]But heck, if we throw out sexual standards, why not throw out the rest? Tithing? Pshaw! Compared to sexual standards, that's no big deal. If we get rid of the biggie, called the Law of Chastity, then nothing else really packs much punch. In fact, why have any standards at all? They are all arbitrary anyhow! Everyone line up! The Mormon Church has just announced that anyone everywhere can join and there are no standards because any standard is restrictive and arbitrary![/TIC]

      OK, I know that was extreme, but it was fun to write. πŸ™‚

      Seriously, if we cannot include sexuality in our standards, then we have no basis to have any others. We're a RELIGION. We claim to act according to God's will, in our weak mortal way. If the act that creates life in the first place is out of bounds to have standards about, then not much else really matters.

      From where I stand, sexuality is absolutely critical to have standards on. We need those standards, individually and culturally. However, the need for those standards does not justify mistreatment of those who do not live those standards. I will stand against bullying, no matter who the target is. I think that's where the confusion comes – those that believe the standards should exist use it as a justification to mistreat their fellow humans. And vice versa – those that think the standards should not exist also mistreat those who have them. It's kind of a cycle, and I want to break the cycle. πŸ™‚

    8. Tammy, perhaps I truly have an inner lesbian. I have not considered it. Although 20 years ago there was a girl that might have been able to turn me πŸ˜‰

  49. Hold on, you're a fundamentalist evangelical Protestant?! You do know that most fundamentalist evangelical churches are far from LGBT-friendly? Speaking of your accusation of hypocrisy…

  50. I'm confused. Maybe someone can help me clear it up. I see the term "homophobia" (and its derivatives) tossed around quite a bit. From what I am gleaning, its definition seems to be, "a position that supports anything less than full and total acceptance of gay marriage and gays openly living any way they wish with no recrimination or criticism at all." It seems to me that if there IS any recrimination or criticism, that person will be criticized and attacked with hateful labels like 'homophobe'.

    Am I right? Because that seems just the mirror reverse of the position y'all are arguing against. It changes the names on each side of the equation, but the equation is identical. Don't we want to change the equation? If so, then the term homophobia needs to be retired since it has become an ad hominem attack on those holding an opposing position. It stifles and suppresses genuine dialogue, and labels good people by inaccurately attributing to them emotions that are not present.

    Just my 2 cents…

    1. Heh. A "right to have"? I'm not claiming any special knowledge of that, but I *am* raising the concern that the current term seems too broadly used.

      Let's consider the word itself: a phobia is an unreasoning terror that drives people to irrational behavior. While I do not doubt homophobia exists, I hesitate to use it for all situations of disagreement. It is a very black-and-white term, and since we are talking shades of grey, it seems out of place.

      Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity (or ignorance). What if I am holding an opinion concerning gays that is not motivated by an emotional response but simply lack of information? If a gay activist slams me with the label "homophobe", then it generates unnecessary (and unwanted) emotional inertia rather than just asking questions and finding out what is really going on. If I get corrected, then I say, "Oh, OK. That makes sense," and we both move on with no hard feelings, then the situation not only was defused, but it never needed to be defused in the first place.

      It also sends a clear message as to who is on the right side and who is on the wrong. If gays want everyone else to consider how they might be wrong, it's hypocritical for them to assume that they are completely right. It's best to dialogue with everyone humble enough to say, "OK, that's a good point." The term "homophobia" obstructs that end goal.

      As to what term should be used? How about, "I disagree."? Or perhaps, "Well, this is how *I* see it…"? Then we become to people engaged in learning about each other rather than slinging mud.

      OK, now we are up to my 25 cents. I'll send a bill out once I'm done talking. πŸ˜‰

    2. Oh, I never said the opinion might not be sexist or racist or what-have-you, only that the opinion was not necessarily fueled by unreasoning terror that drives one to irrational behavior. Besides, how many opinions of your own have you only needed additional information to correct?

      "Oh, this car has better gas mileage than that one? I was always under the impression that that one was better, but I guess I was wrong."

      Are you implying that somehow, opinions on gays are exempt from this very basic aspect of human life? That there is no misinformation, only hate and fear? You write too clearly and level-headedly to really buy into that.

      Look, all I am saying is that homosexuality is not somehow *special*, in that it bypasses all aspects of human foibles for the sole reason that it is homosexuality. People are stupid for and against it. People form opinions for and against based on misinformation, and sometimes back up those opinions with fear and hate (death threats against Weed, anyone?). People for and against try desperately to justify their own position by warping facts and using emotion as a weapon against the other side.

      The word "homophobe" says strongly that only those that are against homosexuality suffer from those human problems. Gays? They are virtuous and awesome in every way. They are clearly never wrong, and anyone who disagrees with them is the worst kind of human being.

      This is patently not true, not even a little bit.

      What if I coin the word, "homophobiaphobia", which means, "a position that opposes someone opposing homosexuality"? Whoops, you're a homophobiaphobe! Well, that would be stupid, because your position is not driven by unreasoning terror that pushes you to irrational behavior.

      I agree that oppression, ACTUAL oppression, needs to be dealt with. If an 8-year-old child yells that they are oppressed because their parents won't buy them a cell phone, then I feel no need to intervene. If you say there is oppression, then I think it's worth looking into, but that doesn't make you the ultimate determiner on what is oppression and what isn't. "People disagree with what I want to do!" is hardly oppression, though, "I can't get visit my deathly ill loved one in the hospital because we aren't legally married" is.

      Because at the end of the day, you, me, Weed, and every other human being that has ever lived distorts reality in our favor to some degree. I can take that to the bank every time. I can't necessarily tell when *I* am distorting except by brutal self-honesty and a willingness to submit my opinions to the opinions of others, but when someone uses a word like "homophobia" to apply to every situation where someone disagrees with them, I can be 100% certain that that person is distorting to some degree.

      Retire the word. It doesn't apply to most situations, and it has become a way to demonize the other side, shame them into thinking what you think, which is exactly what you accuse the other side of doing all along. If it's bad for religious people to shame gays, it's bad the other way around. Gays don't get a free pass to mistreat their fellow human beings just because they are gay.

    3. My $.02 is probably worth less than that….

      I too don't like the word homophobic. I think it has connotations that people are irrationally scared by homosexuals. I don't deny that this is true for some. Maybe even many. But it is a word that is used in a hateful and contentious way.

      Kind of like Pro-Life and Pro-Choice. Both sides chose a label that represented their view.
      I find it offensive when other people choose terms like Pro-Abortion or Anti-Choice.

      I would say that it would be more accurate, in most cases, to use the actual purpose of the two sides.

      Pro-Gay Rights (or something similar) and
      Pro-Traditional Families (or something similar)

    4. I also support the idea of using terms to describe people that they have chosen for themselves.

      Whether it is a religious title, or a position title, or a race title.

      Just like I find it rude that when Josh says that he is gay, there are people who tell him that he is not. What? If he defines himself as gay. That is good enough for me πŸ™‚

    5. Oh, sure – let's substitute one type of vitriol for another because that will make things better. Except that vitriol itself is the problem, and until the names go away, you are just making the problems worse.

      The truth? We are all just PEOPLE. We act like jerks or saints sometimes. Are you saying that you have never acted like a jerk yourself? Not once, ever? Because you are a human being, I know that's not true.

      If you want to stop the namecalling, then stop namecalling. While those other people may be acting like a jerk, it doesn't make them a jerk to their core, where their whole identity is that of a jerk. In fact, I have never yet met someone who was an angry person who was also not in a lot of pain.

      So ponder that the very people you are accusing of being jerks are also in a ton of pain. You are making their lives worse, all while belaboring them for doing the same to you. I'm not saying that they haven't made things worse for you, but it doesn't give you a free pass to do the same back.

      Stop the vitriol. All it does is invite the very things you say you hate in the other person. And the word "homophobia", while accurate in some situations, is vitriol in most others.

    6. You are correct – I am referring to the gay population at large who is willing to bully others in the name of stopping bullying. I have indeed read many (but not all) of your posts and am not dropping that on you personally except to the degree that you personally use the term improperly as an accusation (which I don't have any examples of, so I am not referring to any instance in particular).

      We are discussing labels because I see that label come up over and over in the comments of Weed's blog, and I wanted to make sure I understood it correctly (which I evidently am). While you may not use that label much, others here are not so hesitant. It's a relevant point because how we label the problem *is part of the problem*.

      If I am willing to use a tank to kill a cockroach, it says that both tanks are necessary sometimes and cockroaches are a problem, but I am willing to use a force far beyond what is necessary (and will actually cause more problems) to solve my problem. Does that make sense?

      Accusing all people who disagree with you of being held by an unreasoning terror that drives them to irrational behavior is not helpful. Not even calling them a jerk is helpful.

      It is sometimes helpful to say something like, "Hey, are you aware that you are behaving like a jerk? I know there are plenty of cases where you aren't behaving like one, so I'm not implying you live in that space, but you may not be aware of this." I say "sometimes helpful" because if I am fully in my "act like a jerk" space, those words will likely not snap me out of it, in which case there might need to be another approach, possibly ending up with a tank (so to speak), but I shouldn't start out with a tank.

      Call a spade a spade, if you wish, but saying someone is all spade and no heart is not only counterproductive, it is also patently untrue. Precision is critical with sticky subjects like this.

    7. Here is how I label the problem. Mormons (Mormon blog so sticking to that religion) have been told by their leaders that living a gay life is wrong. That being married to someone of the same sex is against God's plan and it will keep them out of the Celestial Kingdom, the highest level of heaven.
      Homosexuality itself is not a moral issue. Some people are gay, some people are straight, it just is. It has certainly been turned into a moral issue but at its root, it is not. My being straight is not a moral issue – that fact has nothing to do with my being a nice person or not nice person. The same with gay people – their gayness doesn't make them nice or not nice, selfish or unselfish, etc.
      Society can choose to make homosexuality a moral issue for various reasons.
      One of those reasons is religion – in this case Mormonism. Mormon leaders have chosen to make homosexuality a moral issue. Now because in Mormonism, Mormons follow their leaders directives, it makes sense that Mormons will then also turn homosexuality, at its root not a moral issue, into a moral issue. Now it gets tricky because there are going to be gay Mormons. What to do is the question because we've made their gayness a moral issue.
      And so along follows the first 'pray and fast it out of them'. And now the pendulum has swung to 'put them in straight marriages' or 'have them be celibate.'' This is going to be hard for them so let's applaud the heck out of them when they succeed.
      Josh's story comes along and whammo! another option to what has been such an intractable problem to our having made homosexuality a moral issue.
      Now some gay Mormons who can't fit into the mold are going to try and fight back. Very brave of them – they are a minority and are going to have to battle their church, their church mates and their own families. Non-Mormon gay folks and straight allies might come alongside too, like in his blog's comment section.
      in my opinion, this is also brave because we are a minority here and have to wade through a whole lot to try and get our points across.
      We could parse the term homophobia for weeks – months. i'm studying linguistics and it could go on forever really. But it is the term that for now is used to describe prejudice/discrimination against LGBTQ people. I don''t much like the 'phobia' part of it either – sometimes it is fear that motivates it but sometimes it is plain old disgust or what have you.
      I would argue that taking the non-moral issue of homosexuality and making it a moral one is indeed homophobia.
      But the Bible, the Bible says it is a moral issue! God said! no, a group of men living in a very different time, place and context, wrote about what they knew at the time. Certainly if all racist statements made by Mormon leaders can be erased pre-1978 as a 'product of their times' then at least that much understanding must be given to something written 2000 years before in different languages translated a myriad of times.
      woo, long comment.

    8. Are you saying that all fear is an unreasoning terror that drives me to irrational behavior? No room for a little mild anxiety? It's black and white? Because phobia is a super strong word, and most fears do not warrant a "phobia" label. In your world, people are either fearless or phobic?

      Again, I know you are a reasonable person, and I am not implying that you, personally, think in black and white, at least no more than every human being that has ever lived does (including myself). Black and white thinking drives black and white language, and I have to catch myself often slipping into that space to prevent myself from communicating such.

      And it's interesting to me that all religious belief against homosexual behavior is automatically labeled as fear. Really? By definition? What gives you personally the right to declare that all religious belief contrary to your position is driven by fear? Or to quote Ricki Lake: "What, and who made you the orientation police?" So to speak. πŸ™‚

      You are claiming to know intimately my belief set and my emotions surrounding my belief set, and that is a position that you can never truly take and remain a good faith debater. Similarly, I never make any statements concerning what someone's actual emotion state is – I only point out their behavior and what their behavior suggests. The word puts the speaker in the position to imply that they are mind readers and heart readers.

      Do you see the issue here? *The word itself does not describe the problem, it IS the problem, or at least part of it.*

      LGBQs feel powerless, so they remove that feeling of powerlessness by placing it on the other party! Yay! All is better now! But it isn't. It's the same equation, just with the names on either side switched.

      I am advocating a removal of words that antagonize, and I am willing to remove those words from my own vocabulary, so this is not something I am imposing on others from a position of power.

      OK, I'm typing up a couple of quotes from a very excellent book, I'll post as separate replies in a moment…

    9. This is from the book "The Anatomy of Peace", which I think all people involved in a conversation such as this should read. It is a marvelous treatment of conflict and what goes on underneath.

      The character speaking is a Palestinian who was present in Boston during the race riots of 1967. Speaking of one of those riots that he was watching, he says:

      "Just then I noticed a black man who seemed similarly drawn [to watch the conflict]. He was among the onlookers, most of whom were white. I watched him curiously. Despite the combustible dangers of the moment, he remained stoically still – neither joining in anger nor running in fear. His face was serious with concern.

      "I sidled up to him to get the black perspective on the conflict – a perspective that, as an oppressed Palestinian Arab, I thought I would readily understand. Here fought the equivalent of my Fatah brothers. Had I recognized any faces in the crowd, I probably would have thrown myself in the way of the canisters of gas. As I approached the man, I was looking to commiserate.

      "'So the oppressed are fighting back,' I commented almost nonchalantly. My tone must have seemed oddly detached under the circumstances.

      "'Yes,' the man responded, without moving his eyes from the scene, 'on both sides.'

      "'Both sides?' I repeated in surprise.


      "'How so?' I challenged. 'I only see tear gas on one side.'

      "'If you look closely,' he answered, 'you will see the desire for tear gas on both sides.'"

      [The Anatomy of Peace by the Arbinger Institute, pg 184]

      For a long time, there has existed actual religious persecution of homosexuals, but now, the oppressed have risen up with tear gas of their own and the oppression begins again with words like "homophobia". It is irrelevant if someone has mistreated me – it does not give me a free pass to mistreat them back, no matter the nature of their instigation. If I do, I only reap more misery in my life (and create more in the life of others), not peace. I become part of the problem rather than a solution. And all in the name of tolerance and peace, no less!

      I truly, truly believe there is a solution here, and perhaps Josh is part of it, but when incendiary language is used on either side, it obstructs our ability to come to a mutual place of understanding and solutions.

    10. I didn't say that. I don't believe that homophobia arises from fear most of the time. In Mormons, it arises mainly it seems from a lack of knowledge and from being told by their leaders that being gay is a moral issue. That's what I said. By turning homosexuality into a moral issue and by going even further and claiming that God finds those living gay lives abominable and as such won't let them into the highest level of heaven – that is inarguably homophobic. It doesn't matter that if in your heart of hearts you love gay people, if you think them damned in any way, that is homophobic.
      Historically and even now, LGBTQ people have had no power so to argue that they are moving from a place of power makes no sense.
      As I said, we could probably talk forever and ever, amen, about the word 'homophobia' just as we could talk forever about the word 'racism' as it relates specifically to te LDS church pre-1978.
      Ricki Lake, by the way, has a huge gay fan base and does not, as far as I know, believe that gay people living gay lives go to a lesser level of heaven. Had that been part of the discussion on her show – had Josh mentioned that fact, I think her response might have been somewhat different.
      There are definitely greys in this world. But here is a bit of black and white thinking: 'if you live a gay life, then you are going against god and you won't get into the Celestial Kingdom. So either be celibate or marry someone of the opposite sex. Also, "God hates the gay lifestyle.' full stop. That's some pretty black and white thinking.
      When blacks started risiing up against their oppressors in the 50s and 60s, there were many who were offended that they should be trying to be getting some equal power. Not more, just equal. Stay on the back of the bus and be happy about it, type thing. I'm willing to bet that there were those who said, hey, racism is a strong word and all it does is give them power over us.
      When an oppressed minority insists that they too have equal rights, some get all bent out of shape and will do anything – parse words for hours for example, to get them to sit back down and shut the heck up. How brave is it for that minority to get back up after being repeatedlly pushed down? More than I can imagine.
      So continue to parse on about the word homophobia, to me, it's just another way of trying to keep folks down. But you know what? they won't be kept down and I hope I have the courage to always walk along side them.

    11. Karen – very quickly, before I respond more, I was referring to Tammy's comment riiiight before your own when I asked about homophobia arising from fear. Sorry, I need to start using people's names so as to be clear as to whom I am responding. πŸ™‚

    12. "When an oppressed minority insists that they too have equal rights, some get all bent out of shape and will do anything – parse words for hours for example, to get them to sit back down and shut the heck up."

      Thank heavens I am not telling anyone to shut up, but rather to start using language that is productive and non-incendiary in order to come to a better solution! *Whew* πŸ˜‰

      I am certain you were not referring to the conversation I began, but rather to those who would indeed try to shut up those minorities by parsing language, thereby belittling their stance. I am against belittling, period, no matter the side on the conflict. Those who feel oppressed do not get a free pass to use the same oppressive tactics against those perceived to be in power over them. Oppression is oppression is oppression. Doesn't matter who has the tear gas. Change the equation, not just the names on either side.

    13. You want everyone to play nice? Then maybe your church leaders could stop teaching that gay people living gay lives will not get into the best heaven. Seems silly to me but to a gay Mormon, that is some nasty use of power. Or tell them to stop using their power and money to back propositions that take rights away from LGBTQ people. Maybe be more concerned with how your fellow Mormons and in particular the LDS leadership is using their power to oppress gay people. Clean up that yard too.
      And really, until you've been an oppressed minority, you have no idea nor can speak to how they should behave. After the way the Mormon Church has treated gay people, I would think that instead of being so offended that gay people are using a word that upsets them and keeps everythinng from being so nice, that it would be on its knees begging for forgiveness. That is the great shame – not only will the LDS church not apologize but it also wants those they are oppressing to shut up and if they can't, then to speak up nicely.
      you'll have many fans on here I suspect because some on here just want people to be nice at all costs and to turn the oppressor (the Mormon Church) into the oppressed.
      Here's the deal – I'm smart and quick and sadly have time and could go back and forth with you all day – but I'm not going to becaus it will all be simply pointless. People don't need to rise up quietly, they can rise up any darned way they pleae. And if you are offended? Yikes, go clean up your Mormon back yard first.

    14. Karen –

      I can totally appreciate where you are coming from. Mormons have a history of being oppressed themselves, as you well know. Personally, I was the only Mormon in my high school graduating class of 800, and there was some persecution there as well. Gays claim to be 1 in 10, so there would have been 80 of them in that class. I was much much more a minority than them.

      So, yes, I've been an oppressed minority, both historically and personally. I know what it feels like. I also know that I follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, who lived in an age of oppression beyond anything either of us have faced personally. Know anyone who has been scourged and crucified? Yeah, me neither. Despite those oppressions, he lived in such a way to lift and enlighten those around him. I am trying to get us both on a different path.

      While I personally have no pull with the Mormon church, I *am* trying to inspire individuals here and elsewhere to reach for a higher plane. See, the truth is that I am not trying to turn the oppressor into the oppressed, I am saying that both sides are oppressing and being oppressed (because to claim we live in a black and white world where one group is 100% a victim and another is 100% the victimizer is a lie – that world does not exist – shades of grey and all that).

      Your language implies that I (symbolizing the Mormon church) deserve any mistreatment I get from you. You can darn well rise up any way you please, and there's nothing wrong with it. It's wrong for me to punch you in the face, but for you to punch me in the face? Pfffft! Totally fine, man!

      Ghandi had it right. Violence is the wrong way, and we are violent in our hearts and with our words long before we are violent with our hands. I am trying to bring down the violence in our hearts so we can actually talk without accusations.

      Tammy –

      "And if you go back and re-read your posts as an objective observer, you have not only proven your own point but participated in it."

      LOL! Of course that's true! I totally accept that I have problems that are invisible to me, and only as I willingly submit my opinions to others am I able to pull out of that blindness of being. I am not surprised that I exemplified what I was trying to avoid. Such are the foibles of human nature, and I am hardly immune to them.

      However, my main point is that you aren't, either. While I am totally with you in being against black and white thinking, we are born with that thinking and it takes many years to begin to come out of it. We slip back constantly, and it requires that brutal personal honesty I mentioned earlier to apologize and change our way of thinking. If I am guilty of it, so are you (not YOU you, just everyone in the world, with you included). It's not a big deal, we just accept it, change it, and move on, with the understanding that we are all in this together. I'll even add a thank you for pointing it out, though I'd love some specifics so I know where I am erroring out. (Seriously, by the way – I am not being snarky even a little.)

      As far as changing the equation – as long as we think that violent words or actions are the way out of oppression, then we are fomenting more oppression. If we can start with removing all namecalling, and if we try to help others also cease their namecalling, then the equation begins to shift to something else better.

    15. Another relevant quote from Anatomy of Peace, pg 186 –

      "'But what if one group of people is oppressing another?' I once asked Ben.

      "'Then the second group must be careful not to become oppressors themselves. A trap that is all too easy to fall into,' he added, 'when the justification of past abuse is readily at hand.'"

    16. Tammy –

      OK, the punch analogy – I do agree that there is an appropriate time for violent resistance. I think that rolling over to the Nazis would have been wrong. As I mentioned earlier, tanks are sometimes necessary, but not as a first resort. In your take on my analogy, those are indeed sticky situations. I cannot say that nonviolence is the best answer in every instance of that example, though it probably is more often than our common sense would say. I could even argue for a nuanced approach – learn how to defend yourself from being punched without punching back. And all at the same time, keep up the dialogue asking the person to back down. As soon as they do, you back down as well.

      I think we make our mistake when we leap into anger ourselves, as if meeting violent actions with violent hearts can improve things. But I can have violent actions with a heart at peace. I do not desire conflict and will do everything I can to avoid or mitigate it, but if I am forced to it, then I will do so regretfully.

      It's a good indication that if I do not regret the violence, then I likely have a heart at war instead.

      "Quick Example you wanted: By you wanting to eliminate the word homophobia all together, you are oppressing the oppressed rights to define the oppressor. This is a black-and-white opinion in my mind."

      That was helpful! I can see how my language came off as that, since I *did* lead out with the statement that the word should be retired. So I'll take this as an invitation to nuance my beliefs a little more out of the black and white space. πŸ™‚

      I think that true homophobia exists. I think that in spaces where it is very clear (such as Fred Phelps), it can be appropriately used. It just doesn't work as a blanket description of anyone that disagrees with full gay rights. I can't call a Democrat a "Republiphobe". Disagreement does not qualify for being a phobia.

      And since the word has become so overused, it has expanded beyond its intended meaning, and basically become loaded with implications that carry accusation with it. You know – much like the word "retard" used to be simply a description of handicapped people, but now it has become loaded with so many derogatory implication that it should not be used in polite company any more. The word needs to be retired and a new term found that is more constructive in conversations regarding the handicapped.

      Is that a sufficient clarification? Strictly speaking, it is appropriate in some cases. Socially speaking, it is now loaded with negative implications reducing its usefulness in polite conversation.

      See? You are as awesome as I knew you were all along. πŸ™‚

    17. Ian, I'm sorry for jumping into your and Tammy's conversation. Feel free to ignore me! πŸ˜€ But if you're interested in reading yet another perspective:

      You seem kindhearted and I love that you take words and their impact so seriously. But I see a stumbling block in that you seem to have some major misconceptions about why people use the homophobia label. Yes, I've seen it misapplied, but I've never, ever seen or heard it used the way you describe it – as name calling or a personal attack. Even when the label is applied to a person, it's done to name and expose his or her (perceived) bigotry.

      Additionally, as you probably know, members of marginalized groups are often accused of retaliating, attacking, and so on when they push back against discrimination. You've probably experienced it yourself. For example, perhaps you've been attacked for your faith, then been accused of defensiveness if you stood up for yourself. (That's just one hypothetical example.)

      You were correct in theory when you said "those who feel oppressed do not get a free pass to use the same oppressive tactics against those perceived to be in power over them," the reality is that LGBT people as a group haven't been doing any of the oppressing – but queer people and allies have been accused of being oppressive when they fought back against oppression. So because of this history, a reader might wind up inferring that your comment falsely equated LGBT activism with anti-LGBT oppression.

      It's a bit past my bedtime, so all that may not be very articulate, but I hope I don't come across as harsh or attacking. Just trying to provide another perspective on why some things may have rubbed people the wrong way. πŸ™‚

    18. thanks, Shayla, that is what I was trying to say. Accusing people of trying to oppress others has long been used to keep those people down. African Americans, for example. And sure, an innocent commenter. And a commenter who is saying that the LGTBQ community is oppressing others in their fight for equal rights and they are not. I don't think that that false idea needs to be put in the heads of folks who are looking for any reason – any reason at all – to continue to deny gay people equal rights. "Ian says the LGBTQ community is oppressing people!Get back to the back of the bus" Yikes.

    19. I have been following the comments for a while now on here and feel like I finally have formulated my thoughts on the matter so here goes nothing.

      I see two very different perspectives on here.

      1. One that being in a gay relationship is a sin and that the only relationship condoned by God is one man and one woman. This is information given by modern day Prophets who commune with God. So in that sense gay relationships has not become a moral issue but always were.

      2. That being in a gay relationship is in fact perfectly fine in the eyes of God. That the Mormon religion is lead by men who in fact do NOT receive personal revelation from God and their ideas and "revelation" are based on personal opinions and biases. Therefore gay marriage has indeed become a moral issue due to the misunderstandings of men.

      In my eyes both ideas and beliefs are perfectly valid. The fact of the matter is I can not prove to you that God only condones relationships between a man and a woman, and likewise you cannot prove that he doesn't.

      To me it is not so black and white. That if you are not living in accordance to God's laws but are living to the best that you know how and understand you doomed in the next life. That does not make sense to me. Yes the doctrine teaches that gay marriage will not be in the celestial kingdom but that does not mean that those who have gay relationships and are indeed good people and living good lives here on earth have zero change of getting in. That is just silly. That is why it is important to not judge others. We believe what we believe but that doesn't mean that someone else can believe something different from us and that automatically makes them a terrible person or a "bigot". I truly believe we are all doing the best we can and trying to live our lives to the best we can as a result of our beliefs and understanding.

      For example I have two really good friends who are in lesbian relationships and are great people. I admire and respect the heck out of them, I really do. They are great and to say that flat out "they will not be able to get into the highest degree of heaven because they had lesbian relationships despite them doing the best they can according to what they believe and understand" is silly to me. Yes the doctrine of the church is clear but to me it will be on a case by case basis.

      Another example of what I am trying to say is I know some great people who do not believe in God. Does that mean they are doomed and will not get the chance to accept the gospel in the next life? No. That to me is not a loving God. We are judged individually, there is no one size fits all.

      So to me I think instead of debating whether or not God indeed condones gay relationships or not we should be rallying together to find ways to help get the message across that we are all individuals with different beliefs. That is just fine, and the goal should be to learn from each other and to love one another. You can in fact love someone just the same even if they are doing things that according to YOUR INDIVIDUAL beliefs and knowledge are not right.

      Honestly I think that is Josh's message. That yes he believes a certain way but that doesn't make other people's beliefs invalid or unimportant. That we are all on our own personal journey and that is just fine, that is life. For someone to find peace in what they live and believe is of the up most importance and it doesn't matter if that is in agreement with everyone else around them.

      I believe we will all welcomed with open arms after we die by a loving father in heaven, heavenly mother, and brother. Who have missed us more than we can possibly comprehend. That again we will each be judged individually according to our knowledge/understanding and resulting actions of it. INDIVIDUALLY, not one size fits all.

      That is my take on it.

    20. Karen said:

      "And a commenter who is saying that the LGTBQ community is oppressing others in their fight for equal rights and they are not. I don't think that that false idea needs to be put in the heads of folks who are looking for any reason – any reason at all – to continue to deny gay people equal rights. "

      OK, please don't twist my words to mean something they are not. I do not believe you are doing it maliciously, but your response absolutely twists my message to be something it is not.

      You claim that the LGBTQ side has never done anything malicious or inappropriate or oppressive (at least, that's what your words, "LGTBQ community is oppressing others in their fight for equal rights and *they are not*" [emphasis mine] are implying).

      You want me to pull up the reports of the LDS LA temple being vandalized? Or the violence and death threats made? I am not saying you personally are guilty of these actions, but there are those on your side who are.

      There are many many people *on both sides* who are not using oppressive tactics, and many who are. You cannot claim a pure, virtuous position any more than I can. Please stop implying that the LGBTQ community has never hurt a fly, has never used oppressive tactics ever to anyone anywhere, because it is simply not true.

      I am not saying that the community at large is guilty of these things, but a huge part of the problem has to do with the violence in people's hearts and words long before they become actions. I am asking that while you (not YOU you, but your side in general, including you) fight actual discrimination that you not stoop to the level of those who are using those tactics on our side (I would hardly say that Fred Phelps is "on my side", but he does represent an extreme position that I would never condone). I have equally strong words for them.

      So before you imply that my words are somehow Keeping The People Down!, recall that I am taking the same position as Ghandi. Non-violence is the answer. It works way better than namecalling and vitriol. Unless you feel that Ghandi was somehow Keeping The People Down! by his urging for non-violence on *both* sides, I'd appreciate that you not put those implications my way, either.

      Shayla said: "Yes, I've seen it misapplied, but I've never, ever seen or heard it used the way you describe it – as name calling or a personal attack. Even when the label is applied to a person, it's done to name and expose his or her (perceived) bigotry."

      I really appreciate your feedback! That was helpful.

      let me see if I can articulate a little better what my issue is.

      Perhaps it's because I'm a therapist, so a label like "phobia" actually MEANS something concrete, but homophobia implies that unreasoning terror which drives one to irrational actions. I would say that MOST of the time, the word "homophobia" is being misused.

      For instance, while a comment towards a Japanese person may be "racist", it doesn't make the person an "Asianophobe". The latter implies unreasoning terror that may or may not be present, while saying the comment is "racist" accurately describes the comment without slapping a label on the person.

      Call a spade a spade, but avoid the personal attacks, which is where the "homophobia" problem comes in. Another word that accurately describes the comment or action without implying a character attack is what I'm shooting for. Does that make better sense?

    21. I think you have narrowed the word. It does not just mean "unreasoning terror".
      But let's create a new word. Homoist? As in "That comment was homoist." I mean, we have racist, sexist, ageist…why not homoist! πŸ˜‰

      unreasoning fear of or antipathy toward homosexuals and homosexuality.

      1. a natural, basic, or habitual repugnance; aversion.
      2. an instinctive contrariety or opposition in feeling.
      3. an object of natural aversion or habitual dislike.

    22. Strange – I had a reply here, and then I saw another reply from Tammy, but now neither reply are here, and there's no note saying they were removed by the blog administrator. Any ideas as to what happened here? I don't mind reposting, but I thought I'd raise the question…

    23. Ian – did you click the "load more…" link at the bottom of the post? This same thing happened to me. It doesn't show all of them over 200 posts until you push that.

    24. Tammy –

      Perfect! That was exactly what the problem was!

      OK, per "homoist" – that is an excellent word. It describes a statement without making any implications as to the emotional state or character of the speaker.

      BTW – dictionary definition of "phobia":

      "a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it."

      Antipathy is not the emotional base of a phobia. Fear is.

    25. That's one definition. Here are others. #2 applies in most homophobic cases.

      phoΒ·biΒ·a (fb-) n.
      1. A persistent, abnormal, and irrational fear of a specific thing or situation that compels one to avoid it, despite the awareness and reassurance that it is not dangerous.
      2. A strong fear, dislike, or aversion.

      (psychiatry) an abnormal intense and irrational fear of a given situation, organism, or object

  51. BQ,
    Please note that I already agreed with you that a popular view doesn't make it a correct view. πŸ™‚ I was just curious about the general feelings toward religions with similar beliefs. This is the only forum such as this that i have ever participated on.

    I had never considered the angle that some might feel suicide is necessary to get the attention necessary to receive government permission (something I detest already) to marry. Obviously the passion and intensity involved could inspire nearly anything.

    I'll have to chew on that a while. Thanks for giving me a chance to think from a different angle.

    What you said above really rang true with me. My vision of the not-to-far-off future included being the best mother-in-law EVER with my sweet and gentle daughter-in-law. And being the best grandma EVER with my first grandchildren. It has been a little hard to let go of that vision.

    But, I recognize that this might never have occurred even if my son wasn't gay. And I recognize that my vision about my future isn't the guiding force behind his choices and actions. It does take a while to complete shift a paradigm. I expect that is true with most people.

  52. I think this comes down to the fact that many believe in Absolute Morality and others believe in Relative Morality. Obviously most people fall somewhere between, but most often dramatically closer to one that the other.

    And the things that become open to relative morality are changing. We can all see that. Many believe this is a good thing. An awesome awakening.

    And those who are closer to the absolute morality are not happy about this. The belief here is that some things are simply wrong. And other things are simply right. And it doesn't really matter what any of us think about it. They see us slipping (as a nation) into more and more moral corruption and happy acceptance of this corruption.

    Obviously, this applies to many more situations than simply homosexuality. But, I do see this as an underlying difference between much conflict.

  53. Karen, you are jumping to all sorts of conclusions. I understand that you are angry. I understand that you disagree with the LDS church. I am okay with that. But, broad sweeping generalizations about Mormons are as ineffective as broad sweeping generalizations about any other group.

    There is nothing to indicate that the Mormon church or its members believe that they believe they are the only ones who can have a relationship with God. The exact opposite is preached over the general pulpit. So if there is a Mormon who believes this, they are using their own views and not Mormon views.

    I have never told my son anything about homosexuality. Except that I only expect him to fully accept himself exactly how he is. And then make decisions from his opinion about what the direction of his life should be.

    We talk often in our home about how most of us will likely differ in many different ways. But, we are family and that matters much more than differences.

    Again. I do not only listen to the quorum. I have stated this repeatedly. You can continue to try to be insulting, but I am not insulted.

    And you can mock me all day when I say that I believe in God and Christ because I FEEL them. It is okay with me that you do not feel it. I cannot dictate what you feel. And I will refrain from mocking you because you are unable to feel something that I am able to feel. Because I fully recognize that I might be wrong or even delusional. And I expect that we will both continue forward in the way that makes the most sense to each of us.

  54. My reply isn't working again! Neurotic One, I'm not mocking your relationship with God or feeling it – I have one too and I also feel it. I'm sorry if I was unclear about that!

  55. reply button still not working.
    @ Ian "Know anyone who has been scourged and crucified?"? – google Matthew Shephard (may have spelled his name incorrectly.

    1. Karen –

      OK, point taken. Let me nuance my reply a little more.

      Know a group of people who are publicly and constantly scourged and crucified? Literally? While there are always individual cases, no one group of us today (except perhaps Nazi concentration camp survivors and Vietnam POWs) have experienced the kind of systematic oppression the Jews at that time experienced from the Romans. To claim such is patently ridiculous.

      When was the last time you attended a public execution of a group of gays? Never? Yeah, me neither.

      I do know that these kinds of things exist in Arab nations, and I decry them. They are wrong, period. I do not live in a fantasy world where everyone gets along, but I *do* know that imagining that we in our 1st world countries live under horrible oppression, to the point that we have no choice but to react in anger and punches, is a lie. The mere fact that we can have this conversation in the first place emphasizes my point. Try talking like this in 100AD anywhere in the world.

      So when I say I follow Christ, who in spite of that kind of brutal oppression was still able to react not in anger but in kindness and openness, I mean it. Reacting to oppression with oppression is the wrong path, no matter your justifications or proof of past or current mistreatment.

      Besides, did you *know* Matthew or do you just know *of* him because of the media? Big difference. Perhaps you did – that's always possible, but if so, you are in a vast minority. Most people who use his name never met him and would never have heard about him if this had occurred in 1000AD. Or 1000BC.

    2. Tammy –

      Ooo, ouch. I didn't mean to come off like that. Sorry if I was! πŸ™

      The only point I was trying to make was that in our 1st world countries, we do not experience the same general oppression that the Jews at the time of Christ experienced. That's it. πŸ™‚ I don't want that point to spiral beyond its original intent.

      "My wife and I were driven out of our neighborhood because of a neighbor that was horrible to us and our family because we are a lesbian couple. "

      I am SO SORRY! We have 2 lesbian couples in our neighborhood. Haven't had the chance to get to know one of them, but we've enjoyed the other quite a bit. They are super neat people, and they deserve any happiness they get, as do you.

      "When is the last time you attending the wedding of a gay couple and celebrated with them the same way you would a straight couple?"

      I would have, actually, if I had had the money. One of my best friends from college got married to a mutual friend (lesbians, both) and they invited me to their wedding. I was fresh out of a divorce with no cash, else I would have been there. I love them both tons, and still do (though they ended up splitting and my original friend has become a poly bi in Colorado).

      "When is the last time you were a character witness for a gay couple who wanted to adopt?"

      That's a loaded question, unfortunately. A lot of assumptions woven in there that I don't have time to parse out right now, and a short answer would only cause more confusion. I'll pass on this, for now.

      "It's much easier for the straight white male to say "reacting to oppression with oppression is the wrong path". Be in the shoes. Feel the sorrow, the torment, the anguish, the despair then tell me how to more appropriately respond.

      The world is full of good intentioned people who are clueless to the sufferings of those they try to guide."

      Hmmm…. this comes off to me as both true and not true at the same time.

      It is true that I have not experienced your brand of pain. How could I? I'm not you. The specifics of you and your life (and your group) are somewhat a mystery to me.

      However, I know pain. I know grief. I know loss. I know suffering. Very, very well. I know oppression. I know torment. These things are not a mystery to me. While the specifics of your pain are yours and yours alone, you (and others in your group) do not have a monopoly on those emotions.

      So when I speak about walking free of torment, having a heart at peace in spite of oppression, I know *exactly* what I am talking about. I lived it. I didn't live it perfectly, but I did OK. If I were to go back and do it again, I would do better, because I *believe* in my message. I *believe*, with all my heart, that there is a way out of misery and pain, even in the worst circumstances. And because I believed, I found my own way out.

      I am not you, but I do know what I am talking about. Pain is pain is pain. Oppression is oppression is oppression. Your pain and oppression are not fundamentally different from mine, because we are both human beings. That's why I ache when anyone attacks others verbally – it causes more pain. I don't want it.

      Karen –

      "trying to claim that gay people don't experience oppression sounds like you are trying to say gay people don't experience oppression."

      Wait, what? I never said that gays did not experience oppression. In fact, I explicitly said they DID. So I'm confused as to where you are coming from and what your point is.

  56. reply button not working.
    @Tammy – exactly.
    @Ian – trying to claim that gay people don't experience oppression sounds like you are trying to say gay people don't experience oppression. Did black experience oppression/do experience in your opinion?
    And word on straight white male syndrome. Walk a mile in someone else's shoes.

  57. Comparing the oppression of Mormons currently to the oppression of LGBTQ people is offensive at the very least. So I'm going to bow out of debating with Ian – it's not really going anywhere for me.

    1. Wait, what? Again! I'm confused. Are you trying to say that your oppression is somehow significantly different than the oppression experienced by any other group in the history of the world?

      I'm not trying to compare apples to oranges, but it seems as though you are taking offense where none is intended. Really. I want to have an open dialogue where the walls are torn down and we both can talk as equals, not as victim and victimizer. It seems as though you want the latter from me, but I could easily be misinterpreting your words. Care to clarify?

    2. hmmm. okay, one last time.
      First, I'm not gay actually not that that should matter but let us not assume because someone supports gay folks that they are actually gay. And the gay rights movement, by the way, is not about oppressing others – it's about equal rights, about making straight people victims. But you know that. It seems you are trying to twist it to make it sound like the gay rights movement is all about oppressing others, when it isn't. That's a distraction and very possibly, a distraction technique.
      Second, it is like herding cats and my cynical nature tells me that you are choosing to write it that way for a reason as I said above – keep lots of plates spinning, keep em confused, act surprised when I (or others) draw obvious conclusions to what you have said and then deny those statements. That kind of thing.. You are playing, me thinks. Which I totally get, I like to play too. Care to share your motivation for playing? Whichever but I can't play with you is all I'm saying. But keep the plates spinning, others may enjoy it.

    3. Karen, I just finished reading this thread and I see no evidence whatsoever that Ian is engaging in bad faith. And I flatter myself I'm a pretty good judge of these things. Your accusation is unfair, methinks.

    4. *sad face*

      Perhaps a little visibility into my basic personality may be of assistance?

      For anyone who is familiar with the Meyers Briggs personality test, I am an ENFP. We are highly distractible folk, and the herding cats analogy is not far off. My thoughts are very creative and somewhat scattered. Not by design or malice, I promise! I'm very much a, "So, Bob was talking about Joe the other day and – Oh, look! a bird! – what was I talking about again? Oh, yeah – Bob and Joe," kind of guy.

      I know that can frustrate people, and I don't try to be that way, but I have accepted that I grate some people the wrong way. πŸ™

      I hope you are able to work through any antipathy you are feeling towards me, Karen, but if not, that's OK. I understand.

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