27 December 2013


I want to go to the temple.

There. I said it. Out of my system.

The problem is that I didn't know how to go. And trust me... it's a hell of a lot harder and more complicated than convincing the bishop and stake president to sign a piece of paper, and then driving to one of the four temples in the Salt Lake Valley.

I'm a Mormon. I'm a Mormon who's a Democrat, an intellectual, and a feminist, and a lesbian. That right there just put four road blocks down my path to "spiritual enlightenment", and I have no idea how to reconcile it. I'm the danger in President Boyd K. Packer's imfamous quote, "The dangers I speak of come from the gay-lesbian movement, the feminist movement (both of which are relatively new), and the ever-present challenge from the so-called scholars or intellectuals."

The biggest road block is easily the fact that I'm gay. I believe that the Church has got it wrong on homosexuality. Like the Church's new policy on race, I believe that the denial of full fellowship to LGBT members is coming from a place of privileged bigotry. I have had personal revelation from God that tells me very plainly that I was born gay, and that it was absolutely something God intended. I was gay in the premortal existence, I'm gay in morality, and I will be gay hereafter. Easy peasy. But I can't be dishonest. Because I have had sex with a woman *gasp*, I need to go through the repentance process. Am I ok repenting for sex before marriage? Yes. Am I ok repenting for having sex with a woman, and promise to never do it again? Absolutely not!! I simply can't do that with good conscience. However, in the Bishop's eyes... this is a "cut and dry" example of not being repentant of my sins. And BAM. No recommend. No temple. And possibly a form of formal/informal Church discipline. No bueno.

But all of these concerns are things that are real to me. I have severe concerns, and disbelief about the Church's positions on homosexuality, and the ordination of women to the Priesthood. I have serious concerns about the Church's teachings to our Young Women about modesty, and how they are responsible for the "pure thoughts" of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood holders. I have serious concerns about the Church's lack of transparency about it's history. I have concerns about the Church's "worship" of Joseph Smith, and his portrayal of the most perfect man who's ever lived, when in truth, while inspired and called of God, he was a man with many flaws. I have doubts! And simply "doubting my doubts" isn't cutting it. They are not going to go away.

And yet the temple pulls at me. Everything aches when I drive past... knowing that everyone else around me can go in, and I can't. I've tried to ignore it. I've put it out of my mind, telling myself that it's simply something I won't get to have in this life. But I shouldn't have to resign myself to the fact that I can't go! Do I feel worthy? Yes! I respect my fellow brothers and sisters. I strive to do good in my day to day life. I help when I can. I pay my tithing into the Book of Mormon fund, and the general missionary fund. I sustain the leadership of the Church. I read my Sciptures and say my prayers. I feel the presence of the Holy Ghost in my life, nor have I ever stopped feeling it. I know that I am worthy.

But it's up to 2 men to decide if I am. And I don't think that they'll rule in my favor.

20 December 2013

I Am Free At Last - Marriage Equality For Utah

It happened. I honestly didn't think that this would happen while I was still in my twenties, or even in my thirties... and I certainly never expected it to be within the year that DOMA was struck down.  But after years of fighting and getting ourselves out there... showing that we are normal members of society and that we have the same capacity to love and cherish a spouse and raise beautiful children, Utahns have gained the right to get married in the state that we love. Judge Robert J. Shelby, District Judge for the United States District Court for the District of Utah wrote in his 53 page decision, "The state’s current laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason. Accordingly, the court finds that these laws are unconstitutional."

Couples are lined up at city hall in Salt Lake County, Davis County, and Cache County. Seth
Anderson and his husband Michael Ferguson were the first couple to be married, and in early reports it looks like over 200 liscences have been issued. Salt Lake City Mayer Ralph Becker has announced that he will stay all night if nessessary to perform marriage ceremonies.

Seth and Michael
Mayer Ralph Becker
I am so proud of my city!! I am proud to be a citizen of this great state.

The state of Utah has already filed an appeal from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, and filed for an immediate stay of the ruling. As far as I'm able to see... a stay has not yet been granted, but we'll see if one comes through tomorrow morning. While it's disapointing, it was certainly expected. I hope and pray that the pathetic reasons that are being argued in support of discrimination, will be swept aside. And if they do stand, I hope they refuse to issue marriage liscences to couples who are no longer of child bearing age, and refuse to allow couples to have children, when they won't follow "responsible procreation" or be raised in "optimal child rearing enviornments".

When I heard the news, I was sitting at my desk at work, and immediately after I read the message from a friend alerting me of the news, I started crying. Tears streaming down my cheeks, and a huge smile spread across my face. I'm sure I looked like a fool. But it was one of the most monumental moments of my life.

The Church has also made a statement after the announcement, "The Church has been consistent in it's supporter of traditional marriage while teaching that all people should be treated with respect. This ruling by a district court will work its way through the judicial process. We continue to believe that voters in Utah did the right thing by providing clear direction in the state constitution that marriage should be between a man and a woman and we are hopeful that this view will be validated by a higher court"

One day I hope that the Church I love so much will one day recognize the words of our Savior, quoted from John, "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another." It is also my hope that the leadership reads the declaration given by Joseph Smith on August 17, 1835 in the 134th section of the Doctrine and Covenants. Verse 4 reads, "We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others..." Verse 9 reads, "We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government..." We are a Church that has faced discrimination in the past, with a extermination order issused against us. We know, more than many religious and civil groups, the bitter sting of discrimination under the law.

Today, I am recognized as normal. I will be able to call my (one day) wife, my wife! I won't have to call her my "partner". Partner has always felt cold, distant, and not real. Now I can say I'm "married" without it being a lie. I'll be married rather than being eternally engaged to my girlfriend. I am now protected by law... laws without any pretty exceptions that they have to put in there so that people cannot deny me a home, or employment solely based on my sexuality.

I am free. No one can cage me now.

18 December 2013


The best gift you can give a loved one is by far, the gift of a pleasant memory. 

I made my roommate go check the mail today... I was exhausted, and in bed, and I didn't want to move. When she came in, she handed me the gas bill, but she also handed me a package.  On the box, I recognized the handwriting for my Grandpa Romary's, and immediately a smile came onto my face. The last time I saw my Grandparents was on Spring break in 2007, and since then I treasure the phone calls and letters I receive. 

I brought the package inside, and when I opened the package, I pulled out the card my Grandma had enclosed. Tears streamed down my face as I read her words. She reminisced about us grand kids eating "poofies" (multi colored mini marshmallows) out of plastic cool whip containers and drinking chocolate milk out of Tom and Jerry jam jars. I remember those trips to Gram's house fondly. Enclosed in the package was a bag of those beloved poofies. I laughed out loud because it was so perfect, and unexpected. But as I kept sifting through the newspaper, to my surprise, there was a Tom and Jerry jar too. It touched me so deeply that she had sent such a special token of my childhood. It is so powerful that even now, the tears are welling in my eyes.

But perhaps more powerful, is the second gift she enclosed. Sitting inside the Tom and Jerry jar were two bells. They were given to her, by her father, on her wedding day in the early 60s. I don't remember my Great Grandpa Rainey. He died in 1994 when I was only four years old, and the only memory I have of him is a photograph that hung in my Grandparents' house. These bells had hung in her kitchen for as long as I can remember... I never knew their story, nor their significance. But she gave them to me, and no other gift can be given that is more precious to me than this.

"Regular" Christmas gifts are great... don't get me wrong. Last year, and the year before they were sets of beautiful winter hats, gloves and scarves. I love them, and I wear them often. This year it was a beautiful watch... One that I cannot bring myself to change from Central Standard Time in Fort Wayne, Indiana to Mountain Standard Time for Salt Lake.

But those poofies, bells, and the timeless Tom and Jerry jar out weigh them all. They always will. They put their unconditional love for me over their disappointment of my past actions and words. They put their love for me over the expectation to shut me out like my parents and siblings. Today they chose to see me as God sees me, rather than as my mother and father see me.

This year, Gram and Gramps sent me the gift of love. The gift of tender care and mercy. They emulated Christ. They followed His commandment to "love one another as I have loved you." By showing me Christ like love, they truly put Christ back into Christmas.

Thank you Gram... I love you.