Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Another Reason I Am No Longer LDS: The Church and Homosexuality

The issue of Gays and the LDS church has been a source of pain, anger and anxiety for me for years.  I have attempted to explain my current view on it, but have found the issue to be too complex (and also too painful for me) to do adequate justice in a blog post.  So, I will keep this simple.
From the time of my early teens I have had many friends, professors and relatives who were gay and LDS. and I have observed their pain and struggles to exist as what they were in the context of the LDS church.  Some of those people are still alive, some dead, some dead by their own hands.  The church made their lives a quiet hell and continues to do the same to gays still.  The doctrines and culture of the church deny both happiness and self-respect to gays. 
The church largely dismisses lesbianism as a non-issue because lesbians are just man-hating, angry, freakish women who want to "usurp the priesthood", hence the LDS cultural conflation of feminism and lesbianism--if you are one then you are also the other.
Homosexuality is considered, to this day, a form of spiritual or moral disease, and therefore a choice.  For many years the LDS church taught and practiced forms of "cure" for that disease, including aversion therapy, electro-shock treatments administered at BYU Counseling Center, ecclesiastical injunctions to "repentance", and excommunication (more than one homosexual has been disfellowshipped or excommunicted merely for "being homosexual".) 
Only very recently has the church, under the weight of much scientific evidence, reluctantly admitted that homosexuality might not be a "choice", might possibly be inherent.  Even so, homosexuals are enjoined to live celibate lives.  Yet, many leaders, including members of the quorum of the twelve, by doctrine considered prophets of God and infallible spokesmen for God, continue to preach publicly that homosexuality is a disease and/or a choice and can be "cured".
At no point is a gay, lesbian, hermaphrodite, transgendered, or anybody not strictly heterosexual considered a real, fully human, child of God able to love and accept him or her self just as he/she is.  The cloud of incipient evil, self-hatred and a sense of betrayal hangs ever over them.
What the LDS church has done and continues to do to non-heterosexuals is not loving, not Christian.  It is, in my considered opinion, evil.  I will have no part of it.

Monday, December 20, 2010

One of Many Reasons Why I Am No Longer LDS

I woke up this Mormon thinking about how "Mormon Feminism" is an oxymoron.  This subject has been festering in my mind for decades--long before I ceased to be LDS and long after I ceased to attempt to be a "Mormom feminist".  I think my subconscious may have finally risen up to clarify, at least for myself, this issue.  It may have been triggered by recent articles about "Mormon feminism", including references to blogs, websites, etc. devoted to the same.
It is not possible to be a "real feminist", believing in genuine equality between male and female, and a "true Mormon" at the same time.  The doctrines, practices and scriptures of the LDS church preclude that.  Since the days of Joseph Smith, jr. women cannot hold the priesthood, have less power and authority than their 12 yr. old sons, and can only "partake" of the priesthood through their husbands.  But, women "invoking the priesthood" in the absence of their husbands is very much frowned upon.  A woman is essentially an "authority chattel" of her husband.  This is illustrated by my own experience when I petitioned the church to cancel my own temple sealing when I divorced.  I was told that the church would not do that because I would then "not be under the mantle of the priesthood" of my former husband and must remain sealed to him unless or until I remarried in the temple and was sealed to another man and therefore safely under his mantle.  Consequently, I am still sealed to him, although he is now also sealed to his new wife.  This brings me to my next point, the issue of polygamy.  The church pretends that they have nothing, nada, no, God forbid, to do with polygamy anymore.  Yet it is still "on their books" and they still practice what I call spiritual polygamy, and contrary to what the church may claim, the first wife does not have to consent to the husband being sealed to another woman.  Regardless of what the first wife says, the church will issue a recommend for the second sealing, as I learned by my own experiences.
For Mormons a woman, single or married, is an eternal second-class citizen in the Kingdom of God.  During the most sacred parts of the LDS temple ceremonies women are required to veil their faces, men never do.  When a man and a woman are married in an LDS temple "sealing for time and eternity" the woman makes a covenant with her husband, he makes a covenant with God directly.  Anybody care to explain the equality in that bit of doctrinal sophistry?  Also, the "sealing" is preceded by the bridal party attending a "temple ceremony" at the end of which the participants stand before a curtain (the veil) and and ritually converse with "God's represtentative" in order to "pass through and enter the presence of God".  Guess who is the chosen "God representative" for the bride and deems her worthy to enter the presence of God.  Yep, her soon-to-be husband.
Every significant gathering of LDS women must be "presided over" by a member of the priesthood.  And, I cannot even recall how many times I have been in a group of LDS women and when a man is present, regardless of whatever kind of jackass he may be, some idiot woman will intone "how grateful we are for the presence of the priesthood".  I think my favorite memory of a display of this attitude was at a gathering of some of my former ward members and neighbors in the home of a member of the bishopric.  Following the meeting, people leisurely made their way to the dining area for refreshments.  In front of the large doorway separating the rooms several women and I stopped to talk.  A large man, former military, member of the ward and one of those aforementioned jackasses, pushed his way through the women, saying loudly, "Make way for the priesthood."  I told him that of course we always made way for the priesthood, and we would also let him pass through.
Many self-styled "Mormon feminists" claim that they are helping the church to change into a better, more humane church.  Clearly they do not understand their own professed beliefs if they can think that.  The LDS church has always claimed that the head of the church is "The Prophet of God" and speaks to the church (and the world) the mind and will of God--that God, The Almighty, is the real head of the church and that "the Prophet" is his infallible representative.  I remember when, during the mid-1990's the "infallibility doctrine" was openly preached and firmly established, in case there were any doubt about it.  The gist of it is that the "leaders" of the church, ie. the prophet and quorum of the twelve, cannot err.  This in the face of the many contradictions in what various prophets have clearly stated to be the mind and will of God--contradicting both themselves and each other, depending on when "the truth" was spoken and by whom.  Blacks and the priesthood being a case in point.
So.  If, in fact, those "prophets" speak the mind and will of God, and only the mind and will of God in their infallibility, God is at the helm of the church and the church is "true" and "perfect".  ANYTHING else is tantamount to "steadying the ark".
The LDS Church requires absolute feality to its leadership, doctrines and scripture of all members "in good standing".  Proof of that "good standing" is a temple recommend which requires interviews with both a bishop and a member of the stake presidency (men) in which the person seeking to enter the temple must answer questions designed to establish that declaration of total loyalty.
A few years ago Boyd K. Packer, member of the quorum of the twelve, made a pronouncement on the "greatest threats to Mormonism today".  Included on that short list was "feminism".   Where does that leave Mormon feminism?
If the church is divinely guided and the super-humans who lead it are infallible, as "faithful Mormons" are required to profess, then it is not flawed.  Therefore, any other thoughts, beliefs, behaviors are blasphemy.
You can't have it both ways, sisters.  Either you are a feminist or you are a Mormon.  A thinking Mormon could accurately be called a Mormon apologist, but not a feminist.  And, an honest "feminist" would not be Mormon.  To consider yourself both a Mormon and a feminist you would somewhere along the line have to lie:  to yourself, to your bishop, and/or to God.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


A compliment, when sincerely given, can be a blessing to both you and the recipient.  Compared to how little effort compliments take, the rewards can be significant.
I was talking about the weather for probably the 3rd or 4th time that day, when my daughter said that I was such an avid follower of the weather that I should have been a farmer.  It's true--the avid weather follower, I mean, but not necessarily that I should be a farmer.  She paused for a moment and then commented that I certainly had the discipline and determination and work ethic to be a farmer.  It was a fairly off-hand observation for (her she was actually in a rather bad mood at the time), but it meant a lot to me.  Discipline and a strong work ethic are important to me.  She could hardly have given me a greater compliment.
I frequently compliment people on whatever strikes me--a nice pair of shoes, a new hair-do, a cool outfit.  I notice those things, being something of a clotheshorse, myself.  And, if I think that someone has made any effort to look nice I want to acknowledge that.  Appearing well is important to a lot of people and telling them that they have achieved some measure of success can be sweet for them.
I recently made a new friend.  This woman obviously pays a lot of attention to her appearance, although her taste is very different from my own.  She used to have what I considered a ghastly hair-do--a bouffant with a "That Girl" upsweep at the top of the shoulders, typical of the late 60's, early 70's.  And, her hair is very and unnaturally blonde.  She also wears quite a lot of make-up, complete with false eyelashes.  She is several years older than I am, probably about 70.  I found her appearance quite off-putting, so I sort of avoided her.  But, then she sat by me at a dinner party.  I determined to make the best of it until she said something I found quite disturbing.  I mentioned it to a mutual acquaintance who "warned" me off the first woman.  I left it at that for about a year until I realized how very negative the second woman could be and decided to give the first woman another try.  She, thankfully, changed her hair style to one much better suited to her rather small frame and more "current fashion", so I sincerely complimented her on it and made a point of joining her at another social function.  I engaged her in conversation, said a few things mildly complimentary and showed interest in getting to know her, listening to her history, etc.  She is an interesting woman who has faced some difficult challenges with some determination and grace.  I admire that.  She is now a friendly acquaintance--I'm not sure that we know each other well enough to really be friends, but we like each other and she recently sent me a lovely letter, expressing affection and encouragement.  I was able to honestly admire something about her and give a sincere compliment which changed the relationship.  In this case "The Careful Use of Compliments" made a big difference, and has provided me with all sorts of warm fuzzies. 
Notice the good, admirable, charming things about your spouse, children, co-workers, acquaintances and tell them so.  Often people don't know that you appreciate something about them and most people like to be appreciated, admired and complimented.  They don't know unless you tell them.  Don't worry about being a kiss-up--assuming that you are complimenting sincerely and not looking for a way to manipulate the recipient.  Don't do that.  Ever.
Give your compliment freely, as a gift, no strings, no agenda.  Just a way to show that you notice, are aware and care enough to say something kind and appreciative.
It could change a life.  Maybe yours.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I am missing my father, who died this last January 19 (my oldest son's birthday).   He had wanted to go into that good night for several years.  As I sat by his bed that night with him, knowing that he was dying, I felt happy for him.  His mind had been sharp up until a week before, but his body had long since betrayed him.  When I knew tht he was not going to get back out of his bed I notified the family and many of the grand-children were able to visit him one last time.  The message on both sides was one of love.  He was unconscious most of the time, but would rally when a grand-child would come in and he would open his eyes and look up at them with the delight and affection of a small child and tell them how he loved them.  He was very anxious to give a message to my oldest son, the oldest grandson.  It was somewhat enigmatic to me, but meant a lot to Joshua.
He was a great man, but a difficult and stern father.  A brilliant, world-reknowned scientist and gifted at almost anything he did (a genius some said), he was very challenging to have as a father.  He and I had a difficult relationship from the time I was in my mid-teens.  He and I are actually a lot alike.  But, I don't think that he ever realized how alike we are.  He was very patriarchal and Mormon and I was female and, eventually, not Mormon.  I just wanted him to love me and understand me, which his world view did not give him much perspective to do.  I was well into adulthood before I realized that.  He gave me what he could.  I have a lot from him for which to be grateful:  my love of the outdoors and wilderness, taste for all things plaid, love of books and learning, my analytical mind, my strong will, my physical characteristics (I resemble his mother more than I wish were the case), my good mind, working with my hands, a need to own land and garden it, my sense of humor, a love of fire.  The list could go on for a long time.  He also taught me lot:  Be faithful to that which you believe, honor your word, hard work is good, great music is part of being fully human, get a good education.
He is gone now and I really miss him, letting go of the hurts, betrayals, conflicts, misunderstandings which plagued our relationship.  I remember the good things:  that rare time when he let me go hiking with him (he assumed girls did not hike because Mom loathed it); camping trips (a real challenge to organize and execute for such a large family, but he did it for us); his large and excellent collection of music which he played for us, especially on Saturday night when we would all take our weekly baths and then he would light a fire in the fireplace and put on a record (As a small child I would dry off and warm up and dance in front of that fire.  I think it was my favorite time of the week.).
It is Saturday again and the days are cold.  I will take a bath, light a fire, play Beethoven and dance--at least in my mind--and remember.  Thanks, Dad.  I miss you.  I love you.

Friday, November 19, 2010


This is that time of year again when newspapers and magazines are full of articles about being thankful.  Well, maybe just Readers' Digest.  Mostly it is just lots of Attitude of Gratitude stuff.  So.  I decided to put in my two bits.  Following is a list of things for which I am thankful, but not necessarily in any order of degree of thankfulness on any given day.  It is possible that these are just random thoughts.  But, this is a BLOG.
HUMOR  I value a good sense of humor right after personal honesty.  All higher beings laugh, even God.  And I know dogs laugh.  I have seen some of them do it.  My old whippet had a wicked sense of humor.
MORTALITY  Life can be such a bitch.  Sometimes I find it comforting to know that one way or another it will end.
EYES  I am a very visual person, in spite of wearing corrective lenses since I was 2 yrs old.  So, I am also very grateful for corrective lenses.  Very.
TELEPORTATION  Oh, wait.  Maybe I am getting a little ahead of myself.
CENTRAL HEATING  I really feel sorry for all those people who lived in castles or hovels before somebody invented the furnace.  Whoever that was, they deserve canonization in my book.
CHEESE  Whoever invented it, if it was, in fact, "invented", deserves sainthood.  Unless, of course, he or she was a serial killer.
SIGMUND FREUD  How would I have known that I'm normally abnormal instead of just bat-shit crazy without his insights?
MY CHILDREN  All crazy, but a different crazy than I am--makes things entertaining.
PLAID  Somebody had to have invented it.  You never see images of cave-men running around in plaid golf-shorts do you?  No, they wore fur, which nobody invented.  Well, except maybe God.  But, you can hardly canonize God.  I mean--Saint God.  How silly is that?
TOILET PAPER  'Nuf said.
NOAH'S ARK  The thought of the entire animal kingdom floating around on one little boat is very entertaining.  Besides, how else would all those children get those little Noah's Ark sets with cute little animals and Mr. and Mrs. Noah, and also all those stupid pull toys that make noises that sound like a duck or sheep going "quack" or "baa" with worn ball-bearings in their mouths?
THE NUMBER NINE  Such a cool number.  Square of 3, and multiples of itself add up to 9.  Now that's magic.
ANYBODY READING THIS  You're either suffering from way too much time on your hands or a real friend.  Thanks.
I could go on, but I am feeling better already.  You?


Is there such a thing as civil discourse?  I participated in a recent Facebook conversation--we'll call it a spirited debate--about the pros and cons of circumcision.  The inevitable comparison to what's euphemistically called "female circomcision" came up from some of the female participants.  Total non-starter. It ain't the same thing, folks.  Not even close.  It just affects the same general area of the anatomy.
Things really heated up with the "totally dispassionate and rational" guy, who did lots of research and included links to same in his postings.  But, he also included references to some of us being "emotional, reactionary, obsessive", etc., etc.  Got kinda' personal.  My daughter, in her ebullient self-expression, called him Stumpy and poked him a little.  I have found the best way to reveal a self-styled "rationalist" is to laugh at him a bit.  Humans are emotional beings, with rational moments.  Except, perhaps, people who are diagnosed with autism, which is considered a disorder, and not "normal".  Of course, Stumpy got huffy and offensive, while claiming to be cool and rational.  My first posting on the subject was after many others had weighed in and was about my perspective on circumcision, being a mother with 3 sons, having 5 brothers, all circumcised, one not in infancy.  And, I am a "feminist" in patriarchal, Old Testament (redundant?) Utah.
When Stumpy got insulting to me I responded by telling him that I had given him the benefit of the doubt because he was an acquaintance of someone dear to me, but now suspected that he was really just a dick, albeit a kosher one.  After letting us know what he thought of us he deleted all his many entries in the comment thread.  Were either of us "right"?  Any of us?  Probably not, except maybe my friend who had opened the discussion.  She is mother of a daughter, thinks she might have a son, is a good, kind person who hates to offend anyone (unlike my daughter and me, who really do have a mouth on us).
Currently, circumcision is a hot-button issue.  No pun intended.  There are lots of such issues raging right now:  the economy, immigration, the role of religion in government, etc.  Everybody gets polarized.  Well, maybe not everybody, but seems that way.  I get to hear Rush Limbaugh rant for 3 hors a day because I am living with my 93 yr old mother who listens to him religiously.   At very hight decibel.  Polarizing?  You betcha'.  "I'm right, therefore you're wrong, wrong, wrong.  And a socialist, arnachist, Nazi, Muslim, Communist, Anti-American.  Christ died for me, not for you, you piece of -----.  Christ only died for the RIGHTEOUS, ie., everybody who agrees with me."  Admittedly, I call him Douche Limpbag and think he isn't actually human (Pod People?  Reptilian?)  because he is waaay too evil.  But.  I am willing to admit that maybe God, in all God's wisdom, loves him, too. And, Limpbag is by no means unique.  So.  the challenge is, or the point (finally) is:  how can I/we be civil to the uncivil?  And (here is the real challenge), still live conscious, responsible lives?   Think Hitler and pre-WW II Germany here.  How do we, as humans, let people be whatever they choose to be, but not let them cause us, or the world, harm?  A "civil" society has to allow for the possibility of the choice of evil (assuming that you believe there is such a thing as evil, but that is another discussion).  And how do we establish boundaries, limits to it, while at the same time allowing for free expression?  What was God thinking when God created humans with free will....

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Kudos to Utah County Voters!

This is a shout-out to the responsible citizens of Utah County.  Yay, Utah Counter Voters for blocking that gol-dang light-rail system which those socialists in the state govt. were planning to build from Salt Lake County through Utah County!  By gum, if God had intended us to ride public transit he would have created light-rail Day 8.  Instead he gave us Henry Ford.  Who gave us the Edsel.