Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Elder Packer...

I had a friend a couple weeks ago email me and ask me what I thought about conference.  This was my reply.. If it makes any sense.. (Also, it's been good for me to calm down a little since the talk happened.) 

I'm guessing you're talking about President Packer's talk? I won't lie.. it was hard to hear. But it wasn't hard to hear for the reason that you probably think it was.. The thing I cannot stop thinking about, in regards to his talk, is the fact that younger kids, (and even people who aren't younger, who are still having such a hard time reconciling all their feelings) who think something is wrong with them and wonder if they'll ever be "fixed" or, as simple as it is to others, wonder if they'll ever be loved had to hear that talk. It worries me that he said those things. You see, I've been lucky to be able to reconcile how I feel about myself, my sexuality and even, for the most part, the church. Not everyone finds that easily, and sometimes they never find it all. 

I try to look back to when I was 12... constantly being anxious for conference and priesthood sessions and praying so hard that one of the wisest men in the world would comfort me with words. I never heard a talk like President Packer's when I was younger.. and I'm very glad I didn't. The harsh words that he used would have been devastating to me at a young age.  When I was in middle school there were times when I was sure that the only way to make me happy was to kill myself (thank goodness I never did or even tried) - and listening to a talk like that wouldn't have persuaded me to put the knife down. 

I don't know if you remember the part of the talk where he talked about homosexuals trying to convince people that their attractions and feelings were innate or inborn.. then he said that that was a devious lie from satan and don't be fooled etc.. This part bothered me as well. Because my dad, my stake president, all of these wise men who have leadership roles in the church, keep telling me that the church is trying to understand and it's new to them and they're trying to teach the people in the church to be understanding. With him telling us in conference that being homosexual is a decision he completely discounts it as a trial at all. He makes it sound like we brought it upon ourselves by "choosing". (Remember I'm not upset by his words pertaining to me, because I know I didn't choose to be this way, and I don't want you to think I'm bitter because I'm not. I'm simply worried and aware of the devastating effect his words had on others who, like I said, haven't been lucky enough YET to find peace with themselves). 

My mom started talking to me about it a few days after and I was sort of amazed by her. FYI my mom is probably going to be the prophet one day... because I've never met someone so excited about the gospel and so able to live by its teachings etc.. so when she came to me and said, I don't agree with President Packer.. it blew me away. I thought she would come to me and say.. he's an apostle listen to him. She instead said I know that you, and many like you, didn't choose to be the way you are. Anyways, the point is I'm happy to say I agree with her. I am so happy and impressed that the church stood up, through President Packer, for what they believe in. (About homosexual relationships being wrong etc, not about telling people that it is a decision and to just get over it) because what kind of a church would they be if they just changed their opinion on gay relationships. Does this even make a lick of sense? I believe in a lot of things pertaining to the church, and I'm glad it's been in my life and I will always keep parts of it very close to me, but I personally, through praying and pondering, believe for myself that Heavenly Father will be proud of me for loving, unconditionally another person, even if it is a man. I know the church disagrees, and that's fine. That's their place as a religion..

Okay so that's all ten chapters of my new book.. because I promise it was that long haha. Sorry! 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Biology and Homosexuality

I came across these today.

 I listened to the entire lecture and then read Dr. Bradshaw's written findings on the topic.  (the first link you can listen to the audio of the lecture, the second link points to the written findings of Dr. Bradshaw.)

I found myself to be very touched by this.  Below are some excerpts which really made sense to me (you can read the entire writing at the second link listed about):

A reasonable, conservative estimate is that there are over 500,000 gay Latter-day Saints, 5% of church membership. Based on the preceding I conclude that these important human beings, my brothers and sisters, have a romantic attraction to persons of the same sex that is rooted in inherent biological factors over which they have had no control, and that this is a condition that they will not be able to change, even with Herculean effort. What should they do? My primary response is one of compassion at the realization that these people are unable to make, in full honesty, a complete commitment to a wife or husband that characterizes the temple marriage covenant. What then? It seems proper to apply a standard of conduct in which an individual gay Latter-day Saint finds a path in life that most fully permits the acquisition of goodness and the practice of service, traits and behavior that find their highest expression in the life of the Savior. It seems to me that there may be several different paths appropriate to that end. 
There are, of course, many married, gay members of the church. Often they entered marriage with the false hope that a heterosexual relationship would allow them to change their orientation. That doesn't happen. Some, with the help of understanding and highly courageous spouses, have opted to remain in those families, finding it the best, if difficult, individual solution to their situation. Others have not, driven, I believe, by a sense that they can not continue to live a lie and must find some other way to be true to themselves - a principle they have been taught in the church. Single gay people have the same dilemma. 
I propose, as have others before me, that when the two or three Biblical writers denounced homosexual behavior they were addressing the issue of heterosexual persons engaging in homosexual acts. We can join them in viewing such behavior sinful. I can believe, however, that for most of human history it has been generally inconceivable that there were persons whose natural state was to be romantically oriented to those of their same gender. Such a possibility just did not occur. I note the absence of a reference to homosexuality in the Book of Mormon, or Pearl of Great Price, or, especially, in the The Doctrine and Covenants. I submit that our current perspective should take into account recent knowledge and experience. Human understanding of what is true changes over time. Truth may be eternal, but our comprehension of it is neither automatic nor complete. It takes time, usually a long time, for us to learn. What seems apparent is that God doesn't jump in and correct our knowledge deficiencies; He waits patiently while we figure things out for ourselves. I offer these last sentiments in the spirit that we are woefully ignorant of many of the aspects of homosexuality, and ought to be open to the further light to be shed on the subject, from whatever source. 
I know that at the present time there is a great deal of animosity, ill will, intemperate language, and ignorance with regard to gay people among the Latter-day Saints. Our gay brothers and sisters are labeled as perverts and deviants unworthy of our association. They find activity with us too painful. We lose the blessings of their gifts. I cannot believe that the Savior is pleased, but do believe that He will do all He can to help us find a better way. 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Conference Weekend

I've been out to my family for almost two years now. It's been sort of weird. The day I told them, it was amazing. Probably one of the most relieving days of my life-- I went to bed that night with part of the void in my life filled. I had always had the love of my family, and we're all really close. But before I had "come out" to them, I wondered if the love would falter or change? I went to bed that night knowing it hadn't.

This weekend was Conference. Every time conference comes around my dad, my brothers and I go to the priesthood session together. Ever since, probably, the first priesthood session I had ever gone to I have prayed and asked and hoped that one of those wise men, being broadcasted to every corner of the world, would talk about what I was going through. Selfish? Yeah, I guess so. But I craved it. I still crave it. Every year I've gone away disappointed.

As I've grown older I've found my own way. I'm starting to find out what I believe is right and wrong. Now, what I want more than anything is for younger people to have the help and comfort that I craved so much when I was their age. So every time conference comes around I ask, pray and hope that conference will be used to educate and comfort those who are going through this, those who know someone who are going through this, and those who will someday know somebody going through this.

Today in the morning session of conference President Packer spoke about relationships. "Elder Packer discussed how unrighteous relationships are of the devil, why we need to stand up against same-sex marriage laws, and stances I felt were dated concerning what it means to be gay." This is not the kind of talk that is going to persuade a 12 year old out of ending their life. This is not the kind of talk that would have comforted me when I was young. This talk would make me want to never tell anyone about what I go through, thus leaving me feeling alone and unloved.

Surely, the "wise men" referenced earlier in this post know that this talk wasn't constructive. Surely, they know how hurtful it was to many.
Surely, they know there are better ways to word things.
Surely, this talk will setback progress for many young kids in the church.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Dream

I'm standing alone in an endless hallway with two doors on either side of me. I'm wondering what lies behind both doors, and slowly move to the door to my left. Nervously and slowly I open the door, peaking in, anxious to see if what I want lies within. I leave the hall and make the leap into the unknown. I am immediately overwhelmed with warmth, fulfillment, and contentment. I'm outside now, and standing at the beginning of a beautiful garden with the tallest hedges I've ever seen. I realize quickly that these hedges are designed to be a maze- I cannot see the end of this beautiful garden, but I crave the feeling I get while I'm here; love and happiness. I explore the maze for a few minutes appreciating, as much as I can, how I feel

I'm standing alone in an endless hallway with two doors on either side of me. Knowing now what's on the left side, I creep over to the opposite door. The same anxiety as a few minutes prior flushes over me. The door is open now and I step into the largest, emptiest, coldest room I've ever seen. The room goes on for what seems like miles, but I can see the end. I can tell that the room is cold, until the end where I see warmth, and fulfillment. Unlike the maze, I'm by myself, but I can see the end of this journey. I begin to explore this room and start walking towards the emptiness ahead of me. I come across a giant canyon stretching from the left side of the room to the right. This canyon was unseen at the beginning, and has a bridge going across it. For some reason I know that once that bridge is crossed, I cannot come back.

I'm kneeling alone in an endless hallway with two doors on either side of me, begging for guidance.