Sunday, February 20, 2011

Office Max, Ice Cream and a New Goal

My sons dad and I talk often about the importance of teaching our son to set goals, then work on attaining them.  Truthfully, when you boil down the teen events that Merriweather and I do, one of the big things I hope to achieve is opening kids minds to the possibilities available to them and helping them set goals that inspire them!  My son attended the event on the 5th, so discussing goal setting with him again is probably very timely at this point.  A few weeks back he came home from school after a career day, with a list of possible jobs hastily scribbled onto a corner of paper and torn from his worksheet.  In telling me about the possibilities that caught his attention, I could hear he wasn't especially excited about any of them.

A little after that, my son and I had a conversation about my renewed work on the novel I'm writing.  He agreed he would try to get things for himself while I was writing, or wait till I took a break to ask something of me.  Partly because of that conversation, he's taken more notice of what I'm doing and has noticed I'm writing.  This has had the unexpected effect of giving him more confidence in his own writing abilities.  In the past, he has been very resistant to writing of any kind.  He doesn't like to write by hand and his typing skills are just now getting to a point where he feels like he's accomplishing something to type rather than hand write.

Writing is also, I think, a sort of deceptive craft.  It seems like it should be easy, right?
"I speak well, tell stories, converse, entertain and delight verbally, why shouldn't I be able to write it down in a bestseller?"
 Similarly, I think it seems to kids who read a beautifully narrated story that they could do this too and it should be easy!  For those who don't naturally lay down pages of prose however, it can be very intimidating.  So when my son had struggled over every word and come up with three lines, poorly constructed, he was understandably discouraged.  He let that feeling keep him from writing anything for a long time but he's not intimidated or discouraged by writing any more!  Shortly after he started to take notice of my writing, he began writing his own story!  He'll join me while I write, bringing his laptop into whatever room I'm in, saying "Hey Mom, wanna write together?"  Clearly, having such a real example of that possibility makes it an attainable goal for him.

Last week he finished his story.  It's over 4500 words and is nine pages long when printed!  He's so proud...  So am I!  With the final version in hand, we went to Office Max for binding and once it was all put together I thought his face might crack from the huge smile pasted there!  I decided this wasn't the time to go home so we drove out to a Jim's Diner for hot cocoa and ice cream sundaes.  When asked about the scrap of paper he had brought home after career day, he informed me he didn't want to do those things - he wanted to be a writer!  He had such a great time working on his first story he wants to do more writing.  Watching him light up as he talked about it made me grin from ear to ear.

He told me over ice cream that he wants to be an author and have his story read by thousands of people.  I told him bestselling authors sell millions of copies of their books.  I said "When you write a book, you won't reach thousands of people, you'll reach millions."  That idea lit up his whole face!  I reminded him not to think small about himself, just like he learned from Kevin Hall.  So he wants to be a writer!  And he wants to work on that and set goals that will make him a better writer and develop his skill.  Whatever he ends up pursuing as an adult, it's so exciting to see him dreaming about his future.

I'm interested lately in what kinds of goals we set and how we reach them.  Do you regularly set and work on goals?  Do you help your kids reach goals?  What  methods do you implement for yourself or your kids to achieve those goals?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Kevin Hall & the Story of 4,000 Men

My favorite speaker at our iCreate teen event on February 5th was definitely Kevin Hall and I've been thinking a lot about his message since then.  His commitment to the kids was visible that day and I'm positive the contributions he made will be felt for a long time.  First, he simply gave of his time and it was really evident how interested he was in their dreams and how much faith he had in their aspirations!  Second, he gave everyone a copy of his book Aspire! Discovering Your Purpose through the Power of Words.  This is such a giving gesture, especially since I've read the book.  I hadn't had the opportunity to enjoy it before the 5th but have since read it cover to cover!  This is one of those books that can shift the way you see and live life!

Several years ago I was on a plane from Los Angeles where I lived, headed to Salt Lake City to visit my family.  There was a man in the next seat who quickly engaged me in conversation.  He reminded me of my dad in a lot of ways, but at the time my own father-daughter relationship was very strained.  I didn't usually spend a lot of time chatting with strangers on flights but a paternal interaction lacking in the usual negativity was a rare thing and at that time.  He was very caring and I sensed a genuine concern from him.  Eventually he brought the conversation around to a book he carried everywhere with him:  The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.  He told me it had changed his life and wanted to give me his copy.  He said he'd purchased the book dozens of times and always ended up giving it away to someone.  aI read a bit of the book but eventually it landed on my bookshelf to be ignored for a while.

Skip forward to fall of 2005, I had just left a very toxic and abusive work environment, was working a very very part time job, going through a complete career change, unable to support myself or my son, going through a painful divorce and drifting through life.  Really I was right on the edge.  One day, by chance, I picked up the book that was resting so patiently on my shelf and it changed, and really saved, my life!  I believe Kevin's book has that same potential to change lives.

At this time, several of those kids are reading Kevin's book and understanding the amazing concepts on whatever level they can.  I'm so excited by that prospect!  There are also a lot of those kids who have put that book on the shelf.  But it's still there, waiting, holding all that potential transformation.  And it belongs to those kids, already in their hands.  That, to me, is huge.

One story from the book that I loved: his story about 4,000 retired executives.  The gist is that Dr Gerald Bell asked 4,000 retired executives with an average age of 70, one simple question: If they could live their life over again, what would they change or do differently?  The overwhelming majority of these men said they would carve out goals earlier in life!  I think of all the people I know who end up in jobs, homes, even relationships, by default!  This happens because they never took the time to clearly define exactly what it is they want in life.  Having clear goals prevents this sort of drifting through life.  With goals we can intentionally create the life we choose!  I'm curious, who out there intentionally creates the life of your choosing and who goes with the flow, ending up wherever life sets you?  And for those of you going with the flow, I'd love to hear if this is a conscious choice or a default setting?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Missing you...

I hope all my readers will forgive me for taking such an extended hiatus! I've been gone a while because I'm working on an all consuming project recently. It's another writing project that I've been spending most of my time on - yes, I'm cheating on you. Despite the constant writing though, I've been getting an itch lately - that itch to write something, and publish it immediately. If you're a blogger, you may recognize my need for instant gratification. Don't get me wrong, it's very exciting to see this project take shape! I just felt like I might be lacking a little reader interaction these days!

Aside from the writing, I was recently involved in another project that inspired and humbled me. Me and two of my very good friends organized a teen workshop addressing issues like clarity, inspiration, integrity, accountability, finding your soul purpose and so much more! Last Saturday we brought together five great presenters, so many wonderful sponsors, a beautifully catered lunch and 39 of the most amazing teens I've ever met!

It was a hectic few weeks leading up to the event and in the final week prior, I did let myself fall behind schedule on my writing project, but that's getting caught up now so I don't feel bad. We started getting quite a bit of interest from kids and some of them didn't have the funds to attend the workshop but we hated to turn anyone away so we started looking for sponsors. Now keep in mind, as of yet, there is no non-profit status to claim and no tax benefits to offer to those who might consider donating to our cause. All we had to offer was the gratitude of these kids and a banner with their logo on our website! Still, again and again we got small business owners agreeing to sponsor a teen for the day! I was touched again and again by the generosity of people. One sponsor I communicated with a few times, was finally able to sponsor a teen just one day before the event. I emailed to say I would love to add his business cards or fliers to the take-home bags we were putting together and I'd be willing to drive to wherever he was to pick them up. I assumed he was local. He had seen about the event on facebook, seen that we were looking for sponsors for teens who were unable to go on their own, read about what we were doing and decided this was a cause he could get behind, but he wasn't here in town, he was in Colorado! So there was nothing he could gain in return, he just wanted to give a teen that wanted to go, that opportunity! I was so moved.

Kevin Hall spoke before lunch and as a gift to the kids, gave every one of them a copy of his book Aspire! Discovering your purpose through the power of words and the companion journal Discovering your purpose through the power of your words. He really connected & interacted with those kids and I could tell how much he cared.

Charan Prabhakar came all the way from Los Angeles for the day and the kids absolutely loved him. He would step in after a particularly heavy moment with a lighthearted story that made everyone laugh, while handily illustrating and underlining the concept the kids had just talked about. He definitely made an impression on them and I'm so thankful he was able to be with us for the day!

At lunch time, the kids grouped up and worked on setting goals while they enjoyed a delicious lunch donated by Kneader's Bakery in South Jordan. I loved seeing them smiling and laughing while they ate and worked on creating new possibilities for their future.

I ran back and forth all day between two conference rooms in an adorable pair of white go-go boots - I even vacuumed in them at the end of the day because I'm that awesome. Indeed, I looked fabulous, but I definitely paid for it! Over the next two days I suffered through the healing blisters and throbbing feet, but now that I've recovered, nothing but the sweet memories remain! I got to meet wonderful kids, work with amazing people, get further clarity around my own vision & purpose in life and eat delicious Kneader's sandwiches for lunch! All in all it was a pretty fantastic day! The format and style need a little work but overall it was a screaming success and I foresee many teen empowerment seminars in my future. I might need to buy some insoles.

Monday, October 4, 2010

How Can We Bring About Positive Change from the LDS Conference Rhetoric?

I'm so alarmed by the recent rash of suicides among the LGBT youth in America, and after this weekend, living in Salt Lake and being fully exposed to the information disseminated at this weekends General Conference, I'm very sad that the leaders of the LDS church, the default religious leaders of my community, are still encouraging division among brothers & sisters. It's just so wrong! And so I, like so many others, am once again driven to speak out about my own feelings.

The widespread dissatisfaction with the LDS church leadership I am currently witnessing is not a new phenomena. It's been this way since the very inception of the LDS church - the public at large didn't like what Joseph Smith was doing with his new religion & congregation. This disapproval (though it was mostly disapproval at what Joseph Smiths did with others' wives and various con jobs he was wrapping up on the side) is what led to the mobs that drove the Mormons from every city they settled in until they ultimately turned to the inhospitable Salt Lake valley. Surely there have been spikes in the negative public image at various points in history. Things were pretty bad back in 1978 just before blacks were gifted with the priesthood through a new revelation. Certainly things have been heated since Proposition 8 came along, thrusting the involvement of individual members (at the encouragement of church officials from the pulpit) into the limelight. So this recent rash of youth suicides I mentioned...  It has brought this newest chapter in the long civil rights path of our young country to a head once again.
Justin Aaberg, 15, Anoka, Minn., July 9, 2010
Billy Lucas, 15, Greensburg, Ind., Sept. 9, 2010
Seth Walsh, 13, Tehachapi, Calif., Sept. 19, 2010
Tyler Clementi, 18, Ridgewood, N.J., Sept. 22, 2010
Asher Brown, 13, Cypress, Texas, Sept. 23, 2010
Raymond Chase, 19, Monticello, N.Y., Sept. 29, 2010
Children are killing themselves because they are alienated from their peers in every way.  And their peers alienate them because their own parents and leaders have taught them to fear and scorn anyone that is different from them.  And this back-to-school trend is absolutely not the beginning of youth suicides.  I got a mailing from the Human Rights Campaign that talked about the suicide of Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, an 11 year old Massachusetts boy in 2009, due to bullying because he "acted like a girl". There are so many. It's truly tragic and alarming. My own 11 year old son is the victim of bullying and ridicule at school this year, simply because he has long hair. Kids call him a girl and tease him mercilessly, just because of their perceptions about sexuality!

This weekend was the LDS church's fall session of their General Conference. This is an opportunity for the membership to hear messages from the top leadership of the church. And as is typical at this time each year, things are heating up. I've read a few news articles yesterday and today, excerpting Boyd K Packer's talk, but after several LDS members claimed his message is being taken out of context, I decided to listen to the entire talk on the church's own website
Packer begins by proclaiming the fear and confusion facing the young people of the church today. He refers to the churches revelation "The Family: A Proclamation to the World", issued 15 years ago. He quotes it in part by reading the following:
We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children.
He then further quotes LDS scripture to define union between a man and woman as a commandment from God. He goes on to discuss the concept of free agency, so prevalent in this religion. He talks about how sacred is our ability to create life. He talks about obedience and prayer. He promises that an obedient, willing & prayerful husband and wife will be gifted with children, happiness & a personal relationship with God. These blessings, including children, may come now or in the hereafter. He also stipulates that "pure love presupposes that only after a pledge of eternal fidelity, a legal & lawful ceremony and ideally after a sealing ordinance in the temple, are those life giving powers released to the full expression of love. It is to be shared only and solely between a man & woman, husband and wife with that one who is our companion forever." He warns that Satan is miserable and impotent, and that he can not stand any happiness and seeks to tempt us to sin and therefore, into misery. He likens pornography to a plague, "relentlessly trying to invade every home mostly through the husband and father". He talks about the spiritual fatality caused by this plague. He then promises that the priesthood can protect us from this plague, or any other bad habits and addictions. He warns parents to protect their families from these plagues. He warns not to succumb to these counterfeits for marriage. His next quote lays out exactly how he feels about homosexual tendencies, and the italicized portion is the quote which has sparked so much upset and so many claims of being taken out of context.
Any persuasion to enter into any relationship that is not in harmony with the principles of the gospel must be wrong. In the Book of Mormon we learn that wickedness never was happiness. Some suppose that they were preset and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn tendencies toward the impure and the unnatural . Not so. Why would our heavenly father do that to anyone? Remember, he is our father."
He quotes more scripture and goes back to talk of breaking addictions through the power of the priesthood. Then he goes on to tell a story of a child who brought a kitten to class with him. the children asked if the kitten was a boy or a girl and the teacher quickly asserted that it didn't matter. But the children persisted and finally one boy said he knew how to tell - they could vote on it!
You may laugh at the story. But if we're not alert, there are those today who not only tolerate but advocate voting to change laws that would legalize immorality, as if a vote would somehow alter the designs of Gods laws & nature. A law against nature would be impossible to enforce. For instance what good would a vote against the law of gravity do? There are both moral & physical laws, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundation of the world that cannot be changed."
He warns that if the membership does not protect the LDS idea of family, the very foundation of civilization will be threatened. He begins to wrap up his address with a message of repentance for your unworthy habits and addictions. He promises peace & happiness for families who are obedient to these laws.

Now, after going over the entire address, I can safely say nothing is taken out of context. With that in mind, here's what I think of his words. I've noticed that President Packer tends toward this theme. He harps on homosexuality, intellectuals, feminists, morality, pornography, etc. I wonder what sins he sees in himself that make him so fearful of these things. In a facebook note linked below the comments suggest Packer is gay and another commenter, a church member, is insulted at the "disgusting things" implied about President Packer. I was far more offended by the statement that being gay is disgusting, than I ever would be, were it implied that my religious leader was gay! Her paradigm demands that she see that as disgusting. I see it not as an inflammatory remark to imply such, but simply an obvious possibility based on human behavioral psychology.

Anyhow, skipping further speculation on Packer's sexual tendencies, I see Packers early comments about the family and free agency as a way to ensure that his congregation perceives homosexuality as a choice. His provision that a husband and wife may be gifted with children only in the hereafter is typical of the LDS church's advice of delaying blessings & happiness till the next life, in exchange for suffering in this one. Just as they counsel their homosexual members to live celibate lives now in order to possibly be free of these desires someday, maybe not till the next life.

When he quotes the scripture "wickedness never was happiness", he implies gays are miserable. He mixes together references to homosexuality as this "fake unnatural love" with the feelings of shame & guilt associated with pornography in order to confuse his congregation and make them fearful of homosexual relationships. Packer's switch from addictions to homosexuality & back again works to suggest to the congregation that homosexuality is somehow a bad habit or an addiction to be overcome.

When he talks about voting on natural laws, my blood really starts pumping. Gravity is indeed an irrevocable law that can not be changed, even if we were to put it to a vote. The ridiculousness of this statement is unmatched in his talk, since gravity is a proven scientific fact, demonstrable in every aspect of our daily lives. Morality however, is a fluid social agreement, based on the times we live in. For instance, it used to be moral for a Mormon man to have several wives. Currently I believe several wives is considered immoral among the Mormon leadership. Until someone can prove to me a constant, unchangeable law of morality, I won't have this conversation.

It just makes me want to cry for these manipulated children when he ends with an admonishment to repent. The entire message of fear is couched in language of parental love and concern. Well I'm not buying it!

As a personal side note, that from-the-pulpit fear mongering couched in fake love, and dripping with old-man creepiness I might add, is a large reason for my departure from regular church attendance, and a contributing factor in my decision to "resign" from their membership officially.

This sort of fear mongering and hate rhetoric fan the flames of homophobia. My 11 year old son, the same boy who gets teased for his long hair, has 3 friends. Today he came home and informed me that his parents told him he can no longer have sleep overs. His parents told him yesterday evening that sleeping over with friends led to temptations they need to protect him from. Wow.

So now we see stuff like this facebook note that very closely reflects my own feelings on Packers address, as well as fantastic official statements like this one from The Human Rights Campaign. Joe Solmonese, president of HRC says:
Words have consequences, particularly when they come from a faith leader. This is exactly the kind of statement that can lead some kids to bully and others to commit suicide. When a faith leader tells gay people that they are a mistake because God would never have made them that way and they don’t deserve love, it sends a very powerful message that violence and/or discrimination against LGBT people is acceptable. It also emotionally devastates those who are LGBT or may be struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identify. His words were not only inaccurate, they were also dangerous.
Educated LDS friends talk about how they don't agree with Packer's statements about homosexuality not being preset. I don't understand how someone can pick and choose which tenets of their gospel they can agree with. If my religious leader is preaching something that rings false to me, this is a red flag for the entire belief system in my opinion. One very telling comment touched me.
When I hear the words of President Packer, my heart hurts and I feel uncomfortable. I interpret this as a departure of the spirit. When my own leaders counsel causes this departure of the spirit, what am I to make of it?
As Duane Jennings, co-director of the Salt Lake chapter of Affirmation says... this weekends conference comments about gays are "evidence that the church hasn’t really changed, and that its positive moves [like supporting Salt Lake City’s anti-discrimination statutes] have been just an attempt to improve its image in the wake of Proposition 8.” I'm afraid of what may come from this latest log on the firey civil rights debate. I don't think we've seen the last of our losses unfortunately. And like Isaac Higham, I feel that "the blood of the innocents drips from the hands of those who strangle the life and the hope out of them through their bully pulpit." But as renown author John Krakauer extensively demonstrates in his book "Under The Banner of Heaven", the LDS church has a rich tradition of violence and separatism. Their leadership believes in the blood atonement and it could be that none of this even bothers these men.

All I can do is hope more people will feel the truth and see how false this message is. I believe that someday we will move past hate, and even past tolerance, and past acceptance, into a real and complete love of each other, for all our similarities and our differences! And I think this message of fear from President Packer is just the sort of vehicle to bring about some of that change! I have faith that at least some people will instinctively want to move away from this message of division and fear, and find something that feels closer to God, without the strings of fear and brainwashing attached. And what a wonderful thing it is, when we start our quest for a higher truth! Some beautiful journeys have just begun!

- Flora

Friday, September 3, 2010

Is God Part of The Grand Design?

In "The Grand Design," by eminent British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and U.S. physicist Leonard Mlodinow, Hawking asserts that a new series of theories makes a creator of the universe redundant, according to the Times newspaper which published extracts on Thursday.

"Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist," Hawking writes.

"It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going."

He refers to the 1992 discovery of a planet orbiting a star other than our sun when discussing the possibility of a creator. "That makes the coincidences of our planetary conditions -- the single Sun, the lucky combination of Earth-Sun distance and solar mass, far less remarkable, and far less compelling evidence that the Earth was carefully designed just to please us human beings,"

These simple elegant statements are opening my mind up wide. I'm getting more and more Atheist by the minute! Hahaha Okay not exactly. But I am more and more comfortable letting go of the idea of a father/God figure, so similar to the Mormon God I was raised with. And stated so simply, it is all so clear to me that there was no need for a God in the creation of the universe. I never bought the "created in 7 days/6000 year old universe" theory, and I never bought the premise that God zapped Adam & Eve into being like magic. I was always much more comfortable with the idea that God worked with the laws of science & nature to facilitate the creation of our world over time. But this was an unexamined premise that only lived vaguely in my mind. And when I do examine it more closely, things don't fit together quite right. If God existed before anything, out in the ether of space, floating in the darkness, and God created all the universe... well then we aren't on the same evolutionary path and we'll never progress to where God is now. And that just doesn't feel true to me. I don't know, but I feel the rightness of our continuing evolution and progression. There may or may not be a god in some form or another. I definitely don't think there is an old man, clothed in white robes, watching over us all, keeping a tally of our good and bad choices every second of every day. And while it feels like my beliefs have been unconsciously drifting this way for some time, bringing these thoughts into the light now, I definitely agree more and more that is is unlikely a supreme being set the creation of the universe in motion. What do you think?

Monday, May 3, 2010

From The Chapter: Fighting Against The Knife

Today we've got a new treat! A friend of ours, Steven H. Lee, recently wrote the book, Falling Into Life: A Gay Exmormon's Journey and agreed to let us post an excerpt. One thing I think about very often is how, despite much good done in the world, organized religion has terribly slowed the progress of equal rights. I can't imagine being a young homosexual, knowing I could never be myself because even my omniscient God disapproved of me. Not just knowing I could never be myself, but knowing my self was inherently wrong. I can't stand it. This chapter touched me. It made me want to act. It made me want to call my Senators and the White House and anyone else who runs for public office and tell them it's time for ENDA, it's time to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and do anything else to make us all actually equal. Oooh, and it also made me want to read the rest of the book!!

From the chapter: Fighting Against the Knife
I use this analogy to describe my own growing homosexuality experience; I call it the “knife”. It was like all the prophets, all the speakers, my lifetime of every religious discussion, all the words, the scriptures, the counsel, and the doctrine became a terrible jagged knife that was being pushed right into my heart. And everyone I knew, my leaders, my family, all my close relationships, they were all pushing that knife into my heart, and I was the only one holding it back. All their hands on that knife handle pushing it in, and I could feel my hands on theirs trying to stop the pain.
The creation of the knife starts early. It is a curious thing that happens to a young innocent child, that moment when you realize that you are the enemy. For me it happened when I was quite young, probably twelve years of age. I saw myself as all the rest, in line for God’s love expecting great things, and feeling as loved and as impervious as the rest of my comrades. The moment was confusing to me, and I wasn’t sure if it was directed at me, but there it was, these scriptures in the bible that said that homosexuals were the enemy. An abomination. A horror in God’s eyes.
It was part of a Sunday School lesson and we were taught two scriptures in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13: "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; both of them have committed an abomination," and "If a man lies with a man as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them." Then it was followed with a handful of Prophetic teaching mirroring the same concept: Homosexual sin is next to murder.

The knife slowly sharpening.

I had already become aware that Mormonism had clear rules and regulations for salvation, beginning as a young child in primary learning to give everything to God and to worship the prophet via cute songs. I was already collecting dimes and nickels for my tithing, and I knew that Satan was waiting in the wings for me, with his legions of demons tempting me to fall out of grace and into hell. I also knew that something was askew inside of me, although I was unable to put my finger on it...

...After we consummated our marriage, I knew I was doomed. The spark was not there. I was lost. I had been counseled that marriage would make me straight, and in that one moment, in my first thrust, I knew it was a lie. I wanted my heart to pound, I wanted this so bad, and it was not happening. It was not going to save me, it was not going to happen. She was a virgin who was saving herself for marriage, only to marry a gay man. I knew it was a tragedy of epic proportions.
I didn’t give up. Maybe God could still save me somehow. It was a sin, I was hell-bound, and she was going to be my salvation. Sixteen years later, after confessing to my wife I was gay in year four of our marriage, after twelve years in "conversion therapy", years of heart ache, cheating, bargaining with God, three kids and absolute mental devastation, I felt suicidal.
I had remained active through it all, and it had not saved me. I had done everything God asked me to do, and I was still gay. So many hands were on the knife handle now, and now her hands were on the knife handle with everyone else’s. I couldn't imagine myself making one of my own children suffer this way, and yet my Heavenly Father had stayed silent for twenty-six years through all of it, not once offering me any help. How could he be so terribly uncaring toward one of his own suffering children? I felt more isolated than at any time of my life, and I was doing everything right that I knew to do. I was being hung out to dry.
It felt as if I was fighting for my life. I was in such tremendous agony, and everyone had the words, “We love you…” falling from their lips as they pushed the knife harder and harder into my heart. I became so distraught that I was willing to let my spiritual life end to never feel that awful again. I became so emotionally detached and wounded, and something deep inside me snapped. I decided that I would stand up and face it! No matter how much push back I received, I would not back down. I owed myself a genuine life, and if the angels came to kill me, then so be it. I was done feeling shitty. No longer would I passively let my heart be threatened with violent ideas of destruction. I would turn that knife around and I would wield it at them. I would fight!
The visceral pain was so threatening to me that I began having severe panic attacks. I was already experiencing panic attacks due to my relationship with my parents, but when I decided to leave, the whole weight of the experience, the fear of all the years that had been programmed into my brain came rushing out. I dreamed angels came down from heaven and slashed my throat. I dreamed that I was lost forever, hell bound, never to be rescued. I felt valueless, adrift and alone even though I was surrounded by people.
I began an eighteen month journey of feeling as if I was falling. I literally felt as if I were freefalling helplessly to my doom while doing anything, sitting, walking, working, and sleeping. Although I stayed on my new course, my domestication was so great that it took over my ability to reason. My mental state put my physical state into absolute alarm.
I was able to fight this, but many men cannot fight this, and they commit suicide. And it is not their fault; they are sensitive men following the poisonous counsel of ignorant straight male leaders to their destruction. In my opinion, it is the fault of the Mormon Church and its untrained leadership. This happens in the Mormon Church to gay Mormon men and apostate family members. But they are whisked away to proper Mormon funerals by embarrassed Mormon families, never to be heard from again, their stories buried with them, the embarrassed families silenced by their belief. This is real, this is a terrible mental abuse.
All men in my situation are given a choice: You let the knife stop your own heart, or you take that knife, and you force it out of the hands threatening you, and you wield it against them. You save yourself. You begin your metamorphosis. You transcend.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Thank You President Obama!

Thank You President Obama Cake!

Friday morning we sat sipping our coffee and came across this story in the LA Times. We were so happy we had cake to celebrate!!!
President Obama late Thursday ordered most hospitals in the country to grant the same visitation rights to gay and lesbian partners that they do to married heterosexual couples. ... Obama ordered the [Secretary of Health & Human Services] to ensure that all hospitals getting Medicare and Medicaid money honor all patients' advance directives, including those designating who gets family visitation privileges.
The order also requires that documents granting power of attorney and healthcare proxies be honored, regardless of sexual orientation. The language could apply to unmarried heterosexual couples too.

The pen is mightier than the sword. We just want to say Thank you President Obama! Keep up the good work.