Sunday, October 18, 2015

Provo Pride Festival

Provo Pride Festival has become a little tradition for our little family.  My hubby and I love to take our little ones to see the royalty, eat some great food, play at the bounce houses, and visit the booths.  It's a great way to show support for the LGBT community in Provo.  It's also a wonderful way to find out about resources available to the community and how to get in contact with them.

This year there seemed to be more booths than last year, and I thought that there were way more people in attendance.  Both good things for Provo Pride. Because our kids are still pretty little we don't try to get them to listen to the performances at the main stage, but the music I did hear while perusing the booths was good. 

It was a fun little afternoon.  Can't wait 'til next year.

My little Green Bean sporting his fine hat.

 Checking out the map before we head in to the booths.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

That Special Moment

There's that special moment.  The one where truth is discovered, happiness ensues, and the desire to testify of the light becomes a priority.  Bearing testimony is now part of life.  Family and friends need to hear, they need to understand, and they need to come to the truth.  

This swell of happiness contrasts with the despair of watching loved ones disregard the truth.  They scoff at true joy.  Someday they will receive confirmation of the beauty of the truth.  Love them even though they sin.  Be an example of the happiness they can come to know.  They will experience the comfort eventually.

Then, it happens.  A loved one asks about the joy.  What sustains enthusiasm about life - even a life with trials?  Seize the opportunity.  Bear testimony.  

They contemplate.  Emotion is overwhelming, and they know.  They know of the happiness.  They know they believe.  They join.  Happiness and love expand beyond expectation.  And finally, safety is achieved.  Forever Family. . . accomplished.

I was taught this experience in many different ways.  This is the experience every Mormon knows they are born to have.  The day they get to share their testimony with a "non-believer," and get to see the work of God through the Holy Ghost.  Testifying of truth is what Mormons stand for; live for.  "Every member a missionary."  The moment when that non-believer listens, feels of the spirit, and wants to come to the truth is fantasmic.  It's a special moment to help bring someone into the fold of the everlasting gospel.

It's because of this moment that every member, in my opinion, should be able to relate somehow to my experience a year ago.


My church-going days had just finished.  I couldn't handle it anymore.  I spent my Sundays at the pool with my hubby and kids, or hiking, or visiting friends and family.  We had a glorious Summer.  Nothing out of the ordinary.

So, when my Hubby stopped going to church, I didn't mention it.  I realistically didn't even notice for a couple of months.  When my Hubby wanted to go run a Spartan race on a Sunday, I didn't protest; except for wanting to go too. (I don't really like to vacation separately) But, I couldn't go.  When my Hubby came back from this trip, he stopped reminding me to wash the whites (I always forget to get to them; they are our smallest load), which left my insides to do the Carlton dance, but I didn't say anything.  I was just going to let this one unfold.  I didn't want to push.  I wanted it so badly, I didn't want to disrupt the Universe by jumping the gun.  I thought I would just let him tell me what was going on.  When he was ready, of course.

Weeks went by.  We fell into the normalcy of school, work, training, etc.  Life was just happening.  Then the last quarter of the year needed to be planned, and along with planning activities for the holiday season always comes the discussion of finances.  Finances, when on a tight budget, are always hard to discuss.  Even more so, when tithing is brought into the mix.

I brought up tithing.

Me: "Honey, I want to discuss tithing again."

Hubby:  "Oh, yeah?  What about it?"

Me: "Well. . .  I don't want to pay it anymore. At all." (Keep in mind we are talking about his portion, since mine was already not going to the LDS conglomerate.)

It's here that I'm cringing in anticipation of his answer.  Oh, no!  What's he going to say?  What are we going to do?

My Hubby:  "Okay."  Like it was nothing!  He barely looked up from whatever he was reading.  His peeking was probably only to see the shocked look on my face.

Me:  "What?!  Really?!"

From here the conversation moved to "what's going on?" and a WHOLE LOT of "are you sure?" I was stunned.  Shocked.  In disbelief.  There is probably no one out there more surprised, than I was.  I thought we were going to have a life of continuous struggling to figure out how to make a dual-faith family work. I was sure my Hubby would always be a believer.  It felt like a dream for many weeks.

A dream that melted into reality.

The missionary moment when someone says "yes" to being baptized.  The Mormon parent moment when your kid is baptized, confirmed, ordained, or sealed.  The "every member a missionary" moment when a "fallen" family member returns to the fold.  And... the ex-Mormon moment when your spouse tells you they're leaving, too.

They are all the same.  The same excitement.  The same love.  The same joy.

Don't be sad for us.  I'm not sad for you.  We have found our happiness, and are blessed to be able to do it together.  Be happy we're happy.  We're happy you're happy.

Side Note:  This, along with all other posts, is completely my view of what happened. My Hubby is always willing to give his side of the story.  Please feel free to ask him about it.

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Book of Mormon: the musical

Last year, I heard that The Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake City was getting The Book of Mormon musical. I almost bought season tickets just so I could attend this one production.  Alas, our current young-married-have-children-financial-situation just didn't allow for me to do that.  I was really sad, until, in December, the opportunity for me to get tickets became available and I jumped at the chance. Not only was I going to be able to go, but I was going with a bunch of new friends that have experienced the same transition I have.  So stoked.

The past 6 months have been filled with the music in preparation for the show.  I have giggled and teared up as I listened through the story.  All the while, getting more excited to see it.  So, by the time I got to The Capitol Theatre, I was afraid that the show wasn't going to measure up to my expectations.

We walked in, down the aisle toward our seats, past the group surrounding John Dehlin, and sat down.  On stage was an archway topped with a golden angel Moroni depicting an LDS temple. 

From the moment that golden Moroni started to rotate to the final "I still have maggots in my scrotum," this show had the audience rolling in the aisles with laughter.  The Book of Mormon covered every basic doctrine and cultural oddity involved with the LDS religion.

In the beginning, there was role playing from the MTC, the desire missionaries have to pray for and receive (because of their righteousness) the call to exactly where they want to go, the charismatic missionary getting stuck with the awkward companion, and the more-righteous companion knowing that he would be the one to lead the companionship into changing the world and impress God.

When these missionaries finally get to Africa, they get a serious culture shock.  The political, social, and religious privilege addressed throughout this production is considerable.  However, it probably doesn't even begin to touch the misunderstanding of one's own privilege as a missionary from a first world country.

"Turn It Off" was one of my favorite songs in the first half.  It was the one song that I had pictured completely wrong.  The situation in my head was great, but the situation on stage was AMAZING.    Dismissal of one's own feelings, doubts, and misunderstandings is preached all day, every day in the LDS Church.   This song covers a wide range of situations where this practice is taught, differing views, and how they are all culturally accepted without question.  Oh, because we "turn it off."

The Book of Mormon was not all cultural teasing, it was filled with the Joseph Smith story too.  It expressed how Joseph saw God.  How he was told to get plates of gold from the ground.  How he met Moroni.  How the gold plates were kept from being seen.  How Joseph wrote down what he read from the plates, and then published the Book of Mormon as the "third book in the trilogy."  Joseph speaks to God often.  God needs the Mormons to head west to paradise.  How the Mormons kept making people angry, and then had to keep moving to a new paradise was also covered.  Joseph Smith was shot.  Brigham Young was the next prophet.  Joseph died for what he believed in.  Brigham Young got the Mormons to Salt Lake City, and they all have big mormon families.  All true and the basis for this beautifully complicated religion.

By the time intermission hit, my face ached from the grin that was plastered to my face. 
My heart was full and I couldn't believe we were half way already.  The 15 minute intermission was almost torture to wait through. But we survived.  A good thing, too; because the second half blew me away. 

The missionary stretching a principle so it can apply to an investigators life, the Spooky Mormon Hell Dream, and the investigator agreeing to be baptized so that she will be taken to a better life in "Sal Tlay Ka Siti" are perfect examples of what can and has happened to many people in the LDS church.

"Joseph Smith American Moses" was the most shocking song in the second half.  Many missionaries, despite their best efforts, don't have investigators understand their teachings in the way that they expect them to.  The misunderstanding of gospel teachings is summed up beautifully in this hilarious song.  However, the basic principles of each gospel story were somehow understood.  Crazy.

That was the most shocking song, but my favorite song was "Tomorrow Is A Latter Day."  It was my favorite because it brings everyone, no matter what their choices are concerning the religious cafeteria that Mormons have created, they are all still Latter-Day Saints.  In the latter day, they are there for each other, they are happy, they love everyone, and life is perfect. 

This show surpassed every expectation I thought I had.  I plan on seeing it every time I get the chance.  If you have left Mormonism, you will love this show.  If you are an active Mormon that can acknowledge all the craziness that fills the culture, then you will probably enjoy this show.  If you are a True Blue Mormon, pretty conservative, and didn't relate to the things I mentioned above, then you will NOT like this show.  Don't go see it.

If you are up for a night of side-splitting, OMG my face hurts laughter, then The Book of Mormon is the right choice for you.   Get ready for a crazy ride.  You're gonna love it.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Canada Day Parade: Raymond, Alberta, Canada

In the summer, we all have a little extra time to visit family, friends or explore new places.  Not to mention, it's warmer.  Warm weather  and summer both bring along with them parades; a fun part of the season, especially for the kids.

I used to love parades.  The floats, candy, friends and family, music, and costumes.  But as I've gotten older, I have fallen out of love.  I don't know any of the people sitting in the old and/or fancy cars (this is usually just political exposure), there are few or no floats, not a lot of costumes, and lots of places don't allow candy throwing anymore.  It's become so bland. 

There is one parade that I still love to attend.  And if you get the chance, you should go too.  It's a small town parade in Raymond, Alberta, Canada.  Their parade is in celebration of Canada Day.  I say this is a small town parade because it takes place in a small town; however, they have huge spirit when it comes to July 1st celebrations.  And the town more than quadruples in size for the event.  People come from all over to enjoy the parade with their families and friends.  It's a huge party.

Here is a taste of the parade:

Waiting for the parade with their treat buckets.

 Royal Canadian Mounted Police
A parade wouldn't be a parade in Canada without the RCMP.

picking up candy

Pirates Beware

The Raymond High School Band.
They actually play while marching.  I have been to too many parades where the band is just walking by silently.  And these guys are good.


A bagpipe band.  So fun.  

Wizard of Oz

Lego Movie
Everything is Awesome!

Raymond Baptist Church

 A line of kids pulled by a tractor.  There were two of these in the parade.

The Haunted Mansion

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Raymond Alberta Stake
I don't remember if this was Noah's boat or Nephi's boat.

And, of course, horses.  You cannot have a small town parade without horses.

LDS 3rd Ward
Building on the dreams of the pioneers

I love the smaller entries into the parade.  The creativity of people is so great.

Shane Rodeback Exc.

The LARGEST front loader I have ever seen in my life.

Huge Radio Flyer Wagon

A family celebrating a great-grandfather's 90th birthday.

Big Trucks.  Because country

Sunset Lake Properties
fun lake activities happening on their float

International Rotary Club

Inspection of the candy

This parade is a blast.  Almost every entry throws candy, and a ton of it.  So, no kids get left out.  Watch out for the occasional water gun shooting.  They will get you.  Don't forget to dress up and get your tattoo.

You will not be disappointed in this activity with the kids. If you get stuck in town because of all the traffic, take a breath, wave, and enjoy the moment to just be in a small town.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Discussion: LGBT issues

It's June.  When I was younger this meant no school, softball tournaments begin, swimming, and BBQs. Now, June means Pride Parades and Festivals begin, swimming, BBQs, fairs, and Hiking.  This year, like last, we were able to walk in the Utah Pride Parade.  We walk as allies.

Twelve years ago, I didn't know allies were needed.  I was naive about the teachings from my own church concerning LGBT issues.  I was naive about the treatment of LGBT people in their daily lives.  I was naive about the view of LGBT people all over the country and world.  And I had no idea about the huge number of LGBT suicides every year; especially in my own state.

I thought that love was love.  I lived in my own little world where I thought we each lived and let others live. I grew up with a member of my family who is gay.  It was a normal thing at our house.  More like, NOT a thing.  I thought that life with a gay family member was fine, happy, loving even.  It never occurred to me that loving my Uncle could be looked down upon, was unacceptable, or bad.  Then, my eyes were opened. . .

I was sitting in a sociology class at BYU-Idaho and our new topic to discuss was LGBT equality.  We discussed things like marriage, adoption, work opporunities, etc.  I have no idea where my professor (visiting from the University of Utah) felt about these issues, but I sure found out that I was a minority in my class concerning LGBT people.  I was the only person who questioned the reversal of roles:  "What if straight people were the minority and not allowed these simple human rights?  How would we feel when being publicly judged and condemned?  What would people do to us?  What would they say?"  Others in the class became angry and argumentative.  I was surprised.  I didn't know until then, that my views were perceived as wrong.

It was then that I removed the rose colored glasses and spent the next decade seeing my surroundings. I evaluated how I felt about cultural and religious norms, what I believe, why, and what I felt I needed to change.

Some of what I found:

Teachings/Actions of the Church:

8: The Mormon Proposition

  • I watched this very first. This documentary sent me searching for answers about political activities the Church is involved in.  Hawaii.  California.  Federal proceedings. 

"8": A Play about the Fight for Marriage Equality

  • I saw this live at Utah Valley University.  There were less than 100 people there.  It adds humanity to the court proceedings.

"Dear Brothers and Sisters: 

October 8, 2008 Satellite Broadcast re Propsition 8 

On Wednesday, October 8, 2008 at 7:30 p.m. PDT, there will be a satellite broadcast regarding Proposition 8 to stake centers throughout California. General Authorities and others will speak during the broadcast. 

We ask that the following please be invited to attend: stake presidencies; bishoprics and branch presidencies; stake, ward and branch Relief Society presidents; and all members working in grassroots support of the Proposition 8 campaign. 

In addition, we ask that a special invitation to attend the broadcast be extended to young single and young married adults. With only this coming Sunday to make this announcement before the broadcast, we ask that you please ensure that this invitation is personally extended to all who are invited. We greatly appreciate your support of this most important matter. 

L. Whitney Clayton
Presidency of the Seventy"

  • I heard about this broadcast.  I remember being surprised that the church was butting into a political issue.  I was taught that the church NEVER told us which way to vote.  I was not there in California to hear it.  I did see clips of the video after the fact.  I cannot find those videos anymore.

"The unholy transgression of homosexuality is either rapidly growing or tolerance is giving it wider publicity.  If one has such desires and tendencies, he overcomes them the same as if he had the urge toward petting or fornication or adultery.  The Lord condemns and forbids this practice with a vigor equal to his condemnation of adultery and other such sex acts.  And the Church will excommunicate as readily any unrepentant addict.

This is a most unpleasant subject to dwell upon, but I am pressed to speak of it boldly so that no youth in the Church will ever have any question in his mind as to the illicit and diabolical nature of this perverse program.

"God made me that way," some say, as they rationalize and excuse themselves for their perversions.  "I can't help it," they add.  This is blasphemy.  Is man not made in the image of God, and does he think God to be "that way"? Man is responsible for his own sins.  It is possible that he may rationalize and excuse himself until the groove is so deep he cannot get out without great difficulty, but this he can do.  Temptations come to all people.  The difference between the reprobate and the worthy person is generally that one yielded and the other resisted.  It is true that one's background may make the decision and accomplishment easier or more difficult, but if one is mentally alert, he can still control his future.  That is the gospel message -- personal responsibility." -President Spencer W. Kimball, Oct. 1980

  • So, homosexuality is an addiction?  Are those addicted to smoking, alcohol, drugs, and food excommunicated?  It's a temptation to be overcome? What about babies born with no sexual organs, or both sexual organs?  What about people born with physical or mental disabilities?  I don't think that God is using a cookie cutter for all of us or there has been a serious lapse in quality control.

"With some few, there is the temptation which seems nearly overpowering for man to be attracted to man or woman to woman.  The scriptures plainly condemn those who "dishonour their own bodies between themselves... ; men with men working that which is unseemly" (Rom. 1:24, 27) or "women [who] change the natural use into that which is against nature" (Rom. 1:26).

The gates of freedom, and the good or bad beyond, swing open or closed to the password choice.  You are free to choose a path that may lead to despair, to disease, even to death (see 2 Ne. 2:26-27).

If you choose that course, the fountains of life may dry up.  You will not experience the combination of love and struggle, the pain and pleasure, the disappointment and sacrifice, that love which, blended together in parenthood, exalts a man or a woman and leads to that fulness of joy spoken of in the scriptures (see 2 Ne. 2:25; 2 Ne. 9:18; D&C 11:13; D&C 42:61; D&C 101:36)." -Boyd K. Packer, Oct. 2000

  • I cannot comprehend God telling a group of His children that they are not worthy of His love. This last paragraph is a perfect example of speech that pushes LGBT youth that will never measure up to the requirements of the Church over the edge into suicide.

"From the proclamation, we learn, "In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father."  In that realm, we learned about our eternal female identity.  We knew that we were each "a beloved... daughter of heavenly parents."  -Carole M. Stephens, April 2015 General Conference

  • If spiritual identity existed before merging spirit and body together, then each individual person's male or female "role" cannot be confirmed or denied to match the one they had in the pre-existence.

"I observed that when various faiths and denominations and religions are united on marriage and family, they are also united on the values and loyalty and commitment which are naturally associated with family units.  It was remarkable for me to see how marriage and family-centered priorities cut across and superseded any political, economic, or religious differences.  When it comes to love of spouse and hopes, worries, and dreams for children, we are all the same." - Elder L. Tom Perry, April 2015 General Conference

  • This is beautiful.  We are all different and that's okay.  Political, economic, and religious views don't stand in the way of us seeing each other as people.  People with families.  Families that we care for and want to receive happiness.  I think this statement might have been the most important thing that Elder Perry forgot when he followed it with...

"We want our voice to be heard against all of the counterfeit and alternative lifestyles that try to replace the family organization that God Himself established."

  • Oops.  We're not all people.  We are different. Our families are real and matter, but yours are "counterfeit," so they don't matter.  And our religious differences will stand between us forever.

The Problem:

These are just a peek into the teachings that come from the LDS Church.  Yes, along with my own commentary, so that you know what I was thinking when I heard or read these things.

Here is where I run into a problem.  I've spent my life being told to "love one another," "do unto others as you would have others do unto you," be "willing to bear one another's burdens," "willing to mourn with those that mourn," and "comfort those that stand in need of comfort." All of these things taught to me as characteristics of a witness of Christ.  Characteristics that I was to spend time developing; even until death.

What happened to "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almightly God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where or what they may"?

None of the teachings about love from the Church are applied to the LGBT community.  Dismissing peoples feelings is not love.  Desiring them to change into something else is not love.  Declaring someones condemnation based on your belief, one that isn't theirs, is not love.  Demanding celibacy, a situation that will never reach the highest level of happiness, is not love.  Depriving people of the right to make decisions about their own kids is not love.  Depriving partners the ability to make medical decisions is not love.  Trying to keep a group of individuals in second-class citizen status is not love.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is trying to do these things.  And I don't agree.

Thoughts and Fears:

I don't remember having any.  I just knew that I needed to be true to myself.

Our Discussion:

This discussion might have been the shortest.  Or maybe it just felt that way to me.  We were on a date.  One that had turned into an emergency trip to Harmon's to get Benedryl.  We sat on the couch above the shopping center while we waited for the medication to take effect and just talked.

I told my Hubby about some of things I had learned.  Mostly, I talked about how I had discovered that the values I had been taught weren't being expressed by the Church; part of the foundation of which they were supposed to be built on.  "By their fruits ye shall know them," right?  But I no longer know them.  I no longer relate.  We no longer believe the same things.  And, ironically, I can no longer associate with an organization that doesn't align with my values.

What Happened:

My Hubby asked about my feelings concerning my decision.  I assume you want to know them too.  Originally, I was sad.  Experiencing grief, even.  Grieving for the loss of my religious organization.  As most Mormons will attest to, "The Church" is part of us.  It's part of our identity.  It's weaved into our daily lives.  Every moment of every second is laced with it.  It's why we take a disagreement about religion personally.  We have a hard time finding separation between ourselves and the religion.  So, when I decide to separate myself from the religion, it's painful.  It feels like someone just told me that Santa Claus isn't real.   It warrants many tears.  But also comes with the calming assurance that this is right.  For me, love will always be the right choice.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed by Glennon Melton

Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life UnarmedCarry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed by Glennon Doyle Melton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

FANTASTIC read. This is an honest reflection of Glennon Doyles life. She hides nothing and shares everything. Funny, sad, exciting, and traumatic events that teach her of love and life. Everyone should read this book.

View all my reviews

Thursday, April 23, 2015

22 April 2015 REMEMBERS 22 April 2005

Ten years ago today, I got a phone call that changed my world.  For better or worse?  That's all a matter of opinion.  And for me, that depends on my day and mood.


I was sitting at a small brown desk, in my black skirt and button up shirt.  Studying.  Both of my companions were sitting at the kitchen table engrossed in their early morning scripture study.  The phone rang.  We all looked up, startled.  Because this is a very odd time for us to be receiving a call.  My senior companion gets up to answer the phone.  Before she gets to it, I say, "It's for me."  I knew.  I can't explain it.  I just knew.  And I knew it was bad.

My companion hands me the phone.  It's the little old lady at the Mission Office.  She tells me that my cousin passed away yesterday.  I started pestering her with questions.  NONE, of which, she could answer.  I tell her that I'm going to call home.  She stammers, "oh.....oh......okay."  I hang up.

I knew it.  It had been weeks coming.  I had told my Mission President months ago that someone was going to go.  He told me I had nothing to worry about.  By doing this, he was telling me that my feelings/intuition/spiritual revelation or whatever you want to call it, meant nothing.  NOTHING!!  And he was wrong.

The next few weeks were terrible.  I couldn't concentrate during personal or companion study.  I couldn't go out and preach to people.  I stood in one person's doorway, let them get to me, yelled at them, realized what I was doing,  then just turned and walked away.  All while my companion was left, dumbfounded at the door.  I wouldn't tract after that.  Something had to be done.

The only person worth trusting and listening to was my companion.  She saved me.  She let me know that everything would be okay.  That our Mission President was being an ass and a coward for not addressing his obvious lack of revelation/spiritual guidance concerning me and my situation.  His lack of care.  She helped me find the courage to do what my heart and mind had been telling me since I got off the MTC bus at the SLC airport.  Be Strong.  Be Yourself.  Be Confident.  Listen to your soul.  GO HOME.

I went home.  I went home with all the emotional baggage expected from someone who had just discovered the true order of Men and Women in my church.  I learned that the organization was more important than the individual members, that women are not really taken seriously, and that standing up for myself would leave me vulnerable to personal attacks from within the church.

Mostly I learned to stand up.  In a community that keeps the status quo at all costs, I stood.  Timid at first, but I was up.  Confidence, strength, and gumption all grew over time and kept me standing.  My thirst for honesty and truth combined with my conviction for equality helped my feet move me to a place of true happiness and love.


This year was the first year I could mourn my cousins passing without anger.  There was so much tied to that one phone call that I never truly grieved.  This past year has been one of grieving.  Grieving for his soul taken too soon.  Grieving for our bond that I miss.  He was funny, charismatic, and fiercely loyal.  He looked out for me when I was a freshman coming up to the High School.  He was even proud to acknowledge that we were related.  My protector.  He came to all of my Softball games.  (yes, I know his girlfriend was on my team, but he was still there.)  He took me out on the freeway for the first time when I was 16 when no one else wanted to take me.  He was my closest cousin.  He was my friend.  I am truly blessed to have known him.

Not one day goes by that I don't think about my cousin.  I miss him.  I wish he was here.  And before now, his death was tied to me recognizing all the terrible aspects of my religious life.  I must acknowledge the significance of that phone call on that horrible day.  The peace and joy I have found are a direct result of the call.  And I can finally separate the two instances.  I can happily remember my cousin and his beautiful life.  It's not tied to my 10 years of struggle through the trenches of LDS policy and culture anymore.  They finally stand on their own.

Big things happen on 10 year anniversaries.  This anniversary gives me peace.  It gives me a piece of happiness back that I thought was stripped from me.  It gives me that ability to say good-bye and remember the joy of the days that were.

Good-bye, Dave.  I Love You.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Discussion: The Temple: Initiatory and The Endowment

WARNING:  In this discussion I will talk about the Temple.  I will quote from the endowment.  I will NOT, out of respect for all those that hold dear and truly believe, be sharing names, signs, or tokens.  Please understand this was a HUGE topic for us to tackle, which we did many, many times.  This is the basis of our conversation.

LDS Church Teachings (and some of my history):

The temple was a beautiful castle.  The place I wanted to be married.  The beauty and elegance was placed in front of me as the ultimate goal.  The place I would get to make covenants with God.

I love to see the temple.
I'm going there someday
To feel the Holy Spirit,
To listen and to pray.
For the temple is a house of God,
A place of love and beauty.
I'll prepare myself while I am young;
This is my sacred duty.

I love to see the temple.
I'll go inside someday.
I'll cov'nant with my Father;
I'll promise to obey.
For the temple is a holy place
Where we are sealed together.
As a child of God, I've learned this truth:
A fam'ly is forever.

Janice Kapp Perry
Children's Song Book

The place where I could study and learn new wonders of Gods plan and the gospel.  The temple is "a house of learning. There we are taught in the Master's way."  --Elder Russell M. Nelson

So, I did all the things that would allow me to enter the temple:
  1. Pray Always
  2. Read my Scriptures Daily
  3. Keep the Commandments
  4. Be morally clean
  5. Pay tithing
  6. Practice the law of health (WOW)
  7. Have no affiliation with any organization that does not live up to these standards
I held a temple recommend every year since I was 12 years old.  The youth of our ward went often to the temple to participate in Baptisms for the Dead.  When I was old enough to have friends that could drive, we went to the temple to do baptisms weekly.  By this time I was also participating in Seminary 2-3 times per week.  (I had release time for Seminary)  I read my scriptures often.  My youth scriptures looked like this:

Yes, I had a different set of scriptures for different periods of my life.  No, they didn't really shut. Having multiple sets of scriptures was a way for me to see my progression in my scripture studies.  I went to all the firesides I could.  I loved attending the temple to do baptisms.  I really wanted to do all the things I needed to so that I could participate fully in God's greatest blessings.

I received my Endowment in 2005. The Initiatory was interesting, but fine.  The endowment session was nothing new.  It was a reiteration of the Plan of Happiness, with a few extra details.  A lot of standing, sitting, standing, and then sitting again.  We raised our arm to the square multiple times in the exact same manner as is done to sustain church leaders in any other meeting within the church.  Nothing too out of the ordinary.  I did, however, finally understand why people outside of the church would think that we were a cult.  All the standing and sitting and raising of our right hands, it just made sense.  But it was all good, because I knew we were not a cult.  But I could now understand the misinterpretation. 

The temple was beautiful.  The windows, the chandeliers, the furniture, everything. . . gorgeous.  It was quiet and peaceful.  And I remember being disappointed that there was no wonderous mystery revealed to me that day.  But I returned often so that whatever I had missed on that first exciting day, I would not dismiss in future visits.

Sadly, for years I missed them.  I missed the subjugation that I was being placed under.  I missed that my covenants were made with my husband and not my Father in Heaven.  I missed what the temple endowment declares as my eternal role.

Within the Temple Endowment:

to the SISTERS:  "Sisters, you have been washed and anointed to become hereafter Queens and Priestesses to your husbands."

to the MEN:  "Brethren, you have been washed and pronounced clean, or that through your faithfulness, you may become clean from the blood and sins of this generation.  You have been anointed to become hereafter Kings and Priests unto the Most High God, to rule and reign in the House of Isreal forever."

to the SISTERS (indirectly):  "We will form a woman to be a companion and help meet for him."

to the MEN:  (there is no equivalent declaration of companion)

to the SISTERS (indirectly):  "Elohim:  What will you call her?  Adam:  Eve.  Because she is the mother of all living"

to the MEN:  "We give you dominion over all these things, and make you, Adam, Lord over the whole earth, and all things on the face thereof."

declared by the SISTERS:  "Adam, I now covenant to obey the Law of the Lord, and to hearken to your counsel as you hearken unto the Father."  (This is the ONLY time we covenant with any specific person and it's "Adam.")

declared by the MEN:  "Elohim, I now covenant with thee that from this time forth I will obey thy law and keep thy commandments."

From then on, no one seems to covenant with anyone, even God.  We all "covenant before God."  Also, when asked to participate in the True Order of Prayer the women are not allowed to be in Gods presence.  They are asked to cover themselves.  "The sisters in the room will please veil their faces."  And the men are never required to separate themselves from God in any similar manner.

I spent 25 years being told things like:

"Every woman has as certain a right to approach the throne of deity in prayer as does any man.  I am convinced that our Father in Heaven loves His daughters as much as He loves His sons and that He is as ready to hear their pleas and grant their petitions."  -- Gordon B. Hinckley, One Bright Shining Hope, pg. 40

"Rise to the great potential within you."  -- Gordon B. Hinckley, One Bright Shining Hope, Pg. 11

"Be a woman of Christ.  Cherish your esteemed place in the sight of God.  He needs you.  This church needs you.  The world needs you."  --Jefferey R. Holland, To Young Women, Nov. 2005

"He hears your prayers.  He knows your hopes and dreams, including your fears and frustrations.  And He knows what you can become through faith in Him.  Because of this divine heritage you, along with all of your spiritual sisters and brothers, have full equality in His sight and are empowered through obedience to become a rightful heir in His eternal kingdom, an "[heir] of God, and joint-[heir] with Christ." --Jefferey R. Holland, To Young Women, Nov. 2005

The Problem:

My Hubby wanted to understand why I didn't want to go to the temple anymore and why it was a touchy subject.

Thoughts and Fears:

What if my Hubby doesn't understand?
What if he thinks I should fill my declared role?
What if he doesn't care?
What if he thinks my reasons are stupid?

The Conversation:

This discussion was filled with a lot of me talking.  Understandably because we're talking about my personal experience and feelings.  My Hubby asked a whole lot of questions and then listened.  We went through all the above mentioned information and SO much more.   My Hubby hadn't previously recognized any of the inequalities, but when would he?  If the men all just pay attention to their part of the endowment, then they would never notice.  And the phrasing of the endowment for both men and women is so similar that they might just assume that we are repeating the same thing they did.  I mean, I don't think I always paid complete attention to what the men were repeating.

The issue was that I was taught of equality for men and women.  An equal partnership in marriage and life.  Then I entered the temple, this supposed miraculous place of peace and joy, only to find that I am not equal.  I don't get the opportunity to covenant with God.  I don't have any interaction with God at all.  I have to have a mediator.  Someone to relay commands and guidance from God to me.   I don't get to choose what I want to be.  We are commanded to be "Queens and Priestesses to your husbands,"  and become a "companion and help meet" to them and to take our place as mother.  In one moment, every dream and aspiration I ever had was taken from me and replaced with my duty to my husband.

This is disturbing to me.  This is a contradiction of teachings.  This is why I cannot attend the temple.  I will not submit to the notion that I am less than.  The notion that I require permission and guidance to speak to the God I was taught loved me for me.  God is described as respecting me as much as He respects my male counterpart.  I am expected to spend my life making and keeping myself "worthy" to be in his presence, the temple, only to find that He demands that I cover myself and never receive instruction directly from Him.  These expressions of women being unworthy is malicious.  And I can't be in a place that causes my heart pain.

What Happened:

My Hubby understood the best he could.  We talked about this often.  My Hubby is an advocate for equality, so he sympathizes in the best way a male Mormon can; loving me and supporting me in my decision not to attend the temple.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Discussion Fail: Temple Attendance

Since I have discussed a few successful discussions, maybe it's time I talked about a discussion fail.  I didn't know it failed until recently, but thinking back, it totally did.

LDS Church Teachings:

"I know your lives are busy.  I know that you have much to do.  But I make you a promise that if you will go to the house of the Lord, you will be blessed; life will be better for you."  
-Gordon B. Hinckley

"Always have the temple in your sights.  Do nothing which will keep you from entering its doors and partaking of sacred and eternal blessings there."
-Thomas S. Monson

Any work you do in the temple is time well spent, but receiving ordinances vicariously for one of your own ancestors will make the time in the temple more sacred, and even greater blessings will be received."
-Richard G. Scott

"Each holy temple stands as a symbol of our membership in the church, as a sign of our faith in the life after death, and as a sacred step toward eternal glory for us and our families."
-Russell M. Nelson

"Hundreds of thousands of faithful members participate in the unselfish service we call "temple work" which has no motive other than love and service for our fellowmen living and dead."
-Dallin H. Oaks

The Problem:

I wanted to make sure that my Hubby knew I was okay with him going.

Thoughts and Fears:

I hope he doesn't think he can't go to the temple.
If he wants to go, then he should go.
It will probably be hard to go alone.
I want him to go, but I want him to stay and spend time with the family, but I want him to go. . .  If he wants to.
How do I handle him wanting to spend time away from family time?
Will I really be okay with him going?
How often will he want to go?  It might be a lot.
I want him to spend time with the family, but I want him to go, but I want him to spend time with the family.

The Conversation:

This conversation was a bit different.  I brought it up.  I really wanted my Hubby to know that I respect his beliefs.  I wanted him to know he could take time to practice those beliefs.  I tried to verbalize that.  I tried to be compassionate.  I tried to be supportive.  I tried to be encouraging.  But I failed. . . miserably.  

Our little discussion was quick and (I thought) easy.  I told my Hubby all the supportive things I could.  Said it was all okay, but he just didn't buy it.  He questioned me with something like, "Are you sure?  You're not going to resent me for going and taking away from family time on the weekends?"  I assured him that it would all be okay.  I would not resent him.  I'm not sure that was completely true.  I wanted it to be true.  But I just don't think it was.

What Happened:

I since discovered that he always knew I would be resentful.  And he was probably right.  At the time, I was in my most angry stage about Church issues; where almost everything church-related set off my rage.  So, it's probably true that I would have been angry.   It would have also added extra stress on our marriage.   I just thought that we were too busy or he just didn't choose to go.  But, no matter how he decided, my Hubby never really attended the temple.  

Friday, March 27, 2015

Discussion: Word of Wisdom (Law of Health)

Many of our conversations have happened multiple times.  This one included.  The first time we talked about the Word of Wisdom (WOW) was over a year ago.

LDS Church Teachings:

"The Word of Wisdom put restrictions on members of the Church.   To this day those regulations apply to every member and to everyone who seeks to join the church.  They are so compelling that no one is to be baptized into the Church without first agreeing to live by them.  No one will be called to teach or lead unless they accept them.  When you want to go to the temple you will be asked if you keep the Word of Wisdom.  If you do not, you cannot go to the house of the Lord until you are fully worthy."  
-Boyd K. Packer, General Conference April 1996

The teachings of the WOW come from the Doctrine and Covenants chapter 89.  It discusses the DOs and DONTs of eating and drinking for the saints.

  • No wine or strong drink (v5-7)
  • No tobacco (v8)
  • No hot drinks (v9)
  • Use herbs (v10-11)
  • Eat meat sparingly (v12-13)
  • Eat all grains (v14-16)
  • Eat fruit (v16)
  • Grains for mild drinks (v17)
Blessings that come from following the WOW:
  • "health in their navel and marrow in their bones." (v18)
  • find wisdom and great treasures (v19)
"And then there is a greater blessing promised in the Word of Wisdom.  Those who obey it are promised that they "shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures" (D&C 89:19).  This is the personal revelation through which you can detect invisible crocodiles or hidden mines or other dangers."
  • run and not be weary, walk and not faint (v20)
Gods promise to those who keep this commandment:
  • the destroying angel shall pass by them and not slay them.  (v21)

The Problem:

My Hubby wants to know if I'm going to start drinking.

Thoughts and Fears:

  • Do I want to?
  • What do I know about it?
  • He will just think I'm going to become an alcoholic.
  • He will think this is the reason I don't believe; just so I can sin without guilt.

The Conversation:

My hubby started this conversation too.  He asked if I was going to drink.  I didn't know.  At this point, I'm still trying to figure out what I believe and don't believe.  Which values are mine and which ones have been forced onto me.  The WOW was one of those topics I was going to get to, but was not there yet.  There were others significantly more important for me to figure out first.  

I am also a complete water drinker.  I drink over 100 oz. of water in a day.  I love water.  Not water that has anything in it, just plain water.  I rarely drink juice.  I never drink soda.  And I never drink those things because I just don't like to drink my calories.  So, alcohol was just not on my radar.

The Compromise:

There wasn't really anything to compromise.  Nothing was changing in my habits concerning what I was drinking, so the purpose filled by our discussion was to ease my Hubby's fears.  

Full Disclosure:  

In the interest of full disclosure, this first conversation about alcohol was over a year ago and since then I do have the occasional cocktail.  I haven't tried beer.  I've only tried one wine.  It was no good.  I haven't found a tea that I like.  I think they all taste like grass.  And I haven't spent any time in the coffee arena.  Although I LOVE the smell. 


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