Friday, November 20, 2015

Children of Married Same-Sex Couples

What do you do when you have LGBTQ folk showing up to your church, and you don't want them there? Do you continue to attack them? Something that hasn't worked as well as you had hoped over the last two decades. Or do you rethink your approach? Maybe you go after their children. Maybe.

The Mormon church has decided to make up and enforce a new policy banning the children of same-sex couples from receiving the "blessings" of the church. This new policy was confirmed by the church on Friday, November 6th.

At first I was happy. I was truly excited that, once again, the Mormon church was showing it's true colors. By labeling homosexual members as "apostates" it was freeing all these people from the clutches of it's brainwashing program. I felt relief for these members and felt happy for the futures of their children, to be raised free of all the guilt and pain.

But that was very short lived. Ten seconds in I realized that this wasn't a lottery ticket. This wasn't what they wanted or hoped for from their church. The reason why they still attended and brought their kids along and paid tithing was because they still had a glimmer of hope that they would be viewed as real people, real children of god... one day.

Then I remembered the guilt and heavy heart I had as a member who never felt worthy enough. (And the church never came out and called me an apostate.) My heart ached for these individuals.

And this wasn't a way out, it was a slap in the face. As a straight ally, I left the church with Proposition 8. That was my breaking point. That was when my accumulative doubt added up to just too much to bear and Proposition 8 was the extra push that I couldn't handle. This wasn't the case for these members. They stayed. In the face of discrimination and judgement they believed enough to stay.

My relief quickly turned into frustration and anger. Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ never said anything about sexuality. And the church isn't bothering to focus on anything else Leviticus has to say about abominations. They aren't calling out folks who eat shellfish as apostates and prohibiting their children from baptism.

Children of murders, rapists, adulterers, and abusers can still be baptized, blessed, go on missions, get the priesthood (if they are male), get married in the temple, etc. But if your parents are in a committed marriage and love you enough to want you to be baptized and therefore 'saved', too bad so sad. The church is communicating to the world that they firmly believe that the messages you receive at home from a committed loving couple are worse than those you receive from abusers.

That is a new kind of bullshit.

I have read plenty of Mormonsplaining and I think I understand the motivation the church has for this dickhole move. They are protecting themselves from having to ever perform a same-sex marriage in the temple. They are lashing out against LGBT individuals by calling them apostates, pushing them away by punishing their children, and by doing so they are protecting the 'holiest of holies' - the temple and their plagiarized Freemason rituals. That is how I see it.

While existing in the church between 1980 and 2008 I have heard so many discussions with Mormon family members and friends about if 'gay' marriage passes, then 'they' will try to force the church to perform 'gay' temple sealings.

This new policy seems to be a last ditch effort to protect what the church has been trying to avoid for years. Because the church firmly believes that worthy members get their own planets after judgement day, and that the planet they get needs one man and multiple sister wives in order to make spirit babies, and you can't make spirit babies with two dudes or two chicks via spirit coitus, then they must be stopped from entering the temple. And the only way to do that is to make it a belief within the church so the government can't interfere.

I hope that this change causes LGBTQ members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to question their beliefs in Mormonism. I hope they have the support structure to leave. But I know that isn't always the case, and sometimes living an uncomfortable lie is better than living an excruciating truth. They are loved and worthy of so much more than the Mormon church has to offer.

Some LGBTQ members may believe that this policy is only temporary, like the policy regarding African American members up until 1978. Some LGBTQ members will live their lives in the closet, preferring the love of their family and community over the backlash they feel (or know) they would receive if they left the church. Some members will continue to go to church believing that 'god works in mysterious ways' and this is a test or something they shouldn't question.

No matter how you look at this new policy it hurts good people, it hurts families, and it hurts children.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

30 Things for Which I am Thankful

30 days of November. 30 days of Thanksgiving.

1. I am thankful for two little girls who came into my life and changed it in more ways than I ever could have imagined. I am thankful for their health and well being. I am thankful for the little whispers and sweet songs. I am thankful for the new words they teach me and who I am becoming because of them.

2. I am thankful for a husband who married a crazy lady, but loves her all the same. Who has stood by my side through the loss of my religion and the discovery of something so much more fulfilling. I now only identify with a small remnant of the woman he married, but he has always been there for me; he is my best friend.

3. I am thankful for science and medical science. It has saved my life, protected my babies from infant death, and has given us peace of mind through some very scary times.

4. I am thankful for my family. Yes, those I live with, but also the folks who still talk to me even though the years, the miles, and the lies that enveloped my youth seemed to try to block a deep relationship from forming. Those who did not have to keep in touch, yet still have. I love you.

5. I am thankful for my friends. The very close ones, who I never get to talk to as much as I would like and the friendly acquaintances who I wish I could get to know so much better. I know my insecurities and awkwardness sometimes prevents me from reaching out, but I am still so glad I have all of you.

6. I am thankful for my job. And the job I had before this. And the job Dustin had before that. I am so grateful for being able to provide for our family. Even when times were tough and we depended upon food pantries and the government for help. I am so thankful to live in a country where my children may have had to go to bed hungry, but didn't have to starve while we were unemployed. 

7. I am thankful for my home. I am grateful that we own it. I am happy that even though it started as a run down house, we have made it into a warm, inviting home. Who says a 110 year old can't have charm?

8. I am thankful for my colleagues, old and new. I am thankful for Michelle and Sue. On the days I really didn't know if I could make it through the day at my last job, they were always there to help me laugh about life and help me keep my cool. I am thankful for Frank and Andrew, they always help me find answers to my questions and have helped me adapt to my new job, even though they didn't have to.

9. I am thankful for the city where we live. It is growing and improving every day and I feel so lucky and fortunate to have landed here. I am so thankful that I started here without a friend within 2000 miles and am now surrounded by awesome people.

10. I am thankful for our vehicles. They may not be the newest nor the best, but they get me to work, and the girls to school everyday. 

11. I am thankful for my daughters' teachers. I am so grateful that they teach my children reading, writing and arithmetic, along with a bunch of other things. I am thankful that I don't have to pay much for my children to get a basic education. 

12. I am thankful for progress. Progress in my life, in my dreams and goals, in our society, and science.

13. I am thankful for social media. It has allowed me to keep in touch with some very awesome friends and acquaintances that I would have lost touch with otherwise. 

14. I am thankful for quiet moments. No matter how few and far between they are.

15. I am thankful for my dog. Yeah, he isn't the brightest, and ofttimes a little rambunctious, but he calms a part of me that I had forgotten about since I lost my dear Phoebe.

16. I am thankful for the written word. I don't have as much time for it as I would like, but it's wonderful to get lost in the imagination of others.

17. I am thankful for the freedom that my grandfather and so many others fought for. I hate that we still have to fight for many freedoms here at home, but I am grateful that many freedoms have been recently won.

18. I am thankful for the internet, Wikipedia, and oddly enough, the Craigslist ATFO. I am so thankful that I have had to opportunity to learn so many things in the past five years. Many things led me away from Mormonism, and for that I am forever grateful. I am thankful that when I don't know the answers to my daughters' questions, that I am able to hop online and we can find out together.

19. I am thankful for unconditional love. Something that I had never thought I had felt, until I had my daughters.  Growing up I felt the love from my parents was contingent upon certain things being met or achieved. I am thankful that isn't my mindset in raising my daughters.

20. I am thankful for my local UU church. I don't go as often as I would like, but when I was struggling out here in a new place, feeling so alone, they helped me feel less so.

21. I am thankful for my abilities. I am thankful that I can do what I can do, even when I feel like I should be able to do more.

22. I am thankful for spaghetti, pizzelles, biscuits and gravy, coffee, chicken 'n dumplings, and every other smell and taste that reminds me of my two beautiful grandmothers.

23. I am thankful for being able to create. I am thankful that I can sew, embroider, darn, crochet, paint and bake. That even though I love them as hobbies, I know they are also post-apocalyptic life skills.

24. I am thankful role models. They are different today than they were when I was a child, but I know that I always have looked up to others and have striven to be more than I am.

25. I am thankful for charity. The charity of others that has allowed me to have things that I would otherwise not been able to afford or obtain, and the charity that I do that allows me to have those happy, warm fuzzies.

26. I am thankful for my parents and my brothers. I no longer talk to them, but I still love them.  I am thankful for the strength it took to end my relationship with them, even though it was extremely painful and the hardest thing that I have ever had to do.

27. I am thankful for pictures; the few I have of myself before the age of 17, the boxes of pictures of Dustin's grandparents and mother, the many I have of my own children and little family. I don't know why, but having them makes me happy.

28.  I am thankful for my sense of humor. It has kept me out of prison, has led me to a life of fandom and it has helped shaped two little girls into little sassy pants.

29. I am thankful for holidays. I love the traditions, events and memories that are made when a day is set apart from the rest to celebrate life, love and family.

30. I am thankful for this one life I get to live on this tiny speck of rock hurling through space. It is way too short and way too small, but it's mine and I get to share it with so many cool people and cool things. 

I am so thankful for so much more than I could possibly say, but I am so thankful today and everyday for every single person reading this. I hope everyone enjoys their days of Thanksgiving.