Is there a voter education night in your area? A political rally? A house-party to discuss the issues? Have you found a website that thoughtfully addresses issues surrounding California’s Proposition 8?
Share the link, time, place or date here.
Is there a voter education night in your area? A political rally? A house-party to discuss the issues? Have you found a website that thoughtfully addresses issues surrounding California’s Proposition 8?
Share the link, time, place or date here.
The Journal of Marital & Family Therapy is releasing its latest entry on peer-reviewed scholarship about mixed-orientation marriages, and since this is a topic that comes up a lot here at Mormons for Marriage, it’s only fitting that we avail ourselves of the opportunity to see what the state of research is at the beginning of this new decade.
Barbara Couden Hernandez, Naomi J. Schwenke and Colwick M. Wilson of Loma Linda University use their paper, “Spouses in Mixed-Orientation Marriage: A 20-Year Review of Empirical Studies,” to both summarize research so far and to suggest places where research is lacking.
First, the authors set the stage for MOMs (marriages between a heterosexual spouse and a gay/bisexual spouse):
Approximately 20% of gay men marry women over the course of their lives (Janus & Janus, 1993). Buxton (1994) reported that approximately 2 million families must deal with emotional and cognitive dissonance that exist in mixed-orientation marriage (MOM), and that 15% of these marriages continue past a 3-year duration.
With 85% of mixed-orientation marriages lasting less than three years, marital and family therapists are trying to understand the complexities of these relationships and figure out how best to help those involved cope with the aftermath – both surviving/negotiating a continuing relationship and recovering from the pain of divorce. The purpose of this article was to provide a road map of sorts for therapists searching for understanding and considering research and education topics.
An “executive summary” version of the article might read like this:
All the varieties of peer-reviewed research studied (quantitative, qualitative and case study) have found that MOMs are complex. There is pressure to manage homoerotic feelings, to meet the needs of the straight spouse, to balance tension both inside and outside of the relationship. There are often fears of losing family – either family of origin or spouse and children. Concerns about living with integrity and ambiguity are real and important, as are coping with issues surrounding religious belief and community. Sexuality within the relationship often needs regular renegotiation. Bisexuals do better at making MOMs successful, but they are most likely to feel misunderstood by society.
Coming out to the straight spouse is very stressful, and spouses married before 1968 were more likely to postpone coming out than younger bisexual/gay/lesbian spouse have been.
Straight women in MOMs have a variety of reactions to their husband’s coming out – from outrage to relief, but nearly all reported some amount of isolation, humiliation, the need for counseling and attempts to renegotiate or dissolve marriages.
The article goes on to state,
There is not a single theory that accounts for why gay, bisexual, and lesbian individuals marry straight spouses. It was hypothesized that gay, bisexual, and lesbian people choose heterosexual partners based on a combination of early life events, life schemas, societal expectations, religious beliefs, hope to ‘‘cure’’ homosexual feelings, or an overriding desire for family and children. A number of authors offered explanations for their findings based on clinical experience.
Mixed-orientation marriage has only recently been considered a viable form of coupling; however, this is not a universal sentiment. The challenges associated with this unique relationship are many and multifaceted for both spouses. As societal discourse around issues of sexual orientation and marriage become more prominent, a clear understanding of the tasks of MOM families and couples is needed. It is anticipated that this review will encourage further discussion, research, and education on MOM in the field of marriage and family therapy.
The studies reviewed by JMFT were:
Alessi, E. J. (2008). Staying put in the closet: Examining clinical practice and countertransference issues in work
with gay men married to heterosexual women. Clinical Social Work Journal, 36, 195–201.
Buxton, A. P. (2004). Works in progress: How mixed-orientation couples maintain their marriages after the wives
come out. Journal of Bisexuality, 4, 59–82.
Buxton, A. P. (2001). Writing your own script: How bisexual men and their heterosexual wives maintain their
marriages after disclosure. Journal of Bisexuality, 1, 155–189.
Corley, D. M., & Kort, J. (2006). The sex addicted mixed-orientation marriage: Examining attachment styles, internalized homophobia and viability of marriage after disclosure. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 13, 167–193.
Edser, S. J., & Shea, J. D. (2002). An exploratory investigation of bisexual men in monogamous, heterosexual
marriages. Journal of Bisexuality, 2, 7–43.
Hays, D., & Samuels, A. (1989). Heterosexual women’s perceptions of their marriages to bisexual or homosexual
men. Journal of Homosexuality, 18, 81–100.
Hernandez, B. C., & Wilson, C. M. (2007). Seventh-day Adventist women in mixed orientation marriages:
Another kind of ambiguous loss. Family Relations, 56, 184–195.
Higgins, D. J. (2002). Gay men from heterosexual marriages: Attitudes, behaviors, childhood experiences, and
reasons for marriage. Journal of Homosexuality, 42, 15–34.
Higgins, D. J. (2004). Differences between previously married and never married ‘gay’ men: Family background,
childhood experiences and current attitudes. Journal of Homosexuality, 48, 19–41.
Kort, J. (2005). The new ‘‘mixed’’ marriage (with case commentary by M. Weiner-Davis). Psychotherapy Networker,
Lee, R. B. (2002). Psychosocial contexts of the homosexuality of Filipino men in heterosexual unions. Journal of
Homosexuality, 42, 25–63.
Malcolm, J. P. (2000). Sexual identity development in behaviorally bisexual men: Implications for essentialist theories of sexual orientation. Psychology, Evolution and Gender, 2, 263–299.
Malcolm, J. P. (2002). Assessment of life stress in gay and bisexual men with the Gay Affect and Life Events
Scale. Journal of Homosexuality, 42, 135–144.
Pearcey, M. (2005). Gay and bisexual married men’s attitudes and experiences: Homophobia, reasons for marriage,
and self-identity. Journal of GLBT Family Studies, 1, 21–42.
Peterson, L. W. (2001). The married man online. Journal of Bisexuality, 1, 191–209.
The JMFT cite is:
Hernandez, B. C., Schwenke, N. J. and Wilson, C. M. , Spouses in Mixed-Orientation Marriage: A 20-Year Review of Empirical Studies. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, no. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-0606.2010.00202.x
Filed in Uncategorized, gay |
From No More Goodbyes: Circling the Wagons around Our Gay Loved Ones
By Carol Lynn Pearson, reprinted with permission
I Would Really Rather Be Dead
“The scary truth of matters is that I would really rather be dead than living outside of the Church.”
So it was written and so it was done. The suicide of Stuart Matis, a life-long celibate gay Mormon man, is, I think, the most well-publicized of many similar stories. Stuart lived only miles from me here in Northern California, and I remember that when I heard of his death from a self-administered gunshot wound on the steps of the LDS stake center in Los Altos in the early morning hours of February 25, 2000, I felt that I had lost someone close to me. I had never met this man, but I knew him. I had come to know intimately the workings of the mind, the workings of the heart of the devout, gay Mormon man. As I read bits of his story–in the newspapers, in Newsweek, on the internet, in the very moving account written by his mother and published by Mormon Church-owned Deseret Book, In Quiet Desperation–I could only sigh and say, of course, of course.
He was thirty-two years old before he told his parents about the cross he had carried since age seven. He had been certain that with obedience and faith his attraction for the same gender would pass–at age twelve when he was ordained to the priesthood, as most Mormon boys are–then when he received his patriarchal blessing–then when he attended the temple for the first time–then when he went on a mission. Surely God would approve of his life now and work for him the miracle of becoming normal, taking away the torment of his homosexual feelings.
He fasted and prayed and he went to the temple every week. He wept as night after night he prayed until morning, begging and pleading with a God he knew could help him if he was only worthy enough. As a child he would deny himself a favorite television program as punishment for a homosexual thought, or he wouldn’t allow himself to attend a friend’s birthday party.
His mother wrote:
Stuart’s entire life was spent striving for perfection. He reasoned that if he were perfect, then he would find God’s approval. His efforts became a never-ending cycle: effort–perceived failure–effort–perceived failure. The harder Stuart strove for perfection, the more he hated himself….he believed that he not only could change, but should change. When no change in his feelings occurred, no matter how hard he worked at it, he came to the conclusion that he was not worthy and that God did not accept his efforts. His self-loathing became…intense….Once Stuart said to me, “Mother, all my life I have tried to do what is right. I just can’t pass the test.”
In the suicide note that Stuart left on his bed that morning, along with love and appreciation to his family, were the words “….I am free, I am no longer in pain, and I no longer hate myself…..my life was actually killed long ago.”
Stuart’s bishop, with whom he had been counseling for months, aware of his suicidal thoughts, had pled with him, “Stuart, if this is a choice between the Church and your life, choose your life!” How I wish Stuart had done that, had grabbed his soul and run for his life, out the chapel door never to look back. How I wish he had listened to the voice inside that surely witnessed to God’s unconditional love for him. But–of course–I know so well how that voice was silenced in childhood by the voices that came from outside, speaking with authority and spelling out the conditions under which God’s love would be available.
The final straw that drove Stuart to suicide was the intense distress he felt around the politics of California’s “Protection of Marriage” initiative, Proposition 22, for which the Mormon Church was perhaps the leading proponent. The time of his suicide–two weeks before the voters went to the polls–and the place of his suicide–the steps of a Mormon building in which he had worshiped for years–give a clear indication that he hoped his death would bring attention to the issues about which he felt so passionate and so helpless.
After all the reports of others, I was yearning to get a better glimpse into Stuart’s mind, and I found it on the website of Affirmation. Earlier in February, the month of his death, Stuart wrote a very long letter to a cousin who had asked Stuart to give him information and opinion for a paper he was writing on California’s “Protection of Marriage” proposal. There, along with a picture of this very handsome and endearing young man, were some impassioned personal and political statements, fragments of which I share here.
At the outset, I’ll tell you that the events surrounding this initiative have been painfully difficult for me to endure. Last July, I read online that the Church had instructed the Bishops to read a letter imploring the members to give of their time and money to support this initiative…I cried for hours in my room, and I could do very little to console the grief of hearing this news.
Furthermore, I read that the Church had supported similar measures in Hawaii and in Alaska. In Alaska, the supporters of the measure had raised $600,000. Of this, $500,000 came from the Church. Ads were aired on television describing the downfall of the Roman Empire and placing blame on Rome’s tolerance of homosexuality. Its message was that a similar fate would occur to those who supported equality for gay Americans. Not only was this historical analysis completely fallacious, but this was a prejudicial ad designed to invoke a visceral reaction of fear and hate among the Alaskan citizens.
Apparently, the Church has raised $1 million in support of this [California] initiative. This is so disheartening because I feel that my own peers are attacking me….In July, I realized that I was going to have to endure viewing millions of dollars of television ads designed with one intention in mind: raise fear against gay and lesbian Californians. What’s worse is that this fear campaign has been orchestrated by my own friends.
My mom is completely distraught over the issue. She told me that she is scared to read the papers or watch TV. When her bishop read another pro-Knight letter last Sunday, she wanted to cry…. I have met with my bishop to discuss the matter. He too disagrees with the Church’s involvement in anti-gay politics. It’s very disheartening for him as well, but his concurrence still does nothing to ease my pain….
….When anti-gay advocates use the term “traditional,” I always wonder what tradition and what time. Do we support early 19th century traditional marriages when married women had no legal standing, could not own property, sign contracts, or legally control any earned wages?…I also find it somewhat hypocritical for the Church to appeal to people’s emotions and use the “tradition” argument when it was on the receiving end of such abuse during its polygamy era. The Church more than anyone in this country should know how persecution feels.
….The false dilemma is that either one is pro-homosexuality or pro-family. This, of course, is false. I am gay. I hate to sound redundant, but whether I remain celibate or find a partner, the net effect on families is zero.
….Straight members have absolutely no idea what it is like to grow up gay in this Church. It is a life of constant torment, self-hatred and internalized homophobia….The Church has no idea that as I type this letter, there are surely boys and girls on their calloused knees imploring God to free them from this pain. They hate themselves. They retire to bed with their finger pointed to their head in the form of a gun….They are afraid of their parents. They are afraid of their bishop. They are afraid of their friends. They have nowhere to go but to lay on their floors curled in a ball and weep themselves to sleep….On the night of March 7th, many California couples will retire to their beds thrilled that they helped pass the…initiative. What they don’t realize is that in the next room, their son or daughter is lying in bed crying and could very well one day be a victim of society’s homophobia.
…. Most of my gay friends (and I) were suicidal at one time in their lives. I have friends who have swallowed pills, cut their wrists, burned their arms, placed bags over their heads. I have friends who have taken anti-depressant pills as if they were candy. Years of internalized homophobia have deeply scared my friends and me. It is only after we began to accept our identity that we have been able to heal our minds.
….In the end, remember, Clay, that we gay people are your family. We are your brothers and sisters. We are your sons and daughters. In your case, I am your cousin….I wish that I could shout this message from the rooftops, but alas, I sit alone in my room typing wondering what will happen next.
Well, Clay, my fingers are blistered…. I apologize if my words were a bit strong….On a more upbeat note, good luck preparing for your mission. I’ll see you in the spring. Take care.
There is a tragic addendum that must be added here. Stuart had become close friends with Clay Whitmer, not the cousin Clay to whom he wrote the letter, but a man he met as both served Mormon missions in Italy. They later confessed to each other their homosexuality, remained best friends and tried to be a support to one another. Newsweek reported, “A few weeks [after Stuart’s suicide], anguished at his friend’s death and tormented by his own long-term depression, Whitmer put a gun to his own head.” Clay was a brilliant young man with both an MBA degree and a JD.
Another gay Mormon suicide created a triple tragedy. Brian (DJ) Thompson ended his life two weeks after Stuart did. He had served as a missionary in Seattle, had been president of the Utah Log Cabin Republicans, and had once traveled to Paris as an artist’s assistant. In his suicide note, DJ wrote, “It is unfortunate that the lives of good people such as Stuart Matis, Mathew Shepherd [victim of a hate crime in Wyoming], and many others go unnoticed, unappreciated, and undervalued in this country. Therefore, I believe that the end of my life will simply be the same….I see Proposition 22 as a last straw in my lifelong battle to see peace in the world I live in.”
It is true that the consciousness of many has been raised by Stuart’s act, by the sharing of his story by his parents, and by the suicides of those that followed him. But, ah, Stuart, how I wish you had chosen life and taught us in a different way, taught us by bravely insisting that you too are that you might have joy, showing us how brightly a gay man can shine.
Newsweek Article about Stuart Matis
Just in time for Valentine’s Day comes this post from an old friend who, under a bit of ecclesiastical pressure, censored herself. Her whole blog post is definitely worth reading. Here’s an excerpt:
… While the chorus for marriage equality grows louder, the choices facing Mormons with these convictions is complicated. The church’s position toward the gay community has softened over the years, but its opposition to gay marriage remains steadfast. We see it not only in vaguely worded addresses during General Conference, but also political efforts. In fact, for the past 30 years no other issue has received as much of the church’s time, energy and focus in the political arena.
In 2008 I found myself between a rock and a hard place in terms of the Prop 8 debate. As the church took even greater strides to make this constitutional amendment a reality, I believed my silence to be approval and felt compelled to speak up for my gay brothers and sisters and for other Mormons who feel this way too. I made what I considered to be a compassionate video outlining my position and submitted it to Mormons for Marriage, a site dedicated to respectful dialogue about the issue. My motives were to speak for myself in the political arena according to the dictates of my own conscience. I wished the church no ill, and I made every effort to be reasonable and stay within my own stewardship. Looking back on the video 2 plus years later, I still do not know a more respectful way to have expressed my position, which is that the morality of homosexuality has nothing to do with this debate, loving others means allowing everyone the recognition and rights we wish for ourselves in expressing love and building families.
I did not discuss the video with my local leaders before making it public, but they were directed to it by church headquarters. At the end of some very heart felt discussions, my speaking out with this video threatened my temple recommend and my calling, and I ultimately chose to take it down to protect my standing in the church.
I have lived to regret the decision. And so today, in honor of the Valentine legend and in support of the love that drives so many of us to share our lives with each other, I stand up once more in favor of marriage, all marriage, with my Prop 8 video.
Filed in homosexuality, mormons, prop 8 |
Thanks to Heather for doing the legwork on this one. She took the time to listen to the original audio and compare it with the new version of the transcript so we can see the changes. Deletions from the original are in
strikeout; insertions are bold. Footnote references are noted, but are not included in this markup. They are available here.
Edited to add official LDS Church response:
The Monday following every General Conference, each speaker has the opportunity to make any edits necessary to clarify differences between what was written and what was delivered or to clarify the speaker’s intent. President Packer has simply clarified his intent.
As we have said repeatedly, the Church’s position on marriage and family is clear and consistent. It is based on respect and love for all of God’s children.
-Scott Trotter, LDS Church Spokesman
Cleansing the Inner Vessel
President Boyd K. Packer
President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Nowhere are the generosity and the kindness and mercy of God more manifest than in repentance.
This general conference was convened at a time when there is such confusion and such danger that our young people hardly know which way they can walk. Having been warned through the revelations that it would be this way, the prophets and apostles have always been shown what to do.
The Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith “that every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world.”1 When the keys were restored, they provided priesthood authority to be present in every home through the grandfathers, the fathers, and the sons.
Fifteen years ago, with the world in turmoil, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles issued “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” the fifth proclamation in the history of the Church.
It qualifies according to the definition as a revelation and would do well that members of the church to read and follow it. It is a guide that members of the Church would do well to read and to follow.
It states in part: “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.”2
“The Gods went down to organize man in their own image, in the image of the Gods to form they him, male and female to form they them.
“And the Gods said: We will bless them. And . . . we will cause them to be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.”3
This commandment has never been rescinded.
“And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.”4
It is intended that we be happy, for “men are, that they might have joy.”5
Lehi taught that men are free and must be “free . . . to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day.”6
The old saying “The Lord is voting for me, and Lucifer is voting against me, but it is my vote that counts” describes a doctrinal certainty that our agency is more powerful than the adversary’s
and his will. Agency is precious. We can foolishly, blindly give it away, but it cannot be forcibly taken from us.
There is also an age old excuse: “The devil made me do it.” Not so! He can deceive you and mislead you, but he does not have the power to force you or anyone else to transgress or to keep you in transgression.
To be entrusted with the power to create life carries with it the greatest of joys and dangerous temptations. The gift of mortal life and the capacity to kindle other lives is a supernal blessing. Through the righteous exercise of this
the power, as in nothing else, we may come close to our Father in Heaven and experience a fulness of joy. This power is not an incidental part of the plan of happiness. It is the key—the very key.
Whether we use this power as the eternal laws require or reject its divine purpose will forever determine what we will become. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”7
There is something very liberating when an individual determines of his or her own free will to be obedient to our Father and our God and expresses that willingness to Him in prayer.
When we obey, we can enjoy these powers in the covenant of marriage. From our fountains of life will spring our children, our family. Love between husband and wife can be constant and bring fulfillment and contentment all
of the days of our lives.
If one is denied these blessings in mortality, the promise is that they will be provided for in the world to come.
Pure love presupposes that only after a pledge of eternal fidelity, a legal and a lawful ceremony, and ideally after the sealing ordinance in the temple, are those life-giving powers released for
to the full expression of love. It is to be shared only and solely between man and woman, husband and wife, with that one who is our companion forever. On this the gospel is the very plan plain.
We are free to ignore the commandments, but when the revelations speak in such blunt terms, such as “thou shalt not,” we had better pay attention.
The adversary is jealous toward all who have
the power to beget life. Satan cannot beget life; he is impotent. “He seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.”8 He seeks to degrade the righteous use of the life-giving powers by tempting you into immoral relationships.
The Lord used the expression “is like unto” to create an image His followers could understand, such as:
“The kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man.”9
“The kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hid in a field.”10
In our day the dreadful influence of pornography is like unto a plague sweeping across the world, infecting one here and one there, relentlessly trying to invade every home, most frequently through the husband and father. The effect of this plague can be, unfortunately
and often is, spiritually fatal. Lucifer seeks to disrupt “the great plan of redemption,”11 “the great plan of happiness.”12
Pornography will always repel the Spirit of Christ and will interrupt the communications between our Heavenly Father and His children and disrupt the tender relationships between husband and wife.
The priesthood holds consummate power. It can protect you from the plague of pornography—and it is a plague if you are succumbing to its influence. If one is obedient, the priesthood can show
you how to break a habit, and even erase an addiction. The holders of the priesthood have that authority and should employ it to cast out these combat evil influences.
We raise an alarm and warn members of the Church to wake up and understand what is going on. Parents, be alert, ever watchful that this wickedness might threaten your family circle.
We teach a standard of moral conduct that will protect us from Satan’s many substitutes or counterfeits for marriage. We must understand that any persuasion to enter into any relationship that is not in harmony with the principles of the gospel must be wrong. From the Book of Mormon we learn that “wickedness never was happiness.”13
Some suppose that they were preset and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn temptations
tendencies toward the impure and unnatural. Not so! Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone? Remember, God He is our Heavenly Father.
Paul promised that “God . . . will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”14 You can, if you will, break the habits and conquer an addiction and come away from that which is not worthy of any member of the Church. As Alma cautioned, we must “watch and pray continually.”15
Isaiah warned, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”16
Years ago I visited a school in Albuquerque. The teacher told me about a youngster who brought a kitten to class. As you can imagine, that disrupted everything. She had him hold up the kitten up in front of the children.
It went well until one of the children asked, “Is it a boy kitty or a girl kitty?”
Not wanting to get into that lesson, the teacher said, “It doesn’t matter. It’s just a kitty.”
But they persisted. Finally, one boy raised his hand and said, “I know how you can tell.”
Resigned to face it, the teacher said, “How can you tell?”
And the student answered, “You can vote on it!”
You may laugh at this story, but if we are 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 God’s laws and 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 and physical laws “irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world” that cannot be changed.17 History demonstrates over and over again that moral standards cannot be changed by battle and cannot be changed by ballot. To legalize that which is basically wrong or evil will not prevent the pain and penalties that will follow as surely as night follows day.
Regardless of the opposition, we are determined to stay on course. We will hold to the principles and laws and ordinances of the gospel. If they are misunderstood either innocently or willfully, so be it. We cannot change; we will not change the moral standard. We quickly lose our way when we disobey the laws of God. If we do not protect and foster the family, civilization and our liberties must needs perish.
“I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.”18
Every soul confined in a prison of sin, guilt, or perversion has a key to the gate. The key is labeled “repentance.” If you know how to use
it, this key, the adversary cannot hold you. The twin principles of repentance and forgiveness exceed in strength the awesome power of the tempter. If you are bound by a habit or an addiction that is unworthy, you must stop that conduct that is harmful. Angels will coach you,19 and priesthood leaders will guide you through the those difficult times.
Nowhere are the generosity and the kindness and mercy of God more manifest than in repentance. Do you understand the consummate cleansing power of the Atonement made by the Son of God, our Savior, our Redeemer? He said, “I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent.”20 In that supernal act of love, the Savior paid the penalties for our sins so that we might not have to pay.
For those who truly desire it, there is a way back. Repentance is like unto a detergent. Even ground-in stains of sin will come out.
Priesthood holders carry with them the antidote to remove the terrible images of pornography and to wash away guilt. The priesthood has the power to unlock the influence of our habits, even to unchain from addiction, however tight the grip. It can heal over the scars of
the past mistakes.
I know of no more beautiful and consoling words in all of revelation than these: “Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.”21
Sometimes, even after confession and paying penalties, the most difficult part of repentance is to forgive one’s self. You must come to know that forgiveness means forgiveness.
“As often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me.”22
President Joseph Fielding Smith told me of a repentant woman struggling to find her way out of a very immoral life. She asked him what she should do now.
In turn, he asked her to read to him from the Old Testament the account of Lot’s wife, who was turned to a pillar of salt.23 Then he asked her, “What lesson do you gain from those verses?”
She answered, “The Lord will destroy the wicked.”
“Not so!” President Smith said that the lesson for this repentant woman and for you is “Don’t look back!”24
Strangely enough, it may be that the simplest and most powerful prevention and cure for pornography, or any unclean act, is to ignore and avoid it. Delete from the mind any unworthy thought that tries to take root. Once you have decided to remain clean, you are asserting your God-given agency. And then, as President Smith counseled, “Don’t look back.”
you that ahead of you is peace and happiness for you and your family. The ultimate end of all activity in the Church is that a man and his wife and their children can be happy at home. And I invoke the blessings of the Lord upon you who are struggling against this terrible plague, to find the healing that is available to us in the priesthood of the Lord. I bear witness of that power in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Filed in Uncategorized |
The California Attorney General released its report on Hate Crimes in California in 2008. It has some interesting statistics which are likely of interest to folks following accusations of violence, intimidation, assault, vandalism, etc. related to the Proposition 8 debates.
Overall, hate events in California were down 2% from 1,426 in 2007 to 1,397 in 2008. There can be multiple hate crime offenses in each hate crime event, and offenses were also down from 1,931 to 1,837 (4.9%). There can also be multiple victims in each reported hate crime, and those numbers, too, were down from 1,764 in 2007 to 1,698 in 2008 (3.7%). Fewer people were committing hate crimes in 2008 as well – the number of suspects decreased nearly 10% from 1,627 in 2007 to 1,473 in 2008.
Despite the overall decrease in hate crimes, both anti-gay and anti-religious hate crimes were up.
The most common type of hate crimes in both 2007 and 2008 werethose motivate by race/ethnicity or national origin (about 60% of all hate crimes).
In 2008, hate crimes with a religious bias motivation comprised 21% of hate crimes (with anti-Jewish bias accounting for nearly 63% of those incidents). Crimes with a sexual bias motivation comprised 20.3% of hate crimes (with anti-Gay bias accounting for just over 54% of those incidents). In 2007, there were slightly more sexual bias-motivated crimes than there were religious-bias motivated crimes.
Some more details about California hate crimes:
*There were 13 gender-based hate crimes against transgendered people and 3 sexual orientation-based crimes against heterosexuals. If one were to include these gender-based hate crimes with those based on sexual orientation, there would have been more hate crimes based on sexual identity/orientation than those based on religion (307 vs 294). If one were to exclude the hate crimes toward heterosexuals, there would have been 304 instances of GLBT-based hate crimes.
Anti-Jewish – 184 (13.2% of total hate crimes; 62.6% of religious hate crimes)
Anti-Catholic – 12 (0.9% of total hate crimes; 4.1% of religious hate crimes)
Anti-Protestant – 8 (0.6% of total hate crimes; 2.7% of religious hate crimes)
Anti-Islamic – 11 (0.8% of total hate crimes; 3.7% of religious hate crimes)
Anti-Other Religion – 64 (4.5% of total hate crimes; 21.4% of religious hate crimes)*
Anti-Multiple Religious – 14 (1.1% of total hate crimes; 5.1% of religious hate crimes)
Anti-Atheistic/Agnostic – 1 (0.1% of total hate crimes; 0.3% of religious hate crimes)
*In 2007, there were 24 hate crimes in this category, which would include Mormons.
Anti-Gay – 154 (11.0% of total, 54.4% of Sexual Orientation hate crimes)
Anti-Lesbian 22 (1.6% of total, 7.8% of Sexual Orientation hate crimes)
Anti-Gay and Lesbian – 102 (7.3% of total, 36.0% of Sexual Orientation hate crimes)
Anti-Heterosexual – 3 (0.2% of total, 1.1% of Sexual Orientation hate crimes)
Anti-Bisexual – 2 (0.1% of total, 0.7% of Sexual Orientation hate crimes)
Anti-Male – 0
Anti-Female – 3 (0.2%)
Anti-Transgender – 13 (0.3%)
CRIMES BY LOCATION
There were 110 hate crime offenses reported at church/synagogue/temples in 2008, accounting for 6% of the locations reported. That’s up 52.8% from 72 in 2007.
CRIMES BY VICTIM
When viewed by type of victim, there were 75 (4.4%) reported against religious institutions, 1,455 (85.7%) against individuals and 51 (3.0%) against businesses/financial institutions.
The “All Other Religions” category which would include Mormons accounted for 30 of the 75 hate crimes against religious institutions; 41 of the 1,455 hate crimes against individuals and 1 of the 51 hate crimes against businesses/financial institutions.
CRIMES REFERRED FOR PROSECUTION
In 2008, there were 530 hate crimes referred to prosecutors. Of those, 353 were filed as Hate Crimes and of those 260 were disposed, resulting in 28 non-convictions, 128 hate crime convictions and 104 other convictions.
So, what might this mean?
It appears that there may have been some increases in hate crimes as a result of the heated Proposition 8 debates, and it is possible that anti-Mormon hate crimes increased from 2007 to 2008, but since Mormons are not listed as a single religious category, it is impossible to tell from this report exactly how many Mormon hate crime victims there were.
There were, at the most, 75 anti-Mormon hate crimes (with, at the most, 41 individual incidents and 30 institutional incidents such as vandalism or property destruction) compared to 304 anti-GLBT orientation/gender hate crimes or 184 anti-Jewish hate crimes (out of about 1400 total hate crimes).
Any hate crime is one too many, and anything we can do to teach ourselves, our friends, our children and our parents to follow the Golden Rule and respect others is a step in the right direction.
There’s an LDS hymn (No. 295 by Lorin F. Wheelwright) that is not sung enough these days. Its final verse says:
O Lord, give me the will to mend;
O Lord, change me from foe to friend;
Dear Lord, sustain me to the end –
Come, fill my soul today.
This holiday season, as the Psalmist said, let us “seek peace and pursue it” in all facets of our lives.
Filed in gay, homosexuality, mormons, prop 8 |
Four years ago, as hundreds of thousands marched in San Francisco’s Pride Parade, hundreds of LDS bishops stood at pulpits asking Mormons to do all they could to support Proposition 8. Four years later, hundreds of Mormons across the country (and around the world) are stepping out in pride parades in support of and in solidarity with the LGBTQ community.
What else has changed in the past four years?
– The Church Handbook of Instructions no longer includes a request that church members should lobby governments to deny same-sex marriage rights (and rites) via legislative actions.
– LDS rhetoric about same-sex marriage rights is shifting to focus on the need to protect religious freedom, rather than the need to protect families.
– The LDS Public Affairs office actually used the term “gay” to describe individuals, rather than-sex attracted or same-gender attracted in its response to HRC’s criticisms of Pres. Packer’s October 2010 conference talk.
– BYU students have created and continue to grow a gay-straight alliance (Understanding Same-Gender Attraction) at a school where once admitting to same-sex attraction was a fast ticket out the door
– Dialogue, a Journal of Mormon Thought published a paper (Toward a Post-Heterosexual Mormon Theology) exploring what it means to be both homosexual and Mormon.
– The LDS Church came out in support of non-discrimination ordinances in Salt Lake City which would protect homosexuals in housing and employment. While there are large carve-outs for church-related/owned businesses, the ordinances in SLC inspired a number of other Utah and Idaho towns and cities to follow suit and opened many conservative Mormon’s eyes to some problems they’d never before considered.
– Individual Mormons are coming out and telling their own stories – whether they are gay, lesbian, bi, in mixed-orientation marriages, or have family/friends that fit the bill. These discussions are happening on a daily basis in person, in the media, in churches and online as LGBTQ members and allies find one another and give each other strength to carry on, both in and out of the church.
– The Family Acceptance Project (FAP) has published a booklet specifically for LDS parents based on FAP’s foundational research on family acceptance and rejection that provides guidance on acceptance and support of their gay children.
– There have been no church-sponsored efforts aimed at mobilizing Mormons to fight same-sex marriage at the polls the way Mormons were mobilized in California in 2008, despite efforts of other religions originally part of the “religious coalition” that supported Prop 8. General church leaders have gone out of their way to make sure all overt same-sex marriage advocacy is being done by local leaders or individuals.
Do we still have a ways to go? Yes, we do. But we are making progress, one step at a time.
Filed in Uncategorized, homosexuality, mormons, prop 8 |
This is a work in progress and will continue to develop as necessary. If you notice something missing, please let us know.
Click here to view the timeline.
Much appreciation to these other sites which pointed us in some good directions for material:
LDS involvement in Hawaii’s SSM issues
LDS involvement in California’s Prop 22 issues
And a couple of existing Prop 8 timelines:
Here and here.
The 3 purposes of this site are:
This site has its roots in the community-forming that sprung up as a result of the LDS Church’s involvement in Proposition 8 during the summer of 2008. In carving out a community that represented a safe place for members to come together to discuss issues surrounding same-sex marriage, it became clear that heavy comment moderation was needed to keep the discussions on track and to create a safe space for questions to be raised and answered. Comments continue to be moderated.
The requirements for participation in this project are:
We’ll have more up before Friday, but here’s a spot to discuss the broadcast on this site. What were your reactions? How many people were there? Have you checked out the Church’s new site for Yes on 8 materials?
As with all things at MfM, honest, thoughtful comments are welcome, but please be polite and considerate of one another, of folks who disagree with you and of folks who are still trying to figure out where they stand and come to terms with some hard-to-digest information.
Filed in Uncategorized |