Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Patriotic Unicorn Post by Lolly


Hey y'all. This is Lolly. Last Sunday an idea for a post came to me. I told Josh about the premise and I tried to get him to write it, but he thought I should write it myself. So you're stuck with me for this post.

I wanted to share some feelings about America and some of my feelings about Club Unicorn.  I am kind of blending these concepts together, creating a Patriotic Unicorn post, if you will.

I am a true Patriot. I know that in Josh's last post, I was giving him a hard time for being cheesy. But, when it comes to the United States of America, I am the one that gets over-the-top cheesy and sentimental.

There are many examples of the extent of my cheesiness when it comes to this fine nation. I always cry when I sing "The Star-Spangled Banner." I proudly place my hand over my heart when I say The Pledge of Allegiance. American history was my favorite subject in school. I'm proud that my birthday, September 17th, just happens to be Constitution Day. Hanging in my house is a print of Del Parson's "The Old Man Wept" which shows Benjamin Franklin shedding a tear as he signs the Constitution. I have a deep love and respect for the Founding Fathers of our nation and I am truly, truly grateful for the brave men and women who serve our country in the Armed Forces.

Yes, I'm really patriotic--cheesily so--but I'm pretty sure this picture just crossed the line even for me.

Now, I know that the United States is a country that is far from perfect. We have a lot of problems in a lot of areas, but I still love America and what it stands for. In church on Sunday we sang "America the Beautiful" and a couple of lines from that song really hit me. The phrases that stood out to me had to do with sacrifice and self-control. They were "Who more than self their country loved" and "Confirm thy soul in self-control."

I was thinking a lot about those phrases. The concept of holding something -- your country, your beliefs, something that you cherish-- so highly that you could say you loved it more than self. Loving something so much that you are willing to control your own wants and desires for it.

Isn't that noble? Something to be respected? I'm not sure that concept is considered to be a good thing anymore. Which I think is a shame.

Now, I realize that sometimes people can start worshipping or placing faith in ideals that harm others. That is never a good thing. But, when someone has found something that brings them true happiness, and they're not harming others, how could that be a bad thing?

Josh and I knew that we were going to be sharing the reality of his homosexual attractions in what is now known as the "Club Unicorn" post for a few months before we even wrote it. I was really nervous, almost terrified, about doing it. The thing that scared me so much was wondering how people would react. While we had no idea how far it would end up spreading, I knew even then that we were going to be getting reactions from all sides --from members of both the religious and LGBT communities. I knew that people would be judging something incredibly special to me -- my marriage and my family. I was hoping we would get support, but I also figured that people would say hurtful, mean things when they didn't even know us. Or worse, they would say hurtful, mean things when they did know us. I was worried about people making rash, knee-jerk reactive responses, without even reading our post thoroughly or seriously contemplating what we had to share. Yet, I knew we needed to share.

As it turns out, my concerns were absolutely valid. We have gotten a LOT of feedback about our lives from thousands of people. Some of it has been wonderful and I'm so thankful for it. Then there are others who, for whatever reason, can't seem to see that we have found something that brings us true happiness. That Josh has "Confirmed [his] soul in self-control" because "more than self [his faith and his family he] loved." Even if one doesn't agree with the religious aspect of our decision, isn't there some merit behind this concept?

We're not directly harming others in any way, and yet some people find our lives to be worthy of extreme criticism and cause for great alarm. Some people say we are harming others by sharing our story. What I would like to ask for is that we all have more faith in each others' intelligence. Let's not be scared that sharing opinions and life experiences is a bad thing. Let's be respectful of one another's ability to ingest information and then make informed choices for ourselves. True change was never fostered through hate or ignorance.

I find that when people are rational and comfortable with their own belief system, they don't feel threatened or scared of others whose opinions differ from their own. They don't have the need to forcefully persuade or condemn others.

I have many dear, dear friends who hold differing beliefs than I do. My very best friend is no longer a member of the LDS Church and is now an Atheist. My wonderful neighbors, whom I adore, are Muslims. My daughter's best friend and her family don't practice with any organized religion. I love them all and I find that their roles in my life make it richer and more meaningful. They are not threatened by my life choices, nor am I by theirs. We respect each other and care for one another.

On this fourth of July, I would like us all to act like true Americans. Let's respect others who are different than ourselves. We are a country that was founded on the concept of freedom. The freedom to choose our own personal truths. Let's give all men the right to worship how, where or what they may. Let's share our personal truths with love and then let people govern themselves according to the dictates of their own conscience.

I'm thankful to live in a country where we can do just that.

God bless America!

This is a picture of my brother-in-law, Shane, seeing his daughters, our adorable nieces, for the first time after basic training. I love this picture! And I cry almost every time I see it.  I am so grateful for the sacrifices of the men, women, and their families in our Armed Forces. Thanks for your service, Shane!









 



218 comments:

  1. Amen!!!! I don't even know what to say, other than your guys' awesomeness never ceases to amaze me! All you did was share your story, which took true courage. You are not shoving your lifestyle down anyone's throat. You are not saying it will work for everyone. But you are showing that true love really conquers all. So cliche, I know, but I don't know how else to describe it. I love that you and Josh are an example of what true intimacy and love in a marriage should be. I love that you guys are hillarious. I love your faith and commitment to Christ. I love you guys and I'm just going to quit while I'm ahead :) You guys are awesome.

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    1. I'm not sure how to post on here but I wanted to say how much I loved the comment that Josh has confirmed his soul in self control and because in Self his Faith and Family he loved. That is so true what an inspiration you are to those struggling souls.

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  2. Awesome! Thanks Lolly! I agree ..... Amen - love it all!

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  3. Thank you for what you said and thank you for who you are (the BOTH of you!!). You have given me answers to many personal questions and have strengthened my faith in God. Thank you!!

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    1. P.S. I can't get enough of the goodness of this blog. Thank you so much!!

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  4. Love it and AMEN!!! I wanted to say what you said sooo bad. I couldn't believe people where trying to tell you that your choices were inappropriate because josh wasn't living up to his Orientation... A rediculous notion!!

    Thanks for your wonderful comparison!!

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  5. Lolly, I'm intensely grateful for the story you and Josh are telling. It illustrates a lot of what I've seen missing in Internet discussions about gay issues. It lifts an enormous load off of me, in my quest to find ways to spread the knowledge, and the spirit, that you are spreading. I admire intensely the courage and generosity I see in what you've done.

    It grieves me to think of how you might be hurt by some things that some people are saying about you. I know for myself, there's no escaping from that hurt, no matter how much I might think I'm prepared for it, and I never get used to it. Who am I to tell you this, but I want to say, you don't deserve it you don't deserve it you don't deserve it. I know you know that, but well, it can't do any harm to hear it from someone else, even a total stranger.

    There's something else distressing me a little, but I don't want to post it here. I sent you an email.

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    1. Lolly, you can ignore that email. I'm all better now!

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  6. Lolly, and Josh,

    This is hard for me to say, because you're already giving so much, and this is asking for even more. I'm saying it because it's about how to open more doors and windows for your message to go through, and maybe you wouldn't want anyone to withhold their ideas about that, for any reason.

    I imagine that your story will be used by some people in ways that will help perpetuate the nightmares that some other people are going through. Of course that applies to anything anyone does, and is not at all a reproach against you.

    I see most of the attacks against you as nothing more than factional fundraising propaganda, but not *all* of it. Some of it is a reaction from some seriously abused people to something they see threatening to intensify their nightmares. I don't believe it is *all* motivated by the reasons you've suggested.

    If you can believe that, an acknowledgement of it might help open up more doors and windows to what your story can teach people.

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  7. @Jim... be sure to read the Peacegiver by James Ferrell. Lolly, you, and I are all entitled to nothing but hell and damnation because we sin. So we deserve NOTHING! It is only through the atonement of Christ that we can be made whole. I bring this up because it is an important point for Lolly and all of us to remember. We should never get puffed up in our hearts because we think we don't deserve it.

    I myself am a LDS woman, married to a man with same sex attraction (I seriously hate typing that as if his SSA was the whole of who he is), married to a Son of God, whom I love devoutly with all my heart, we have 4 children, a dog, and a blow up pool ;-)

    I just had to respond to your comment because it is a dangerous notion for any of us to think that we don't deserve bad things to happen to us. All hard things/trials are a gift from God to help us grow stronger. Or in case anyone hates religion, all of our challenges are a gift from the universe to help us reach self-actualization according to Maslow's heirarchy of needs.

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    1. "All hard things/trials are a gift from God to help us grow stronger."

      I want to thank you for acknowledging this truth. God's wrath against our sins and imperfections isn't a childish tantrum. He is a perfect being who loves us perfectly and is in perfect control of His emotions. When we receive retribution from His hand, it is to refine us and make us better.

      @Lolly-
      "What I would like to ask for is that we all have more faith in each others' intelligence. Let's not be scared that sharing opinions and life experiences is a bad thing. Let's be respectful of one another's ability to ingest information and then make informed choices for ourselves. True change was never fostered through hate or ignorance."

      Thank you for this. Sometimes we treat those with different points of view as stupid, short-bus special, etc. This is wrong. While some divergent POVs may be wrong, simply disagreeing isn't grounds for declaring them wrong, evil, etc.

      I have a number of people in my life whose views and choices I find disagreeable (to be diplomatic). This doesn't mean my treatment of them is rude, harsh, condescending, or otherwise ugly. It simply means we disagree. With some, the difference has been deal-breaking and we've had to end the friendship. Others, we've been able to reach a truce- both of us being adult enough to agree to disagree.

      And I think that's the key- Being American is about being an adult about things. Minding your own business in regards to managing your own affairs. Respecting others enough to allow them to do the same.

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    2. I have to disagree, quite adamantly in fact, to this statement:

      "All hard things/trials are a gift from God to help us grow stronger."

      That is not true. Some "hard things" come as a result of sin. The pain that is caused in peoples lives by pedofiles, rapists and murderers is not of God.

      The miracle of the Atonement (and yes, I learned this through the scriptures illuminated by The Peacegiver by James Ferrell) is that Christ can heal our wounds, and replace that which was taken away from us as a result of other peoples sins.

      YES, things do happen in life that are not deserved. Children do not deserve to be molested, they are without sin. Short of a few people on death row, no one deserves to be murdered. No one deserves to be raped.

      The other thing we need to understand about the Atonement is that Christ did it because He loves us. He knows our weaknesses and sins, and loves us anyway. He wants us to extend that love to one another and let Him do the judging...and if necessary the punishments. But most of all, He wants us to know of His love. Even when we sin, His goal is not to punish us but to bring us back into His loving arms, so that with Him we can return to the Father.

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    3. One problem with the line of thinking that we deserve all the wrath of God is that it never seems to take into account the majority of the world that doesn't have enough to eat, that live their live out in refugee camps, etc. Can you imagine going to someone in the majority world who is starving to death and has watched their children die and their parents die and on and on and say, well, that's what you deserve really, God is refining you.
      I'm exaggerating again to make a point but that is really what it comes down to.
      It is EASY to talk about God refining you if you live in the first world - no matter how God 'refines' you it will never ever be comparable to situations like I have described above. And this will be true even if you respond with a comment describing your suffering here in the first world. Go volunteer, go live in Haiti or sub-Saharan Africa or even pockets of the U.S. and this might change your view a bit.

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    4. Anon 2:17 AM,

      I see trials as gifts too, and I don't see any harm in reminding us not to get puffed up.

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    5. Tragedies happen in the first world, too. Cancer, disability, abuse, innocent people hurt or killed by drunk drivers--no one goes through mortality without bearing heavy burdens for weeks, months, years, or perhaps their whole life. The good news is that God will help you handle your challenges if you ask Him to, and you can learn and grow from any trial if you're willing to (in other words, even the most negative things can have some positives to them).

      What's more, though our mortal trials seem to drag on and on, they are really very short compared to the infinite afterlife that awaits us. If we live this short, challenging life the best way we know how, we won't be deprived of anything worthwhile in the next life. Mortality isn't fair, but eternity is.

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    6. that is what we can say to those in refugee camps, life is not fair but eternity is.

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  8. P.S. Lolly, your post was AMAZING!!! Happy 4th of July everyone...

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  9. I continue to pray for strength and wisdom for you family, Lolly, and that you would be encouraged in your spirits in the face of condemnation. Praying blessings over your family.

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  11. "Josh has "Confirmed [his] soul in self-control" because "more than self [his faith and his family he] loved." Even if one doesn't agree with the religious aspect of our decision, isn't there some merit behind this concept?"
    [...]
    "What I would like to ask for is that we all have more faith in each others' intelligence. Let's not be scared that sharing opinions and life experiences is a bad thing. Let's be respectful of one another's ability to ingest information and then make informed choices for ourselves."

    Hats off.

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  12. I will claim status as someone who upon the initial reading of the first unicorn post thought it was just ammo for the religious right. This of course was before I read the other non-unicorn posts by Josh and the comments and started to understand what and why you guys were doing what you were doing.
    I think there will always be people on the outskirts of any group who are mean, and so sure yeah there will probably be people using this story for its wrong intention, but I have seen better things happening with this story, and that has opened my eyes.

    Kind of the best point you made:
    "I find that when people are rational and comfortable with their own belief system, they don't feel threatened or scared of others whose opinions differ from their own. They don't have the need to forcefully persuade or condemn others"
    This is true of both the religious and LGBT communities, and a good lesson for anybody. I think you guys are courageous and awesome and I hope one day I am able to share my story and change lives the way you have. (you sure have changed mine)

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    1. Anon 6:41 AM,

      Thank you for posting. I was glad to see this.

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  13. Lolly, how incredibly touching. I am moved again by the fact that we share so many common values, despite our very different belief systems. I think that is the whole point. Every single person has the right to tell their story. Every one. And yours and Josh's has been infused with the wisdom that comes when you can own and be fully invested in your own unique way of life without saying that it is the right one for everyone. I think that is incredibly inspiring and, to me, absolutely what democracy and religious freedom should be about.

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  14. Amen, sistah. You should write more, you are a GREAT writer!!

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  15. Well said, Lolly! I have to say that I've also heard mixed reactions to the Club Unicorn post. Mostly from people who couldn't do what you did if they were in your position. But I am so grateful that you and josh were so brave as to share this part of your lives with everyone. It has answered a lot of questions for me and others I know, and I've been addicted to the blog ever since. (Love the tooth-fairy story!!!) Despite the negativity from some people, I hope you and josh will continue to write funny and insightful posts that help inspire everyone. "Continue to look toward the sun, and all the shadows fall behind you."

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  16. "I find that when people are rational and comfortable with their own belief system, they don't feel threatened or scared of others whose opinions differ from their own. They don't have the need to forcefully persuade or condemn others."

    Favorite line in your post and one I try to live by. :)

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  17. An excellent post for a wonderful day. "I too, sing America" like Langston Hughes wrote. I love this country and our freedoms. And I love that this country is the reason for our church to exist!

    To the anonymous LDS woman - I think we need to give Lolly credit for understanding how life and the Atonement works! Yes we are not exempt from hurt and trial but I did not read anything in Lolly's post of "entitlement" as you have inferred. It helps to consider the platform as well. This is a far-reaching blog post to an open-ended audience. Not a talk given from a pulpit.

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  18. "We're not directly harming others in any way"

    I've been following the blog since the "coming out" post and I would finally like to post a response here. First off I agree that you have every right to make whatever decision you want. I may not understand your personal decisons but I will not judge them. Only we know if we are truly happy, I will not try and prove or disprove anyone's happiness. However I would like to address the sentence you wrote above. As of right now I cannot believe in this sentence because I have not read anything that says that gay people that make the opposite descion are normal, healthy adults living in a way that should not be judged. In other words, do you think that gay people can love someone of the same-sex and have a happy healthy relationship not unlike you and your husband.

    The other problem is the therapy issue. Josh taks about patients being able to come to terms with their sexuality, and then making their own choice. Well is one of those choices just being gay, finding someone of the same sex and settling down and being happy with that? I see a potential for harm here as many people that start out on Josh's path end up with a broken family and a feeling that they wasted many years of their life to a relationship that was a lie. (I am not saying your marriage will end that way, once again I am not judging your personal lives.)

    Maybe I missed it somewhere on the blog, I have certainly seen Josh say that his decsion is not for everyone and that is a start. If there's a post where one or both of you say the old Seinfeld line "Not that there's anything wrong with that." Well point me in that direction.

    Telling your personal story and living your personal lives does not harm anyone, but if you hold this as an example to others and do not think that people living "the gay lifestyle" (eye roll eye roll) are somehow bad or should make different choices, then I do see harm happening.

    I am making this post in good faith and respectfully to you and your family. I understand I will most likely not get a response but please do adress this issue if you get the chance.

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    1. Sadly, the take on here is that 'the gay lifestyle' is a sin. As such, homophobia abounds, no matter who nicely and lovingly it is put. And many people on here are very nice and loving but still, sadly, homophobia.
      And so I agree with you about the harming of people but again, it won't be seen on here this way. I tried for awhile to make this point but it never got anywhere.And I hope that with your comment that it does but I have to say ?I've kinda given up hope.

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    2. Isn't it both beautiful and frightening how intimately connected we all are with each other? The fact that someone else's beliefs could affect us so deeply is both miraculous and incredibly unsettling. I say this because we've all experienced it. There have and always will be people around us, those we know well and those we've never even met, who disagree with the choices we are making in our lives. They have and will voice, express, and act upon the issue of disagreement. And this, especially if there is love between us, will always hurt us. It will always frighten us, and we will feel unsafe, unloved, misunderstood, and alone. So much of our lives is spent feeling alone, feeling judged, criticized, and hurt. I'm not quite sure why I'm saying this, other than the fact that my own very recent circumstances resonate so well with both Lolly's post and yours. No matter who we are and no matter how we choose to live our lives, we will always be hurt by anyone, friend or foe, who happens to disagree. We are ONE, individual unique persons living as ONE, and I believe that the awareness of this will create people who strive with every fiber of their being to disagree with each other as gently, lovingly, kindly, and open-heartedly as they possibly can, that is, when they must disagree at all.

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    3. Just as it is difficult for you, The Potaks, to understand why Lolly doesn't say what you think she should say aloud and clear, it is unfathomable for me how someone can, without a blink, equate judgment and hatred, and believe that it is perfectly right and normal thing to do. Judgment and hatred are NOT equal things. One can judge and love, and love genuinely, completely and without reservation, without a second thought.

      I suspect where's that notion coming from. There are many reportedly religious people who deny themselves both right and opportunity to love object of their fierce judgment. But Josh and Lolly are not like that. That is what I cannot understand. I cannot understand how someone cannot see the difference that is clear as blue sky. I cannot understand how someone, after such an abundant evidence, still cannot comprehend that very simple fact, unless they themselves actually fall into the same category as those aforementioned reportedly religious people.

      And I'm not saying that even as a judgment (although I might), but rather as an attempt to understand through deduction.

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    4. To the Potaks:
      I too, have been following this blog since their coming out and this is officially my second response here. I hope you don’t mind my random opinion, but your comment hit on some things that I’ve been thinking about.

      1.) That people of the same sex can have a healthy relationship that they find satisfying does not mean that one must agree or condone their relationship as good and right. I have no problem believing that same-sex relationship is similar to many other relationships: filled with ups and downs, some work great some are not so great, etc. They’re human, I’d assume to see similar dynamics that come in any human relationship. I don’t agree with that type of relationship, but my disagreement doesn’t equal a living threat to their own or that my view must necessarily harm another’s life. I also don’t agree with my family’s dynamics. They are definitely non-traditional. I love them, find happiness in my relationships with them, and they come with their own unique challenges and joys. Last time I checked I wasn’t threatening to them either, simply because I don’t agree with their set up and the choices they’ve made nor want something similar for my own children. There’s no need to polarize an issue to the extant that one must condone or be harmful. I feel that’s part of their point in this post. We can love one another without expecting them to agree or approve of each other’s choices.

      2.) I’ve never heard them describe their lives as an example. There are things about their lives that are universally applicable (communication, respecting differences, loving others, accepting oneself, living true to one’s beliefs, etc) but I’ve seen it as pretty clear that they’re not airing their lives to become some major blueprint for all. I don’t think Lolly or Josh come off as the type who want to coerce or push people to follow life as they see it.

      3.) This is a really small point. But I find it weird to point out the harm of their marriage by pointing out the potential failed marriages of another. It just seems a weak argument. It's like arguing that marriage is a poor institution because there are so many that fail. Or same-sex relationships shouldn't ever happen because there's plenty that don't last long or high rates of infidelity. Anyone that promotes either may be causing potential harm because they may regret it years later.

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    5. The truth is homosexuality will always be seen as a sin within some religions. There isn't anything we can (or should) do about that. I don't wish for someone to wake up and say "I've decided your life is not a sin", because every religion is entitled to it's own beliefs.

      But only as long as they are not endangering lives. And I think that is where we come to a crisis. Believing something is a sin does not hurt anyone, going around telling people they are sinners (even with the added "but we love you") does harm others. Because it makes people feel less than, less than human, less than worthy, less than welcome, less than loved. It leads to depression and in turn suicide.

      My wish is that while the religious right may very well continue to hold beliefs that are exclusionary, they begin to see that there is no need to hurt others with the imposition of their beliefs. No need to inform a person of their impending doom, or of their sins.

      We can't (and shouldn't) change a religion, but we can and should change how we treat those who are different from us.

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    6. Anon 4:10 PM, you have quite a few very good points, but I also recognize some unclear thoughts.

      When you say "endangering lives" you probably mean either people committing suicides or being physically attacked. Those two ways of life endangerment should be clearly divided and separately discussed.

      Telling people they are sinners may sometimes be appropriate, like when saying "don't judge me because I sin differently than you". If that harm others, so be it.

      At one time during my teenage years, fortunately only for a brief period, I was taking suicide into a serious consideration. So, I may claim to know that the only reason why would one entertain such a thought is not because one told the other he had been a sinner, but because the other didn't have an escape, an outlet to run for life. So, instead of fighting against the public preaching of sin, I would rather suggest building exits.

      I cannot fathom how the religious right could possibly impose their beliefs on the rest of us beyond utilizing government as a strong arm of imposition. And that is unquestionably undesirable or perhaps even outright unacceptable. The same applies to the liberal left, I hope.

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    7. I definitely hear what you are saying Anon at 4:10 pm. Unfortunately, by seeing it as a sin, religious folks have and continue to impose that belief on at the very least, those inside their religions. And yes, that does and has and will continue to lead to suicides, not matter, as you say, how nicely it is put. I don't see Josh and Lolly as pushy people at all, by the way. I'm also not clear why it is not crystal clear that if you tell someone, 'we love you , unconditionally but the life you choose to lead will result in your being unacceptable to God for all eternity' that that is, well, cruel, even if it what you believe with every single fibre of your being and everyone around you believes it. I was in fundametalist Christianity for years - I understand the mindset of firm and utter belief to the marrow of your being that God has said that homosexuality is wrong. And I would say that it would take an act of God to change the minds of those who think like this.
      Not only do these beliefs devastate the lives of many in the religion (I don't know how many timess I'vr read/heard of stories who feel completely trapped - not wanting to leave their religion and unable to be different. That is a Catch 22 that is devastating, no matter how lovingly it is accepted.
      These beliefs also impact those not even in the religion by (not all obviously) the actions of those in the religion to actively campaign to restrict the rights of gay people. I hate to put it so bluntly but please, just harm those in your own religion and not those who don't believe what you believe. Please.
      Again, as clear as it is to you that your beliefs are right, it is as clear to me that some of those beliefs do harm to others, whether knowingly or unknowingly, no matter how loving the people are.
      Why would a gay person - except for those who have internalized the hatred around them to the extent that they find their very beings to be immoral - want to step foot in the door of certain churches/temples?

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    8. I'm thinking what would be an end game for Anon 4:59 PM in regard to religious folks who preach homosexuality a sin?

      He would argue that this should be done away with. However, I argue that he isn't stupid enough to think that that is a realistic prospect. Religious right are here to stay. So what would Anon 4:59 ACTUALLY do about it?

      Would he say: "Oh, I see, well, that's the way it is, I change my mind."?

      No. He would do something about it, particularly if he has an opportunity. So, how would that opportunity look for him, or, in other words, what would be his "end game" concerning religious right?

      Frankly, I don't wanna now. I would rather simply do my part to deny him that opportunity. (And, by the way, I would also do my part to deny that opportunity to those he call "religious right", but that's another story.)

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    9. I have no issue with what people choose to see as sinful. That's their choice. My issue comes when they try to mold civil law to reflect their religous beliefs and bound others to live by those religious beliefs.

      Until my husband retired two years ago, we were a U.S. Marine Corps family for 22 years. We sacraficed a lot as a family so that my spouse could be in a position to defend our beloved U.S. Constitution. We are in continuous awe at the near chaos of all the belief systems that strive to live together in this country in something approximating harmony. But above all there must be "liberty and justice for all."

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    10. FG Mormon, you seem to be attempting to suggest that I would use violencc against the religious right.
      I never said nor suggested that in any way. If you cannot debate my points intellectually, it is extremely offensive to suggest or imply that I would use violence. As I would never suggest or imply that you personally would use violence against gay people, despite your insistence that homosexuality is a sin.
      I can more than go head to head with you intellectually but if you are unable to do that, please don't then suggest that I would be violent simply because you can't find a better way to refute what I am writing. It's extremely unfair and offensive. If you are feeling threatened by the fact that I won't back down, then deal with it but don't start hurling accusations around.
      The relgious right? That's hardly a term that I made up.
      I will admit, FG Mormon, that there is something about you that gets under my skin. I find you extremely self-righteous and almost like you see yourself as someoone who can lead people on here to greater truths. The fact is, out in the real world that is not just filled with Mormons and others like them, you're grand thoughts would be exposed as the thoughts of a blathering idiot pretty darned quickly. Big fish, tiny pond.
      There. You threw mud at me and I threw it right back at you.
      I suspect we should cease and desist or Josh will rightly delete our comments.
      Isn't it like 4 am out there in Europe? I'm genuinely fascinated by the hours that you keep. How's your wife doing in the hospital with high blood pressure?

      Delete
    11. Oh and I do think that the homosexuality as sin idea will indeed be gone one day - like race issues, it will evolve, probably not in my lifetime but I beileve there will be a time when indeed, religions will see the error of their ways. Mormons are among the most entrenched against it though, so they might be last.

      Delete
    12. also, I'm convinced that there will be a time when religions will release the homosexuality as sin idea but probably not in my lifetime. they will evolve though. However, the Mormon Church is one of the most entrenched in this area so it will be one of the last ones for sure.

      Delete
    13. The Potaks, thank you for posting. Of course I can't speak for Lolly and Josh, but I can speak as person who wants people to feel free not to endorse same-sex sexual intimacy, and whose own endorsement of it is ambiguous and highly qualified.

      I'm responding not to defend myself, or Josh and Lolly, but to tell you that I welcome your comment here. Yours is a voice that I very much want to be heard.

      Delete
    14. Anon at 4:59pm I hope you are right about religions one day seeing homosexuality as not a sin, although like Fresh Hell I could care less what the religious right thinks about it. I just hope one day they stop beating gay kids over the head with how terrible they are.

      FG Mormon, "if that harms others so be it"? really? A lot of your comments are sort of giving the impression that you know what's right and are hoping that we all come around to your thinking.
      Suicide and physical violence should not be separated. Have you ever heard of emotional/verbal abuse? That is what it is to tell someone that they are a sinner, doomed to eternal damnation, never to be accepted by God. It's horrible, and its the worst kind of feeling, and yes it is equal to the pain of physical abuse.
      If you want to think homosexuality is a sin, that is your right. You are free to believe what you want. But you are not free to impose those beliefs (legally or otherwise) on another person.
      If these religions are correct, then let that be between me and God, and I will deal with him when I get to the pearly gates. Since It's my life. And I believe in the depths of my soul that it is not wrong.

      Like Anon @ 6:25 said please respond with a non-mud slinging response. There need not be more mud slinging here.

      Delete
    15. Anon 4:59 PM, I see the harmfulness you're talking about in depreciating homosexuality, and I see the walls you're banging up against. My head gets a little sore sometimes, too.

      Delete
    16. Thanks, Jim I appreciate it. I respect that you are trying to placate both sides but I also think that there are very few of us on here willing to try and shine the light on the reality underneath the often very rea claim of respecting and loving gay people while at the same time condemning them. i'd say it's more than depreciating homosexuality, it's downright condemning it.
      I can only imagine what kind of comments were floating around the Mormon Church pre-1978. Perhaps something like, 'we love black people and heck, I even have black friends but that doesn't mean that I have to think black people are equal." "I believe to the depths of my soul that God does not think the black person equal but that does not stop me from loving them." Those are horrific comments but are equivalent really to some of the comments made on here regarding gay people.
      And even back in the 1970s, some black people were fighting against being considered equal humans in the Mormon Church. That proves sadly that the oppressed can become their own oppressors given enough oppression. This seems to be happening with some gay people in the Mormon (and other religions) church nowadays.

      Delete
    17. Anon 8:33 PM,

      "claim of respecting and loving gay people while at the same time condemning them."

      I see that, and I have some experience with the urge to try to storm the fort. I won't try to explain why I'm not doing that. I just want you to know that I do see it, for whatever that might be worth.

      Your appreciation and respect are far more than I ever hope for, and far more than I usually get from that direction. Thank you for telling me.

      Delete
    18. Like people thinking people who go against homosexuals are creating problems, I am a firm believer in the opposite.

      I think that the homosexual movement and free sexual appetites in general hasn't only don't harm to everyone but have done irrefutable harm to not only me and my children that have to now be "forced" to accept a lifestyle that is harmful to society. I hate it that my kids have to be forced in school to "participate" in gay rights day at school in order to pass a class ( yes it was mandatory!!!). How can a school dictate to me or anyone this in a free country? What right is it of theirs to unforced something that I feel causes harm to my kids my indoctrinating my kids with a load of crap!! You talk about harm.. I think a person should look in the mirror when they send out accusations.

      The harm I see ..
      1). Telling our kids that it's ok not to bridal passions but to emprace it and do something about it.. Very harmful
      2) the break of traditional families. Kids need both a mom and dad sorry!! Very harmful!!
      3) multiple partners patterns as examples for our children.. Yes kids watch what you do!!! Very very harmful not only physically but emotionally and spiritually.


      Did you like what I just said? Probably no!! But it's the exact thing I keep hearing about how religion has done harm-- causing suicide etc..

      NO ONE forces anyone into suicide, people commit suicide of their own free will and choice.. It's call free agency. You can't blame joe smoe dork the street for do
      Rome taking there own life. That is do damn reduce loud it's not even funny.

      I am dick of hearing you all spout off about being so trsumatized.. There are a lot more things to worry about in this world besides you, the gay movement !! We have people starving out there everyone . People who have little to no choice at all. People who are gunned down due to rebel factions. And we worry about the right to habe sex with the same sex snd call it a marriagr!! Priorities people !! 1 word ..HARM!!

      Delete
    19. Sorry grammar errors .. Phones will do that !!

      Delete
    20. Anon 11:45 PM,

      For whatever it's worth I do see harm in some of the ideology of gay activists, not only to people who don't endorse same-sex sexual intimacy, but also to gays. As far as suicide is concerned, I think gay politics contributes to it as much as church politics.

      Delete
    21. In case anyone is wondering, yes I do see people saying some contemptible things, and yes it does make me sick.

      Delete
    22. In case anyone is wondering, I meant that I see some contemptible things being said against people on both sides.

      Delete
    23. Sorry, I lost it. What I was trying to say is that when I talk to people without scolding them, it doesn't always mean that I don't see anything deplorable in their posts.

      Delete
    24. Anon 4.59 PM (who is also Anon 6.25 PM and 6.28 PM) I like to debate you, and I really mean it. I want to understand you. I agree in some of your stances about "religious folks" as you define it. I have written before that there are some "reportedly religious folks who deny themselves both right and opportunity to love those whom they fiercely judge".

      What I have problem with is that you do not bring your thoughts to the last consequence. You say that you would not use violence against religious folks who preach homosexuality a sin, and "how dare I to suggest that". But then you seem to imply that the government should have something to do with those religious folks and their opinions. Well, if that's correct, then you lie, because whatever government does is always and invariably at it's core a brute force, obeyed or else. And if you do not imply that, then I'm clueless how you intend to influence or make aforementioned religious folks change their mind. You haven't mentioned what would be your method. By benevolently preaching "homosexuality is not sin" doctrine among them? You seem uncomfortable in their presence, and that is the key prerequisite for that method to be successful.

      Another problem that I have with you is that you here and there throw cues which at least to me clearly show that you find me fake, or perhaps even a "pathological liar". Personally, I do not have a problem with that, as I know who I am, but that you stance poses a problem in a debate. I am taken seriously until it is convenient for you, and then no more. That is why I am somewhat ruthless in my approach to you, although I don't particularly like it. I don't want to give you an easy escape in that direction.

      And yes, I also believe that churches may be ultimately forced to give up their stance on homosexuality as sin, and you may be surprised how soon I think that could happen. But I also believe that the US is heading towards a major societal crisis on many fronts, the crisis of a magnitude that would cause many to be shocked and at awe, which could easily reshuffle the deck of cards in favor of churches and religions. But don't worry, that's just me, and I'm a blathering idiot.

      Delete
    25. Anon 7.38 PM, you conveniently omitted half of my thought in order to make me look like sort of a monster. So, I will make a correction and write the whole thought:

      If by saying "don't judge me because I sin differently than you do" I harm others, so be it. And the point is in the sentence within quotation marks. Now, I do not look like a monster any more, perhaps.

      You say that I'm not to have a freedom to impose one of my particular beliefs on another person "legally or otherwise". Oh, I see. According to you, I should have an opportunity to do that in any conceivable way except "legally or otherwise". I'm thankful that you do not have a power over me to decide what "otherwise" actually mean, and that you are not in a position to decide what I'm free to do "legally or otherwise". Because if you did, all my beliefs would suddenly be miraculously fixed, I assume.

      Emotional and verbal abuse are NOT the same and are NOT comparable to physical abuse. Emotional and verbal abuse could no effect on anyone if there is no implied threat of physical abuse that might follow. So, the real culprit is always and only PHYSICAL ABUSE.

      I am fiercely against any kind of physical abuse exactly because it is a foundation on which any other abuse rests. Once physical abuse is collapsed, you are more than welcome to bring upon me any other types of abuse.

      Oh, and your comment is sort of giving the impression that you know what's right and are hoping that we all come around to your thinking.

      Delete
    26. Anon 11:45 PM, it may be counterproductive to express our positions out of frustration. We don't live in a sunshine & lollipop world, so our kids should be prepared to face and handle in the spirit of love anything that crosses their path, including various homosexual doctrines (some of which, for the full disclosure, I do not find necessarily objectionable). Stay calm & be strong.

      Delete
    27. FG Mormon, I have been fascinated reading many of your posts. Someday I would love to meet you in person. This is my first time responding as I'm more prone to lurk rather than type, and we have much upon which we agree. In particular, we agree that "Emotional and verbal abuse are NOT the same and are NOT comparable to physical abuse." However, I can't agree that "Emotional and verbal abuse could no effect on anyone if there is no implied threat of physical abuse that might follow." Personally, I feel this shows a lack of understanding of emotional abuse. A parent who threatens to withdraw love from a child can do a great deal of emotional abuse without a threat of physical abuse at all. While children have physical needs, they also have emotional needs. Withholding those needs, be it physical or emotional, is a form of abuse.

      Delete
    28. Anon 4:39 AM, you are absolutely right, the parent-child relationship is a very special one where a great deal of non-physical abuse may occur. But the question is what can be done about it? If we imply that an agency outside a particular family can and should decide whether a child is emotionally or verbally abused, we immediately open the door for an abuse of a different kind and in the opposite direction. So, I would still argue that the only abuse of a child by a parent that is sufficient enough to justify interference in parent-child relationship is physical abuse.

      Remember, we live in a hopelessly flawed world, and anyone who argue that it can be made whole and perfect in this physical realm is either deluding themselves or has an agenda.

      I would argue that as soon as sexuality sets in, a person should be able to make decisions about his or her life independently from his or her parents. And that is pretty much an established course of action in our society.

      As for emotional and verbal abuse of an adult (18+), I can only laugh and say GROW UP, MAN!

      Delete
    29. So a husband emotionally and verbally abusing his wife is a joke?

      Delete
    30. The Canadian government has legalized same sex marriage. again, no churches are forced to participate in this and the government has not used to force to, well, force them to.
      And to think that emotional and verbal abuse has no effect on people - what? huh? Do you have stats on that? Have you met anyone who has been emotionally abused? have you not been following the bullying of kids across the country (often without physical abuse) and the effects on those kids (suicide is sometimes what happens). You can put in all caps physical abuse but it doesn't make it true.
      It's as if you use blanket statements and sarcasm to try and support some of your points, most of which are a) patently untrue or b) just bizarre. It just gets more and more bizarre. I don't think that you are able to debate without falling back on sarcasm or again, the self-righteous stance that you know the answer and thus anyone who debates it is silly. Again, go beyond this forum and the comment about verbal and emotional abuse not being harmful would either get you laughed or kicked out of the room.
      And yeah, for sure, I'm not thinking you are as you represented yourself, which is fine because anyone can lie on here. Frankly, I picture some guy sitting in the basement of his house in front of his computer, alone, all day, every day. Anyone I've ever met who has a pregnant wife in hospital and two little kids to look after while wife in hospital has zero time to shower, never mind making pious statements on a blog. Again, if you have to resort to sarcasm with little me, I can only imagine what would happen with a group of non-Mormons.

      Delete
    31. anon 11:45 pm - and out comes the angry homophobia.

      Delete
    32. Anon 7:49 AM, I think we got to the bottom of this discussion. I can't see how to proceed unless I want to start exchanging insults and slanders. And yes, I'm not happy with sarcasm either.

      However, it is interesting to have an insight into your reality in relation to the world by comparing it with your perception of me. You know nothing about me, yet you built around that nothingness very elaborate picture. When I compare that with what I know is true, I can easily see how actually deranged person you are. But, as I said, let's put aside insults, slanders or sarcasm.

      Josh's blog is a dignified place to be, unlike those other places you mentioned. I care and wish you all the best.

      Delete
    33. Anon @ 11:45 pm. I assume you live in America, therefore your kids have to participate in MLK day and other non-racists activities. Does that piss you off to? I mean if we replaced "gay" with "black" in your comment every single person on this blog would be pissed and maybe Josh would even delete you for the blatant racism. But alas, its ok to be that homophobic.
      I am sorry for your kids that you are trying to raise them to be homophobic, but I hope that, like me, they grow up to resist their upbringing and can see the world for what it is.

      Now, to refute your points. First and foremost did you know that gay people don't have to have a million partners and often times straight people do? For example, I am gay and have only been with my not-wife (what can I call her?). Yet my best friend is straight and she has been with at least 6-10 different guys. This is because I really didn't want to just throw the act of sex around like its meaningless. She was raised with different morals, I love her still though, I also don't call her a sinner, I'm just making a point about sexual partners.

      Second, if a kid needs a mom and a dad what about all those kids being raised by single moms or single dads? Are their families not real either? What about the kids being raised by their mom and their aunt (two women) will they turn out horrible? What about the kids being raised by just their grandma? To say the only real family is one with a mom and dad is to completely disregard a lot of american families and not just gay ones. What is wrong with a kid being raised in a family with two parents who love them and love each other? Besides the fact that you think its icky to see two girls kissing. (or two boys) Have you ever met a gay couple? Or are you just going off of what you have created in your head? Because we are just like you. We love, we fight, we hug, we kiss, we walk around at farmers markets. As it turns out, we don't actually just walk around having sex in the street.

      FG Mormom, and the anons who have decided that emotional abuse is "fake": I dare you to go to the mother of the children who have taken their own lives due to bullying and tell them that they should have just "manned up" as you say. FG you say you struggled with suicide but I don't believe you any more because this wouldn't be your argument. Constantly telling someone they are not worthy of love and affection WILL lead to suicide, even if you want to believe it doesn't. And "manning up" will not save these kids. Only loving them will.

      Delete
    34. Sadly anon your first commondoesnt hold any weight in my book. The racist vs gay comment is rediculous. Bein black or a different race doesn't compare to teaching your kids unnatural sex is ok and then having a day to promote it!!! I'm sorry its far from the same. I will not subject my kids to that crap. I would subject my kids to a heterosexual day too if there was such a thing.

      Delete
    35. And the homophobia continues unabated.

      Delete
    36. And now FG Mormon is calling me deranged. It just gets worse and worse. But yes, I agree, bottom of the discussion. I shall leave it to others to debate with you and I see that some are. But again, you know full well that you are completely protected here by other Mormons who will in general flock to your defense. But yes, enough. I'll go back to my life and you go back to yours.

      Delete
    37. "Emotional and verbal abuse are NOT the same and are NOT comparable to physical abuse. Emotional and verbal abuse could no effect on anyone if there is no implied threat of physical abuse that might follow. So, the real culprit is always and only PHYSICAL ABUSE."

      FGMormom, What can I say except you are completely wrong? I worked in the field of domestic violence prevention and intervention. I've known bullied kids who were never physically assaulted.

      Emotional and verbal abuse hurt; it can even be fatal in that it can drive people to suicide. Your dismissal of them is equal parts cruel and uninformed.

      For those reading this who have been victims of emotional and verbal abuse, I'm sorry. Your feelings about what you've been through are valid. Your wounds are real. Please, know that I, and the vast majority of the educated world, believe you when you say you've been abused and that it hurt. You deserve support and help in your recovery.

      Delete
    38. I have to say I'm very uncomfortable with the anger and, frankly, hatred I'm seeing towards homosexuals on this page now. This is a blog by a gay man and yet people feel it's okay to hand out that kind of verbal abuse?

      I'm disappointed. Very.

      Delete
    39. "There must be decision of character aside from sympathy".

      Delete
    40. Fresh Hell, I agree with you. It is degenerating into a comment section where some can vent their vitriole. I have huge concerns where people claim that emotional and verbal abuse don't exist and claim that as fact. I would hope people would be very clearly able to see that that is patently untrue but I'm not sure.
      I am going to send Josh an e-mail about this. While I don't believe in censorship, I do believe that certain people should be blocked from commenting if they are choosing to spread destructive lies and to misuse quotes from other sources.
      Also, yes, it has degenerated to anger and hatred, sadly, I think because for many, that is what is right beneath the surface for them. Simply by scratching the surface, you get pretty quickly to their real feelings.
      Mormons, for all of their love and care, seem to despise homosexuals. Cover it up with anything but that is what it comes down to. I thank God every day that I wasn't raised a Mormon and had their beliefs internalized. It is shameful in my opinion. I've asked a number of people the last several days what they think of when they hear the word 'Mormon' and most said, 'oh them, they hate gay people.'

      Delete
    41. Take it easy, guys, I'm not claiming that emotional & verbal abuse do not exist. I'm just fiercely opposing governmental involvement in handling them. Churches and other private organizations should do it on voluntary and moral basis.

      Government is a monopoly of brute force, and should only counteract brute force.

      It is interesting to see how those who find themselves offended by my comments are not even aware that the only thing they are offended by is the fact that I oppose governmental involvement into moral issues. They think that by opposing governmental involvement I'm actually denying the problem altogether. Amazing!

      It is also interesting that there are few if any social conservatives who would attack me on the same ground, although I would expect them to do that.

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    42. Then, I declare myself a homosexual, but I am a homphob and gay hater. Oh, I remember. I'm also a fake, a mirage & an impossibility. Like Josh. So, I wonder what are these people wasting their time on here. To convert me into their flavor of gay lifestyle? If you want that, you need to be nice to me, and not kick and scream when I comment. Mormons won me over by their politeness. :)

      Delete
    43. AnonymousJuly 5, 2012 1:43 PM
      I truly believe that Mormons, like society as a whole, are changing in their attitude towards homosexuality. I have friends my age and older who were not only excommunicated from the Mormon church for being gay but were also disowned by their families. As far as their families are concerned, it's as if they never existed...truly tragic and deeply hurtful to my friends.

      But I cannot see, say, Josh and Lolly disowning one of their daughters if she was gay and chose to marry a woman. I think the tide is turning. And while Prop 8, with it's enthusiastic support from many Mormons was sobering, it's important to note that some Mormons spoke out against it and that is not a small thing.

      Discrimination is invisible at first. It simply is. But those days are over for homosexuality. Yes, some people, some religions are still fighting to withold full civil rights from gays and lesbians but the statistics don't lie. It's simply a matter of time before those civil rights will be had by all.

      Delete
    44. Anon 1:43, I find it amusing that you state that beneath the surface for many is anger and hatred. Yet when some(one) scratches beneath your surface you resort to blanket statements about Mormons, and how you've polled your recent conversations, and most of their response were 'oh them , they hate gay people.' Maybe, just maybe your as much of the problem as those Mormons that you find so shameful.

      Delete
    45. Wow, Fresh Hell. My father was disowned by his family back in 1960 when he, Jewish, married my Catholic mom. That is something he never got over and affects him to this day. I remember that he used to drive by his moms house. one day he saw a for sale sign and found out from the real estate agent that she was moving to another city. He never saw her, his brother, his nephews or any of his extended family ever again.
      I think you could be right and the tide is turning and I hope one day the U.S. will have civil rights for all. Heck, if a black president can be in office and while in office publicly proclaim his support of same sex marriage, then it just might be possible.

      Delete
    46. Anon @ 1:43pm
      I’m Mormon and do not despise anyone LGBT. I have no reason to. And further it is not of the Lord to hate people. I’ve heard Mormons say ignorant things, and I know plenty who have very strong opinions dealing with same-sex marriage (I wouldn’t call mine strong, just definitive), but I don’t know many who actually hate/despise gay people. And society very rarely paints us Mormons correctly.
      Personally, I find it irritating that this has been attributed to me, as a Mormon…that suddenly I must hate groups of people, ironically because of ignorance and stereotyping of my group of people. I’m adamantly LDS and this has made me less spiteful and angry and more empathetic to all people. Even people that are hard to forgive and many in society justify as okay to hate (not thinking LGBT on this at all). That, to me, is a necessary part of the atonement and teaches me true peace, leaving me far more calm than in the past. I firmly believe in what Lolly said about our beliefs: when your firm in your own beliefs you feel less need to attack, belittle, or feel threatened by anothers.

      Delete
    47. Excellent comment Tasha, thank you!!! you said what i wanted to but didn't know how to say intelligently. :0)

      And I love you Josh & Lolly!

      Delete
    48. 1:43. True enough about how the media presents Mormons. I would also say how the media sometimes presents gay people, especially gay men, is also incredibly distorted. or is it how the Mormon Church depicts gay people, especially gay men. I honestly do not know. It seems from here anyway that many seem to think that all gay men are incredibly promiscuous, have no morals or values an are unable to have as deep and meaningful relationships as straight people. Again, where does that come from.

      Delete
  19. I loved this line:

    "What I would like to ask for is that we all have more faith in each others' intelligence."

    Applying it to a whole different topic, I have very different political views than most of my family, friends and neighbors. Most of them don't know this because I would never dare share them because of the vitriol with which these people discuss their opponents in general. I don't mind political disagreement; what I hate is the assumption that those who disagree do so because they are stupid (or, even worse, evil). Thanks for a great post.

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  20. Thank you for bringing up the issue of self-control. This is somehow lost on our current society, and we see the results everywhere - especially with the decline of our standards in the eyes of other nations.

    On a different note, Lolly, you might enjoy Thucydides, Funeral Oration of Pericles from The History of the Peloponnesian War as it describes almost on parallel what makes America great, even though it was given to the Athenian people of the time (and it may be completely made up since it was passed down orally.) Here:

    http://www.gutenberg.org/files/7142/7142-h/7142-h.htm#2HCH0006

    It's towards the end of the current book, starting with the phrase "In the same winter the Athenians gave a funeral"...

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  21. Thanks, Lolly! Just what I've been thinking about the respecting others' choices and not judging. That picture of Shane moved me to tears - nor do I think patriotism can ever be cheesy.

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  22. I definitely agree and have personally experienced how the people who are most insecure about their own beliefs tend to be the quickest to ridicule or condemn others' views. People can be so afraid of being wrong that they put a lot of effort into proving others wrong.

    Great post on celebrating our independence, not just of our country but of our individual rights to have independent views and beliefs!

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  23. Lolly, your words are powerful and moving and deep. I hope that you understand, however, that there is no power less than God who could change minds of many who try to hurt the Weeds for sharing their story. No words of a mortal man or woman can be powerful enough. One needs to face that reality and live with it, and I hope (and suspect) that you two might have already arrived to that conclusion, and that this your post is just an attempt to reach those who actually can be reached.

    If you did conclude that, I wish you all the wisdom & happiness that you two can obtain out of it.

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  24. Thank you for this beautiful post. I have been carefully following this blog since "Club Unicorn". I have read all the posts old and new. I have 3 boys around the same age as yours, so I can totally relate to some of these posts. Until today I have held off reading comments from others. Today I succumbed to my curiousity and am sad I did. It saddens me that so many would use this blog to vocalize such negative opinions of Josh's religion, his homosexuality, his choice to marry, etc. When did this become an attack on Mormonism or homosexuality? Josh's posts have all been very positive and he has reiterated on several occasions that this is HIS STORY, not a platform for others to follow. I'm always amazed that so many who claim to be "open-minded" are so quick to criticize others. I have developed a profound respect for your family. The thing I've taken away from these blog posts is to better me relationship with my family, particularly my husband. Thank you both for inspiring me to be a better wife & mother.

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  25. Great post Lolly. Happy 4th!

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  26. Amen, Lolly! Well said!

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  27. Hello from the Middle East! (Yes, your Club Unicorn post went Viral with a capital "V"!)

    I saw the Unicorn post via a friend of a friend on Facebook, and have been stalking your blog and your archives ever since. I felt with this post it was time to add my 2 cents of support and thanks.

    Josh, it was fascinating and so uplifting to read about your marriage and your relationship. I admire anyone who can make a difficult decision like you have, and sacrifice so much. I can see the enormous rewards it's brought into your life, and that's absolutely wonderful to behold.

    Lolly, this post was inspired! Thank you for opening up to us!

    The Weed has a new fan! Both of you keep on keepin' on!

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  28. Your last paragraph sums it up very well. Thanks for this post.

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  29. Outstanding! Thanks for your post, Lolly. I like the part about self-control. I also noticed that phrase in "America, the Beautiful," when we sang it at mass.

    My own opinion (I actually hesitate to say anything, because my comments get shot at) is that Josh's self-control is not different from what his religion (or mine) expects any married man to do: resist the temptation to be unfaithful.

    Josh's self-control is exemplary (yes, that implies it is a good example). The popular culture rejects self-control. I tried to tell a young friend of mine about it, and I made the mistake of calling it self-denial. He changed the meaning! For him it meant being "in denial," an emotional disorder.

    I also like your advocacy of free speech, very appropriate on the Fourth!

    A few days ago someone said people who post as Anonymous should make up a fake name. My fake name is Todossantos. I don't know Spanish well enough to know whether I should write it as one word or two. I post anonymously because my wife, unlike yourself, does not want me to say anything in public.

    I am scared posting this, but maybe I will just not come back for a while to read the replies. My intention is to write to J & L.

    America, God shed his grace on thee!

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    Replies
    1. Is it okay if I just call you Todos?

      I tried to think of something comforting to say, about getting shot at, but I came up empty-handed. I'm not a hugger, but that's what I'm tempted to do in this case, because it's all I can think of to do!

      Delete
  30. Great to see a post from you Lolly. Great post, great points. Self control is such a noble thing. I admire it and think Josh is pretty amazing for demonstrating it. Happy 4th!

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  31. Wonderful post, Lol! I wish I had self-control when it comes to moose tracks and yellow cake with chocolate frosting...

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  32. "I find that when people are rational and comfortable with their own belief system, they don't feel threatened or scared of others whose opinions differ from their own."

    I disagree. Strongly.

    Please imagine that one of the canidates currently running for President included in his platform a constitutional amendment that would forbid gay men from marrying straight women. Can you honestly say you would not find that threatening? Can you not imagine being scared of that potential reality?

    I think when someone is comfortably part of the majority (in your case, an opposite sex marriage), it's very easy to imagine that others are over-reacting or simply must lack the confidence in their beliefs that you have.

    I would ask you to step outside yourself. Imagine your right to marry Josh, or your child's right to marry, being put up to popular vote or subject to a constitutional amendment in a situation where people like you only make up 2-8% of the population. If that doesn't feel scary to you, then I don't know what to say.

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    1. It seems at least to me that Lolly wrote the word "opinions" and not "actions" in her sentence.

      So, I don't get it what you are talking about.

      Delete
    2. Many people are compelled by their opinions/feelings into actions.

      Delete
    3. But that does not change the fact that she wrote and meant "opinions" and not "actions". If she meant "actions" she would probably write it, I assume.

      Delete
    4. Fresh hell,

      I don't know how familiar you are with LDS Scripture, but there's one about a group of people who were strongly converted to their new faith, leaving behind various practices, traditions, and beliefs. One change was a promise to never kill others again. This led to a disruption within the larger society and another group came to make war with them. Definitely threatening. Instead of fighting they kneel and praised their God while many were massacred. Their sacrifice led to many of those killing them to be converted as well and those who remained welcomed them.

      I won't lie and say I'm perfect. I'm sure there's things that would make me feel threatened or scared. But I don't think it's necessarily correct. Personally, I aim to have a sense of calm and strength as I mentioned above. To not feel threatened by another's beliefs even when they do appear threatening. To me it is an indication of faith.

      Delete
  33. This post was awesome. I enjoy both of your perspectives, and the conversations that ensue as a result of them. It keeps me coming back for more, even if I have to endure a little cheese;)

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  34. Topic request: Learning to abstain from reflecting on the character of discussion participants

    Josh and Lolly, something keeps troubling me here. It isn't that I see it more here than elsewhere. Just the opposite. I'm continually amazed and delighted by the quality of the discussions you've inspired and nurtured here. It's precisely that quality, and the quality of your posts, that gives me hope of my ideas about this being understood.

    Rather than trying to explain what's been troubling me, or possibly as a way of explaining it, I will simply propose a possible solution, and possible benefits of practicing it.

    * Possible solution to what's been troubling me

    A practice I want to suggest is to abstain from reflecting on the character of discussion participants, no matter how ugly their conduct might look.

    I'm going to give some examples of what I mean by "reflecting on the character of discussion participants." I started to take the examples from here, but I decided that might be more distracting than helpful. Instead I will give some examples that I compiled some time ago from another discussion.

    I want to emphasize that I did *not* collect these examples from here.

    - "They are superstitious, heartless, blind, closed-minded homophobes."
    - "They are letting their obsession with sex blind them to the truth."
    - "They are letting their obsession with sex come between them and God."
    - "They are putting their own desires above the laws of God."
    - "They are twisting the sciptures to conform to their wishes."
    - "They are disgarding the scriptures."
    - "They are intentionally transgressing the laws of God."
    - "They are rebelling against God."
    - "They are more spiritually or morally deficient than the rest of us."
    - "They are pushing a personal agenda."
    - "They are directed towards a path of ego."
    - "They are violating their covenant with God."
    - "They expect God's law to accomodate their personal predicament."
    - "They want to change the law of God to their favor."
    - "Their arguments are an obvious ploy to distort the plain meaning of the scriptures."
    - "They are attacking the principles of the faith."
    - "They are challenging the laws of God."
    - "If anyone is being hurt by what I'm saying, it's a reflection on their own character."
    - "The only reason for the suffering of homosexuals is that they are choosing their own will over God's."
    - "Anyone who has any doubts about renouncing same-sex sexual intimacy deserves the calamities he brings to himself."

    I repeat, I did *not* collect these examples from here. Most of the examples I've seen here, of reflecting on the character of discussion participants, are not nearly so cruel. Most of them are very gentle and subtle, and hard to spot.

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  35. (continued)

    There are two reasons I only put one example in there of reflecting on the character of people who do not endorse same-sex sexual intimacy:
    - When I compiled my original list, it was for a specific discussion where those examples would have distracted from what I was trying to say.
    - When I tried to think of examples of reflecting on the character of people who do not endorse same-sex sexual intimacy, they pretty much all came back to the same place: "superstitious, heartless, blind, closed-minded homophobes."

    * Benefits of practicing abstinence from reflecting on the character of discussion partipants

    It looks to me like a lot of people would like to find ways to be frank about their beliefs, without doing any harm to others, or to their cause. It might help to practice abstaining from reflecting on the character of discussion participants, no matter how ugly their conduct might look.

    It might also help to consider all the people who react to your blog as participants in the discussion, including those who are not posting here.

    I just realized a challenge that presents to me. I remember a post where I *did* reflect on the character of some people who have reacted to your blog, and I'm not sure just now what I think of that. I'll be pondering that.

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    1. Okay, I pondered it. In the post I'm thinking of, where I reflected on some people's character, I'm not sure that didn't need to be said. I do think there is a time and a place for some discussion of people's motives. I *am* sure that what I said did *not* need to be said in public, and it needed to have a lot more thought put into it, before I said it.

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  36. No words. Just a tear and a thumbs up to you, Lolly. Well spoken.

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  37. Love love love love love LOVELOVELOVELOVELOVE. Love. ...Love. That is all. :)

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  38. Sorry folks, the wife and I were at the beach all day yesterday so I didn't get a chance to follow this thread. Let me address a few things.

    -I certainly don't equate judgement with hatred, not that they don't go hand in hand sometimes. I don't see hate here and never said I did. Howvever I guess I could just be looking for respect. You could say something along the lines of (just like I did) "I do not agreee with your decision, but I respect it." I would also like to note that for a religion that is commanded not to judge I sure see a heck of a lot of it!
    -For those that think that therapy is not harmful, please seek out the oposite of Josh's story. Someone who followed his path but who's heterosexual relationship failed. Here's a palce to start: http://www.truthwinsout.org/tell-your-story/
    Josh claims he does not practice reparative therapy but if you are told your options are. A) Marry someone of the oposite sex anyway. or B) Just stay celebate for the rest of your life. That sounds just terrible to me.
    -You think homosexuality is a sin, great, this should effect ME why? I do not share you beliefs (although I would never try and stop you from having them, I'm very respectful whenever the religious people come to the door and try and convert me.) People on this board seem to act like you are not actively trying to legally make my life very difficult to lead. The lack of full marriage laws (personally I don't care what you call it but that's a whole 'nother debate) make it very difficult for my family. You want to call homosexuality a sin and make it so you can't get into heaven, fine. But why are you trying to impose these relgious beliefs on others. I am not going to stop being gay, no law you pass is going to do that. I love my wife and I would just live with her "as friends" like they used to in the 50's if necessary. I am also against making relgious orginzations condone homosexuality, this of course gets murky with the public vs private seactors but no one should be forced to take gays into their relgion or be forced to perform gay marriages.
    -Although some of the comments got a little off track I would like to thank everyone for their (mostly) respectful and well thought out posts.

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    1. The Potaks, thank you for your response. I find it respectful and encouraging.

      I can imagine what a reparative therapy can do to a homosexual person, and myself being one, I would never allow anyone to have it performed upon me.

      However, I do not object Josh's approach to offer his clients only two options that you mentioned. Because, by doing that, Josh actually gives them three options, the third one being C) find another therapist. If I were Josh, I might even go so far as to recommend another therapist in whom I have trust for those who look for a counsel towards homosexual relationship.

      It is simply important to be honest and straightforward about one's position: "We just don't do that here, thank you very much." No judgment, no hard feelings.

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    2. The Potaks, in my various comments scattered along this blog, I made clear that I would rather have marriage issue out of governmental regulation altogether rather than having a particular definition of marriage imposed on everyone.

      I also argued that the only business of a government is to protect a definition of marriage as churches and private entities define it, no matter how conflicting those definitions are. Government should just as vigorously defend the Mormon Church's stance that homosexual marriage is not valid as it should defend Unitarian Universalist church's stance that homosexual marriage is valid.

      Delete
    3. And I forgot to mention, I don't believe Josh engages in what is called "reparative therapy".

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    4. Potaks,

      I don't know what you mean by respect... but if you were my neighbor, I'd greet you warmly in the neighborhood and talk to you when we'd see each other. If there was a family emergency, I'd be willing to help out if it was needed. And if either of us had kids I'd expect them to play and be nice to each other. Basically, I wouldn't treat you any differently than any of my other neighbors.

      And as for legal rights, though I couldn't vote (based on my own personal feelings that I studied out) for gay marriage per se, I'd adamantly support anything that would afford equal legal rights to same sex couples as I'd have if married.

      Delete
  39. All the negativity you are receiving is from those who are pissed off that someone has suggested that it's possible to deny our natural instincts and desires. To each their own! Josh and Lolly are not asking or telling ANYONE to live as they have chosen to live. If your gay/lesbian and choose to be with the same sex, then that is what you have chosen and the path you have taken.It's not evil it's not wonderful, it is what it is, the life/path you have chosen. He has clearly said what he has chosen for his life as a gay man is not what he thinks is right for everyone. Josh has chosen to deny that portion of his life, and focus on his love for family and god. Why is that so defensive to people???? To each their own. Don't let your life be threatened, upset, diminished, or hurt because of someone's life that is different than yours. Learn something from it.
    I am so grateful for Josh and Lolly and their strength in sharing their story and their life with me. Please continue, I gain so much from the honesty and light that is shared. Thank you.

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  40. I loved this post and I love that last picture. Thank you for posting! :o)

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  41. I am sad I didn't get a chance to read this yesterday and talk to you about it then! So good. It is really fascinating to see how "self control" has been turned into a weakness in out culture. The more I think about your family and your sacrifices and your dedication to faith the deeper I am committed to my own family, and faith. Thanks for posting this Non-Cheesy Patriotic Post. :)

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  42. p.s. when you say it is going to be a Patriotic Unicorn Post I think we all expected Josh wrapped in a flag... I am not saying your post was a let down.... just saying- I had different expectations.

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  43. GREAT post. I have been thinking so much about you guys and the way you have been misunderstood and maligned for your choices. It really bothers me. I've found that often, while people appear to support others' choices, they really don't unless it's a choice they agree with.

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  44. I love the idea of respecting everyone's rights. I think, however, that we focus so much on the rights of one group over another. Here are some actual events that I read about on NPR and the local news a few years ago, that worry me:
    1) An OB/Gyn at a fertility clinic declined to perform an invetro operation for a lesbian couple due to his religious beliefs, but offered that his partner at the same clinic would perorm the operation. He was sued and lost
    2) A wedding photographer declined to photograph a commitment ceremony due to her religious beliefs. She was sued and lost
    3) A group of fireman were forced to march in a gay rights parade by their Lesbian firechief. They were sexually harassed. They sued and lost, but later appealed and won.

    I don't agree with alot of the practices Muslims have in regards to rights of women. I always feel sad when I see a woman on a hot day in full garb with only her eyes showing. But that is their right. And I'm not going to sue them and try and force them to live the way I believe. I have also been excluded from homeschooling groups because I couldn't sign their statement of faith. That was sad for me, but that is their right. I'm not going to sue them and force them to do something they aren't comfortable with. Rather, I find groups of like-minded individuals to co-op with. I agree with Lolly, that we should all be tolerant of our differences and try to allow those differences to enrich our lives.

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    1. Anonymous 10:05 I agree with your point. It is silly to think that in this diverse nation every one will be on the same page with one another. And when people feel forced to go against their beliefs, I feel it does more harm than good in the long run. People become more polarized instead of more tolerant.

      Delete
    2. A business that is open to the public cannot refuse to offer its services to minority groups. That's part and parcel of doing business with the public. I cannot refuse to cut someone's hair because they are Jewish. I cannot refuse to serve someone in my restaurant because they are black. I cannot refuse to rent an apartment to someone because they are disabled.

      These laws came into being long before gays and lesbians began using them. It's part of the messy business of a minority group being enfolded in the larger community. I wish there was a more elegant solution but I've yet to hear of one. As imperfect as the system is, it's better than letting each business decide which group they want to discriminate against, in my opinion.

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    3. Fresh, let me tell you why I would LOVE for bigoted businessmen to have the opportunity to discriminate against whomever they wish, including blacks, Jews and homosexuals, instead being forced by the government not to do that.

      I want those sons of b.... to be outcompeted by good and decent men and women who are willing to offer their products and services to everyone without discrimination. I want those sons of b.... to look how their businesses shrink, diminish and disappear as there are tens, hundreds or even thousands of similar businesses like theirs opened by decent and accepting men and women in their closest proximity.

      I want them to suffer not through the imposition of justice by force, but by imposition of competition by as many good and decent people we can muster around them.

      And as I see that, I would also carefully observe that these sons of b.... do not get in a position where they could use, under various false pretenses, the same monopoly of brute force (government) to deny tens, hundreds or even thousands of good and decent people opportunity to open competitive business near them.

      By allowing them to discriminate and at the same time denying them the opportunity to kill the neighboring competition, one can produce pain and suffering in their hearts that is sweeter and more glorious than any justice imposed by any affirmative action legislation.

      (PS. Nothing in this my comment should be construed as my endorsement of any kind of religious, racial or sexual bigotry. Thank you very much.)

      Delete
  45. Thanks, Lolly.
    There's a quote from Nelson Mandela that I think is fitting;
    "to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."
    I think you and Josh are doing that and I thank you for it.

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  46. A great quote. of course until 1978 Mandela would have been considered less than human in the Mormon Church but why quibble.

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    1. that's not true! he just couldn't have been part of the priesthood. anyway, he was in jail until 1990 so it wouldn't have mattered.

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    2. To both Anonymi (anonymouses?)~ It makes me sad that the more important part of what I, in my inadequacy of expression was trying to say, was ignored.

      Delete
    3. Jeannette - sorry if you felt ignored. that's an amazing Mandela quote. Mandela is a firm believer in same sex rights (even including it in the South African constitution, the only country to date to do so). South Africa also has legalised same sex marriage. Would Mandela agree that actively working to deny the civil rights of all people 'respects and enhances the freedom of others"? would he find it freeing to deny people their right to be in relationship with those of the same sex?
      Having been the victim of Apartheid and suffered tremendously because of it, would he support anything that denied black people rights until 1978 or consider that they had the Mark of Cain?
      i think the two comments above your last one were rude and crude. But I also think if quotes are going to be used that they respect what the person quoted meant.

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  47. Lolly, Josh,

    I'm distressed by the popularity, in these comments, of stereotyping and depreciating people who are skeptical about your story, and/or who are concerned about the harmful ways it will be used.

    I'm also a little concerned about the feuding I've seen in some of the posts. So far I don't see it distracting much from other conversations, because it's mostly been confined to a few threads. I've thought a lot, now and in the past, about how to keep feuding from disrupting Internet discussions, and I've never found a solution to that, or seen a working solution, in any open forum on the Internet, even with the most competent and fair-minded administrators and moderators.

    As someone else said, you're smart, so maybe you'll find one.

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    1. I'm also concerned about the popularity here of denying or ignoring cruelty and violence against gays, and/or changing the subject whenever it comes up.

      Delete
    2. To recombine and fill in my thoughts about what's troubling me: the popularity here of:
      - Ignoring, denying, and whitewashing cruelty and violence against gays, and diverting attention away from them.
      - Sweeping generalizations dismissing *all* unfavorable reactions to this story as nothing more than manifestations of character defects.

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    3. I imagine this story will do a lot of good. I've been dreaming for years of someone telling this story.

      It might achieve more credibility with more people, and do even more good, and less harm, if it included more recognition of how much cruelty and violence is being directed at gays, and of the role of healing and change campaigns in reinforcing and perpetuating that cruelty and violence.

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    4. More than ten years ago, I saw a post somewhere, I don't remember where, a kind of message in a bottle, a cry of distress, from someone who felt despised by God because of her homosexuality. That started me on a quest to try to find ways to help people face that dilemma. I've spent maybe hundreds of hours, in Internet forums with gays, gay activists, and people from healing and change ministries; and working on Web pages. I've also done some offline work, with the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network; and in my own local faith community.

      I've wished and wished for someone to tell the kind of story you're telling here. I couldn't have dreamed up anything better, to illustrate some things that I've seen missing in Internet discussions about gay issues. When I read your coming out post, and the discussion that you've inspired and nurtured, I felt like my quest was ended. I wouldn't need to spend any more hours searching for ways to say what I wanted to say, I could just point to your blog.

      I'm not sure what I've been trying to do here. Just be part of what I saw happening, I guess, and help it happen. I've been very excited about the good that might come out of this, that already *has* come out of this.

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    5. I thought that the best thing I could do now, for my quest, is to be part of what's been happening here.

      Yesterday I became acutely aware of the popularity here of To recombine and fill in my thoughts about what's troubling me: the popularity here of ignoring, denying, and whitewashing cruelty and violence against gays, and diverting attention away from them; and of sweeping generalizations dismissing *all* unfavorable reactions to this story as nothing more than manifestations of character defects.

      I see signs now that not only will you ignore all that, you will actually encourage it. I hesitated to say anything about it. I don't want to be a wet blanket. I still love the story, and I still think it will do a lot of good. I'm only speaking up because I'm not *sure* that this won't mean anything to you, and I might be doing you an injustice if I keep it to myself. I imagine this story could reach many more hearts, and help many more more people, if it faced more fairly and squarely the objections raised against it, and I'm not *sure* that you won't hear my plea, and respond to it.

      Delete
    6. I forgot about proofreading. That second paragraph was garbled. It should have been:

      "Yesterday I became acutely aware of the popularity here of ignoring, denying, and whitewashing cruelty and violence against gays, and diverting attention away from them; and of sweeping generalizations dismissing *all* unfavorable reactions to this story as nothing more than manifestations of character defects."

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    7. Oops! Just now I saw a sign that I *am* being heard! I feel a little embarrassed now!

      Delete
    8. what is the sign, Jim?

      Delete
    9. I don't want to say what the sign was. I just wanted Lolly and Josh to know that I saw it.

      When I said I was embarrassed, I didn't mean that I'm embarrassed by what I said about the popularity here of ignoring, denying, and whitewashing cruelty and violence against gays, and diverting attention away from them; and of sweeping generalizations dismissing all unfavorable reactions to this story as nothing more than manifestations of character defects. I meant that I was embarrassed by what I said about not being heard.

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    10. I admire you, Jim, for standing firm against homophobia and doing so in a manner that hasn't caused the homophobic on here to turn against you. I think you have a way of approaching people that isn't threatening and as such, people are more likely to listen to what you have to say.
      I notice that you are about the only one left on here who isn't homophobic (except Fresh Hell). Don't know for sure why the others left but I suspect it has to do with growing tired of all of the relentless, entrenched homophobia and outright insults. I don't know though if all of the effort you are putting in will be worth it though - I honestly think that it may just be time that changes things. Although perhaps it was the protests of gentle folks like you that finally pulled Mormonism from racism in 1978. I'll have to check into just why that was eventually changed - political pressure? Apparently the Mormon church right at that time was moving into Brazil and a racist policy there would not have boded well. And now, 34 years later, Mormons on the whole seem to have moved beyond their racist views. So there is some hope.
      Continued good luck to you, Jim.

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    11. Anon 5:38 PM, thank you. I cherish this encouragement from you.

      Delete
    12. Jim, I think you are right. I think the discussion you are proposing is an important discussion, and I would love to engage in that discussion as you might have realized by now. It seems to me, however, that for whatever reason there seems not to be debaters here on the other side of the issue of a format that would make the debate fierce, straightforward and dignified.

      Frankly, I can see in all of my comments fairly large weaknesses that can and should be properly exploited to the detriment of my position, but I don't feel like bringing them to other people's attention because I don't want to give ammunition against myself to people like Anon 4:59 PM. They should figure it out themselves, and not kick, scream and rant aimlessly.

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    13. FG, Thank you!

      Actually, I don't want to see a debate about that here in the comments. I was just saying to Josh and Lolly that I think their story might spread farther, go deeper, and do more good, if it faced more fairly and squarely people's concerns about the harm it might do.

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  48. Very few countries which have constitutions specifically mention the rights of lesbians and gay people in the constitution itself. South Africa, under Nelson Mandela in 1994, was the first country in the world to give its citizens a constitutional right not to be discriminated against, specifically on the grounds of sexual orientation. - from http://www.familiestogetherlondon.com/homophobia/lgbt-rights-around-the-world

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  49. Even daytime soap operas, traditionally one of the most conservative of entertainment forms, have something to contribute: http://vimeo.com/45098414
    Yes, soaps are all about immorality of cheating, etc. but around gay issues it has long been silent. I think soaps are as cheesy as cheesy can be but the character's monologue to his sister is actually quite touching.

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  50. this was a way better entry than my horrible one... now i feel like erasing it. thanks for your thoughts and rock on.

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  51. While I completely respect and admire your decision to live in a mixed orientation relationship and share your story (and appreciate you clarifying that a mixed orientation relationships is not for everyone), I can understand why some may think that your story may cause "harm" to others, although I wouldn't use such a strong word. Seeing your success story of how a mixed orientation marriage can work, I can see friends and family of homosexual individuals pressuring them to live this type of high-risk relationship as well, especially those homosexuals who are LDS and already feeling the pressure of living a heterosexual lifestyle. "If it worked for them it can surely work for you" is something people may say. As a closeted gay, I know that this type of pressuring, even if well-intentioned, would create tension and negative feelings between me and my family. It would only cause more personal confusion, pain and depression. Am i really gay? Why am I gay? Could a mixed orientation work for me? What if it fails? What would my family think? If a mixed orientation marriage did "work" would I be fully happy in it? How would my spouse feel? How could I marry a woman if I couldn't honestly be one hundred percent attracted to her? While these and other potential thoughts and questions would exist regardless of your story, pushing a mixed orientation relationship, with your story as an example, could bring this potential pain, confusion, and depression to the forefront of a homosexual person's thoughts. For some it is easiest not to think about it. Out of sight, out of mind.

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  52. My name on this blog is Todossantos. I appreciate somebody wanting to hug me. It's totally undeserved, and sweet.

    I want to say how much Josh Weed and his wife Lolly (whom I have never met) mean to me. Since I read your posts on this blog, and started to reply, I feel a new freedom. I am responding to your report that Lolly thought Josh was hiding something about himself, and should reveal it. I also started commenting on another blog (where I use a different name). In the normal activities of my life, even though what I am revealing about myself is anonymous and on the Internet, I feel newly exhilarated and confident.

    My situation in life is parallel but different. Anyway we intersect. I have experienced same-sex attraction as long as I can remember. If I go into a room full of people I don't know, I notice the good-looking men. My memory goes back to when a grown man molested me when I was six. I would say it formed my picture of male sexuality. I was impressionable.

    But I never accepted what I wanted to do for sex as my "identity." Instead of asking why God made me that way (he didn't), I asked how he really made me, and tried to find out. I had sex with men and with women. One of the women and I stuck together immediately (I can't explain it). We have been married more than half my life. I am running out of fingers to count my grandchildren.

    My advice to the wide world: Human sexuality is a place of strong feelings, persistent and tired stereotypes, sophisticated propaganda and real hurt. Don't let other people tell you what you can and cannot do. I personally recommend the historic teaching of the Christian religion, but it took me half my life to get there. Guard your freedom.

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    1. Hey, Todossantos, I think I misread one of your previous comments and replied to it somewhat ignorantly. I apologize.

      I have to say that ever since I read Joshua's seminal Unicorn blog post, I started to honor and relish my homosexual attraction in a totally new and unexpected way. My attitude towards my homosexuality has become purer, healthier and more appropriate than it has ever been.

      I remember immediately after reading Josh's post, I felt such an immense relief, that I started to shed tears of joy. His story resonated very deeply.

      What particularly impresses me is the fact that Joshua Weed very carefully and painstakingly made premium choices, one by one, consistently and determinedly throughout his life, most of which were incredibly hard to make. In doing that, he manifested virtues of a character that are next to supernatural. He would probably disagree with this statement, undermining importance of those choices.

      But when I compare my path with his, I can easily see from where comes his power to overcome adversity as an inevitable consequence of coming out so far and wide.

      That is not to say that he is not in greater danger of falling, and thus disappointing us all. If I was adversary, I would simply send him a temptation that reportedly he could not resist. Now that he is approaching status of a celebrity, the stage for such an adversarial opportunity is set.

      However, somehow I trust this Josh Weed guy. I don't know why, but my gut feeling tells me that he would remain faithful to his wife and his principles. It may very well be that the strongest temptation he would ever face would pass him completely unnoticed, because of his ADHD-I. Get off of Ritalin, Josh. ;)

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  53. A general comment - It seems that the nicest, most loving people anywhere can be homophobic. It seems counterintuitive but apparently not.

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  54. oooh, FG Mormon, sounds like you have a little crush on Josh! Can't say I blame you, he is sweet and cute!

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  55. this looks like an interesting doc: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8:_The_Mormon_Proposition

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  56. Lolly, thank you for this post. I know I'm late to the party and you probably won't see this, but I feel the same way about our country. I cry when we sing the national anthem and America the Beautiful. My brain disconnects and I can't speak when trying to express how grateful I am to our founding fathers; and for all the men, women, and even children (did you know that a 12 year old fought in WWII????) who have given their lives so that we could be where we are today.

    Anyway, just wanted to share that. And also, I think what you and Josh have is awesome.

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    1. SalGal, I've wondered too, how much Lolly and Josh look back at comments on old posts, but I know I do!

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  57. Lolly, I have been following "the weed/unicorn club" loosely the last several weeks. I say loosely meaning I have read the postings, not the comments, and while my time on the blog itself is short, I have found myself thinking more of the concepts expressed, and tonight felt the need to express my support to you....I want the good to out weigh the bad and may one voice can make a difference for you today....

    First of all, Wow, courage. Faith. Determination. Love...this last one is what I want to bear testimony to you and Josh both of...you know that REAL love, that true LOVE that is gender free, life and soul sustaining, and healing and the source of true Joy.

    I think whether some people respond or not, your choice to share is affecting many people's lives for good, even if it just gives one a pause for reconsidering thier beliefs for a moment.

    I too am LDS, I was raised in the church and have had to come to terms with same sex attraction because of a child I had that was exhibiting behaviors that scared me. I hyperfocused on it, became very depressed, and obessive about his behavior, I should mention he was three. I know really?

    Anyway, I had to search diligently for an understanding of this fear/reality /possiblity and studied many church talks. There are so many lies out there in the world, I was so embedded with "false doctrine." My journey to come to terms with why Heavenly Father would let such a weakness exist in light of his commandment to multiply and replish the earth was hard...but really any weakness could keep us from our potential.

    I am happy to say that today that little boy is six, he loves pink, life, is much like your josh, very full of life and understanding of things beyond many peoples grasp. Today, he is my sunshine boy, my beliefs about the weaknesses in general have changed, and I realized my faith had to be in the Savior, and that my only true weapon against such a lifestyle choice for any of my children was 1. unconditional love, 2. strong foundation in our faith 3. good environments and friends. How blessed Josh was to be so accepted in his close circles. I know of others who were rejected and belittled out of fear, and misunderstanding, and almost felt, I believe, cornered into "living out thier true identities."

    I love the way you peppered your blog post with love, that Josh loves himself, his savior, the truth enough to lie it on the altar, so to speak. I imagine that you know a little more than some of us what Emma Smith went through now....thank you. Sharing is what helps us all to know we are more alike than different, more spirit than body, and not alone in our weaknesses. That takes courage, and true courage, I believe is motivated by love...I pray your blessings may be greater and compensatory for your losses and sacrifices at this time. That your home and family maybe protected, that your determination and inspiration may not waver, and that you will find the grace you need to continue this journey however long our Father wants you to proceed. Give yourself and Josh a hug for me....tight ones where you know you are loved....

    Blessings
    Tannis in alaska

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    1. Tannis, I imagine many, many people, maybe thousands, have been reading here without posting, and from the comments I can see this story doing wonderful, wonderful things for people.

      Delete
  58. "By donating your means and time to preserving the sacred institution of marriage.''
    - Elder Quentin L. Cook, in 2008 right before proposition 8 in California.

    What exactly did he mean by this?

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    1. It's funny .. You know the people of Cali choice to stop gay marriages.. Not the Mormon church. So what if people of our church donated.. A lot of people did . What about the other side .. I saw a lot of actors and actresses paid millions to approve gay marriage and what shocked me the most was the teachers union of California gave tons of money to support gay marriage. Don't you think that the main teacher union of California donating money presents a huge legal and ethical dilemma. I sure do!!!

      Gay people have every legal right to marry as any straight person. They just don't like that option because it means they'd have marry outside theit gender. They are basically asking everyone to give thrm special privileges and cater to their sexual preverences beyond the rights every person in this country has.

      You can get married you know.... Stop asking everyone to bend the rules for your desires... !!!

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    2. It's funny .. You know the people of Cali choice to stop gay marriages.. Not the Mormon church. So what if people of our church donated.. A lot of people did . What about the other side .. I saw a lot of actors and actresses paid millions to approve gay marriage and what shocked me the most was the teachers union of California gave tons of money to support gay marriage. Don't you think that the main teacher union of California donating money presents a huge legal and ethical dilemma. I sure do!!!

      Gay people have every legal right to marry as any straight person. They just don't like that option because it means they'd have marry outside theit gender. They are basically asking everyone to give thrm special privileges and cater to their sexual preverences beyond the rights every person in this country has.

      You can get married you know.... Stop asking everyone to bend the rules for your desires... !!!

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  59. '' . . . Thank you again for all that you've done to help promote California's Proposition 8."
    - Elder L. Whitney Clayton, 2008
    I don't care what you personally believe but when the Mormon Church actively works to take away civil rights from others, then I have something to say. And I will keep having something to say and evidence to back it up even if some respond with sarcasm, with rage, or with love and kindness. The fact is, the Elders of the Mormon Church told members of the Mormon Church to give whatever time or money they could in order to get Proposition 8 passed. Some have commented on here that the Mormon Church had little to do with Prop 8. Some have commented that the Mormon Church is not trying to deny anyone their civil rights.
    Sadly, the facts say otherwise.
    Here's what I expect the reaction to be from my comment here and the one above: either ignoring it, reacting angrily and/or sarcastically/condescendingly and calling my character into question (and/or being 'amused' by what I have to say), by claiming what I say is not true or somehow taken out of context or by agreeing with what the Elders have said.
    The Mormon Church taking away the civil rights of others has always been my point. I have - and I take responsibiity for this - allowed myself to be reactive and to deviate from what my point is. I have allowed myself to be drawn into pointless discussions which had the effect of distracting from what the real issue is.

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  60. See I can say the same....on the opposite side of the fence. . I feel my civil rights are being taking away because people are trying to indoctrinate society with stuff that I don't believe in. My rights are being taking away because people are trying to redefine marriage to mean really nothing more then a paper. I already have enough trouble keeping my kids innocent for heterosexual oversexed people let alone homosexual oversexed people. What about my rights? And my kids rights not to see that crap? Is it ok for my kids to get a full descriptions Of homosexual sex (forced!!!) when they are not even old enough to make an informed decision about what sex really is? I'm sorry indoctrinating out children to be "ok" with this is taking away my rights.... Hands down and it's harming my children...

    Not that I believe in polygamy but if gay marriage can be legalized then so should polygamy. They also claim they are not harming anyone else!!! (remember in the old days children weregetting married at 14-16 years of age). Oh yah your all probably going to say its not the same.. Right? Lol typical!!!

    Don't like what I said do you? Then stop making bullhead remarks anon 9:17.

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    1. There is no civil right to be protected from things you find objectionable. Unless you can show me where that is in the constitution? The U.S. Supreme Court found there is a constitutional right to marriage in Loving V Virginia and the 14th Amendment is crystal clear about extending some privileges of law to one group of citizens but not another.

      Living in the U.S. is a guarantee that you'll have to live in community with minority groups that you may wish you did not have the same rights that you do but our founding fathers were wise and liberty and justice is for us all.

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    2. I am sure the founding fathers are rolling over in their graves at all the misuses of their pain stacking work and changing everything this country was founded on..

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    3. Well, a little rolling over in their graves is fine by me. I mean, I am a woman who enjoys things like voting and owning property.

      However, that is what makes our constitution so powerful. It went beyond the prejudices of the day, far beyond. It enables us to make a noble document more so with each passing year.

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    4. what is 'pain stacking' work. Perhaps 'painstaking.' It never ceases to amaze me (although it really shouldn't as it makes sense) that the more bigoted someone is, the more spelling errors they make or the more wrong words they choose. It has happened continuously on the comments throughout this blog since Josh came out. Can't always blame your smart phone either. But surely there are college-educated bigots out there? There has to be. It honestly just stops me in my tracks. I'm reading along on the bigoted comments and out comes say the words 'pain stacking.' Darn it, now I have to stop and decide that this person may not be the sharpest tool in the shed. IT IS SO DISTRACTING.
      PLEASE BIGOTS SPELL CHECK OR ASK SOMEONE WHO HAS A COLLEGE EDUCATION FROM AN ACCREDITED COLLEGE TO CHECK OVER YOUR WORK. PLEASE. Thank you. Bigots, you can take over the world, one pain stacking day at a time.

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    5. Anon 8:09

      Is this better. It is sew pane stalking to c you see critikal of other peples comments. Why don't you tend to your family and stop posting on her. Just by writing what you did I am going to write all my post unedited and misspelled just to make you uneasy!!! Lol
      A bigot knows a bigot. Hence I'm assuming you are one. Please stop spouting off. Just because someone has good morals does not make them a bigot. It means they have common sense not to play into this whole new free sex idea.. This world is going down hill. It's pretty sad

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    6. It doesn't make me uneasy. It makes me happy. The more ignorant you prove yourself to be, the easier it is to be certain that you have nothing worthy to say.
      What I am guilty of is that I like to debate with people who aren't a intelligent than I am or are brainwashed but of course don't know it. So, yeah, some of the commenters on this blog are easy pickings.

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    7. That was not me who posted the original post.... I just thought your post was completely and utterly rude (I am assuming you are the same poster that posted a rude one down below too....).

      What you are guilty of is ignorance yourself...... just by debating you show how ignorant you truly are. In order to be reputable you need to actually have experience in what you say. Have you ever been Mormon before? Have you stepped inside a Mormon church? Have you researched the Mormon church (not to disprove it, but to really see if it is right?). If the answer is no to all these questions then you are considered ignorant in Mormon theology, therefore you can't make accurate statements that will hold any value to people listening. So please refrain from making blanket statements if you want to remain credible. Thanks.

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  61. So the church definitely had a part in prop 8 and where they generally stay quiet on specific political issues nd how to vote they didn't on this. However to claim the church is trying to take away civil rights from homosexual couples means one is very uneducated on the subject. The church has made many efforts for committed couples in gay relationships to receive the same rights a committed heterosexual couple would receive such as insurance benefits from the partners work hospital visitation rights and rights to inheritance upon death. The leaders of the church understand those are basic civil rights that every committed person. In. A relationship deserve. They know people are going to desire to be in homosexual relationships and are not trying to stop the whole world from this. But they do want the definition and constitution of marriage defined the way God has defined it between a man and a woman to remain in tact. What more can the church do to extend support short of turning away from what they believe God is telling them. Since when is it such an awful thing for people to stand up for what they feel is right in the face of so much opposition and hatred. Its pretty courageous if you ask me. If it were blind hatred they wouldn't lift a finger to fight for the rights of gay couples in a commuted relationship.... would they?

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  62. Alicia, Gays and Lesbians want to be married. What the mormon church is attempting to do is mold civil law to reflect their specific religious belief. That's unamerican and, yes, it feels hateful even when there are allegedly good intentions behind the actions.

    Mormons don't get to decide what is nessicary for gays and lesbians to be full fledged citizens. It just doesn't work that way.

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    1. Its sad that I can see so much goodness and love from my gay friends and not think they are hateful evil people even though they oppose many of my beliefs and I can understand that they are fighting a battle based on what they feel is right but according to much of the world I am hateful and unamerican because my definition of marriage does not coincide with theirs. One standing up for what they believe in has never been real popular but I guess you probably know how that feels...don't you? I'm just trying to point out that the church truly is full of love and charity especial coming from the leaders even if you don't agree with everything they teach. If one looked into it a little. By their fruits ye shall know them. But people will keep plugging their ears saying la la la so as not to hear any good. That makes me so sad. Don't agree with everything I believe but please don't say I am hateful or unamerican be aide my beliefs differ from yours

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    2. I know you must know how it feels to stand up for what you feel is right and be unpopular possibly even hated for it.... I have had to learn that people wont always like me for believing what I believe and that's okay but please don't tell me I'm hateful or unamerican ffor having some convictions and standing up for them when necessary. I know you wont believe it but I have a dear friend who is gay and we became friends because we served in church together. It did not change my relationship with him once he came out even though he stopped coming to church and made some strong statements against the church that is so dear to me. He is still the friend I knew and loved before we just don't see everything the same. I have another friend who is my dear friend but has lived a wild life and dealt with addictions. She knows where I stand and I know where she stands. Our lifestyles are completely different and I disagree with much of what she does and yet when we are together we have a great time. If she were to ask me what I felt about certain things I would tell her. Anyway. I just don't like when people say I cant love and get along with someone if I don't agree with all they do. My brother live very contrary life styles to mine in some ways and I love them and they are fun to be with. I wish you could see how much love is in the church especially from the general authorities. Even when they speak out against things they do it with love and concern. You can say I'm brainwashed but I am an educated woman who has had a lot of experiences and known a lot of people and studied things out for myself. Having a dad that's a convert gave me a different perspective on things. I came to a testimony all on my lonesome. There are some ignorant even stupid nd yes hateful people in the church but they are not following the savior and you will find people like this in any large group of people. Sorry if you have been offended by some individuals or us as a group but realize you are giving the same unfair treatment you attribute to us that we are somehow inhuman with out feeling and are wrong for standing up for what we believe in

      Delete
    3. No, it's not the same treatment. I'm not attempting to withhold your civil rights. In fact, I spent 22 proud years as the wife of a U.S. Marine. Our family sacraficed a lot, and did it gladly, in order to protect everyone's rights, including yours. If someone was trying to force Mormons to perform same-sex marriages in their temples, I'd be the first person to protest.

      I never said you're brainwashed or inhuman or anything like that. I said, and it's true, that it is unamerican to expect civil law to reflect your religious beliefs. Not only unamerican but impossible considering A) the sheer number of religions practiced in the United States and B) we are not a theocracy.

      And no matter how lovingly work is done, it can still be hurtful and, frankly, wrong. We're not talking about motive here, we're talking about action. In the end, you want to withhold a civil right that I assume you enjoy from a minority. We don't do that in this country. Or I should say we do it until our wrong is pointed out to us by that minority and then it is made right. Thank goodness for our beautiful and wise constitution.

      Delete
    4. That's awesome. I'm amazed people sacrifice so much by having families and leaving them for long periods of time to protect us. My husband left for one week to scout camp and I'm bummed about that. Cant imagine months or years. I'm sorry we don't see eye to eye. I want people to have rights believe me or not. I just want the definition of marriage asa God sees it defended between a man and woman. Call it something different I guess. I wouldn't want to take their rights away to be together and adopt children surrogate what have you. I'm sorry you think I'm inamerican because I love this country so much! I just often think about my great grandparents who were converted to the gospel in England and scrimped and saved and waited to get married til they could go to the temple and that they wanted to do it for their posterity and I'm so grateful they did. I want to stand up for what my grandparents sacrificed so much for.we will probably never agree on this thing but hopefully we would agree on some things

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  63. Alicia, I was aware that the Mormon Church threw their support behind gay rights related to hospitalization, medical care, employment, housing or probate as long as they "do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches."
    Some say this was used as a PR tool after the extremely negative reaction to its massive support of Prop 8. I tend to believe that but it doesn't matter though, the fact that the Mormon Church is supporting something positive around gay people is astounding.
    But to be clear, by backing Prop 8 and by putting huge money into the campaign for it, the Mormon Church most definitely took civil rights away from homosexual couples-- one day they could marry legally, the next they could not. And yes, it was Californians and obviously not just Mormons who voted on Prop 8 but that is no excuse. The Mormon Church raised huge money to campaign for Prop 8 and put together a group of other fundamentalist religions and Catholics to work with them. The Mormon Church has also tried to play down its involvement.
    Fresh Hell is right. Mormons don't get to decide whether gays and lesbians are allowed to marry - this is not a theocracy. The Mormon Church does not get to mold civil law because the concept of gay and lesbian marriage messes with its idea of what heaven is, which is what this comes down to.
    It honestly concerns me that as a non-Mormon, I seem to know more about what the Mormon Church is up to in certain arenas than Mormons themselves.

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  64. and Prop 8 actually CHANGED the California Constitution in order to explicitly deny gay people the right to marry.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Thankfully, that was overturned.

      "Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians ... and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior ... the Constitution simply does not allow for 'laws of this sort.'"

      -9th Circuit Court of Appeals

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    2. oh, okay, phew.

      Delete
  65. Per Wikipedia:

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,[56][57][58] whose members are commonly known as Mormons, also publicly supported the proposition. The First Presidency of the church announced its support for Proposition 8 in a letter intended to be read in every congregation in California. In this letter, church members were encouraged to "do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time."[56] Local church leaders set organizational and monetary goals for their membership—sometimes quite specific—to fulfill this call.[59][60] The response of church members to their leadership's appeals to donate money and volunteer time was very supportive,[61] such that Latter-day Saints provided a significant source for financial donations in support of the proposition, both inside and outside the State of California.[62] About 45% of out-of-state contributions to ProtectMarriage.com came from Utah, over three times more than any other state.[63] ProtectMarriage, the official proponent of Proposition 8, estimates that about half the donations they received came from Mormon sources, and that LDS church members made up somewhere between 80% and 90% of the volunteers for early door-to-door canvassing.[64] The The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints produced and broadcast to its congregations a program describing the support of the Proposition, and describing the timeline it proposes for what it describes as grassroots efforts to support the Proposition.[

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    1. Your quoting sources from wiki? Really? You know wiki is not thr most reliable source lol.

      A question? Where you sitting in church when the letter was read? Do you have first hand knowledge of what it said? Well I was... It said nothing like that. It talked us about making an informed decision about elections through prayerful means and it they would not tell us how to vote. It was up to us... No exactly what you say what happened is it? Lol. Get your facts straight and don't spout off unless you had first hand knowledge. Hear say is not actual
      Fact..

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    2. the information I got is from numerous sources - including the New York Times, the LA Times, (even!) Fox News, the Salt Lake City tribune and on and on.
      I believe you that in your particular church, you may not have been told how to vote.
      There are recordings of the Mormon Prophets saying what I quoted above. Their voices, their words.
      You need to get your facts straight. Do a little research - google brought up these news sources and others very easily and quickly.
      I'm not going to devolve into a discussion about how all media is biased against the Mormon Church.
      I note that when I present facts - irrefutable facts - it is met with derision, mocking, sarcasm and attacking me. If you can find news stories from other reputable news sources that prove that the Mormon Church did not spend millions of dollars on getting Prop 8 passed and that the recordings from the Prophets is patently false - then I'd welcome that. Your own prophet thanked Mormons for doing all they could to support Prop. 8. That this was not mentioned or not played in your particular church does not make it less true.
      The mocking of anyone on here who presents different opinions and facts is constant and makes it impossible to have an honest and intelligent discussion about anything.
      Again, I am most eager to read from news sources a refutation of what I have presented. Just saying 'really? Wiki?" doesn't prove anything.
      I have honestly not had one conversation with anyone on here who was able to stop changing the subject and resorting to mocking and deriding. Not one. Why is that? Again, I welcome the proof behind your facts. I really do. This is not about proving faith or that eternal life exists with polygamy and spirit babies for all (that is not mocking, just what i've read is believed. If I'm wrong, please let me know and I'll happily admit I am wrong) this is about the Mormon Church systematically working to take away the rights of gays and lesbians to marry in Hawaii, in California and now in Maryland. Prove me wrong, show me the facts, the sources. But the constant mocking has no place in intelligent debate.

      Delete
    3. Anon... W got the same letter from the first presidency as the rest of the country and world. The first presidencyascent it out to all the congregations to read. That's proof enough for me. So what if people decided to vote they way they did. We are in America you know. You act like people shouldnt have a right to have an
      Opinion. Don't you think that is taking away rights?
      On a side note, My parents converted to the Mormon church when I was one. I have Lived all over the country in different locations and even attended a congregation out in Germany while I was a foreign exchange student. Never once have I EVER heard thr church talk about thr gay people in a bad light. We just don't do crap like that. You will never hear of is down other religions either. Now we might have a lesson on sexual sin and homosexuality is brought up. But NEVER have I once heard anyone start talking pitchforks for the gay community, I think you guys need to chill about the mormon pit to get you because it's not true. Instead of assuming from media, other people, or the haters... Why don't you find out for your self. The only way you can is by stepping into the church and actually really seeing what's it about. You will see what I'm talking about.

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    4. Anon 3:30 AM. Nothing to do with having an opinion. Everything to do with actively working to take away the civil rights of others.
      I have said this repeatedly but it is either being continually misunderstood or ignored:
      This is not about what Mormons think about homosexuality. They, as anyone, can have any opinion they want. This is about the Mormon Church actively working to take away the civil rights of a minority because they believe that minority's behaviour to be sinful. To recap:
      - no one is trying to stop you from having whatever opinion you want.
      - The Mormon Church worked actively to take away the rights of gay people in California to marry, in Hawaii and now in Maryland. It may be good enough for you to have heard that letter but that doesn't take away from the fact that the Mormon church spent millions of dollars and actively worked to take away civil rights of a minority group.
      - Again, it is not about what Mormons think. I am speaking only of the actions the Mormon Church took to take away the civil rights of gay people in California to marry. You may all be the nicest people in the whole world who as individuals, have never ever even thought a bad thought about gay people. The fact is the Mormon Church institution, the leaders, took specific action to get Prop 8 passed. one of the prophets THANKED Mormons for working hard to get Prop 8 passed.
      Again, you are probably all the nicest people on earth. But that is not the point.
      I can't make this any clearer, I don't know how to. A chart? A graph?
      And finally, working actively to take away civil rights from a minority group because your religion disagrees with it? That's throwing some mighty pitchforks.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous July 10, 2012 8:21 PM

      We could easily take the same tone with the LGBT community that you're taking with the LDS Church. For thousands of years, the institution of marriage has been between a man and a woman. It is a profoundly religious institution, and it is central to the doctrines of churches all over the world. You label the position of the LDS Church as seeking to take away the civil rights of gay people to marry. But its position could just as easily be described as an effort to maintain a status quo that has been adhered to for millennia and has been the foundation of what is arguably the most central, stable, and important unit of society.

      Moreover, while you say the LGBT community simply wants equal rights, we could easily label its actions as seeking to redefine an inherently religious institution for everyone--to use its status as a minority group to recharacterize a relationship that, as depicted in the first few pages of the Bible, was instituted, defined, and approved by God.

      If a church defending the definition of marriage tramples on your civil rights, why can't the same be said for people who want to engage in plural marriage? If they voluntarily choose that lifestyle, why shouldn't defining marriage in a way that excludes their relationships not be considered trampling on their civil rights too? Or how about someone who wants to marry his cousin, or his sibling, or his step-parent? What about someone who wants to marry his pet? How far does the argument go, and how can you draw a meaningful line without divinely inspired direction?

      If a different minority group advocated for legislation that rewrote the definitions of other religious doctrines or rites (e.g., legislation regarding what constitutes baptism, what it means to hold the priesthood, what faith or repentance means, etc.), I dare say it would not be controversial for a religion with a different definition to speak out against it--even if the law didn't require churches to actually adopt the government's definition. What the LDS Church is doing with the issue of marriage is no different. It is simply defending its position that the government does not have the authority to rewrite scripture and recharacterize longstanding religious doctrines.

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    6. I knew the marrying a pet argument would come out.
      Anyway, the U.S. is not a theocracy. As such, it does not make decisions based on the Bible or on people's interpretations of what their God says. (My and thousands of other people's intrepretations of the Bible say God is not anti-gay marriage). You could indeed call the US government godless as it does not run based on what people think God says or does not say.
      A little about the founding fathers before that argument comes out:
      Thomas Jefferson made an interpretation of the 1st Amendment to his January 1st, 1802 letter to the Committee of the Danbury Baptist Association calling it a "wall of separation between church and State." Madison had also written that "Strongly guarded. . . is the separation between religion and government in the Constitution of the United States." There existed little controversy about this interpretation from our Founding Fathers.
      Separation of church and state.
      Again, the U.S. government is not a theocracy and even if it were which it is not) there are, believe it or not, many religions and branches of Christianity that have no problem with same sex marriage, so which religion do you pick to form this theocracy?
      But again again, what the Bible does (or does not) say about marriage is completely irrelevant now in terms of the US government making - or taking away - civil rights. This is not a theocracy.
      I honestly feel like I have to keep repeating facts because some people are not hearing it or ignoring it and just moving on to 'but God says this,' and etc. The US government does not run based on what the Mormon Church (or any church) says.
      But but but the Constitution - was a secular document but that is a whole other argument.
      now, if the US ever does become a theocracy, I'd pick Buddhists to run things.
      The government is not in the business of rewriting scripture or recharacterizing longstanding religiuos doctrines. The government is NOT INVOLVED IN RELIGION.
      There, I think I have repeated myself enough.
      And just on a side note, the Bible, while not ever mentioning pets, is filled with incestuous relationships, chalk full.
      Oh and in Canada, where gay marriage has been legal for quite awhile, no one has as of yet married her pet. Mind you, in BC there is a Mormon polygamous community that existed years before gay marriage was legalized. There's some strange law that for some reason is not banning this horrible Mormon practice - and it is awful - connected to what is going on in Utah and Texas.
      But let us not get distracted from the main point: the U.S. is not a theocracy so it does not run based on what the Mormon Church says it should run on. Good thing too as many in the US don't believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible or of the Book of Mormon. Although from what I understand, the state government of Utah is trying mightily to be a theocracy.
      And yes, yes, I know polygamists and Sister Wives is part of a cultish offshoot of LDS.

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    7. [quote]It is a profoundly religious institution,[/quote]

      It is also a civil institution. The civil institution is the one that we are fighting to change, not the religious one. Hence, your religious arguements are not applicable.

      I'm not going to dignify the pet nonsense with a sincere reply.

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    8. So fresh hell, are you ok with legalizing plural marriage? If we are going to change all thr civil laws should we not include plural marriage in that law too?

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    9. There is no change to civil marriage law to make it include gay and lesbian marriage. Just as there was no need to change the law to make it include inter-racial marriage. There is simply the need of acknowledgement that gays and lesbians are already included under the 14th Amendment.

      Amendment XIV
      Section 1.
      All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

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    10. As for plural marriage, I have no opinion. It's not my issue.

      Historically it's been horrific for women, so that concerns me but beyond that I know virtually nothing about it.

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    11. I have friends who live in Virginia who are married - she is black, he is Caucasion. Less than 40 years ago this would have been illegal and there were people fighting mightily against it with much the same kind of arguemnts about polygamy (and of course far worse arguements).
      Ironioally, it is the Mormons themselves who could tell us all about polygamny.
      And that seems to be the only leg to try and stand on regarding the legal argument for gay marriage - but what about polygamy!
      And yes, again, Fresh Hell is right. It is the civil institution being discussed, not the religious one. If all you've got to argue against that is the tired old polygamy argument, then you've got nothing.
      I am talking civil rights here, civil law, the civil institution of marriage. No matter how manyu pets or polygamists you bring up to try and tangent the subject awy from that fact, that fact still remains.

      Again, not a theocracy, although as I said Utah is pretty close.

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    12. AnonymousJuly 11, 2012 7:43 AM --

      You've definitely cherry-picked the founding father quotes. Here's a couple more to balance things out:

      "Suppose a nation in some distant Region should take the Bible for their only law Book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and reverence toward Almighty God ... What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be." -- John Adams

      "While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian." -- George Washington


      And Fresh Hell--
      It has only been in the past 40 years or so of history that people have been able to divorce marriage from its religious, and family-centered, foundation. For 200+ years, American society viewed marriage as much more than a civil contract between consenting adults. Rather, it was inextricably linked to proper self-government, in large part because it fostered the ideal child-centered environment to instill in the next generation of citizens the moral and political values that would ensure our country's continued greatness. If you view marriage as nothing more than a government-enforced civil contract that allows its participants to take advantage of some favorable tax and inheritance laws, then redefining it as genderless makes some sense. But if you view it as integral to the moral, spiritual, and political fabric of the nation, redefining it as a genderless and purely civil institution will harm society in a very real way.

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    13. I would argue that in the last 50 years civil marriage has been divorced from it's racist and sexist foundation. That has not ended the institution of civil marriage and neither will
      divorcing it from it's homophobic foundation.

      Marriage evolves and it survives.

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    14. Out of curiosity...What specific harm have you seen civil marriage do? And gay marriage in the places it is legal?

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    15. Marriage has certainly evolved from the idea of women being property and interracial marriages being banned.
      You can view marriage as integral to the moral, spiritual and political fabric of the nation as much as you want and be upset at how marriage has changed in the last 200 years (I know some people would love to bring back the ban on interracial marriage or to have women be property again) but the fact remains again, I say again and again and again and again, that the U.S. is not a theocracy. All people don't have to live the way Mormons think they should live or the way Jews do or Christians do or Sikhs do or Hindus do, etc, etc, etc. You can believe with your whole being that homosexuality will bring down society and will mess up the Mormon view of heaven, which is what it seems to come down to for Mormons although they cover it up rather well.Mormonism is all about being biologically able to populate the earth. Frankly, the earth is a bit overpopulated right at the moemnt.
      Thankfully, your god is not mine and as I do not have the right to put into law my beliefs about god on to others who don't believe in that god, you also do not have that right. And the Jews don't have that right and the Hindus and the Sikhs and on and on and on. You get the idea.
      To sum up: the U.S. is not a theocracy and until it is (some would argue that W. tried to turn it into that) the Mormon religious perspective on what marriage is is irrelevant to the greater society. The Mormon religion is so entangled with the U.S. that I can see how the distinction could seem difficult.
      And yes, how specifically will it harm society? Not generally, not philosophically or esoteric (i.e. God will smite the land!) but specifically.
      I live in Canada where gay marriage has been around for several years. I see no harm to society from it - society is as messed up as it has always been, but not more so. I think the one real harm is that there may be an increase in homophobia from people who are appalled that gay people have gotten equal rights. But I would be very curious to know exactly how you think that gay marriage has messed up society in Canada. Again, I'm not talking about the esoteric, 'God has taken his protective hand from your nation," but rather something solid and real. To say that gay marriage will 'harm society in a very real way,' is a strong statement. Back it up I say. Also, how come Jesus never visited Canada? Must have been too cold, can't blame him really. Although Vancouver where I live is not so bad but compared to the Middle East, it is darned chilly.

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    16. Also, until 1978, were Mormons not against interracial marriage? Did they until then think that interracial marriage would hurt society in a very real way? Some Mormons preach to this day that interracial marriages should be avoided since they are more complicated and might not last as long. Uh huh.
      There is just so much I've been learning about Mormonism that I could bring up here but there's no point because it will be denied or sarcastically dealt with. Frankly, it is just as hard to take Mormons seriously as it is to take Scientology seriously but I'm trying so as to understand just exactly how the thinking works. I'm trying to wrap my brain around it, I really am. But it's not made easier when Mormons on here first tell me, no, no Mormons had nothing to do with Prop 8. Then I prove they did. Okay, the church did, they say, but we are still nice and love gay people. Or no, we might not have had anything to do with prop 8 because you can't trust any media. But gay people can never marry because that will destroy the fabric of America. And it seems that Mormons think that their god is the god whose rules all of America should follow no matter what they believe because those beliefs are irrelevant because only the Mormon god knows how gay people are trying to destroy America. And we need to go back to the founding fathers and live like it was then when it was so awesome except of course for women having no rights and African Americans were considered less than human. No, no, they tell me, women can have rights now and African Americans have been equal since 1978 and before that it wasn't their time to be equal. I'm paraphrasing but this is the genuine gist.
      Also, Mormons really love gay people but really, gay people are too sensitive about the whole bullying thing and thinking they are special because they are bullied. Mormons are bullied too, I'm told and it is the same, I am told.
      And Brigham young's racism is not important and Joseph Smith wasa racist too but he was just a product of his time, I'm told.
      America would be great if those oversexed gay people weren't being so gay, I'm told. And Mormon children are being taught in school the exact sex acts that gay people do, I'm told. Gay people should totally and easily be able to deny their sexual needs since it is only about sex, I'm told.
      But we Mormons love everyone, I'm told.
      And Jesus only visited America because America is the greatest country in the world or was until gay people tried to marry each other which will result in no more children being made and the world will end and Mormonism will die out.
      You might see how it is hard to wrap my mind around all of this.

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    17. anon 12:54 and 2:20. All you said was pathetic. Unless you

      1) have been mormon

      or

      2) have been sitting in a congregation of a mormon church to REALLY search it out

      What you say is just diarrhea of the mouth to most of us. How can you say the things you say without researching out the church in your heart with real intent and trully trying to find out if there is merit. It really showed how ignorant you are.

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    18. I say we legalized plural marriage too!!!

      Hey, since having more then one spouse seems to be some peoples sexual orientation, why not! If we give some people special privilege (beyond what EVERY single person in this country has already - we all have to same rights to marry a person of a different gender, why not give the right to all who have a different sexual orientation then the norm. I am sure others (like in a plural marriage situation) could argue the same as the gay rights activist saying their civil rights are being taken away because they can't marry who they choose to marry.

      I think its time we give ALL people marriage rights who want to marry or have a relationship in line with their sexual orientation.
      It's only fair you know.

      Now the question is... what should be the exception?

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    19. I was just regurgitating what Mormon people have said in the comments since Josh came out.
      Still wondering why gay married folk are destroying society in Canada, South Africa, England, etc? you dodged that completely.

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    20. Anonymous July 11, 2012 9:22 PM--

      I get the sense that despite what you say, you don't really want to understand Mormons or Mormon thinking at all. Your posts feel a lot more like Mormon bashing than regurgitation. You seem to be searching for hypocrisy in anything people post and twisting their words to make Mormons sound foolish, backward-thinking, and bigoted.

      I hesitate to even respond because I doubt you will seriously consider anything I say. Nonetheless, in answer to the question about harming society, in my mind it has at least a little to do with the importance of the family. I--and I suspect most Mormons--view families as the building blocks of stable, peaceful, and productive societies. I assume that anyone who grew up in a stable family with a loving father and mother can attest to the overwhelmingly positive impact it had on their lives. Anything that de-emphasizes the importance of the family, anything that contributes to its breakdown, is ultimately harmful to society. In my mind, this includes infidelity, physical and emotional abuse, alcoholism, pornography, premarital sex, dishonesty, and many other behaviors. Unfortunately, we've seen a rapid increase in basically all of these problems over past half century or so, and I think it's a huge reason that we've also seen drastic increases in the divorce rate, the number of single-parent families, the number of people in need of public assistance, the number of children born out of wedlock, etc. It's unfair to point to any one practice as the root of all our challenges, but I believe that gay marriage is among the contributors because it tends to de-emphasize the importance of the family.

      There is probably a broader point to be made in all this, as well (although I suspect it will not sit well with you). If you believe that a certain behavior is a sin, then you probably believe the behavior is destructive in and of itself, regardless of its rippling effects. Thus, you're likely to oppose anything that tends to promote the behavior or label it as acceptable. When it comes to such behaviors, the issue is no longer about discrimination; it's simply about right versus wrong. LDS doctrine has always held that any sexual relations outside of heterosexual marriage are sinful, so the Church's advocacy on gay marriage is simply a way of standing up for what it believes is right. This seems totally appropriate to me, especially in the context of legislation and constitutional amendments, since one of the most important functions of the law is to outline the moral ideals of society. Of course, you are free to disagree with the Church about whether gay sex is really sinful, and one of the great things about living in the USA is we are all free to carry our moral beliefs with us to the ballot box.

      Tangentially, I think it's important to point out that recognizing a behavior as sinful and loving the person who engages in it are not mutually exclusive activities. Jesus, while showing love for the adulterous woman and protecting her from her accusers nonetheless reminded her that she should "sin no more." Every person I have ever loved in my life has struggled to overcome some sin or another. I have often recognized when their actions were wrong (and I'm sure they did the same with me), but I have never loved them any less because of it.

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    21. Thank you for your well thought out response.
      I may not have expressed my thoughts above as clearly as I should have. I do admit to feeling frustrated. But, unfortunately, what I wrote is what I read from many people on here, right down to the idea of gay marriage destroying the fabric of America. I think that when you are involved in something long enough, you (the generic you, not you, you)you kinda become inured to what is being said. To me, as an outsider, often what I read on here in regard to gay people and gay marriage is startling in its conviction that gay marriage will destroy America. Just as startling to me is when I read (on other sites) the fact that African Americans were denied the priesthood until 1978. That seems to have become so woven into the fabric of Mormonism that some just seem to accept it. And there really was a comment that God, for whatever reason, didn't want African Americans to be in the priesthood until 1978.
      What I'm hearing you say is that there doesn't need to be solid proof of how gay marriage harms society. Rather, because it is viewed as a sin, it will simply naturally be harmful.
      And again, I say that because of the separation of church and state, the religious view of homosexuality should be irrelevant. That it is not, that the Mormon Church gave millions of dollars to the Prop 8 campaign and the prophet thanked Mormons who were working to support Prop 8, brings down the barrier between church and state and no church has that right. Do whatever you want in your religious institutions but churches must stay out of civil law. Otherwise, the US is a theocracy. It is not about how much one loves others or feels certain things to be sin - this is about civil, not religious law. And it will never be right for religions to interfere in that legal process.

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    22. Anonymous July 12, 2012 7:57 AM--

      I disagree with your definition of the separation of church and state. The phrase is an outgrowth of the First Amendment's directive that Congress should make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise of religion. As I understand that provision, the duty of separation is on the government's side, not on religion's. In fact, James Madison argued many times that the Amendment was designed to prevent the government from establishing a national religion and forcing people to worship as members of it. I don't know of any quotes from founding fathers, or for that matter from recent Supreme Court opinions, suggesting that the Amendment prohibits religions from taking official stances on public policy issues or encouraging their members to vote for or against specific legislation.

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    23. Nor should churches be introducing/spending millions of dollars supporting legislation at all and certainly not legislation designed to take away the equal rights of others. As I mentioned, the Mormon Church did this in Hawaii in the 90s, then California and now Maryland.

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    24. "It's unfair to point to any one practice as the root of all our challenges, but I believe that gay marriage is among the contributors because it tends to de-emphasize the importance of the family."

      How in the world do two people who want a legal recognition of the committment they've already made to live together as a family "de-emphasize" the importance of family?

      I didn't have to fight to be legally recognized as a mother but a friend of mine did in Virginia. I didn't legally have to fight to be legally recognized as a spouse but friends of mine did in Massachusetts.

      How can you say that people who spend untold amounts of time and money (that straight people never have to!) to be recognized as family are a threat to families?!

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  66. I just love you guys! I learned about you through the club unicorn post. I think love heals all!!

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  67. I'm sad this image wasn't in this post: http://champagnemanagement.com/system/images/July09/americorn.jpg
    Hang in there, Lolly! People aren't always the best thinkers, and they get scared of things they don't understand. Like taxes and Isaiah. And unicorns that produce fireworks.

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  68. And gay people.

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