Monday, July 16, 2012

Reparative Therapy Video


Hey everybody, this is Lolly again. Josh has been in Utah for the past couple of days at a therapy training. He just got back tonight.

There have been some questions that have come up lately regarding Josh's therapeutic stance and practices. He promised he would write a post in response to those questions. He has spent hours over the course of days trying to write a response. Nothing has felt right, so I suggested he just try doing a video where he can talk about it. So, that's what we did tonight.

I realize this video might be boring to a lot of you since it's all about Josh's therapeutic stance regarding homosexuality. We will not be insulted in the slightest if you opt not to watch the video. The video is in two parts because YouTube wouldn't let us publish it as one video. Altogether it is about 18 minutes long. Sorry. We tried to be quick and concise, but that was the best we could do.

For anyone who is interested, we certainly hope this clears things up. Josh couldn't be more real. I can't guarantee you'll like his therapeutic stance, but I can promise you that these videos are totally genuine and real.

Part 1



Part 2


183 comments:

  1. It's kind of random that you posted this in the middle of the night right before I got on (also in the middle of the night). I actually just got on to give you a link to a blog I think you'd enjoy. I never thought I'd actually be first to comment on any post of yours! (I love this post btw. I am in school to become a therapist and this was very educational. I've really appreciated the clarifying and genuine way you have approached your whole Club Unicorn post and its aftermath.) But really! I think you'd like reading this guy's blog! He's hilarious (as I have found you to be. :P ) itjustgetsstranger.blogspot.com Enjoy! :)

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  2. I seriously love you guys. You both are so fantastic and such amazing members of the church. I'm glad I got up early and am able to post (before figurative crap hits the fan -- hopefully it doesn't...you guys don't deserve that)! What an amazing theraputic statement!

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  3. I seriously love you guys. You both are so fantastic and such amazing members of the church. I'm glad I got up early and am able to post (before figurative crap hits the fan -- hopefully it doesn't...you guys don't deserve that)! What an amazing theraputic statement!

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  4. Josh, I think the issue was more that your therapeutic stance hasn't been clearly and extensively stated on your blog rather than that it hasn't been stated at all.

    As a celebrity in the making, you have to understand that it will become increasingly important for you that you keep your integrity in appearance just as whole & proper as you keep it in your essence.

    Otherwise, you will inevitably face just that exact same kind of frustration on other issues as you have faced it with the issue of your therapeutic stance.

    Of course, "to face" a frustration isn't the same as "to experience" frustration, but it seems you've actually experienced it, and I'm concerned that it might not be the last time.

    Again, I cannot overemphasize my gratitude for you and for your consistency over the years that manifests itself in both your words, deeds and your countenance. I wish I could do for you far more than I'm doing, and I think I can, but it is you who sets the pace. I totally understand your statement that you and Lolly are "laid-back" personalities with the passive approach to life, and that's totally legitimate. However, you seem to be still wrapping your minds around the fact that you have a huge, stunning piece of wisdom in your possession for which many literally and figuratively die every day in a hope of finding it. So it is kind of your responsibility to make it as widely available as humanly possible. I say "kind of" because you can't do it all by yourself, you need help, but for the sheer fact that you have this piece of wisdom, the responsibility is unquestionably there.

    There is nothing I could wish you more than for this whole issue to become just a small side note in your life. But at this point, I find it rather unlikely. So, instead of chasing it until it extinguishes itself (which may not happen, at least not in foreseeable future), maybe you should have it systematically corral it into most productive use. Boosting your therapy business may be just one of them. I have other ideas, but my European upbringing and your legitimate passiveness restrain me from openly sharing them with you.

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    1. This strikes me as a little over the top, FG. I think the message the Weeds are telling is important, and I think it's enhanced by the fact that they are both so articulate, believable, and likeable. But I'm not sure Josh is a celebrity in the making, or that his wisdom is necessarily all that shocking. I definitely don't believe he has a responsibility to spread his personal story to every human being on earth.

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    2. I very much agree with this Anonymous. Josh shared his personal story which has inspired many people. I don't consider that he is under any obligations to the public stemming from that and both his life and this blog continue to be whatever he wants them to be.

      I think it highly likely that Club Unicorn will soon become a side issue, albeit an important one close to Josh and Lolly's hearts. In a sense it always has been. Overwhelming as things have been for the Weeds recently it is clear that the most important things in their lives remain each other, their children and their faith.

      The 'controversy' will be overthrown by the next big thing. People who had a negative reaction will soon tire of following Josh and sharing their negativity and the people who remain will be those who find it inspiring or those who love this blog in it's quirky, funny, heartwarming entirety

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    3. I'm pretty sure that their appearance on the Nightline on Thursday will not help in "overthrowing the 'controversy' by the next big thing".

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    4. Sure, the Nightline episode will attract some additional attention to the blog and to their story, but that attention won't last forever, especially if the Weeds don't want to constantly be in the public spotlight. And they by no means should feel obligated to try to be or to try to spread their compelling and uplifting--though not entirely unparalleled--story any further than it's already spread.

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    5. Sure, Anon 11:30 AM, that's your viewpoint and I respect it. I find their story unparalleled in more than one ways, and it means some to me. I think it is very relevant and worth spreading. Of course, it's theirs, and it's up to them what they will do with it.

      If you want to continue to belittle my stance & my feelings, go ahead.

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    6. Apologies if I in any way belittled your feelings, FG. It was entirely unintended and hopefully simply a consequence of the difficulty electronic communications produce by being unable to convey tone or expression.

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    7. Gemma, I didn't mean you. I meant the other contributor.

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    8. FG,

      I'm sorry you took my comments as belittling your stance or feelings. I tried not to be disrespectful in my posts. The reason I replied is that I hate to see the Weeds feel pressured to take this past where they feel comfortable. Your post used the word "responsibility," and I interpreted it as you encouraging them to do more. There is nothing wrong with that, but I just wanted them to know that we don't all feel like they need to do anything more than they've already done.

      And when I say their story is not completely unparalleled, all I mean is that I suspect Josh is far from the first person in the world with same-sex attraction to marry someone of the opposite sex. Obviously, there are highly unique aspects of his personal journey to that position, and I agree that they are worth telling--especially since he and his wife tell them in such a compelling way. It's just my sense that they have probably felt an enormous amount of pressure in the past few weeks (despite being laid-back people who go with the flow), and I was trying to soften that a little for their sake.

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    9. Anon 2:28 PM, thank you for the clarification. In my comment, I also expressed a hope that the issue would soon become fairly insignificant in lives of the Weed family. When I write "responsibility", I'm not putting it upfront as my personal demand. I just suspect that the Weeds will continue to feel pressure from the public to give counsel or make stance on various issues, like in the case of reparative therapy that caused them to create this video.

      I don't know if you are Mormon, but if you were, you would probably understand that among members of the church Josh's and Lolly's story has at least one order of the magnitude greater significance than among general public. And I suspect that inflow of interest will continue to pour from that quarter to a greater or lesser degree in the future, even if they are completely forgotten elsewhere.

      I do think, however, that their story can have a huge impact on many gay issues in general. That impact hasn't occurred yet, but the potential is there, waiting to explode if proper conditions are met.

      If, for example, after the Nightline broadcast, a strong proponent of gay rights & staunch opposer of gays marrying members of the opposite sex picks on Josh full force, he might find himself back on the spot light for an extended period of time.

      His brutal honesty, combined with homosexual attraction & heterosexual relationship is highly attractive for lightning to strike from all directions, I argue. Many could (and perhaps would) be enticed to prove him wrong. And I'm not sure to which extent Josh & Lolly are actually aware of that. I hope they are.

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  5. I am new to blogging so I have a question about that first: If I wrote a comment (or a post) at this blog, how can i make it so you, the Weeds, see my name and info but no one else does? I see one of the Comment as choices is anonymous. Is that the way to go?

    I like your posts. I like your humor. My main way to express humor is with puns.I would like to go more in depth but I will wait until I have my answer to the above.

    Thank you.

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    1. Now that I've posted this reply, I see that no personally identifying information was made accessible to the public. Is the only way something personal about me could be made public is if I were to write it myself?

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    2. Ar2d2, only those things that you see when you click link "Art2d2" (which is at the beginning of each comment that you publish) can be seen by others by default. And that means nothing. I've clicked "Art2d2", and there isn't even your e-mail address available, let alone your name or any other piece of information of you, except that you opened your Art2d2 Blogger profile in June 2012.

      So, in order to tell personal, identifiable things about yourself, you can do that by writing it in the text of the comment, if you like.

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    3. Art2d2, if you want to be personal with Josh, instead of posting a comment here, you should better send him an e-mail at joshua dot weed at gmail dot com.

      You cannot publish information here which can be seen only by Josh and Lolly. This is a public place that can't distinguish who reads your comment whether it is Josh & Lolly or a complete stranger.

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  6. Josh and lolly... My personal opinion is you didn't need this post explaining anything.... Who cares what people assume or think. The people below up in arms have nothing better tO do with their lives but worry about this. I think people need to focus on their families instead of spending hours on this blog posting long posts.

    People need to realize that not everyone has a wrong agenda. Not everyone in this world is dishonest or does things against you personally or to others. There are too many conspiracy theorist on here. Josh and lolly are good guys. Stop making them out to be something else .. Geez it's so frustrated!! I am with josh on that one.

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  7. I'm super glad you guys made these videos. Admittedly, I kinda zoned out and had my pinterest tab open while I listened, because in reality I had no questions about your therapeutic beliefs. You are a great guy/couple/family and any normal person reading your blog would never doubt your beliefs. ;) haha. Love love love your honesty and "real-ness". Yay!

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  8. Oh, and my favorite parts were definitely Josh attributing people not understanding because of his "weird eye". XD and when Lolly goes, "We love you guys, even the haters...We just LOVE you." *sarcastic smile* hahaha. Awesome. :D

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  9. I would say that left no room for doubt! :)

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  10. Thank you, as always, for the Love you choose to share with us. Thank you for your honesty, your frustration, and your togetherness. Thank you for clarifying tough issues. I know that there's a lot of heart involved in this, that is why it can be frustrating. You care. And those of us that care too, thank you... for being the therapist that you are! May it inspire others to do the great work of God that is calling to them! Wishing you both health and rest. ;)

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  11. Thank you, Josh.

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  12. I appreciated this, mostly because I am exploring my own believes surrounding this issue. All these conversations have helped me to understand more and more the issues involved. I do feel like there are people out there who are always going to make you guys and your choices seem wrong. But I think mostly this has been good to talk about.

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  13. Nicely done, Josh and Lolly. Hopefully this will put an end to the accusatory comments of the haters who scream homophobia at those of us who don't agree with everything they say (Mormons are ALL homophobic?) and put to rest once and for all that you don't do reparative therapy.

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  14. You're right guys - that was pretty dull ;o)

    Needed to be done, though. I hope you feel a load off now.

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  15. Thanks for this -- I didn't find it dull in the least. I very much appreciate your honesty and your willingness to engage with people on these issues.

    I would love for someone to explain the Mormon Church's position on members who don't follow its public stance to keep marriage narrowly defined and to keep the government involved in private life choices -- not the two of you, it's obviously not your responsibility and I have no idea whether you feel it's within your area of expertise (I for instance am loath to speak about what Reform Judaism as a whole believes about anything). I don't know whether your church can attempt to influence how you practice your profession or whether you would allow it to, the way some doctors refuse to perform certain procedures based on medical objections. I think many people are confused about how the LDS operates in this regard, which may be why there are so many suspicious people -- it's not suspicion of you, per se, but of a large organization that wields political power over more than just its own members.

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    1. Hmm - dare I respond here?

      I am not in anyway a spokesman for the LDS church but will try to explain things as I understand them to be.

      One fundamental tenet of our faith is Agency - the right and ability to choose our own actions coupled with the responsibility to face the consequences of those actions. I'm not sure that the church proposes that the government get involved in private choices but I personally, and I presume my church leaders also, consider marriage to be more that a personal choice. It is a social and legal institution which has always had restrictions imposed which protect its status and importance as a procreative family unit. (It is not and has never been the case that anyone can marry anyone they choose and even if gay marriage is legalised it still will not be the case. Your chosen partner must still be consenting, of age, not already married, not a close blood relative etc).

      The church has always encouraged its members to be politically active, while not dictating any sort of party allegiance. In the US there are LDS congressmen from both main parties and here in the UK we also have MPs both Conservative and Labour. On matters of morality or conscience the church can probably be fairly confident that most of its members feel similarly. We have guidance from living prophets and committing to the gospel means accepting that they speak what God would have us hear. One very significant piece of recent revelation spells out clearly LDS beliefs surrounding the nature of the family and can be read here. http://www.lds.org/family/proclamation/

      In California the church did not get involved centrally but encouraged members who felt strongly about Proposition 8 to get involved by donating their time and finances. I know little of how the church "wields political power over more than just its own members". Obviously there is a US presidential candidate who is Mormon but there seems a very clear separation between his religious and political activities.

      I have known of no instance of the church influencing how someone practises their profession other than that members are expected to act with honesty and integrity in all they do. It would probably be ill-advised for anyone to pursue any profession which conflicted with their faith or value system. (Just one of many reasons why I am not a lap-dancer.)

      Btw - the "dull" comment was kind of a joke. I actually found it quite interesting but it certainly didn't compare with one of Anna's pearls of wisdom or or Tessa's escapades.

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    2. As a faithful Mormon, who is also gay and married to a woman, with three children, and who has some experience in leadership positions of the church, I will try to explain.

      I would argue that Mormon church offers to it's members a tremendous leeway in personal matters.

      There are certain very precise behaviors that are rather strongly censured. Cheating one's spouse (extramarital affair) is at the very top of the list of behaviors that are vigorously sanctioned, typically by excommunication. Another reason for a vigorous sanction is *fierce* & *repeated* public criticism of the church and it's leaders that cause distress, contention & disharmony within the church and it's congregations.

      For those two reasons only, I can safely say that more than 90 percent of all most severe disciplinary actions in the church are covered.

      All other behaviors are always attempted to be interpreted in favor of the offender to the greatest possible extent. For example, if a young single adult has an affair out of wedlock, he or she is treated much more mildly, considerately, discreetly and with the great level of understanding than married offenders.

      The church teaches against abortion except in very special circumstances (rape, incest). If a Mormon, who is also a physician, internalizes that teaching, he or she may not be willing to perform abortions. But if he or she does perform them, church may take a stance that his or her life situation does not allow adjustment (like, the person is threatened with the loss of job if he disobeys his or her employer, and doesn't have another option for employment.). Members are encouraged to make proper choices so that they do not find themselves in such situations, but if it occurs, the church will not judge.

      As for Josh, I believe he is on the extremely safe side, and he knows it very well. The church would never sanction a member if he or she counsels a non-Mormon to remain in gay relationship. The church might sanction a member if he or she repeatedly and publicly encourages other members to engage in homosexual relationships without at least mentioning that that kind of behavior can jeopardize their membership. But if such a counsel is given in private, that very likely wouldn't hurt Josh's stance with the church, although, Josh would very likely consider such a counsel (encouraging behavior without explaining consequences that are not of his own making) unethical & bad.

      Before I close, let me say that something that makes me very safe and comfortable in the Mormon church. I know how easily and without any consequences one can withdraw from it's membership. The procedure is simple and straightforward, and after it is over, the church does not claim any privilege towards, or places any special obligations upon a former member.

      Former members who left the church through that procedure are in almost every respect treated equally as any other non-member. They are not in any way listed, so that they are bothered or avoided. The church is completely "blind" towards them, so to speak.

      The only difference is that if a former member decides to return to the church, the rejoining typically is smoother and easier than for a non-member that has never been one, but that only if the person actually informs the church that he had been a member once.

      That of course does not apply to those who were disciplined by excommunication. Excommunication and withdrawing from the membership are two entirely different things.

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    3. That is helpful, thanks. When members of the media interviewed some of the anti-Prop 8 protesters, several of them made of point of saying that they were expressing their beliefs as Mormons and I was not clear whether they meant that they were speaking based on their personal understanding of LDS faith or whether they were speaking based on something their church leaders had explicitly told them to say. I've seen conflicting information and I'm not sure whether there is absolute consistency, just as in the Catholic church there are some cardinals who believe they have an obligation to publicly threaten politicians with excommunication if they support abortion rights, gay marriage, etc., while others apparently believe that a politician's actions in representing a constituency do not have to be identical to his beliefs as a Catholic.

      I also find it troubling that some people have been called "haters" just for asking questions, though I think Josh and Lolly have been subjected to both questions and demands that are unfair. When politics come into play, it's my obligation to ask questions; when Joe Lieberman was running for vice president, I wanted to know what he saw as the relationship between his Orthodox Jewish faith and his job as a public official, when he would consider the commandment to protect and defend people above the commandment not to work on the Sabbath, etc. -- despite the fact that I'm Jewish myself. Whenever a politician starts talking about Judeo-Christian values or any faith-based ideology and how he or she is influenced by it, I want to understand exactly what that means, and I think that the questions Romney is getting now are much less aggressive than the ones Kennedy got when he ran for president half a century ago.

      I am a huge believer that people's religious beliefs are their own private business, but I also live in a country where anti-abortion clinics are set up to give out false information about birth control to scared teens, where a "therapy" group has passed out flyers in my son's public high school promising to "cure" gay teens of their improper urges, and where religious leaders threaten to deny religious communion to candidates based on their political stances. So it is important to me as a citizen to understand how people who declare that their morals come from a spiritual system believe their private beliefs should affect their public policy and behavior -- and that goes for doctors and publishers and food manufacturers as well as politicians. I don't want to support companies involved in factory farming or using underage workers overseas, and I don't want to vote for politicians who believe it is their obligation as religious people to support the rules of their churches over my liberties.

      Marriage is more than just a personal choice, yet you can no longer sell your daughter for three goats, force a woman to marry her rapist, prevent blacks and whites from marrying, practice polygamy, etc. There's a wide range for what people believe marriage SHOULD be -- for love, for companionship, to protect assets, to cement alliances, for the first or third time or sixth time, with people decades older or younger or who just want money or who did it on a lark in Las Vegas -- and "procreative" is not the legal standard in most of the world for defining a marriage. I find it extremely troubling that gay unions are singled out for opposition by people who voice little objection to the right of a man to leave a 50-year-old wife for a 20-year-old or to the right of a couple paired up for money on a television show to a quickie wedding and divorce. I wish more people took the sanctity of marriage seriously, but gay couples seeking the right to marry are not the ones I find to be sullying it and I see no reason that they should be denied the same legal rights as serial adulterers.

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    4. ...aaaand I wrote a long reply but it has either been removed by a mod or deleted by the vicissitudes of the blogging platform. I don't think I said anything particularly inflammatory or foul-mouthed but if anyone wants to continue the conversation, I'm littlereview almost everywhere (blogger, facebook, gmail, pinterest, etc.). Thanks Gemma and FG for your replies.

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    5. This was a great response, Gemma. I look at the issue of gay marriage as an exception to the general rule that the Church typically tries to stay out of picking sides in political debates. The reason for the exception is, like Gemma said, because the Church views marriage as one of the most sacred and important institutions affecting mankind.

      Many people from the LGBT community say that it's overreaching for a church to get involved in civil marriage because it has nothing to do with the church's own doctrines and will therefore not force the church to change any of its religious practices. I think this argument is highly questionable. In many places around the world--including in some U.S. localities--we are already seeing legislators proposing laws that attempt to force churches to open their doors to marriages they otherwise wouldn't in the name of equal rights. Here are links to a few examples:

      http://www.theblaze.com/stories/proposed-ordinance-would-force-churches-to-host-gay-weddings/

      http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/denmark-forces-churches-to-perform-same-sex-marriages/

      http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2012/04/20/new-law-will-compel-churches-to-offer-same-sex-marriages/

      http://blog.speakupmovement.org/church/religious-freedom/washington-same-sex-marriage-bill-is-a-threat-to-churches/

      (If you follow these links, you'll see that such laws have been passed or are being considered in such varied places as Britain, Denmark, Kansas, and Washington. And these are just a few of the many examples of this type of legislation.)

      Some would argue that even if such laws are passed in the United States, our courts would strike them down as unconstitutional, but that is far from certain. In Reynolds v. U.S. (1878), an LDS member argued that he should not be criminally prosecuted under a federal anti-polygamy statute because the statute violated his First Amendment free exercise rights. The Supreme Court rejected this argument and held that "to permit [polygamy] would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land." I do not see it as a stretch at all for the Court to use this case and others like it to uphold laws forbidding churches from denying marriage to homosexual couples.

      And even if the courts blocked such a result in the United States, there is no guarantee that other countries would take the same stance. The LDS Church has millions of members all over the world, and as its membership has expanded it has become increasingly concerned with the issue of religious liberty. In a 2010 speech at BYU, Lance Wickman, one of the Church's general authorities said that "the greatest challenge faced by the Church is the challenge to religious liberty that is growing worldwide." The issue of "marriage equality" seems to be at the forefront of that challenge, and I think this is one of the biggest reasons the Church has been unusually conspicuous in its efforts to speak out against it.

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    6. Michelle, your reply hasn't been removed by the moderator. The platform would typically delete a post if it is too long. That's why I copy a text before hitting "Publish".

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    7. AnonymousJuly 16, 2012 12:25 PM
      The first and last link you provided, the only two that apply to the United State,s very clearly do not force churches to perform same-sex marriage but rather..."under the new regulations, churches that make their buildings available for the general public would not be able to refuse gay couples."

      This is business law, not religious freedom. Unless you're prepared to support churches renting out their facilities to anyone but Mormoms or anyone but the Irish, then this law is reasonable. Discrimination against gays and lesbians in the business world is on it's way out and I say good ridance.

      The idea that renting a hall of a church is the same as forcing a religious leader to unwillingly perform same-sex marriages is unsupportable. Although pretending that they are one and the same is certainly used a lot for fear-based fundraising.

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    8. Being required to host a wedding that is in conflict with the teachings of that church is ridiculous. I don't see how that weakens the argument at all. If anything I think it affirms it.

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    9. They are not being required to host any weddings, gay or straight.

      If a church rents a part of it's building to the public, then the church is subject to the same laws that any other business who deals with the public.

      It's very simple.

      If the church does not want any portion of their property used by a minority group, then do not rent out to the general public. Churches do not have an immutable right to income via rental halls. However, individuals have the right to not be discriminated against by a businesses that serves the general public.

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    10. Fresh Hell--
      Your point about business law is valid, but many of us don't see the courts limiting the expansion of marriage equality to business matters. The case I mentioned above, Reynolds v. United States, was not a business law case. It was a religious liberty case, and the Supreme Court made it clear that it will apply federal statutes to religious activity, even in the face of free exercise claims.

      If Congress passes a law changing the definition of marriage to include same-sex relationships, the Court, just as it did in Reynolds, may well interpret that law to force churches to bring their practices in line with that definition. If such a case is ever brought before the Court, I can almost guarantee that some will argue that for the Court to do anything else would be to "make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land."

      To be honest, I'm actually not sure how out of bounds such an opinion would be, given past Supreme Court precedent and separation of powers principles that require each branch of government to give due deference to the roles of the other two. There are legit arguments on either side of that debate, which is why many churches don't want to be put in the position of having to persuade courts to limit the expansion of such legislation in spite of what past case law (much of which could have been issued by activist judges in prior years but has since become legally entrenched through principles of "stare decisis") may or may not suggest.

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    11. All right, trying to recreate what I wrote earlier, will post in two pieces. This is political so if that is not your thing feel free to skip!

      When members of the media interviewed some of the anti-Prop 8 protesters, several of them made of point of saying that they were expressing their beliefs as Mormons and I was not clear whether they meant that they were speaking based on their personal understanding of LDS faith or whether they were speaking based on something their church leaders had explicitly told them to say. I've seen conflicting information and I'm not sure whether there is absolute consistency, just as in the Catholic church there are some cardinals who believe they have an obligation to publicly threaten politicians with excommunication if they support abortion rights, gay marriage, etc., while others apparently believe that a politician's actions in representing a constituency do not have to be identical to his beliefs as a Catholic.

      I also find it troubling that some people have been called "haters" just for asking questions, though I think Josh and Lolly have been subjected to both questions and demands that are unfair to them as individuals. When politics come into play, though, it's my obligation to ask questions; when Joe Lieberman was running for vice president, I wanted to know what he saw as the relationship between his Orthodox Jewish faith and his job as a public official, when he would consider the commandment to protect and defend people above the commandment not to work on the Sabbath, etc. -- despite the fact that I'm Jewish myself. Whenever a politician starts talking about Judeo-Christian values or any faith-based ideology and how he or she is influenced by it, I want to understand exactly what that means, and I think that the questions Romney is getting now are much less aggressive than the ones Kennedy got when he ran for president half a century ago.

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    12. I am a huge believer that people's religious beliefs are their own private business, but I also live in a country where anti-abortion clinics are set up to give out false information about birth control to scared teens, where a "therapy" group has passed out flyers in my son's public high school promising to "cure" gay teens of their improper urges, and where religious leaders threaten to deny religious communion to candidates based on their political stances. So it is important to me as a citizen to understand how people who declare that their morals come from a spiritual system believe their private beliefs should affect their public policy and behavior -- and that goes for doctors and publishers and food manufacturers as well as politicians. I don't want to support companies involved in factory farming or using underage workers overseas, and I don't want to vote for politicians who believe it is their obligation as religious people to support the rules of their churches over my liberties.

      Marriage is more than just a personal choice, yet you can no longer sell your daughter for three goats, force a woman to marry her rapist, prevent blacks and whites from marrying, practice polygamy, etc. There's a wide range for what people believe marriage SHOULD be -- for love, for companionship, to protect assets, to cement alliances, for the first or third time or sixth time, with people decades older or younger or who just want money or who did it on a lark in Las Vegas -- and "procreative" is not the legal standard in most of the world for defining a marriage. I find it extremely troubling that gay unions are singled out for opposition by people who voice little objection to the right of a man to leave a 50-year-old wife for a 20-year-old or to the right of a couple paired up for money on a television show to a quickie wedding and divorce. I wish more people took the sanctity of marriage seriously, but gay couples seeking the right to marry are not the ones I find to be sullying it and I see no reason that they should be denied the same legal rights as serial adulterers.

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    13. My stance towards gay marriages is rather fatalistic. I don't think that agency less than God can stop formal recognition of gay marriages nationwide, sooner or later. That's part of a trend of comprehensive and, at least in my view, rather aggressive secularization of the society.

      I also believe that the government will find it's way to make churches behave "in a proper way" towards gay people in gay marriages. What would that mean is yet to be seen. Polygamy was handled in similar fashion, to the degree that these days it is considered utter lunacy in spite of the fact that it has some scriptural foundation. (Please, this should not be construed as my endorsement of polygamy in any shape or form, but as my reference to the Bible being dumped at the garbage heap of history during the process of comprehensive secularization of the society.)

      I don't think that churches can do much about this trend. Yes, they can slow it down somewhat, but can reverse it only by supplication for direct God's intervention.

      So, we should rather discuss what would be possible implications of gay marriages on, for example, Mormon church rather than arguing whether their full recognition would happen or not.

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    14. FG Mormon:

      You posted an explanation regarding the simple process of leaving the mormon church.

      I feel the need to say: It sounds pretty... but it's just not the case.

      My sister and I both went through the process and it was neither simple nor painless.

      Even after the letters, home interviews and the incessant reminders of the fact that I was going to be eternally separated from my family and was going to hell for rejecting the gospel... I still receive letters and missionary visits on a monthly basis. It never stops.

      I was also completely ostracized from everyone I had known my entire life. People were openly encouraged to no longer associate with me. The vast majority of my family no longer welcomed me in their homes. For years, my own mother has refused to speak to me.

      While this is not representative of every ward/family/former member or what have you... it's a story I have heard many times from others who have chosen to leave. It's sadly very common.

      So... out of respect for those of us who have actually been through the process and were unfortunate to have stakes/wards/families that made it a very traumatic experience... try to not make generalizations... especially about a process you haven't been through yourself. (I say so with respect, I assure you)

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    15. Michelle, as someone who used to be a member of a local leadership of the church, I have personally witnessed several withdrawals of membership from the church, and I believe that I accurately described the process as simple and straightforward. I didn't use the term "painless" (which you did), and you didn't use the word "straightforward" (which I think is fair and important).

      Yes, there are some steps that may be considered embarrassing to someone with not entirely clear conscience. :) (It's a joke, a bit sarcastic, yes, but nevertheless joke. I hope you'll take it as such.) The process is very straightforward, and if one is determined to leave to the extent that one should be determined about everything in one's life in order to be happy, then the process is indeed simple and not particularly demanding.

      I don't know if there is a difference of handling people who requested membership removal in one place over another, but knowing uniformity of policies & procedures across the church, I highly doubt.

      As for ostracism that could ensue after someone's removal from the membership, that is neither church policy nor the church leaders encourages ostracism in any shape or form.

      My personal opinion is that ostracism of a former member is a personal bad choice of some members who does not feel comfortable enough with the gospel of Jesus Christ as preached by the church, and who feels threatened in their insecurity by those who left the church. It is sad, but it is also a treat of a fallible human.

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    16. Michelle Erica, your previous post that disappeared after you published it has magically reappeared in the thread! It seems that the first longer comment of a new contributor is not published until approved by the moderator. From now, you probably wouldn't have problems with publishing your long comments.

      =============

      As for the lack of clarity whether Mormons speak on political issues based on their personal understanding of LDS faith or whether they speak based on something their church leaders had explicitly told them to say, I can tell you following.

      There is a famous one liner by the LDS church's first prophet Josheph Smith that was said by him when he was asked (I'm paraphrasing) how come that in the middle of the Wild West there is a group of people that are so well behaved and coordinated: "I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves."

      For those who are looking the church outside in, it is difficult to understand the level of spontaneous coordination unless he or she fully understands that simple sentence.

      During my years in the church as a convert, I have never received a marching order from anyone. Instead, what I did get is a long, elaborate stream of principles, some of which I sometimes find conflicting. But when I ask for a resolution of an apparent conflict, I get yet another principle as an answer. I really like that kind of approach to spirituality. For me, it creates consistency and at the same time leaves to a person a great deal of liberty to apply a principle according to his or her own conscience.

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    17. FG Mormon:

      Apologies. I substituted "simple" for your "straightforward"... please forgive me. ;)

      Here's the deal:

      The reality is entirely different when on the other side. It may seem simple and straightforward to you... but if you were to be on the receiving end of this "process"... it wouldn't seem to be the case.

      As for the ostracism... please note that I did say that it was not necessarily representative of every stake/ward/etc. I can only speak to the culture within my ward and stake. I can speak to the actions of the leaders within my ward boundaries and can say with certainty the things they did. Does that mean your ward is the same? No, it doesn't. But as we both know... that's the fault of the members themselves in my area and not the church. So please don't think I'm saying otherwise.

      Also, this happened fifteen years ago. The church has grown and evolved a lot since then and I'm sure the process has changed as well.

      Gosh, this is terribly off topic. I'm sorry... haha

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    18. I guess what I don't understand is why so many Mormons got involved in the Prop 8 fight -- particularly Mormons who did not even live in the state where the debate was taking place.

      My branch of Judaism is somewhat split on the marriage issue -- the governing body's policy is that rabbis in states where gay marriage is legal may perform same-sex marriages if they are comfortable doing so, but they are under no obligation to do so, nor is any congregation obligated to provide same-sex marriage officiants. My own congregation has four rabbis, two of whom will perform same-sex marriages and two of whom will not (in the case of the latter two, they are also vehemently opposed to rabbis performing weddings for Jews marrying non-Jews, while the other two are willing to consider it if the couple is planning a Jewish home whether there is formal conversion of the non-Jewish partner or not).

      To my knowledge, no one has ever threatened to sue a rabbi or a synagogue that declined to perform a same-sex marriage. The hysteria over the idea that religious organizations will be sued for failing to perform same-sex marriages seems disingenuous and misleading to me, considering that at the time I got married twenty years ago, my synagogue would not even allow a dues-paying member who was marrying a non-Jew to be wed by a rabbi, let alone in the sanctuary. No one sued over that, either. Religious institutions refuse to perform weddings all the time -- because people aren't members, because they haven't taken premarital counseling with the ministers, because of previous divorces, etc. Because we have separation of church and state and they are private institutions, no one can force a church to perform a gay marriage any more than they can force Augusta National Golf Club to accept women as members.

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    19. Michele Erica, you are asking very very good questions. I argue that the issue of marriage in the Mormon church is very complex, very emotionally, theologically & doctrinally charged, and stands in the very core of almost everything we believe in. I also argue that no other church or religion comes even close to the level of complexity with which marriage both as a phenomenon & an institution is approached. The farthest other churches would go is "until death do us part", which is for Mormons ridiculously short period of ecclesiastical power in terms of marriage.

      To illustrate just a little bit, think of the Mormon church and polygamy. Today, that is an extremely sensitive subject among Mormons, and the church emphasizes that the practice is discontinued more than 100 years ago and that today it is brutally sanctioned with speedy excommunication. However, the fact is that the Mormons went through incredibly severe persecution by the federal government because of that practice, and the church was threatened to be completely extinguished by brute governmental force if it does not comply.

      Now, one can argue that such a barbaric marital practice by an organized religion deserves a brutal response. And that may very well be true, but listen. It is a fact that Mormons back then believed in plural marriages just as fiercely & uncompromisingly as they today believe in marriage between one man and one woman. And then the governmental power of the day had grown to the point where the issue of a deep belief was pretty much driven out of the church by brute, brute force. Again, we can argue today whether such "a barbaric practice" (which is, by the way, supported by traditional Jewish & Christian scriptures) deserved no other treatment but the treatment by governmental brutality of whatever magnitude necessary. My point is that there is a scar in the tissue of Mormonism when marriage is concerned, for better or worse. So, Mormons now are very very cautious: once bitten, twice shy.

      Who guarantees that the denial of an opportunity to marry in any church to gay couples wouldn't be looked upon in 100 years from now just as barbaric? I actually argue, without Divine Providence, that is inevitable.

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  16. And hopefully it will bring an end to people calling those who have questions and don't understand or agree with the Mormon stance on honosexuality, 'haters.' That is just as reductive.
    I agree with what Michelle Erica Green says as well, I am suspicious and concerned about the large organization wiedling the political power and not on individual members.
    As no, not all Mormons are homophobic - there is Affirm in Mormonism as well apparently, go figure

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    1. Clarifying what I mean by Affirm - there are Mormons who believe that you can be Mormon and live a gay lifestyle so no, not all Mormons are homophobic at all.

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    2. If by the gay "lifestyle" you mean acting on your homosexual feelings, that would go against the standards of the church. You can still have those feelings obviously, but a member acting on it would be breaking standards. However, whether someone believes that you should act on it or not does not define being homophobic. Homophobia is the hatred or fear of homosexuals. I am a Mormon convert, & like myself, all members that I know have gay friends & have no issues with those who are gay. They choose not to live it themselves, but we are taught to love everyone. Just because you feel that a certain lifestyle goes against God's commandments doesn't mean you are afraid of it or hate it. If you are suspicious about the church it's only because you haven't read the book of mormon, attended the church meetings, met with the missionaries, listened to general conference talks, & been fellow-shipped by the members. Why not? Either you are not interested in doing so, in which case - if you aren't willing to inform yourself then your opinion is invalid. Or, you are afraid to do so, or have negative feelings - which is the same definition as homophobia, but towards a religion instead of a sexual orientation. Which would just make you a complete & utter hypocrite. If you want to know about the church then do proper research by experience & not by hearsay rather then posting cowardly & uninformed statements online that do not represent the church or the members.

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    3. You can be Mormon and do whatever you like but I don't think you can be a Mormon in "good standing" or "full fellowship" while engaging in homosexual or any extramarital sexual activity. I'm fairly sure that is fact, not opinion.

      I agree that 'hater' is a term very overused - both against people who disagree with a religious point of view and those who propose one. 'Hater' is only remotely applicable if abusive language or suggestions have been made. I have been called a hater for not agreeing that gay marriage be legalised. I really don't hate many people and have much love and affection for several gay people among my friends and family.

      I also dislike the term 'homophobic'. The definition of a phobia is "an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something". A belief that sex is a procreative act divinely intended to be kept within the bounds of matrimony does not render someone in any way 'phobic'.

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    4. Hah! Anonymous snuck in befoe me and said VERY similar stuff.

      :o)

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    5. And I will readily admit that many of my own generation (I'm 54, if that matters) are Mormons and are very homophobic as well as their being members who are homophobic that are much younger. My husband has one of the scouts in his church troop who seems to be extremely homophobic towards his adult male leaders as in he doesn't want to sit next to them as that would be gay or like on Saturday, when they were going on a bike ride and had to put three people in the front seat of a truck, he was freaked out about it. Part of that may be that's he's 15 and has a stupid junior-high mentality. I hope he grows out of it.

      But there are a lot that are not homophobic. One of my daughters is in the military. Last year her reserve unit was called to Iraq. Her battle buddy was a lesbian. She didn't know it at first, but as time went on and they got more comfortable around each other, the truth came out. No big deal. They grew to love each other like sisters and her battle buddy never came on to her. In fact, when "don't ask, don't tell" was abolished, all of us rejoiced because the atmosphere was so much more relaxed and people could do their jobs and be themselves, too. She has several friends who are in committed gay relationships and we love her friends as if they were our own children.

      And I'm not opposed to gay marriage, since it's one of the things that I think is on the ballot this fall in Washington state. I know the church's stance on it, but I see the type of marriage in terms of a state/government mandate as being strictly a legal contract, nothing more. Religious marriage is beyond that and not something the state can or should meddle in. Churches should not be forced to marry people they don't want to. Yes, I have a legal marriage certificate from the State of Idaho, but I also have another from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints stating I was married in the Idaho Falls Temple.

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    6. Having different political systems, Inky, gives us slightly different perspectives. Over here we have to have a wedding ceremony that is open to the public, so even temple-attending LDS couples will have a wedding service in church first and then we go on to the temple the same day. Our government is talking about legalising gay marriage and is currently assuring churches that they will not be made to perform ceremonies for gay couples if they don't choose to. Trouble is - I don't believe them. Having seen the pace of change here and having seen Christianity generally be completely marginalised, having seen gross misapplication of a well-meaning piece of legislation called the Human Rights Act made by an out of control European Parliament with no legitimate mandate in my country, I think it only a matter of time before our church is taken to court for 'discriminating' against a gay couple wanting to be married inside its walls.

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    7. That sort of thing would definitely worry me as I would hope it does not happen here. We're supposed to have a definite division between church and state, though I think it tends to get blurred all too often. I know about other countries having to have a civil marriage before the temple one. One of my sons served his mission in Brazil and told us that they conduct those big civil marriages where a bunch of couples are married at once and then if you're a church member, you go to your church and get married or in the case of LDS, you go to the temple.

      But I'm even talking about marriages that are essentially civil ones, the type that are done by an LDS bishop is a ward building or a member's home and not in the temple. Those should still not be dictated by the state and I hope it does not come to that. Because in our belief system, the very core of it is that our beliefs do not change with the world or man. They change only through God who gives us revelation through his Prophet on earth at the time.

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    8. In Canada and even here in the United States where gay marriage is legal the feared lawsuits have yet to materialize.

      I must admit to finding the "the gays are going to sue!" fear a bit strange. Why have these same people not been worrying about straight people suing for the right to marry in a religous institution?

      My family is a good example...as a former Catholic, I was not permitted to marry in the Catholic Church and so had a civil ceremony instead. I've never met a Catholic who was worried I'd sue yet I've met plenty of Catholics who worry my gay son might sue. (Ironically, my son is a member of a religious community that allows gay marriage and so he will be married in a religious ceremony.)

      Further, I've never had anyone question whether my civil marriage is a "real" marriage or threatens religious marriage in anyway but my gay son's desire for a civil marriage triggers those fears.

      GLBTQ are not another species, they are just folks. If you're not worried about straight people suddenly being seized with a desire to destroy hundreds of years of church and state seperation, why the fear about GLBTQ people doing it? I'm truly puzzled.

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    9. Fresh Hell, I will agree with you that the vast majority of people recognize when they do not meet requirements of churches and will leave things at that. However, I've been doing a lot more research online lately, and am surprised at the number of people referring to themselves as Mormon when they admittedly live well outside the requirements of the LDS church. I'm sure the same thing goes for all religions - Catholic, Baptist, Protestant, etc. There have even been people responding to this post who are Mormon, gay, and seem to be simply waiting around for the church to change it's stance on gay marriage, as if that can be accomplished by pressure from it's members, politics, and society.

      So please tell me. How is it such a stretch to believe that JUST ONE PERSON will never ever sue a church for the right to be married? There are probably thousands of people "on the fringe" of their religion, and many of them are there simply because of this one issue. And once it's accepted and recognized by the government, the next logical step is religious recognition. So seriously, while I admit the vast majority of people will let it go to the government and leave it at that, there will most definitely be someone who sues. We live in a sue-happy country, and it only takes 1 person to change the course of history.

      Refer to the links in the response above that talk about this situation in other places. It's not puzzling, it's a valid concern.

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    10. Wow, such a rich post! Thank you for replying to mine.

      "How is it such a stretch to believe that JUST ONE PERSON will never ever sue a church for the right to be married?"

      In the history of our country, I'm not aware of one case. Which makes me wonder why people are so sure that it's coming? I'm genuinely puzzled by this.

      The fact is that in this country any one can sue anybody at any time. That's why we have judges and courts. That's why one, or even a hundred lawsuits don't scare me. One person cannot change the course of history in the court system. It takes a lot of people, many different courts of appeal and eventually the Supreme Court.

      Do people really believe that if I file a lawsuit against the Catholic church that they are going to be forced to marry my husband and I? Deep down, do people really believe that?

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    11. "I must admit to finding the "the gays are going to sue!" fear a bit strange. Why have these same people not been worrying about straight people suing for the right to marry in a religous institution?"

      There is precedence in this country for a fear of legal action. Two men who had a civil partnership attempted to book accomodation in a Christian-run B&B. (Is that a British term? If so, it stands for Bed and Breakfast and is a privately-run guesthouse, typically in a family home, where you can rent rooms for the night.) The guesthouse website stated that because of the proprietors' Christian beliefs they only rented double rooms to married couples. They were undoubtedly targeted for the purposes of point-making by gay-rights activists. After offering the couple single rooms they were taken to court and forced to pay compensation of over £3000 pounds.

      Our church tends to be happy to marry any heterosexual couples who ask so I'm not sure what grounds any would have to sue. If refusal were made it would be on some individual basis and not over something as vigerously legislated as gay rights.

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    12. Maybe some of us are still thinking of the early days of the LDS Church when every time the members turned around, they were being persecuted for their beliefs, you know, stuff like having the governor of Missouri issue an extermination order as if Mormons were insects that needed eradicated. Yes, I know that was finally rescinded, but the fact that it stayed on the laws of Missouri for decades, excuse me, for more than a century and was only in the latter part of the 20th Century (25 June 1976) that apologies were given can leave a bad taste in your mouth toward the things that governments are capable of. Don't believe Wikipedia when it says it was more about expelling them from the state. Sure, Missouri wanted them to leave, and if they didn't leave on their own, they were subject to extermination or killing. Here's a good source on the order: http://www.mormonhistoricsitesfoundation.org/publications/studies_spring_01/MHS2.1Hartley.pdf

      Angy mobs weren't above tying people to trees and beating them to death. The extermination order gave them free reign to do that with no reprisals. Let's not forget what happened at Haun's Mill. Not one of the people responsible for that massacre were prosecuted for that heinous act, involving killing women and children.

      Probably the average GLBTQ person has absolutely no intention of suing. But what about the radicals? There will always be those who want to mold the Church in man's image and make it have only the beliefs that they want. But that's not how it works. We don't vote on our beliefs. We don't hold a convention to decide what we believe in. Otherwise we'd be like a million of these little storefront churches, little splinters who have different doctrinal views than mainstream churches, even down to the tiniest ones. Oh, one church says I can't do this, okay, I'll go find a church that says I can.

      And I firmly stand behind anyone's right to do this. You don't like what we believe? You don't have to be a member of the church. Go find another one. Years ago, before I was a church member, I had a good friend come out, and this was in 1976 where it was a risky thing to do. At the time, I'd been attending an Evangelical Lutheran church with him and and some other friends. But after he came out, he wasn't comfortable there. So we went with him to the Metropolitan Community Church in Seattle, which was essentially a GLBTQ church. It was an interesting, uplifting and we all enjoyed the service. I was happy he'd found a place to worship God in a way that made him comfortable. Heck, we even went to march in the Seattle Gay Pride Parade. I still have my button from that.

      And I have never been ashamed to say that, even though I joined the LDS Church two years later.

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    13. Seeing as the United States swiped quite a bit of our law from the British, I'm assuming it must be similar circumstances. That B&B is privately owned but serves the public. Could they put up on their website that based on their religious beliefs they only rent to white people? Here that would not be allowed and it's the same line of reasoning.

      Discrimination against gays and lesbians is still rampant and it's taking lawsuits to change that. Often people mistakenly think that new law is being made but in fact what is happening it that gays and lesbians are simply being recognized as a minority group that cannot be legally discriminated against anymore.

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    14. "Angy mobs weren't above tying people to trees and beating them to death."

      Yes, I know. Not far from my home a lesbian woman and her partner were shot in the head and one of them was killed very recently. Persecution is still a very real issue in the GLBTQ community.

      Again, if a radical sues, then what? Are you saying saying that we should withhold a civil right from an entire group because a radical from that group might do something? (And that radical would be soundly defeated in the courts, by any reasonable stretch of the imagination.)

      I remain perplexed as to their crippling fear of the phantom lawsuit.

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    15. "I also dislike the term 'homophobic'. The definition of a phobia is "an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something". A belief that sex is a procreative act divinely intended to be kept within the bounds of matrimony does not render someone in any way 'phobic'"

      No, but fighting to keep people from their full civil rights does render someone 'phobic'. People can believe what they want, it's their actions that define them.

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    16. You're not the one my comment about people being homophobic was directed to, it was to one of the "anonymous posters" who said something to the effect of Mormons and others being homophobic. My point was that while there truly are people like that, such as my example of the 15-year-old scout who seems to be deathly afraid of touching another male because that is homosexual behavior in his mind, so many of us are not and we don't like to be painted with a broad stroke, just the same was as not all GLBTQ are the same in their behaviors or opinions.

      And I'm well aware that persecution of those in that community is very, very real and it saddens me to see that anyone would be denied their civil rights in such a manner. The B&B question is a bit different. You're running a business that is open to the public. And I wonder if those people were asking for marriage certificates from the heterosexual couples who wanted to stay there because otherwise how would they know they were married? Maybe they were "living in sin" as an unmarried couple. But is it a civil right to be denied marriage in a particular denomination? I don't think so. I'm in full support of civil marriages as legal contracts and I know full well that there are many churches who will gladly perform a religious ceremony for a same-sex couple, And more power to them.

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    17. "Could they put up on their website that based on their religious beliefs they only rent to white people? Here that would not be allowed and it's the same line of reasoning."
      They didn't refuse service to the gay couple - they offered them single rooms. It was not long ago that it was common place for hotels only to offer double beds to married couples. Old-fashioned, yes but some might suggest that the change has not been progress.

      I strongly suspect from having followed the story closely that the couple chose to book this B&B knowing full well what their reception would be and I used that as an illustration of the likelihood of legal action against churches who choose not to marry gay couples. I think my point is strong.

      Interestingly, in Brighton (the San Fransisco of England,if you like) it is quite easy to find establishments which describe themselves as "Gay Hotels". I wonder how welcome my husband and I would be to book a romantic stay in one of them. In Denmark recently a hetero couple were kicked out of a gay bar for kissing. In a comments section on that story many gay people were standing up for the right of private business owners to refuse entry to whomever they chose. Hmmm - Blacks and Irish? No - straights, in this instance.

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    18. Can I just tell you of the persecution I have seen of the mormon church this week. I went to the hill Cumorah pageant to watch the performance (if you don't know what it is look it up) and there were people outside protesting (from a church ministry), yelling, holding signs up saying, "All mormons are going to hell", had big bull horns yelling the most horrendous things. They also had some Big yellow truck with a website address on it, "whatmormonsdonttell.com" on the side going up and down the street. The 8,000 visitors (mostly mormons mind you) had to listen to these people harassing them all night long.

      I felt sick to my stomach as I listened to these protesters harass the Mormons and non mormons who where just coming the the pageant.

      I happened to look up the website address to see what this group is about. It seems they actually have ministries going around the country targeting mormons. They go to the HIll Cumorah pageant each year, Navoo pageant, and have been following the "I'm a mormon" campaign" to harrass it's members.

      Discrimination is still very real in the mormon church.

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    19. There was a comment about separation between church and state and those lines getting blurred... (in reference to the fear of forcing churches to wed gay couples).... but how is there a separation between church and state when laws are being passed according to biblical beliefs? Your religious beliefs and those of the lawmakers pushing these laws... are infringing upon a gay person's civil rights. You don't seem to mind that because it suits your beliefs and needs. Yet the fear that your church's rights might be infringed upon causes you to fear and shout out about this supposed "separation"


      Also, as to the last commenter... "Discrimination is very real in the mormon church".... how do you think the LGBT community felt when mormons were out en masse with signs about protecting/saving families, etc? It goes both ways. (I'm in no way supporting what this church did by harassing you while you were trying to enjoy an event - I do believe that is wrong.)

      I really do promise that I'm not intending to be inflammatory in any way. I just think we need to take a step back and consider the other side.

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  17. I got the message about the first 3 minutes and 20 seconds. Thank you for this :)

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  18. It's interesting how "small minded" people are, to think that a religious affiliation or sexual orientation or a lifestyle choice such as club unicorn, disqualifies someone from their job. & yet with no experience in the church or with these same life experiences, they feel qualified to make assumptions about a religious organization or someone else's occupation, & better yet - someone else's intentions. If you are going to judge someone on their religion, I sure hope you have gone to the source for your info: read their scriptures, attended their church meetings, met with their missionaries, & have been fellow-shipped by their members. Until then - your ability Google doesn't qualify you to make judgement.

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    1. Another source of valid information on a religion is to speak to former members. So while I do not judge individuals on their religion, that would be silly, I do form opinions of religions based on a lot of factors including the less flattering ones.

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    2. Speaking of qualified for jobs, in Virginia anyway, if you are gay, you can be fired. For no other reason than you are gay. Shocking, yes?
      Anon, 11:07, please stop with the direct insulting of me. Thanks.
      I have, by the way, you tubed some conference speeches, talked to Mormon missionaries, hung out with Mormons and read some of the Book of Mormon (although I readily admit, not all). I have spoken with present and former Mormons. I have read and listened to things the Mormon prophets say. I have read about Brigham Young and Joseph Smith. In other words, my opinions are formed not just from hearsay.
      I find homophobia an unfortunate word to describe the belief that living a gay lifestyle is a bad thing, because it is not really fear, it is, at its core, hatred. It is, in my opinion, equivalent to racism and not about being afraid at all.
      Christians marginalized? Try being gay in the U.S. where in parts of it, as I stated above, you can lose your job simply because you are gay.
      Again, I have fellowshipped with Mormons. Very nice folks. And that remains the shocking thing. The nicest people can have the most horrific opinions.
      But I remain hopeful. The prophet overrode racism in the Mormon Church in 1978 and I believe that eventually,he will override homophobia.

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    3. Anonymous July 16, 2012 1:17 PM--

      We classify living the gay lifestyle as a sin according to our doctrine. But we do not hate gay people. By your logic, Mormons would have to also hate people who lie, people who steal, people who drink alcohol or smoke or do drugs, heterosexual couples who live together before they are married, people who view pornography, etc. We classify all of those things as sins (and many other churches classify many of those same behaviors the same way), but that doesn't mean we hate the people who engage in them. If having clear doctrines regarding sin is going to be labeled as hatred, anyone who is not a moral relativist will be hateful.

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    4. Speaking to" former members" means they are disgruntled and not going to give the correct account of what really happens in the church. People who leave must not fully have lived the churches teaching or they would not have left. Don't you agree. lol The people that leave the church are the ones that 1) have sinned and can't seem to come back from their sin (like my mom) 2) got disfellowshipped or exed from committing sin (and might be disgruntled), 3) got their feelings hurt by someone and could not get over it

      Sin takes you down a path that causes you to lose the spirit. I know because I have been a disfellowshipped member of the church for a good 2 years as I was repenting of my own sins. During the time I was sinning and partly through my repentance process, It was very hard to feel the spirit, making it easy to justify things. I can tell you what sin really does to a person because I have been a sinner. It desensitizes a person, and makes it easy to just pick up and leave a church and change your opinion on things. Luckily I have always know the mormon church is true (I have had too many experiences to say otherwise) and so my way back was a easier road then most.

      The reason I am saying all this is because NO one can know what goes on in the church unless you have stepped inside, lived it and still live it. People who don't live it will of course give backwards accounts of things. I have lived it most my life, I have been a sinner (sexual in nature), I repented of my own accordance, and I believe. I see miracles happen every day in church, in my home, and in my life because of the church and its teachings.

      Please everyone... I ask you all, if you really want to know a mormon, live it, go to a mormon church and sit in their meetings, trully find out for yourselves. The other poster is right, googling is not accurate info.

      Delete
    5. "Speaking to" former members" means they are disgruntled and not going to give the correct account of what really happens in the church. People who leave must not fully have lived the churches teaching or they would not have left. Don't you agree. lol The people that leave the church are the ones that 1) have sinned and can't seem to come back from their sin (like my mom) 2) got disfellowshipped or exed from committing sin (and might be disgruntled), 3) got their feelings hurt by someone and could not get over it"


      WHOA. WHOA. WHOA!

      Okay. Wow. My jaw literally DROPPED reading this.

      I'm choking on the generalizations. Wow.

      So I just learned that I'm disgruntled...cannot be trusted to give valid accounts of the church since I'm no longer in it...and must fall into one of three categories?

      Gosh, the things I've just learned about myself. Thanks?

      FYI:

      I was born and raised in the church and lived the gospel. I was a typical molly mormon.

      As I entered my late teens and learned more about the church (as you get older you are taught more, obviously) I felt that things just weren't ringing true. It was a very distressing feeling and one that I buried for quite awhile.

      So after I left for college, I decided to do something about it. Even though I was born and raised I took the missionary lessons. I read the Book of Mormon (for the tenth time... literally) as well as the Bible again. I also studied church history.

      What I came away with was... the realization that I didn't believe it to be true. This was painful and downright terrifying.

      I'll spare you the details of what happened after that... because if there is something that has created this stereotype of a disgruntled ex-mormon, it's people like you who degrade and condemn those that have left.

      But, no. I'm not disgruntled. Today I have mormon friends and the mormon family members that didn't disown me for leaving, I have wonderful relationships with. I enjoy hearing about their beliefs and respect them very much... just as they respect mine.

      Also, I didn't receive some weird creepy brain transfusion that now makes all of my memories of living in the church tainted by my evil heathen brain.. or whatever it is you think happened. I am a rational adult and speak the truth, thank you.

      Delete
    6. I'm going to repeat the "whoa, whoa, whoa."

      The idea that every former member of a religion is "disgruntled" and somehow suffered anmensia of the years they were faithful members so therefore cannot give any accurate information is just bizarre.

      I'm a former Catholic. I sometimes jokingly refer to myself as a recovering Catholic but I'm certainly not disgruntled. Like Michelle, I had questions and problems that I eventually could not reconcile with the Church.

      That doesn't mean I cannot give very accurate information about the Catholic religion. Yes, I left but I didn't burn the bridge behind me. I did not suddenly stop loving the Sisters who gave me such a good education. I did not lose respect for the people in my family who remain faithful Catholics.

      Delete
    7. Fresh hell... You ate disgruntled or you would not have left the catholic church. You would not have left if you where not .,, sorry I don't believe that you can leave a church and go against its teachings without being disgruntled... There had to be a reason for you leaving!!! And it probably wasn't a good reason too. I bet you didn't leave for no reason but something happened to make you think about leaving...

      I hear so many ex Mormons giving a bazaar account of their time as a Mormon.. Very misrepresentation of things I live every day.. They sound very disgruntled and definitely embellishing things.. Hence my disgruntled comment . I have lived all over the country in different congregations and have never seen the stuff these ex's say....

      You all seem to have a comeback to everything anyone says on here.. It's hilarious!!! :)

      Delete
    8. I think that both reasons are valid for leaving ones faith. I have known MANY people that are definitely "disgruntled" and try to legitimize their feeling by exaggerating and misrepresenting what happens within their faith. And when you don't belong to that faith it's easy to take it all for face value. So I'm always cautious when I hear these accounts. I don't judge the whole on the account of one of it's parts. However I do think that you can grow up in a faith and decide that it just isn't a good fit for you. If values and principles taught in your childhood faith don't resonate with you, I can imagine you would want to spent your Sunday somewhere you felt was a better fit. If someone tells me that they left their faith because it wasn't for them and they don't feel bitter about it, I believe them. Who am I to tell someone how they should feel or see things.

      Delete
    9. I agree completely with anon July 17 12:49 PM. I'm a Mormon, and my mom is a convert to the church. She used to be a Methodist. She was not disgruntled at all when she left the Methodist church. She says there were things that simply weren't ringing true with her and that she felt like something was missing.

      I have definitely known many people who have left their religions because they were offended, because they couldn't live the teachings, because they broke rules and couldn't handle church discipline, etc. There's no question this happens a lot in the LDS church--maybe because we have a lay ministry, maybe because our doctrines on sin are pretty strict, maybe because we require a lot out of our members, etc. Who knows? But I've also known people who just didn't believe their church's teachings anymore.

      Delete
  19. I made myself a cup of tea and sat down to watch both videos. I'm so glad I took the time to do it. I appreciate the clarity on such important issues. Thank you for taking the time to make the video and sharing it here.

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  20. I am once again blown away at your willingness to put yourself out there and educate the masses. May Heavenly Father bless you and your family on this very sacred mission.

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  21. Thank you both so much for "coming out" so to speak regarding your very unique and loving marriage. I am a former Mormon and mother of two wonderful gay sons, who have both chosen to live a gay lifestyle. Personally, as an active Mormon, I continued to feel that I had to choose between God and my sons to be considered faithful, which caused tremendous mental/emotional anguish. So I ended up choosing both, but had to leave the Mormon Church to do so and maintain my faith in God without attending any church at all. I sincerely hope that your blogs and videos will bring new understanding to homosexuality and that one day all churches will allow gay men and women to remain active members, even when the partner they love is the same sex. Again, thank you for your honesty! I am so happy that our paths have crossed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YOU... are an amazing mother. :)

      Delete
    2. Lilygirl, Big hugs to you! I have a gay son but had left my religion (Catholic) before he was born so I did not have to go through the hardships you have been through.

      I just have this glimmer of hope in my heart that tells me that G-d would not make parents choose between our faith and our children. And so I too think the day will come when parents are not forced to make that choice.

      Best of luck to you and your wonderful sons!

      Delete
    3. Do you mind if I ask a personal question?

      Are you a man or a woman?

      In an earlier post you said "Do people really believe that if I file a lawsuit against the Catholic church that they are going to be forced to marry my husband and I?" (BTW, it should read "me," since it is objective)

      So, you left the Catholic church, you are in a sexual relationship with a man, and you have a son, who is "gay."

      It is just like the study by the Williams Institute at UCLA. Children raised by same-sex couples are more likely to consider a homosexual lifestyle and have same-sex sexual encounters. Did your son participate in that study?


      Delete
  22. Oh, I just logged in again and it seems I get to be the first one to comment on the new layout. Well done - I especially like the family picture at the top.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I wish there was a Lifestar program for couples that are dealing with chemical dependancy!

    ReplyDelete
  24. What I have loved very most about your story and your message is that being gay is not something to be "fixed". You are what you are. You are not broken. You are the beautiful son or daughter of a God who loves you and knows you very deeply.

    It is not impossible to reconcile sexual orientation and religious faith. It is a difficult challenge, to be sure, but by being honest with yourself and those you love about who you are, you open a world of positive possibilities. Accepting who you are gives you a tremendous amount of self-love which empowers you to do amazing things with your life.

    Thank you for your continued example and willingness to open our eyes.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I stumbled across your blog a few weeks ago, and I already love you! You and your wife are so completely adorable in these videos. These homosexual issues aren't particularly important to me personally, but for other reasons, I'm enjoying your honest writing about sexuality in general and just being REAL. Thanks so much for sharing. I've struggled my whole life with being a phony and worrying about what other people think and I can't tell you how refreshing it is to hear you joke about things like your physical "abnormalities" and obviously the gay issue. You give me hope that I can true to myself too.

    Love,
    Christie

    ReplyDelete
  26. Wow, reading the comments was a huge waste of the last 15 minutes of my life. Funny how your post got totally forgotten and turned into a Gay Marriage/Anti-Mormon vendetta. Weeds, I appreciate what you are doing but as a former Mormon with many Gay friends, I don't believe you Josh. I'm not a hater... you two are lovely and sincere. It's just that I have too many people in my life that I love that don't believe that living a conflicted life is living life to it's fullest. I know you profess to be living a full life, but I'm not a believer. I hope the best for you and your family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Huh. Not a hater but you just choose to call someone you have never met, about whom you know relatively little, a liar. Nice. It makes your best wishes sound a little hollow.

      I'm amazed you have so many friends who have managed to eliminate all conflict from their lives. I'm not sure I know any.

      Delete
    2. I live in Utah and I drive down the freeway and see billboards for sex addiction treatment a lot. Especially pornography "treatment". While I don't deny that there are some people who might suffer from legitimate sex addiction, I wonder how much Mormonism creates addicts by placing people in sexually repressed situations where they're not allowed to move on without going through an extremely excruciating and embarassing process of discussing what is very likely normal behavior (and not at all problematic) with untrained clergy. Masturbation= problem. Occasional pornography use = problem. Normal sexual thoughts before marriage (and within marriage) = problem. Are all the people being treated for these "addictions" actually addicts? And if so, what would happen if they were simply able to let go of the self loathing that follows masturbating or viewing porn? Instead of dwelling on it for days, weeks, or months? These are just questions I have. Admittedly, I am not a sex therapist. I find it interesting though that Josh chose to mention MEN with these disorders and not women. Do women not have sexual addiction? Are they seen by female counselors? Or are men picked on more? Are wives taught to have unrealistic expectations of their husbands in terms of masturbation and taking an occasional peek at something girly?
      I have been commenting a lot lately but I also echo Ryan's sentiments in saying that I'm not a believer but I wish you the best.
      And the only thing I "hate" is the term "hater". Not just on this blog. But in general. Truly. Somebody doesn't have to be labled a hater simply because they disagree.

      Delete
    3. Gemma:

      I don't think that he was calling Josh a "liar"... I think he was more so doubting if it's possible to live such a conflicting lifestyle and feel truly fulfilled. I read it as he thinks Josh is kidding himself.

      Not that I'm agreeing with him... but for some reason my insomniac mind is feeling the need to explain... haha

      Delete
    4. Ryan, I think it. Is hard to see "happy people" when you are not happy. I get it. "Damn Happy People" is one of my favorite phrases. But on the other hand, I really don't want them to feel the way I do. Bottom line whteher or not you believe Josh is happy won't
      change anything...most importanty it won't make you happy. Here's your 15 minutes back, use it more wisely next time..I.e. not reading things that annoy you.

      Delete
    5. Gemma, I didn't call him a liar.

      Leslie, I'm a very happy person and don't distort things, I wasn't annoyed by the videos. I was annoyed that people took the Weed post off topic and went on unrelated rants.

      Delete
    6. Ryan, you are not familiar with the unwritten etiquette of the Josh Weed Blog. Since his Unicorn blog post, he opened the comment section and welcomes discussions here about homosexuality and related issues even if the discussion is not directly related to a blog post's theme.

      He was contemplating to set up a forum, but after offering the forum option for a discussion, he concluded that for now the comment section of the blog would function as a forum.

      Delete
    7. Ryan, I know you profess to be happy, but I'm not a believer. I hope the best for you anyway.

      Bjorge Queen, I don't know if this will help, but the way "hater" is used among my friends and family is in a joking way. If I tell my daughter, "Your hair looks nice, but I don't like that dress." She laughs and says, "Oh, don't be a hater mom." That is the way I see it used on FB.

      When Lolly used it in the video, I thought she was trying to make a joke about some very painful comments that have been aimed at her and Josh. After all the unkind things that have been said to them, I think they are both amazingly patient and kind. Alot more patient than I am.

      Delete
  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  28. nice new blog look! Lolly looks as gorgeous as ever. (Pretend like this note is 3 paragraphs long and very, very clever.) Thanks.

    Stella

    ReplyDelete
  29. To The Weed Family:

    I have been following your blog for awhile now... and all I have to say is... rock on.

    Between our cultures, beliefs, individual personalities, etc... there are so many people living their lives in so many different ways... and this includes your family. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with this and one of the things that is so great about this country of ours is that it allows you to do so... and you're doing it honestly. Nothing deserves respect more than honesty.

    So, again... rock on Weeds. Keep living the life that makes you happiest... I wish you and your family nothing but the best and I thank you in advance for letting me follow along in your journey.

    P.S. Lolly... you have amazing hair. I'm a bit jealous.

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  30. Loving the new blog set up! Looks great!

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  31. This kind of comment thread is why I wish there were a forum, or threading in the comments or something. I'm in a het marriage to a same-sex attracted guy and I'd love to talk to/empathize with/learn from other women in the same situation. Yet the comments are usually very much about the LDS church, homophobia, politics, etc, and is dominated by just a few commenters such that I can't even find the people I might want to talk to. You certainly owe me nothing, but I was sorta hoping I could connect to some other people. We're not "out" to anyone, and it can be isolating.

    ~Anniba

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anniba, I believe it's coming.

      Delete
    2. Anniba, try the Gay Christian Network.

      Delete
    3. Anniba, there's a Yahoo group, MMOMW, "Making Mixed Orientation Marriages Work."

      Also, it might not be that hard to find a marriage and family counselor who is good with mixed-orientation marriages. They might not all publicize it, but you could ask around, or search on the Web for one near you.

      Also, try searching on the Web for "mixed orientation." Here are some examples of what I came up with:

      Mixed-Orientation Marriages | Forum for I Have ... - Experience ...
      www.experienceproject.com/groups/...A.../Mixed-Orientation.../6113
      Mixed-Orientation Marriages message board post in the forum for, I Have a Very Unusual Marriage. Chat and talk about Mixed-Orientation Marriages in forums ...

      Intimacy in a mixed orientation marriage
      agaybiologist.blogspot.com/.../intimacy-in-mixed-orientation-marria...
      14 Aug 2011 – I have a good heterosexual friend who has been married for over 10 years. We have been friends for a very long time. Although he has known ...

      “Making it Work”: A Grounded Theory of How Mixed Orientation ...
      scholar.lib.vt.edu/theses/available/etd.../Jordal_CE_D_2011.pdf

      Families Like Mine » Mixed-Orientation Marriages
      familieslikemine.com/category/mixed-orientation-marriages/
      Her father's sexual orientation is the “elephant in the livingroom.” Q: Three years ago, my sisters and I found out my father is gay, but not because he came out ...

      MMOMW : Making Mixed Orientation Marriages Work
      groups.yahoo.com/group/MMOMW/ - United States
      This group has been created for those who are in mixed orientation marriages. Straight spouses who are married to gays or bisexuals and also the married gays ...

      Therapist Joe Kort - Mixed Orientation Marriages
      www.joekort.com/mixed_orientation_marriages.htm
      One of my specialties is mixed orientation marriages which I call the "New Mixed Marriage" where one spouse is gay or bisexual and the other is heterosexual.

      Mixed Orientation Marriage
      www.transcendingboundaries.org/.../mixed-orientation-marriage.htm...
      A mixed orientation marriage most commonly presents itself as a marriage where one partner is either bisexual, gay or lesbian and the other is heterosexual.

      Mixed Orientation Marriages
      www.ualberta.ca/~cbidwell/cmb/l-mixmar.htm
      This site is about adults in heterosexual relationships (legal or common-law marriages) in which one of them realizes their homosexual (or bisexual) orientation.

      The 'mixed-orientation marriage' support group created to help rising ...
      www.dailymail.co.uk/.../The-mixed-orientation-marriage-support-gr...
      19 Jun 2012 – Straightspouses.org helps Morman mixed-orientation couples such as Josh and Lolly Weed who have been married 10 years and have three ..

      Delete
    4. Anniba, I've been doing research on the policies and guidelines of the AMA and APA related to sexual orientation and identity issues, and I imagine now that any counselor who follows them would be good for a mixed-orientation marriage. A counselor who does not mention them in her publicity might even be better. The labels get in the way more than they help.

      Anniba, please try this, just try it: Forget about the labels, and break the problem down into its components. Attraction to people outside the marriage? Lack of attraction to the partner? Self-esteem issues because of a label? Stereotyped and stigmatized by a label? Break it down, and look at the parts one by one. For example, I imagine it's very harmful to try to get rid of same-sex love. In fact I think it's unhealthy to even *want* to get rid of same-sex love. Also, I see no reason in the world for someone who is not attracted to one sex or the other, to try to become attracted to that sex in general. At the same time I think it's very healthy, and the easiest thing in the world, to learn to be aroused by your partner, regardless of gender and orientation, if you open your heart and mind to it.

      - I value same-sex love, and I value people trusting their scriptures.

      Delete
    5. Thanks Jim!

      ~Anniba

      Delete
    6. I've heard good things about the Straight Spouses support network, http://www.straightspouse.org/home.php

      Best of luck to you.

      Delete
  32. Thank you Weeds! I'm so impressed with you and all that you do! You're amazing people!!!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Josh, I'm curious what you think about this article. http://www.narth.com/docs/innate.html It links to several sources that claim anywhere from 30-70% in treating unwanted same-sex attraction. I know you said that you don't think it can be changed so how do you explain these results? I also would like to hear your thought on this article that offers an explanation of what causes same-sex attraction. http://theguardrail.com/Understanding%20Unwanted%20Same-Sex%20Attraction.pdf Obviously I don't think you would say it matches your experience, but it obviously does match another gay man's experience. http://us4.campaign-archive2.com/?u=bfc2f6d3a3b23b24e599f3411&id=862dcacc48&e=a1a1bd2aa6

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not Josh but I read your articles and I'm gay so I'm going to offer my opinions as politely as possible. First, regarding the 30-70%. We can never know what is in somebody's heart. When you take a survey people are free to check off any answer they please, there is always room for error, they may be lying to themselves, they may have been bi when they started thus creating the illusion that people are being "healed" of being gay. I really don't think they are, but for example, if Josh just today decided to tell everyone he was "healed" then he would be in that percentage even if it wasn't true because we can't read his heart.

      Second, the God issue. This one drives me nuts. And my argument is not "god made me so its ok". Because then by that logic anything I do is ok, I mean God made computers and computers have internet and internet has porn...does that make porn ok? No. So here is the read God argument. I believe in God 100%. I pray and talk to him all the time. If you also believe in God you know what is means to pray, to be sitting there quietly with him and how that feels how peaceful it can be. And in those moments is when I have felt the most at peace with my sexual orientation. It is only when I am out of pray and thinking about it that I get squirmish. And for that reason I know this is ok, God is ok with me, he loves me and I have felt it. And if someone wants to fight me on it that's ok because he's got my back.

      And on the "people can change" issue. I don't think its possible. I think its detrimental to a young person, and I think if a person feels that they really don't want to live in a gay relationship choosing Josh's way of life is best. To accept who you are, but have a mixed orientation marriage. It's healthier for everyone to be honest with themselves about who they are. Denying that you are gay or attracted to the same sex does not make you straight. in my opinion.

      Delete
    2. Thank you for your response. I appreciate the insight. Regarding your comment that those who report change may be lying to themselves, I just want to point out that this is true for any psychological treatment. So if you’re going to discount these results then you have to discount the results of any other treatment. One of the articles also says that those numbers are consistent with other psychological treatment results.

      I don’t think it’s detrimental for a young person to try to change if their moral compass tells them that’s what they should do. It all depends on how the treatment is handled. If the methodology used tells that person that they are evil then that would be detrimental. But it sounds like what the therapists in these articles are trying to do is re-associate sexual feelings to the opposite sex. I think that can be achieved while being supportive, loving, and helping the person accept his or her self.

      I think it’s wonderful that you have found peace with God.

      Delete
    3. I'm also gay Mormon, married to an exceptional woman, with three kids, and I have seen testimonials of those who say that their same-sex attraction has changed, and if that's true for them, I'm fine with it. However, for me, their testimonials has never felt as nearly as real and authentic as Josh's and Lolly's.

      On the other hand, I would never allow anyone to try on me anything that even resembles reparative therapy. I feel very very uncomfortable with it, to the point of abhorrence.

      Delete
  34. Josh, I still have some questions I haven't seen answered. First I think they're important, then I think they aren't, then again I think they are. I've decided to just go ahead and ask.

    1. I've never seen or heard of anyone else using the word "gay" the way I see you using it, in applying it to yourself. Everyone else I've ever heard of who thinks he's homosexual, but abstains from same-sex sexual intimacy because of his beliefs, calls himself "homosexual," not "gay." Have you ever seen or heard of anyone who abstains from same-sex sexual intimacy because of his beliefs, who calls himself "gay" rather than "homosexual"? Do you generally think of yourself, in your own mind, as "gay," or as "homosexual"? Or both? Or neither? When you first became aware of it, did you think of yourself as "gay," or "homosexual"? Has your self-label changed over time, and if so, how did that happen?

    2. Do you see any value in homosexuality, and if so, what value do you see in it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In relation to the first question, do clients who come to you with same-sex attractions that they want to resist, often call themselves "gay"? Of those, do the ones who come out of the therapy still wanting to resist those attractions still call themselves "gay"?

      Delete
    2. It might help if I explain where those questions are coming from.

      I've been thinking about the possible impact on gays, and on people with same-sex attractions that they want to resist, of a counselor who sees no value in his own homosexuality, or in homosexuality in general. It seems to me that would reinforce some people's self-depreciation, especially if that disregard persists after close personal experience with them.

      Calling yourself "gay" makes you look more gay-safe to gays than calling yourself "homosexual," and that increases the risk of them being lured into something that will reinforce their self-depreciation, if you don't see any value in homosexuality.

      Delete
    3. In his Unicorn post, Josh clearly stated that he uses terms "gay", "homosexual" and "same-sex attracted" interchangeably and that that is his personal decision. He also explains that by using those terms, he refer specifically to sexual attraction.

      He then gives good reasons (at least to me) why he chose to use those terms that way.

      Delete
    4. FG, most people with same-sex attractions do *not* use "gay" and "homosexual" interchangeably. In fact, calling gays "homosexual" is characteristic of campaigns promoting prejudice against gays.

      Most gays do not like to be called "homosexual," and most people who call themselves "homosexual" do not like to be called "gay."

      www.glaad.org/reference/offensive

      "Offensive: 'homosexual' (n. or adj.)
      Preferred: 'gay' (adj.); 'gay man' or 'lesbian' (n.); 'gay person/people'
      Please use 'gay' or 'lesbian' to describe people attracted to members of the same sex. Because of the clinical history of the word 'homosexual,' it is aggressively used by anti-gay extremists to suggest that gay people are somehow diseased or psychologically/emotionally disordered ... Please avoid using 'homosexual' except in direct quotes. Please also avoid using 'homosexual' as a style variation simply to avoid repeated use of the word 'gay.' The Associ­ated Press, The New York Times and The Washington Post restrict use of the term 'homosexual' ..."

      It is also offensive to many people with sexual attractions they want to resist, to call them "gay." Most of them call themselves "homosexual," if they use a label at all. In fact, it is very offensive to some of them to call *anyone* "gay."

      Delete
    5. Josh, one thing that is still unclear to me is whether you view homosexuality as a deformity, and nothing more. I read some of your posts on body deformities, and didn't see anything about viewing them as gifts. If you see homosexuality as nothing more than a deformity, that's something friends of gays might want to know before they publicize your story, and something gays might need to know before they come to you for counseling. Calling yourself "gay" does just the opposite: it creates the impression that you have a favorable view of your homosexuality.

      Delete
    6. FG, what Josh calls himself in his own mind is a personal decision. What he calls himself in a story that he is promoting to all the world, and in publicity for his counseling service, is something else. A person might have good reasons to call a bathtub a "swimming pool" in his own mind, and even with family and friends, if they're all in on the joke, but it would be quite different for a hotel owner to advertize that his rooms include a swimming pool, even if he says in fine print that the "swimming pool" is actually a bathtub.

      Someone "coming out" as "gay" means much more to most gays than simply "same-sex attracted." It implies that he has a favorable view of that. If he doesn't, if in fact he views homosexuality as nothing more than a deformity, then it's misleading to gays and their friends, in a way that might lead to grief.

      ----
      My position on homosexuality:
      - I value same-sex love.
      - I value people trusting their scriptures.
      - I don't measure the morality or healthfulness of a sexual relationship by the genders and orientations of the partners.

      Delete
    7. FG, I'm still questioning how and how much I want to help publicize this story. It depends partly on the context, and what I need to know about the context is still very unclear to me.

      Considering how harmfully stories of gay men married to women have been used repeatedly in the past, the scarcity of provisions to prevent and counteract this story being used that way, and the lack of any sign a favorable view of homosexuality, I'm afraid this story might reinforce prejudice against gays, and some people's self-depreciation, more than help reduce them.

      That doesn't mean I won't help publicize it. It just means I need to know more, and consider it very carefully.

      Delete
    8. Jim, you should ask yourself why there are so many heartbreaking stories about gay people marrying straight people. And the answer is rather simple. Because they got into marriage under false pretenses. They probably expected to be cured of homosexuality. Or worse, they just wanted a cover-up for homosexual behavior.

      Now, ask yourself is there anything like unto it in the story of Josh & Lolly?

      You can always say: "It appears not, but...", and that is true. You can and will never know what is EXACTLY in Josh's and Lolly's head. You can only make an educated guess.

      Now, Jim, tell me, what is your educated guess, after all?

      Delete
    9. FG, I'm not sure why you're asking that, unless you've completely missed my point.

      Are you asking if I think this story will end in heartbreak? Not at all! Certainly not because of Josh's homosexuality. I don't see anything that anyone calls "homosexuality" as any more of a challenge to a successful marriage than many challenges that many other couples have faced successfully. I don't give any credit at all to the idea that Josh's homosexuality has to make the marriage any less healthy and fulfilling, for Josh or for Lolly, than any other marriage.

      I've dreamed for years of stories like this being publicized, to help dispel prejudices against gays marrying across the gender line. This could pave the way for more such stories to be publicized, so I'm glad to see it, regardless of any possible defects. Even so, I am concerned about the harm it might do, so I need to consider carefully how I help publicize it.

      I might have an answer though, without getting answers to my questions from Josh. As I said, I don't see adequate provisions in the story to prevent and counteract the harmful ways it will be used, and it looks misleading to me in a way that might lead some people to grief. The answer for me is, in publicizing this story, to include my own provisions to prevent and counteract the harmful ways it will be used, and to help prevent it from misleading people.

      Delete
    10. FG, in case you're wondering, no, I'm not normally this fussy about passing stories around, and yes, I might be overdoing it in this case. Or not. I'm trusting my intuition for now, and my intuition says to proceed with extreme caution.

      My caution has nothing to do with doubting the healthfulness of the marriage, for Josh or for Lolly. That is not an issue for me at all. My caution has to do with possible effects on some same-sex-attracted people of Josh's blog, and of his counseling.

      Delete
    11. Jim, I understand your curiosity, and I also have tons of questions, not necessarily to remove doubts about the authenticity of the Weed story (because I don't have any), but because I want to learn from them some of the things with which I still struggle to a greater or lesser degree, while it seems that they resolved some of those things (or not, I don't know).

      However, I completely and utterly understand why they are not as talkative as I would like them to be. Besides the fact that the issue is sensitive, intimate and charged with all kinds of prejudices, it is clear to me that Josh & Lolly are "laid-back", "go-with-the-flow" people, so they simply haven't made an agenda around their lives after the Unicorn post, and they only have 24 hours a day for their kids, their friends, their occupations, their blog, which is not much at all.

      So, we need to be patient. Maybe even year or two will pass before we get some key answers. And I'm comfortable with that.

      Delete
    12. FG, I'm not looking for answers any more. I think I know what I want to do now. When I tell people about this story, I'll just point out a few things in the fine print, that might make a difference to some people.

      Delete
    13. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    14. FG, I took another look at Josh's new FAQ, and I see now that it answers both my questions above.

      Here's a draft of what I might say when I tell people about this story:

      "It's a blog about the picture-perfect family life of a gay man married to a woman. The blog includes publicity for a counseling service. Even though there is no indication in the story that the man has ever been in a sexual relationship with a man, or that he has ever been personally interested in gay society or gay issues, he calls himself gay, and homosexual, interchangeably, for no other reason than because, except for his wife after they decided to consider marriage, the only people he's ever been attracted to were men."

      Delete
    15. Jim, are you aware that the idea that sexual experience with the same gender is needed to be gay, and the idea that being gay is equivalent to being a so-called "gay activist" or being immersed in gay politics or culture, are well-worn homophobic assumption? No one applies such tests to heterosexuality; even presexual children are presumed to be heteroromantic future heterosexuals. If you aim to be a friend of gays, as you put it, please be careful not to implicitly endorse those ideas. "The only people he's ever been [sexually] attracted to were men" is the definition of "gay."

      Delete
    16. Anon 9:13 PM, have you ever spent any time in forums or on Web sites supporting gays? Have you read any of the numerous blog posts and comments by gays, objecting to Josh's claim to be gay?

      Delete
    17. I know a person can be gay, without ever being in a same-sex sexual relationship. I've known celibate gays, and gay men married to women, who have never been in a same-sex sexual relationship. None of them reduce their homosexuality to simple raw sexual attraction.

      The idea that being gay means nothing more than being turned on by naked men, and not by naked women, is an example of what I mean by depreciating gays and homosexuality.

      Delete
    18. Reducing homosexuality to nothing more than sex, depreciates gays and homosexuality, and is very offensive to many gays.

      Delete
    19. Anon 9:13 PM, are you aware that in debates about gay marriage, one of the most common objections of gay-affirming people, to the idea that gays have the same freedom as anyone else to marry people of the opposite sex, is that same-sex intimacy is an inseparable part of being gay? Have you seen the comments here and elsewhere, by gay-affirming people, that Josh is betraying himself, and all gays, by giving up a sexual relationship with a man?

      Delete
    20. Jim, we seem to have gotten off on the wrong foot. Rest assured, I hardly ever respond to online comments - yours is the first on Josh's blog that I've replied to - and I replied to yours because you seem to be more open-minded and well-intentioned than most.

      Reading your reply, I see you conflating at least two, possibly three, issues.

      1. The idea that being gay is all about sex, and not about love, relationships, identity, etc. is one well-worn homophobic trope. ("He could have had a loving, stable heterosexual married life - if only he stopped having all that gay sex!")

      2. The idea that someone who is sexually attracted only to members of the same gender, but doesn't act on that attraction, isn't "really" gay or bisexual is also a well-worn homophobic trope. ("She's sexually attracted to women, but she married a man and voted for Proposition 8 - she's not like those sinful lesbians!")

      You seemingly imply that embracing #2 is necessary to avoid #1. I'm politely asking you to reconsider, both because avoiding false homophobic tropes is the right thing to do, and because policing queer people's self-identification is, I think, ultimately more damaging to equality than having the occasional person mislabel himself or herself.

      Also, whether Josh is betraying himself or not is a separate issue from whether he's gay, and I see no evidence that he isn't. (What would you call him? Bisexual? Heterosexual?)

      Yes, I regularly read blogs dedicated to gay issues. I hope you're aware that everyone and anyone - including LGBTQ people and allies - can unintentionally internalize and propagate homophobic and heterosexist ideas, which is why it's important to discuss them.

      Delete
    21. Anon, 9:36 AM, I wouldn't give Josh an orientation label at all. I very rarely question someone's self-label, and in ten years of friendly, intensive discussions with gay activists, and with leaders of change ministries, this is the first time I've ever questioned someone's orientation self-label.

      Josh is not using the label "gay" simply to describe his experience, to be open and honest about who he is. He is using it to paint himself publicly as a gay man in a happy and healthy marriage to a woman. In the current social and political environment, the consequences of that will be far more harmful to gays than calling himself "homosexual" or "same-sex attracted." If, as he says, for him those terms are interchangeable, then I think we can perfectly well question his preference for calling himself "gay" in his publicity campaign

      Delete
    22. I don't think queer people would have any trouble with me questioning Josh calling himself "gay" in his publicity campaign, because I've seen queer people questioning it themselves. In fact, one place I've seen it questioned the most eloquently and convincingly is at Queereka.

      Besides, I'm queer, myself.

      Delete
    23. I think we can perfectly well, not only question, but challenge, his preference for calling himself "gay" in publicizing his story, with its associated blog and counseling service.

      Delete
    24. To be fair, I should say that there is disagreement among LGBTQ people, about Josh's claim to be gay, and some of them might indeed disapprove of my objections to it. I invite you to investigate some more, before you dismiss all the objections as homophobia and heterosexism.

      Delete
    25. Sorry, Jim, I did indeed assume you were probably straight, based on your choice of words in various comments. But I did assume you were gay-friendly.

      I consider myself to be on the LGBTQ spectrum, so you can count one queer person who has trouble with questioning Josh's self-identification ;) But as I said - and I'm sure you agree - queer people are not immune to being wrong, or to (unintentionally) propagating homophobic and heterosexist ways of thinking.

      Queereka is not one of the sites I regularly read, but I Googled and found this piece (correct me if this isn't the one you were speaking of): http://queereka.com/2012/06/10/sunday-school-an-open-letter-to-josh-weed/ The author appears to believe that the gay label should be reserved for people who feel "solidarity with [the] community," who have experienced discrimination, etc.

      It is her right to argue for such a behavior-/experience-based definition, but that is a change she supports. It is not how dictionaries define it, nor how the majority of Americans (to my knowledge), currently use the word. I think it's unfair to criticize Josh Weed for using "gay" in the way that most people mean it.

      Perhaps I'm missing something; you say you know gay people who've never had a same-sex relationship. Are you alright with them identifying as gay? If so, what makes Josh's case different?

      Delete
    26. Anon 4:58 AM,

      I've known gays before, who have never been in same-sex relationships, and I never had any objection to them calling themselves gay. This is the first time I've ever objected to anyone calling himself gay.

      I don't know how to explain my objection to Josh calling himself gay, any better than I already have. We don't need to go there though, because I can approach it from an angle that doesn't involve questioning his self-identification.

      He says he calls himself gay or homosexual or same-sex attracted, using those terms interchangeably. Then in his publicity, and in his interviews, it would be just as honest for him to call himself homosexual or same-sex attracted, rather than gay. It would be equally honest for him, rather than use a label, to say that if the people around him took off their clothes, he would be turned on by the men and not by the women.

      Other gays, and other people with same sex attractions who resist them because of their beliefs, do *not* use those terms interchangeably, to label themselves. Calling gays "homosexuals" is a notorious sign of an unfavorable view of homosexuality, and disrespect for gays. On the other hand, most people with same-sex attractions who resist them because of their beliefs, call themselves homosexuals, or don't label their sexuality at all, and firmly reject the label "gay." A homosexual in one forum was traumatized when he thought mistakenly that I was calling him gay.

      As with most highly charged words, the way people actually use the terms in practice is not the same as the dictionary definitions, or even the definitions they profess to be using. In the current social and political environment, however honest it may be for Josh to call himself gay, promoting and publicizing himself that way facilitates the promotion of prejudice, cruelty and violence against gays, far more than it would to use one of the other labels that he says are interchangeable with that, for him. Even better, he could simply describe his sexuality in terms of his reaction to people taking their clothes off, which he says "cuts to the heart of the matter" better than any other way of saying it.

      Of all the ways that Josh could honestly describe himself in publicizing his story and his blog, he has chosen the term that most facilitates using them against gays, far more than any other way would. That's my objection.

      Delete
    27. Thanks for explaining your thoughts, Jim; I think my understanding is clearer now.

      I agree that when there is a choice between equally honest, understandable, and accurate labels, it's best to pick the one that's likely to do the most good and the least harm. And I agree that labels may indeed help or harm, though I have to say I can't imagine anyone being inspired to physical violence by the difference between "gay" and "homosexual."

      However, I'd say "gay" is better than "homosexual" for just that reason - as you've experienced yourself, "homosexual" is generally used when describing homosexuality as a sin or an illness, and for that reason has taken on somewhat stigmatizing, othering connotations, especially now that "gay" is accepted standard usage. Until "homosexual" sheds its anti-gay connotations, I can't see how continuing to air it will do any good.

      Delete
    28. Anon 5:48 PM, I agree with you about not perpetuating the use of "homosexual," as a label for anyone's sexuality. I've revised my objection accordingly.

      Josh says that what he means by calling himself gay is that seeing naked men turns him on, and seeing naked women doesn't, and he says that cuts to the heart of the matter. In that case, if he wants to publicize that part of his sexuality, the clearest way to do so is in exactly those words, without putting any label on it. If that doesn't suit him, and he wants to say it more briefly, calling himself "same-sex-attracted" will do just as well for his purposes, as I've understood them, as calling himself "gay." The only difference calling himself "gay" will make is to encourage and facilitate using his story against gays.

      Are you familiar with how stories about exgay men in marriages with women have been used in the exgay movement, and how that movement has been intertwined with campaigns against gays? If so, are you familiar with recent developments in the exgay movement, and do you see how well Josh's story can serve its interests, and how timely it is for that movement, if he calls himself "gay"? Do you see how poorly it would serve the interests of that movement, if he simply said that naked men turn him on, but naked women don't?

      Delete
    29. Campaigns against homosexuality are turning away from orientation change. Now instead of exgay men married to women, the campaigns will feature stories of gay men married to women, exactly like Josh's story. They will have no use for stories of men who don't call themselves gay. You will never see headlines like these:

      "Man who is turned on by naked men, happily married to a woman."

      "Same-sex-attracted man, happily married to a woman."

      Delete
    30. I'm glad we can agree on some things :)

      I'm not too familiar with the campaigns of ex-gay organizations, but yes, I'm aware that stories like Josh's have in the past been repurposed to bolster "they should conquer their sinful homosexual lust and live a respectable heterosexual life" narratives. (Nevertheless,I believe that no one should be blamed for being open about their own experiences - but that's another issue.)

      It's just that I can't conceive of how Josh's particular choice of label would change that. I've encountered plenty of people who believe queer people need to change or suppress their sexuality, but none of them has said anything along the lines of "Well, the SSA folks need to change - but the out and proud gay and bi folk are fine as they are!" It was homosexuality (and bisexuality) they had a problem with, regardless of the label.

      Delete
  35. http://www.wtok.com/home/headlines/Gay_Couple_Fears_for_Safety_162798976.html

    http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/07/16/12767047-father-of-slain-lesbian-teen-in-texas-shooter-is-monsterhttp://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/07/16/12767047-father-of-slain-lesbian-teen-in-texas-shooter-is-monster

    http://www.queerty.com/third-salt-lake-gay-bashing-marks-official-start-of-gay-hunting-season-20110909/

    http://www.towleroad.com/2011/09/hallspeaks.html

    http://articles.nydailynews.com/2012-05-23/news/31829587_1_youtube-video-homosexuals-pastor

    http://www.salon.com/2012/05/17/christianitys_anti_gay_stance_backfires/

    http://www.xtra.ca/blog/national/post/2012/06/20/Homophobic-slurs-aimed-at-teen-blinded-in-one-eye-after-attack.aspx

    http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/joannabrooks/5928/vigil_planned_in_wake_of_suicide_by_17-year-old_gay_mormon/

    http://affirmation.org/polygamy/an_irony_in_the_church.shtml

    http://affirmation.org/pdf/fundamental_union.pdf

    http://affirmation.org/rhetoric_on_homosexuality/does_the_church_have.shtml

    http://affirmation.org/newsroom/2008_02_23.shtml

    http://freethinker.co.uk/2010/11/08/gay-suicides-and-the-mormon-church/

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/29/jack-reese-gay-teen-suicide_n_1462594.htmlhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com

    ReplyDelete
  36. Updated: Monday, July 26, 2010:

    Last week, Todd Ransom, a 28 year-old gay man from Orem, Utah, committed suicide.
    While it is unclear why exactly Ransom took his life, friends report that he struggled to reconcile his sexual orientation with his Mormon upbringing.
    There have been few reports of Ransom’s death in the media. Local news outlets have published only brief accounts from when Ransom’s body was discovered July 19.
    But in a website memorial launched this weekend, Ransom’s family released this statement:
    “Our beloved son, brother and friend took his own life at Battle Creek Canyon near Pleasant Grove, Utah after a long and painful battle with depression.
    Some people have said that Todd ended his life because he was gay or felt persecuted by the LDS Church and his family, but this is not true. We loved him unconditionally. We were always there for him.
    Todd attempted suicide previously and we know from that experience that his manic depression was a constant thorn in his side and that there were other factors that influenced his suicide. Todd didn’t always agree with us or want to share his life with us, but he was loved by us. That is the undeniable truth.”

    Ransom’s death has fueled new debate about suicide among gay Mormons.

    Utah bloggers have written that this is the third gay suicide in Utah this month, all of which have been largely ignored by local news outlets — David Standley, 21 of Ogden, took his life on June 30, and Weber State University student Tim Tilley, 20, killed himself on July 11.

    And according to the Deseret News, a LDS owned and cultured newspaper:

    - Every 11 days a Utah teen commits suicide
    - Utah leads the nation in suicide among men 15-24
    - Utah has the 11th highest overall suicide rate in the nation
    - Suicide is the #1 cause of death among Utah teens

    Last year, Ransom signed up to participate in Reed Cowan’s film, 8: The Mormon Proposition, a documentary that chronicled the Mormon Church’s involvement in the passage of California’s Proposition 8, the voter-approved ban on gay marriage.

    According to Cowan, Ransom left inexplicably before he could appear in front of the camera.


    A candlelight vigil for Todd Ransom was held Tuesday at the Utah state capital. (Photo via David Daniels Photography)

    But the memorial website goes beyond speculation, and explains with much candor, Ransom’s life and struggles:


    “Our lives changed when Todd announced to his family in 2001 that he was gay. Thus began the difficult dance that takes place between a faithful Mormon family and a much-loved son and brother who chooses to live a gay lifestyle.

    It was difficult for his parents to publicly acknowledge his homosexuality, and this hurt Todd in ways that his parents did not intend. On the other hand, in spite of his upbringing in the LDS Church, Todd insisted that family members affirm his sexuality in ways that put them at odds with their conscience and beliefs.

    Todd was very hurt when his parents felt that they could not attend his commitment ceremony with Jake Jacquez, his partner of eight years, however he and Jake were both welcome in our home.”

    Ransom was born July 11, 1982 in Princeton, New Jersey. He grew up in Tucson, Arizona and Orem, Utah. He graduated with honors from the University of Utah in May 2009, earning a BS degree in biomedical engineering.

    Friends say Ransom left behind a note reading “Sunrise – Accept This Offering.”

    A candlelight vigil was held last Tuesday evening on the steps of the Utah state capital. Photos at David Daniels Photography.

    ReplyDelete
  37. PITTSBORO, N.C. — Bryan Michael Egnew, 40, spent the last decades of his life building up the courage to come out to his family and Mormon church. Once he did his life, family and religion were stripped away from him, and he committed suicide within a matter of weeks.

    Growing up in the Mormon (aka LDS) Church as a gay man isn’t easy. The pain and guilt pile-on as for years you are hammered with lessons telling you that unless you live a perfect heterosexual life, marry in a Mormon Temple, and follow the Church’s laws perfectly, you run the risk of never seeing your family again after death.

    It’s a deep hole that many never escape from.

    Unfortunately, we have lost another beautiful person to the man-made hell of depression, created when he tried to be honest about himself.

    Egnew went on a Mormon Mission when he was 19, was married in a Mormon Temple to his wife Amy and had five children. He served within his local Mormon congregation for years, and outwardly was everything a Mormon man was expected to be. But inside, Egnew fought a constant struggle over whether to continue pretending, or to be honest about himself.

    One of Egnew’s friends, Jahn Curran, tells us that he has known Bryan since they attended college together at BYU, and like Egnew, Curran was also hiding the fact that he was gay. Years later, Curran would find the courage to come out of the closet, but Egnew was too afraid of what the consequences would be.


    Bryan Egnew and family.

    But last month, Egnew found that courage and
    came out to his family and his church. The results were tragic.

    According to Curran, Egnew’s wife Amy
    immediately packed up their children and drove them out of state to Tennessee, refusing to let
    Egnew see them. His parents and family withdrew, and his Church immediately excommunicated him because he refused to denounce his sexual orientation.

    PRIDEinUtah readers may remember our interview with Mitch Mayne, an openly gay man who currently serves in the bishopric of his local Mormon ward (as long as he remains celibate). His local church leaders are actually supportive of him speaking openly about the fact that he’s gay, and encourage his story to be told. Contrast that with the unfeeling heartlessness of Bryan’s leaders … it’s a stark difference.

    You see, despite the thousands of reported suicides among LGBT Mormons, the Mormon high-leadership still refuse to put into place any official guidelines or provide training to local leaders on what to do when a person chooses to be honest about themselves.

    The result is the long trail of suicides of individuals who were left to face the wrath of local prejudices.

    Egnew’s case is made worse by the fact that his family has tried to suppress and hide what happened and who Egnew was since his suicide on Sept. 10, 2011.

    His obituary made no reference to the fact that he was gay or the horror that his Church put him through in the last weeks of his life. His Facebook page was scrubbed of any mention of the truth and family members blocked anyone who might tell Egnew’s story.

    How long will the Mormon Church continue to let their members die before they decide that LGBT people are worth being treated as equals?

    Calls to the Mormon Church for comment have not been returned.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Gay teen's suicide in Utah highlights youth bullying risks

    Published: 1:44PM Tuesday May 08, 2012 Source: Reuters


    Gay rights activists in Utah are calling for action to halt bullying in the conservative state after the suicide of a small-town gay Mormon teenager who friends and activists said was tormented at school because of his sexual orientation.

    Utah has the nation's highest rate of youth suicide, according to a 2009 report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On average, two teens a day are treated in Utah emergency rooms after suicide attempts, state health department data from 2008 to 2010 showed.

    The recent teen suicide in the small town of Mountain Green has roiled Utah's gay community and drawn national media attention mostly because of its timing - the suicide came just as gay rights activists were trying to help youth in the area overcome bullying so as to prevent such tragedies.

    An obituary said Jack Denton Reese, 17, died April 22, and the Morgan County sheriff's office confirmed it responded to the suicide of a juvenile at his mother's home in their town, about 64 km north of Salt Lake City.

    Alex Smith, who described himself as Reese's boyfriend, said the teen suffered severe physical and verbal bullying by classmates. Smith shared Reese's story during an April 23 panel discussion of gay bullying in nearby Ogden, saying they had discussed the problem but Reese had not sought help.

    "I want to be a voice for people that can't speak, or who are afraid to speak," said Smith, who like Reese was raised as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Utah, where about 60 percent of the population is Mormon.

    "I want to be that voice that says, you know, it's OK to be gay," said Smith, who said he met Reese last autumn at the high school they attended.



    Advertisement



    At the time he spoke out, Smith said he did not know that Reese had already taken his life. He said Reese complained of being shoved around and subjected to anti-gay slurs.

    It is not clear how many of Utah's youth suicides occur in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community because there is no mechanism for collecting the data, according to Valerie Larabee, executive director of the Utah Pride Center.

    "What we know is that in line with national statistics, LGBT youth are at already at an increased risk for suicide and attempted suicide," she said.

    In another high-profile suicide involving a gay youth, an 18-year-old Rutgers student, Tyler Clementi, committed suicide in 2010 by jumping off the George Washington Bridge that connects New Jersey to New York, in a case that drew national attention to issues of gay-bashing and bullying.

    Through an attorney, Reese's parents declined comment on the circumstances of their son's death, saying they considered it a private family matter.

    "The death of their son is tragic and they are still going through the grieving process," the lawyer's statement said.

    ReplyDelete
  39. A 28-year-old gay Mormon took his own life in Utah on July 19, which outrages documentary filmmaker Reed Cowan, who made 8: The Mormon Proposition. On the blogosphere, it's been reported that the young man, Todd Ransom, was interviewed for the film, but Cowan says Ransom signed up for an interview and then inexplicably left before he could appear in front of the camera.

    "We don't know why he left," says Cowan, "but we had a lot of people who decided they couldn't go through with it."

    Cowan says there's been a "rash" of suicides among gay Mormons in recent weeks.


    "In Mormon culture," says Cowan, an ex-Mormon, "when one of these kids commits suicide, you never know at first if he's gay because his sexual orientation won't be in the obituary and families will sweep it under the rug. But you hear from friends that he is gay and that's why he killed himself."

    Cowan's documentary, 8:The Mormon Proposition, takes an in-depth look at how the Mormon Church helped pass Proposition 8 in California in 2008, which took away the existing right of gays and lesbians to legally marry in this state.

    Proposition 8 has recently been the focus of a federal lawsuit in San Francisco, which seeks to overturn the law. A decision is expected from U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker sometime soon.

    Cowan held a day-long interview session in January, 2009, with gay Mormons in Salt Lake City, Utah, where people off the street could talk about their experiences. Ransom signed up, but left before he could be interviewed, Cowan says.

    The filmmaker says there's extraordinary pressure on gay Mormons to conform to the church's teachings.

    Once it's been revealed that someone is gay, says Cowan, a person is given three options by church leaders: marry someone of the opposite sex, live a celibate life, or be kicked out of the church.

    If someone decides to be true to his or her sexual orientation, says Cowan, church leaders then say that God won't love that person anymore.

    "Once you're caught," says Cowan, "you're damned if you do, damned if you don't ... It drives people to suicide."

    He adds, "There is a body count to the bigotry. It's real."

    Cowan says Ransom's suicide shows that "until the message changes, (gay) people should stop going to the church. It's not healthy for them, so stop going ... It's time for the exodus. Get out. It's a deadly message."

    As for other gay Mormons who are contemplating suicide, Cowan says, "Move yourself to safe ground outside of religion...and know that God made you for a reason and loves you."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cowan is incorrect when saying that church leaders say that "...God won't love that person anymore." God loves all of his children.

      Delete
  40. If you are a GLBTQ youth who needs help, there is the Trevor Project hotline at 866-4-U-TREVOR (488-7386). For everyone to use there is the National Suicide Prevention Lifelife at 800-273-TALK (8255)/800-SUICIDE (784-2433).

    Another resource is the It Gets Better Project at http://www.itgetsbetter.org/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for posting these Fresh Hell. Please please please if anyone reading this blog or these comments is even a little bit kind of sort of thinking of suicide use these resources.

      1-800-suicide is totally anonymous (I know, I've used it, it saves lives)

      I promise that even as ugly as some people's comments get everyone is worthy of being loved. And besides, it does get better.

      Delete
    2. I agree with the National Suicide Prevention number, but Dan Savage? Are you kidding me? He doesn't even believe in God.

      Delete
  41. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxnjQdMpnCM&feature=related

    ReplyDelete
  42. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nahifhpm9-8&feature=related

    ReplyDelete
  43. I think that more and more, people (especially the ex-gay movement) are realizing that talking about “curing” homosexuality is a non-starter. They are realizing that even for those who would be most desperate to believe that it is possible as a consciously chosen effort are not really going to buy this. So I see Josh’s post as just the latest narrative in this sort of movement: “So, here, I’m gay, and I’m definitely, totally gay, but I choose to look past my sexual orientation and now I have this great relationship with a woman. Also, I do therapy, so maybe I can help you too!”

    To the contrary, I don’t see a “small minority” of conservatives who are willing to cynically overlook in order to score points. I see overwhelming support for Josh Weed’s choices.

    P.S., way to go on strategically making the focus about “gay sex” at every junction, as if gay relationships are just about gay sex, or that the other elements are totally unimportant or irrelevant to discussion homosexuality

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It depends on what you mean by "gay."

      At med school, I had a lecturer (a self-proclaimed lesbian) define "lesbianism" as "that describing or relating to the relationship, of two women, that is considered sexual, loving, committed, ... and/or spiritual."

      The problem is this definition is so broad that any two women with any relationship would be considered lesbians. The relationship between my mom and any my sister-lesbian. The relationship of all the women in relief society-lesbian. Now, if you were to poll the American women who have a relationship as defined as broadly as that above, you would find 99% of them to be lesbians. However, if you polled them with the question, "Do you consider yourself a lesbian?" I am fairly certain that an overwhelming majority would reply, "No." I am not saying this to hurt anyone's feelings. I am simply stating my opinion based off of reading studies from the Williams Institute at UCLA. Further, I feel that the lecturer wished to normalize the term. Unfortunately, it would simply give way to confusion, and a different term would be formed, which is what has happened with the term, "gay."

      Since the sexual intercourse between two people of the same sex is the issue of inspection, it seems appropriate to have terms to distinguish relationships that have this charateristic from those that do not. Perhaps at one time, "gay" encompassed this meaning, but not anymore; thus, the term "gay sex" is more appropriate.

      I do not see this as marginalizing gay relationships, but rather, to give good hermeneutics.

      Finally, I believe it is noteworthy to recognize that, this blog is mostly surrounding that difference. Specifically, the Mormon Church's position on appropriate same-sex behavior. Can two men love each other? Absolutely. In fact, the Mormon Church affirms Christ's commandment to "love thy neighbor." To me, this means that we should find deep relationships with our neighbors, co-workers, friends, families, and strangers-regardless of sex, even when difficult. This could be sharing music, poetry, kind words, athletic games, an afternoon, etc.

      The line is drawn with sexual behavior. This is not just me talking. People who wish to seek out that type of relationship also wish to have a term to distinguish it from others, and avoid confusion. If you went to a social gathering to seek out a person with whom the possibility of a sexual encounter and/or relationship exists, you would want a word to describe that. It is not discrimination, in the perogative sense. It is distinguishing two things that are notably different in such a way that is relevant to the context of the word.

      In fact, the same argument can be made for the term "marriage." What does "marriage" mean? Is there anything related to the term "marriage" that is distinguishable in the opposite-sex relationship from the same-sex relationship? If so, the word cannot be used interchangeably. If people use the phrase "gay marriage," you recognize that their is a difference.

      If we tried to force the term marriage to apply to the same-sex relationship, all of those characteristics relating to marriage exclusive to the opposite-sex would vanish. At that point, if those characteristics were still pressing, we would be forced to create a new word, or continue with a modifier of some sort. The law can only go so far as to force a perception of reality that does not exist.

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  44. think that there is an intimacy ceiling inherent in most mixed orientation marriages. By intimacy, I mean all the ways in which two people can be close: sexually, emotionally, physically, socially, intellectually and spiritually. As gay spouses we hit against this ceiling periodically. Work and other responsibilities generally keep us busy, but then there is an occasion for sex, or a certain emotional crisis in which we want extra support from our spouse, or times when we need to tell the straight spouse how beautiful (s)he is but we just can’t say it with more than an academic understanding and stretched conviction – these are the sorts of times when we hit the intimacy ceiling.

    The straight spouses bump against the intimacy ceiling too, but sometimes in different ways. For instance, it may be hard for the straight spouse to understand why his or her expressions of love don’t have a major emotional impact on the gay spouse. It may be difficult to understand why the gay spouse withdraws or needs space or feels a level of emptiness in the relationship. Expressions of physical affection from the gay spouse may be infrequent or seem unnatural. Like the gay spouse, the straight spouse may long for deeper affection and passion in the marriage, or more outwards signs of assurance that the gay spouse is really committed emotionally to the relationship.

    The exact location of such a ceiling surely varies from couple to couple (as it does I’m sure for straight or gay same-orientation partnerships). But I suspect that the limitations go deeper – the ceiling is quite a bit lower – in mixed orientation marriages. This seems evident because the capacity of the gay spouse to both give and receive expressions of intimacy in the relationship may be limited. When there are limits present in these relationships (above and beyond what the average couple experiences), extra effort, compromise and compassionate empathy are required. Couples in these relationships may feel that they sacrifice some degree of fulfillment by staying in the marriage. From what I gather, heterosexual marriage is hard enough when even some of the fundamental pieces like sexual attraction and fulfilling non-sexual physical affection are already in place!

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  45. continued . . .
    Can the ceiling on a mixed orientation marriage be raised? I don’t know. It is a major question inherent in these relationships. Perhaps a key part of the answer lies in the ratio between capacity and expectation. If intimate capacity exceeds expectations or basic needs, then perhaps the relationship can survive and even thrive. If expectations or needs are greater than emotional, sexual or romantic capacity, then perhaps the relationship will not be healthy in the long-term. Capacity and expectations need to be evaluated for each spouse. For the gay spouse, does the capacity to give emotionally, sexually, physically, and spiritually meet the expectations and needs of the straight spouse? For the straight spouse, can he or she bring aspects of love and companionship to the marriage that are fulfilling for the gay spouse?

    Each couple in these marriages is different. I strongly suspect that the ability to enhance intimacy in these marriages depends on the personalities of each member of the couple, the degree of homo/bisexuality in the one spouse and the degree of flexibility of the individuals. When the intimacy ceiling can be actually raised to enable greater fulfillment by the partners, great! When individual expectations are lowered too much or needs for intimacy are downplayed to meet a ceiling that cannot be raised, this seems like a less desirable outcome. I think lasting intimacy requires that both spouses can be close to each other in authentic ways.

    I hope that as others try to understand mixed orientation marriages, they will be careful to not apply a heterosexual framework in their evaluation of what these marriages should be. If you are straight, go ahead and try a mental experiment. Imagine marriage to your same-sex best friend. Can you make it work? How would you go about it? What aspects would be especially difficult for you? What extra effort, compromise or sacrifice might be needed above and beyond your current romantic relationship or marriage?

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  46. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  47. Josh -

    I think your intentions in "coming out" were / are good and honest but I am afraid that right wing religious (and other) groups are going to use you as a poster child for restraining and denying homosexual urges and desires. They will point to you as an example that "it can be done" and ultimately this will be damaging to the GLBT population. I am sure this was not your intention, but I think this will be a backfire of your recent declaration. The path you have chosen and managed to succeed in is a VERY rare case and for most homosexual people it is not even an option. For you it is real, genuine and has brought you happiness but as I said, this is rare. On some level you must be stifling your admitted homosexual urges and this is not a real option for most homosexual people.
    I think, already, your message is being twisted and used to justify reparative therapy. The essence of your message is cannon fodder for right wing religious groups. Perhaps it may have been better to reach the population you seek to help in a less risky manner?
    There are so many angles to this it is like looking at a crystal in the sun.
    Good luck and I will be following your journey!!!
    Martinique
    Florida

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  48. Someone above said, "No, but fighting to keep people from their full civil rights does render someone 'phobic'. People can believe what they want, it's their actions that define them."

    Civil Rights was also mentioned before the above quote.

    I'm just wondering why it is that getting married is now considered a Civil Right. Is it really?

    Man did not institude marriage.

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    1. In 1967 marriage was recognized as a civil right in the case of Loving V. Virginia. Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote for the majority:

      "The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men ..."

      This rests on the 14th Amendment, Part one;

      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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    2. Man most certainly did institute civil marriage. My civil marriage has been considered legally valid since 1989. I did not need G-d's permission to marry, I needed permission from the state of Virginia which is recognized as valid by the federal government.

      There is civil marriage and there is religious marriage. They are two different things, even if they often happen in the same ceremony.

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    3. Marriage has been deemed a civil right, but the definition of marriage is what is being called into question.

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    4. Fresh Hell,

      I agree that marriage is a civil right, but why is it a civil right?

      You left out an important part of Justic Warren's opinion.

      "Marriage is one of the 'basic civil rights of man,' fundamental to our very existence and survival."

      If you don't know what he meant by "existence and survival" look up Skinner v. Oklahoma, since that is the case that he specifically quotes.

      After having done that, how can you argue that Justice Warren's opinion is at all relevant to your argument? Specifically, how is a same-sex relationship "fundamental to our very existence and survival" especially in the context of a case regarding sterilization?

      I am not trying to be mean spirited, and I hope you do not take offense, but his opinion does not support your argument.

      You can also look up Maynard v. Hill 1888 (another case that Justice Warren quotes in that same opinion).

      "[Marriage] is an institution of society, regulated and controlled by public authority." Also "It is an institution in the maintenance of which in its purity the public is deeply interested, for it is the foundation of the family and of society, without which there would be neither civilization nor progress." (Maynard vs Hill)

      There is a reason that Justice Warren quoted these cases in his opinion. They give justification for why government is involved in such a personal relationship. It outlines what marriage is to accomplish in society. Don't you think it is short-sighted that many individuals make statements like, "government should stay out of marriage" or "government has no right telling me who I can't marry," yet here we see why government (which we despise as having too much control) is allowed to be apart of one of the most intimate relationships, if not the most intimate, in our lives? We must preserve society's involvement in marriage as it relates to our how we came to be and how our society will become.

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  49. Josh and Lolly, I think this video was a good idea, and it seems to have helped some people.

    I imagine that a blog about the picture-perfect family life of a gay man married to a woman, who uses "gay" and "homosexual" interchangeably, and whose blog includes publicity for a counseling service, will continue far into the future to be a lighting rod for all the anger and hostility aroused by orientation change campaigns, with their numerous fraudulent success stories of gay men marrying women.

    I don't imagine that anything you can ever say or do will stop all the venting and spam (including mine!), but I see something you can do, if you haven't already, to improve your responses to sincere concerns: do some research on the harm that has been done by orientation change campaigns, and the numerous fraudulent success stories they have publicized about gay men marrying women.

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    1. And research on how orientation change campaigns have been use to promote prejudice against gays.

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    2. Josh, I've been thinking some more about the possible implications of you calling yourself "gay" and "homosexual" interchangeably. Maybe you aren't aware of the possible implications of that for some gays, and friends of gays.

      Same-sex attracted people with a favorable view of those attractions commonly call themselves "gay." Same-sex attracted people with an unfavorable view of those attractions commonly call themselves "homosexual." I've never seen or heard of any other same-sex attracted person who calls himself "gay" and "homosexual" interchangeably.

      Here are some possible implications I see, and the plausibility rating 1-5 for me, with 5 the highest:
      - You are unaware of this widely publicized distinction: 2
      - Your personal view of homosexuality is perfectly neutral: 1
      - Your professional stance toward homosexuality is perfectly neutral: 4
      - Public relations for your counseling service: 4

      If it's your professional stance, that looks like a good idea to me.

      If public relations is one of your reasons, I imagine it will fail completely with gays and friends of gays. It might not work that well with homosexuals, either.

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    3. I just thought of two more possible implications, which look much better to me:
      - How to view homosexuality is an open question for you, personally: 4
      - Your professional stance is variable, working to some degree within the value system of the client: 5

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    4. (Same anon as July 20, 2012 9:36 AM)

      Or the simplest and (in my view) most likely explanation: Josh grew up in a conservative Christian culture in which "homosexual" was standard usage; at the same time, like most 21st century Americans, he's familiar with the word "gay." By now, he's accustomed to using both.

      Yes, I'd appreciate it if Josh stopped using terms like "homosexual" and "gay lifestyle" which have been used in derogatory ways, but I doubt he's deliberately invoking that political subtext. My personal experience is that for every person who uses those terms to stigmatize, there is a another well-meaning person who's paid little attention to anti-gay politics and uses them innocently.

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    5. I am not sure about this "widely publicized distinction," but I was at a conference where one of the seminars had individuals come and talk about how we, as doctors, could better approach them in clinics. One woman, who was in a sexual relationship with another woman (not present), wanted to called "queer," and did not like the term "lesbian." The next table had a two women, but one women was trying to be a man. They wanted to be specifically called "a gay couple." The next table had a man and a woman, but the man was dressed as a woman. They wanted to be referred to as "lesbians." A male relative of mine is in a sexual relationship with another man and sometimes calls him "f@&&*!"

      I decided I would just call people by their first name.

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  50. Jim, it sounds like you really really want and need Josh's attention but it seems to me that he is not going to give it to you so you then seem to try harder to get it, kinda holding out the 'i might not promote your blog or counseing services to people I know' as the carrot. I also don't think he is sending you secret signals as per a much earlier comment you made that I just read (I'm new here). Then you go into this whole rather weird thing about whether he calls gays gay or homosexuals. I've known lots of gay people who use both terms interchangeably.
    And you talk about 'depreciating gays' which is a strange verb to use. just my opinion.
    I don't think you are going to get Josh's attention despite your stronger and stronger insistence upon it. Do you know a lot of people who live in the Seattle area where Josh counsels? If not and you aren't sure of Josh's stance, why not just not recommend his counseling? It just seems to be like you are torturing yourself and endlessly coming up with new questions in hopes that Josh will answer. I don't think it is going to happen, Jim.
    And also, same sex attracted people call themselves gay generally because they are gay as it is not just who you are attracted to.
    You seem both to support gay people and to not support them at the same time. you seem to love what josh is doing and then suddenly to not love what josh is doing. I find a definite lack of cohesiveness in your comments (i obviously have too much time on my hands!).
    I say, rather than continually imploring Josh to answer you when it is obvious he won't, that you might want to move along. That is unless you know lots of gay people in Seattle who are conflicted about it because of their religion and need a counsellor.

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    1. Anon 9:36 PM, I love getting this attention from you! Now I know someone else has been reading my posts besides FG! Yay!

      Anybody else?

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    2. Anon 9:36 PM, I really am intrigued by how closely you've been following my comments. What is it about them that's so interesting to you?

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    3. Anon 9:36 PM, unless you tell me otherwise, I'll take what you said to me as a sign of friendly interest.

      When I first started posting here, it was because I thought I saw something wonderful happening, something I've dreamed of for ten years, and I was hoping to help it happen. Now, the more I study it, and think about it, the more deceptively poisonous it looks to me.

      I'm in a turmoil, trying to decide what to think about it, and what to do about it, if anything. You might be right that the best thing for me to do is ignore it, but I'm not sure about that yet. I think it might be good for me to get away from it for a while, to get a better perspective on it. I'll be trying to do that now, except possibly for responding to friendly comments addressed to me.

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  51. Josh & Lolly, I just watched your videos about Josh not being a reparative therapist. I have a lot of things to do just now, and "should not" be spending time on you guys, but couldn't resist. You are very sweet and dear to me. I have to post anonymously, but have been calling myself Todos Santos on your blog.

    My wife and I got turned off to psychologists and therapists decades ago, so I have never been interested in therapy for my being sexually attracted to men, much less interested in repairing something. I never took on my sexual feelings as an "identity" anyway.

    I glanced through the comments quickly (I really don't have time today), and one of them calls you "conflicted." I really hate this kind of thing. "Conflicted" means you cannot make a choice. Here is someone saying you didn't make a choice, when you did. I think you said in your video it is frustrating. Yes it is frustrating to be discounted and disbelieved. -- love, TS

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  52. Josh and Lolly,
    Loved the clips! I read your initial post and haven't been following every post and comment on this blog closely- because I tend to get worked up over things I can't change. I don't think arguing over the internet is the best way to communicate opinions.

    I did watch these clips though because I want to have an educated stance on the situation if it ever comes up in conversation. These movies made it very clear. You two are very down to earth and it's apparent that your relationship is very healthy and that you are happy together.

    I think that you guys are doing a wonderful thing. I can imagine for such a passive nature the kind of attention this is getting must be a great sacrifice for the greater good of the message you want to share.

    Having said all of that I wanted to thank you for all all the VERY humorous posts on your blog. I have been suffering from SEVERE PPD for the past year and a half and reading your blog is one of the few things that can give me a real laugh. Thanks for spreading the joy!

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  53. Josh and Lolly,

    Thank you for your candor, your courage and your strength. It was 24 years ago that my returned missionary sister came out. It has been a struggle through the years for our family and knowing how to deal with this. It is more difficult for some than for others. The timing, the manner and other information that came out with it made it all very difficult to deal with and to know what is real. While quite some time ago I personally came to a place of acceptance and respect, your conversations here on your blog have added to my understanding and respect for my sister who lives a homosexual lifestyle. The paradigm shifts and confirmations have been most valuable.

    The years have also left me with very little respect for therapists/therapy. My family in whole have had horrible experiences. This is the first time in many years that I have thought perhaps there is a good and positive place for therapy and in fact therapists out there that are of a healthy mind and soul who could actually help someone.

    Blessings to you both and to your family.

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  54. I read that too, but I knew it had to be untrue. Glad to receive confirmation from you two, and I agree that a video was a good idea to clear some of the doubts. So much respect for you to. Might I also add that Anna has DEFINITELY inherited Lolly's knack for interviewing? :P
    Love from a far-away admirer of your story :)
    I read your blog regularly since the Club Unicorn post.

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  55. As a bystander here, I wanted to ask those of you who are gay and married what your wives have to say about your situations. I cannot but think that most of them didn't have that precious time of getting to know you and your situation since your teenage years as Lolly did with Josh. And since most of you keep saying that by marrying you 'sacrificed' something, I think that it must be your wives also that sacrificed something, too. I cannot imagine how hard it must be to live like that and since I don't find many wives here blogging about their gay husbands, I wonder how they feel and what they had to sacrifice by excepting such a 'life style'. Just wondering.

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  56. Very nice and interesting blog, thanks for this post..it's been great reading this.

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