Monday, September 17, 2012

34 memories--a love story

34 of my favorite memories of Lolly:

1. When I was 11 years old and she was 13, Lolly gave a talk in sacrament meeting that changed my life. It was so genuine and so powerful--about how she received a witness that the Book of Mormon is true--and she was radiant, and I remember thinking "I want to know what she knows. And I want to be her friend."

2. Not long after that, we served at a wedding together.  We laughed the entire time.

3. I turned 12, and went to mutual for the first time. She hung out with me and helped me feel comfortable in my own skin.

4. At 13, I was going through one of the most difficult years of my life (to date). Many factors combined to make this particular year indescribably hellish. But on the first day of school that year (8th grade) I saw Lolly, the student body president of the school and a grade ahead of me, eating lunch with all her friends and I thought "I bet she'd let me sit with her." She did. Every day. For the entire year.

5. That was the only safe place I had that year.


Laurel Shea, Student Body President of Jefferson Junior High


6. We made some important memories that year.

7. One of them was one time I saw that she was chewing gum and...
I asked her for a piece. She was like "I don't have any. Well, unless you want the piece in my mouth." And I was like "Okay." And she was like "are you serious?" and she pulled it out of her mouth as kind of a challenge, and I nodded yes. And she handed it to me, and she and all her friends gasped when I popped it in my mouth. I remember how impressed she looked, like I had done something that really got her attention.

8. Another was the time she and I both mentioned that we really liked the Janet Jackson song that was popular at the time, and when someone asked which song, we broke out singing the most memorable line together "Making love to you, oh it felt so good and, oh, so right..." while her mostly puritanical LDS friends looked on in horror that we had said the word "sex" with such abandon.

9. Probably the most important memory I have of that year was an afternoon when she wasn't there. The next day, we all asked where she'd been, and she explained that she had been to a funeral. And that it was the funeral of her grandpa. And that he had had to be cremated. And that he had had to be cremated because he'd died of AIDS. And that he'd died of AIDS because he was gay, and had left her grandma when Lolly was one. Something clicked in me when she told me that. This conversation occurred a few months before I had outed myself to my parents, and I remember feeling the distinct sense that "this girl will be someone I can talk to about..." but I couldn't finish the sentence yet because I'm pretty sure I hadn't ever formulated the words "I am gay."

10. When she moved to Oregon after that school year, I was really sad. I walked up to her in church before she left and said "hey, will you write me?" And she said "well, I think I'm gonna just write the people who write me first. So if you write me, I'll write you back."

11. I started a letter to her, but being my ADD self never finished it or got it in the mail. I'd love to see that letter now but it's on the hard drive of some trashed computer.

12. Two years later, I moved to Aloha, Oregon. The exact same suburb of Portland Lolly had moved to. We stayed with her family while we looked for a house. Lolly and I stayed up and talked until five in the morning. I loved talking to her. A lot.

13. Not long thereafter we went on our first date where I outed myself to her. The original coming out post tells this story, if you're new here. So does this post (minus the coming out part).

14. Hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours of talking and talking and talking and talking and talking and talking...

15. I love that for so many years she wouldn't even consider marrying me (not that I was asking her--it was all just hypothetical conjecture) because sex was so important to her.

16. I love that instead of being excited for her wedding as a teen, Lolly was always talking about her excitement for her honeymoon.

17. I took her to prom. She drove. We got to the dance late and got bored quickly. We ended up parking on the side of the road somewhere and talking for hours. For a change. (<--- did anybody else's dad say "for a change" sarcastically all the time growing up? Because mine did.)

18. Ricks College of Champions. She was my best friend by this point and had been for years, and people would say "you guys are going to end up together," and we'd look give each other a knowing wink and a smile and say "nah, I don't think that's gonna happen" and then people would say "no, you will. I can tell. You are in love. Just you wait. You'll see..." and we'd continue to disagree because we had Insider Information. We were so smug and thought we were so smart...



19. Falling in love. The summer of 1999. Letting it happen, no pressure. Loving every minute of it--the butterflies, watching as a deep friendship became something more. Trip to the Oregon coast. Discussion of wanting to go Europe someday. The realization that we wanted to be it for each other, but that if God had something better in store for us, it would have to be pretty awesome.

20. A distinct memory: I weighed almost 300lbs when Lolly and I fell in love in 1999 because I had gained tons of weight due to anxiety about going on my mission. My ADD was horrible. I was homosexual. I did not feel very good about myself as a male, as a person, as a potential missionary, as a potential husband. One afternoon, Lolly and I went on a walk, and we walked in a neighborhood filled with beautiful houses. She hugged me and looked into my eyes and told me why she loved me. I was skeptical--I didn't see much in myself to love, and I questioned her reasoning. She grabbed my face and looked me in the eyes and said "Josh, nobody else seems to see who you really are, but I can see it. I see it.  I see you the way God sees you. I know who you are,  and I can see your potential. You are going to do amazing things. You are a diamond in the rough, Josh Weed. I don't make mistakes about this kind of thing. You are something special. You will make an amazing father and husband. You will do important things." She said it with such conviction that it broke through my insecurities--she saw through all the outward foibles to the person beneath. I've spent every day since trying to be the man she saw in me that day.

21. Saying goodbye as I went on my mission. Putting it entirely in God's hands saying "if this is right, it will work out, but in the meantime date other guys and don't hesitate to get married if you find someone else..."

22. Getting the letter six months in that said that Lolly had gotten a blessing from her (other) Grandpa which said 1. that she should go on a mission and 2. that she already knew who her husband was supposed to be.

23. Getting home from my mission and freaking out about marriage and deliberating over it for days even though it was the thing I wanted most. Having the most direct, clear revelation of my life--a literal voice that said "Ask her to marry you," as we lay side by side at my parents house. Not trusting it, and saying internally "can I hear that again?" Hearing it again. Louder and clearer.

24. Asking her to marry me and feeling the sweetest most profound peace of my life permeate my entire body.



25. Married life--living in Puerto Rico, moving on to the BYU years, loving our time in Provo, studying at the same time, loving each day together, even when life was difficult.

26. The birth of Anna. The joy we felt. The newness. Helping her nurse. The time the nurse threatened to give Anna an enema if she didn't pass meconium--the two of us praying hard we wouldn't have to watch our sweet baby suffer that discomfort, and then rejoicing at the little tar-like splotch that emerged from her tiny haunch.

27. The move to Seattle. Living with her parents and then next to her parents. Building family ties. Realizing that the ward and neighborhood we had moved into thinking it would be a transitional place was exactly where the Lord wanted us, and seeing miracle after miracle keep us there when there was no WAY it should have happened.

28.  Our little Viva. Watching as she delivered her so calmly. Feeling our mutual terror in her state of ultimate vulnerability. (Thank you, Lolly, for bringing our children into this world.) Loving our sweet Viva so very much.

29. And then Tessa--the difficulty of the pregnancy. You being on bed rest and getting so severely depressed. And the horrible labor and delivery with the nurse from hell. And then coming to know our Little Miss T and knowing it was so, so worth it.

We become a family of five

30.  Starting private practice together even when it made no sense, simply because we felt like it was right. Surviving lean, lean months. Fasting and praying for confirmation we were doing the right thing. Getting distinct confirmation that it was right and that something big was going to happen. Having no idea what it was, but feeling assured for a few weeks until we ran out of money (again) and we started worrying that we were literally insane. Repeat. And repeat.

31. And repeat.

32. Writing the scariest blog post of our lives describing the deepest secret of our marriage and not knowing why we were doing it, but knowing without a doubt that we were supposed to. Pressing publish side by side. Me saying, in all seriousness, "I hope at least a few people comment so it doesn't get all awkward after a revealing post like that."

33. Getting home from The Blue Man Group to see that, indeed, a few people had commented. Spending the last few months explaining, sharing, defending, and championing our story--this story--in so many ways with so many people.

34. You turning 34 today, my sweet, sweet Lolly Shea, and me being so incredibly glad that you are mine. Forever.


(I cheated and backdated the post to last night because it was done yesterday but I wanted to make sure Lolly was the first one to see it. She cried. Which is good because I cried while writing it. We are cheesy.)


147 comments:

  1. this is 10,000 kinds of awesome. You guys have an amazing love story. Thank you for sharing it! I'm going to go find a Kleenex now for my teary eyes. :-)

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  2. That I believe was the most awesome post I've ever read.

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  3. Umm I don't even know you and I cried too. Very sweet.

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  4. Oh my barf. You guys are the cutest! I die.

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  5. Confession: I'm a hopeless romantic sometimes. Okay, a lot of times. And this was seriously one of the cutest things I have ever read! It makes me so happy that YOU guys are so happy! (That may seem really weird coming from a complete stranger, but I mean it (: ) You are both fantastic (:

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  6. You are a beautiful family. One of my good friends struggles with SSA and has stayed in the Church. I am always filled with so much hope when I read about your family. Thank you for sharing your story. I think it gives a lot of hope to members of the Church who have been affected by SSA. I really love how well you organize your thoughts. You are a good writer and that lends strength to your story and helps it reach more people.

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    1. The majority of gay people in the LDS church will not find peace within the church. The majority of mixed orientation couples will live unhappy, possibly hellish marriages. People who want to do so because of the hope this story gives them should read a few of the countless failure stories alongside this one.
      But I'm truly happy for Josh and Lolly that they've bucked the odds. Just please don't think this type of result is common.

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    2. they won't hear you, BQ. It is a reality that they will choose not to hear because Josh Weed can do it. And if Josh Wee can do it, they can ignore all other evidence and carry on shaming others in the name of God. Every post he writes further confirms this. And honestly and sincerely curious - does my genuine revelation that the Mormon Church is not true cancel out a revelation that it is?

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    3. Bjorge Queen, with respect, it seems your statements are overgeneralized. What we know is that being a member of the LDS church does not work for everyone who is gay, just as it does not work for every straight person. Mixed orientation marriages do not work for everyone, just as straight marriage does not work for everyone. Yet they work for many.

      Consider that mother (anon @ 11:40) who posted below, and has spoken with her son, and has a new, real relationship with him. That kid is in for some tough moments in life regardless of whether he stays in the LDS church. It is wonderful that Josh was able to help that mother get the courage she needed to discuss this with her son. He doesn't have to hide anymore! I weep to know he has help from his parents now. Wonderful. Isn't that a great outcome of people sharing their experiences? At least one less kid is hiding in a closet, alone and afraid. Josh's openness matters to that family, just like everyone else's openness matters.

      Anon @ 5:21. Who is they? Maybe 'they' hear BQ and simply disagree, or maybe 'they' have heeded BQ's advice. Hopefully 'they' hear her words and consider them as part of 'their' self evaluation and analysis. Maybe 'they' are not ignoring the post at all. Some who are gay leave the LDS church and are unhappy. Some who are gay stay in the church and are happy. Some who are gay marry into mixed orientations marriages and are unhappy. Some who are gay marry into mixed orientation marriages and are happy.

      BQ, by your logic no one should enter into a heterosexual marriage either because so many of those end in divorce and with unhappiness, many with hellish experiences before the end. Most relationships end in heartache and sadness. That is life. In light of that, it seems imperative that we hear from all parties, those who it did not work for, those who it did, and every other voice in between.

      It seems like a great thing for someone who is ready to attempt marriage, and feels it is right to take that chance. It will be hard work. My straight friends have to work hard to be married and happy just as much as those who are in mixed orientation marriages. The challenges are different for each couple, straight and gay. Marriage is work, regardless of your orientation. It won't always work for everyone, but that doesn't mean people should have a fear of trying, or seeing if it will work for them. No one, straight or gay should rush into marriage; they need to first find themselves. However, just because some have had a negative experience in which it did not work for them, does not mean it will not work for everyone.

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    4. (Continued)
      I don't see it very often on this blog, so let me say, I am gay, LDS, completely active in the church and very happy with my life. I had to consider all of the options over the last 20 years of my life. I went through hell to find myself and determine where I wanted to be, and I found it, right here in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I doubt I will ever marry, and I am certainly not trying at this point, and I am quite happy with my life. My conviction of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ here on earth is just as much a part of my soul as my sexuality, so I find peace in living the standards the gospel requires. Do I have tough/bad days? Absolutely, but it not only can be done, you can do it and have a wonderful life. I am unable to give up either part of my identity, and I am quite happy.

      If you do not have a testimony of the restored gospel as taught by the LDS church, then live your life accordingly. I would hate to think you married just because you thought you should. No one here seems to think you should rush into a marriage if you are not ready, and no one here seems to say that those who are not ready for such an adventure should take it. That being said, there are many who will hear Josh's story and benefit from it, whether they get to a point where they are ready to marry, or whether they choose to stay single, or whether they choose a different course. Let us hear everyone's experience. Let us accept that we all have very different stories to share, and let us each take that which will benefit us, and let us leave that which will not. Let us accept the truth we find.

      You are correct, some parents or others may pressure children who are gay to listen to Josh and to consider it. If the parent pressures a child to get married, and that child does not feel like it is right for them, shame on that parent. But I have news, parents who so pressure will not stop pressuring their children because you succeed in silencing those who have share an experience that does work for them. Those parents need to find themselves just as much as anyone else.

      I hope those children consider Josh and his situation, and if they think it might work for them, great. If it does not, great. I hope they consider the warnings you put out, and that they give them appropriate consideration. I hope they will consider my experience, and every other experience they hear. That is how they can explore themselves and find happiness, whatever that may sound like to each individual.

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    5. When people start talking about their "friends" with "SSA" in response to Josh's posts, it really concerns me. Without trying to take away from the good feelings about the love Josh and Lolly share in what is obviously a very CLOSE and UNIQUE relationship, these results are not typical. Worse than that, these results are not even reasonable to hope for.
      The reason Josh's blog went viral is because we don't hear stories like this every day. We don't hear stories like this every month or even every year. The stories we DO hear daily are those of people who have tried to make it work (because they felt that an unseen God demanded it of them) and failed. We hear stories DAILY of children who are left in broken homes to pay the ultimate price. Broken families. Over and over again. Divorce. Depression. Misunderstanding. Suicide. Families in distress because they persist to live in denial about homosexuality- prefering to believe what they want to believe about it over what the case studies have overwhelmingly shown.
      We hold ourselves back as a society when we refuse to see the truth because it contradicts our preconceived notions.
      But you're right, Anon. That's not what people want to hear.

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    6. It's true that many straight couples end their marriage in divorce. But even if the divorce rate is 50% (and I've heard that is exagerated), it is still forseeable and reasonable to expect or hope that a marriage will go the long haul. Especially when people follow the statistics further and do things to up their odds. Conversely, I've only ever heard of Josh and FG openly admit to being gay and in a happy mixed orientation marriage.

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    7. Anon at 10:30 and 10:31, thank you. I love what you've written. It fully expresses a few small thoughts I had reading comments on this blog and fully explores the importance of recognizing the validity of everyone's experiences.

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    8. BQ, marriages fail, for a lot of reasons, straight, gay, and mixed orientation. I know of a lesbian couple who recently separated and now they are fighting over their child, and the non-natural mother is about to lose the boy she considered her son all of these years. I see straight couples where the husband is physically abusive and the woman and children end up scarred for life. I see mixed orientation marriages that end in unhappiness because the same gender attracted partner got into a relationship he/she was not ready for. What do they all have in common? None of those are good situations.

      Many straight couples have great marriages, many gay couples have great marriages, and many mixed orientation couples have great marriages. I have friends/acquaintances living in all three and from what I have seen and experienced, they all have ups and downs, and they are all happy.

      I chose not to give up my religion to live in a gay relationship. Why? Because living in a gay relationship would not have made me any happier than I would have been living in a mixed orientation marriage. Neither of those worked for me. What did work for me was living my religion and being celibate and true to the covenants I decided to make. If at some point in the future I "magically" fall in love and get married great, but I have been around long enough to know that is probably not going to happen. Yet I am happy.

      There are many others who have shared their experiences of being gay and happily married; you just have to look for them. I would list names of some, but I don't want you going to their blogs or websites and telling everyone not to try marriage because you don't know a lot of people who succeed. (Case in point: Josh posts an incredible tribute to his wife on her birthday and how much he loves her and here you are warning everyone that if they try what worked for Josh they are likely to end up miserable and in hellish marriages.)

      In addition to that, there are many people who are in mixed orientation marriages who decide not to go public for many reasons, one of which is the criticism they will face from those who think they should not have tried to get married and so those critics continually work to discount their experiences. Look what is happening to Josh, many are not ready for such attention. Until this year you did not know about Josh or FG, but that does not mean they did not exist. They are there and they are happy. Does it work for everyone? No, it did not for me. Yet what I love is listening to those who share their experiences, no matter what their experiences are, no matter how different they are from mine. That is part of how I found my peace, I found what worked for me.

      I don’t know your personal story or experience, and if this issue touches home for whatever reason, I am very sorry. Josh coming out brought to the forefront of my mind the question that many others will face from internal or external sources, "Why can't you be like Josh and get married?" I can honestly answer that question easily now. Because I am not Josh, I am me. My experience and success in life will not be measured by what others can or cannot do. Others have to come to that conclusion on their own. I have found my own peace. I hope you can find that same peace in your own experience, whatever that may be.

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    9. BQ-I seems you see this story as something that may persuade lds people that everyone should live their lives like Josh Weed, but let me explain to you what it has done for me...as well as many other lds people I know.

      1. It has opened my eyes to the stuggles of those who are gay and the challenges they face.
      2. It has helped me understand the extreme amount of support that those who are dealing with these need.
      3. It has given me a great amount of respect for the hard choices gays must make.
      4. It has helped me understand how much God loves everyone and that those who are gay need to know that they are loved.

      Do I believe in the doctrines of the church? Yes, I still do. Do I believe that gays are horrible sinners...not anymore than anyone else. Do I believe that all gays should marry the same way Josh has.... absolutely not! I see this as an issue that is complicated and that the best thing we can do is put it in God's hands to help us through it.

      Most lds people I know that have read this, do not feel like all gay people in the church should marry the same way Josh has. I think the most important message that my friends and I have learned is that gays need a lot of love and support. And, as this beautiful piece above shows, you need to do your best to follow the promptings that God gives you personally.

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    10. "does my genuine revelation that the Mormon Church is not true cancel out a revelation that it is?"
      This was from an anonymous poster. I wasn't sure if it was rhetorical or not, but I thought I'd post my thoughts:)

      No one can say that your own reveleation that the Mormon church is not true is wrong. Just as no one can say the my revelation that there is a God and that he loves me is. Those are all very personal feelings. As a believing memeber of the church, I tend to have no problem with these sorts of apparent differences:). What I would say is that it either was not a true revelation, or(as I think is more likely the case), the church is not right for you at this moment. Perhaps it may never be. And I'm okay with that, and I don't think it takes away from my own personal experiences.

      We all have to do our best to discover what we feel is true. I have had very specific experiences that have confirmed my own testimony as I am sure you have. So, the best we can do is continue to do what we feel we need to. In all honesty, I bet what the spirit tells us to do is more alike than different, but we just get the messages that we need to be better people.

      Really it's up to you to decide whether you feel your own revelation is true.

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    12. Can't we just have one post where we don't pick apart one another's comments and just appreciate the beautiful love of a wonderful couple?

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    13. Amen, Kelsey. Tired of seeing a beautiful post and positive comments ripped apart and commented on with negativity. It's as if it's just not possible to appreciate someone else's happiness and see the joy they have in their lives without snide or negative comments because others aren't so happy.

      I had a supervisor at a job I worked once tell me that when some of the people I dealt said mean things to me and only complained, it was because they were miserable and wanted everyone else to be miserable, too, because if they couldn't be happy, then no one else should be happy.

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    14. This blog baffles me. Again, I have witnessed Josh dance around the question, does he think being gay, or rather acting on gay impulses is wrong...morally?? Why has that question not been answered??? I see so many who have asked very important questions, and always the questions are not answered. I noticed in a previous post/comment that someone was defending Boyd K. Packer, because of somoenes negative comments towards him. I also noticed that Josh did not defend Boyd K. Packer in that post and waited for days to see if he would-still not. However I have noticed that Josh defends himself quite quickly so I know the comments are being read. I think President Packer would be very dissapointed that someone who claims to be a righteous member of the church is not defending his behalf. I am a member of the church, recent member and am very offended and dissapointed. I have heard conference talks on this matter and it is plain & simple,. You are NOT born gay. Heavenly Father did NOT make you a gay person. You, each of you have your agency to chose who you are going to be and how you will live your life. Don't blame that on being born of God, but rather your own choices you have made. Whats wrong with you people. Yes-this went viral, because the reality of the situation is NOT what it appears. Dont profess your self to being gay, unless you have a desire to live the lifestyle. You open that can of worms, and satan will have a party with it. It only takes 1 step! Admitting to the world your shortcomings is crossing the line in my opinion. Our personal affairs are sacred!

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    15. Oh my! Thank you for your explanation anony 2:39. Its about time somoene takes a stand!

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    16. Wow. Been a member or the church for 30 years. I agree & support your comments.

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    17. I normally keep to myself with comments, but I agree with this comment. It was a nice post here, but I think we have a bigger problem to fix here. Josh, the truth has unfolded, the actions are next. Reality shows. Sorry man.

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    18. these anonymouses were all the same person trying to stir up trouble

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    19. There is a silver lining here - if y'all have all of this infighting, eventually Mormonism will self-implode. Keep it up I say.

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    20. If you look at LDS history, you will see there are plenty of doctrinal disagreements. We haven't self-imploded yet:)Sorry to disappoint.

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    21. True but yours is a young church. It's a-coming.

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    22. Wow, thanks Anonymous September 19, 2012 2:39 PM for sharing your expertise on how a person comes to be gay. Who needs science when we have conjecture! Your expertise is about as valuable as Boyd "Fudgie" Packer's was when he issued his "little factory" speech (complete with medical information like a doctor!). Sometimes I wonder what would happen if he were to outlive Monson. It could happen. What wonderful things he could do for the LDS church from a public relations standpoint. One would think things couldn't get worse post prop 8, but one should never assume. Kind of bad luck really. Because we haven't lived through a Fudgie administration yet! Quite a contrast from The Hinkster, eh? He was kind of adorable and friendly and people liked him. And quick on his feet. "More of a couplet than anything". Classic! But not Fudgie. They'd strap him to his seat twice a hear and place him at the pulpet where he'd sit with a big ol' scowl on his face and chastise the faithful for all their failures and shortcomings. Shame them for telling stories of loved ones at funerals. Remind them that not everything that is true is useful. Shamelessly and cluelessly tout obsolete concepts. He might actually contribute to more member resignations than the mo-pologists at FAIR! LOL.
      Well, thank you, anonymous, for reminding me of why I left all those years ago. Sometimes it's good to have a reminder.

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    23. Anon @ 2:39 pm, Anon @ 2:42 pm, Anon @ 2:50 pm, Anon @ 3:04 pm. I will take the bait, and hopefully I can offer some useful thoughts.

      I assume you are referring to the talk by Pres. Packer given in October 2010, entitled “Cleansing the Inner Vessel.” As you may know, after general conference the speakers have a chance to review what they said, and make any changes to the talk in case they want to clarify, or otherwise adjust the teaching. In light of that, I will refer only to the talk as it is presented by Pres. Packer for us in the written word. Many people have taken what has been said and adjusted it to what they thought it should say. This does not make it true. The LDS church recommends you do not dwell on why you have those feelings. As stated by the Frist Presidency of the church, “You are best served by concentrating on the things you can presently understand and control, not wasting energy or enlarging frustration by worrying about that which God has not yet fully revealed.” (See God Loveth his Children Pamphlet, 2007). God has not yet fully revealed why some deal with same gender attraction as part of life, at least that is the position of the governing body of the church.

      Pres. Packer, as far as I have researched, has never taken a stance regarding church doctrine that people are not born gay. In this talk he does discuss sin and overcoming temptations. It is a powerful message. To those who have misread the talk, I would suggest taking Pres. Packer’s advice, repenting, and focusing on cleansing your inner vessel. A thorough reading of his talk does not reveal a hidden message. I sustain President Packer as the Lord’s servant and I know that if he wanted to take such a stance, he would do it.

      In order to help clarify a lot of the misconceptions about the LDS church’s stance on same gender attraction, I think we should look to the words of our current living prophets, the ones who are here to guide us today. Let me offer some quotes from talks, and other sources, that are specifically meant to address the matter. That way you will no longer need to read between the lines to find statements, you can just know what is really being taught about the matter. I would encourage you to read all of these talks, so you can receive the benefit of the messages in their entirety, then you can sustain these brethren in their teachings, just as you do Pres. Packer. Any that I have not cited are available at http://www.evergreeninternational.org

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    24. (Continued)
      FIRST PRESIDENCY:
      “While many latter-day Saints, through individual effort, the exercise of faith, and reliance upon the enabling power of the Atonement, overcome same-gender attraction in mortality, others may not be free of this challenge in this life.”

      “Many people with same-gender attraction have strong testimonies of the gospel, and therefore, do not act on those attractions. Attractions alone do not make you unworthy. If you avoid immoral thoughts and actions, you have not transgressed even if you feel such an attraction.”

      “Do not blame anyone—not yourself,…”
      (God Loveth His Children Pamphlet, 2007)

      President Boyd K. Packer
      “We do not reject you, we cannot reject you, for you are the sons and daughters of God. We will not reject you, because we love you.”
      (Ye are the Temple of God, 2001)

      Elder Jeffery R. Holland:
      “…You see, same-gender attraction is not a sin…”
      “No one, including the one who is struggling, should try and shoulder the blame.”
      “…some may overcome same-gender attraction in mortality and marry. Others, however, may never be free of same-gender attraction in this life.”
      “…let me make it clear that attractions alone, troublesome as they may be, do not make one unworthy.”
      “If you do not act on those temptations, you have not transgressed.”
      “I weep with admiration and respect at the faith and courage of such a man who is living with a challenge I have never faced. “
      (Helping Those Who Struggle with Same-Gender Attraction, 2007)

      Elder Bruce C. Hafen:
      “You may not have consciously chosen to have same gender attraction…”
      “…as hard as same-gender attraction is, your feeling it does not mean that your nature is flawed.”
      “…while same-gender attraction is not a sin…”
      “But if you feel an inclination you didn’t seek and haven’t acted on, you have nothing to repent of. You have nothing to repent of.”
      “Even though same-gender attraction is by itself not a sin, its presence can make us feel estranged from God.”
      “I classify same-gender attraction within the category of “adversity,” because typically you haven’t brought it upon yourself.”
      (Elder Bruce C. Hafen Speaks on Same-Sex Attraction, 2009[phenomenal talk])

      Elder Alexander B. Morrison
      “…same-gender attraction, which is not in itself necessarily sinful…”
      “…fundamental human rights of homosexual persons must be protected and defended.”

      Elder James O. Mason:
      “I commend you for your unshakable faith in the face of the unwanted feeling you did not choose to have.”
      “Although you did not choose to have these feelings, you are free how to respond.”

      PRESIDING BISHOPRIC:
      Keith B. McMullin:
      “Same-gender attraction is a mortal challenge. As with all such limitations, in and of itself it is neither evil nor sinful. For example, same-gender attractions that result in genuine friendships and beloved, righteous associations are desirable and praiseworthy.”

      Now, for those who may be on this blog demanding we demean those who deal with same gender attraction, or somehow denounce them because of a situation that is part of their lives, I would recommend you apply the advice given by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf in his talk, “The Merciful Obtain Mercy,” and Stop it! If you don’t recall the quote, read the talk, it is wonderful.

      Delete
    25. Fudgie tells boys specifically never to clean their "inner vessel" and that such acts LEAD TO homosexuality (like a scientist!) So which one is it? I consider this to be double speak.

      Delete
    26. Rachel, is this supposed to be a convincing argument? Is that the best you can do? Sad.

      Delete
    27. Bjorge Queen,

      Out of curiosity what are you referring to in your Sept 20th 8:08 comment?

      Delete
    28. Maquel, BQ was being sarcastic...twisting the meaning og Elder Packer's words.

      Delete
    29. Yes, that is why I put "inner vessel" in quotation marks. Anonymous, thanks for pulling up all those quotes that reflect well on the church from the past decade. Dig a little deeper and you'll find a much different story. But oh, well. No harm, eh? At least no harm to straight people. (Are we allowed to identify as straight if we're not currently having sex? Wouldn't want to use the wrong terminology.)

      Delete
    30. BQ, I posted the quotes. I am only going to provide a brief response, and then I will no longer respond to your posts, as it is clear you are not here to participate in a dialogue.

      I have read Pres. Packer’s talk to the young men, and it does not say what you allege. Pres. Packer tells young men to respect their bodies and not participate in actions the church deems immoral. Learn self-control he teaches. There is no double-speak. He presented a moral standard that applies to everyone, regardless of attractions, and he correctly points out that actions outside of marriage have consequences in the church.

      Regarding the quotes I shared, they are all accurate and share the position of the LDS church. I share quotes showing the church has truly opened up the dialogue and shows great understanding and love for gay people who, like myself, want to stay in the LDS church. If you think I have not “dug deep” you are mistaken. I have spent a lot of time researching the statements regarding homosexuality put out by my church. The church is working hard to make sure everyone, regardless of attraction, knows they are welcome, but the standards of the church will remain the same. There are statements in the past that can be seen as harsh and mean. We have moved forward from those statements, so it seems unnecessary to continually talk about them.

      One of your posts says you left the LDS church. I am sorry it did not work for you. Now is your chance to move on. I don’t say that sarcastically or in a mean spirit, but with understanding and hope. Go find happiness, whatever that may be for you. Good luck in your journey.

      Delete
    31. Anon 8:49, I appreciated the quotes. Since I am heterosexual, I have not spent a LOT of time researching this topic, even though I am interested because I have friends/family that are gay. It was helpful to see all these current quotes. I was familiar with a few, but hadn't realized there were so many. I am also familiar with what has been said in the past.

      Delete
    32. Anon, moving on does not mean you stop calling people to task when they do harm. It does not mean you cease to try to expose the truth in hopes of sparing others what you went through. As I just told another anon: I wish somebody would have exposed the church to me sooner. Would have saved me a LOT of heartache. Thanks for your "concern", but as long as the church destroys people from the inside, I will continue to speak out. I will do what I can, which isn't much. But it is thanks to authors and historians and average Joes who shared info that I am out of that out of the church that was killing me from the inside. I would like to pay it forward.

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

      Delete
    34. Anon 8:49,

      Thanks for sharing the quotes and your story, I really enjoyed reading both.

      As for BQ,

      I am going to do my best to completely ignore you because all you seem to want out of your comments is to get a rise out of people. If you really wanted to share your story and help people to not be in such a "terrible church" you wouldn't belittle them and bash on everything they believe in and them personally. Which I have seen you do time and time again. So I'm done responding to you, listening to you, paying any attention to you. You don't want to have a rational conversation about differing belief's. You just want to tear people and the church down. Fine, so be it. I'm glad you found what makes you happy and that you found what you believe in. Really I am, but being rude isn't going to help anybody. Belittling things people hold sacred isn't going to make them seek the "truth", it will instead make them hold on tighter and want to defend themselves. So if you really want to save people from the church try and have a conversation where you share ideas and plant a seed of truth that gets them thinking. Or a discussion or something where you don't go on a all out rant without little facts or real information besides just personal feelings and hate. You just sound bitter, and angry, and it isn't helping anyone to change. This is my last comment to you. This is the last thing I will say. So go ahead and ream me one, tear me down like you do everyone else. It doesn't matter, you do it to everyone. I'm out. Also it isn't because of your stance I am pointing this out, even if you were backing up everything I agree with, I would still call you out on it. You get rude people on both sides, there is no one side who claims them all or anything.

      Delete
    35. Correction: "With little facts or information..."

      Delete
  7. And I'm crying. I love you guys. I think the world felt the bigness of your story when it came out. You are such a blessing. Big hugs!

    Bobi
    http://westernwarmth.blogspot.com

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  8. I got teary eyed and got goosebumps while reading this. I love this and your story more than I love Lionel Richie which is really sayin' something. Happy late Birthday Lolly!

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  9. So nice, I read it twice. Happy Birthday, Lolly!

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  10. What marvelousness this post is! We love you both so very, very much!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. and I'm sorry I'm lame for never commenting. But I do love reading.

      Delete
  11. Full on crying over here. I've been following your story since the "coming out" post and loving every minute. Bless you guys. Your life is beautiful, brave, and true.

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  12. You are one special couple! That was so darn romantic and heartfelt. I could feel the love you both have for each other. How lucky to have so much love and trust!

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  13. That is very sweet. I would have cried too. Maybe I should point my hubby in this direction so he can come up with 44 memories in 11 months :)

    Also, as a former computer tech, you can get that letter off the hard drive. I am too far away to offer to do it for you but if you want I can check out if I have any techie friends in your area.

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  14. I am so grateful for you Josh Weed. I don't know you, but you have completely given me hope, understanding, and optimism in dealing with a subject, I somehow knew I would face with my son. I am an LDS mom of a teenage son that I have instinctively wondered if he would be gay since he was probably 4. He is 16 now and because of your blog and your club unicorn post, it finally gave me the courage to ask him if he was dealing with SSA. We are LDS, he has a solid testimony, and he is trying to figure himself out and understand his feelings. He doesn't want to be gay. He is mad that he has these feelings. I know he has a long, tough road ahead of him. I've made it perfectly clear that I just love him unconditionally and that he can talk to me and his dad about it and just be loved. I don't think I would have ever had the courage to ask him and open the door of discussion had it not been for your post. I just want you to know that you are making a huge difference in people's lives, especially mine. I think you and Lolly are amazing, AMAZING people. Thank you. And yes, this post me teary. and hopeful.

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    Replies
    1. And that, Josh Weed, is why you wrote that post!

      Wishing you, Anon, and your son all the best as you navigate the road ahead. One of the most profound things that touched me whe Josh first told his story was how amazing his parents must be, and your son is similarly blessed.

      Delete
    2. You are a terrific mother, Anonymous!! :) Every parent should be so open and willing to talk about the hard things, no matter how hard it is. WHat a blessing you are and will continue to be to your son!

      Delete
    3. Your son is in for some very difficult days. I am gay, LDS, single, active in the church, and happy. He is in for quite a journey trying to reconcile his feelings with his testimony, but with you and his father at his side, his journey will be much easier. As you walk by your son, don't discount his experience or feelings. Just be there for him.

      Delete
    4. And for all those that are worried that Josh's story is going to do harm, I would point to this example. I feel it'll do much more good. It will allow us to open up the doors of communication no matter what decisions are made, and it will help give kids the ability to feel some sort of support system so that they have someone to lean on as they are making those decisions. I for one have learned a lot, and feel much better equipped to help someone, be it my children or someone else, who is struggling with this. I for sure would not point to this as a way to show someone how they should live in terms of sexuality, but how they should live in terms of turning to God, finding support, showing unconditional love, and loving yourself and others. Thanks for the beautiful story! It teaches me, not just about you being gay, but about a better way to be married, period.

      Delete
    5. Annon- I could have written this exact same post, except that my 16 old son is also questioning his faith. I felt so blessed to have Josh's parents example as Lollys example to be able to respond to him in the most supportive and loving way possible.

      I find, however, that I am struggling to not be sorrowful for the difficulties that lie ahead. Not everyone finds a Lolly.

      Any suggestions? Anyone?

      Delete
    6. Not having had to deal with this at this point, I would say that everyone has their own set of sorrows and you deal with it like anything else. Prayer, love, and keeping the lines of communication open. I would love to hear others responses who have had to deal with this, though, and how that turned out for them.

      Delete
    7. Anon at 8:59, I have not seen any responses, so I thought I would offer something. Let me first share my experience, so you understand my perspective. I am not the parent of a gay child, I am the gay child. I knew I was gay when I was 11 or 12. I am an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in my 30s, return missionary, temple worker, never married, no children, fully active in the church, hold callings, and I do not date guys…or women for that matter. I dated women heavily for a while hoping to marry, but that did not work for me. I have accepted that I probably won’t marry in this life. No Lolly for me, and that is just fine because it works for me. Some of my friends have suggested that I would be happier if I left the LDS church and lived a gay lifestyle. I seriously considered that at one point, but my belief in the gospel as restored by Joseph Smith is just as much a part of my identity as my sexuality.

      Here are a few things I wish people understood about me. I could have written pages on this, but I tried to keep it short for this post. I hope that others will offer their perspectives, as they may have different thoughts that are more helpful.

      1.This is not something you can find a shortcut around, so face it head on, deal with it, and help your son understand who he is.
      2.Your son is not sick or broken, so do not try to heal or fix him. He is gay, and that is fine.
      3.He is not your gay son; he is just your son. After coming out one friend referred to me as his gay friend. That bothered me. I was just his friend before, and I just wanted to be his friend after. There is so much more to me than my sexuality.
      4.Trust your son. He is the exact same person he was before he told you.
      5.Your son knows your standards and beliefs. Don’t start reminding him all of the time about them. He hasn’t changed, just your understanding of him has.
      6.You cannot always make it better, but you can always love him.
      7.Some nights crying until you have no tears left is exactly what is needed.
      8.Don’t force him into therapy, or to talk to his priesthood leaders (or into anything for that matter). If he wants to talk with someone about it, great, help him find a therapist in your area that shares his and your values. Allow him to talk to the therapist without you having to know what they talk about. If he thinks his therapist is reporting his discussions to you, he will never really open up. And if he comes home from a session and you ask what he talked about, and he says nothing, let that be good enough.
      9.As stated by Elder Maxwell, “Don’t constantly pull up the daisies to see how the roots are doing.”
      10.Remember, all the things you hear about gays, he will hear, and he will internalize it. Your son did not choose to be gay, so he probably will not be able to choose to not be gay. He will be able to choose how it affects his life. Help him see that he is a son of the Almighty God and that is what matters.
      11.If you don’t understand, tell him you don’t understand, and then do everything you can to understand. Listen, then listen again, and then listen some more.
      12.Trust in God. Your son will have difficult days, which in turn means you will have difficult days, but he can do this, which means you can do this. If someone as weak as I am can do it you can rest assured he can do it. Those struggles, like the refiners fire, will only make him stronger, better, and more determined. He can know, just as I know, that God loves him, that he is a great person, and that life can be wonderful.

      Delete
    8. great advice. I'm still so unclear, on a different topic, why the gospel needed to be restored? It never actually 'died out.' In fact, it is still going strong outside of the Mormon Church. Why would something that didn't die, need to be restored? The Bible and those who believe in it - outside of LDS - has survived 2000plus years now - it didn't have a dip around 1830 either. I would totally get the need to bring it back if it had been a dead religion - but it wasn't a dead religion. That would be like restoring the English language or somehing - not necessary, it is still with us. Perhaps an addition is a better word? That in 1830 Smith found things that had been hidden in america until then and needed to be added? That would make more sense. And if that is the case, I would be doing my researh to find out just why God would decide to leave added stuff in Missouri. I'd be pouring over the Bible to see if there were any hints in there that this was something to come like that. I'd be deeply researching Joseph Smith and looking to the bible to see where it mentioned him. I'd be looking at restored Aramaic and seeing what is known about it and whether it actually ever existed, etc. But I'm sure all of you have done this. But my main query remains - why restore something that did not need restoration?

      Delete
    9. There is a very good explanation to your question here:

      http://mormon.org/restoration

      Additionally, think about museums and how they "restore" paintings, or how an historical building can go through a "restoration." Thus, even though something was not completely gone, it was in such a sad state that it needed "restoring."

      Delete
    10. Good advice anon 12:16. But it breaks my heart that Joseph's Myth has lived on for so many years. Please, I implore you to get to know the man for whon you have decided to make all these life sacrifices. I say this not out of snarkiness but true sadness and concern. No Man Knows My History is a good place to start. Then, ask yourself: With all the people "god" had to choose from, and such a supposedly important work, why somebody as untrustworthy as Joseph? It does not add up. I wish that 14 years ago, somebody could have spared me years of needless sacrifice and self deprivation for that charlatean. What a terrible waste! If only somebody had told me. If only I knew then wgat I know now. Sacrifice for truth is noble. Sacrifice for a lie is tragic. Upon leaving Joseph Smith's false church, I have never looked back but to wish I had done it sooner.

      Delete
    11. Pretty arrogant, Elizabeth. Though arrogance is not hard to find in religions.

      Delete
    12. BQ-Let's make a distinction...arrogance is not hard to find in HUMANS, of which religion is a part of. In fact, I just read an interesting article this morning discussing how the internet has affected doctors the same way publishing the Bible in English affected the religions and politics in the middle ages....

      Arrogance is a trait of man and can be found anywhere, including religions. It is found in science, medicine, politics. The bad that is seen in religions has come from man's human nature. Not the other way around. Religion has not caused arrogance, hatred, or bigotry, it is mans human nature that has affected religion as well as other well meaning institutions.

      Many people have been hurt in the name of science and just as many mistakes have been made. Does that mean we throw it out the door, or blame it for human arrogance? No, we temper human nature, than those institutions can become good.

      Delete
  15. I cried when I read this too! You two are beautiful together and obviously meant to be. Thank you for sharing your story. happy birthday Lolly!

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  16. That was sweet. Happy Birthday Lolly!

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  17. That is beautiful! It's my birthday today too! I received a lovely bracelet from my husband but l would swop it for a letter like that! You two are meant to be together xxxxx

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  18. We love you guys. Even though you live stupidly far away and we haven't seen you for YEARS, we still consider you such good friends. Happy birthday, Lolly!

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  19. This is the single most heartwarming thing I have read for a long, long time. :)

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  20. Have you ever been in Europe? You are cordially invited to stay with us. We will show you around. Consider it a birthday present from Mr & Mrs FG Mormon. Congrats!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh seriously, come to Europe! More specifically, come to England. You know you want to...

      Delete
  21. Lolly is a lucky woman to have you as her best friend and eternal companion - and you are indeed a lucky man to have Lolly as your true love. She is amazing.

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  22. This is the sweetest blog entry I have ever read. I love your love story almost as much as my own. So happy for you two. HAPPY BIRTHDAY LOLLY!

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  23. You guys are so sweet. Such a beautiful couple, inside and out. Happy birthday, Lolly!

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  24. 1. You're not cheesy. You're awesome.

    2. "Mostly puritanical"?? Seriously.

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  25. Happy Birthday, Lolly. We're so glad you have stayed in our neighborhood against all odds. I'm amazed at how great you two are for each other,and for us and so many others around you (and not so around you).

    And Josh - its not fair to use your gay powers to show up straight men by writing stuff like this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "gay powers" lol I love it.
      Josh you guys are amazing and a true inspiration. I have learned so much from you and Lolly's example.

      Delete
  26. Very tender memories. I certainly got teary eyed. I love the ones from when you were in Junior High. Most of those I didn't already know. I was wondering why you actual wedding day didn't make the cut. :)

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  27. Happy birthday Lolly! Thanks for sharing this with everyone, Josh.

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  28. Ahhhhh my gorsh, I am trying to rest with a sinus infection and decided to sneak a peek at your latest post (since they're pretty regular now:) ), and I can definitely say that reading this sweet post has been a very CLEANSING experience! How lucky you and Lolly are to have each other. It's so beautiful tol have an "inside scoop" on how true love and the love of Christ has shone through your friendship and marriage. Happy Everything to you 2:-), but especially Lolly's birthday.

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  29. You guys are just so uplifting, Josh. I was tearing up the entire time I was reading this, especially the one when she told you that she knew who you were because she saw you as God saw you. You guys are so incredibly lucky to have each other. Happy birthday, Lolly!!

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  30. I could relate to #1 on the list. When I first heard Laurel teach Sunday School, I thought, "I want to be friends with her." It's taken sometime, but I'm winning her over. ;)

    Beautiful post.

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  31. I love it. Wish my hubby would write me something so sweet. When the Europe trip happens, you can come to Scotland you can stay with us. You will like the Edinburgh Ward. It is small but thriving!

    ~Katie

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  32. Thanks so much for sharing such a sweet part of your life with us. It's very happy-making. I heard once that the best romance stories make you love your own sweetheart even more. As I read your memories, I recalled so many of my own -- a very wonderful thing! And especially thank you, Lolly, for letting us share your birthday gift.

    And Konrad - "its not fair to use your gay powers to show up straight men by writing stuff like this." Perfect!

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  33. What a beautiful post! True, never-ending love is the most powerful thing in the world. :)

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  34. I decided to do the same thing for my wife in sorts though I have done it before. Here is part of it....

    "I couldn't ask for a better person to spend the rest of eternity with though for you it is probably more like an eternal prison sentence."

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  35. This post almost made me cry, and I don't cry easily.
    Thanks for being not perfect, but amazing.
    Thanks for working through your problems together.
    Thanks for your selfless and utter lack of superficialness
    Thanks for having a testimony and a brain.
    Thanks for the perspective you give to the world, and to an LDS teenage girl dealing with LDS teenage boys, who have their own issues.
    Thanks for being awesome.
    Thanks for being brave.

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  36. *sigh* Josh Weed- you are a pretty amazing husband.

    Now for a few of my own reasons... I don't have time for 34- and it would bore you to death anyways-

    1. Running the "Not -so- marathon" with her and going out to lunch on my 30th Birthday, and knowing that she was someone I could talk to, even though I hardly knew her.

    2. Driving to your house in the middle of the day to cry and ask Lolly for advice. It was perfect. She was one of the few people I knew I could trust with such personal information.

    3. The first night at Red Robin, and every time we have ended up there since.

    4. Talking about P.A. school and Therapy and all of the things we knew we would both (couples) accomplish someday.

    5. Having shared Birthday Parties for Blake and Viva- I loved seeing them blow out their candles together!

    6. Cafe Rio.

    7. The talk outside of the Cahoon's house years ago- when she told me that "that boy was going to come through for her" (talking about Josh).

    8. Going to my parent's for the weekend and playing cards and staying up late.

    9. Going to Oregon for the weekend with Emily.

    10. Hearing her story from her mission, and feeling special to be a close enough friend to know it.

    Man, I love her almost as much as you do!! I hope she had a wonderful birthday!

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  37. Absolutely beautiful! You guys are seriously awesome people. :0)

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  38. #20 made me cry
    Someday I hope I have what the two of you have.

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  39. Oh my gosh, you had me in tears! Lolly, I am honored to be your Sister. Everything that Josh says about you is true and I'm so grateful that the whole world is getting to know it as well. I love you guys!!!

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  40. You can tell just through your writing how much in love you are. You two seem perfect for each other. I hope Lolly has (had) a great birthday!

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  41. Number 20. Love it. Love you guys! And a super happy birthday to Lolly! I still remember that first day I met her here in Oregon at a church activity, and she really, really missed Utah. But I was really, really glad her family moved here. Yay for friends!

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  42. Beautiful beautiful beautiful beautiful.

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  43. I don't know either of you, but I want to say Happy Birthday to your wife anyway! :) Happy Birthday! :) :) What a beautiful list. Makes me want to write one for my husband for his next birthday.....

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  44. Such a beautiful post. What a wonderful husband you are. <3

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  45. #20 totally made me cry. Turns out im cheesy too. lol

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  46. Without a doubt, the best love story I have ever read.

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  47. Love this post. She is a lucky lady!

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  48. Really, truly beautiful. What a blessing Lolly has been to you, and what a blessing it is that you realize that.

    Thank you so much for sharing with us.

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  49. I think she will remember this birthday gift forever.

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  50. Awesome gift, props. Happy Birthday Lolly, love you all.

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  51. Naw, it's 10,000 kinds of CHEEEEEEEEESE!

    Not that there's anything wrong with cheese.

    "What's wrong with Wensleydale?"

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  52. What a sweet post! Happy Birthday Lolly!

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  53. This is the sweetest post I've ever read. You guys are such a great couple. We are grateful to know you. LOVED this post. Happy Birthday Lolly!

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  54. Step aside, Edward and Jacob. Go Team Josh Weed.

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  55. Uhh....I cried. A lot. And it was awkward because I'm at work. XD I just love you guys a lot. I wish we were friends in real life. I would babysit your adorable girls! :)

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  56. LOVED this!! I should do this for my husband on his next birthday (but not on my blog ... 'cause he NEVER EVER reads it!!)!! :)

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  57. That was so wonderful! I love how your relationship developed and the story of Lolly hugging you and promoting you through your insecurities. My husband and I have done that for each other many times, and I think that's what marriage is really about--seeing someone the way Christ sees them and loving them enough to pick them up when they are at their lowest. Thanks, Josh and Lolly!

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  58. I love your love story!! I almost cried too :) This blog puts a smile on my face every day.

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  59. Josh and Lolly, I just gotta say, you are the SWEETEST couple I have EVER KNOWN in my life!!!!
    you guys are like over 100,000,000,000,000 TIMES MORE ADORABLE THAN TITANIC AND NOTEBOOK COMBINED!!!!! I LOVE YOU GUYS SOOOO MUCH!! I am so HONOURED to have the GREAT PRIVILAGE of knowing you 2 beautiful sweet spirits! <3 you guys!!!!! :) <3

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  60. This has to be the most beautiful post I have ever read! It made my day.

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  61. That was so sweet... :) If my future marriage is half as beautiful as yours, I'll be perfectly content.

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  62. No wonder she married you. You two are so good to each other. And that's the most fundamental aspect to a good marriage if you ask me (amongst many other things, of course). I love what you two have. It is so evident from the way you talk about each other and the way you function together. Just beautiful. What a foundation.

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  63. Thanks for posting. I wish both of you the best in life.

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  64. For some reason my 'reply' isn't working. To E. Wright regarding restoration - Christianity wasn't in a sad state at all and didn't need any kind of restoring. Christianity has survived and thrived for 2,000 years without any need of help from Joseph Smith. Nowhere in the Bible does it even hint at such a thing being needed - and that is with reading it literally and metaphorically. So again, I think 'adding' might be a better word than restoring.

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    Replies
    1. Did you read the website information? The scripture they site in Thessalonians mentions a falling away. There are other scriptures that talk about that, as well. Here is a list that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints provides:

      http://www.lds.org/scriptures/tg/apostasy-of-the-early-christian-church?lang=eng&query=falling+away

      If you don't agree with it, that's your choice, but I think that it gives an appropriate explanation as to why we believe there was a need for a Restoration. We honestly believe that the Authority of God was taken from the earth sometime between the death and Resurrection of Christ, and the restoration of the Gospel and Priesthood. Since we believe that, we find it appropriate to call it a Restoration. You (from what I understand) do not believe that, so I can see why you wouldn't call it a Restoration. But seeing as how the name relies on the beliefs we hold, it is appropriate.

      Delete
    2. "Christianity wasn't in a sad state at all and didn't need any kind of restoring."

      Oh my goodness, where to start? How the slaugher in the Middle East in the name of Christ but really just an ego trip for successive European kings (Crusades)? The selling of indulgences and much other corruption in the Catholic Church in the middle ages? The machinations of successive Popes in Southern Europe i.e. families like the Medicis and the Borgias? Henry VIII's break with Rome to pursue his own end of taking a new, younger, fertile wife? Successive generations of Tudor monarchs massacring whole sections of the population in order to establish their preferred flavour of Christianity as the prevailing religion? Brave men such as William Tyndale being tortured and put to death simply for wanting to produce scriptures in the language of the common man? Witch trials in the New World as a church-endorced way of getting rid of troublesome women?
      Yes, Christianity was in a fine old state.

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    3. The blood soaked history of humankind and its misuse of the Bible does not in any way support the idea that the Bible needed to be added to with tablets in Missouri written in Reformed Aramaic, a language that never existed.
      You actually proved my exact point - Christianity has survived in spite of the way humans have misused it.Almost everytime there is a question about Mormonism on here that goes beyond fawning, there is an automatic defensive, angry and name caling reaction.
      The bloody history of Christianity does not mean that Christ visited what is now present day Missouri and left tablets in so called Reformed Aramaic, a language that never existed.

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    4. ooops, just realize I basically repeated the first paragraph with the last paragraph. uh well, it reinforces the idea!

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    5. Anon @ 7:58. I agree, we can't look to the failure of men as proof of the lack of Christ on the earth. I am Mormon (LDS) and I think there are many points that could be discussed that are helpful. Please read this in a conversational tone, as that is my intent.

      We believe that after Christ died, his apostles (the authors of the New Testament) continued to carry on the Saviors mission. We believe that once those men where all hunted down and killed, the authority of God died with them, as there was no one else on earth who had actually been called by the Savior to lead his church. Thus, many continued on in the Saviors name, but they lacked his authority. We believe this was the apostasy spoken of in the bible.

      The Lord also refers to other sheep he has that are not of that fold (meaning those who lived in Jerusalem). Because of our belief that the Savior loves all of us, we believe that after his death and resurrection, he visited those living on the American continents and he taught them the same gospel he taught while He was living. As happened in Jerusalem, we believe wickedness one out and his followers here were all murdered. They left behind their records. It was those records we believe Joseph Smith was guided to find, translate, and use as a sacred book of scripture, which, along with the bible, testifys of our Savior, his teachings, and his love for us. That is the origin of the Book of Mormon. We believe at that time the Savior restored the priesthood power that his earlier apostles held to earth.

      One of my favorite parts of my religion is that we don't want you to take our word for it. We want you to read the Book of Mormon, and then as it suggests, kneel down, pray, and ask God if it is true. That is how I gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon and the bible, through the Holy Spirit of God, which He promises to send if we will seek it with a sincere heart. Then, if you receive a witness of its truthfulness, follow it.

      I realize that is a very simplistic version of it, yet I hope it is helpful in understanding the book itself.

      Cheers.

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    6. Hi. There is no mention in the Bible of a complete apostasy ('some' shall depart but not all)
      Further, according to Doctrine and Covenants 7:1-8, the Apostle John never died either. The presence of these faithful Christians on earth would mean that true Christianity must have still existed.
      the Bible is also clear that the Christian church will remain on the earth. Although we will see a great apostasy during the end times, Jesus said that the gates of hell will not prevail against His church (Matthew 16:18). Added to that, Ephesians 3:21 says, “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” If the Mormon Church is correct about the complete falling away of the true church on earth, how could Jesus be glorified through His bride throughout all ages, world without end?

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    7. These are some interesting points you make here but I just know that one of my Mormon brothers or sisters can counter this with a sound and reasoned argument. Anyone? Someone?

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  65. #24 brought Psalm 46:10 to mind - "Be still, and know that I am God." Your love story inspires me in my faith. Together, you guys are striving to know God and using your marriage to get there. Incredible and beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

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  66. Thank you for explaining, Elizabeth. the context and who Thessalonians is written for is pretty essential in terms of understanding wht falling away they are referring to.
    I honestly believe that Mormons honestly believe that the authority of God was taken away between the death and resurrection of Christ. Having studied the Bible rather extensively and with people who know the original language it was written in - there is nothing in the Bible that supports that conclusion. And even if one supposes that that is true, it does not follow that the Authority of God would be returned by Christ to, sorry, present day Missouri of all places. Nothing in the Bible supports that. And since Mormons also believe in the Bible, there'd need to be some support from the Bible I'd think. Thinking logically (and not with my emotions and such), it does not make sense. Faith has a place but faith needs to start from a logical base.

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    1. "I honestly believe that Mormons honestly believe that the authority of God was taken away between the death and resurrection of Christ." Huh? I'm not sure I understand that sentence. Do you mean for a couple of days or do you mean permanently? I don't think I believe that. I know that the apostles continued to act with priesthood authority for quite some time after Christ had left the earth. The book of Acts is scripture. The Epistles are scripture. (Hence a Mormon quoting Thessalonians to you).

      Pants! Didn't mean to get drawn into anything contentious on such a beautiful post. I shall pray for strength to resist the temptation to feed the trolls.

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    2. Ah, I just realise that it was a quote of half of one of Elizabeth's sentences. No wonder it didn' tmake sense on its own.

      Anyway, bowing out.

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  67. So I know I'm a little late to this post, but I have another moment to share that illustrates Laurel's kindness. When we moved into the ward (congregation) I didn't know anyone and I dreaded sitting alone, without anyone to talk too. Laurel would come and sit next to me each week. That meant a lot to me. I get really nervous meeting new people but she was so nice and easy to talk too that it put me at ease. That may seam like a minor thing, but I still remember it three years later. So thank you for helping me feel welcome in a new ward.

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  68. Raise your hand if you would give anything to have someone say to you what was said in #20 (in sincerity and not some re-enactment of a teenage drama movie?) We all need that. To be seen the way we truly are. That gave me such peace reading it. :)

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  69. I cried too, Weed. This might just be my most favoritest post EVAH!! Happy birthday to Lolly!

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  70. Aw, so sweet. I love hearing this. My husband is awesome awesome awesome, but not very emotionally articulate. Anything beyond "I love you" is too advanced. As a writer and wife I wish he was better with words. Maybe I'll show him this post as an AHEM AHEM notice of what kind of sweet, specific expressions of feeling I want. I am very happy you and your wife have such a good relationship. It's wonderful.

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  71. I think you are an amazing man and husband. Lolly and the girls are so lucky to have you. Love can conquer all and it seems the Lord has given you lots of love to share! Bless you all!!!

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  72. Thank you Josh and Lolly. You keep me in all kinds of hope.

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  73. I truly think that you and Lolly need to write a book about your relationship. It would include things like the beautiful words in this post. Or your coming out post. Or your "Vomit- A Story of Romance" post. For real. I think that would be the best book ever. And I think people would buy it if you had publicity. :D I love your blog!

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  74. Love this! I don't know either of you, but you're both pretty amazing :)

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  75. Well, I cried while reading it. Happy Birthday, Lolly.
    I would have given almost anything to have had a friend like Lolly in my life when I was a boy. I disliked myself intensely and there was no one around to contradict my belief. Reading your memories brings back the emotional pain I was carrying back then.
    I am grateful for every bit of healing I have experienced. I know my Father in Heaven loves me and He isn't finished with me yet.
    Maybe we can talk at some point. I'm a scriptural typist: Seek and ye shall find."
    Do you know Ty Mansfield? He just accepted me as a friend on Face Book.
    Talk to you later.

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  76. You two certainly are inspirational!! I admire you and the love you share and can only aspire to reach that same level of open, honest, vulnerable, amazing love with my hubby. **hugs**

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