Thursday, November 8, 2012

Circling the Wagons: ADD and fear almost won. But didn't.

I wrote this on Tuesday.


Last weekend was kind of a big deal for me, for a couple of really important reasons.

Honestly, I'm still recovering, even though I think things went about as well as I could have possibly hoped. Brene Brown talks about the concept of a vulnerability hangover. I experienced my first real vulnerability hangover on June 8th of this year as I talked to Important People in New York and LA who, the day before, had no idea I existed, and as I watched a picture of my family and the news that I am gay splash itself on news outlets all over the world when all I'd done was publish a post on this blog.

There was a moment the day after it all exploded (June 9th) when...
Lolly and I lay down on the grass in front of our hotel (we were celebrating our 10-year in Vegas, if you'll recall) and looked up at the night sky as traffic buzzed past, and said "What the crap just happened to us???" It was as if lying in the grass, closer to earth and earthy things, helped us feel more grounded in a world that suddenly felt very topsy-turvy. We lay there for a long time holding hands while foot traffic passed us, looking at us curiously, and we just allowed things to sink in taking big, long, deep breaths.

Today, after a full day of clients yesterday, I spent the entire day recovering from yet another, smaller vulnerability hangover of last weekend. Instead of lying in the grass in front of a hotel, this time I spent the entire day doing absolutely nothing but taking naps, talking to Lolly, spending a bit of time with my girls, and then taking more naps.

I feel better now.

So, let's talk about how this all went down. Now that it's all passed, I feel more at liberty to share what happened behind the scenes over the last few weeks. Honestly, it felt kinda like a movie.

A couple of months ago I got a call from Anne, the organizer of an organization called Circling the Wagons. I had heard of this organization--a group whose mission is to promote dialogue among the differing factions of the gay Mormon community in a respectful, peaceful fashion--but didn't know a ton about it. She left a message on my phone asking if I'd be willing to participate in an event in early November.

By this point, my schedule was getting really packed and we were already booked to fly to LA and Utah within the following month-and-a-half, and, frankly, we were getting low on funds and time. We didn't want to leave the girls again, and all this travel had been very wearing in a lot of ways. So, after a few days, and after looking at the website of the organization and seeing that it was a really good cause, I called her back and said something like "I would really love to be a part of things because I really believe in what you are doing, but I just can't afford to lose any more time or money. I will think and pray about it, but I'll be honest, it's not looking good."

We left it at that.

A few weeks later, I got another call from Anne. She said she was getting desperate. They had been trying to find people that represented various viewpoints for the conference, and they hadn't been able to secure enough representation from voices like mine. She asked me to give one of the keynote addresses, and said they pay to fly me down.

As the day wore on, I got a spiritual feeling that was so profound and specific that it literally brought tears to my eyes. I was supposed to do this. Then my sister randomly said "I think you should keynote for this" and linked to Circling the Wagons on Facebook. It was so uncharacteristic of her that I called her and asked if they'd contacted her and she was like "no, totally random." It was weird. And also kind of a like further assurance that I should do it.

Anyway, when I spoke to Lolly that night she said "go for it." And that sealed the deal. 

So, I said yes.

And then there was drama. A lot of it. There were people who took to the comment sections of various Facebook groups in outcry that I would be invited to participate. Blog posts were written and shared on prominent blogs in the Bloggernacle. Discussions rampaged amongst different interested groups. The Salt Lake Tribune wrote a story about a "schism." There were people demanding I not be a part of things because they misunderstood and mis-represented my personal message and motives. Some of them threatened boycott. It got kind of ugly, and I even got hate calls.

It was so ironic: this convention, Circling the Wagons, was all about people of all beliefs coming together in unity to just talk. In peace. With acceptance for all. And yet, because I was participating, I faced some of the most hostile and virulent opposition I've seen since coming out--people were demanding I be silenced. 

Thankfully, Anne and the other organizers truly believed in their mission. They helped shield me from much of the vitriol, and each of them took a lot of heat individually for sticking to their decision to be inclusive. They could see the outcome if we just held strong. They could see how this would end. If we just stuck to our guns and made the conference what it needed to be, it would end well. We all believed this was true, but there were moments for all of us, I'm sure, where we wondered if we would be eaten alive.

I personally felt the weight of all of this quite acutely as much of the negative attention was specifically around my keynote address. It kind of felt like a movie--all the opposition, all the hate and resistance, all centered around one 20 minute talk. A 20 minute talk I would stand up and give with my own mouth. A 20 minute talk I would give to an audience who was skeptical of me--some of whom didn't even want me attending let alone participating in this event. I had one chance to make this work. I wanted to do it right.

I was terrified.

My mind was completely stunted. I tried to write this talk, to make it what it needed to be, but it wouldn't come. The pressure mounted as the organizers, with good reason, asked to see what I had. At this exact same time I: moved offices, was on national television, had to see all of my clients, had the transmission of my car fail, and helped my family recover from a lice infestation and Anna's RSV. My life was hectic. Not to mention the fact that my modus operandi is to wait until the very last moment--the moment when the adrenaline finally kicks in and I can at long last concentrate--to write something like this talk. I wrote them and let them know that I was trying my hardest but that my ADD was in at full force and I was just so incredibly busy that it wasn't coming.

I devised a plan. On Friday, the day before the conference, I'd see clients all day, and then I would get on the plane and write my talk while in the solitude of the skies. 

I let them know this was what I was thinking. They let me know that if I couldn't produce the talk by the end of the night, I would not be able to participate. And that would have been embarrassing to us all given the brouhaha, let me tell you.

I prayed. Hard. Lolly had some insights the night before which she wrote down. And then, on the plane, I took a tiny nap while electronics weren't allowed to be opened, woke up when we were safely in the air, popped a Ritalin, opened my laptop and... it all came together. Magically.

I had a draft by the time I landed. I sent it off to be approved. It was.

The next day, the day of the conference, was extremely stressful. I felt as though I was going into the lion's den. Don't get me wrong, I know that people weren't intentionally hating me--and some of their reasons for fear were legitimate. But still, it felt a little like I was throwing myself to the wolves.

My sister Jenni drove me to the chapel. When I got there, Anne met me and said "why don't you stay in the car while we wait to begin..." She explained that there were many people very concerned about my talk, and she was having to put out small fires and keep people calm.

While in the car, a photographer from the Salt Lake Tribune came over and took some shots of me practicing my talk with Jenni.  

Kind of hope I'm allowed to use these, since they're of me and all...

That was surreal, and didn't do much to calm the ol' nerves. But the photographer was really cool.

At about five minutes to, I decided to head in. As I walked in, a reporter from the Tribune stopped to interview me. I was totally incoherent and nervous and halting. It's possible he thought I was a little bit insane, which is what happens when you're walking into a building to give a speech to people who don't want you there. Then one of the organizers grabbed me and brought me inside.

I sat down. I grabbed water for my extremely dry throat and sipped it while the meeting got started. Prayer. Hymn. Introductions. First talk by another keynote (Joseph Broom), which was really good and set the tone for a really excellent meeting. I sipped more water, got introduced, soldiered up, and walked to the podium hoping that no rotten fruit would be thrown at my head.

I think this might be my favorite photo of me ever. Isn't that stained glass incredible? Thanks Scott Sommerdorf.

I was nervous, but my nerves calmed as I launched in. My speech had come together in the perfect way, and I felt as though everything was coming together in the right way as I stood there addressing the audience in that Methodist chapel. I was able to deliver the speech (which I'll post here tomorrow) with the feeling with which I wrote it. I even teared up. Because I'm gay I really felt the message I was sharing deeply.

And then, it was over. The feeling, for me at least, was electric. The applause felt genuine. Not overwhelming, but... I felt as though people were grateful that the moment passed in a beautiful way, and all could now take a deep sigh of relief. 

My sister, afterwards, was out in the foyer with her kids and ran into the photographer again. "He did a really good job, didn't he?" he said. "He definitely won my vote." We both thought that was really funny.

And then, the first session was over and I was barraged by people coming up to talk to me. I had to be pulled away to talk to a producer from LA putting together a reality show of some sort, which is what this picture is of:

While this looks contentious, these guys were actually really nice and hoping I'd join in on their project. That's what makes a good photographer: capturing a shot that embodies the feel of an event, even in an unlikely moment. It was a perfect shot for the story (this is the one that actually ran alongside the story).

And then I was whisked to the sidelines to be interviewed by SLC's NPR station, and I sounded really dumb because I was trying to talk really softly because everyone on the following panel, the marriage panel, was sitting there waiting for me, and I was all longwinded and whispery and I'm not sure they were able to use any of it, but it was still kinda cool to speak into that microphone.

And then I participated in a marriage panel which was also really amazing. 

I have to say that the whole event, the whole day, was one of the most amazing conversations I've ever participated in surrounding this topic. So much love. So much respect. So much vulnerability as people shared their deepest pains and their most treasured truths. So much generosity for other peoples' viewpoints, and seriously not one moment of contention. I was moved to tears several times. 

From my standpoint, it was a landmark occasion. The conversation was broadened significantly. Anne's vision, and the vision of all the organizers, was realized. All the preceding hubbub was helpful--it served to focus our messages and ensure that the conference was a safe place for all who attended. I got the sense at the close of the day that most people present had had a remarkable experience, and one that wouldn't soon be forgotten. I know that's the case for me.

Here is the news article covering the event that was published in the Salt Lake Tribune. 


169 comments:

  1. First comment! I'm glad it went well--I'm feeling sad that I missed the event but I just couldn't make it that day. Either way, congrats for making it work out.

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  3. Thanks for the update, Josh. I'm glad it went well!

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  4. I just started following your blog. You hooked me from the whole Bambi Nuggets :) I am really glad you follow the spirit and have the courage to do all of this. I think its crazy important for a righteous,active LDS member to have a voice for gay Mormons. (if that's the correct term)I always am trying to explain to people what the church expects of its gay members when clearly it's something you did not choose. But you put God first and you have been blessed with an awesome wife and beautiful children. And you seem to be honestly happy. That's amazing to me and confirms that God is really aware of everyone and their trials. Congrats on your success with this conference!

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  5. What a relief for you! I live on the East Coast, but I saw the Trib's "schism" bit and worried a bit for you.

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  6. Excellent post. I really liked the article by the SL tribune. Funny thought-- your mouth is open in all those pictures :)

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  7. A shame about all the "brouhaha" that went on, but I'm glad that everything worked out in the end. The picture with the stained-glass is quite nice, though I can't help but think you might have a future as a southern preacher, the fire and brimstone stuff... though I just can't imagine you putting enough anger behind it.

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  9. I am a firm believer that when you get a very strong answer or prompting, it usually means that there will be a difficult road in accomplishing it. Thank you for sharing your life.

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  10. Tammy, that was an excellent comparison. It's easy to judge from the sidelines when we're not the ones getting beat up on the field. I think your message of tolerance, acceptance, love and understanding is universally needed throughout the world. I know our Savior loves us all individually and perfectly and we could all strive to live up to that standard a little more rather than trying to prove we are right.
    I love this story, Josh. You are very courageous and inspired. You have my support whatever that may mean to you coming from a stranger. :)

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    1. Unless you are living the gay lifestyle, in which case our Savior will be really upset and take away his protection an all sorts. But He loves you!
      Yes, yes, sarcastic but at the crux, that's the message here.

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    2. Because someone disagrees does not make them a troll. If you looke at comments on another post, it was a Mormon sister who noted that many Mormon believes God will remove is protection from the land if gay marriage goes through.
      A religion decided to make up a rule that has resulted in gay people feeling that they have to marry someone of the opposite sex or be celibate. Josh IS courageous and I greatly respect him. But the only reason he has to do this - and suffer the slings and arrows - is because a religion decided to make up a rule. or 800 religions decided to make up a rule.
      Not God, just a bunch of folks.
      heartbreaking.

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    3. Anonymous above:

      You believe that religion is forcing Josh and others to behave in an unnatural manner and deny themselves happiness.

      Many would agree with you. I would even say that the majority would agree with you.

      To me, it seems that everyone feels a bit of pressure by the friends and family and community and teachers to believe and behave in a certain way. Then we become adults and we choose which parts we want to hold onto and which parts we want to leave behind.

      If someone chooses to live a heterosexual life and stay active in the LDS church, it is likely that THEY chose it. As adults. They made a choice, right?

      Phrases like "the only reason he has to do this" indicates that religion made all the decisions and that Josh is a mindless victim. I find that kind of rude. It indicates that because he believes differently than you, he is not a responsible and autonomous adult....

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    4. I appreciate your response. But I reiterate (as I mention on another comment below about more practicing gay people commenting on this blog) that if my rather innocuous comments are thought rude, then the responses of some (not all, yes, I know Tammy is very polite) practiciing gay people on here would be overwhelming. It is probably better that just a few 'polite' gay folks comment on here.

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    5. actually, it's likely that they were told for years and years that living a gay life was wrong and this will very much inform their decision. It was poured into their sub conscious. If they make it to adulthood (i.e. they don't kill themselves) their 'choice' of living a heterosexual life will be a choice because of what was put into their brains their whole lives.
      Being told that living a gay life = horrible sin really doesn't leave much of a choice. leave the church,, maybe lose your family or stay in the church and lose part of your fundamental self.
      Again, I am a cakewalk compared to what many gay folks would comment on here. You don't want them here, believe me.

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    6. I apologize. Rude wasn't the right word. It is much too strong for what I meant.

      I guess I meant silly or unbalanced or whatever.

      What I'm hearing (please correct me if this isn't what you are saying) is that people who are raised Mormon, other Christian faiths, or Muslim or whatever were shaped by the pressure of their religion IF they choose to live heterosexually or If they choose to live a life of celibacy.

      But, if they choose to live loud and proud as an active member of the LGBT community... then their overcame their earlier brainwashing.

      Which would mean that the only people that are following their authentic and unique path would be the ones who agree with you about the falsehood of Mormonism or Islam or whatever and live as a homosexual.

      I tend to believe that we are ALL products of our environments. All of us. We are shaped by our families, by our schools, by our communities, by our friends, and by our religions.

      And as we reach adulthood and forever after, we choose which of those influences we would like to disregard and which we would like to hold on to. Which ring true to us and which just don't mesh with our perception of the world.

      Some see a head veil as mean and oppressive. But, the Muslim women in America that I have spoken with feel that it is freeing and they choose it for themselves. It would be silly of me to assume that they only THINK that they had a choice because I personally think it is not the right choice. Or because their religion forced it on them and brain washed them at an early age.

      We are ALL indoctrinated in our youth. Sometimes even intentionally. Even people who emphatically deny that they are shaping their children. They are. Even if they shape them by being emotionally distant or physically distant or allowing them to express their true inner self.

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    7. I would say yes, that it is absolutely the influence of her reigion that would keep a gay person living a celibate or heterosexual life, if they had grown up with a religion that told them that livng a gay life was wrong. We are all absolutely products of our environments. I wouldn't go as far as to say that everyone is indoctrinated in their youth - many children are raised given more choices and are not told, for example, that living a gay life is wrong. So when that child grows up and she happens to be gay, she won't have been raised to believe that living as a gay person is wrong. The power of religion and early indoctrination (your word, not the word I would necessarily use) cannot be underestimated. If you start telling a child when they are young that living a gay life is wrong, that will be what they will believe. And yes, they will have to be extra strong and extra brave to live a gay life because not only do they have to fight against parts of society telling them they are bad, they will also have to fight against their own families and their
      religion. I find that extraordinarily brave.
      I would say read about or talk to LGBTQ Mormons who are living a gay lifestyle - find out how it is/was for them, what they have had to and still have to go through just to exist. They would be better able to tell you - and I think you would believe them more - than I am.

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  11. Glad it went well. I can't wait to read the speech. Not much more to say except that sounded extremely stressful!...but worth it in the end.

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  12. JOSH, great post and I'm so glad it all went well (in the end). It's a shame that you were met with such opposition, hopefully we can all continue to strive for more understanding and acceptance for ALL individuals and ALL the unique ways we ultimately manage our lives.

    I am always very sad, and quite puzzled when I hear about opposition and hateful attitudes, towards Josh & Lolly's story from the LGBT community. I'm so confused by the efforts to suppress their story by any LGBT individuals,... since these same people are the very FOLKS who have put so much energy into a message of “Equality” – “Individuals’ Rights” – “Open mindedness” – “Tolerance” – & “Love”

    They (LGBT community) have done so much throughout the past 20+ years that has opened the doors to public awareness and LGBTQ acceptance,
    but……my question is “why are not ALL LGBTQ individuals welcomed through those doors?”.

    It seems to me from the negative comments I am reading of intolerance towards Josh & Lolly, and their story, that these FOLKS have ultimately created an exclusive club where only some LGBTQ individuals are welcome, and others, like Josh & Lolly and my husband and me, (although they share the real same sex attractions - along with the confusion, ritacule, oppression, etc. as they do), are only welcomed, accepted, supported and helped in their struggles “IF” they accept THEIR opinion that there's ONE AND ONLY OPTION (out & embrace a "gay lifestyle") and they WILL NOT EVEN CONSIDER some other real and legitimate options that genuinely do work, and are working, for some. In my mind, this just does not compute....

    Someone very wise (Tammy - :)) once said that sharing stories, experiences, etc. is always a good thing, but silence can be dangerous.

    How can a "group" of people who are all about getting the word out, demanding their "rights", even shouting their message from the rooftops so to speak, then turn to their brother/sister/neighbor, exhibit the same "hate" and "intolerance" they're against, and say, "dude, you better shut up". ?

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    2. The human condition is hard to escape from. We all hold our own sets of beliefs about how the world is and what the rules/perameters of that world entails (including what constitutes good and bad). At times we find stories that challenge our assumptions or that simply do not fit. It is normal for anybody of any persuasion to feel uncomfortable in this situation. Because of that, it can be hard to listen to it. Some of these stories can even seem threatening to one's own POV.

      I know that I do it too. There are plenty of times that I do it. Where I can feel the defensiveness build up. Or my own sense of discomfort. Or my biases overriding understanding.

      On a funny note, it reminds of a clip from Jon Stewart where they interviewed democrats at the national convention and talked of the vast diversity within them group and how they accept everyone and whatnot...and then had them talk about republicans or conservatives (which followed a hilarious number of stereotypes, derogatory statements, etc). No matter what our parameters there are usually someone on the out group that is labeled bad, wrong, mistaken, ignorant, etc In some way.

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    4. "How can a "group" of people who are all about getting the word out, demanding their "rights", even shouting their message from the rooftops so to speak, then turn to their brother/sister/neighbor, exhibit the same "hate" and "intolerance" they're against, and say, "dude, you better shut up". "
      And how can a religious group who are all about love vote against the rights of gay people and say, 'dude, no offense and we totally love you but I must vote against your rights."
      also a good question, yes?

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    5. Ironically, a lot of things that I've read mentioned just being able to recognize in yourself what your biases are actually helps to negate them....and also knowing that you simply can't get rid of some biases, it's just not possible. There's no such thing as an unbiased person. I think, personally that we're somewhat on this pendulum swing between well we're either biased (that's bad) or we're not (that's good). But I think it's more along the lines of we're biased and we're aware or we're biased and we're unaware of it.

      When you're (used in the generalized sense) aware of your own biases you can explain where they're coming from, how they come about, and how it effects with how you interact with others. For example, I'm aware that a number of posts on this thread have touched a discomforting nerve for me that I can not fully ID right this minute. So I'll look into it, explore why that is, is my feeling actually justified or is it rash, and figure it out from there.

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    6. To annon - can a person not have values and beliefs which their friend violates and still not love that person? I do not condone the G/L lifestyle. Nor do I feel God does. YET...I have many friends who live this lifestyle. Whom I love dearly. I can love them and not judge them and still hold to my own beliefs. So there is more than one way. There are so many on both sides who feel it has to be all one way or another. Let God judge. That is not my place.

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    7. by saying that you don't condone the gay lifestyle or feel that God does is a judgement.

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    10. Anon Nov. 8, 8:36 - I'm finally getting a chance to reply to your question, sorry so slow.

      I do understand your frustration, (quoting your question)... "how can a religious group who are all about love vote against the rights of gay people and say, 'dude, no offense and we totally love you but I must vote against your rights."

      It's a legitimate question and for what it's worth to you, I personally, and my husband, are FOR equal rights for same sex partners/marriage equality. But I do understand that the resistance to it by many religious groups is frustrating and heartbreaking.

      My question of....

      "How can a "group" of people who are all about getting the word out, demanding their "rights", even shouting their message from the rooftops so to speak, then turn to their brother/sister/neighbor, exhibit the same "hate" and "intolerance" they're against, and say, "dude, you better shut up?"

      ... was regarding the main subject of my post about the LGBT community/supporters who seem to want to silence Josh, discount the legitimate story of his life, and are clearly NOT showing him the same respect, tolerance, acceptance and love that they have been demanding and "shooting from the rooftops" so to speak - (I don't mean this in a rude way, just that they have been really out ther)e, with a kind of in-your-face tone for many years now. I recognized, in my post, that their efforts have opened doors and that's a good thing.....I'm just somewhat angry and confused that they (speaking generally - those individuals who are intolerant and disrespectful to Josh and all of us MOR couples)are not showing that same tolerance and love for us in spite of our differences that they demand for them selves in spite of our differences.

      Anyway, that was what I was talking about - I don't know if I've clerified myself or not, but the fact is that you answered my question with another question about a different issue, the religion aspect of it all, related of course, but not what "I" was talking about.

      But, (since you sorta dismissed my thoughts and changed the subject-so to speak) then YES! I do believe it is "also" a good question, and I share your feelings on that subject.

      Now, back to MY original question (probably it's technically more of a statement, cause I don't think anyway really has an answer).....

      "How can a "group" of people who are all about getting their word out, demanding acceptance, even shouting their message from the rooftops (so to speak), then turn to their brother/sister/neighbor, exhibit the same "hate" and "intolerance" they're against, and say, "dude, you better shut up?"

      .....it's kinda like "dude, even though you're a lot like us, you're not allowed on our playground and if you get near us (even if you wanna play nice), we will throw stick and stones at you cause we know that you know people who throw sticks and stones at us.

      I just think that throwing sticks and stones is NEVER justified. But then, that's just me. ;)

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    11. Hey, I think I just had an AWH HAW moment..... (seriously, I literally just thought of this, and I mean it in the most kind and hopefully understanding way)

      Maybe, those guys on that playground (the LGBT community/supporters showing disrespect and intolerance towards others while demanding it for themselves) are just not gonna budge & not gonna open their minds, until they have what they want. Maybe once they get the marriage equality that they want (and I agree they deserve), then, hopefully, they'll consider playing nice and sharing.

      I look forward to that day :) - and, until then, I don't know what we're gonna do to try to find peace. Maybe, at least a "few" of us individuals can look past our differences, and differents of opinions and beliefs, and lifestyles, group/religious affilitions, etc. and start playing nice (talking/communicating/hanging out). :D

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    13. Thx Tammy - I agree with your comments and really like the
      "battle wary" and "taking a fighters stance" explanation - it helps my efforts to understand those wh, to me, seem so ready to "pick a fight". And I love your statement that...

      "Once more people like you surface and tell your story, the gay community will see that there is another group not to fight against but rather embrace as an ally"

      because that is what I feel like I am in my heart "an ally - not an enemy". Guess that's why it hurts so much whenever treated as the enemy.

      All in all, I think we are all progressing and growning and I have great hope and faith in the future.

      Funny you mention it, - I have been thinking about how I feel a kinship with you as well. :) As a matter of fact, I woke up this morning thinking - "I need to back off" - "I hate confrontation and my newfound involvement on here is too stressfull". Then, literally, I thought of you - I thought well, even if I just continue a conversation with Tammy, it's all worth it for me, it's therapeutic to share and discuss these experiences/emotions about my life (that has been so much a secret, between my hubby and me - plus a handful of folks, for 20+ years). And, if anyone reading all this gains something positive from it - all the better. :)

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  13. I just love it! One of the hardest parts of following your story is watching anger and disrespect being thrown at you in all directions. I can't understand how a platform that stands for acceptance, love and respect can refuse to accept, love and respect you because you live differently than they think you should. Isn't that exactly what they are fighting against?

    If the LGBT community and supporters want tolerance, you are a good test of their tolerance! I think it's one of your biggest messages.

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    2. Good point. Imagine if a practicing gay person (so odd to have to put it that way) were to be invited to speak at an officially sanctioned Mormon conference on the wrongness of living a gay life. How accepted would that person feel? How much applause would they get at the end of their speech?
      Straight people (and gay people living straight lives) have no idea the type of discrimination gay people go through. you think Josh is being persecuted? Yeah, for one day maybe but it doesn't hold a candle to the 24/7 discrimination and fear practicing gay people feel. I don't say that to negate what happened at him but to make a larger pont.

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    3. Tammy - wonderful thoughts and observations. Thank you for helping me pole vault over the brick wall I've been beating my head against.

      I want so desperately for my husband to begin to see even some glimmer of hope for acceptance from his "comrades" in the gay community as he has been between a rock and a hard place for so long. He didn't feel that he fit in anywhere, and at times he felt almost as fearful of the gay community's attitude towards his choices and beliefs as he did the religious community's/friends'/family's judgements because of his sexual attractions that he could not deny. (Of course, his experiences of "unacceptance" with the gay community was/is real since he has friends and acquaintences who know the truth about his life, but his fear of judgements from the religious community, friends & family are only what he perceives would happen, "IF they only knew".

      Currently, he is not "out" and has his own real and legitimate reasons that he continues to keep this aspect of his life private. Because of all he has been through, and all we have been through together, his life and our marriage, which is so amazingly wonoderful now, would make a block buster movie where everyone leaves cheering and crying, etc.

      My greatest wish is that Josh & Lolly's story, and their willingness to share, will be a vehicle toward greater understanding and acceptance for people like us so that ultimately my husband will begin to feel some relief from the pressure he feels between his rock and hard spot.

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    5. Thx Tammy, He is out of town but I know he will be willing to join this conversation when he gets a chance. He has some great insights, and I occassionally record him when we talk about these issues cause we're writing a book and I love the way he expresses himself.

      PS - seems like you would be a good one to give advice on how to talk to the community as I certainly feel and appreciate your calm, understanding, and peaceful spirit.

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    6. @Tammy

      Why does Josh need to talk to the LGBT community though? What can someone who believes that being gay is sinful, and as a result decided to enter a straight marriage, offer the community? There are many gays and lesbians (especially older generations) who married opposite sexed partners due to societal pressure and later divorced and came out So it's not like Josh's situation is some amazing new concept to them.

      Sorry if that sounds snarky. You're my favorite commenter here. Just curious what you think the LGBT community needs to hear from Josh?

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    8. @Tammy

      Sorry, realized you're referring to Mrs. I Define Me's husband, but as her husband seems to be similar to Josh, my question still stands.

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    10. yeah, the whole marrying a woman while being gay is absolutely not new nor revolutionary really. So many marriages in the 50s, 60s, 70s, etc were like this.
      And yeah, Josh is awesome and kind and gentle and genuine and caring. And he also believes that living as a gay man is a sin, that is partly (if not mainly) why he married a woman. He can cushion that, he can not mention that but it still is what it is. The LGBTQ community knows all about people thinking they are sinners - even really lovely, gay men married to women who believe tha. Personally, I think Josh should stick to religious folks who up until 3 or so months ago didn't even believe homosexuality was real. It is there that he will be revelatory and can perhaps do some good. The message of 'who you are is great but living as a gay person is wrong' is not new to the LGBTQ community nor needed to be told again, no matter how kind the messenger.

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    11. @Tammy

      You don't hear about straight people being counseled to become gay though. That's the major difference. Josh and other commenters here have said complained about the gay community not accepting Josh, but would they cheer on a straight person who decided to enter a same sex relationship?

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    14. True. and i don't condemn his relationship (or think it will cause the downfall of the nation) But Josh has never said that he supports gay relationships. Not once. Nor has he said that he doesn't believe gay relationships are wrong or that they won't cause the downfall of a nation. Some commenters have written incredibly homophobic things (nicely of course) and he has never said, 'hey, that's not right and I don't agree.' He's a Mormon, Mormons believe gay relatinships are sinful and that having kids in a gay relationship is wrong. Everyone is so darned nice but Tammy,they believe that your gay relationship in the big picture is wrong. Some believe your relationship and other relationships like it will cause the downfall of the nation. I'd want to know if Josh thinks any of that before thinking he is in any way open to LGBTQ people living in gay relationships. Hec, what would Ricki Lake think of that?
      I think it is extremely important to know whether or not he feels gay relationships are sinful (although I swear it was confirmed on here by somce commenters that he does)because if so, why on earth would the LGBTQ community need to hear that yet again?
      Anyway, his story is national news now and if the LGBTQ community wants him to speak, they will certainly already know about his story and can pursue that if hey want.

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    15. I'm about 100% positive Mormons would not counsel nor approve of straight people in gay relationships or accept them. That would be like some kind of double whammy.

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    17. @Tammy

      There's is much cheering going on though about Josh.

      That's why I disagree that Josh's story provides a "safe place" for gay people. Many gay people have wished and tried hard to become straight. And they may have had family or friends try to make them straight. So they've already been acquainted with a "buffet of options". So Josh and his blog aren't comforting they're a trigger for bad memories or self hate and oppression. So I still believe that Josh provides no value to the LGBT community and I can't blame those who don't wish to hear his story.



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    19. @Tammy

      Fair point, but I still believe Josh's message will cause more harm than good to any LGBT child who comes across it, or their anti-gay, religious parents. The LGBT community already has its own heros, like Carl Siciliano who runs a homeless shelter for gay youth in NYC. Here's a gay man who's trying to help LGBT people by providing shelter for young members of the community. I think he's much more of an inspiration to the community than a gay man who believes being gay is a sin so he married a woman.

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    20. I don't mean to be rude, but I am so amazed, as I read these conversations on the Weed blog, at the amount of folks who are clearly NOT MORMONS who seem to think they all about the Mormons, what they believe, assume that they are ALL exactly the same.... etc. etc. etc. talk about stereotypes. There are some definite standard doctrinal beliefs, but way more diversity and individuality than so many think.

      It's like Tammy said somewhere, "Those Mormons, they all..." lol

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    21. Do some Mormons believe living a gay life is okay? Do some Mormons not believe in the three levels of heaven and eternal marriage and spirit babies and that gay marriage messes with that view of heaven? If so/not, I stand corrected! (and happily so!)

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    22. Tammy,

      Please forgive me if I say something offensive, but I am curious about your comment above.

      To me, it seems that being gay or marrying someone of the same gender would be unusually difficult. As has been pointed out 100 times on this thread, people who identify as homosexual are very often ridiculed and discriminated again. Being any type of minority, I think, would be difficult.

      If you ARE gay, I can completely understand why you would want to be with and marry someone of your same gender... in spite of the difficulties that would include.

      But, I am super curious about the idea of a straight woman marrying a gay woman. I'm sure that she loved you on a deeper level. And I'm not trying to discount that. But, I would love to hear the story of how it all happened. It seems like choosing a more difficult path for your own life.

      Again... not trying to be disrespectful. Just trying to understand the individuals in the world we live in.

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    23. Some Mormons do believe that living a gay life is okay. IDM and her husband and daughter are all Mormon (I believe) and they have indicated that they do. They are not representative of the majority, but there are Mormons who agree with them. There are Mormons who are in the trenches with the LGBT community fighting for equal rights for gays to be able to marry.


      I think that nearly all Mormons would believe in the three levels of heaven and eternal marriage and families, although I am sure there are some who do not.

      The idea of gay marriage and eternal families is pretty confusing for many Mormons. There aren't scriptures to turn to about this. The main church leadership hasn't offered much here. Honestly, I think those sweet old men are doing their best to try and sort it all out. Prayerfully, I hope. In their world and in their generation, this was all very quiet and not much understood.

      The ones who don't feel confused must have either decided that a gay marriage would not be eternal OR that gay marriages are also eternal OR that they don't care about it one way or another.

      If the transition is slow, I can understand frustration. It is completely natural. But, I do see a softening within the LDS church. At the last general conference, at least 2 of the quorum of the 12 asked for members to be kind and loving to their SGA brothers and sisters. And to welcome them in church. They still believe that homosexual activity is a sin. But, the approach IS softening.

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    25. But the three levels of heaven is mentioned in the Book of Mormon? And the eternal marriage idea? Otherwise, I don't understand where these ideas are coming from.
      And 2 out of 12 - 1/6. Are gay people welcome in to the church if they are in gay relationships presently?

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    26. Beautiful story of love, Tammy. I love how we're all just figuring our lives out for ourselves. I think any of us who have an "unusual" (for lact of better word) love story that doesn't fit the "typical" mold, seem to have such a special and deep love that it's hard to know how to express it to others. As much as we want to "share it" because it's so amazing, we are sometimes picked apart and our story is labeled untrue, a skam, or we're in denial or something. The wonderful part, though, is that because our love is so great and so strong, we are, for the most part, unharmed by the skeptics. Others can try to analyze us, or try to explain our relationship in some way that fits into "their" box, but it's all just someone else's opinion when ultimately "only we know the truth of what we live".

      We would probably all prefer approval from others but it is not necessary or required for our happiness. I see, however, that your circumstances need more than approval, you need/deserve equal rights, even if you NEVER get approval.

      It seems to me (and I may be wrong) but I often hear angry, criticizing, and judgemental comments coming from many LGBT (and their supporters) aimed at the many religions (and their individual members) who do not "approve" of "gay lifestyles". We get caught in an endless cycle of finger pointing, and "nanny-nanny-nanny", which ultimately gets us no where and causes more anger and hurt.

      It seems to me that, instead, the cry should be "I don't need your approval, but I do need your VOTE".

      (Hey, I'm pretty clever..... unless, of course, I probably didn't make that up myself, - it was probably stored in the back of my mind from a picket sign somewhere. lol

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    27. just to add - in the case of Prop 8 - the LGBTQ community needed more than the vote - they needed the Mormon church to not fund and support the prop to be brought into being in the first place.
      I have no idea anyone could blame people for being angry at a church that does that.
      The damage over the years that has been done to the LGBTQ community by various religions is so high as to be unmeasurable. Imagine if, instead of the defensiveness that seems to come up ('why are they so angry all of the time?")the religions set about to apologize (I know some fundy Christians who go to gay pride parades and do just that, apologize), imagine that. Here is an example: http://www.towleroad.com/2010/07/christian-group-says-im-sorry-at-gay-pride-parade-in-chicago.html

      if you cannot get past that the man is in his underwear, then the point is being missed.

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    28. Just a note - it is my understanding that the Mormon Church (the organization) did not fund Prop 8. True there were many members of the Mormon church who were involved in the whole thing, and donated "their own private" money, and I understand that there were some who pulled together in groups, etc. But this was their personal choice and did not come from the highest leadership of the church.

      The "church's" stance on the issue was as it always is regarding things being voted on - (basically) "Do your own research, make your own choices, get involved to whatever degree you choose, and vote your own conscience".

      Although I'm sure it seemed that the "Mormons" were out in force (because they are truly an organized people), I've read on here somewhere that they were only a small percentage of the overall vote. Evidently there were a whole lot of Californian's (other than Mormons) who voted as well.

      I've read a few stories of certain Mormons being instructed to pay certain percentages of their income, etc. - but, if this happened, I can guarantee it was done within small groups of individuals, and they were NEVER instructed to do such a thing by the official leaders who speak on behalf of the organization of the Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

      The Church's statement called, "The Proclamation To The World" declares that they believe that "MARRIAGE should be between a man and a woman". I'm sure that LGBT takes offense to this - that's their right. But, stating that the Mormon church "funded" Prop 8 is a missunderstanding.

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    29. it isn't actually - officially $180,000, a figure that was vastly unreported by the church and had to be reported again and up to $20 million by individual Mormons
      http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2009/01/top-officials-w.html

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    30. oops - i meant underreported, not unreported.

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  14. And one of the biggest tests of Mormons' tolerance is gay people living gay lives and being allowed to legally marry. What the LGBTQ community and supporters really want is for religious people to stop working to take away their rights.
    All of these conferences and all of this stress and even the need for Josh and others to feel like they have to have a straight marriage is all so so so unnecessary. There is no need for this 'us'and 'them' mentality. It gets created when some religious groups insist on labelling the gay community as 'wrong.' If that was cut out, none of the conferences, none of this gay marrying straight so that gay can go to heaven would be necessary.
    Heck, go live as a practicing gay person for awhile, then it would really be understood what discrimination and intolerance is really all about.It's not great that Josh had to live with it pretty intensely for a day but as Tammy said, gay people have to live with it every day, all day.

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    1. Understood Anon 6:53. And, may I also add - a person like my husband, who has been through alot and ultimately decides what he really wants is the MOR marriage and, says he felt he has never seen a "gay lifestyle" (with lack of better word)as an option for him. Although he is absolutely only attracted to men and has been ever since he can remember (9 yr old maybe), he just couldn't comprehend that that was the only option for him. And, he even felt suicidal due to the thoughts & pressures that it was or would be his only option.

      For someone like him, his hope has always been that he could somehow mold a place for himself, in a life that felt right for him. Hence his mantra "I Define Me".

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    2. I hear you, I do. Did no part of how horrible he felt have to do with the fact that his church would ex-communicate him if he were to live the gay lifestyle? Did he not want the gay lifestyle because his church taught him that it was evil? I have no idea if he grew up Mormon but if he did and if that is the message he received, consciously or unconsciously I can certainly see why he wouldn't want it and why he would have been suicidal. It's why LGBTQ Mormon youth are still killing themselves - because the message is that to be a practicing gay person is to be against God. I can imagine the tremendous pressure on a gay youth not to be gay.
      Internalized homophobia occurs in kids who grew up without religion as well - it completely permeates the culture. So I'm not surprised that he would have been tortured by it. Now imagine if he had grown up in a culture that didn't ever demonize homosexuality or say it wasn't normal - would he have felt the same way? I do not know of course so I am asking.
      I have two uncles (both married to women) who were gay (both have since died). The culture of the 50s and 60s was for them to stay in the closet and so they too married women. Do I consider this noble? No. I consider it so sad that the pressure of the times gave them very few other options.

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    3. Anon - Although my husband, Mr. I Define Me, is out of town and I'm sure would eventually be willing to speak for him self and join this conversation, until then, I will answer your questions to the extent that I can. We have been working on a book for quite some time and so I am going to dig into our notes for our book and share some of the things he tells about his childhood, etc. But, it might take me a while to find, cut, paste and post.... :) so hopefully you'll hang in here tonight or just watch for something from me in the morning.

      One thing I will share with you now is that although he was raised in a small Mormon community, his family was not religious and he was very sheltered. He just worked on the farm, road horses, and went fishin. (can you hear the Andy Griffith them song and whistling in your mind now? lol) He was not expected to go to church, was not taught anything really about any religion in his home. He tells about how, as a young farm boy he knew absolutely nothing about homosexuality, the idea of it, the existence of it, etc. When he "discovered" this about himself, he says he knew "instinctively" that "it was not a good thing", he felt confused, didn't know how long it would last, didn't dare say a word to anyone, thought he was the only little boy in the whole world with such thoughts, and the only thing he had to cling to was his hope that God would help him.

      So, even without any religious teaching, no prayer or talk of God whatsoever in his home, and no expectations to please God, this little boy, in his confusion and fear, wondered if God knew about what was happening to him and "if God would rescue him" from what he percieved to be "a problem".

      (I'll get my flashdrive and search out some of the notes - if, you are interested to hear more???)

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    4. Sure. It sounds like he grew up completely isolated with absolutely no influence or input whatsoever. Amazing really.

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    6. Same...my ears are itching. Of course, I just love stories period.

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    7. this may be proof that homophobia is innate. Very interesting indeed.

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    9. Oh dear.... not intended to express such an idea that homophobia is innate. Just sharing hubby's story as he has related it to me (we have talked and do talk about all this regularly- so I know alot about his experiences and feelings)

      Also, Tammy - as to how or why he went to how God feels about it if he had no religious exposure. I had the same curiousity and did ask him about that. He talked about also "just knowing" about an expectation of honesty, and stuff like that, it kinda falls in that catagory I guess.

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    10. Tammy - not sure what you meant at 9:10 above, please elaborate. :)

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    12. I'm posting this as Mr. I Define Me cause it is actually his words from when I interviewed him for our book and basically transcribed his exact words.

      **I knew I was gay when I was about 10 yrs old.

      In my early childhood years my best friend was a year older than me. He and I kicked around our tiny little farming community with several older guys, his big brother and friends. Occasionally these older guys would acquire what we called “SMUT” magazines, (similar to playboy), and it was immediately evident to me that I was attracted to the men in the pictures, and not the women. This was long before the onset of puberty for me, because I didn’t reach puberty until I was about 16 years old (a Jr. in high school- but that’s getting ahead of the story)

      So, whenever we gathered to view the SMUT, I was somehow fully aware that we were there to look at the girls. But I was not even interested in looking at the girls, I just automatically and always looked at the guys. I didn’t even think anything of it at the time, it was just a “turn on” – it was instant. Back then, I basically didn’t even know of the words “gay” or “homosexual”. Although I was aware that all the other guys were looking at the girls, and, I somehow knew that I probably should not let anyone know that I was looking at the guys, I truly don’t believe that I even knew anything about homosexuality or heterosexuality back then. I was just a fairly sheltered little farm boy from a very tiny little town. I remember how, at that point, I didn't feel guilt because of the attraction, but I did feel an instinct that it was "not natural", or that something was “wrong” with me? Anyway, I definitely felt guilt relating to the viewing of the pictures and the actions that went along with it.


      Back then, the daily activities of a 10-11 yr old boy was not at all consumed by the fact that I was attracted to the same sex. “It” was just a sideline to my life. There was life to be lived; there was Mom & Dad, brothers & sisters, family & friends, and there was all kinds of “kid” things to do (ie: lots of play time in the summer, lots of fishin, & lots of other stuff) and “it” (the thoughts, the acts, the guilt & the worries) did not consume my life. But, as I grew older it became more “acute”, and I became more “focused” on the male body (I imagine in a very similar way that the straight guys become focused on the female body).

      I was very frustrated that all my straight friends were very focused on the women and I seemed to have blurred vision for the women, and was totally focused on the men. This fact caused me a great deal of anguish, because I knew that I was so different. I also "knew" that I couldn’t tell anybody, and I couldn’t share my feelings or concerns.

      The older we got, the worse it got for me. All my friends were constantly noticing, looking at, and talking about “girls”, … I would be stricken with anguish. I would get a sick feeling and wonder WHY?. Why was I like this? Why was I different? And I often wondered, “how much did God have to do with this”? I definitely DID NOT feel like God had done this to me, and I had absolutely no thoughts that I was cursed or being punished, I just had thoughts of being RESCUED.

      Mainly, I wondered IF GOD WAS GOING TO HELP ME? Did God know about my anguish? And I wondered if He would RESCUE me from my anguish...... AND NOW, 35 YRS LATER, I TESTIFY THAT HE HAS.

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    13. In reading this back to myself I realize that some might immediately think that this last sentence means that my husband feels he is "changed" and that is not the case. This is not a "reparative therapy" story. It's a story of a little boy, young man, adult man, who has somehow taken his life in his own hands, and, he insists and testifies that with alot of help from God, he has molded his life into the life closest he can get to what he has always wanted for himself. Sorry if that "bugs" - it's just that way it is.

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    14. PS - sorry to take up so much space, but I just need to add that I also testify that I have seen an amazing transformation take place in my husband. (I know and he also shares with me that he is still physically/visuall attracted to men, but the thoughts that used to consume his mind are minimal, and he feels that God is helping him & supporting his efforts and desires to live this life that he has DEFINED for himself. After so many years of conflict and personal hell, and, I might add, after many years of homosexual experiences (hey, I'm just tellin it like it is folks), he has found a great sense of peace and contentment. It's pretty cool. :)

      DISCLAIMER - Definitely not for all - as a matter of fact - would not recommend it, but in the end, it is working wonderfully FOR US.

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    15. Doesn't bug at all. It makes me cry actually. I cry for the little boy/young man who couldn't accept himself for whatever reason,who couldn' accept that different wasn't wrong. Who didn't have (out) role models. That in his obvious innocence he couldn't accept who he was and that he felt that he had to mold his life to what he felt was acceptable.
      thank you for being so honest and open as it has enabled me to also be honest and open in my reaction.
      His experience is mirrored by thousands of gay youth today who feel different, who feel that they can't be. There are more role models now for them, which is good.
      May I ask why you and your husband are writing a book? Is it to show the power of God?

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    16. I am not minimizing what you are saying, but as men get older, testosterone levels drop quite significantly and this may be helping him.
      How was it for you during your marriage when he was having homosexual experiences? That would be a hell for you as well I imagine. And I'm not being disrespectful but AIDS was rampant and often times when men were on the 'down low' there wasn't much thought given to protection . . . I am not trying to be graphic.

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    17. I will introduce myself once more as MR. and Mrs. I Define Me adult, straight, married, and mothering daughter. There I am in a nutshell ;-)

      I will add my 2 cent if anyone is interested in a childs point of view growing up with MOR parents. I cant imagine its much different than any child growing up with any 2 people who love them unconditionally and tremendously and those 2 parents are also growing and learning and sometimes hurting and resolving in this world….I am sure no one has had that experience…LOL.

      I think people are starting to realize how everyone is different and boxes are not ok ever.
      I will also say to those wondering what Josh or my Dad can do for the LGBT community….what do you expect of them?
      The 1st people who decided to come out and start to bring understanding about their inherit undeniable attractions didn’t have anyone to say “don’t worry we’re good, we don’t need you.”

      I imagine this might be the same type of thing. I feel that they are coming out as they are starting to feel “a safe place to be authentic.” And They are coming out to, like the LGBT community, deliver a message of love and acceptance. ESPECIALLY to the oober close minded religious that many of them converse and work with weekly if not daily.

      Why do they need a place within the LGBT community? Well, Acceptance people that’s all they need.

      A world where they can be their authentic self as THEY DEFINE IT. LGBT community does not need a new spokes person and no one here (to my knowledge) is asking for that label.

      Sorry if I offended anyone, it was not my intention.

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    19. Here is a bit more about me as this was my first post ever yesterday. Just to give people clarity on me and how I define myself and my life and my parents.

      I am the adult daughter of Mr and Mrs I Define Me. I am so proud of both of them for telling their story. I am so moved by the honesty and commitment they have to each other and our family. I want people to understand the courage it takes for "different" people who have "different" types of relationships and "different" beliefs, or cultures, or traditions, or rituals to stand tall in the face of nonacceptance, or inequality, or misunderstanding...... but I think EVERYONE has had that feeling. Is that not why we are all here? To help each other understand and accept our "differences"?
      My mom and dad are two very amazing people.
      My mom and dad have wonderful spirits.
      My mom and dad have loving hearts and abounding compassion.
      My mom and dad have been through trials many here couldn't imagine.... and many here could imagine.
      My mom and dad have raised an amazing family.
      My parents who are straight and gay have redefined what I think about marriage, redefined what I think about compassion, redefined what I feel love and acceptance are.
      My gay father and my straight mother have given me a testimony of what work in a relationship really means.
      My gay father has helped raise me with an ability to discern sarcasm and needless ignorance and replace it with love and understanding and compassion.
      I am so proud of their courage and I am so proud of their relationship, I am proud the be their daughter.
      I also am FOR gay marriage.
      I also am loving this dialogue and the capabilities of a group of people allowing experience and information and tolerance (mostly) to lead in to understanding.
      I LOVE YOU MR & MRS I DEFINE ME...aka MOM and DAD.
      Josh and lolly, in case your wondering, THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT ;-). Meaning I am a product of your "different" lifestyle. I am a fully functioning, contributing, not perfect but loving life and straight member of society. Just threw in the straight for anyone wondering. It had nothing to do with my parents....I was born this way lol.

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    20. :D Tammy - tonight you have made me cry (in a good way) and now you have made me laugh. You are awesome girlfriend! :)

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    21. Wow, that's very touching. It reminds me in a way of a young man who has been in the news - his name escapes me now - but he is quite an incredible young man who was raised by a lesbian couple. He is also, like you, extremely well spoken, confident and happy. great to see that children can be raised well with MOR and gay parents. And that young man, like you, is also straight.

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    22. @Anonymous 10:33PM

      I believe you're thinking of Zach Wahls, and he is incredible.

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    23. What a joy and a blessing is that wonderful daughter of mine (ours). Jr. I Define Me is the real deal. She's my second best friend (next to my husband) and she is my sounding board, and so many other things. Only 2 of our children know about their Dad and I, (it's complicated - hope you don't all jump on that I decide how we should be handling our lives in some different way that you choose for us), anyway, it must be wierd to share such honest and intimate talks with your mom about her "sex life" but ultimately that's kinda what it is. She is amazingly open minded, has impeckable (sp?) common sense, and she's a wonderful mother, wife, and individual. Love you JR IDM :) Thanks for your beautiful words and for backing me up on here. PS - do you think Dad's gonna die when he sees that I've shared such details of his life???? (Actually, I'm confident it's ok - we did talk about it and he trusts me.)

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    24. Anon. 10:09 Just wanted to answer your question regarding "how it was for me". Yes - IT WAS HELL alot of the time for sure, and oddly enough, there was alot of good and love and learning and growing. Trust me, I wasn't always "nice", and I've spent my share on hours on my bathroom floor in a puddle of tears. Regarding AIDS, well, it is a miracle that we are both healthy and it took some time for me to get over that anger too -but, it is what it is - it's messy.

      However, we both believe it's a miracle that our marriage/relationship has evolved into what it is today and that we have worked through it and found a happy (extremely happy and joyful) place.

      Still not claiming perfection, still takes work, but now-a-days it's EASY, it's a Blessing, and it's even amazing and surprising to us how things have changed and how much we are able to put it all behind us. We have truly worked THROUGH it and not tiptoed around it. The reward for the work is so great.

      Some seem to think that the whole mess is all because of our religion - but what folks don't understand is that "our religion" is all about God the Father and His son Jesus Christ - and IT IS God the Father and His son Jesus Christ who we testify have carried us through, giving us hope, administered forgiveness and love, and worked miracles in our lives. That's just how it is FOR US.

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    25. Anon 10:06 - Sorry, I just was reading back through these comments and somehow missed your question. I really want to answer any questions that come my way, not in an effort to "convince" anyone of anything - just because 1. We feel compelled to share our story, and 2. Because I feel some frustration from commenters asking questions of Josh & Lolly and I understand that J & L are busy, busy, busy. I don't claim to answer for them in any way - we are all completely different and have unique situations/ histories/ feelings/ and beliefs. I am however, less busy (empty nester & hubby real busy often because of his job). So, if there's some interest in our story as well, I'm willing to share.

      Opps - sorry - I know - rambling ~~~ :/

      Yes, I too cry for that little boy and young man, etc. And, whatever the "cause" or "reason" that he felt the way he did, believed the way he did, suffered the way he did......the fact is that he did. We can't change that or fix it for him here. But, we may, through his story, instill compassion, patience, understanding, and love in someone else.

      Hopefully, in the future, there will be alot less little boys, with desires in conflict, and they will grow up feeling less alone, and less confused, and be more free to DEFINE themselves and their lives however they choose, without pressures from either "side"(for lack of better word) if you know what I mean.

      Anyway, FINALLY... in answer to your question, "why are you writing a book? Is it to show the power of God?"

      Actually, 2 reasons - First and by far most important, not really to show the power of God, but more to tell about God's Love. and the other reason - Because it's a crazy, amazing, funny, sad, interesting, and dang good story....with a fairy tale ending (so far - lol) :)

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    27. I second Tammy's suggestion!

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    28. Probably - cause I feel sorta guilty taking up so much of Josh & Lolly's blog with MY story and thoughts. Funny you say that because my daughter (Jr. IDM) said the same thing to me yesterday. ;)

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    30. Well, I have to admit that this "blog" form of sharing our story ie: ongoing conversation - immediate feed back - shoot from the hip, etc. is much more motivating and fulfilling to me than sitting at my computer, or with my laptop, staring into space with writer's block. lol We have done alot towards a book, but the "gathering & organizing" of that info is often overwhelming! :)

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  15. You say he experienced it for a day, yet it sounds like it was intense for weeks before the event and you and others aren't being very kind now. This "day" sure has lasted long and seems ongoing.

    I think it's important you know Josh and Lolly have opened up many people's minds that homosexual feelings are real and not something you can "pray away." That has led many to have more understanding for the LGBTQ community. True Josh may have unintentionally led some to use his story to "prove" homosexual people can be happy in a heterosexual marriage; However, I think most people who really read his message understand (many for the first time) how difficult being homosexual would be.

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    2. Tammy, i think they were referring to someone elses comment. For the record, josh hasnt been suffering and persecuted or bullied for a day or even weeks....he was during adolescence,suffered pain while not being "out" and now is in the national limelight having to "explain" himself again...

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    3. I think that we can all agree that sometimes life is hard and sometimes it is really hard. And we get little breaks so that we can also see that life is beautiful... even when it is hard.

      People on earth suffer. In many different ways. And often we suffer at the hands of other people, which is tragic, really.

      Even people sharing the same story have very different levels of suffering involved, based on support and basic personality.

      For example, I think it would be much more difficult to come out if you lived in a small town. Or if your job would be affected. It seems, to me, that it would be much easier to come out if your community was broadway or ballet or something. A pile of friends who are already willing to support you and love you.

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  16. That's good. Josh can explain how difficult it is to be gay and in a straight marriage but not how difficult it is to be a practicing gay person facing daily discrimination and discrimination from some religious people who feel that gay people are causing the downfall of nations.
    I'm not being unkind to Josh -as I say, I don't negate the weeks and months of intensity he haa gone through. Even years.
    Do I believe that his suffering discrimination has been as intense/difficult/long lasting as those of practicing gay people? No I don't. Does that negate his suffering? Of course not - he has opened himself up to a whole lot. Is the gay community more welcoming of him than the Mormom community is of a practicing gay person (i.e. can a practicing gay person even be a Mormon?)? Yes, it seems so considering that after all the rather wretched pre-yuckiness he went through, he was able to speak and was even applauded. Was the applause uprorrious? Sounds like not. Is that the same as a practicing gay person not only not being applauded but being excommunicated? No.
    I reiterate that the whole thing - the stress, the divisions, the defensiveness,the feeling the need to marry straight when you are gay is so so unnecessary. It IS good that Josh is opening up people's minds - I just can't help being frustrated at the glacial pace of it all. I mean how long did it take for the Mormon church to go from demonizing gay people to accepting that homosexuality exists? How much longer before it takes the immoral stamp off of practicing gay people -some say this will never happen and that I admit is frustrating.

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    1. I have been a racial, religious, and ethnic minority in some way/point all of my life. My family would give Modern Family a run for its money. In the line up of my immediate family we are white, Nigerian/black, Navajo, Moroccan, and Latin. I am personally mixed white/black. I have four parents (well…I count 4 there are technically 8 adults that have somehow contributed to my immediate family). I was born of a single mom. Live in blended families. Have collected siblings like kids would collect pokemon (I have one more to catch). And have ranged from poor to comfortable. I’ve lived in racially/ethnically diverse and largely homogenous areas. All while being mormon. I guess you could say I like to break stereotypes ;-).
      I mention this as a background to the problem I have with your post (and a couple of others I’ve seen in this thread…don’t know if they were yours or someone elses).
      - It is useless/disingenuous to compare struggles to see who has suffered more with discrimination.
      - There is also similarities in all forms of discrimination, whether it be based onf religion, race, ethnicity, or sexual ID. That is what I have learned from my life as a minority of minorities. Of course there are also differences. For example, racially it entails more a need to place me it is my immediate appearance that will base their interactions or beliefs about where I fit in the world. On religion they don’t until I open my mouth and tell them my religion. On both they can be uncomfortably joked about, there is consistent misconceptions about both, obtuse questions, overall discomfort, and discrediting/demeaning actions based on it.
      - The way you’ve written infers a homogeneity in experience that just doesn’t exist. Has he suffered as badly as some other gay people? no. Is there other gay people who have suffered less than him? yes. Is there times where it was less or worse or in between within their own lives? Yep, most likely. That blanket statement of expectation is bound to fail.
      - The last point is the depiction of LDS. We have a value structure. Our answers will come within those value-structures. They will vary drastically from outside the church. There are things that will change and are changing, but they will happen on our terms not another’s and may not be to another’s liking because they do not share in those values. That’s ok. I’ve learned that values do not need to be the same at all. The values that you hold have reason. They have their pro’s they have their cons. They have their history of reasoning to back them up. This is the same with LDS. And this is one of the major lessons I have learned all my life in varying ways.
      - Also, excommunication is not a one-size fits all type of thing (ie. not all people who’ve been practicing gay people will be excommunicated).

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    2. I absolutely agree that we can't compare amounts of discrimination. But that has been done in the comments before by Mormons - as in, to paraphrase - 'we are picked on too. People protested our temples during prop. 8' etc. There has been a kind of feeling at times of resentment that gay people should feel upset by people voting against their rights. There has seemed and urge to compare the discrimination of Mormons to the discrimination of gay people. There's also been some, to paraphrase, 'they want us tolerate them but they don't tolerate us,' commenting which also indicates comparing. And it's not a blanket statement to say that most gay people have experienced/are or will experience discrimination, it's sadly a fact. And no, not all practicing gay people will be excommunicated. But I think it is fair to say that no practicing gay person, who wants to continue practicing, will ever be invited to speak in a Mormon church, which is the point I was making.
      And I agree, Tasha, that there is definitely similarity between racial and sexual identity discrimination - I have pointed out the connection between the racism in the LDS church pre-1978 and the discrimination against gay people now. That has always been soundly shot down by Mormons.
      And values do not need to be the same as long as one group doesn't try to impose their values by working to take away the civil rights of another group.
      And I think in terms of discrimination, it is salient and important to point out that gay people do suffer from incredible amounts of it. Straight white men (or men in straight marriages) in general don't face much discrimination.
      So honestly I agree with most of what you just wrote. I know that I can express things quite intensely and that it can rile people up which is unfortunate for me because it can take away from salient points I am trying to make. This is something that I need to learn to do - to communicate better

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    3. I believe white straight men have suffered a growing amount of discrimination. Particularly if they're successful in life.

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    4. Interesting that that is what you pick out of all that i wrote. Which is great because I'm curious - how are white straight successful men discriminated against?

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    6. The first things that popped into my mind when talking about discrimination against white straight white men:

      1. Affirmative Action. I am totally okay with giving individuals with a difficult background some extra consideration. Honestly, that isn't my problem with AA. My problem is that they are basing it on race. There are white boys that are raised in horrible conditions and under horrible circumstances. There are black boys that are raised in the middle of suburbia with a picket fence. I see this a discriminatory to white males.

      2. Scholarships. There are a giant number of scholarships available to collage students. Except white males. There is not a scholarship available to ONLY white straight males. And if there were people (in general) would be outraged at the racism. Being white doesn't always mean that you come from a fairy tale beginning.

      Those were the first two that popped into my mind. Anon on the 9th might be thinking of something different.

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    8. I think that, and I say this with all sincerity, Mormons should really avoid getting involved in the discussion of black people having extra opportunities. At least until 197 is much much farther away.
      Blacks in America are still hugely discriminated against in the United States, particularly young black males. White privilege is so inculcated in the culture as to not even be noticed by, well, white people. Race issues in America run deep and have a long history - and I think if that is not really understood, there will be a misconception that black people are getting 'a little extra.'' But really, given the racist history of the US all the way back to slavery, is it undeserved?
      It is a topic of such breadth and depth that it can't possiblyl be done right by in a comments section of a blog.

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    9. ooops 1978, not 197

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    10. Asking honestly and not to be snarky...

      Is it actually unfair of me to answer a question about white discrimination because I am a Mormon?

      I was 5 then. I cannot bring myself to feel guilty about it.

      Nobody in my family line ever participated in slavery. And I didn't. I have never discriminated against anyone for their race. But, in my growing up all the kids acted about the same even if they were different races. I cannot bring myself to feel guilty about it. It wasn't me. I didn't do it. And I wouldn't. (Although I cannot speak to what I might have done 150 years ago)

      I do not doubt that blacks in America are largely discriminated again in the US. And I have no thoughts that I understand it. I haven't experienced it. Except once, near Cleveland, where a lady wouldn't rent to us because we were white. Which isn't really the same at all.

      I don't care that black people might be getting a little extra. I do think that it should be fair though. I do not think that Denzel Washington's kids need "a little extra" I do not think that Barack Obama's kids need "a little extra" Or Jesse Jackson. Or Halle Berry. Or Colin Powell. Or Will Smith. They have the advantages that many kids of all variety of races don't have.

      If there is a white child being raised in a broken down hovel of a drug home... who is being abused and neglected... who gets no support from anyone except perhaps his gang maybe THAT is who needs "a little extra"

      Is it fair that he would be overlooked because 100 years ago some other white people were dreadfully horrible and rotten and disgusting to all black people? Is it fair to assume that all blacks will be discriminated against in life? That seems pretty presumptuous to me.

      But, perhaps as a Mormon, I am not allowed to consider these things. And I mean that honestly. Perhaps as a white mormon from a stable and loving family who supported education, I just do not have enough understanding. I recognize that this might be true.

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    11. I still think this topic is still too big for here but some stats/info:
      ) The middle class White family earns almost 18% more then the middle class Black family.

      2) The middle class White family, about 72%, owns their homes, while only about 46% of the middle class Black family owns their homes.

      3) Unemployment for Black people is double than it is for White people.

      4) Some companies hire mostly White people. An example is Microsoft. In the 2000, there were 20,000 White people working for Microsoft, and 544 Black people working for Microsoft. That is the most incredible statistic I could find.

      5) Racial discrimination is a serious problem in the Judicial System. About 98% of the Judges are White. Black men are 8 times more likely to be put in prison then White men. When it comes to death sentences, 74% of them are given to Black men.

      I don't think that there should be a need for putting these stats on here but it seems it might be. So it's not just 100 years ago, it is now.
      Obviously there are rich black people as there are rich white people.
      So it's not about whether you were around 150 years ago or were 5 years old in 1978. It's about what is happening right now.
      But yeah as a Mormon from a stable and loving home that supported education (was anything included in that education about racism in America? I ask sincerely) I don't know that it is wise to speak out. "But white people suffer too!" and further such defensiveness - as mild as it may be - shows, to me, in my opinion, a lack of education/understanding about race in America. And considering that Mormons thought blacks to be cursed by God until several years ago . . .
      And yes, that white child raised in a hovel deserves help, of course. Do you have stats on the rate of white raised poor in America compared to black people?
      It's a whole can of worms. Do Mormons really want to come out and be defensive about this issue?
      Yes, yes, my 'antagonistic' style is going to rile some people up. But really do you want to let it rile you up enough to start making veiled racist statements?

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    12. I'm not sure you could say that I was speaking out, though.

      You asked a question of someone (not me) along the lines of "how are white straight men discriminated against?"

      I answered the question. I could think of two ways that they are.

      To me, it seems as though you think the black community should be treated as one entity.
      I tend to see individuals in the country as individuals.

      It is okay either way. Just a different world view.

      OH! I agree that the statistics are staggering. It would be interesting to see several studies questioning why these trends are not slowing fast enough.

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  17. Josh,
    So proud of you for being brave enough to give that speech. It's been a hell of a year for you, and yet here you are, keeping in touch with all of us. I appreciate that so much. Stand tall, fight the fight. You represent more people than you know.
    Dayna

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  18. Josh,
    You summarized my feelings exactly. It was a pleasure to share the podium and marriage panel discussion with you.

    Take care,
    Steve

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  19. So glad I wasn't privy to all this drama before attending. It was such a great meeting though. Well done to all involved.

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  20. @ Tammy
    I'm enjoying reading your posts. We disagree on some things, (I hold a different view on sexual acts)
    but I like how you seem to respect everyone.
    "Whenever I hear, "Well, those damn liberals they all..." I'm like, wait, thats not me. Or, "ThosE repubs all..."I'm like, wait, thats not my friend."
    Nice :)

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    1. and would you respect her right to legally marry her wife? People love all the respect, the kindness, etc but when the rubber meets the road do you respect her right to marry her wife?

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    2. Anon 10:43

      Maybe respect is a journey, as understanding is a journey.
      I see that you are legit in this question, but you have said this "when the rubber meets the road" so demeaningly, and you seem in a hurry for people to "understand" and respect, and do it in your time, which seems to be ticking alot faster than many peoples ability to compute these seriouse SHIFTS in their perspective.
      Just a thought from someone with the same message you seem to want to convey.

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    3. I didn't mean when the rubber meets the road demeaningly - I meant it as a way of getting to the root of the issue.
      People can be respectful, kind, etc but in the end what has that all meant? - Does that kindness and respect include voting for the civil rights of gay people?
      If you read through this blog entry's comments and others, you will read that Tammy herself would like to know how people would vote and also made some points about whether or not the respect people want for Josh goes both ways.
      Yes, she is saying these things much more nicely and she knows I admire her abiity to do that, but some of my concerns (not all obviously) are very similar to hers. She has written a few times that people can take as long as they want to change their feelings or in fact to never change them but that has nothing to do with voting to take away rights from others.
      On a slightly different note - I'm wondering why there are so very few practicing gay people/LGBTQ supporters commenting on this blog. There have been some but on the whole, very very few.

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    4. @Rivka - what do you mean 'a different view on sexual acts'? Gay sexual acts are not good? Gay people can be gay as long as they don't have sex with each other? Unclear to me.

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    5. When my son came out he said something that reminded me that he is wise beyond his years.

      "Mom, I've been processing this and working it out for about 4 years. I know that it might take you a bit to wrap your head around. Thanks for loving me regardless."

      When we are talking about changing a cultural paradigm, it can take a while to find a "happy place" where everyone is pleased.

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  21. I think this is officially the most civil discussion I have ever seen on a blog post about homosexuality. Cool!

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    1. Tammy's gentleness and understanding keeps us all in line :)

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    2. yeah, i think it's mainly because most of the people on here have the same world view and/or express things in a way that won't offend most of the people on here. Makes sense then.

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    3. Agreed. Expressing difficult and differing opinions in a way that doesn't offend most people seems like a great way

      Maybe eventually more people will join us who have a different world view, but can also express their stories and their hearts and beliefs in a non-offensive way as well :)

      I would welcome that additional input in the discussion.

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    4. I think it depends by what you mean by non-offensive. Would it offend a practicing gay person to read some (not all obviously) of the comments on this blog? I think particularly of the ideas how being gay is okay as long as a person never lives a gay life, how gay marriage could result in the downfall of the nation, how it is okay to vote against the civil rights of practicing gay people, etc. I'm honestly not sure that those opinions are welcome on here or that most would want to come here knowing the opinions above. I'm pretty innocuous compared to some responses that might come from the gay community and a lot of what I comment is seen as too aggressive/not polite enough, etc. Now this isn't always the case of course - Tammy is gay and is considered polite and respectful. And there have been some other gay commenters as well. But there aren't a lot and I wonder why that is. I don't think thatsome of the commenters could handle what a lot of the gay community has to say without becoming defensive and seeing it as 'not polite and offensive.'' I suggest going over to a gay forum (I imagine that could be found somewhere) and being the minority there and see how that sits first.

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    5. i've been unclear - what I mean by 'those opinions' - are the opinions of practicing gay people who would rightly be offended by the expressed opinions of some on here.

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    7. Exactly. Exactly. I don't think I would want my 'practicing' gay friends to read some of the comments on this blog and absorb the attitude - most have been there, done that. I suspect - but can't know for sure - that gay people have probably been on here, looked at the comments and left.

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    8. The gay message boards that I have found by googling, I haven't been able to stay long. It is because I'm kind of a prude.

      I don't mind their opinions. And I love that they have found a place to express themselves. But the language and cursing (which are their right) is something that I find uncomfortable to me.

      I don't expect them to change or even want them to. But, it isn't a place where I would feel comfortable asking questions. Do you have suggestions of a more gentle board that exists?

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    10. Forgot that I was going to add that OF COURSE many practicing gay people would not want to read some of the comments on this blog.

      I didn't mean to suggest that I thought they should come to learn. I sort of meant that some of them might be interested in coming to teach. There is much understanding that could come from hearing the experiences of those who have felt rejected and isolated and shunned.

      (Is it rude that I giggled at the word "practicing" because it seems as though at least some might be somewhere into the proficiency stage?)

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    11. That might be a great place for me to start, Tammy.

      Thanks again for a great suggestion!

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    12. there is also www.affirmation.org -a group of LGBTQ Mormons.

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    13. Thank you also, Anon :)

      You seem willing to participate, Anon. I think that I am starting to recognize your style... a little.

      Anyway, I didn't know that I could make up a name if I didn't have a URL. But, someone else helped me.

      If you wanted to make up a name to post with here, it links to NOTHING about you personally. Just gives everyone an easier way to remember who they are talking to. You just select Name/URL under the select profile menu. You can leave the URL spot blank.

      If you already knew this and still wanted to be named Anonymous, I apologize for butting in.

      I just thought I'd share because someone else taught me. I feel more honest or something to have a name to attach to my feeble attempts and learning and sharing.

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  22. Sounds like it turned out to be a positive experience. Congrats on stepping way out of your comfort zone!

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  23. I'm not sure how I stumbled on to your blog, but I'm so glad I did. I happened upon it at the time you posted your coming out story. I was mesmerized by it. It was one of the most open, beautiful, and real stories I've heard from anyone in a long time. I'm a married, straight, Christian female, and for a long time I've struggled with wondering what it is God really says about homosexuality. I had, years ago, attended a church which was vehemently against homosexuals, and since leaving them I've had so many questions about whether or not God loves or hates anyone who is gay. I still have questions, but my point is that reading your blog has helped me understand things somewhat better. I admire you and your wife, the life you have together and your love of God. You both inspire me. Thank you for all of your posts. If you and your family are ever in a reality show, I will definitely be one of your viewers! You all have an extraordinary story, yet you are so normal. I can't explain it, but whenever I read your posts, I actually feel closer to God because of you.

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  24. Good job, the weed! That picture of you is very presidential...I need a photographer like that in my life

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  25. Josh, Thank you soooooo much for your courage and sacrifice. I believe you are being led by the spirit, and I believe what you're doing is very important. I think your humility makes you uniquely qualified to take this path. You are proof that one person matters to God, and that great things come from small and humble beginnings. That's God's pattern, and you fit it. Thank you for preparing yourself to be an instrument in His hands and being willing to be so vulnerable. You are a very special person, and you are doing a great service to the world. Don't let other voices make you doubt. Being yourself (and humble) will be your success.

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  26. I know that Josh is planning to publish his talk at Circling the Wagons in tomorrow's blog post, but I am tempted to give you a spoiler. I hope Josh doesn't kill me. :)

    http://circlingthewagons.org/josh-weed-SLC-2012.php

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  28. I heart Brene Brown and all of her meticulous vulnerability research. And I heart your courage and compassion. There is so much pressure on you and your wife from every direction and you are not throwing up walls to isolate or protect yourself from the onslaught. Arms wide open marching forward. Well done.

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  29. I just wanted to say how much I really appreciate the open dialogue of the comments on this post. Tammy, Tasha, Mr., Mrs., & Jr. IDMs, Neurotic One, and the myriad of Anons, thank you for asking and answering real and hard questions openly, honestly, and respectfully. I applaud your "you-ness" and the individual journeys that you have taken to get where you are. I and so many others benefit from the loving discussions from all sides.

    I have so many questions about the issues discussed here that I haven't been able to define or articulate. I learn so much each time someone else articulates something that I didn't fully realize I wondered about. For myself, I know two things for sure. 1) A loving Heavenly Father responds and comforts me every time I come to him confused, frustrated, or worn down. 2) Every time I think about the hurt, frustration, and confusion LBGTQ individuals experience in their lives related to their orientation (especially early in life), my heart aches for you and stretches with love for you. I am in awe of the courageous spirits who handle these challenges, teaching the rest of us along the way. I must believe the loving Heavenly Father who I have felt in a very real way in my own life cares for LBGTQ individuals at least as much as I do (and infinitely more). Keep courageous and keep discussing.

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    2. Becca, THANK YOU for your compliment. It truly does mean so much. It's these little votes of approval, and the knowledge that someone is helped or growing, that make me decide, when I wake up thinking "oh man, what have I done? - what am I doing? - and who cares anyway? to continue sharing and expressing my thoughts. :)

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    1. Woops meant to comment on the next post.I'm glad you and Jenni were able to see each other and it went well!

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  31. I'm hoping that the people who were involved in this conversation last night will get this "the day after" post from me.

    Last night I commented a WHOLE LOT and shared a WHOLE LOT of my husband's life story. I was up well past my bedtime last night involved in the discussion taking place. Might have been a little loopy from lack of sleep. lol

    I've been very busy all day today, and tonight I decided to read back through everything. I'm glad I did because I realized that some of the real and pertenant information about my husband's childhood were not expressed. It was not intentional, and I see that it might look like I left a few things out in a effort to mislead, but that is absolutely not the case as I am here with the desire and intention to be extremely honest and transparent in an effort to foster understanding and share in some extremely open and real conversation. Therefore, I am feeling the need to clerify a few things I said.

    Anyway, I realize that as I began to tell Mr. IDM's story, it seemed as though he was more "sheltered" than he was. I guess since I know everything in my head, I didn't realize it didn't ALL end up onto the written page. (Real communication through blog posts is difficult at times)

    Actually, he did have some religious influence, it's just that it was so minimal at the young age (10) that I was talking about in that post. His family was "basically" LDS, but not active in any way. He did attend sunday school a few times as a child with his cousin or friends, but it was all about "I Am A Child Of God", etc. and there was certainly no lessons, songs, or conversations about anything but innocent "Jesus Loves Me" kind of stuff. So, yes Tammy, he would have had information about God at that early age and obviously he felt God's love and knew that God was "good".

    Also, they did not have prayer or anything relating to religion in their home, but they did have tv which, back in the late 60's, could have created homophobia in his heart (even though he knew absolutely nothing of "sexuality" either way).

    When I said "even though he had no religious teaching...." it was in the context of that sentence which was talking about "in his home". I just want to clerify that.

    Also, I just wanted to say that when ever we talk about his initial experience and response to his SSA, it's very clear that he feels strongly and emphasizes that he had inner "instincts" that caused him to think it was "not good".

    I personally think that some of the immediate discomfort that he experienced over his attractions might have been related to "the guys", and his understanding and knowledge that he was "different" from his friends. (I'll have to talk with him more about this when he gets home from hunting with his Dad).

    Anyway, hope I've effectively expanded the info that I put out there last night.

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    1. Nicely expanded. I had a few questions (which of course you are free not to answer but i'm really appreciating your openness!) - when he was having 'relationships' with other men - did you stay with him through this time? were you aware that this was going on? Would he come home and confess and beg for forgiveness? I can't imagine how difficult that would have been for you. To be honest, it is YOU who is really the hero of this story - he was out sewing his wild oats, although tortured by it, but it was you who stuck by his side. it was you who went into a marriage having absolutely no idea what you were getting into.
      It is interesting his 'instinct' that it was not good - I agree with you about how he would definitely felt different from his friends. To a child, that may very much feel like an instinct in that sense.
      Anyway,, just some of my questions and thoughts.

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    3. Also,when your husband was growing up,all he saw were straght couples i assume. So it makes sense that what he was feeling would feel odd and very possibly disturbing to him

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    4. Thank you and love to you all for your wonderful comments.

      My reason for telling our story is because of a desire to "get involved" in the conversation, to share some of the things we have learned through our experiences in an effort to foster understanding, acceptance, and love. Especially the Love of our Father in Heaven, and the miracles from God. I was surprised to find that this process is very therapeutic for me - so that's a bonus....but, I never expected to be seen as a hero, and although I do appreciate you guys for saying such nice things to me, I am far from a hero.

      Here's some of the "grit". Buckle up! (wink)lol .....

      Anon Nov. 10 8:22 - As I try to answer your questions I'll paste a few paragraphs from the book we're working on.

      You are correct, I did not know what I was getting into, but I did have an interesting and very special experience during a prayful night on my knees before we got married. (I'll see if I can find it in my notes an share it - but, if you're a person who does not believe in God, and prayer, and inspiration, etc, you might as well stop now cause our story is full of "stuff" like that). :)

      Here's what happened shortly after our 10th Anniversary.

      As I sat there in the window seat watching the road for my husband to return from the Fishing Techniques class he went to with a friend, I felt sick inside. I didn't understand why, my beautifully decorated little house was cozy and peaceful as our children were all fast asleep in their beds, I was very blessed, and should have been extremely happy, but, I was feeling so uneasy and nervous inside. I just had this intense feeling that we (my hsuband & I)needed to talk. I wasn't sure what I was going to say, I just knew with every fiber of my being that we needed to talk.

      I was stuck between "can't sit still" and "paralyzed", and then I saw the headlights coming down the dark culdesac street. It was pretty late now, and I was afraid he'd be too tired to talk and just want to go to bed. As I heard the garage door open and close and his footstep on the stairs my heart was pounding.

      He appeared in the opening to the living room and I wondered what I was going to say since I didn't even understand why I felt we needed to talk - I just did. He came in and sat next to me on the sofa. Before I could open my mouth to attempt some sort of "we need to talk" sentence, he said, "we need to talk". I felt the seriousness in his voice, but mostly I felt his humility and was aware that he was extremely nervous as well. Between my nerves and his, I could hardly breathe.

      My earlier thoughts about what I was going to say, that had been bouncing around in my head, were instantly still, and I was completely tuned in to hear what HE had to say instead.

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    5. He softly proceeded..- "I need to tell you something"
      Me - (on the edge of my seat with a giant question mark over my head) curiously whispered, "what?"
      Him - "I wasn't really at a fishing class tonight"
      Me - (My face twisted into a totally puzzled expression) still speaking gently "Where were you?" (I was so blown away by the thought that my husband had told me he was going somewhere different than where he really went - I wasn't sure if I should gear up to be mad, or what, but I was way to curious to have any reaction)
      Him - (slowly, nervously,& humbly) "I was at a group meeting for gay men"
      Me - (confused but calm) "Do YOU think you're GAY?"
      Him - (With conviction) "I AM"

      **In an instant my fairy tale life, as I knew it, went ~POOOF!~**

      So, Weed blog friends, I think I was in shock, and I don't remember saying a word.

      Then, my husband, talking very lovingly and tender to me, began to tell me all about it. He said he'd like for us to kneel together in prayer and we did. He offered a beautiful prayer, and after I returned to sitting on the sofa, he stayed on his knees, took my hand, and asked me to please just listen to all he had to say, and that he truly loved me, that he wanted to try to save our marriage, and he hoped that I would just give him a chance. I knew he was "for real", he was being completely vulnerable, and I knew it was genuine. I felt his spirit, I knew he loved me, and I felt his love stronger and more sincerely than I ever had before. It's just hard to explain.

      It's too much to share here, but the main thing I'd like to say is that I was so overwhelmed with a sense of peace that it was unimaginable for such a moment.

      I seem to remember quite clearly the feelings I felt that night. I believe I was in shock, but I was also amazingly calm. It’s not that I had ever had any suspicions about my husband's sexuality, but once I was told, I felt this unexplainable sense of peace immediately. And as we proceeded to talk about our past 10 years together, I saw how all the pieces of the puzzle fit into place.

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    6. Oh, I was not so completely “at peace” that I was immediately accepting of it all. I had a long, long way to go towards acceptance, patience, and understanding. But, I am so amazed at how I did react to such shocking information.

      What was even more shocking, was the information that came next. Up to that point, I was listening and learning about the meeeting he had just attended,(Evergreen), and a lot about his childhood, his feelings, his confusion about himself, and his excitement in finding some answers to his life long questions.

      All of that was truly a lot to deal with, but as I said, I was surprisingly at peace. Then came… the rest of the story…. as he proceeded to confess the truth about his past.


      I remember listening with shock and disbelief as he began to tell me of the things that he had done. I actually had to lie down, my body felt so weak I could not even hold my head up. I lay down on the sofa and he knelt on the floor beside me as he spoke.
      He confessed and explained to me about cruzing, gaydar, and some stuff we won't get into.

      I remember as he would tell me something I would struggle to wrap my mind around it, (I was extremely naive about all of it). I'd think I was doing pretty good, and staying pretty calm, and then, he would tell me more, and I would think “wow---- ok”, and then he would tell me more. Each time I thought that was it, and then he would tell me more. I was amazed and shocked to know what had been going on behind my back for several years. I felt overwhelmed, stupid, confused, deceived, and furious, but mostly I just felt broken hearted.

      The feeling of being lied to and deceived, by someone you love, who you believe loves you, is the most hurtful & painful feeling I’ve ever felt in my life. But through it all, I know that the Lord was with us and that he truly blessed me to stay calm and not have a fit. I know that my wonderful husband was so filled with the spirit of God as he courageously told me everything. (and I mean everything) His humility and honesty was amazing and drew me to him with a great deal of compassion and love.

      It was getting close to morning and we had been up talking almost all night. I had cried so much that I had a terrible head ache and my body was shaking with chills. I went up to take a hot bath, and he followed me. He sat on the edge of the tub and rubbed my temples to help my headache. It wasn't an act, he was so genuinely humbled, showing such compassion and love towards me that, as bad as it all was, it was amazingly good at the same time. It was truly a spiritual experience for us both.

      I have just talked about me and my feelings, but I can only imagine what he was going through that night. I am so grateful to him for his complete honesty, courage and commitment to try to figure it out and make it work.

      We were completely exhausted and went to bed and slept soundly for just a couple of hours. As I woke up I remember thinking I was awakening to a nightmare. It was like somebody had died. It was a horrible feeling and I wanted so badly to just go back to sleep and never wake up again. The reality of what had transpired throughout the night was almost more than I could bare, and I truly, and even physically felt that my heart was broken.

      Someone had died, there was a part of me that had died, and I mourned that loss of the fantasy life I thought I knew. The life I had put my whole heart into for 10 years. But, at the same time I felt this little spark of hope, and the spirit of the Lord urged me to push ahead.

      (I think I better stop here - I was planning to tell about what went on as the days, months, and years clicked by, the hell, my tantrums, fits, and extremely bad behavior, but I'm too tired to type anymore, so I'll tell more tomorrow if anyone is still interested.) Good night

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    9. it is an interesting story - so interesting. Again I will say though that your husband's actions put you at incredible risk - risking your life actually. AIDS was at its height in the gay community in the U.S. around 93-95 (before effective protease inhibitors were finally created) and men were dying at hugely alarming rates. Funny timing as I just saw a documentary about AIDS in this time period and how it was in fact brave gay men and women as well as others affected by the disease who demanded help - had it not been for them, many more would have died before effective medication was found.
      All this to say that if in that time period he was in fact cruisiing and having many partners - even with protection - and then also being with you - your risk was astronomical. And then if you were having your children around that time - the risk to them as well as it would have been passed on. Silence really can equal death.
      It sends chills up my spine that this was happening to you, Mrs. I Define Me.
      But please know I am interested in hearing more if you care to share.

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    10. Ignorance here again!

      Can someone tell me what a protease inhibitor is?

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    11. It seems that a protease inhibitor inhibits protease which are used by the HIV virus to replicate. That is not a scientific answer but about as close as I get to understanding it! Apparently it wasn't until the end of 1995 that one that would really work - saquinivar. Since then more efficient ones with fewer side effects have been patented.
      With the introduction of saquinivar, the rate of people dying from HIV in the U.S. dramatically dropped.

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    12. @ Tammy & wife - thank you so much for your continuous interest and vote of approval. I think I will start a blog because I hate to continue here since I'm so "long winded"...

      (? - is there a hip social media word for carrying on tooo long on a blog? - if not we should invent one just for me ;)

      @ Anon 9:59am - Yes, the risk was very real and that was one of the things that was hardest for me to forgive and get past. Even still, I feel real, actual, physical stomach pain when I think about it. I just try not to dwell on it much, it is amazing that we are here to tell about it really. And, although I should let him speak for himself (maybe he'll post when he gets a chance), I know words can't describe how ashamed and sorry he is. He'll have to decide if he wants to share more about this (or give me the ok to share more) - let me just say that, for what it's worth, accoring to him (and I totally believe him) there was an EXTREME amount of responsibility on his part.

      And, by the way, I was NEVER ok with any of this activity. It was really complicated, it was a run around, it was hell. Why I didn't just leave him (???) is another story for another day. I'm pretty sure I've already written about that, it's in my notes somewhere, I'll look.

      I think I'm going to start a blog since I'm in this so deep, -so stay tuned I guess.

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    14. lol --hahahahah :D that's hilarious - perfect! :)

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    15. thank you for answering, very vulnerable of you which I respect greatly.
      I would like to know why you stayed if ever you want to share.
      i'm super glad he was responsible - because even one slip couuld have been devastating. i imagine you both have been tested and recently (as HIV can hide for years and years)

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    16. yes shame and feeling very sorry are part of the cycle. Homosexual liaison, feeling shame and swearing it will never happen again,a period where it doesn't and then back round the circle. I hope your husband has broken free of that for your sake.

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    17. Yes, I understand. Thank you. There's some wonderful words from my husband in our notes regarding this, but since I'm thinking of starting a blog this week, I'll save it for then.

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  32. Proud of you. That is all.

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  33. Josh, I have been following your blog since your first "coming out" post, and I just wanted to say how much I admire your courage. After reading about the flak you got for participating in this conference, and then reading the Tribune article that accompanied it and browsing through a few of the comments...whew. I just got a sense of how exhausted you must feel at times. I can't imagine putting some of my intimate personal details and life decisions out there for the whole world to criticize, condemn, analyze, and tear into shreds. You are truly a hero and don't get enough credit for what you are doing and for what you go through in the process. I just wanted you to know how much I truly admire your strength and courage.

    I have to say, too, that I think you are an awesome person. The reason I have been secretly following your blog for months is more because of your personality than because of the "sensationalism" of your coming-out post. Your sense of humor, honesty, and humility, in combination with your courage, is refreshing and inspiring. I love reading your posts--in fact, I wish you had more of them! Thank you for being willing to really put yourself out there in order to make a difference in the world. You have the kind of courage I strive for daily.

    Btw, I coincidentally also live in the Seattle area, and keep hoping I will run into you someday! I wonder if you ever get gawkers when you go out in public now, since you're a celebrity and all...I don't think you've mentioned anything about that yet :).

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  34. Josh, as I was thinking about what it took for you to face the hostility that your participation here triggered in people, what I saw was that you truly responded to this challenge with the kind of courage and faith that the sons of Mosiah had as they went to preach to their sworn enemies, the Lamanites. You were able, in the strength of the Lord, "to win [their] souls with love." Only they (as far as we know) didn't have someone as totally awesome as Lolly to inspire them.

    Wow, we really love you guys!

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