Saturday, 31 December 2011

sincerely seeking truth

i'm in a real quandary, and would love the support of the bloggernacle!  i've tried talking with friends, family, missionaries, my bishop, elder holland, you name it.  no one is able to help me figure out what to do with my relationship to the church.  i got the impression from elder holland that i was just "one of many" that my unique value to the church is not really important.

remember how when we were missionaries and we'd try and keep people from just baptizing people for numbers?  remember how we told people that you had to know for yourself and that you had to be true to yourself?  that truth came through a little triangle of love: God --> Prophets (writing and speech) --> You --> God.  one giant feedback loop of truth. or maybe how "all truth can be contained in a spiritual whole?"

i told all of my investigators, and then later all of the missionaries i taught that "a sincere seeker of truth need not fear what he finds" -- is this true within mormonism? i kinda don't think so anymore.

while i was a missionary, many of my favorite professors left BYU or were fired/excommunicated because the church didn't agree with what they were saying about women.  i found it really weird, but was just in my mission bubble and too young to realize that they were censoring religious freedom and study at BYU.  when they pushed Dr. Van de Graff out of the school, i started to wonder.  He was THE author of THE anatomy text book.  all of his students went to johns hopkins, harvard, yale, and to the super prestigious Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences (which is were josh went).

VDG, as we called him, was a hero!  he would rent a freezer big/rig thing and drive across country himself, to get the cadavers we used to study and dissect.  he had to do it out of his own pocket, if i'm remembering this right  ... sharon? do you remember this deal?  they kept reducing his funding.  told him to stop with the cadavers already, and finally he left and went to Weber State.

all of the firings had taken place in the HFAC world, i spent ALL of my time in the Eyring Science Center or in the Widstoe Building where the anatomy lab that i worked in was housed.  Due to my residing in a formaldehyde laden fog, i decided i should read what the apostles whose names were attached to my buildings did.  They are SUPER cool people.  widstoe's writings on light and truth are facinating.

i loved that at BYU i was a scientist, but i HAD to take philospophy classes.  i took as many classes as i could.  i LOVED school!  i studied too much.  i never slept.  i took too many classes.  they finally told me i had to hurry and graduate or i was going to be in trouble.  they told me i should change my major to psychology because that would allow "others who have a real future in medicine" to go to medical school.  i told them i was thinking about it, and they told me to remember that my divine calling was that of mother and that i needed to make that my goal.  blah blah blah ...

i changed my major to psychology.  started doing research with Dr. Burlingame, he was the first "Adventist" i'd ever met.  he was amazing.  he helped me figure out my place in the world.  he took me under his wing and mentored the heck out of me.  he helped me realize that clinical psychology was not for me because i was too much of a "macro" thinker and he introduced me to Judy Norman, who then took me under her wing as i entered the incredibly dysfunctional world of BYU's School of Social Work.

i didn't know this at the time, but most of the crazy "gender reassingment" craziness was taking place right within the school of social work.  like i also didn't know that in 1965, then BYU president Ernest Wilkinson told the entire student-body:
We [at BYU] do not intend to admit to our campus any homosexuals. If any of you have this tendency and have not completely abandoned it, may I suggest that you leave the university immediately after this assembly; and if you will be honest enough to let us know the reason, we will voluntarily refund your tuition. We do not want others on this campus to be contaminated by your presence." 
by 1989 when i started, they weren't that direct.

i would never have joined the church had i known this!

i am the child of the 70's, we don't believe in this crap! i almost convert to mormonism because of the history with black people, i also knew that women were not all that respected, but i'd been able to learn respect on the soccer field (i was the first female soccer player on a AAA soccer team in the state.)  because i had always seen myself as a female athlete, i knew that i was faster and more technically able than most men ;).  i had played on a team with the same boys since i move to gilbert (the same year my sex abuse started).  those boys were my family.  that team was my life!  my best friends had been boys my whole life.  there were none in my neighborhood growing up, and i am an only child.  those boys and my animals (mostly the beagles) were my only playmates.  but for me they were way way more. i got lots of dinners at teammates homes.  teammate mom's would pick me up for games and practices. it was the team that even made it possible for me to play because my parents were too busy "surviving" to take me to practices and games.

i'm like the original fag-hag!  i tell all my gay boyfriends that we are probably the same number on the kinsey scale: mostly men, but the right woman could win my heart.

i knew gender was not fixed.  i knew it wasn't binary.  i had been a tom boy who HATED dresses and played soccer.  then suddenly one day, all i wanted to wear were dresses ... i also loved to kiss boys on the playground and later in my room.  i felt very straight in my sexual preference.  it wasn't until i was 35 that a woman kissed me for the first time.  the song had come out, "i kissed a girl and i liked it" and i felt like i had gone through some weird space/time portal.  my love for her, and the struggle i observed as she tried to reconcile her sexuality with the church's stance, were some of the most painful experiences of my life ... and if you know me, i'm no stranger to pain.

we prayed together earnest prayers "heavenly father is it wrong for us to love each other?" i think we both wanted Him to say yes, but He never did.  we went to a 2 different therapist, but she refused to talk at all about her sexuality.  i told her i would claim any of them ... lesbian, straight, bi, queer, questioning, anything ... her dad made it clear he didn't care ... etc etc.  she went to talk to our bishop.  i don't really know what happened obviously, but i'm sure he told her to leave me and get married to man.  he told her she needed to at least TRY to be straight.

she is a gorgeous amazing woman who had never been in a relationship with anyone until she was with me.  she is spiritual, hysterical, intelligent, silly, accomplished, i could really go on and on.  but she didn't believe in herself.  she didn't believe that she was amazing and awesome just the way she was.  she told me:
look teabelly, if it is me and you on a deserted island this is a no-brainer, but we don't live on an island. i marry you and i loose my job, my church, and my family.  
i will admit, i was less than compassionate with this revelation.  i found it ridiculous and unfounded.  i'm pretty sure her being a lip-stick lesbian mormon would have only helped her career. the bishop I talked to told me he would marry us, and her dad had made it clear to us that he knew.  we were on a family trip and ... it was very unspoken but very clear.

i think because of the advice she got, the breakup was horrible.  it wasn't a break up at all.  she just came over to my house and told me she needed to date boys and she couldn't see me anymore, and that was that.  done.  no explanation, no nothing, she just left.  ran for the hills like a impala being chased by a lion.  i really never had a real conversation with her after that.  she just cut off all contact.

i kept the whole thing quiet, because it is what she wants.  but i realized my silence has made me kinda loose it.  i wasn't able to mourn.  all of my friends told me to get over it.  when she got engaged one of many of my best friends just told me to "move on".  i felt like i was married to this woman.  it felt like she was my soul mate and we were going to have a life together, but because we never told anyone of the family we conceived, no one seemed to care.

i've slowly started telling people that i once loved a woman. they just shun me or immediately want to label me. it goes like this:

F: so this means your gay right?
t: nope, just means i loved her
F: will you ever date another woman?
t: i could see how it could happen, but i think it was just her.
F: maybe you should date more women?
t: dating a woman feels weird.  i'd only fall in love with a woman that i was friends with first for a long time.
F: so then you are straight right?
t: no, because i did love a woman.

and then we just loop.  your gay, your straight, your gay, your straight.  and i just want to scream and say quit effin' labeling me.  this isn't about the label, my heart is broken.  i was suicidal and people were telling me to get over it.  were it not for my dear friend liz just coming to my house one day (she was inspired) i'd be dead.  i was sitting in my backyard and could think of no reason to keep living.  i felt like i just ruined everyone i got involved with.  i was tired of fighting with everyone.

liz made me go on a bike ride, and i had the worst accident of my life.  skinless and broken.  we thought my shoulder was broken, i had a GIANT bruise and scratches on my stomach, my helmet hit the ground so hard it broke and flew off my head and then i hit my head again.   liz called my now recently crowned ex-girlfriend, and she refused to pick us up. she told us to call an ambulance.  the ambulance took over an hour, so liz called again.  again she refused to help.  i saw my ex at church the next sunday (i went so she could see how broken i was), she just walked by and said "wow, look at you".

this is what my friend who introduced me to the church and who i lived with my last year of high school wrote when i tried to get some comfort from her (she is a fantastic writer, all formating is hers.  i added hyperlinks):

You say that you are uncomfortable with parts of the proclamation and decided to pick & choose which parts to believe.  I believe the whole thing.  I don't believe that gender is really that complicated.  Although I know there are sometimes genetic abnormalities, and people can be born with all kind of defects, I think that for the most part it is EASY to see how men & women were designed to fit together.  I believe it is a law of God that men and women were made to be together.  Even if you leave the bible and all the scriptures out of it-- even if you leave revelation and the prophets and their words out of it-- I believe it is SELF EVIDENT that men and women are made to procreate and bear children.  Men and men are not.  Women and women are not.  I'm not talking about some bizarre case in the animal kingdom.  I'm talking about humans-- about men and women.  Men and women were designed this way to compliment each other and to create families and children.  You simply can not get around that.  This is not only a law of God it is a law of nature & it is simply the way things are.  You cannot create children naturally any other way.  
I cannot begin to explain how following these commandments makes me whole, fulfilled, complete and happy.  The great comfort, warmth, security, fulfillment and joy that I got from marriage was the most amazing feeling, blessing and transformation I have had in my life.  It continues to be the greatest source of happiness to me every moment of every day.   But then to have these precious babies, these amazing kids with Curtis just magnified those feelings so much.  They are a part of us and our relationships are what make my life worthwhile.  It's like getting kitties times a gazillion.  Am I saying that my happiness makes it right?  Of course not, but of course I do believe that this is God's plan for us.  This is the way he wants us to live.   
I believe we are born with these strong needs-- the need to be loved intimately and cared for and also the need to love and care for others.   
I also believe that because we are born with these strong, innate desires we will do whatever we can to meet those needs. Of course we can be loved by and give love to our friends and families.  We can even have appropriate emotional intimacy and affection in platonic same sex relationships.  Many believe that these needs can be met in some alternate way--ie homosexuality.   But I believe that our sexual appetites, desires, and passions need to be kept within the bounds the Lord has set.  Sometimes we have desires outside these bounds.  I think we all do at times.  Some may be born with stronger desires outside these bounds.  People are tempted to all manner of sexual perversions:  masterbation, rape, bestiality, homosexuality, pornography, fornication, adultery, pedophilia, etc.  I don't believe that any temptation outside the bounds the Lord has set will bring you the true joy and lasting happiness that the Lord intended you to have within the bounds of fidelity in marriage and parenthood.  If you follow after these counterfeits they will all lead to a dead end.  They lead to emptiness, not fulfillment; frustration, not satisfaction.     
Even if you do have some of your needs temporarily met by participating in these activities, you cannot have all that God designed for you. These temptations are a false form of the truth.  It is said that in the last days men will call evil good and good evil.  I think that is what is happening here.  People want to justify their actions and call these perversions good when they not. They are only a corruption of the good, a fake, a substitute for the real thing. 

needless to say, we are on a break from each other right now.  i'm hoping she will change her mind, i'm sure she is hoping i will change mine...

i was the young women's president and after 7 years in the capitol hill ward bought a house and was moving.  they didn't ask me to speak to my congregation the last sunday i was there. (which is tradition even for interns who have been in the ward for a semester).  with lay clergy, everyone is a preacher.  i'm kinda a good preacher so it was even weirder, i was their pitch hitter all the time.  i knew how those assignments were made and my friend was in the bishopric, he brought it up and he told me he got a really weird response.  i'm pretty sure he was just protecting me from what really went down.

wow you guys look better now ;)
admittedly, they had just woken up.
tho this was morning hair for a while ;)
i was uninvited to one of my best friends ceiling, even tho i had a temple recommend.  she and her husband-to-be talked about it and decided that they just didn't want my kind of energy in the sealing.  we had saved two orphans together and gone through some really tough stuff... i was devastated. again, blah blah blah ... more of the same.

i could write paragraph after paragraph of how people in the church have completely ignored, abused, or rejected me.  i cannot for the life of me figure out why i even want to call myself mormon anymore.  did i make a mistake in 1988 when i joined the church?  should i have become an adventist ... maybe?  should i have just stayed catholic and tried to deal with all that crazy?  i'm not sure which is worse/better?  or maybe what joseph was told during his first revelation was that he shouldn't join any of them, that they are all wrong together.  maybe he wasn't even supposed to start a church at all.  maybe it is the function of church that makes people do horrible things?

"no one expects the spanish inquisition," and i certainly didn't expect any of this.  can anyone out there help me figure this out?  the mysticism and the doctrines of the mormon church are the ones that speak the most to me.  i love the concept of heavenly mother, eternal progression, that "when you are in the service of your fellow men, you are only in the service of your God", frankly, i love the book of mormon.  its an amazing book and it really did change my life.  but is that enough?

so if i'm to "join with none of the churches, for they are all wrong together", should i ask for my name to be removed?  do i fight until i'm excommunicated or just see how much i can fight with them until they either accept what the truth's their prophet actually taught, or do i just drop it and realize that all of those "friendships" were really just about status and stature?  that i'm only worth loving when i have utility?  that is what it actually seems that the doctrine of the mormon church is.  there is one LDS family from my childhood who has stuck by me, welcomed me anytime i go home, and has loved me unconditionally through all sorts of freaked out, boundary-confused teabelly bull crap.  i know that there are more Allred families out there.  they are the families that aren't the bishops and the relief society presidents, because they realize that these callings are just funny things made up by man.  just look at sister allred and tell me, that isn't the perfect example of what a woman should/can be.  she is my hero and her daughters and sons have been my friends my whole entire life, and they told me they don't care who or what i am, who i love, or what i believe.  they just love me.  and their love has made it possible for me to remember that i'm not just a big heap of abused trauma, but instead a divine daughter of God.

i guess i feel like i'm being pushed out.  am i?  am i alone?  is there a way for me to stay mormon or is it time for me to severe the cord?  and is severing the cord part of what it takes to get to a place where your "calling and election can be made sure"?


Maria Petrova said...

I don't need to say more than Kinsey said. And that God adores you.

Maria Petrova said...

I don't need to say more than Kinsey said. And that God adores you.

Gregg Edgar said...


You and I have known each other for a very, very long time. Though there may be many years between our direct friendship I will always be someone who considers himself a friend of yours. Let me say without hesitation and with no equivocation that you are and always have been a beautiful person and while we may take different paths on faith - I can not imagine a God that would not embrace you with all his love. I believe that God's greatest challenge to us all is too find our paths and not allow human judgement to define us. I think it is clear in all scriptures that I have read (which is certainly not a complete list) that judgement in the end comes down to you standing before God to account for your life - He will not ask your bishop, your spouse, your lover, your friends - real or imagined - He will look at your heart. to me that means that means that he wants your heart to be free and open to love and honor the gifts that he has given to us all.

Be that divine daughter by being true to yourself. God's love is infinite and accepting and the judgements you face are the result of our own human frailty.

Gregg Edgar