Tuesday, April 28, 2009

An Affirmation from the Pulpit

A new family in our ward spoke in Sacrament meeting this past weekend. "Sister Brown" in addition to telling how she met her husband and a bit about her career and children expressed her admiration for a friend in a previous ward. This friend endured some unkind comments when she welcomed home her gay son and took care of him as he died of AIDS. Apparently some people in the ward and neighborhood advised her to put him in a nursing home and that he was just getting what he deserved. This woman continued to care for her son. I don't know how long ago this took place, but I'm encouraged that our new ward member was impressed enough by this woman's example of compassion to share it with us.

It reminds me of a favorite Martin Luther King, Jr. quotation: "You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive." It also reminded me that it's been a long time since I've seen Philadelphia and I think it's time to take another look.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

OGTs and LSTs

I got a kick out of Sarah's entry on Obviously Gay Traits. It inspired me to make my own list:

1. Liked playing with dolls as a kid.
2. And sewing machines.
3. And purses.
4. Known in kindergarten as a tattle tale.
5. Didn't learn to play basketball and softball until adulthood. I can pass a football now.
6. But still tend to throw like a girl.
7. Still don't really "get" football, although I keep trying, Superbowl after Superbowl.
8. Like musicals.
9. Like opera.
10. Like ballet.
11. Like classical music. And jazz, too.
12. Counterclock wise hair whorl.
13. Non-straight finger length ratio.
14. Some sweaty guys smell good to me.
15. Swim for exercise and to test my underwater vision.
16. Like spring and summer because guys take off their shirts.
17. Enjoy hanging out with guys of all ages.

But I also have a list of LSTs or Latent Straight Traits:

1. Liked dating girls.
2. Mostly happily married for 30+ years.
3. Love my wife and wish for return of our early honeymoon days.
4. Biological father of my children. No lab interventions necessary. :)
5. Attracted to beautiful intelligent women, hence my marriage to my wife.
6. Not particularly in touch with fashion. May be a bit color blind.
7. Enjoy some competitive sports.
8. Usually comfortable hanging with my straight buddies.
9. Fan of some country music.

OK the second list isn't quite as long, and maybe no more valid than some of the points on the first list. So what do I conclude from this? Nothing all that new. I've ranged on the Kinsey Scale from a low of 2 to a high of 5. Two when I was first married, more hopeful and probably much more in denial. More recently as I've become more honest with myself and others I tend to be in the 4-5 range, but I've never been a one or a six. My two lists tend to support this.

My questions for you: What are your OGTs and LSTs? Have they remained stable or have they changed over time?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

He Will Yet Reveal

In the late sixties, the Beatles released a controvesial track called Revolution #9. Until today, I hadn't thought of 9th Article of Faith as revolutionary, but today as the sun shines here in the Salt Lake Valley, as trees bud, as birds chirp, as the outdoor world returns to life, I'm encouraged that a time of great growth, renewal and progess awaits us because "We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe He will yet reveal many great and important thinkgs pertaining to the Kingdom of God."

And if things of the past are a type of things to come, revelations and statements like these come to light in a somewhat different but harmonious context: "...witnessing the faithfulness...we have pleaded long and earnestly...the Lord has made known his will for blessing all of his children throughout the earth..."

In the just completed General Conference, President Monson said, "The future is a bright as your faith." My faith in the Articles of Faith is growing stronger and on this day, at least, the future seems bright.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Milk Questions

Bought and watched MILK yesterday, then attended church with the family today. So on Saturday I saw a powerful movie that brought tears and affirmation. Then on Sunday I celebrated the resurrection of the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, whose named shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. I felt the spirit both days. I find comfort in the belief that Christ and Milk (and so many other loved ones) are not dead but alive.
What do you think Jesus has to say to Harvey Milk? Does he condemn him as an evil man who broke down needed barriers to keep homosexual sin from becoming even more accepted in a corrupt world? Or is the message more along the lines of well done, you saw injustice and ended up being murdered trying to make this world a better place for all children of our Heavenly Parents?
Maybe the conversation goes something like this, "Harvey, I've got someone I'd like you to meet. You have quite a bit in common. His name is Joseph Smith."

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

This Life vs. Our Past and Our Future

Often when I see the plan of salvation blocked out on a chalk board it is represented as the middle block of three equally sized chunks like this--with 1 being our pre-mortal life, 2 our mortal existence, and 3 our post-mortal eternity:

[ 1 ] 
[ 2 ] 
[ 3 ] 

Granted, it is hard to draw or conceive of something that stretches forever in the past and forever into the future, but I think the following lone period below is a slightly more accurate way of viewing this life. If you imagine that everthing in front on the other side of your screen extending foward infinitely is the future, and everthing on this side of the screen extending behind you is the eternal past, then I think you can put in perspective the length of our mortal lives.


Sometimes when I feel discouraged about life, I like to think of this image and be calm and realize that we all have an abundance of time and space if we realize it is there.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Conference Confidence-Builders

Church membership was reported to be: 13,508,509. If only 1% of Mormons are gay, that means we have 135,085 men, women and children who are or will be dealing with this issue personally. Add to them parents, siblings, friends, neighbors, ward and stake members who love and care about these people. This number, I'm guessing, far far exceeds the population of black members of the church when the 1978 revelation was received.

"This is not a time for fear, brethren, but rather a time for faith — a time for each of us who holds the priesthood to be his best self." -Thomas S. Monson

"May you constantly nourish your testimonies, that they might be a protect to you against the adversary. As your humble servant, I desire with all my heart to do God's will and to serve Him and to serve you." -Thomas S. Monson

"We are not alone in our desire to do good. We are not alone in praying and receiving answers. We are not alone in sacrificing for a greater cause...We have much to learn from the good people all around us." -Neil L. Andersen

Did I agree with everything that was said in conference? No. Did I find much to agree with? Yes. The above are a few examples that build my confidence as a member of the church who lived through the changes that came after President Kimball's 1978 revelation extending the Priesthood to all worthy male members, the beginning of the end of decades of racial prejudice with in the church of my birth.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Restoring the Confer in Conference

General Conference typically does not involve live "conferencing" (in the sense of two-way interaction) between the General Authorities and the church at large. For decades it's been a one-way broadcast, followed by a written publication, which then results in multiple post-confernece discussions between members and their families, friends, leaders, quorum members, deity. Or perhaps there is constant conferring during the process but it is spiritual and unseen.

But we are a Restoration Church and the ubiquity of the interactive web is restoring the interaction that was probably naturally integrated into the early conferences of the church which did not involve large audiences and electronic distribution.

This is all a long way of saying I like this idea from David's Facebook Wall: "David wonders about live blogging conference? or setting up an IM session for them?" Go for it David!