On August the third, 1908, the brothers Jean and Amédée Bouyssonie entered a lonely cave in the Sourdoire Valley of France. For three years they had carefully excavated over 1000 Neanderthal artifacts, however on this day the brothers uncovered a nearly complete 50,000 year old Neanderthal skeleton which they described as being carefully buried in a sleeping position, legs bent with head tilted over the chest and surrounded by flint tools and animal bones.
It was shocking at the time to think that a species other than our own would have the capacity to ritualize death through intentional burial. Continue reading
In Gospel Doctrine class last Sunday, we were talking about obedience. The teacher wrote a quote by President Faust on the board, “Obedience leads to true freedom. The more we obey revealed truth, the more we become liberated.” The Church leadership seems obsessed with obedience. I believe President Faust’s comment is true, but I also believe that unquestioning obedience to Church leaders is unhealthy and spiritually damaging, and only fosters unrighteous dominion at all levels of the Church. Continue reading
I am a strong advocate for greater LGBT representation in mainstream media. And while there is great progress being made, I will continue to make do with what I have and pull meaningful plot lines out of mainstream movies and relate them to the LGBT narrative.
Moana is a beautiful story of a girl divided. After a magical experience as a young child in the ocean surrounding her tropical island home, she feels an internal magnetism to the water’s edge. Despite her parent’s concern for her safety, she sings “I come back to the water, no matter how hard I try”.
Photo Credit: Max Pixel Free Photo
“Today, we need to let you know that Lolly and I are divorcing.”
-Josh & Lolly Weed
A few years ago, a straight female friend said to me, “I think that gay people just have a libido on overdrive.” At the time she was trying very hard to empathize with what it was like to be me, and this was the closest thing she could attach to.
Her comment was disturbing to me, because it didn’t at all reflect my experience of being gay. And, it perpetuated a prominent belief that a gay person is simply a sexual deviant. However, I think that she came to that conclusion honestly.
Depending on where you take a peek into the “gay scene” it can reflect a bunch of freaks that are hyper-sexualized. (This is another post altogether, however, you may find the comments section of interest in the matter.) Continue reading
My bishop has been a great supporter of me being an authentically gay man who is also active in the Church and our ward. He asked me to write a letter to him explaining my feelings and experiences, and what I have learned that has helped me on my journey to authentically accept who I am as a gay man and find my mission and purpose as a Mormon. Here is what I wrote to him…
When we summarize the story of Alma at the Waters of Mormon we think of the community of Saints who were desirous to bear one another’s burdens, willing to mourn with those that mourn, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort. They desired to be called the people of God.
This was a radically supportive community considering the political atmosphere that surrounded them during the time of Alma.
This band of souls who gathered at the Waters of Mormon lived in an enclave nation surrounded by a people who desired to harm and enslave them. They lived in continual tension with their neighbors. Their King, King Noah, had pillaged the poor to fund the government’s laziness, idolatry, and whoredoms. Additionally, King Noah’s example “did cause his people to commit sin, and do that which was abominable in the sight of the Lord.” Mosiah 11:2
These were refugees, and considering the tensions and fears of their homeland, it is no wonder that they “clapped their hands for joy, and exclaimed: This is the desire of our hearts” upon being invited to join this new supportive community at the Waters of Mormon.
As everyone probably has seen, the new Prophet of the LDS Church made waves today by not retaining Elder Uchtdorf as one of his counselors. I had been hoping for keeping the same two, I loved both Presidents Uchtdorf and Eyring. My mother had hoped they would call Elder Christofferson after reading Tom Christofferson’s book That We May Be One. Instead, President Nelson brought up Elder Oaks, the Apostle called at the same time as him and likely the next Prophet as well. As many Mormons lamented throughout today on social media, this seems to mark a decision for retrenchment for the near-future of the Church. The discussion in yesterday’s broadcast and news conference did little to provide marginalized members of the Church any hope for change. Instead, the First Presidency spoke to defend the status quo rather than provide a vision for something better.
My reaction to this is similar to the feeling I have when I played soccer and I realized that someone had just kicked a ball straight at my face. I’m powerless. All I can do is tense up, clench my fists and scrunch my eyes, and wait for the impact. The most likely scenario: I’ll end up with a bloody nose or black eye. Maybe – JUST MAYBE – the ball will miss me. But instead, I’ll probably be knocked out. Continue reading
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” (John 13:34)
I spent the holidays this year in Utah, and stayed the whole time with my brother and sister-in-law. Over the two weeks I was there, I had some really great conversations with them. They are very conservative members of the Church and believe in following the prophet with exactness, no matter what, and that we will be blessed if we do so. However, when talking about the plight of gay members in the church, I was surprised at how open minded they were to the idea of the Q15 coming out with a revelation accepting same-sex marriage in the Church. With two more vacancies in the Q15, we are getting closer to this possibility. Continue reading
Teach me all that I must do
To live with him someday.
Naomi Ward Randall, 1908–2001
Last week I was out on my back patio enjoying some sunshine in our 70 degree weather, because that is what you do in Phoenix in December. I felt it time to listen to John Dehlin’s Mormons Stories Podcast where he interviewed Tom Christofferson about his book “That We May Be One.”
The interview was typical Mormon Stories Podcast format: Tell your story and then answer contemporary and relevant questions drawn from wisdom gained from your story. For me, I enjoyed his story and it was a disarming and refreshing experience listening to his conclusions and insights on such things as the Proclamation on the Family, the effects of the exclusion policy on the church, did he think same sex relationships and marriage were equal to opposite sex relationships and marriage, and his theology on LGBTQ in the plan of salvation. There really were no softball questions and John discussed subjects with Tom that have been wounding the LDS LGBTQ community for a long time. Continue reading