Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wife No. 19

Okay, so I just finished reading Ann Eliza Webb Young Whatever the rest of her last names were's memoirs of life in polygamist Mormon Utah.

Brigham Young doesn't come out looking too well, if the only thing you had to judge him by were her memoirs.  Is there a decent biography of him out there, one that's neither written by Mormon apologists nor by untrustworthy anti's?  Not that I'm saying she's untrustworthy, per se, but I don't necessarily believe everything she wrote.

I'd just like to know a little more factual history.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Marcus Aurelius

In a comment, Diana left a very thought provoking quotation by Marcus Aurelius that has had me thinking a lot.

"Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones."

I discovered Marcus Aurelius when I was at university, either through a Chaucer class or a class on Roman history, not sure which. (Chaucer led me to Boethius, which may have led me to Aurelius). Not that it matters how I found him.

My husband is really struggling with his fears that the church is true and therefore he is condemned, and keeps telling me that I should go back to "the gospel."  I of course refuse to do so.  And when he was agonizing the other day, I shared that quotation with him. He says Marcus Aurelius is one of his heroes, and he asked me to email the quotation to him, which I of course did.

This particular quotation really moved me, because it expresses--far more eloquently than I can--my feelings about God.  Right now I don't know whether there is a God, but I have felt that if there is, s/he is far more interested in what kind of a person I am than in whether I affiliate with any particular religion. And if the mormon god is the one true god, then I don't want anything to do with him.

Watching my husband struggle over and over and over and over shows me how the mormon church rules by fear and oppression. Most of the active members might disagree with me, which is their prerogative, but I stand firm. I know that much of my time in TSCC had me feeling like I would never measure up, would never be good enough, no matter how hard I tried. I was afraid of dying, because I knew that God would just look at me sadly, shake his head, and send me far away from him. Since leaving the church, I won't say that I'm looking forward to dying, but it doesn't hold the same fear for me that it used to.

So thank you, Diana, and thank you, Marcus Aurelius.

And just to give some more food for thought, here are some more of his observances:

"A man should be upright, not be kept upright."

"Dig within. Within is the wellspring of God; and it is always ready to bubble up, if you just dig."

"He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe."

"I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinions of himself than on the opinions of others."

"If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it."

"It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live."

"Life is neither good nor evil, but only a place for good and evil."

"The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury."

"The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts; therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature."

"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

"Your life is what your thoughts make it."

Friday, June 24, 2011

Our Loving Heavenly Father

In 2010, Boyd K. Packer famously stated that it is impossible for people to be born homosexual because Heavenly Father would never do that to anyone.

Let's look at the circle around me:

  • My best friend had a son who was born with cystic fibrosis, and passed away before he turned 15 years old.
  • I had severe endometriosis that, in the year before I finally had a hysterectomy, caused me constant, unrelenting pain.  I was never able to have children.
  • My maternal grandfather was physically, emotionally, and sexually abusive to his children.
  • My home, growing up, was rife with physical and emotional abuse.  One of us never broke free, and to this day is incompetent to care for himself, although he is brilliantly gifted at persuading others to support him until they realize they've been burned, at which point he moves on to another victim.
  • My youngest sister was born addicted to drugs, and in the end her own drug addictions cost her her life.
  • One of my cousins had a drug-addicted prostitute for a mother, and helped her shoot up as a child. He died of AIDS because of using dirty needles.
  • My beautiful border collie died of a heart attack at 11 years old, when we'd hoped she would be with us for at least a few more years.
  • My beautiful dachshund-lab mix, along with all his litter mates, were abandoned by their former owners who just packed up and moved away, leaving the dogs to starve in the back yard.  All but one of his litter mates were placed for adoption, but the last dog is too damaged to be placeable.

Either God is a sick, sadistic asshole, or else sometimes, shit just happens.  I don't necessarily believe in some great, overarching plan where all the pieces and lessons are woven together into a beautiful tapestry.  I think that if there is a God, he (or she--I don't know which) is greater and more loving than the best that we can possibly imagine.  And I can imagine a lot of "best" there.  Last night as I was crying over losing Molly, and thinking how much I love her, surely if there is a God s/he loves us at least as much as my husband and I love our dog.

And I don't think being homosexual is a bad thing. I think it just is.

I think that if we stop judging people, and focus on loving people, this world would be a wonderful world to live in.  And I must add that I've never felt more judged than by members of the so-called church, generally.  Not because they're bad people, but because that's the culture, the culture that:

  • makes Boyd K. Packer's vitriolic rantings against homosexuality acceptable,
  • feels it's within their rights to take away the rights of others with whom they do not agree,
  • teaches that people who leave the church do so only because they're offended or because they want to sin,
  • teaches people to "fake it until they make it",
  • preaches that lying for the Lord is absolutely acceptable,
  • teaches women are to place their home and their family above their own needs,
  • subjects women always to the dominion of men. 

What makes life good or bad is how we deal with the shit that gets dealt out to us. Love. It all boils down to love. Respect, acceptance, kindness--all these things will follow if we just love everyone.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bye-bye, Baby, Bye-bye

My Molly-girl passed away during the night.  I can't tell you how much emptier our home is without her.  She gave us 11 years of unbridled love and joy.  I already miss her so much.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I'm reading Wife No. 19, or, the story of a life of bondage by Ann Eliza Young, and came across this passage:

It had always been a practice of Joseph, whenever he met with any difficulty, to receive a "Revelation," which immediately put everything straight.
Man, that would be sweet!  Like, let's say, I get pissed off at my husband because he always throws his underwear on the floor.

Behold and lo! Thus saith the Lord, thou shalt dispose of thy unclean garments not by throwing them on the floor, as do the heathens. No, thou shalt dispose of thy garments by placing them in the basket where they can be gathered and cleansed so that thou shalt henceforth go forward in spotless whites.
Or I'm annoyed because we got a thunderstorm at 3:30 this morning, and he woke me up because it was going to hit in 8 minutes.

Verily I say unto thee that once thy wife has fallen asleep, thou shalt not wake her up unless it be for her urgent safety. Storms may rage, but unless it be a tornado or hurricane, allow thy wife the sleep of the just and permit her to slumber unabated until such time as she rouse herself and take on herself the garments of the just and begin her daily labours.
I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Support Marriage Equality!

I so totally stole this from Macha.  I love being subversive, and this is a great opportunity to do just that with the tools of the opposition!! If you're curious, I sent the longer message and feel quite happy about it. **Everything below this line is directly from Macha's blog. **

Brian Brown and his NOM groupies are panicking over marriage equality in New York. He wants you to email the NY swing votes and tell them to oppose marriage equality. It's fun to mess with the fundies, and use their own servers against them.

Here's what you do:

Go here.

Change the subject line to "Please vote YES on Marriage Equality"

Change the message to one supporting marriage equality. Below are a couple examples for you to use, or you can just make up your own. Make sure you have your 9-digit zip code!

Send your message and SHARE THE LINK, especially if you or anyone you know lives in New York!

My message (which counters NOM's version point by point):
I strongly urge you to support the same-sex marriage bill if and when it comes up to a vote in the Senate.

Marriage is about love and commitment, and as long as any government makes it its business to issue marriage licenses, it has no interest in or right to discriminate on the basis of sex or sexual orientation in to whom it issues those licenses.

The government has an interest in making sure children grow up in stable homes. The children of LGBT parents are not protected equally if their parents do not have the right to marry and validate their familial relationship. The government must protect and acknowledge all families, including those of LGBT couples, and grant them the right to marry.

Religious freedom means one person or group cannot impose their religious beliefs OR practices on any other person or group. Others are free to believe that it is immoral or unnatural to be in a relationship with someone who happens to be of the same sex, just as others are free to believe that it is wrong to be in a relationship with someone who happens to be of a different ethnicity, but they have no right to impose their beliefs or practices on other people.

Please, support marriage equality. Support families. Vote to allow loving couples to marry. If you are already a supporter of marriage equality, I thank you.

A shorter, simpler message:
I strongly urge you to support the marriage equality bill if and when it comes up to a vote in the Senate.

Please, protect the legitimate needs of same-sex couples. They have the right to live as they choose, and if that means redefining marriage for all of us then please vote Yes on marriage equality.

Happy mischief-making/equality activism!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Guilt of an Apostate

I was just over at Blissful Heretic's Chronicles of a Truth Seeker, and her post about all the guilt Mormons wrap up around someone who leaves the church really hit home. 

My sister left the church several years ago, and our mother still occasionally sends her letters and/or emails, lovingly urging her to reconsider.  To compound the difficulty of the situation, my sister hasn't been attending any other church, the rare occasion being when she'll get up early on a Sunday morning and accompany our father and stepmonster (term of endearment, trust me) to their church.

Our mother is intellectually brilliant, but she's also batshit crazy. We have few positive feelings about our stepfather, for good reasons.  So to tell Mom that now I have joined the ranks of the apostates is like giving her a plate of extra creamy fettuccini alfredo: instant heart attack.  She knows I've been inactive for a long time, and since I'm not yet taking my name off the rolls at the urgent insistence of my husband, I suppose things can remain in that state of limbo.

My husband and I also have some very dear friends who have supported us through everything--infertility, the loss of our babies when the IVF failed, etc.--and whom we have supported through everything--serious financial difficulties, a chronically ill child, the death of that child.  And now that I've left the church I wonder how to tell them.  I know she will love me and support me anyway. I don't feel so secure about her husband, and I positively dread telling the kids--not because they wouldn't love me and support me anyway, but because I don't want to be put in a situation where I could be accused of having led them astray (read the post about patriarchal blessings for more deatils). So do I tell them, or do I keep it a secret? The fact is that I'm liable to run into at least one of their kids while he's out with his friends, and since I frequently wear tank tops (hey, it's hot here!), he's going to figure out sooner or later. I'm inclined to tell my friend, but I've got squidgies in my stomach when I think about it.

The church has attached such stigma to people who leave it. We aren't allowed to leave it in peace. We're called apostates, and word goes around that we're anathema maranatha. We left because we were offended. We left because we prefer sinning to being holy. We left because we weren't strong enough to face whatever trials God saw fit to give us.

I love the Clash, and one of their songs comes to mind: "If I go there will be trouble; if I stay there will be double. So come on and let me know, should I stay or should I go?"  The trouble, for me, of staying would indeed be far greater than the trouble of going. I've set my feet in the path that is right for me, and I'll trust in whatever providence there may be to guide me. I'll make mistakes, but that's nothing new. Maybe I'll do things right from time to time, which is also nothing new. I love the feeling of freedom that's been with me. I love not arguing with my husband, even though we're having discussions so intense that I'm perpetually exhausted, even though we're headed inexorably toward divorce, even though neither of us knows what steps we're going to take next.

Thanks, Blissful Heretic, for giving me food for thought.

Monday, June 13, 2011

You know what they say about denial

It ain't just a river in Egypt.

Progress is being made. It's both agonizingly slowly and incredibly quickly, and even though I don't know how it can be both, it is. My husband left Saturday afternoon for an assignment that's due to last 5 days, and it was so lovely to just be alone in the house. Well, as alone as one can be with two dogs. Every discussion we've had over the last several weeks has been long and intense, and wearily exhausting.

I've also been a little frustrated by the fact that every discussion we've had over the last several weeks has been solely focused on my husband's situation, and there's been no room to talk about how I'm feeling about things. When we got married all those years ago, I completely misunderstood the situation, and finding out I spent a good percentage of our married life with no clue as to what was really going on was painful. It's like I don't even know my husband.

Anyway, c'est la vie. At least I'm not neck deep in denial anymore.

Friday, June 10, 2011

For I Am Weary and Sore at Heart

My husband said to me, after watching 8: The Mormon Proposition, that if the church is behind it all, then it is a sin to be gay/lesbian/bi/transgendered, and God is not kind and loving like he always thought. And God hates him, and Jesus hates him. His life is over. (He's just over 50 and from a very long-lived line.)

I responded that God is kind and loving (I didn't bother to add my now-customary "if there is one"), and what the church did was hateful and wrong. I said it's not a sin to be gay/lesbian/bi/transgendered. I said that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

He won't listen to me. He keeps pouring his heart out, and my heart aches for him. I've found a resource that would really be of benefit, but he's afraid to contact them. He's been badly betrayed by someone whom he had every reason to believe was an advocate, and he's getting harassed by neighbours and others who call the police on him when he has done nothing wrong or illegal.

I've decided to contact that group myself and offer to be a volunteer. I wish I could say more about them here, but I have to respect my husband's privacy. He's a good, good person who is anguishing over the internal conflict. I don't know what else I can do.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Java Jive

I have several email addresses--one for friends & family with my real identity displayed; the email address I use for anything related to this blog; and a business email address for the small business I started and then decided I didn't want to do anymore (long story).

And since they're all google emails, that means they all have ads for things they think may be of interest to me. I got a kick this morning when I logged into this email account and saw an ad for Seattle's Best Coffee.

I've gotten used to going to coffee shops and ordering what I want. I've been trying new things, which is always fun (this morning I got a toffee coffee frozen drink from Peet's, and it was amazing).  But I'm going to buy myself a coffee maker this weekend, and for it to be of any use, I also need to buy some coffee to brew.

I was at Marshall's yesterday looking at the array of discounted ground coffees they have, and realized that I have no earthly idea what kind of coffee to buy for home. Kona? Starbucks? Folgers? Help!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


What the mormon church does to GLBT people is appalling.  For those who are able to get out and finally live their lives the way they want to, there are others who still believe the bullshit.

You are not intrinsically bad.

You have the right to be happy, and to live the way you want to.

God doesn't hate you.

If you believe in God, then believe that you are fearfully and wonderfully made.

If you don't believe in God, believe that you are neither good nor bad solely on the basis of your sexual orientation or gender identity.

There are always people who will persecute people who are different just because they can.  Don't believe that everyone is like that.

Talk to your friends and family, using your discretion, of course. But if they're any sort of friends and family, they will tell you and will show you that they love you. And if they're not, find more friends. Make your own family any way you want to.

I used to think that the reason God didn't give me children was because I couldn't go a month without masturbating. True story. I laugh and cry at the same time to think that I actually bought into that bullshit.  The fact is, I didn't have children because I had endometriosis so bad that it was impossible for things to function properly.

I apologize for ever even trying to make myself believe that the mormon church's attitudes towards GLBT people were somehow justified, right in God's eyes.

All I can say to all of my friends, gay, transgendered, straight, is that I stand with you.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Simple Pleasures

Sorry I've been out for the last several days--I managed to really hurt my back last Wednesday and was on bedrest for the rest of last week. I have nice muscle relaxers and pain pills, which helped while I was in bed. Today's my first day back to work, however, and I'm miserable. Can't wait to go home and crawl back in bed.

Anyway, on Saturday my husband and I ventured out to run a few errands and see a movie (X-Men, and I loved it). I also wanted to start moving around so it wouldn't be a complete total shock when I got to work today.  After the movie, we ran by Voldemart to get some things. As my husband was pulling into the parking place, he looked over at me and asked if I was comfortable baring my shoulders (I was wearing a tank top). I told him that I was extremely comfortable, after which he asked what if someone from the ward saw me.

Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn. If someone from the ward saw me, they'd probably be a little shocked and perhaps would think I'd been excommunicated. It doesn't really matter what they would think.

I told my husband that, and he winced a little. Apparently he still worries a little too much what people think. I said I was comfortable both physically and mentally.  I live in Texas. It was 90 something degrees Saturday, and it was hot. Instead of having a layer of sweat-soaked garments sticking to my skin beneath my bra beneath another shirt, I had a bra and a cool tank top. I enjoyed the feeling of the wind blowing across my virgin upper arms and shoulders. It was great.

I related this story to my exmo sister and my nevermo stepmother at lunch yesterday, and my stepmother was just baffled as to why it would be any concern at all to wear a tank top. My sister and I tried to explain it, but it boils down to if you've never been under the control of LDS, Org., it's hard to understand both the freedom and the anger as you're coming out from under the influence.

Another simple pleasure, for me, is sleeping with only a pair of panties on.  Okay, when my husband's out of town and the dogs are sleeping in bed with me, I'll add a tank top. But when it's just me, I enjoy the comfort and the coolness I get from not having to wear nineteenth century underwear.

What are some of the simple pleasures you've found/rediscovered since leaving TSCC? Do share! :)