Saturday, April 17, 2010

To those hounded by the BYU Honor Code Office

By Mister Curie

So, according to this Deseret News article, the sports department knows of a little trick to get their athletes around Honor Code violations:

In past situations dealing with honor code issues, some BYU students, including athletes, in connection with counsel from an LDS Bishop, have withdrawn from school before the university's honor code office officially deals with their case and makes a determination on their standing as a student. In this regard, if that person receives a required ecclesiastical endorsement after one or two semesters, they can return to school without a university ruling on a non-academic issue.

BYU operates on a three-semester system. Missing spring and summer sessions is equal to a full fall or winter semester.

Just thought I'd pass the information along. It's not fair that the athletic department keeps their secret from everyone else.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Meaning of Life

"People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life.  I don't think that's what we're really seeking.  I think that  what we're seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive."

- Joseph Campbell

"I help myself by making a distinction between the idea that 'we make everything up' (which I don't think is accurate) and 'we give meaning to all that we consciously experience' (which I do think is accurate). . . . Each of us has to create our own frame of reference, which ultimately means only I decide if I am acceptable, if my accomplishments are adequate, and if my life matters. . . . [Some have] connected the idea that 'there is no inherent meaning' to the idea that 'it's all pointless'.  Not for me.  The point for me is that I have to get from here to the end of my life and how I do so matters to me. . . . So for me the question is . . . who will define meaning? If I give other people the power to define meaning for me. . . then I guess the point is to live according to the meaning they define.  Or, I can exercise the power within myself to define meaning for myself. . . . But, based on what?  I answer this by considering what I value.  For me that's the point.  What do I value?  I value being a good [partner]. Now I have meaning in my life. . . . I value being smart. Now I have meaning. I value deepening my way of relating with those closest to me. Now I have meaning. . . . and so on."

- Jake Eagle

Having lost faith in Mormonism, I have been questioning what is the meaning of life if it wasn't The Plan?  If there is no God, as I increasingly believe, is there a meaning to life?  These quotes have given me a lot to ponder.  I think that as we recognize those things that we value and then live our life in harmony with those values, we will find that rapture of being alive and joy in our existence.  And I think that just might be enough.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Seeking a Revelation for the Church, Part II

By Mister Curie

The Community of Christ (formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), which largely claimed to be the True church of Jesus Christ due to the belief that succession rights of the Prophet were through the lineage of Joseph Smith rather than through the Quorum of the 12 Apostles (as contrasted with the LDS church based in SLC), recently received and approved a revelation granting full membership rights to gay members, including gay marriage.  This adds Section 164 to their Doctrine and Covenants.  Further details on this momentous occassion are available on the blog By Common Consent.  The actual wording of the revelation now known as D&C 164 can be read here.

Of note, the Community of Christ extended Priesthood rights and responsibilities to women in 1984 in D&C 156.

A fascinating podcast on the Succession crisis in the LDS church that lead to the different branches can be listened to at the following links: (Part I) (Part II)

I suspect that the LDS church will grant Priesthood rights to women before they fully accept homosexuals, so if we use this timing as a guideline, approximately 26 years after women get the Priesthood, gays will be able to get married and be fully accepted in the LDS church.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Castro: Not What I Expected

By Mister Curie

So I've been hanging out in San Francisco for a week now and I finally  got up the courage to travel to the Castro and see the gay district in San Francisco.  I knew I had to go while I was here, but I wasn't sure what to expect.  Overall, I think it was a bit of a disappointment. I'm not sure what I thought it would be like, but it just wasn't whatever I thought it might be.

I mean, sure, there were beautiful rainbow flags on all the street posts (I've always liked rainbows), there were several adult shops that catered to a gay clientele, and there were advertisements targeting gay men (including signs for AIDS awareness, testing, and prevention  - one of which was an advertisement for participating in a clinical trial for an AIDS vaccine).  I didn't notice a large increase in the presence of eye-candy (although I'm assuming the eye candy  I saw was much more likely  to be gay), there wasn't a large increase in metrosexuals (which was rather surprising, given the definite over-representation of spas and salons catering to the metrosexual crowd), there wasn't even an overwhelming amount of gay PDA (I saw at least as many heterosexual couples holding hands as I saw gay couples holding hands).  There definitely  were a lot of dog owners! Wow!

I printed out a walking tour of the area before I went.  I saw the Camera shop that Harvey Milk started and lived above.  I went to the Harvey Milk Plaza (quite underwhelming) and Pink Triangle Park (also much less than I think the LGBT victims of Nazi persecution deserve). I went in a couple of clothing stores and a bookstore.  I found Hot Cookie and purchased a couple of those "anatomically correct coconut macaroons on a stick, coated in chocolate" that Rob blogged about.  I saw the Castro theater.  I walked down Market street, following the rainbow flags until they ended and found the LBGT community center.  I walked a couple more blocks until I was sure I hadn't missed anything important, and walked back.  I also had lunch at an outdoor cafe and people watched and eavesdropped on nearby conversations.

It was a fun trip (although it would have been more fun if I had been with someone else to share the adventure with).  I enjoyed seeing the few gay couples holding hands that I did see, and it was a definite increase above the number I usually see.  There was one particularly cute couple of elderly gentlemen walking together hand in hand that was just adorable (as well as one couple composed of two extremely fine specimens of eye-candy).  It was also selfishly validating to turn my head a couple of times and notice men checking me out.

Ultimately, however, I realized that there was no mystic call from the gay Mecca that told me I belonged there.  There was no feeling that I've come home or that I've arrived.  I like the life I've built for myself.  I like the stability of my education and my future career.  I love my  wife.  I love being in a relationship where  I know we are committed to each other and can count on each other for support, validation, and understanding.  Ultimately, isn't that what most people want out of a relationship? I have a marriage that contains all of the aspects of as wonderful of a relationship as I could imagine for myself that is better than a lot of the heterosexual  marriages I am aware of.  And while it isn't with a man, I can't imagine that fate would be so kind as to help me find such a wonderful partner a second time. 

I don't believe there is a God that wants me and other homosexuals to deny themselves and be married to women or be forever celibate.  I certainly wouldn't recommend a MOM as a preferred option for gay men.  I don't believe in the LDS church as having any God-given authority or insight in general or in specific when it comes to gays.  On the other hand, I don't think I should end my marriage just because I am gay.  I need to live my life as best  I know how and I know that I have a wonderful wife who loves me and I love her.  We have survived many trials together which have only strengthened our love.  I'm not willing to give up a good thing, just because the statistics suggest there is little hope.  I don't know what the future may bring, but I'm not  prepared to give up my comfortable and enjoyable present in exchange for an unpredictable future (call me selfish).  

I miss my wife.  I'm looking forward to traveling home to be with my family tomorrow.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Mormon Stories Podcast

By Mister Curie

I recently listed to a fascinating series of Mormon Stories podcasts.  John Dehlin, who creates the podcasts, is interviewing people with fascinating Mormon stories.  Most recently I listed to a series of podcasts with Peter Danzig about homosexuality.

In a nutshell, Peter Danzig and his wife performed with the Orchestra at Temple  Square and Peter was training to become a social worker.  Peter noticed inconsistencies between the LDS social services approach to homosexuality and what professional organizations were saying should be the approach.  He tried to discuss the issue with supervisors and the Brethren of the church to correct the inconsistencies.  In response to the church attempting to affect legislation regarding gays, Peter wrote a letter to the editor of the Salt Lake Tribune in the mid 2000s.  When church leaders became aware of this letter, he was removed from the Orchestra at Temple Square and threatened with church discipline for vocally supporting gays.

It is an absolutely fascinating story.  The four parts can be found here:
Peter and Mary Danzig Pt. 1 – The Early Years
Peter and Mary Danzig Pt. 2 – Gaining Sympathy for Homosexuals, Losing His Testimony, and Writing a Letter to the Editor
Peter and Mary Danzig Pt. 3 – Removed from the Orchestra at Temple Square, Silenced, Threatened with Discipline, Resigning from the LDS Church
Peter and Mary Danzig Pt. 4 – Rebuilding a Life Without the LDS Church

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Seeking a Revelation for the Church

By Mister Curie

One of the common themes I see among faithful MoHo blogs is the hope that someday the LDS church will receive a revelation on the holiness (or at least acceptance) of homosexual marriage.  Often, many explanations as to why the church has not yet received such a revelation are put forth: (1) the church isn't ready yet for such a revelation, (2) the Brethren just haven't asked, (3) etc., etc., etc.  Nearly all faithful MoHos are convinced that homosexuality is part of their eternal nature and that God doesn't not hate them, although there are a few that hold onto the hope that "natural affections" toward women will be restored to them in the resurrection.  Almost inevitably they refer to the revelation granting Blacks the rights of the Priesthood, received under President Spencer W. Kimball.

I listened to a fascinating podcast the other day that delved into how that revelation was actually received.  The podcast is an interview with Edward Kimball, the son of President Spencer W. Kimball.  It is the most straightforward and honest discussion of the receiving of the revelation extending priesthood rights to Blacks that I have ever seen given from a faithful LDS perspective.  I thought that the MoHo community would be interested in hearing the details of how this revelation was received so that they can gauge what must happen in the future before the church will receive a revelation extending fellowship and acceptance to those in a gay marriage.  I think it is safe to say that we will not hear about the reception of such a revelation during General Conference today and tomorrow.

The interview can be found at the Mormon Stories Podcast website:

Friday, April 2, 2010

San Francisco

By Mister Curie

I'll be taking a business trip to San Francisco next week with some free time for sightseeing.  Any suggestions on where I should go or what I should do?