I am not ok :)

The smile at the end of the title might seem strange because of the rest of it. I finally have gotten to a place where I am able to handle not being ok. I used to panic and pretend everything was ok. I got really good at lying to myself. But I really am not ok. I have not been ok for a while. I ignore the parts of my life that make me sad and big surprise they don’t go away. I live in a town where there is not really a lot happening and there is not a lot happening in my life. I have made some improvements I came out to most friends and family. I am starting to go back to school. It is hard to just let it all go. I guess it is harder than I thought to shake off being in a cult…. Oops sorry religion. All of that self hate doesn’t just go away. I am afraid of my wants so I ignore them and then I don’t know what I want. I am not ok but that is ok, I am getting better.

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Abnormal ≠ Crazy / Traditional Marriage and Reality

I am different than you. We don’t dress the same. I don’t like the things you like. I don’t believe what you believe. However I see what you see and smell what you smell. I cry, I eat, I breathe. Something that is different is not necessarily a disability. For much of culture, people focus on what makes people different. They cannot  distinguish between what is different and what is disability. This is because society to often equates abnormal to crazy.  The girl who wears strange clothes to school is not crazy. Someone who hears voices or sees things that don’t exist, lives in a world that doesn’t exist. Someone who is physically or mentally disabled is someone who’s abilities are inhibited to the point that they could not function in any society without help. If someone is gay, it does make them abnormal. Just because they don’t fit into societal norms doesn’t mean they need treatment or to be changed.

Here however, we reach the wall of belief. Some believe that God declares homosexuality wrong. If you’re in this boat I ask only that you consider one notion, belief is voluntary and should never be enforced. Meaning, that one person’s belief should only be enforced by law, or otherwise, if it has addressed a burden of proof. Just as it would be unfair for Catholics to push for a ban on contraceptives, it would be wrong for any religion’s belief to be the sole cause for law or policy.

I recently read a post on a blog by Matt Walsh. In his post he made a case to deny marriages between two men or two women. He states clearly that he, for religious reasons, does not support gay marriage. He argues that gay marriage is tearing down the traditional family. In another article he decries the equality of the sexes, that men and woman are different and that that this must be recognized. Something that I think is one of the largest issues for some, next to religious belief, is that they see this as a change and a perversion of the family and that we forget that the sexes are different. I would like to say if you truly feel like gay rights proponents and feminists don’t understand physical differences among people then you are dead wrong. They understand, but they also understand that many of the differences between men and women are purely traditional or cultural. They seek to have men and women, gay couples and straight couples, everyone and their relationships treated the same.

Many have expressed concern that gay marriage will allow the door to open for other marriages. This is not necessarily true. It may cause people to reexamine other relationships but those marriages or relationships should be examined for their own merit. Loosened gun laws will not necessarily lead to children being issued weapon permits and allow children to bring firearms to school. Just as gay marriage will not necessarily lead to legal recognition of bestiality. It is an insult to compare reasonable regulation or deregulation to extremes. Each relationship or law deserves its own examination and burden of proof.

Here is my own argument for equal marriage. What is a family? What is an ideal family? Anytime you give a specific answer to these questions you will alienate large swatches of society. Tradition is only beneficial as long as it continues to work within the framework of human understanding and is not hurting people unnecessarily. The traditional family has only been traditional for the last couple thousand years. It could be said that polygamy has more of a claim to the title, “traditional marriage,” than 1 man, 1 woman. For much of written JewishChristian history polygamy appeared to be the more desirable form of marriage or sexual relationship. In fact for much of history, marriage traditionally enslaved a woman to a man as his wife. She was his property and he could do with her as he pleased. Matt Walsh claims that equality of the sexes was first a Christian idea and that modern feminists simply are copying that idea. I would ask him to please show me how that is even remotely true, because I have many, many examples from history to show why that is wrong.

Marriage has already changed from underneath you. Many claim that the sole purpose of family or marriage is to give birth to the next generation. I will admit that many marriages now and in the past have been formed for the purpose of providing the husband with his heir or to further on a name or a dynasty historically used for political gain or wealth. However if I ask most people today why they married their spouse, usually they will tell you they fell in love, that they find them attractive, that they love how they feel when they are around them and that they want to start a family with them. I argue marriage has already become, for most, about love. Many couples will choose not to have children, and 1 in 4 couples cannot do to infertility. How dare anyone call their marriage anything less than a marriage? Gender and sexuality like marriage is a social construct used to explain and make life simpler. Any understanding of human psychology or even physiology will show you that gender and sexuality are much more fluid. The legalization of gay marriage is simply a reflection of reality not just tradition. A person’s family is not made just in genes or blood. A child can consider a step father family and adopted children can consider their parents family. Adoption and marriage are simply the legal recognition of that family. People form families, not church or the government but not all families are treated equal. A gay couple may even have kids through adoption or through past relationships. We turn down their legal recognition, benefits and protection because it is not traditional or accepted by many beliefs. Straight parents have not been proven to be better than gay parents. Most studies show that there is no noticeable difference between the children of gay parents and straight parents.

Matt Walsh stated that if he were to support equal marriage he would need a specific redefinition of family or marriage so that he and others will know where we want to redraw the lines. Here is my line. Let us allow for all human families to have the same protections. Let us stop treating others who are different like they have a disability. Just because someone is different from you does not make them any less worthy of protection and recognition. A message from a gay man: stop trying to treat me or change me, just let me be me and form my own family.

If you have questions or comments please leave them below. Many may be answered by clicking the links, most of which take you to Wikipedia and from there you can search the citations for further links. Most of the articles shared have links where they are mentioned, if I have missed some links please let me know.

Post on my friends blog, same topic, it is excellent! athenosvolcanos.blogspot.com

God Please stop Obama Care

God Please stop Obama Care

Or better let us shame Obama by showing him how religious we are in front of his house.

Ahhh Young Love

Found at www.thirdoptionmen.org

Found at http://www.thirdoptionmen.org I am the one in the dress watching my friend kiss his girlfriend.

For our discussion on love I thought it would be fun to start with the story of my first love, Adam will be posting the same soon. The reason I think that this is important is because the first time we define love, shows so much about how we feel about love. Mine happened around when I was 16.  For a little while I had a crush on a friend of mine. He was so attractive to me but up to this point it had been a crush or infatuation. It is hard to decide when it became love for me. He was and is straight and because he does not know how I used to feel about him I will be vague as we are still friends. I would listen to his breakup stories about his girlfriends with empathy and a little glee. I never liked anyone he dated… I think that love happened when I started to feel a stronger yearning for him not just the physical. Needing that connection I felt with him. Looking back now it seems kind of creepy and I would not define it as true love because it was not mutual. In fact I didn’t understand well how I felt about him when it first began. I didn’t know men could feel those things for another man. I only came to realize what I felt during conversations with friends, when they would describe how they felt about women. I have had other loves and while I have moved on from how I felt about him I still think that my first experience with love not only taught me a lot but still influences me today.

Feminism and the Authority of Mom

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Image provided by moreperfect.org

I keep seeing posts in my Facebook news feed discussing the actions of a group of women who want to have the priesthood or the “authority to do God’s will in his name” in the Mormon church. There was the video on the Facebook post, shown below, used as proof of Equality in the church. The video contains a speech by Sherri Dew. My gut reaction when I see these is if they have a problem with that aspect of the church they should just leave. Not because I think they don’t belong but because it is clear to me that they have some serious questions about a very core doctrine of the Mormon church. When I decided that I had issues with certain policies and beliefs I left. I stopped going. I think that fact that they want to fight for this change represents to me how they truly feel about the church, that it is a growing living bride for Christ and not a manikin.

In the nuclear and Mormon family plan the father has the last word and everyone should bend to his will. The temple ceremony is a good example of that. (you can watch it on youtube) Also Polygamy is always that man marrying more than one woman rather than the other way around. Men lead the meetings and have to be there for women meetings and camps because they have the priesthood. This makes women’s salvation dependent on the man. though the man’s ability to achieve the highest reward after this life is based on having a woman, in the end if one doesn’t work out he has many other ones to choose from. After this life Mormons go back to using polygamy. I am even more confused when I see a woman, especially a married woman, defend the church saying that it is equal. The Equal Rights Amendment comes to mind. Mormon women came out in droves to oppose it. It is funny now because many of the protections afforded to women that were applied piece by piece (instead of all at once with the amendment) seem obvious to most of us. They are told to go and make of fool of themselves saying we don’t want these protections allowing for years of legal discrimination of women. It is nothing new. Women from the church went to Washington to plead for polygamy.

What I have to say about the video is this, she talks about a lot of the powerful positions and actions of women in the church through her experience. What she does not say is that all of the action of these women leaders and young women leaders is done under the direction of men. The power given to them is a power to direct other women. They are given no authority over any man. Men however have complete authority over women. The only example I can think of that she gave that had any clout was her example of how they made her president of Deseret Book. However this is a business position and not a religious position. It is still under the direction of male church leaders and one woman with power does not make up for the millions of women without power. The Relief Society presidency along with the Young Women’s Presidency make up a very small portion of general Authorities. There are like 8 of them in total. They are given no authority over any man and there is no comparison to the hundreds of male general authorities. The priesthood session doesn’t even let women enter and men speak at the general Relief Society and Young Women’s meetings. It is fine if you want to believe something like woman are subjected to men if both parties agree but saying it is equal does not make it so.

Love Where Art Thou/ Oh There You Are…

This is the second post in the series on love. As I said a friend and I are going to have a conversation about love. His name is Adam Huish and no he is not my boyfriend, He has been married to a wonderful woman for several months now. This is the introduction he wrote for himself…

     Adison and I were college roommates for two years and had many conversations deep into the night about anything and everything. Him and I will most likely disagree on some measures but we have had conversations in the past and I trust us to discuss it fairly. An example of how we will disagree is the way that we view the LDS church. Even though I went through sleepless nights and had a long period of seriously questioning the church, I eventually discovered personal enlightenment and humble understanding from the doctrines that are taught while Adison finds solace comfort and enlightenment without that in his life….
I would like to add some more information about Adam. In college he focused his studies in philosophy. He learned to look into subjects deeply and understand the logic and true meaning of statements and arguments. During the time I lived with him he used that skill to study love. He had an interest in understanding what it meant to have a meaningful relationship. There is not really a degree, that I know of, to study love; other than something in counseling. He spent a lot of time on it and I trust him to be honest here to a fault.
      My name is Adison Pace. I grew up in Sandy Utah. I was a Mormon much of my life and until fairly recently (close to two years ago) I was “anxiously engaged in the work.” Over the last couple years I have gone through some changes in how I understand myself and my religion and culture. I no longer am a believer. I find solace in truth or better realism and humanism. I am gay. This was one of the biggest things that caused a rift in my relationship with my religion and culture. I knew this from a young age but did not want to accept it. I fought the feelings I felt for other men at the most basic level I could. The efforts to control these feelings exacerbated some issues I have with obsessive compulsive disorder at one point I reached a moment were I had to receive treatment and take medication to help myself get a handle on it. During that treatment I went to an excellent psychologist. He helped me not focus on the things that caused the stress but focus on how I handled it. During that I came to understand how similar my compulsions were to how I felt about religion. I learned that trying to change certain things about myself was damaging me. I had been told I could do it and is seemed to me at the time that the implication was, if I was righteous and tried hard I would accomplish it. “Think of a hymn,” “why would god give this “challenge” to someone and not give them a way out of it.” Actual advice not from local leaders but the top ones in Salt Lake. Eventually I came to accept different parts of who I am. I came out of the closet bit by bit to friends and family and grew to understand myself and others better overtime. I have met a lot of great guys and I am working on understanding the different expectations and culture changes that I have come across when dating outside of the church.
      That is one of the things that sparked this conversation about love and I wanted to share it and to ask for the opinions of anyone who reads this. I wanted to introduce my friend and I first before starting the conversation because I think it is important to understand who is talking if you want to better understand their opinions.