Mormon rule changes aimed at gay church members

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PhotoMormon church issues rules aimed at gay members, their kids

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Mormon church officials have issued a rule change that says members in same-sex marriages can be kicked out and their children must wait until they’re 18 and disavow homosexual relationships to be baptized.

The revisions triggered a wave of anger, confusion and sadness for a growing faction of LGBT-supportive Mormons who were buoyed in recent years by church leaders’ calls for more compassion and understanding for LGBT members.

“It feels like they are extending an olive branch and hitting you with it,” said Wendy Montgomery, who is Mormon and has a 17-year-old gay son. “It’s like this emotional whiplash.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints disseminated the handbook changes this week to local church leaders around the world. The goal was to provide clarity to lay leaders who run congregations, church spokesman Eric Hawkins said. He noted the church has long been on record as opposing same-sex marriages.

“While it respects the law of the land, and acknowledges the right of others to think and act differently, it does not perform or accept same-sex marriage within its membership,” Hawkins said in a statement.

Montgomery said Friday the news left her son sobbing and forced her and her husband to consider leaving a religion they’ve belonged to for generations. The couple has been trying desperately to stay in the church despite a harsh reception to their son coming out.

Montgomery also echoed a response shared by many on social media: She can somewhat understand the hard stance on same-sex marriage, but she can’t comprehend singling out gay couple’s children.

“We just put a scarlet letter on these kids,” Montgomery said. “This isn’t my church. I don’t see God in it. I don’t see divinity it. It just feels evil.”

I was a Mormon once upon a time, but I’m not even a Christian anymore, and with good reason. Christian churches hate gay people. Remember in the last couple of years when the Mormon church announced they are accepting gay people? Well, now they’ve slapped all those gay people in the face with this new rule saying they will be kicking out all gay members, and children of said gay people will not be allowed to be baptised or even attend church until they are 18, and they have to move out of their family home and disavow homosexuality, and that includes disavowing their parents.

Tell me how that is fair to a child? Tell me how that is fair to a family, like the Montgomery family who have been Mormons their entire lives. They used to live in Bakersfield and the church here gave them such a hard time, so much so that their son Jordan stopped going to church altogether. They were so excited to leave Bakersfield and move to a whole new city in a new state to be in a new community with a huge gay/gay friendly Mormon population, only to now be told that Jordan can’t attend church anymore because of this new rule.

Do the Mormons realize what they are doing? They are alienating not only gay people, but also the friends and families of gay people. It’s really no wonder why people are becoming atheists every day. This is exactly why I turned into an atheist.

When I was 17 and came out of the closet to my mother, all she could do was tell me “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” and that I was going to hell, and she called me a faggot. My own mother. My boyfriends mother called me a faggot and she also told me that she wanted to know where we lived so when God caused an earthquake, she’d know where to dig for her son’s corpse. Then when I was no longer homeless, my sister found me and invited me to live with her, and she started telling me how I was going to hell too. I went from being a born again Christian, to Atheist in less than a year. I had been told at least 100 times in 10 months that I was going to hell, and there was nothing I could do to change it. So yeah, I said screw that, I’m done with religion.

Look, I’m not going to tell people what to do with their lives. You can be a Mormon, you can be a Christian, or you can choose what religion you want to practice, but there is one thing you cannot choose, and that is to be gay. No one chooses to be gay. We don’t just wake up one morning and say “I think I might like to suck a dick today.” We may decide today is the day I will come out of the closet to my parents/family/friends, but we’ve always been gay. We came out of the womb gay, and we will die gay. You cannot change that fact. And I don’t care what anyone says, it’s not a choice. Deal with it.

If I ever decided to go to church, which will happen when hell freezes over, you can believe that I won’t give a crap what they think about my sexuality because it’s none of their business. I don’t think they should worry about who is gay and who is straight. They shouldn’t be focusing so much on hating gay people, because Jesus is not about hate. Jesus never said one thing about gay people, so why is the church so focused on hating gay people? Isn’t the church supposed to be all about love? I mean, that’s what I used to think. Now it seems the church is pure evil. If I wanted to go to an evil church, I’d choose the church of Satan. And you know what? I heard that the actual church of Satan actually accepts anyone, and they give food to the homeless and they donate money to charity. The church of Satan actually does a lot more good for society than the church of God. What does that tell you?

Anyway, I’m getting off my cross, er um I mean my soapbox. I’m sick of this subject. I wish all religions would just go away.

Gay Teen Suicide

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Jordan Montgomery from Families are ForeverEvery minute of every day there are teenagers who sit in their rooms wondering if today is the day they are going to commit suicide. They are afraid of their parents, friends and family finding out that they are gay, and would rather commit suicide before knowing if they will be accepted or rejected. Most are rejected, which is why they are struggling.

I myself struggled with that for most of my childhood. I was confronted at age 13 with the fact that my step father hated gay people, and if he hated gay people, then he hated me. He said “I wish they would put all of those faggots on and island and shoot them.” Imagine being me at that very moment. Here I was afraid for my life every morning when I woke up until I went to bed at night because I wasn’t sure if I was going to get yelled at or beaten for blinking wrong, and now he has confirmed my worst fears with just one sentence.

Age 13 was when I first tried to commit suicide, and believe me, that was not the last time. The last time I tried to kill myself was when I was 23, less than a year after my mother had passed away. I had just met my partner, the same person I have loved for the last 21 years, but I wasn’t sure where my life was headed, and I was still very suicidal. Imagine his horror and disappointment when he found me lying in bed next to him unresponsive because I took an entire bottle of sleeping pills.

I was looking for statistics to add to this post about teen suicide, and I found this. It’s from 2006, but I’m pretty sure it still applies 9 years later.

“According to the Massachusetts 2006 Youth Risk Survey, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. In addition, the San Francisco State University Chavez Center Institute has found that LGBTQ youth who come from a rejecting family are up to nine times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.”

We recently attended a monthly PFLAG meeting to say goodbye to a family who were moving to Arizona. They are the Montgomery Family who were in a documentary called Families Are Forever. Their son Jordan (image above) spoke about suicide in the documentary and it broke my heart when he mentioned taking a bottle of pills to end his life. He was afraid of what might happen to him if his family ever found out that he was gay. He wasn’t sure how his family would react, and that seems to be how it is every time a child comes out of the closet to their parents.

Every child has a 50/50 chance when coming out of the closet. They have a 50% chance of their family hugging them and saying “It doesn’t matter because you are our son and we love you no matter what.” They have a 50% chance of their family reacting negatively and yelling obscenities and telling them that they are going to hell and then either right away, or eventually kicking them out of the house.

Mongtomery Family PFLAG BakersfieldJordan’s family accepted him right away. His mother, who by the way is the mother you want to have if you are gay, hugged him and told him that she loves him no matter what. I mean, it’s her kid. And look at that adorable face! How could you say no to that adorable face. I just want to pinch his cheeks. Heck, I want to pinch her cheeks! Their entire family’s cheeks are pinchable!

My own mother screamed at the top of her lungs that it’s “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve”, as well as “you are going to hell” and blah blah blah. This is a woman who couldn’t be bothered to go to church and never really considered herself to be religious, then all of a sudden she starts spewing scriptures. She even told me to never adopt children because she would hate to know that my adopted children were being bullied in school for having a faggot for a father. Gee, thanks! So what am I, chopped liver? I was bullied in school for being gay. I was beat up almost daily. I literally ran home from school every day in Junior High because I was threatened that I would get beat up after school. Every. Day.

Just 2 weeks after I came out of the closet, I was given an ultimatum, it’s either my boyfriend or my mother. I was told that if I walked out that door that I could never come back. He was stranded with no way of getting home, and I couldn’t just leave him out there in L.A. (we lived in L.A. county) where he could get mugged or murdered, so I walked out the door. Ultimatums are unfair, and I’m the type of person that if you give me an ultimatum, I will never choose you, every time.

I don’t know if you would consider that running away from home or getting kicked out. I myself don’t consider that I ran away from home because I didn’t want to run away, I wanted to live at home and finish high school. My mother not allowing me to come home is what makes me feel like I was kicked out of the house. If I ran away from home, of course my mother would tell me she wanted me to come back, but even a few months later she still wouldn’t let me come home.

Why do parents do that to their own children? I don’t understand. This is why gay kids kill themselves, before and/or after they come out. They are afraid of this rejection, and wouldn’t you? This is why I attempted suicide dozens of times since I was 13, because I feared the rejection that I ended up facing. Why would you put your kids through so much needless torture?

A lot of times a parent will ask where they failed. My mother asked where she went wrong in raising me. Look, you didn’t fail as a parent because I was gay, I didn’t choose it, in fact she told me she knew that I was gay when I started walking. So why put that guilt on me about where she failed when she knew that I was gay from the get go. You didn’t fail as a parent because your child is gay, you failed as a parent because you kicked your child out of the house when you found out they were gay. Your child isn’t an object to be tossed aside when it no longer serves you, they are your flesh and blood and they have feelings, so don’t make them feel guilty for being different. Guilt trips are why children are killing themselves.

I recently watched the first episode of “I Am Cait” on the E! channel, and Caitlyn Jenner visited a mother who lost her transgender child to suicide. She told Caitlyn that it wasn’t the other kids who drove him to suicide, it was the adults. So think about that. The children don’t give a crap if you are gay or straight or if you are transgender, it’s their parents who are driving children to suicide. Do you want to be the reason someone killed themselves because of what you said that may have hurt their feelings? Just remember that words kill.

I don’t mean to be on my soapbox for this long, I just wanted to voice my opinion about something other than marriage equality and politics. I think that every person needs to think about how they speak to other people, because your words just might make a difference in a positive or negative way. Can you sleep at night knowing your words are the reason little 10 year old Johnny hung himself in his bedroom? We as adults need to hold ourselves accountable for every word that is spoken to a child. Empower children, don’t kill them with your venom.

Getting Ready For A Speech

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I was asked to speak at a PFLAG meeting here in Bakersfield in March because I will be donating a percentage of all profits from my book to them and to the Bakersfield Gay & Lesbian center.  When I told the guy who asked me to speak that I had a fear of public speaking, he mentioned that there would be a class February 15th and 16th at the Bakersfield AIDS Project.  I was actually looking forward to that, unfortunately I’m sick right now and I don’t want to pass my germs to anyone who might be in that class.

I don’t know what date I will be speaking so I have at least a few weeks to prepare my speech.  Writing a speech is a cake walk considering I blog all the time and because I wrote a 408 page book.  The writing isn’t my concern, it’s standing in front of a very large group of people all looking at ME!

My problem is, when I am talking to a few people at a party, I know that I have people looking at me, it’s when the conversation stops in the party and everyone is listening and watching me, that’s when my brain stops functioning.  All of a sudden my conversation is public and everyone is paying attention and I get nervous and start sweating and shaking.

I remember standing up in front of the class when I was in school and all eyes were on me as I was reading from the piece of paper that I wrote my report on and feeling uncomfortable.  Suddenly I’m having a difficult time pronouncing words that I wrote down as if I had never seen the words before and I’m just learning how to read.  It’s embarrassing as hell.

So, what I have to do is finish my speech, like yesterday, so I can start memorizing the words so I can just stand there and act as if I am speaking to one person in a conversation.  I can do that.  I was a telemarketer when I was in my early 20’s.  I had read the spiel so many times that I had the whole thing memorized and I sounded as if I were having a regular conversation.  All I have to do is read the speech 1000 times in the next few weeks so the words are burned into my brain.  Of course I will bring cards with my speech printed on them just in case I get nervous and forget what I was saying.  Let’s hope that isn’t the case.

I won’t be able to attend the class so let’s hope that I can overcome my fear of public speaking when I do it, just like I overcame my fear of heights the first time I traveled in an airplane in 2005.  I can do it!  I just have to convince myself of that.

Update: LOL I didn’t notice the subject was “Getting Reader For A Speech” because it was obviously supposed to be “Ready” so I fixed it minus the link.