Saturday, April 26, 2008

Strange Magic

As I have been making all these changes in my life -- a new job and place to live -- my anxiety has been climaxing. Now, I'm not talking about the normal anxieties of starting a new job and moving... I'm talking about the abnormal inability to eat, inability to sleep though exhausted, the inability to get out of bed in the morning, etc. Such has been my body's reaction to newness for most (if not all) of my life.

In the past, I did not handle my anxiety well -- for example, I never got used to Junior High (I had to be home taught my eigth year of school because of my anxiety and depression), it took three years of high school before my anxieties calmed down... the list goes on.

Yet, there seems to be some sort of strange magic this time through. I can't honestly say for certain what such is, but my anxiety (although attacking pell-mell) is manageable; I can handle it! I finally have the fortitude and energy to handle/manage my disability even though it's not going away... and it's indescribably fantastic.

Hopefully it will last. In my past life, whenever I've felt similar to this (each time progessively getting stronger; this time now being the strongest ever), something has happened that exacerbates my condition to a point of unmanageability. In my evaluations of my life, I have seen rather blatent evidence that this past trigger has been the same in every circumstance -- which circumstance will remain unnamed as to avoid sounding contentious -- I have recently removed this circumstance from being a part of my life... we will see how it goes!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

But For Now

If you haven't read the comments of my last post, go read them before this post as this post is a continuation of the thoughts of the 2nd comment.

Straight up, I'm not one to "absolutely" believe anything. There is always room for change in my belief system.

Straight up, my belief system is not a strictly black-and-white definite "this is right, this is wrong."

Straight up [metaphorically], my belief system is not hard coded but affected greatly by an algorithm which, itself, is dynamic. (If you're not a geek you may not understand what I mean... and that's okay.)

I will, on a later date, express some [sincere] outputs of my algorithm without the intention of testing via reaction -- but simply to express the results of my belief.

But for now, let it suffice to say that I, in no way, believe "you are either for me or against me."

Admittedly, I find it very difficult to understand how people who respect me as much as they profess think I'm making as horrible of a mistake as they also profess. Quite frankly, I think one of the most respectable things about me is my sincerity just to know and do what is best (when I'm not feeling mischievous... I guess I should work on that, eh?). But, in my confusion, I do not believe those who profess I'm making a mistake are "against me" ... although, they do tend to make it difficult sometimes!


Actually, I recently expressed a sincere belief on another blog; I'll repost the thought here (please note, this is in parable form... there is SO much to be inferred from it):
When I was in school and it snew [sic] heavily, I would always hope for a
snow day… but that didn’t stop me from doing my homework and going to bed on
time. To apply the same analogy to my current decisions — and perhaps avoid
being a hypocrite: there were times when I needed a day off from school
— for example, I often had strep throat before I got my tonsils removed; when
contagious, such is not an appropriate condition to attend school — and I would
therefore miss school. Now, a snow day would have been ideal — as it would have
meant no homework or catching up — but ... a strep-stricken kid has to do what a
strep-stricken kid has to do: miss school and hope the teacher will allow him to
catch up when better.

... [E]ven if I am wrong about the eternal aspect of things, I believe
Christ at least covered for the temporal “sick day” (that He’ll let me do the
work to catch up in the next life [or whenever I ‘get better’])...

This is a sincere part of my hope and faith... and, again, there are some hefty nuances (I know, I know, 'hefty nuance' is oxymoronic) in there that are not fleshed out, but I will one day flesh them out.

But for now, please note that my sincere beliefs are not made pertaining to any relationship other than the one between God and me; nobody else.

Monday, April 21, 2008

No Good Deed

[As a preamble, I want to make clear my usage of the word “good” when applied to a person in the following post. I do not imply the possibility or innate/divine nature of a person, but an active cultivation or pursual to cultivate one’s divine and innate goodness.]

I have been reading C.S. Lewis’s work, Mere Christianity, and have recently come across some thoughts which I feel illustrate my bewilderment of how one (specifically a Christian) can claim homosexuality destroys the purpose of God; yet, in the same breath, this same one can label those who promote gay lifestyles as good and/or respectable people.

Now, don’t tort my meaning – I am not confused how one can believe a person involved in a bad lifestyle can still be a good person; I am confused how one can believe a person promoting a bad lifestyle, proclaiming such as good, can still be a good person. Such the latter is deceit – and deceit in itself is bad, but deceit that leads to an innate damnation of one’s divinely appointed purpose is much, much “more bad.”

Also, don’t confuse the intent of this post. I do not want to convince anyone of any specific belief or stance except the stance of how I feel I should be seen and treated (whether positively or negatively).

To perhaps backtrack for a moment and paraphrase from the aforementioned work, Lewis describes the Law of Nature as an innate sense of what one “ought/ought not to do” in terms of what is good and what is bad. Lewis also mentions that every [sane] person knows at least deep down when he/she is doing something that one should not.

This is a universally Christian belief, and this post is dependent upon this belief.

If a person is being deceitful then this person is doing something one ought not do. Accordingly, the Law of Nature will tell this same person that he is, indeed, doing something one ought not do. If he ignores the Law of Nature, then he is being doubly deceitful – and will be told so by the Law of Nature. Now, if he continues to be deceitful about his deceit and continues further and further with this pattern of deceit, he will be infinitely wrapped up in deceit and becomes therefore either a madman (who cannot recognize the Law of Nature) or a devil.

Such Lewis applied (though with different wording) to Jesus Christ. Jesus proclaimed to be God. He proclaimed to be perfect in all things, including humility and meekness. If Jesus was not truly God, then he was being deceitful – and not just a little bit – and the Law of Nature would have told him of this error. Yet he never backed down from his claims; therefore, he would have to be 1) God, Himself; 2) a madman; or 3) the Devil of Hell.

Again, Lewis doesn’t necessarily term things as I – using deceit – but the concept (meaning not just the concept of deceit but the concept of my post in general as well) I feel is the same as found in Lewis's statement:

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: "I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God." That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic-on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg-or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.

The same ought to be applied to those of us who are proclaiming a gay lifestyle as a good lifestyle. If such is not a good lifestyle (specifically if such is a lifestyle directly attacking the goodness and nature of man), then we are being deceitful; we are doing something we ought not do, and we therefore, deep down, know we are acting contrary to goodness. Yet we persist, and therefore are 1) Proclaiming actual good doctrine; 2) madmen; or 3) deceivers and devils who cannot be trusted in any way.

Let me be clear of one specific concept: persistent, cognisant deceit. If one is ardently persistent, never backing down in doing what one ought not do, despite the natural prompting that one is in violation of goodness, then that one is a deceiver and a devil. I believe the common Christian term is ‘unrepentant.’

This is where a sinner can be a good man but an unrepentant promoter of sin cannot.

Therefore, one cannot call me good if one believes homosexuality is absolutely evil. As I am sane, I cannot be good in this context. I simply cannot. I would be a devil and deceiver, and no part of me could be trusted (after all, I could simply be putting on a “good” fa├žade in order to perpetuate my lie). This is especially true as I am becoming more and more persistently supportive of a homosexual lifestyle – specifically committed, monogamous, parenting couples.

As I would be completely untrustworthy in this sense, one who believes homosexuality is evil ought not respect me or anything about me. “[One] can shut [me] up for a fool, [one] can spit at [me] and kill [me] as a demon; or [one] can [shed one's belief that homosexuality is absolutely subversive to God’s plan]. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about [me] being a [respectable being]. [I have] not left that open to [anyone]. [I do] not intend to.”

Let me be clear of one more specific concept: absolute subversion. I do not propose here anything that concerns the eternal nature of gender roles, what will be in the next life, but only that which concerns the innate damage and damning effect practicing homosexuality here and now would have on society and on one’s eternal salvation. I am proposing that monogamous, committed homosexual coupling is the best life here and now for gays, no matter what the eternities hold, that such a sincere life will not detriment, in any way, one’s eternal salvation, let alone society.

Again, to paraphrase Socrates, “This is my doctrine. And if this is the doctrine which corrupts the youth, then I am a mischievous person.” One should, therefore, not patronize with “respect” if one believes my doctrines are corruptive and mischievous in any way. Such, as Lewis says, is a “really foolish thing” to do.

However, if one cannot feel honest in treating me as a mischievous person, if one's “ought nots” flare up, I would hope that such would reveal something to that one concerning the doctrine I propose.

***

I feel I should also mention that such a conclusion cannot be applied to those who are seemingly persistent that homosexuality is absolutely evil. That is to say, if homosexuality is not absolutely evil (please be aware that any following statement is dependant on and a child of this conditional statement), then those who are proclaiming such cannot be deemed devils and deceivers... You see, their stance is softening – even if it’s in the slightest of degrees, there is nonetheless some repentance – therefore, they can be trusted and respected according to the belief system presented in this post.

I feel I should also mention that such a conclusion cannot be applied to those who would propose any type of gay lifestyle as a good lifestyle... You see, their stance is showing signs of repentance in terms of my presented belief concerning the best possible life for gays.

The only stance that is not showing any signs of repentance were it wrong is the one I have adopted. Such is the only stance that would draw my presented conclusion. And I am fully aware that this conclusion makes me 1) a madman; 2) a deceiver and a devil; or 3) a proclaimer of some goodness. One could furthermore argue that I could not possibly be a madman as I am fully aware of the consequences and logics; therefore, I am then either 1) a deceiver and devil; or 2) a proclaimer of some goodness.

Again, it would be foolish for anyone to respect me were I a deceiver... but, again and again, if one's “oughts” are telling one that I deserve respect, then I would hope such would tell that one something about my proposed beliefs – and that one would at least listen to the words I hold concerning my beliefs with the same respect one's “oughts” are encouraging.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Give It All Away

I mentioned all of my volunteer work (specifically my volunteer web coding and designing) to one of my friends. He asked, "Why aren't you getting paid?"

For a bizarre second, this question made absolutely no sense to me as I wondered, "Why would I ask to get paid?"

Maybe one day I'll figure out this whole money thing.


In other news... and I certainly don't mean to disparage the LDS church or its members... but, I've been sympathizing greatly with the families from the recent FLDS church's raid -- not just the ones who finally are liberated from a life they felt was harmful, but also those who sincerely believe that such a life (specifically those who aren't really happy living such a life) is necessary, unchangeable, core gospel and commandment to gain the greatest approval of God, eternal life and salvation.

As I hear both sides of the story, I shiver in familiarity of situation... and my heart goes out to all those who so desperately seek peace and hope and security.

Monday, April 14, 2008

New Vibration

A lot has happened since my last post. I've found an official, steady job, an apartment, and a roommate -- a friend roommate, not a "roommate" roommate -- I'll give you two guesses as to who he is.

I've also been feeling strangely... universal... ?... hmm... I don't think that's the right word... I'm not sure how to put it, but it's a very positive and new feeling -- and I like it very much.

... wait... maybe... maybe it's hope?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Kerosene Hat

I forget how standoffish I can appear to be. Those who know me best will -- hopefully -- tell you that I'm really not a cold and unfriendly person... but I definitely come across as such when you first meet me.

Volunteering at a highschool to work with theatre kiddies has really reminded me of such. The children (I say "children" only because of their ages; I look as young as they) seem terrified of me at first. Then those who have the courage to work with me seem to warm up quickly.

As is my nature, I kept observing my initial unapproachable aloofness in order for me to figure out how I can be more welcoming to any stranger that may come my way... and I think I finally figured out what the deal is:

You see, I have multiple personalities... er... not multiple personalities, just an extremely "balanced" personality -- for example, whenever I take the Hartman Personality Test (which categorizes the testees into different colour groups), I get the exact same score in each of the colour groups... well, sometimes I might have one more red or on less yellow, but otherwise, my scores for the colours are extremely close -- if not precisely the same.

Now, the Hartman Personality Test really tests one's outward personality. When I take, say the Jung / Myers & Briggs Personality tests -- which really tests one's inward personality -- I test as an extremely strong INTP.

Now, when this oddly balanced outward personality and this heavily casted inward personality mix, you get -- among many other things -- my initial aloofness.

You see, my INTP-ness tells me that I cannot convey any outward "colour" personality (as I have all from which to choose) until I know the appropriate behavior for the situation. Because of this, I most often am 'blank' in regards to my outward personality (which causes the cold and uninviting aloofness) until my INTP analytics determine which outward personality is best.

To perhaps put it in more simply: when I meet someone new, I don't know if the red-portion of my outward personality works the best with this new someone -- of if the white, yellow, blue, or combinations of the four will work best. I have to get to know this new someone before I can be myself -- or the 'myself' that meshes the most precisely with this new someone.

This is why I am almost completely different with different people -- for example, with Craig I am rather pensive and theoretical; whereas, with Kristy, I have been known to... say... model in a Gap store window facing the street.

Of course, this all makes it very difficult for people to get to know me -- since my me really depends on those who are around me at any given time.

Perhaps the obvious next logical question is, "Well, who is me when nobody's around?"

... but that's for another post, I suppose.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Strangers Like Me

Last night, I decided to watch Disney's Tarzan for the millionth time... okay, so maybe I haven't quite watched it one million times, but it's getting up there! Tarzan could quite possibly be my favorite [non Pixar] Disney movie so far.

It came out in 1999, the summer right before my senior year in high school. Although I wouldn't truly understand why until years later, something about this movie immediately spoke to me in an eerily familiar way. I bonded with it forthwith.

As the years passed and as I watched and rewatched Tarzan over and over, drinking in all the beautiful colours and the I-can't-quite-put-my-finger-on-it kinship I felt with Tarzan, I slowly began to understand:

I am Tarzan! Rather, Tarzan is I in allegory. Although I wasn't "adopted," I was nevertheless very different from my parents and siblings. That is, I had a great semblance to them, I had similar physical features... but something within me was different. I didn't quite "walk" like these other "apes" ; I didn't quite "sound" like these other "apes" ; I couldn't "climb trees" like these other "apes" ; I wasn't quite as "hairy" as these other "apes" ; etc.

But I thought nothing of it. I just figured I was simply an "odd ape." I continued on in my life, doing my very best to fit in -- and, in the process, even standing out in some really good and exemplary ways.

Then came the "Strangers Like Me" -- this was always my favorite song from Tarzan, and I found out exactly why as I experienced the pings of love for the very first time. It came ever so unexpectedly. I mean, I always thought I would fall in love with an "ape" -- that's what I was, after all... an "ape" ... but when I saw "Jane"... well, I think this snapshot does a decent job saying it:

Perhaps this is the "indoctrination" for which gays are so infamous -- falling in love haphazardly (neither of us were 'out,' and our love has also remained unspoken to each other). After all, I would have never known I fall in love with men if I had never fallen in love with one before. I would have gone my entire life believing my "love" for the "apes" was what love is all about. I would have gone my entire life believing I was an "ape" when I am really a "human." (If you aren't following my pattern, I'm putting quotes ("") around metaphorical words whose meanings I will [mostly] leave to the astute mind to translate.)

But, indeed, I saw "Jane," and when I did, a world opened up that I just could not turn my back on -- no matter how much I tried; no matter how much I wanted to; no matter how much I wanted to please my "ape" family -- as every time I tried, the "lyrics" would echo back to me:

Every gesture, every move that she makes
Makes me feel like never before
Why do I have
This growing need to be beside her?

Oh, these emotions I never knew
Of some other world far beyond this place
Beyond the trees, above the clouds
I see before me a new horizon

...

There's a world I need to know

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Forgiveness

I've decided to forgive the Church for the damage dealt me and to move on with my life. There will probably be some further pain and damage control to be done... but, that's what the other cheek is there for, n'est-ce pas ?

In whole, I'm finished being hurt and victimized, and I'm ready to optimistically approach life, modeling such -- hopefully -- after the doctrines as taught in the Bible and, perhaps more specifically, the Book of Mormon.

I really adore the Book of Mormon. The doctrines found therein are really basic and simple... timeless -- meaning, the doctrines are applicable to any time period and any culture, really (there's nothing about women not being allowed to speak or to have their heads uncovered; there's nothing about specific foods one must avoid... in whole, I believe the most core way to live is found within the Book of Mormon).

This blog -- which in the recent past was used to express my hurt -- will now hopefully be a lighthearted account of my life -- the joys, the pains, the ups, the downs, the great adventure life has in store for me as a gay Christian.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Simple :: Heavy

I have decided to try to simplify -- and perhaps 'debitterfy' -- my letter of resignation from the Church as follows:

***

Dear Bishop,

It is with a heavy heart and careful deliberation that I write this letter to resign from my position as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am fully aware of the implications and consequences of resigning; such understanding is why I am asking formally to be removed from the records of the Church.

These past few days I have been praying and desiring to know whether or not I should give, yet again, the Church's guidelines another sincere effort; in my meditation, I foresaw my suicide. Thrice I've tried with all the energies and sincerities of my soul to bear the yoke the Church would have be bear, and thrice I've been plowed under, each time more deeply, each time more scarring.

This yoke has crippled me to the point where I have been unable to hold a steady job. This yoke has crippled me to the point where I have been unable to complete a full semester of college. And when I look at the yoke proposed by advocates of gay marriage, I see quite the opposite, an incomparable abundance of joy and meaning, and the opening of exemplary families to children who, more than anything else, need such. I see a yoke that is not only bearable but also highly concentrated in service and good works.

I can put it no more honestly than, "I cannot live... I am simply unable to live the lifestyle expected of me by the Church, but I can live a life that is currently not condoned by the Church -- which life I have seen to be good -- if the Church's doctrines cannot change, then I must ask to be released from its membership."

Indeed, effective immediately, as it is believed within the Church that the doctrines which promote an unlivable lifestyle for me cannot and should not be changed, I withdraw my consent from being considered a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Accordingly, please remove my name from the records of the Church, and please do not make any attempts to contact me except for the appropriate notification that my name has, indeed, been removed from the Church's records.

Sincerely,

Andrew Martin Pankratz

***


I will be turning in my resignation this weekend. Nobody has any solid evidence that my decision is not a decision to take upon myself a better life -- especially, specifically, and solely based on the doctrines which are currently and visibly producing the greatest goodliest of works.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Go The Distance

I watched Disney's Hercules again last night. I don't know how many times I've watched it, but I'm sure the count is quite high. I love my Disney cartoons... well, the ones post Emperor's New Groove don't really do it for me (although, I did rather enjoy Meet the Robinsons, and I hear they're going to go back to the hand-drawn musical format -- about which I am extremely excited and will hopefully not be disappointed).

Anyway, as I was watching Hercules this time through, some things really stood out to me as I started to strongly relate to good ol’ Hercules – not the bulging pecs, unfortunately, but the whole story as presented by Disney.

In fact, this film is a rather excellent allegory of the lives of gay mormons (or ex-mormons, I guess). Actually, this allegory is a rather excellent allegory of the lives of all mormons (until the end) – Hercules finds out he is a son of a god and that it is his destiny to join the gods on Mount Olympus as a god, himself – if he can prove himself worthy. So, faithful little Hercules sets out to become a true hero – which he ends up doing.

Then it gets “gay ex-mormon” when Hercules, a full-fledged hero, is brought before the opening gates of Olympus, but says:
Father, this is the moment I’ve always dreamed of... but... a life without Meg... even an immortal life... would be... empty. I... I wish to stay on Earth with her. I finally know where I belong.
My sister always protests this ending, saying “That’s backwards! That’s not how it works!”

But, for a gay ex-mormon, that’s precisely how it has been working as we finally admit and confess we don’t care about the status of godhood or anything of the sort... as, for us, a life without love would be empty. Sure, there’s the promise that we’d find love on Mount Olympus... I’m sure Aphrodite would be game... but it wouldn’t be Meg... and to mimic Hercules: “a life without Meg, even an immortal life [with Aphrodite] would be... empty... [if I cannot be eternally with Meg, then] I wish to stay on Earth with her [for as long as I possibly can]... I finally know where I belong.”

And, truly, there is an immense feeling of finally belonging.

The Deal (No Deal)

What does "meme" mean? Well... whatever it means, my ol' chum, Craig, is forcing me by some weird blogger-voodoo to participate in one.

So, here are the instructions supplied to me:

1. Pick up the nearest book (at least 123 pages).
2. Turn to page 123.
3. Find the 5th sentence
4. Post the 5th sentence on your blog.
5. Tag 5 people.
And here are the (mostly) followed instructions:

1. Pick up the nearest book... CHECK.

Nearest book: My quadruple combination of the Holy Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. (Yep, apostate Andrew keeps current on his daily scripture reading.)

2. Turn to page 123... CHECK.

3. Find the 5th sentence... CHECK.

(I'm counting the sentence which begins on page 122... I hope that's kosher.)

4. Post the 5th sentence on your blog:

And the other two ends of the two reathen chains thou shalt fasten in the two ouches, and put them on the shoulderpieces of the ephod before it.

... CHECK.

5. Tag 5 people...

uh... I think the only person who reads this blog is the one who tagged me... nevertheless, if, perchance, a passerby wanders onto this here blog, then you are tagged (limit 5 passerby-ers).

... CHECK?


"[T]wo reathen chains thou shalt fasten in the two ouches" -- Does God mean something similar to this (except my example has eight ouches).


In other news, I will be disabling comment moderation... abusers will be punished -- and trust me, a geek knows how to punish someone through the internet... [maniacal grin]

Danse

In lighter news: I am applying to be the choreographer for a new local theatre company just starting up in my neighborhood. Their first production will be the musical, Once Upon a Mattress. Perhaps needless to say, I really hope I get the gigue -- I've already got some great ideas stewing in my genius little head.

I was actually quite surprised when I discovered my talent for dance and, especially, choreography. I guess I could say I started to see a glimpse in high school, but it really became apparent when my sister -- who then taught at a middle school -- asked me to choreograph the dances in her biannual programs a few years back.

Currently, my greatest passion in regards to dance is Ballroom. I am absolutely in love with Ballroom, especially the Paso Doble, the Tango, and the Trepidation. Never heard of the Trepidation, you say? Well, that's because it's my own style. It still has yet to be truly fleshed out, but it looks pretty dern good in my mind, and the few steps that are fleshed out (the Basic, the Trepidation version of the Reverse Turn, the Fleur de Lys, and the couple of variations of the Fleur de Lys) turned out even better than expected.

I'm going to have to get a girl to work with, though, to work out the other steps I have in my mind... hmm... where do I find a girl? Actually, I may even want to find a competition partner; I would like to enter some Ballroom competitions -- specifically the Latin and Cabaret categories.

So if any of you out there in blog-reading-land know of any female Ballroomers, no taller than 5'6", who may be interested in partnering with moi, shoot me an email or something. In fact, I'm willing to teach someone Ballroom if she doesn't have any experience -- as long as she feels confident she'd do a fabulous job. I live about a half an hour out of Salt Lake City. I also have access to a place to practice in the town where I live (I'm good friends with a dance instructor).

Anyway, in the meantime, vote for me for choreographer of the up-and-coming theatre company! And when... er... if I'm chosen, I'll post all the details of when and where y'all can come witness my awesome talent.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Red Letters :: Heavy

Anybody can claim to preach "the word of God." Anyone. So... how can we be sure what is truly from God and what truly is not?

In the Bible, Jesus Christ gives some extremely sound advice during His Sermon on the Mount (as found in Matthew 7):

15 ¶ Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Again, I find this to be extremely sound counsel (whether you believe Christ is our Lord God or not), and such is how I approach anything proposed to be "the word of God").

Such is how I finally started to approach the issue of homosexuality, and such is what I found:

LDS CHURCH'S STANCE ON HOMOSEXUALITY


Good Fruits Directly Produced:

  1. A few strong mixed-orientation marriages entered into out of duty and discipleship to "the word."
  2. Hope for the life latter.

Bad Fruits Directly Produced:

  1. Broken families in which the homosexual entered into a mixed-orientation marriage out of duty and discipleship to "the word" but was not sustained by "the word."
  2. Broken families in which an out homosexual is pushed to a distance from his/her parents and/or siblings as the latter uphold their duty to "the word."
  3. Beliefs of superiority as dictated explicity by "the word" -- meaning the heterosexually-headed family is seen as and treated as a family, superior to the homosexually-headed family which is seen as and treated as a perversion to "the word."
  4. Majority of the followers are exhausted disciples to "the word" -- meaning, as was once my condition, there is an absence of substance on which to build a successful life while sincerely holding fast to "the word."
  5. No hope for disciples to "the word" in this life.
  6. Shortage of joy, happiness, and meaning in the lives of disciples to "the word."
  7. Suicide and desires of suicide brought directly to pass through devout stewardship to "the word" and not being sustained by "the word."
  8. Failing prophecies -- such as "Children raised by homosexual couples are raised in deficit" and "Gay marriage will destroy the family and, therefore, society." Such statements are continuously being proven false as gay marriage is being made legal in more and more countries.
  9. A damnation of resources that would be available -- were "the word" dissolved -- to the millions of orphans who are in need of exemplary families.
  10. A damnation of emotional, social, and mental development in the lives of devout disciples to "the word."
  11. False claims of essentiality to the Gospel of Christ (which Gospel's core doctrines are fully / completely and plainly laid out within the Book of Mormon -- such is, at least, what I was taught in Primary, Sunday School, and Seminary).
  12. Blindness to the above bad fruits.
  13. Blindness to the below good fruits.


GAY MARRIAGE ADVOCATE'S STANCE ON HOMOSEXUALITY
(commited, exclusively monogamous gay couple raising children)


Good Fruits Directly Produced:

  1. A great abundance of joy, meaning, and fulfillment in the lives of disciples to "the word."
  2. Hope for disciples of "the word" in this life.
  3. Hope for the life latter.
  4. Beliefs of equality.
  5. Exemplary families opened up to the millions of orphans in need of such.
  6. Prophecies gaining credit -- such as "Children raised by homosexual couples are raised as equally as children raised by heterosexual couples" and "Gay marriage strengthens the core meaning of a family and society."

Bad Fruits Directly Produced:

  1. ... uh... I guess it prevents people from becoming members of what I believe to be Christ's Church... oh, wait... that's not this word's fault but the other's (ah, well, I'll keep it here anyway)

In my mind, there is absolutely NO question which of these "words" is most likely God's words and which is most likely bleetings from "a wolf in sheep's clothing."

Yet, and this is really upsetting to me, the Church is saying, "Our works are good because we hold the word of God." This sentence is backwards... VERY backwards.

The Church should be able to say, "Our word is the word of God because our works are good." But she cannot say such in the case of homosexuality, can she? She is forced to slip on the appearance of a sheep and say, "Trust me... come follow me, and I will lead you to eternal life" as the lives of the poor sheep who trust, not based on the fruits, but on the word, are devoured.

I was almost one of those sheep.

Nevertheless, and this is even more upsetting to me, the Church continues to say, "Those lost sheep were not lost because of the word, but because of unbelief" as the lives of even more poor sheep (now fearing even more greatly unbelief of "the word") who trust, not based on the fruits, but on the word, are devoured.

I was almost one of those sheep.

Luckily, I was able to look around and notice all the dead and suffering sheep around me and realize that something is horribly wrong with the pasture in which we were grazing.

Luckily, I was able to look around and notice the pasture where the healthy, happy sheep were grazing.

Luckily, I have the courage to walk away from the malnourishment caused by the LDS Church's word in regards to homosexuality.

Hopefully, I will have the courage to stand up against the wolf in sheep's clothing... Hopefully, I will not stop until the false wool is shaved away to reveal the ravening wolf hiding, ever so cleverly, underneath.

I feel I should mention that I, in no way, believe the Brethren are the wolves, but the word, itself, by which the Brethren are led astry. Again, I do not believe the Brethren are leading away the members of the Church; rather, I believe this proposed "word of God" believed to be "core doctrine" of the Church, itself, is leading the Church away.

Again, this belief of mine is based solely on the fruits of this so-called "core doctrine" -- which means of evaluation was taught by Christ, Himself, to know which doctrines are from Him and which words are from "ravening wolves."