Friday, March 27, 2015

LDS Church Allows Members to be Gay on Facebook

Mormons Now Free to be Gay on Facebook
Salt Lake News - published March 27, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY - In a surprise announcement last week, LDS Church leaders revealed that members will no longer be punished for being gay on Facebook.

In an exclusive interview, church spokesperson, LaRue Walker, told The News, "While they still adamantly oppose gay marriage, the Brethren have determined that coming out on venues as shallow as social media does not pose a threat to an individual's eternal salvation."

Otherwise faithful Mormons may now feel free to "like" gay and lesbian themed pages, join LGBT groups, follow gay advocates, post on their gay and lesbian friends' walls, and write comments favoring gay marriage and other LGBT rights.

"I just changed my cover photo to a rainbow flag," said BYU junior, Homer Filbert, who plans to marry his girlfriend in the Provo temple next month. "Finally I'm free to be me . . . at least on Facebook."

In spite of this encouraging change in policy, Walker urges church members to be discreet and use caution on their Facebook walls. "When in doubt, good Latter-day Saints should post their 'Relationship Status' as 'Single' and leave blank what they're 'Interested In.'"

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Motherhood sans Mormonhood

Natalie and her surrogate
When I was a Mormon I was always going to baby showers. After all, Mormon women are always having babies. Mormon showers were women-only events featuring sickeningly cutesy games and cake or cookies paired with some vile sort of punch.

In fairness, it's been a while since I've been to an LDS baby shower. Perhaps they've changed. Maybe the food's better these days, and the games more fun. Maybe now some are even coed, acknowledging (gasp!) that men might actually share in the burdens of childcare.

But something tells me that the Mormon version couldn't live up to the Exmormon shower that Sheli, Sarah and I recently threw for Natalie and Dave who are expecting a baby girl via surrogate.

Our hosts, Sheli and James, went all out, opening up their beautiful house.

The games were kick-ass hilarious.

Dave makes a play-dough baby
James pins a sperm on the uterus

Baby bottle beer guzzling contest

The food was amazing, especially James and Sheli's tri-tip. And the beverages really rocked.
Steve, our awesome bartender

James making one cup at a time.
He roasts his own beans.

There were presents, of course.

And even the spirit was there. I had the privilege of blessing the baby! My inspired words were, of course, first vetted by the authorities. (Sheli and Sarah.)

Only sisters were allowed in the circle.

Here's what I said:

We take this child in our arms to give her a blessing. We can’t give her a name. Only her parents can do that. But whatever the name, we bless it that it shall not be known upon the records of the church.

Baby M, we bless you that you will not be a sweet spirit; that you will be strong and honest and confident and disobedient and, above all, badly behaved in the manner of all women who are destined to make history.

We bless you that you will find and pursue your passions. That you will marry—or not, that you will have children—or not, according to where your heart leads. But if you do find a partner, we bless you that he or she will be a person that you love and respect as your equal. One who loves you ferociously, as much as your parents and all of us do, combined.

We bless you, Baby M, that your days will be filled with loud laughter, light mindedness, and evil speaking of the self appointed. We bless you that you will not settle. That you will magnify your happiness, and that you will live in the moment—every moment—of your one wild and precious life.**

Namaste/Mazel Tov!

**Hat tips to Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Mary Oliver and Joseph Smith.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Cheers to Susan I/S and RfM!

Twenty-three years ago I was an emotional train wreck. My hands were covered with eczema and I had nightmares about being trapped in a box. I knew I was faced with the unfortunate choice between my church and my sanity. Fortunately, I opted for sanity.

And I was fortunate. I had the love and support of my husband and children. (Not all ex-Mormons do.) Plus my hands stopped itching and I was back to getting a good night's sleep.

But in other ways my situation sucked. Back then, the only thing close to a support group for doubters was Sunstone. And while the Sunstone community was, and continues to be, an excellent home for liberal Mormons, it can be a less than perfect place for ex-Mormons. We needed a home of our own.

Bizarrely, like so many ex-Mormons, I no longer believed in the golden plates, the first vision, or the living prophet. But I still bought into that erroneous assumption that those who left the church were angry, bitter people who were offended by some triviality and wanted to sin. That is, until around 1998 when I wandered on to Recovery from Mormonism.

Within days of combing the site, I learned three very important things. First, that the denigration of women, gays and intellectuals is not a trivial offense. Second, that a lot of Mormon "sins" are actually normal, perfectly moral, and even fun. And third, and perhaps most importantly, there's nothing wrong with being angry. It can be a good thing. It can help you see the light. And it can be an important step in your recovery.

Over the years the ex-Mormon community has expanded along with the Internet. Now there are myriad discussion boards and groups on Reddit, Facebook, places like, and a whole host of blogs in Main Street Plaza's Outerblogness. But, for many of us, it all started with RfM.

RfM continues to be a safe place for people who have left or are in the process of leaving the LDS Church. And it has been a labor of love for Eric Kettunen and his volunteer staff. Yesterday Eric announced that longtime poster and admin Susan I/S is retiring. At press time, his pinned post has over 140 comments. Other Recovery Board regulars have posted individually in her honor as well. It's no wonder. She was there at the beginning of so many of our journeys, and she will be missed.

Tonight Mark and I will raise our Friday night cocktail glasses to Susan I/S and her legacy at RfM. She could have devoted the past 2 decades to crocheting toilet roll covers in Relief Society. But instead she opted for helping hundreds, if not thousands, of people regain their sanity and lead authentic lives.

Cheers to Susan!