Lullabies and Temples

I have a great affection for Mormons. I love most of the people I’ve met there. I love the things I have learned. I love the person I have become because of my past. That being said I find a lot of Mormon culture really annoying. The obsequious manner of missionaries who I know are just trying to get by saying a bunch of stuff that they aren’t even quite sure of themselves.

I remember being told that young men go on missions as boys and come home as men. They leave being unsure and they come home with a testimony of the “true and living church.” What happens when they don’t? What happens when these boys go and find out that the church doesn’t have an answer to every question? Does that mean that they come home any less of a man? Missionaries When my son was very little I used to say prayers with him every night. They were my wishes for him. I was wishing on a star. I would pray that he would grow up to go to the temple, to go on a mission, to get married. I would sing him songs from the church’s Children’s Songbook. I believed every word I sang every night. But when I didn’t believe them anymore I lost all my lullabies.  I replaced them with theme songs to TV shows. I couldn’t sing them love songs either because I didn’t believe them. At least Dora and Spiderman seemed real.


More than a year after leaving the church I went back to the Temple with a couple friends. I still had a temple recommend that hadn’t expired and I wanted to say goodbye to that place. So they dropped me off at the front door I walked in wearing my sunday best and I presented my little slip of paper to the old man at the counter. He asked me my name, checked over my card and said “Welcome to the house of the Lord Sister Parker”. I knew what I was doing wasn’t technically honest, I wasn’t there to be a Good Mormon going to the temple, I was there to say goodbye.

I walked into the grand and ridiculously quiet lobby and sat down in one of the ornate couches there beside a big round coffee table which had several copies of scriptures bound in white leather laid out on it. I picked up a Book of Mormon and read a chapter that I had always liked. Pretty much all of 2 Nephi chapter 4 but especially this verse:

 28 Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.

The crazy thing though was that I was reading this and I felt like I needed to awake from the church and no longer droop there. I needed to get out and get free of this enemy of my soul. I had been playing a part for so long that I needed to be free of it. Leaving my first husband and the church were the first steps. I had intended to sit and gloat about leaving but when I got there that didn’t seem right. Then I decided to take the little slips of paper that are to submit names of people in need to the prayer roll for the temple and write a letter. I wrote:

If you’d like to read what I wrote come visit my blog at it’s new location here.



There is so much shame and guilt when it comes to the disappointments of children and parents that being an adult with them is next to impossible. I feel like it’s only just now that I’ve been able to be an adult. I’ve been in the grown up arena for 16 years but I have not been making choices for myself for that long. I’m not sure that everybody lets themselves be an adult for a large portion of their “adulthood.”

What is an adult then?  Wikipedia says that and adult is:

“Human adulthood encompasses psychological adult development. Definitions of adulthood are often inconsistent and contradictory; a person may be biologically an adult, and have adult behaviour but still be treated as a child if they are under the legal age of majority. Conversely, one may legally be an adult but possess none of the maturity and responsibility that may define adult character.

“An event relating to the oncoming of adulthood is coming of age, which encompasses passing a series of tests to demonstrate that a person is prepared for adulthood, or reaching a specified age, sometimes in conjunction with demonstrating preparation. Most modern societies determine legal adulthood based on reaching a legally specified age without requiring a demonstration of physical maturity or preparation for adulthood.”

When I was 17 I finished high school and left home. I was not quite the age of an adult but I lived on my own like one. I moved across the country to Alberta and got my first job, got my first room mate, then my second room mate after the first one was super crazy. I decided how to spend my money, how to spend my time, how to make friends (or not as it was in my case), how to get around. The accomplishments that I had didn’t feel like they were mine though. They still felt like they belonged to my parents. I was still a person for them to show off at parties to show how successful they are.  Just because you turn a certain age or pass a test doesn’t mean that suddenly you start behaving like an adult. I thought that since I had my own money and could choose my day to day activities that I was an adult. At the time being an adult meant that I could eat a whole box of Oreos for dinner if I wanted. Hurray!


Being able to physically take care of my needs really isn’t being an adult. It’s doing chores. Being an adult in the culture of my family and my religion meant getting married.  There is a sense that until you are married that you are not really an adult. The YSA (young single adult) groups always seemed to be just an extension of being a teenager. Suddenly when you are an adult you can do things like chaperone single people events and such.

Shortly after I got married I went to a YSA dance at church as a chaperone. I thought it would be great, hang out with my single friends and dance and have a good time. It turned out to be really awkward. As a chaperone there was an expectation that I would uphold the rules that everybody was supposed to be following. There was a couple who were dancing a little too close together and it was my ridiculous moral obligation to go over and ask a dude 3 years older than me to back off his girlfriend. He totally ignored me of course, but I was the adult in this situation and I was supposed to school these single people in how to behave properly. As it turns out it was more like rubbing it in their noses that I was all blissfully married and they were not. Of course just about everything in that last sentence was not how things actually were but perceptions are everything.


Being an adult is more like, I take others into account and are aware of others, but ultimately I decide for my self what is best for me regardless of what the expectations of parents, siblings or communities are. If I’m spending all my time and effort trying to live up to the dreams and wishes of someone else then I am not a free agent to choose my own path. The crazy thing is that the people that I felt controlled by weren’t necessarily doing anything to enforce or encourage my self defeated way of thinking. They are just living their lives too, doing the best they could with what they have.

Since I’ve moved you can read the rest of the post at my new website here.

See you soon

A Peculiar People

The Mormons have attached themselves to the phrase “a peculiar people” in regards to their devotion and their being chosen by God. The phrase comes from the New Testiment in 1 Peter 2:9

9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

They not only ascribe themselves to that name but they revel in it. I can remember sitting in a dark gymnasium as a kid watching the talking heads that were broadcast at us from Salt Lake City for General Conference. I remember them saying proudly that we are a peculiar people, that we do things differently and strangely. We don’t shop on Sundays, we don’t drink tea or coffee, we don’t partake in alcohol, we have a whole language of our own to describe ourselves.

This self identification as being different and strange made me feel special. It made me feel like I wasn’t like the other people at school and in my neighbourhood. I felt isolated from everyone around me except for the people at church. At school I often choose to be on my own and do solitary activities or things that didn’t require me to engage very much.

I remember being in grade 2 and being asked to play with a group of friendly girls and thinking that I wasn’t like them and saying a polite no thank you. I was super lonely though but I didn’t think that I would have been able to relate to them. I was peculiar. I also didn’t give them a chance. I just kept walking balancing on the wooden retaining edge of the sandbox walking around and around in circles.


On the flip side I also had a huge pride in my church family. That’s not just my family that go to church, but the whole congregation. Where I live one would be lucky to have one or two Mormons that go to the same school. I had no contact with any of my church friends during the week and I lived for Sundays. When I walked through those crowed halls as a little kid I was popular, I was a rock star, I was well liked and people knew me and my family well. I could hear my Grandpa singing hymns in the back of the chapel, because yes he was that loud, I could see my brothers navigating the aisles in a complex pattern of ceremony to pass out the sacrament, I could see my mother directing the music, I could see my father teaching sunday school, I could see my cousins running around the halls in my hand-me-down dresses. I was somebody there. I could relate to the systems and groups in place. It was where I felt peculiar just like everyone else, until puberty.

All those feelings of pride in my church and affection for the safe place that it provided me started to dissolve very slowly. I always had good friends at church, but when I started to get crushes on the Mormon girls that became a problem. I first realized that it was a problem around 13 years old. I had a beautiful and fun and encouraging Mormon best friend. Her Dad died when she was little and it was just her, her sister and her Mom at home. I went over after school every day and hung out until it got dark when I had to call home and get going. She had brown shoulder length hair, dimples in her round cheeks when she smiled, and a spunk and disregard for the rules that I loved. When she told me about a boy she liked, I liked him too. When she told me about a song she liked, I liked that song too. When we went out one day and she stole a pair of sunglasses, I stole a pair too. I didn’t know what to do with these feelings of wanting to be super close to her. I didn’t really have any idea what to do with it or why I was feeling that way. I knew that my friends were getting boy crazy and I started to get obsessive about her. She attempted suicide at least once. Cutting. I started cutting too. After a year or so of this we went to different high schools and she stopped coming to church. I moved on.

This sort of pattern happened a few times as I was a teen. I couldn’t name it, I couldn’t say what I wanted, I couldn’t even pray about it. To say it even in that way was too much. I only prayed about things I should pray about, not any of my actual problems. I journaled but it was all facts and times and places and names not really very much about how I was feeling. I was told that “your posterity will want to get to know you better through your journals” I didn’t want this shame to be communicated to my children and their children. There wasn’t any safe places to think or hash through these feelings. I felt scared to be judged by myself, by God, by my community, by my crushes, even by my unborn children. I started playing guitar. Only sad songs. Only in my room on my own. Only other people’s lyrics. It was very lonely.


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I feel really at home with the peculiar vibe of gay culture. The being slightly out of place in normal society. Growing up Mormon with not many other Mormons around made it easier for me when I did come out to be just fine with that. At church there was a lot of emphasis on missionary work because the church was so small in proportion to the rest of the population in my city. One of the methods that I used all the time was to get rid of my mental scissors. To let people in and know about what I do and who I am. Now, at church they were talking about letting people know about being Mormon, but I take that way of behaving and apply it to my life as an out lesbian. Not that I’m trying to further any sort of agenda but I also don’t want to have to censor myself just because my life doesn’t fit a cookie cutter shape. I have the right to be exactly the way I am just as you have the right to live your life the way you choose.

11th Article of Faith

We claim the privilege of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

I claim the same privilege as the church claims. I just choose to do it differently. Regardless of actual religion I think that I continue to live generally by the 13th Article of Faith which talks more about just being a decent person.

13th Article of Faith

We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul-We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

That’s not so peculiar is it?

Leering ~ Part 2

In my last post I was talking about weddings and hypersexualization of a virginal Mormon wedding reception.

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There’s another phenomena that I’ve noticed since coming out. The same feeling of being leered at that I previously associated with weddings happens all the time when I present as a lesbian.

Now, I’m not particularly butch or femme, I’m somewhere in between. I’ll rock a dress if the occasion suggests, but don’t expect me to do the make-up or pantihose thing. I’ll wear plaid and collared shirts with ties with the best of them but I also have long hair that I often wear in barrettes. As soon as I hold my Lover’s hand or give her a peck on the cheek, as any normal couple would do in public I’ve noticed the quality of people’s gaze change.

I don’t know if I’m hyper aware of it right now because I’ve just come out, but I know that some of the people in my circles have started looking at me differently. It’s like their eyes linger a little too long, without saying anything, on my face as if they’re wondering something. Their line of sight shifts to consider something around my navel level. They stare at my hands as I hold my Lover’s hand while we’re out walking. It’s uncomfortable but I refuse to give in the pressure to not act like a normal couple. I am part of a normal loving couple. I try not to think about it and just act as if they aren’t gawking. I’m not doing it to rub your face in it or to draw attention to myself any more than any heterosexual couple would be if they looked like they liked each other in public.  People in love are dang cute and I want to be part of the picture of what that looks like.

I think that the leering at my wedding was so gross to me because it wasn’t a true expression of who I was. It felt gross like I was doing something wrong, and I think I knew that I was on some level. (or that might be a cop out to say that I knew everything then that I know now so I don’t have to be embarrassed about the past. Whatever.)

normal lesbians
From “The kids are alright” 2010

You know what isn’t dang cute? Assuming that every affectionate thing I do in public with my lady friend is being done to elicit a sexual connotation in the minds of those around me. There’s a lot of this sexualization of lesbians in sales and advertising. This article talks about how lesbians in media are used as props to excite men, and not seen as a normal person who has a life, feelings and complex relationships with others. There needs to be more pictures that normalize the way I am. There’s nothing abnormal about being in love or having a family or coming home to a partner regardless of orientation. I’m not here to make you hot, just as gay men are not there to make you grossed out. We. Have. No. Gay Agenda!

The Gay Agenda

I am more than who I have sex with and I am not being myself in order to do anything to anyone else. I’m just not that manipulative, but people tend to see in others what they themselves are. I wonder what that says about them.