Friday, July 15, 2016

Our Human Systems & Beliefs as Choices: Responses to Tyler Glenn & Elder Nelson

I never post on here anymore. It's literally been 4 years. But this morning as I awoke and scrolled through FB ( WHY do I start my day like THAT???!) I cam across this article on Mormons Building Bridges   and I just had to respond. Felt like I should. So...

If this is really about saving LGBTQI youth, then this is not about Tyler Glenn and Elder Nelson.
For that matter, this is not really about LGBTQI youth or Mormonism either.
an exercise: take away every human cultural institution and development of that last 180,000-1 million years ( the best science can tell us about when we as a species emerged) and consider a group of 100 homo sapiens.
the best science can tell us, anywhere between 1-10 of them would either have a considerable inclination to primarily express their sexual desire toward a member of the same sex or to not feel that their physicality reflects their internal identity… simply stated, there would be a great deal of variance in how these 100 homo sapiens desired to engage in sex.
None of them will have the desire to believe Jesus Christ.
You may BELIEVE that they do because God created Adam and taught him the…. whatever, but they don’t. They just don’t ( more about this later…)
BUT, how do we know that 1-10 of them will have sexual inclinations outside of the norm?
Leave any modern research into the biological underpinnings of human sexual behavior out of it for a moment.
We know these variations in sexual desire would exist because we can go back as far as there is any anthropological or archeological evidence of human thought and see that VARIANCE IN HUMAN SEXUAL DESIRE is a CONSTANT. It is literally written all over the walls.
Jesus Christ, however, shows up about 2000 years ago. ( surely he was evolving as far back as that 180,000-million year point—even further perhaps, but that only goes to the larger point below. Wait for it. :)
Societies began negotiating their relationship to non-normative sexual activity most likely as long as human societies have been around.
...and the plethora, myriad of ways they did so is astounding!
about 3000 years ago a group of wandering shepherds negotiated their relationship with non-normative sexual activity and they codified it and wrote it down. In stone.
Stone—yes, literally kill-those who participate in non-normative sexual behavior.
Tyler Glenn, Elder Nelson, you and me are in this situation because of that negotiation.
Because the Abrahamic religions have grown to represent the dominant mode of sexuality in the West for the past 3000 years.
Examine other cultures outside this Abrahamic umbrella.
Both Elder Nelson and Tyler Glenn would be completely out of place with their competing notions of this negotiation in these cultures.
Both Tyler’s and Nelson’s notions are just that, NOTIONS. IDEAS. CONSTRUCTIONS. SYSTEMS.
“Gay” “Lesbian” “Transgender” “Bisexual” as “identities” are all CONSTRUCTIONS
“A child of God the Father redeemed through the atonement and unconditional love of his Son Jesus Christ” = also a CONSTRUCTION.
ALL OF THEM have their inherent beauty and utility. ALL OF THEM have their requisite horrors and limits.
Because they are CONSTRUCTIONS. Human systems.
Our success as human beings in this truly global world depends on our ability to see our SYSTEMS for what they are: HUMAN CONSTRUCTIONS which we can CHOOSE to believe in. This volitive act of CHOOSING to believe creates meaning. And that is wonderful.
When we begin to see our systems as CHOICES and TRULY own them as choices, constructions, and ways of negotiating our shared space, then we will truly make Zion as Brother Hess wishes.
Unfortunately that just can’t happen when there is such rigidity of thought - such denial of reality in favor or CONSTRUCTED systems.
We will continue to experience the pain of NOT ONLY young people feeling so divided, torn and out of place that they feel it would be better to not be, BUT we will continue to feel the pain of days like Nice, Orlando, 9/11, Hiroshima, Mountain Meadows, and on and on UNTIL we can see our human systems simply as CHOICES and negotiations and not RIGID, UNBENDING ETERNAL TRUTH.
Another constant of human behavior and existence:
We NEED one another. We are a definitively interdependent species. This is no ideological construction. It’s an evolutionary REALITY.
We negotiate this interdependence via our systems. When our interdependence fails, our systems have failed.
When this happens, our systems have become like fly-paper to which every REAL human problem becomes stuck — They are like peanut butter into which one drops a tablespoon of reality in the form of sugar…
Let’s let go of our systems long enough to SEE ONE ANOTHER.
TO truly CHOOSE our systems and recognize the moments when our SYSTEMS are coming flat, smack right-up against one another and thereby creating real TERROR.
When we recognize our SYSTEMS as choices and not immobile boundaries and walls, we can make the CHOICE to renegotiate them for the sake of our shared reality.
We may give lip service to ideas like universal love, tolerance and acceptance, but until we are willing to negotiate this last boundary it is all just pride. Cold, lonely pride.
But REALITY is there in every moment, in every breath, and it needs nothing from us but acceptance.
My favorite passage from a book codifying a particular HUMAN SYSTEM is as follows:
Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these."
I CHOOSE to BELIEVE in this idea. I BELIEVE it comes closest to the reality of what it means to be a human being.
We can do it.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

General Conference, the HRC and Suicides....

After Elder Packer' hem...words about homosexuality, gay marriage and whatever at Conference on Sunday, coupled with the recent run of suicides of young gay men, and of course all the Prop 8 hoopla, you can bet that Joe Solomese and HRC had something to say about it.

I got a mailer in my inbox from Joe yesterday which led me to read/listen to Boyd' hem...words, which led me to post this on Facebook yesterday:

"Trying to decide who's better at inciting anger, spreading pain and just making me plain sad- Joe Solomese of the HRC or Boyd K. Packer of the 12. I think its a tie..."

I got several responses and "thumbs-up-likes", but one friend from the Holy Western Valleys with whom I've had little contact sent this:

"If you know they incite those kind of feelings, why listen to them in the first place?"

It was quickly deleted by the friend, however. I only saw it because Facebook sends immediate updates to my Blackberry every time anything happens on Facebook. Thank. God.

Anyway, I decided to respond anyway and sent this:

" I got your message on facebook, it was sent to my email account, but I see you must have deleted it from my page. I'm assuming you thought better of it, but I wanted to respond quickly anyway. Your comment was so short and brief that it would be impossible for me to genuinely discern its true intent--whether it was meant as a rebuke, as a snide and terse remark, or as a sincere question. Because of its hasty removal, I feel compelled to think it was one of the former and your better judgment dictated you delete it. Despite this, I want to respond to it as a sincere question--I listen for 3 simple reasons: 1) because in this information laden age and culture it is next to impossible not to hear unpleasant, angering or saddening things about topics you care about; 2) because words spoken- thoughts and ideas shared- have consequences, they reverberate and send ripples through lives and I believe strongly that those consequences should and must be made known and 3) I listen in the, lets face it, rather dim hope that someone with whom I disagree may say something which will help me understand the troubled and beautiful world in which we all live a little better!"

You can read the HRC letter here (its actually the press release, and a little less emotive and carefully worded than the mailer Joe sent)

And of course, you can read, watch or listen to Elder Packer' hem...words at

Am I wrong to listen? Wrong to comment? Wrong to care?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A new poem

for michael

driven here by death, wind, rain and a lot of liberated restlessness
we’re far too soon too fast too fearful to be certain
but as breath begets more being
the driven eventually become the resting
if only for the seconds before the launch
and its in those moments perhaps
you and I breathe
in sync
and stop our restless driving

© 2009 Nathan T Wright