Thursday, June 18, 2009

Facing East

So Max and I went and saw Facing East tonight. For those who have not heard of it, it is a play that takes place at the grave of Andy, a gay Mormon who committed suicide. Andy's parents are left to consider what led to their son's suicide, and at the end are met by Andy's boyfriend, Marcus. I enjoyed it, and it definitely got better throughout the show. In my opinion, Carol Lynn Pearson was pretty spot on in terms of LDS culture and beliefs. I could see my mom in the character Ruth (Andy's mom) so much. I think it also helped me understand some of the thoughts that my mother has had.

One thing that I have thought about recently and that was really driven home in the play was how LDS mothers often feel. Because many LDS mothers (including my own) do not have careers outside of the home, they are very much defined by how "successful" their families. Now, my family has their fair share of crazy, but I would say overall, my mom has a lot to be proud of. 

Unfortunately, in LDS circles, my mom probably does not have a whole lot to brag about. Out of her five kids, one is married in the temple, one served a mission (me), and she has only two grandchildren. Number three is on the way, but since my sister is getting married next week, and her daughter will be born in September, that's probably not much to brag about among other Mormons. I often wonder how my mom handles that part of Utah/LDS culture. My parents have lived there for almost 3 years now, and by Mormon standards, things have gotten significantly worse. Ruth (Andy's mother in Facing East) breaks down a couple of times during the play and you see how terrified she is of being considered a "failure."

Besides the obvious tragedy of Andy's suicide, this is the other impression that Facing East left on my mind. Mormonism is not just unduly hard on gays, but I would also say mothers. The success of their families in placed on them, and any failure is usually implied to be their  fault.

Anyway, overall, I really enjoyed Facing East. There definitely were a few moments when the audience was pretty choked up, and I couldn't help but think how lucky I am to not only get out alive, but to have a relatively supportive family. I feel so blessed to be in the situation I am in, and someday when I am a little bit more established, I would really like to be able to provide a safe home for gay Mormons who feel they have no where to go. Being one who has often felt at the end of my line, it kills me to think of the gay Mormons out there that feel so desperate and torn by the paradigm thrust upon us. 

If any of you are in Southern California within the next couple of weeks, I recommend seeing the show. It is playing at the International City Theatre in Long Beach through the first weekend of July.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Moving On

About a month ago, I wrote a letter resigning my membership in the LDS Church. Don't worry, it hasn't made it out of my "My Documents" folder, yet. But the truth is, I don't really believe in Mormonism anymore, or really religion in general. I won't go into details here, but suffice it to say, I mostly see religion as a mix of cultural traditions mixed with superstitious beliefs. Religion fills a need in peoples' lives, and for many years, Mormonism did just that for me: it gave my life meaning. In more recent times, it left my life with a larger void, and I decided to opt out. 

Well on Monday night, some well-meaning members of the Goldenwest Singles Ward showed up inviting me to some activities. It's about freakin' time! I mean, I have lived here since August, and this is the first time someone stops by?! For those of you that know me well, I promise I was nice to them. :P They brought me some goodies and told me about all the great "sisters" in the ward (at which point they probably saw my eyes roll out of my head and me hold back the laughter just a bit). I told them that I had attended BYU, served a mission, and that after Prop 8 I made a decision to leave the LDS Church.  I thanked them for stopping by and they went on their way.

Later that evening I went to the gym and the little devil on my shoulder got me thinking. Maybe it would be more fun to not resign my membership, and instead to hold out and let them keep coming by. I mean, I could have some fun with these kids. But really, I think it is about time for me to move on.

I told my mom about my plans to leave the Church a few weeks ago and she seemed a little upset, but I guess I don't really see the point in waiting to be excommunicated, assuming they eventually did excommunicate me. I guess I see excommunication as something for people who still believe in Mormonism and think that they have done something wrong. Plus if they were to excommunicate me, I would not show up to any of that anyway, so I guess for me this is just the simplest thing to do. 

This post may come as a big surprise to people, but really I have thought about this a lot over the past year. Oh, and to those who say that it is okay to leave the church, now I just need to leave it alone, I promise I will leave the LDS Church alone as soon as they leave me and my legal rights alone.

On an unrelated note, if you have not read Formerly Barred's most recent post, you really need to. It may be my favorite post ever.