Introduction — The Fiercely Independent Team Player

I was born the oldest of 5 brothers. When I was born, I was a large baby and my mother was a long time in labor. She lived with her parents in a small farming community outside White Salmon, WA. My father was off fighting WW II. White Salmon had a very small hospital. If you ever saw the movie “Big Business”, the hospital in that movie was larger than White Salmon hospital. So, we went across the Columbia River to Hood River, OR, where I was born. It was a hard labor and a hard delivery. My mother’s eyes and my eyes both hemorrhaged. I was left with damaged eyesight. At one point in my life, I had 20/20 eyesight using glasses, but most of the time, my eyesight has been poor, even wearing glasses.

If you believe in astrology, and I don’t much believe in it, but according to “the stars”, I was born in Sagittarius with Sagittarius rising. This is supposed to mean that I would be very independent and freedom-loving. I would be my own person, independent, adventurous, and have a laser-like focus on whatever goal I pursued. One New Age philosophy has a motto for each sign. The one for Sagittarians is this: “I see a goal. I reach that goal. I see another goal.” I rather like that motto, but before I learned this lesson about me, I was very much opposed to goals. And, I think the reason for this is that the goals were always chosen for me and imposed upon me by outside parties. When I learned to choose my own goals, I was very much happier working to achieve them.

My independent mentality is also moderated by my willingness to cooperate and get along with others. I am very uncomfortable being at cross-purposes or having disagreements with those around me. Taken together, I am willing to be a team player, but first, I need to be convinced that I am following my own goals and my own motivation and my own purposes, which also happen to coincide with the group’s goals, motivations, and purposes.

Why go off on this tangent? Because this will help you better understand my life and why I made the choices I made. This all figures into the story.

Also, I am not writing this story from a victim’s perspective. I am writing this from the perspective of a person who has faced my share of life’s battles and overcome them. Or, at least, I believe I have overcome them. I am hoping that, in writing this, I will reveal more of myself to the “me” who thinks he already knows everything, but probably doesn’t. I also write this to introduce myself to you, and in so doing, I have several purposes in mind.

1. To show you that we don’t all fit in the same mold. You may encounter Gay Mormons or ex-Mormons and try to fit us all into the same mold, because the church and society at large try to get us to see everybody in the same mold. This would be a mistake, and I hope this biography vividly demonstrates that fact.

2. To show you that not everybody passively caves in to the dictates of society and religious institutions, but we can and do fight back. There are people that I greatly admire in this life who also fought back. You will meet some of them in this biography. These were my teachers. They taught me how to balance my desire to “get along” and “follow the rules” with the desire to make my own choices and think for myself. I learned from these people by talking with them, asking very pointed questions, and by observing them.

3. To show you that many of the things you were taught to be real, but never did more than blindly believe, actually are real. Somebody needed to come along and find out these things for himself, and point them out to others. In some areas of life, I am not a “get along” guy. I am a fearless adventurer, independent observer, and as my school teachers described me: “an aggressive learner”. All my life, I wanted to be somebody who KNEW, not just believed. From the standpoint of society and its churches and institutions, belief can be manipulated, but knowledge is dangerous.

4.To show you that in no way do I consider myself as better or having more potential than anybody else. Everything I have done, I believe anybody can do. I have been shown, in a very spiritual way, the potential each of us have. If we really could see each other as I have been allowed to see us, we would bow down and worship each other as gods. This is not very productive, however, because as Gods, we have God’s work to do, and God can only do FOR us, what God can do THROUGH us.

  • Who’s going to change our hearts so we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually? God’s going to do that.
  • Who’s going to create the kind of society that will establish Zion in our midst and create the kind of Terrestrial conditions and law such that Christ will be pleased to return and dwell among us? God’s going to do that.
  • Who’s going to drive the dark forces out of our midst, and literally “seal the door where evil dwells”? God’s going to do that.
  • Who’s going to raise us up at the last day in the resurrection? God’s going to do that.
  • Who’s going to make us equal to the task of reinventing ourselves, our relationships, and society as a whole? God’s going to do that.

Faith Crisis Defined

People act like questioning one’s faith is a bad thing.

Faith SHOULD always be questioned. PROVE everything and and hold fast to that which is good. And the corollary to this is, if it is not good, get rid of it.

The problem, as I see it, is people have NOT been questioning their faith, but simply taking everything on faith. There is a subtle difference. But, one day reality, as it is always prone to do, creeps up on them and forces them to make a decision. This is known as a crisis.

Faith Crisis 2

I had a “faith crisis” of a different kind. It wasn’t because of church history, polygamy, Book of Mormon, Book of Abraham, etc. My faith crisis came early on when I became converted to the church from the scriptures and the early writings. I became converted to a gospel, not a church. I believed that the church was best suited to implement the gospel of Jesus Christ, which has the potential to change men’s lives. Joseph Smith’s teachings about the fundamental god-like nature of man, free agency, and the principles of Zion that would transform society. All of this got me very excited about the possibilities of the church and its future mission.

This started to unravel when I moved to Utah and started college. I found a people who didn’t live, much less believe their religion. I found a church that was more interested in preserving the status quo and in damning its members to a life of mediocrity rather than lifting them up beyond the conventional norms of society. Instead of true prophecy and revelation, I find conservative talking points sugar-coated in Mormon-speak. I see no evidence of the keys their leaders claim to possess. They can’t even explain the Priesthood, or its ordinances. They cover their ignorance of the significance of the temple in a veil of secrecy.

I feel to say with Mormon: why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why have miracles ceased? It is because faith is not present, and all has become as if there had been no atonement made.

There is no faith in the church, and I have no faith in the church, and those who do so have misplaced their faith, and when the storms rage, and they are swept off their sandy foundation, they cry about a “faith crisis”.

Faith Crisis 1

I can’t understand anyone who was a Mormon having a “faith crisis”. From the very get-go, Mormonism is a religion based on KNOWLEDGE, not FAITH. Faith is a tool with which to gain knowledge, but the end product of faith is knowledge. I knew that God lived and loved me, before I was excommunicated, and I knew the same thing afterword. The church is just a temporary scaffolding upon which we can climb to learn about faith, knowledge, and to commune with God. When I was excommunicated, they took away the scaffolding, or the training wheels. Then, I realized that I didn’t need them.

If your faith is built on the church, then you have built your house on sand, not on a rock. You have trusted in the arm of flesh, which is guaranteed to disappoint you every time.

I’m grateful for what I learned from the church, and for the members, teachers, and leaders who helped me along the way. I’m even grateful that they showed me the door and pushed me out of it.

“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”