Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Just some pics I wanna share






So many shades of gold
Autumn
Another miracle we take for granted
Another expression of the artist's vision
The blending of the autumn hues 
with the setting sun
Warm
Comforting
Perfect
Thank you for autumn, Lord


We must devote our time to the things that matter most.





Wednesday, 8 October 2014

My General Conference

So I have watched and listened to the October 2014 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The first session I watched in the Vasa chapel and it was great meeting members in my old hometown. Then I followed it on the net. And here my brothers and sisters are five personal thoughts from the Conference.

I loved when Sister Cheryl Esplin was talking about the sacrament, “The sacrament gives us an opportunity for introspection and an opportunity to turn our heart and will to God,” she said. “Obedience to the commandments brings the power of the gospel into our lives and greater peace and spirituality.” I hope that when I am blind and deaf, unable to hear any testimonies, that I den still will have the power to attend the sacrament meeting promising to think and act, to be, as Christ.


President Henry Eyring said logic isn't enough for humanity traversing turmoil. He's right. In its most vital moments,. I also like what his father, the chemist Henry Eyring has said "Is there any conflict between science and religion? There is no conflict in the mind of God, but often there is conflict in the minds of men." He never got the Noble Prize and some thinks that it was because of his religion and I do not know how The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences was thinking but they apparently awarded him the Berzelius Medal in 1977 as partial compensation.


Elder Oak had a refreshing talk focusing on the key question why it is so diffuclt to have Christlike love for one another?


And he said: “When our positions do not prevail, we should accept unfavorable results graciously and practice civility with our adversaries. In any event, we should be persons of goodwill toward all, rejecting persecution of any kind, including persecution based on race, ethnicity, religious belief or nonbelief, and differences in sexual orientation “


Futher Fox news:

Fox news

But that said; why did Elder Oaks chose the polarizing term “adversaries,” instead of repeating the phrase “those with whom we disagree.” This type of emotionally-fraught labeling is in all liklihood not the best way to raise the level of civility. Me myself connect the term with Satan and his minions. I have respect for Elder Oaks as an Apostle and a special witness of Jesus Christ, I respect his calling and what it entails. He is a great man but still there where som things in his talk that I didn´t get. I am trying to be a good member of Our Church and a caring brother to my friends and when I am a person experiening same-sex attraction I do want toseek and receive personal revelation of the purpose of it.



The missionary choir was singing "Called to Serve" and it reminded me that I am also called to serve in my everyday life.

Elder Carlos Godoy said that above scriptures and prophets, we have personal revelation to guide us. True and sometimes demanding.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

can’t do gay

We don’t talk about sexuality very well in the church, much less same sex attraction.

“Mormons can be gay, they just can’t do gay”, was the title when Ty Mansfield spoked at the Fair Mormon Congress in August

I was there and it has been I while since but I thought it is better that I really think about Ty´s speach before I write about it here in my blog.

Mansfield came out in 2004, when he co-wrote ”In Quiet Desperation: Understanding the Challenge of Same-Gender Attraction.” The book began with the story of Stuart Matis, who shot himself on the steps of his LDS chapel after struggling with same-sex attraction. Ty is also the cofounder of the support organization North Star for LDS individuals affected by homosexuality. He has said that he, because of his same-sex-attractions was ready to live a life of celibacy. However in 2010 he met Danielle and they fell in love, got married in the temple and are now proud parents of two childrens.

In his speach he said: ”While I still occasionally experience attraction to men, my desires are such that I can’t tell you the last time I desired a same-sex relationship. I desire only to be with my wife and family. ” and later: ”If others refer to me as gay, I typically tolerate it for practical purposes, but it’s not how I see myself, and occasionally it can feel particularly oppressive when others seem to insist on projecting and LGBT identity construct on me even after I’ve specified that that is not how I see myself.”

Well, for me that is just fine. If Ty is happy with his wife and his kids and if they are happy then it is just awesome.



But I had a problem listening to him. The subtitle of his speach was: ”Deconstructing Sexuality and Identity from an LDS Perspective” but brother Mansfield wasn’t deconstructing sexuality. He was deconstructing homosexuality and left heterosexuality intact.

To deconstruct something can be very evaporable and in my opinion you have to use it all the way if you want to use it.

According to brother Mansfield sexuality goes into four tiers — attraction and desire, orientation, behavior, and identity. And at the congress he went through each to deconstruct them. For example, for sexual orientation Ty quoted a researcher known for her research on female sexual fluidity who claims that because sexual fluidity is a general feature of human sexuality we have to talk about homosexualities rather than “homosexuality”. Ty noted that the idea that gender preference is the primary component of our sexual orientation is a current social construct, but still there are many factors required to make someone desirable — after all, we are only generally attracted to a few people of the sex to which we are attracted.

Well I agree. We aren’t attracted to everyone of the sex we desire. I am not attracted to every man that I stumble upon. So what is my problem listening to Ty? Well as I said: if you want to use deconstruction use it all the way. Heterosexuality is also a construct.

“Mormons can be gay, they just can’t do gay- Deconstructing Sexuality and Identity from an LDS Perspective” The title is a pejorative statement that is a caricature of doctrine and practices; it oversimplifies. is a flawed construction. It seems to me that Ty is using deconstructionism when it suits him, showing that being gay is not that wiered but the tools can´t be used elswhere when we are talking about gender and identity.

Furthermore I have never ever in the church heard something about our intersexual members. The term intersex covers bodily variations in regard to culturally established standards of maleness and femaleness, including variations at the level of chromosomes, gonads and genitals. how do you pick a child’s gender if she or he is intersex?

The child is assigned a gender as boy or girl after tests have been done and the parents have consulted with the doctors on which gender the child is more likely to feel as she or he grows up. The parents are deciding. And what if they are not asking the Lord? The vast majority of children with complete androgen insensitivity syndrome grow up to feel female, and that many children with cloacal exstrophy and XY chromosomes will grow up to feel male.

Why shouldn’t children with intersex be raised in a “third gender”? I do not know and Ty didn´t give me an answer. Deconstruction.

I want to be humble. I think that one could certainly develop a well-intentioned white picket fence homonormativity in the Law of Chastity.

My Mormon pragdim is a social pragdim and we can get back to that.
Sexual identities are socially constructed, and are tied with competing and sometimes incompatible social narratives and paradigms.


Be who you are.


Thursday, 28 August 2014

Heavenly mother



As a new member of our church it was ideal for me to be at the FairMormon Conference in Utah.

I am a thinking person and if somebody say ”this is true” then I am always trying to see the other side of the coin.

So I really liked when Sharon Eubank, whose lecture was called ”This is a womens church”, started out by talking about the doctrine of intelligences. She stated that this is unique to Mormonism and how the doctrine talks about how we always have existed as intelligences. But then we chose to ally ourselves with our Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother.

Sharon Eubank is the Director of LDS Charities


This was intresting. I have a Lutheran friend here in Finland and she introduced, at hbt-services, the tradition to pray both to our Heavenly Father and our Heavenly mother.

I know in our church that LDS Church president Gordon B. Hinckley has said that Mormons should not pray to the Heavenly Mother because Christ instructed his disciples to address the Heavenly Father in their prayers And I am not talking about prayers here. I am saying that it was intresting because this was the first time I have heard anybody in our churc talking about our Heavenly Mother (besides the missionaries once, briefly)

Sister Eubank said that we define ourselves in different roles and for her the first role is that she is a woman and she believes womanhood has roles related to binding, connecting and bridging. From her own experience, being in an image of the divine feminine, this is what she feels responsible for.

And one role for women is to establish the house described in D&C.

”Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God; ” (D&C 88:119)

For her that is not a literal house or even necessarily the temple. It is a generation of life, of community

One way of bulding is going on a mission an sister Eubank was asked if she was excited about young women going serving missions. Sister Eubank herself served as a missonary here in Finland
and said that her mission taught her how to articulate before people.- If we can deepen people’s understanding of doctrine and help them learn to be articulate, it is fantastic, she said.
She was also asked about women and the priesthood and said she belives that anyone who is endowed holds certain aspects of the priesthood and the church is just on the verge of understanding what that means.

I have heard a lot of criticism from non members about womens role in the church and sometimes I, as a man, haven`t been able to answer. For sister Eubank our doctrine is the most moderate and enlightening and empowering doctrine that exists for women.

For me it is a church for all children to our Heavenly Father and our Heavenly Mother.


To sister Eubank I replied: Kiitos valaisit minua (Thank You You enlighted me)

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

UTAH AND BACK


Here are some pics from my trip to Utah and the Fair Mormon Congress in Provo. I am back in Finland with a little bit of jet lag so my readers for now just pics. I will tell ya more later

In Utah are wonderful gardens. Red Butte Garden was amazing

There are mountains in Utah




The conference center in Provo.


Due to some missunderstandings and my timetable I didn´t catch up with a friend of mine but I saw the Temple Scuare Salt Lake City. Gary my brother next time.


nice view



Pink wildflower....



Settlers








from Salt Lake City....


.. to Helsinki


Monday, 4 August 2014

FAIR MORMON

A new day, a great day.


Tomorrow it is tuesday. I will be in Salt Lake City. In Provo for the Fair Mormon Conference. I am looking forward to meet friends and thursday: 

Ty Mansfield; “Mormons can be gay, they just can’t do gay”?: Deconstructing Sexuality and Identity From an LDS Perspective.

Hugs my friends.

Johan

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Hit me in Love

Why are we sometimes so afraid of negative feelings? I was thinking about this today when I was reading 3 Nephi 17 and the way our Savior deals with those feelings and how open He is.

"And it came to pass that when they had knelt upon the ground, Jesus groaned within himself, and said: Father, I am troubledbecause of the wickedness of the people of the house of Israel.
And when he had said these words, he himself also knelt upon the earth; and behold he prayed unto the Father, and the things which he prayed cannot be written, and the multitude did bear record who heard him." (3 Nephi 17:14-15)

My feelings, also the negative ones are a part of me and should be treated with respect, not guiltily. I shouldn´t be ashamed of them. I shouldn´t feel that my feelings are wrong. Cause how can they be?
When Our Savior felt theese negative feelings just a few verses later they are turned into joy:

"And it came to pass that Jesus spake unto them, and bade them arise."
"And they arose from the earth, and he said unto them: Blessed are ye because of your faith. And now behold, my joy is full." (3 Nephi 17:19-20)

If we are trying to hide our real emotions by trying to act that we are feeling something else the result is simply a lie and it is impossible to express love influated by a lie.


Yes; some emotions can be hurtful and if someone are eg angry at me they are not going to want to discuss it. But silence is not golden in my mind. Yes you can feel vulnerable when you are wearing your heart on your sleeve. That is a part of your feeling that I do accept.
But the thing is: How do we express our (also negative) feelings? Apostle Paul is talking about speaking the truth in love.

"but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, who is the Head, even Christ, "(Eph 4:15)

For me that is about being honest also with negative feelings but in a sensitive and loving way that will not make others feel put down.



Do not force a smile to me if I did something wrong in your opinion. Give yourself permission to feel everything you feel and embrace the fact that you and your feelings are you, perfect or not.

Hit me with your negative feelings in Love. Do not take your feelings as an excuse to blame or insult. I won´t criticize your feelings or try to change them. Only the person who has the feelings can change them. I will listen to you. And I will be glad if you are honest. So will I be.