IF There’s Sunshine in Your Heart Today

Bloged in ex-Mormon,Mormons by mark Monday April 13, 2009

Yep, The Mormon worldwide conference is always the 1st of April, and KBYU will re-run those sessions on the Easter w/e. While scrolling through the channel list, I saw it on…..hit the button and heard one of the Hymns I always thought a little cheesy when sung by a local farming town congregation where half of those singing sound just a tiny bit like wailing, some can’t HIT the pitch, and some are ALWAYS angry unless a hymn being sung in church IS also an angry stern song.

11b-mormon-tabernacle-ch-4356be6a55c5
(note: photo probably taken around 1950-1960…when I would have been humming this little tune)

So, I listened to the choir solemnly sing, and next thing you know, I’ve started humming, then singing on re-call 50 years old directly reflecting how catchy this little sunshine tune was.
Yep, the lyrics ARE a little cheesy, but if you’re going to read ‘em, at least go to the link I show here first and HERE how the tune goes. They are a perfect match. It was NOT a pioneer song, but written in 1899, well after they were already well on the way to building ZION in Utah….and note, I don’t know WHY, the but Tab Choir sings it like it was a dirge:

YOU CAN MAKE THE PATHWAY BRIGHT

Now that you’ve “heard” the Mormon Choir sing it rather soulfully and completely muted, TRIPLE the page of the song, and sing along to these bright little sunshiny words:

You can make the pathway bright, Fill the soul with heaven’s light,
If there’s Sunshine in your heart;
Turning darkness into day, As the shadows fly away,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.

(chorus):
If there’s sunshine in your heart.
You can send a shining ray that will turn the night to day,
And your cares will all depart,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.

(2)
You can speak the gentle word, To the heart with anger stirred,
If there’s sunshine in your heart;
Tho it seems a little thing, It will heaven’s blessings bring,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.

(3)
You can do a kindly deed, To your neighbor in his need,
If there’s sunshine in your heart;
And his burden you will share As you lift his load of care,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.

(4)
You can live a happy life In this world of toil and strife,
If there’s …..(yes repeat, repeat)
And your soul will glow with love From the perfect light above,
If there’s …..(yes repeat, repeat)
.

(Chorus).

WELL? Whaddya’ think? Cheesy, OR………..are you now humming along and thinking a little brighter. That was always my “thing” with this hymn. I kind of hated it, but ended up humming it unable to get it out of my head for hours.

Next time maybe I’ll review my most HATED hymn from the old book.

Hold to the Rod! The Iron Rod!

Bloged in ex-Mormon,Mormons,Religion by mark Friday April 3, 2009

I was waching Democracy Now this morning. Just above that channel on our channel “list” is the Mormon Media Channel KBYU – - – and Yes, they were having the “Young Women’s Conference Session”…………… I just got reminded…The Mormon Worldwide semi-annual Conference SPRING sessions are always the first weekend in April, timed with the coming of Easter. I noted the current show as “Young Women’s Conference Session”.
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I tuned in, just to see what that Perky BLONDE woman, deeply tan, and Hair SO STIFF, I’m sure an entire CAN of Hair Spray went into creating the coiffure was “saying”…………………. Would I remember any of the “catch-phrases” ??

Believe me, in the 5 minutes I watched her I think I got ‘em all in her speech………….it took me back to sitting in those meetings and hearing these phrases every every week (or DAY if you were in seminary):

Cling to the Iron Rod
Stay on the Straight and Narrow Path
Stay away from the “Mists of Darkness”
Satan wants women confused about Chastity (I think a lot of Men want women confused too, not to mention a bit submissive)
Listen to your “Latter Day Prophets”
There is strength in Youth. Shall the Youth of Zion Falter?
The Fruit of the Tree of Life is in your loins
Stand in Holy Places not on soiled ground
Remain Virtuous
Turn off your TV, your Computer, and P/U the Book of MORMON!
3 daily habits to pursue: 1) Pray morning & nite, 2) read the Book of Mormon EVERY day, 3) Smile. This way you can avoid Satan
The Holy Ghost must be Your constant Companion
Listen to your Priesthood Leaders
Build your Spiritual Temple stone by stone
You CAN repent
I BEAR you this Testimony…………….in the name of
Arise and RETURN to Virtue!
Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel!

It reminded of the last lovely term I well remember from my lessons:
Outer Darkness………………..
**My own brother was excommunicated years ago for admitting he didn’t believe the dogma. The people who are excommunicated for these reasons are told by the “committee” that kicks ‘em out that they will be banished for eternity from any salvation, they have NO chance for any redemption, they will be scorned, etc etc etc. Pretty scary stuff. That’s why MANY, I’m sure, NEVER dare question “authority”. Ah, the plan works then, doesn’t it.

I was a bit surprised. Somehow I thought they would have new words of wisdom for these women, since their demographic is completely different than it was then. But no. I know if I asked one of “them”, the answer would be, “But the Truths we teach are constant.”

OH well…………..a little trip down memory lane for me, and I kind of enjoyed it looking from my new viewpoint. I’m certainly happy in my new religion: The LOVE of Nature.

By the way.. . . . Remember the Mormon Missionaries who created the “shirtless” calendar. This was the guy who created it:
Shirtless Mormons
He was excommunicated for making the calendar. So I guess he’ll be going to outer darkness. I also guess he’ll be singing to himself there: “Oh, What a Lonely Boy, what’ll I do?”

I’m quite happy there is no room for a God that could possibly create heavens and earth but still have some most primitive capacity to kick people in the ass so crudely. With that, I have borne my testimony!

Dustin Lance Black – A Beautiful Speech.

Bloged in ex-Mormon,Gay,General Home Life,Mormons by mark Monday February 23, 2009

Dustin Lance Black’s acceptance speech at last night’s Oscar Awards became personal for thousands of Mormon gay kids who live under perpetual treatment by their Church as unworthy, immoral people. This brought me to tears partly bringing memories of my own:

Hurray to Mr. Black !!! (and his Mom).

Mormons: Continue to snuff Gay Rights in Utah

Bloged in ex-Mormon,Gay,General Home Life,Mormons,Religion by mark Wednesday February 18, 2009

The Mormon owned SALT LAKE TRIBUNE today reports that Utah HB 160, a state House Bill was defeated………… it’s purpose? SIMPLY to give GAY COUPLES rights to inheritance and the right to make medical decisions for each other.
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Now that it’s also coming out that the official CHURCH itself DID give some money to causes that were propping up Prop 8 in California (the marriage bill), then to follow that with defeating THIS simple legislation? IF I WERE gay in UTAH………..I’d be fighting like hell for some rights, OR………I’d be getting out. If you’re curious you can go to this EQUALITY UTAH page and read exactly what was in this mild bill simply asking for a bit of recognition.

I feel for those Gay couples living under this kind of condemnation…….. By the way, the Church should lose its Tax exempt status…….it truly has, with a heavy hand, entered the political arena.

Another Mormon Resigns and gives up his Right-to-a-Planet

Bloged in ex-Mormon,Gay,General Home Life,Mormons,Political by mark Friday November 14, 2008

POSTSCRIPT: Saturday. We just returned from a Prop 8 Protest Rally in the South Park Blocks of our Fair City.
markandjary
I am guessing 1000 were there…..we had quite a chat with two boys and friends from Mesa, AZ….together for five years in the AZ town that HAS a Mormon temple….the very one my Folks were married in (aug 1933)…..they were married in Riverside County, CA (Palm Springs), the county my brother lives in that voted FOR Prop 8. One of the boys was Mormon. They are BOTH living here now as students at PSU…one to become a Lawyer and one a Doctor! As we were with them, they were interviewed by Ch 8, NBC affiliate for the local news tonight….and then another couple came up one of whom IS a still believing Mormon that attends his Ward Meetings every Sunday. he had an interesting experience: “We were married in Vancouver BC….and since I AM married legally there, the Church can NOT accuse me of having unmarried sex…… They leave us alone.” **His partner was Jewish. A GREAT rally! We ran into old friend Roushdi and his new friend James, we ran into Jerry Orlando and CityWoof Marc with whom we lunched afterwards. GREAT TIME !!! YOU shoulda BEEN THERE .

You can see some of the pictures Rodger took at his link on SCUFF Flicker Photos.

/ mark

= = =
In 1964, this shot was taken just ahead of my senior piano recital at the Church, yes the Mormon Church, the religion I was raised in.
mark1964

It only took a few years from that date for me to leave the Church, shortly after the Mormon Mission and coming out. I never made it official until now. A lot of time has passed:
mark2008

After watching them spawn discrimination, split families, create prejudice and misunderstanding, despite their scandalous public history, I have finally joined those who are demanding they remove our names from their official records.

Part of it is a form letter, but I added my own thoughts at the end. This letter was sent to the Presiding Bishopric in Salt Lake yesterday, and I have felt a new send of liberation ever since. I wish I’d sent this years ago:

= = = = = = = = = =

Mark Huffaker
Birth Date: October 24, 1946
9336 NW Skyline Blvd, Portland, OR 97231

November 14, 2008

Member Records Division, LDS Church
50 E North Temple Rm 1372
SLC UT 84150-5310

To Whom it May Concern:

This letter is my formal resignation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and it is effective immediately. I hereby withdraw my consent to being treated as a member and I withdraw my consent to being subject to church rules, policies, beliefs and ‘discipline’. As I am no longer a member, I want my name permanently and completely removed from the membership rolls of the church.

I have given this matter considerable thought. I understand what you consider the ‘seriousness’ and the ‘consequences’ of my actions. I am aware that the church handbook says that my resignation “cancels the effects of baptism and confirmation, withdraws the priesthood held by a male member and revokes temple blessings” I also understand that I will be “readmitted to the church by baptism only after a thorough interview”.

My resignation should be processed immediately, without any ‘waiting periods’. I am not going to be dissuaded and I am not going to change my mind. I expect this matter to be handled promptly, with respect and with full confidentiality.

After today, the only contact I want from the church is a single letter of confirmation to let me know that I am no longer listed as a member of the church.

Do NOT make attempts to contact me other than via U.S. Mail. No Visiting Teachers, No Bishopric, NOTHING. You people have violated so many basic tenets of Christianity I am appalled. The number of families divided since your blatant entry into the Political World, and, of course, violating the Constitution demands of keeping Church and State separate not to mention violating the Doctrine and Covenants clearly stating the Church should never enter into Civic matters, is wrenching.

Sincerely,

Mark L. Huffaker

-= = = = = = =-
Note in the letter, I bowed to their “requirement” that I supposedly give UP my “temple” blessings, Priesthood (power), etc etc. If I hadn’t, they likely would be knocking on my door to make sure I would be “aware” I was a-gonna be goin’ to the “lower kingdoms”, “Telestial” that is, or the Mormon version of Hell. Ooooooh! I am SO scared!

I am not angry now, I’m laughing. I am in awe of how Mormons and Blacks who’ve gone through so much persecution in their lives, once given an opportunity, immediately turn on a group they do NOT understand and “persecute”.

I AM confident this is the LAST generation who will hold onto that prejudiced view. The BIGGEST segment of voters in California voting “YES” for this were the “OLD” people…………… It IS the Young voters, Mormon and Non-Mormon alike who voted against this. I am SO proud of them.

= =

Prop 8 – Fallout gets close

Bloged in ex-Mormon,Family,Gay,Political,Religion by mark Tuesday November 11, 2008

I knew for a while my oldest brother at 71 and his Evangelical wife were going to vote for John McCain. I only have 3 brothers. My one sister passed away 35 years ago. Here was that little Mormon family in 1956, of course it’s obvious who the oldest brother is:
huffakers1956
I have not talked with my Mormon brother for 7 years and only sparingly talk with the other two. We’re not a close family. I do think our leaving the only connection we had: Mormonism may be part of that. We’re all very different people.

But this oldest brother has known about Rodger and I for 20 years. He has been to our home more than once. He claims he loves Rodger equally as me. He’s been supportive of our relationship.

HOW could he vote for Proposition 8? How can he ask for discrimination and intolerance and prejudice toward his own brother?

Probably the same way he and hundreds of thousands of others did: 1) He is over 70 and NOT likely to change. 2) He’s in a marriage with conservative religious requirements. 3) He does NOT have a computer, hence, no knowledge of the vast wealth of information there. 4) He listens to FOX NEWS quite a bit.

There you have it. Being blinded by Fundamentalist Religion, and listening to a TV Medium that continually spews Propaganda and lies.

I will not change my relationship with this man, but: it will change how I interact and respond to his phone calls and thoughts.

I had NO idea he could place a check mark in a box that would limit my civil rights after 62 years of being his brother.
I really hadn’t seen this coming.

So I’m sending him information including this old list from 2004:
Here. Let’s write this down in a form so the “simple” people and even some Pentecostals can understand what they’re saying:
= = = = = = = =

10 Reasons Why Gay Marriage is Wrong

01) Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

02) Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

03) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

04) Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn’t changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can’t marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

05) Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britany Spears’ 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

06) Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn’t be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren’t full yet, and the world needs more children.

07) Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

08) Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That’s why we have only one religion in America.

09) Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That’s why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

10) Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven’t adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.

By the way, this is causing splits in MANY families. I know of 4 families in my own little circle that this attack by the Mormon Church (& others) is causing strife for.

Mormon Hypocrisy on Prop 8

Bloged in ex-Mormon,Mormons,Political,Religion by mark Thursday November 6, 2008

Why am I not surprised?

NOW that Mormons, Catholics, Pentacostals have brought about discrimination and disdain towards gays by telling them they can’t marry (and I AM reminded of the not so distant time Blacks could not marry Whites)……….. they have released a News bit yesterday:

Elder Clayton, a big guy in the “Council of Seventies” has asked all Church members for civility, love, kindness to be restored …………….. How Hypocritical! They created a division in their own religion for those families who have Gay kids, and in places, a crisis of faith. They have even caused in-fighting within the Church let alone the cost of fighting this civil right all over again to the taxpayers in the future.

No MATTER they embraced the outright lies, fear-mongering that the Pro-8 ads engendered among the uneducated or born-agains, NOW they want to act like they are an “innocent” participant in an election process that will bring a rise in hate crimes toward us among other things.

One MUST REMEMBER that MARRIAGE did NOT BEGIN as a religious ritual. IT WAS a civil affair.

Oh well. Religion once again shows its true colors. We love ya, Brother, as long as you are just like us. Why don’t they just put on the White sheets like the boys of old so we can tell who they are while they’re walking down the street.

At LEAST Oregon finally got rid of the hypocrital bigot Mormon Gordon Smith out of the Senate. He coneded this morning to the Democratic Challenger. Yeah!

Mormons and the Misery of Sin

Bloged in ex-Mormon,Mormons,Political,Religion by mark Wednesday October 22, 2008

I have just become aware of a second Gay Mormon “support” group (Affirmation is the one begging the Church for recognition and acceptance as they “are”)…………….. Finding the Evergreen International Group however has made me doubly sad. It is yet another Christian “Gay Recovery” ministry. Mormons state that acting on your homosexual tendencies will lead to a Life of Misery and Sin. I read on one of their pages a quote from their most recently deceased ***”Prophet”*** , G. B. Hinckley who emphatically stated (in their LAST financially backed campaign in California to fight gay marriage), —Marriage is valid only for a man and woman (note: Polygamy, of course, is still carefully omitted and remains doctrinally soundly locked institutionally in “sacred scripture” …..THAT one ain’t going away. Their doctrine states polygamy WILL be re-instated in the future….)

Both of these groups are made up of Believers in Mormon doctrine. For that reason alone, they are on a frustrating and emotionally painful and often self-destructive road to a life unfulfilled.

I can’t quite put my self in their frame of reference to this religion and realize that I can only discuss my own experience. I’m happy to know young kids growing up now have so much science data for research and can truly understand why they are the way they are. ALL science except religiously skewed and biased studies can tell you it’s genetic. That being said, one is NOT going to change the object of his sexual attraction.

I grew up in a sheltered little farm town right after WWII. Sex in any form was not discussed in public or in the home. As a result, I had NO idea that the “attraction” I was feeling was something I “assumed” was part of growing up and would go away when I had a “girlfriend.” I at least sensed enough NEVER to hint I possessed those feelings because yes, somehow, SOME of the non-Mormon (and in my own mind, urbane) town kids knew enough to call names to boys that were different, and it wasn’t in a good way. I paid no attention, because, I still “assumed” those feelings would vanish as I grew up…..(and got married in the Mormon temple, then everything would be “right”).

At 19, I came to have faith that the requisite Mormon mission would “cure” these now lingering and deeper feelings. The feelings did not go away, and I began to understand that it was not simply sexual attraction that was inside my head. I wasn’t cured, and at 21, I realized those feelings had a name. It was getting serious. I thought therapy on my return to BYU would cure them. That didn’t. What I learned finally at 21 that I had fallen in love. I simply assumed that relationship was going to become pretty much the same as the marriages I knew all around me. We left the Church, aided by the fact, I had NEVER felt the big “Holy Ghost” knock on my head revealing to ME that the Mormons WERE the ONLY TRUE path to God……… In truth, for THAT matter, GOD had never hinted to me He was around either. So perhaps LEAVING the Church wasn’t as hard for me as it was for others. And I was in LOVE !!!!

Well, that character was only in my life 2 years, and I do blame his own Mormon background partially. He was overcome with guilt about being open so continued to act out closeted fantasies often observed in men who can’t accept those same feelings I’d had, they’d heard from their Church leaders about this “Misery” would lead to. That 1st ‘love” continued lying, sneaking, acting out. At a point of final disgust for how he was treating me and our relationship, it was brought to an abrupt end. Sure, I still was completely naive and made plenty of my own mistakes, but even now, I fault not having learned when I should have, had I had any access to valid information, any skills in being who I was.

And what’s the point of this blabber?

I am finding that although forbidden by their own “scriptures” (The Doctrine and Covenants) to be involved in political matters affecting the government. SEE D&C 134:9 to read it prohibits church members from using religious beliefs to influence civil government: “We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government, whereby one religious society is fostered and another proscribed in its spiritual privileges, and the individual rights of its members, as citizens, denied.”

Despite that, I find in simple research ( mormonsfor8.com ) that 47% of the funding to get the anti-gay initiative passed comes from Mormons who ARE only 2% of California’s population. This is not undue influence?

I feel so strongly for any LDS Mormon kid just feeling foreshadowings that he may be GAY, especially if he’s in one of these donor families. He will go through the same struggles (or worse) than I did back in the naive 1950′s. He will have NO ONE he will dare ask questions to. He will hide his feelings, feel shame, embarrassment, exclusion, loneliness, despair. As he approaches his 20′s, he may even go through the suppression therapy thinking they will “CURE” him of his inside nature. WITH HIGH HOPES, I will believe that he will LEAVE his false sad Mormon life and discover his worth, the beauty of the world, and love.

I also hope, if he is so inclined, he gets married……………..because he wants to and because he can. That he gets to grow old together with that love just as humans have done for thousands of years.

leighton
**Leightons’ “The Secret”.

In the very words of many Republicans now jumping on that bandwagon of Palin’s, “Are you a REAL American or a suspect?” The very meaning of the word Democracy implies tolerance. Tolerance is allowing something you believe is wrong.

Americans developed religious tolerance because, at first, many colonies sanctioned one legal religion. Those asserted that they alone could save and all others were damned. As heretics and the disgruntled split off and our country grew, religious diversity became a necessity. Reluctantly, over time, Americans allowed the existence and practice of others’ “wrong” beliefs. It was a begrudging making of space for the Other, for evil.

The Mormon stand on gay marriage is intolerant because it wants MORMONISM “beliefs” to be enforced by government. When beliefs differ among good citizens, tolerance, however begrudging, should rule.

It doesn’t take much thought to know the truth. Just be quiet in a quiet spot for a few minutes and your heart will let you know that tolerance is the correct response.
think

An old friend visits Mark & Rodger.

Bloged in ex-Mormon,Gay,General Home Life,Scuff Boys by mark Tuesday May 13, 2008

WE were just paid a long overdue visit by one of my most treasured friends. A friend I have known since we were baby gay boys at the ripe ages of 22-24 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A friend who also grew up in the Mormon Church, went to the same mission I was in, a friend who held the same position in that Kentucky/Tennessee mission office I ended up with: Secretary to the Mission President. A friend whose fabulous sister Peggy Sue was a close friend to Rodger & I in the bay area 15 years ago. A friend who knew more about myself than I did. I should have been paying him for therapy.
jimjon2008
Jim T brought his partner John, who we had not met yet to Seattle first where he attended a conference until Saturday when they took the Amtrak West Coast version of the high-speed train, the Talgo to Portland for a 3 day visit.

We ate, drank, took them to the Gorge for a visit to Multnomah Falls, ate, drank some more, watched birds, talked deep into the night, laughed about our youthful past, cried for those lost, and my Lord, drank some more. Then we did it again the next day. I don’t think the TV was turned on for this weekend. Yeah, sure, almost everyone gets visits from old pals.

But. The visit we were richly given this THIS weekend is not possible to experience in human form unless the friendship has endured over time. It is NOT possible to experience as richly a welcoming, rewarding family feeling, until you HAVE known someone 30-40 years and HAVE endured and shared experiences of every kind on every emotional level.

I felt doors open from my past on a few things I hadn’t even resolved, but they were now. We all learned things about each other new, adding to the patchwork quilt that wrapped us up in friendship and brotherhood.
1bee208
THANK you, Jim and John, for making us appreciate your lives all over again, yes, but also for helping us appreciate our own two lives individually and shared. This was important because I have learned all over again what that term “old friend” means. It should never be taken lightly. These are friends who can look you in the eye and answer more for you than 20 minutes of questions with someone new in your life.

We’re determined now to finally make an excursion to Las Vegas some time before another 15 years pass. By then, we’ll be looking more and more like Babs S does todaybabsold:

I thought those $500 concert tickets, you know, for the 4th Annual Final Farewell Tour would have given her enough money to prevent that from happening.

Oh well. spring is continuing here. The First HEAT will be while we’re in New York. These will be blooming before you know it. Will we be able to get more creative with that camera this year than Rodger did for this?

1dlephins

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