So far, 2013 has been a lot like being directly plopped into the backstage scenes of the 1999 movie Topsy-Turvy. There were presidential inaugurations, senatorial gun-control hearings and cabinet confirmations. We had in and out filthy inversion air, bitter-cold weather and influenza. Hillary Clinton left, John Kerry filled her position. The Boy Scouts of America even considered revising their 100-year-old policies on rejecting gay scouts and scouting leaders, while The Great Salt Lake BSA Council released a statement they will be taking considerably more time before aligning with the consequential change coming from the national organization. This year brings legislative sessions, Mormon websites and Supreme Court amicus briefs being filed this way and that for and against queer civil rights. Not to mention Jupiter in full-tilt boogie, (this is really Jupiter’s time to take center stage) and on Jan. 21, the moon and Jupiter staged a beautifully close approach that was seen throughout the world, not to be seen again until 2026. Everything seems to be in a huge state of change, flux and transition, leaving many baffled and foul, while others are delighted by new directions and possibilities.
I recall when January was the month for hunkering down, staying in, resolutions, objectives and goal-setting, simplifying, de-cluttering, careful planning for an intentional and bright year ahead. However these are just some snippets of the beginning of 2013, revealing transitions and transformations that are occurring right now in our modern society, and at such rapid pace one care hardly remain fully informed, aware and present considering the enormity of change-based happenings.
Also in January, history was made. We had President Barrack Obama’s inaugural speech full of civil and equal rights language for LGBTQ Americans; freedom to love whom we love, mentioning our significant historical movement, achievements, and past. Compare that visionary speech to the Mormonsandgays.org website which has our queer and straight-supportive communities somewhat divided and nonplussed, with some strongly feeling the long-overdue messaging about not kicking queer children and family to the curb being positive, overdue steps and others seeing the website as choric and chronically familiar, fraught with outdated and disproved dogma and offering life-celibacy and repression as the only real answers for its queer members. No one is without opinion, and we certainly do not have balance, harmony, consensus or peace of mind.
What is glaringly apparent is that all of this ultimately comes down to change. Huge changes that impact LGBTQ humans.
This Belief Shift column will be in two parts. I start by exploring the foundation of an easy-to-use self-change model, SEE-DO-GET, and establishing how it might work for someone desirous of using it to exit any religious group. Part II will give detailed examples of how to step-by-step shift your seeing, doing and getting, and creating a life with less anger, frustration with your feeling of being trapped, hostility toward yourself, others, or your religion of birth.
When my friends from throughout the country ask me why I still choose to live in Utah, my response is always prompt and the same: “someone has to live on the front lines.” I truly believe that there comes a time where you have to release, let go and change if you are going to survive, thrive and find self-esteem and happiness while still living in Utah. It will be compelling as the U. S. Supreme Court considers DOMA and Proposition 8 and rules on the future of this country’s queer citizens. It is also interesting that the LDS Church has signed on as “friend of the court brief” led by National Association of Evangelicals in pending Prop. 8 Supreme Court arguments. I have always personally identified integrity as having your values and actions aligned; the opposite being complete hypocrisy, when your professed values and actions are not aligned. It also seems to me you cannot have it both ways, or be in some confused middle ground. A person, organization, religion, government needs to possess and demonstrate integrity or they are hypocrites.
Change in its most basic form comes down to the simple and time-proven SEE-DO-GET change model. Seeing is about your mindsets, perspectives, beliefs, outlook on anything. Doing is your actions to strengthen or alter the way you act upon your perceptions. Getting is the desired result or sustainable personal solution you achieve having worked hard and gone through the challenging process of changing.
Let’s take the whole current LDS stance regarding gays and run it through the See-Do-Get model. A person does not choose to be gay, one is born that way, those are Seeing perceptions, but one should never act, which is Doing, on your DNA, attractions, desires, ability to love, belong, towards Getting, which is finding love, intimacy, connection, self-happiness and self-esteem. Hence, authenticity is lost and without hope for the gay LDS members to ever become truly authentic and who they really, naturally are.
The Change example above may work for some whose beliefs (Seeing) are anchored in birth-to-death, pre-planned life phases, and a strong after-death belief/reward system. However, for many others it does not work and that is where frustrations, anger and a desire to change comes eventually comes in.
Please consider the SEE-DO-GET model as it compares to anything major or minor you would like to change. Understand how the simple but effective model works, and in Part II we will go into greater depth about how the model could be used for exiting the LDS religion, or any other repressive, non-affirming or accepting organization. I divided this Belief Shift column into two parts so that readers could first wrap their heads around the model, but begin to examine their current perceptions, behaviors and the results they are getting. That takes some time and personal reflection. This is damned hard work.
Let’s start with who we are and what’s important to us, or the SEEING part. While it is important to create structures, accountability and targets, how often do we take a step back and ask ourselves why we do what we do? We get so caught up in the go-go-go of daily life and all the responsibilities that go along with it, we neglect to ask on a regular basis about purpose: Who am I? What am I passionate about? Who do I want to be in the world? What do I define as my values? What’s important to me? What do I stand for? What turns me on and off? What keeps me going, charged, whole? How clear we are about the “why” has a huge impact on our levels of commitment, engagement and satisfaction with the experience. It also affects our effectiveness, innovation, creativity and ability to maintain and sustain the action over the long term.
We are experts at this part. However, when we are clear about who we are and what is important to us, the choice to act is much simpler. While we might need some assistance in figuring out the best actions to take, the bigger picture goal is self-evident. We know we want something and are willing to take the steps to move us in that direction.
Getting results and hopefully achieving our own happiness, having been in charge of the change process we get something. Perhaps it’s something tangible, or maybe it’s how we feel, our self-esteem, our self re-invention.
You are free to approach your experiences in whatever way you choose. Greater happiness and satisfaction in personal or professional life comes from being conscious of who you are and what’s important to you as a foundation for what you choose to do and create. It also comes with challenging your life experiences, really examining where and how you learned your life-long beliefs, determining if YOU are that person, or even wish to be that person.
In Part II of Belief Shift — I would like to pose some very serious questions to those who are considering leaving the LDS religion, moving towards seeing, doing and getting greater authenticity, happiness, in your whole being.
A Mind Once Opened, Never Closes. Stay tuned!